Sustainability

Growth of Global Solar and Wind Energy Continues to Outpace Other Technologies
August 1, 2013 04:47 PM - Matt Lucky and Michelle Ray, Worldwatch Institute

Solar and wind continue to dominate investment in new renewable capacity. Global use of solar and wind energy grew significantly in 2012. Solar power consumption increased by 58 percent, to 93 terrawatt-hours (TWh), while wind power increased by 18.1 percent, to 521.3 TWh. Global investment in solar energy in 2012 was $140.4 billion, an 11 percent decline from 2011, and wind investment was down 10.1 percent, to $80.3 billion. Due to lower costs for both technologies, however, total installed capacities still grew sharply.

How Women Can Help Lower Food Losses
August 1, 2013 09:07 AM - Henrietta Miers, SciDevNet

Further investment in agricultural research is essential if we are to avert a global famine caused by inadequate crop yields and a growing population in the coming decades, according to the director of the Global Wheat Program at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center. Women have a key role to play in reducing food loss at the production, post-harvest and processing stages, but face many barriers in doing so. Such research could help bring these issues to the forefront.

Is Carbon-Free Shipping possible?
August 1, 2013 06:03 AM - MAT MCDERMOTT, Yale Environment360

This week a new sailing barge was launched on Lake Champlain that its backers hope will soon be in the vanguard of a new carbon-neutral shipping alternative. The 39-foot Ceres — built by volunteers from the Vermont Sail Freight Project and farmer Erik Andrus — is an update on the type of cargo vessels that once plied the inland waterways throughout the northeastern U.S. Like them, the Ceres will sail without any sort of motorized assistance. With the Ceres, the Vermont Sail Freight Project, which is supported by the nonprofit Willowell Foundation, hopes to prove that carbon-neutral boats can be a viable shipping method for the 21st century, connecting small-scale farmers in Vermont and upstate New York with customers along the Hudson River south to New York City — all while reducing the substantial greenhouse gas emissions that come from conventional shipping of produce, which is dominated in the region by trucks.

Wolves and Grizzly Bears, perfect together in Yellowstone!
July 30, 2013 04:16 PM - Roger Greenway, ENN

When the National Park Service re-introduced Wolves to Yellowstone National Park, there was no way to know what this would mean to the ecology and in particular to the Grizzly bears. It turns out the the Wolves have been helpful to the bears! A new study by Oregon State University and Washington State University suggests that the return of wolves to Yellowstone National Park is beginning to bring back a key part of the diet of grizzly bears that has been missing for much of the past century — berries that help bears put on fat before going into hibernation. It's one of the first reports to identify the interactions between these large, important predators, based on complex ecological processes. It was published today in the Journal of Animal Ecology.

China's aggressive Electric Vehicle program not meeting goals
July 30, 2013 06:27 AM - ERIC YUE, Worldwatch Institute

Over the past 30 years, China's rapid economic growth and industry development have been driven in large part by specific national plans that set very ambitious targets for certain industries. The electric vehicle (EV) industry is no exception. Yet even with prioritization by the central government, the EV industry does not seem to be on track to meet its targets." According to the Ministry of Science and Technology’s (MOST) 12th Five-Year Plan for Electric Vehicles and the State Council's Energy-saving and New Energy Automotive Industry Development Plan released in 2012, 500,000 EVs and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) are to be deployed by 2015, along with 400,000 charging piles and 2,000 charging or battery-switching stations. The nation is targeting 5 million EVs and PHEVs on the road by 2020.

Climate change has the potential for significant impacts on coffee
July 30, 2013 06:05 AM - Rhett Butler, MONGABAY.COM

An inconvenient truth is not what most people want to hear before they’ve had their first cup of coffee in the morning. Our coffee break is “me time,” and we want to enjoy it. If the temperature is too high, put some ice in your cup. But for some 26 million people around the world who make it their business to produce our coffee, change is impossible to ignore.

Developing World Will Significantly Contribute to Global Energy Use
July 29, 2013 02:48 PM - Editor, ENN

According to International Energy Outlook 2013 (IEO2013) which was released today by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), world energy consumption is projected to increase by 56 percent over the next three decades! This projected increase is mainly due to the growth of the developing world. EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski explains, "Rising prosperity in China and India is a major factor in the outlook for global energy demand. These two countries combined account for half the world's total increase in energy use through 2040. This will have a profound effect on the development of world energy markets."

South African Rhinos need more protection now!
July 28, 2013 07:48 AM - Population Matters from The Times

South Africa’s rhino population will rapidly decline in the next three years if it is not protected and poaching is not eradicated, according to a report released.At current poaching levels, rhino numbers would decline significantly by 2016, and possibly earlier in the Kruger National Park, said SA National Parks former CEO Mavuso Msimang, who headed the research. At least 515 rhino had been killed in the country so far this year. A total of 668 rhino were killed in the country last year.

The impact of global warming on snow pack
July 26, 2013 06:24 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

The impacts of a warming planet are widespread and diverse. The amount of snow the American west receives each year is a significant factor in how much water is available for agricultural irrigation and human consumption. A new report projects that by the middle of this century there will be an average 56 percent drop in the amount of water stored in peak snowpack in the McKenzie River watershed of the Oregon Cascade Range - and that similar impacts may be found on low-elevation maritime snow packs around the world. The findings by scientists at Oregon State University, which are based on a projected 3.6 degree Fahrenheit temperature increase, highlight the special risks facing many low-elevation, mountainous regions where snow often falls near the freezing point. In such areas, changing from snow to rain only requires a very modest rise in temperature.

EV charging stations becoming more common
July 25, 2013 06:12 AM - MOVEFORWARD, Electric Forum

As the race to the mass market continues it seems as though the thoughts of electric vehicle drivers are now turning towards charging stations in their area. If you read the motoring press you will see much focus upon battery journey capacity when in reality there are now more charging stations than ever before, with recharging times now falling dramatically, a 30 minutes recharge while you shop could be all it takes to get you home. It will be interesting to see as and when the EV industry moves on to promote charging stations more aggressively to the wider public. Initially there were concerns about electric vehicle technology, this then switched to battery technology and while it would be wrong to say these two issues have been resolved conclusively there is no doubt that great progress has been made.

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