Deadly effects of air pollution detailed in MIT study
August 29, 2013 06:02 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN
We know that pollution is bad for us, don't we? And we guess that living in areas with high levels of pollution is probably not good for our health, but we need to live near our job, and populated areas offer more employment opportunity, recreational and cultural opportunities and other advantages. But at what cost? And what can we do to reduce the levels of pollution without significantly changing the life styles we have all become accustomed to? Before we consider draconian changes, we would like to know just how bad it is. Researchers from MIT's Laboratory for Aviation and the Environment have come out with some sobering new data on air pollution's impact on Americans' health. The group tracked ground-level emissions from sources such as industrial smokestacks, vehicle tailpipes, marine and rail operations, and commercial and residential heating throughout the United States, and found that such air pollution causes about 200,000 early deaths each year. Emissions from road transportation are the most significant contributor, causing 53,000 premature deaths, followed closely by power generation, with 52,000.
Nike’s New Shanghai Store is Made From 100 Percent Trash
August 28, 2013 09:30 AM - Gina-Marie Cheeseman, Triple Pundit
Imagine a Nike store built 100 percent from trash. It would be designed to be very flexible. The suspension ceiling system would be designed to adapt to different exhibition and retail programs. Almost everything would be adjustable, which would free the floor plan for future installation and lighting conditions. No glue would be used to ensure that all materials can be 100 percent re-recycled. Now place the store in Shanghai, China where Miniwiz Sustainable Development Ltd., a Taiwanese architectural firm, completed just such a Nike concept store in July.
Turn ON the dark!
August 28, 2013 06:14 AM - Paul Bogard, Yale Environment360
As evidence mounts that excessive use of light is harming wildlife and adversely affecting human health, new initiatives in France and elsewhere are seeking to turn down the lights that flood an ever-growing part of the planet. Last month, France — including the City of Light — grew darker late at night as one of the world's most comprehensive lighting ordinances went into effect. From 1 a.m. to 7 a.m., shop lights are being turned off, and lights inside office buildings must be extinguished within an hour of workers leaving the premises. The lighting on France’s building facades cannot be turned on before sunset. Over the next two years, regulations restricting lighting on billboards will go into effect. These rules are designed to eventually cut carbon dioxide emissions by 250,000 tons per year, save the equivalent of the annual energy consumption of 750,000 households, and slash the country’s overall energy bill by 200 million Euros ($266 million).
Israeli Researcher Creates Drought-Resistant 'Superplants'
August 27, 2013 12:09 PM - Rachel Avraham & Eitan Press, NoCamels
Israeli researchers engineer drought resistant plants that could be a game-changer in the global food crisis, requiring less water, yielding bigger harvests, and staying fresh longer.
New report calls for immediate action to tackle aviation emissions
August 27, 2013 08:56 AM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen
A new scientific report released today highlights the critical importance of taking early action when implementing measures to reduce the climate impact of rapidly increasing emissions from aviation. With a decision expected shortly on how and when to tackle international aviation emissions, today's report increases the pressure on the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) (the United Nations agency responsible) not to defer a decision on the adoption of a market-based measure (MBM).
The Promise of Fusion Power - update
August 26, 2013 02:43 PM - Roger Greenway, ENN
Wouldn't it be great to have abundant, clean power that doesn't contribute to climate change? That is the promise of fusion power. Practical fusion power remains elusive, but advances in creating self-sustaining fusion reactions and harnessing its power continue to occur. In the early morning hours of Aug.13, Lawrence Livermore's National Ignition Facility (NIF) focused all 192 of its ultra-powerful laser beams on a tiny deuterium-tritium filled capsule. In the nanoseconds that followed, the capsule imploded and released a neutron yield of nearly 3x1015, or approximately 8,000 joules of neutron energy -- approximately three times NIF's previous neutron yield record for cryogenic implosions. The primary mission of NIF is to provide experimental insight and data for the National Nuclear Security Administration's science-based stockpile stewardship program. The experiment attained conditions not observed since the days of underground nuclear weapons testing and represents an important milestone in the continuing demonstration that the stockpile can be kept safe, secure and reliable without a return to testing.
Save the World's Rarest Cat By Doing One Thing, Say Researchers
August 26, 2013 09:12 AM - Susan Bird, Care2
Conservationists can ensure the world's rarest wild cat escapes extinction by doing one simple thing, say researchers — but they need to do it soon. What's the secret? Start factoring in the effects of climate change when deciding how to save endangered species, says a new study. For the Iberian lynx, the most endangered wild feline of all, conservationists had better hurry. There are only 300 or so left in the wild. The Iberian lynx lives now only in two small areas of Spain's Andalusian region. At one time it was plentiful throughout Spain, Portugal and southern France. Years of habitat loss, poaching and a diminished food supply have decimated its numbers. Should it become extinct, the Iberian lynx will be the first wild cat to do so in 2,000 years.
Planting trees in deserts to fight climate change
August 26, 2013 06:16 AM - Earth System Dynamics, SciDevNet
Planting trees in coastal deserts could capture carbon dioxide, reduce harsh desert temperatures, boost rainfall, revitalise soils and produce cheap biofuels, say scientists. Large-scale plantations of the hardy jatropha tree, Jatropha curcas, could help sequester carbon dioxide through a process known as 'carbon farming', according to a study based on data gathered in Mexico and Oman that was published in Earth System Dynamics. Each hectare of the tree could soak up 17-25 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, they say, at a cost of 42-63 euros (about US$56-84) per tonne of gas, the paper says. This makes the technique competitive with high-tech carbon capture and storage.
Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
August 25, 2013 08:56 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN, Electric Forum
Electric vehicles will catch on when there are enough charging stations to make their widespread use really practical, and manufacturers will offer more EV's for sale when there is a market for them! I love driving my Tesla Model S, but have to admit that for some overnight trips I take an older internal combustion engine powered car since it is still hard to find a hotel with a charging station that I can plug in to for a battery top-off. So which comes first, more electric cars, or more charging stations? There has been a massive increase in the number of electric vehicles and complimentary products released into the marketplace over the last few weeks. There is now growing suspicion that a number of EV manufacturers, and electric car charging companies, have been holding back products and services until they deemed the market was open to new ideas and new products. This may seem a little bizarre when you consider that the EV businesses will want to see as quick a return as possible or on their investments but every day now we see new products and new services being released. While the Tesla Model S certainly caught the headlines when released earlier this year we have also seen BMW introduce its first mainstream electric vehicle, Chevrolet look to reduce the headline cost of its vehicles and earlier this week we saw the introduction of a foldaway electric car. At this moment in time there is a constant flurry of new innovations and new products to the marketplace and while they are catching the headlines today we can only hope the industry does not run out of steam.
Refrigerated Trucks To Use Fuel Cell Technology
August 23, 2013 12:09 PM - Allison Winter, ENN
In order to transport our favorite ice creams, frozen foods, and fresh produce, certain trucks are equipped with powerful refrigeration systems often powered by small diesel engines. These engines are constantly running all the way from the manufacturers of these frozen goods to the market in order to keep these groceries frozen or cool. As a result, refrigeration trucks tend to use more energy and resources to run. In an effort to reduce some reduce emissions and use a quieter, more efficient alternative to these refrigeration units, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory are overseeing a project that will use an alternative energy source: fuel cells.