Can renewables supply 100% of world's power by 2050?
October 16, 2014 06:08 AM - Tim Radford, The Ecologist
A global low-carbon energy economy is not only feasible - it could actually double electricity supply by 2050, while also reducing air and water pollution, according to new research. Even though photovoltaic power requires up to 40 times more copper than conventional power plants, and wind power uses up to 14 times more iron, the world wins on a switch to low-carbon energy. These positive findings are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Edgar Hertwich and Thomas Gibon, of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology Department of Energy and Process Engineering.
Elephants worth more alive, than when they are poached for ivory
October 9, 2014 08:54 AM - Morgan Erickson-Davis, MONGABAY.COM
Elephants are worth 76 times more when they’re alive than dead, according to a new analysis released this past weekend. The report follows on the heels of findings by WWF that the world has lost 50 percent of its wildlife over the past 40 years, with more than half of African elephants killed for ivory in just one decade. The analysis, conducted through the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust's iworry campaign, compared the value of elephants to local economies to profits netted through the illegal ivory trade.
A new concept in EV charging
October 8, 2014 08:07 AM - BOB SHETH, Electric Forum
There is no doubt that the EV industry is here to stay, too much money has been invested and too many people have transferred over from old-style technology. However, while EV technology itself continues to develop, efficiencies are improved and prices continue to fall, there have been ongoing concerns about recharging systems of the future. However, a company by the name of Ubitricity in Germany may well have come up with a solution which could be the answer to all our prayers!
Sea Turtles in Hawaii getting tumors and we are the cause
October 7, 2014 08:09 AM - University of Hawai'i at Mānoa
Hawai'i's sea turtles are afflicted with chronic and often lethal tumors caused by consuming non-native algae, "superweeds," along coastlines where nutrient pollution is unchecked. The disease that causes these tumors is considered the leading cause of death in endangered green sea turtles. The new research was just published in the scientific journal PeerJ. Turtles that graze on blooms of invasive seaweeds end up with a diet that is rich in a particular amino acid, arginine, which promotes the virus that creates the tumors. Scientists at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa and their NOAA colleague estimate that adult turtles foraging at high-nutrient grazing sites increase their arginine intake 17—26 g daily, up to 14 times the background level.
Does the public trust what scientists say?
October 6, 2014 03:58 PM - Princeton University
If scientists want the public to trust their research suggestions, they may want to appear a bit "warmer," according to a new review published by Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. The review, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), shows that while Americans view scientists as competent, they are not entirely trusted. This may be because they are not perceived to be friendly or warm.
What's best for creating drought resistant plants? Traditional breeding or GM?
October 5, 2014 08:29 AM - Lawrence Woodward, The Ecologist
Reports show that traditional breeding techniques are years ahead of GM technologies in developing crops to withstand drought and poor soils, writes Lawrence Woodward. Yet GM advocates are sticking rigidly to their script even as the evidence mounds against them. Since its launch in 2010, the Improved Maize for African Soils Project (IMAS) has developed 21 conventionally bred varieties which have increased yield by up to 1 tonne per hectare.
California Becomes 1st State to Ban Plastic Bags
October 2, 2014 04:14 PM - Kevin Mathews, Care2
It's official: California is now the first state in the country to institute a statewide plastic bag ban! Though it took years for state legislators to pass this bill plus an additional month that felt like an eternity for the governor to sign the bill into law, environmentalists can finally rejoice in the knowledge that grocery store plastic bags will soon be a thing of the past. Analysts expect the legislation will eliminate at least 13 billion plastic bags per year. Don't expect to see a change immediately, however: the ban won't go into effect until next July. Liquor and convenience stores will have until July of 2016 to switch to paper or reusable bags.
Climate Change and Food Security
October 1, 2014 08:47 AM - Bill DiBenedetto, Triple Pundit
If coping with climate change is central to achieving a sustainable future for the global population, then food security lies at the heart of this effort, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said last week in a speech at the United Nations Climate Summit last week. "We cannot call development sustainable while hunger still robs over 800 million people of the opportunity to lead a decent life," he said in a reference to the latest U.N. report on world hunger, The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2014.
Renewable energy capacity increases, nuclear declines
September 30, 2014 05:03 PM - Editor, Worldwatch Institute
Advocates of nuclear energy have long been predicting its renaissance, yet this mode of producing electricity has been stalled for years. Renewable energy, by contrast, continues to expand rapidly, even if it still has a long way to go to catch up with fossil fuel power plants, writes Worldwatch Institute Senior Researcher Michael Renner in the Institute’s latest Vital Signs Online analysis (bit.ly/NuclearRE). Nuclear energy’s share of global power production has declined steadily from a peak of 17.6 percent in 1996 to 10.8 percent in 2013. Renewables increased their share from 18.7 percent in 2000 to 22.7 percent in 2012.
Connecting Productivity of Office Workers and Climate Change
September 29, 2014 09:57 AM - John Alker, The Ecologist
Energy efficiency in office buildings struggles to gain the attention of top management, writes John Alker - because energy is too cheap to really matter. But with 90% of operating costs spent on staff, a new report shows that green building design makes employees happier and more productive. There would seem to be no connection between the productivity of office workers and the great challenge of climate change. But a report published by the World Green Building Council suggests otherwise.