Sustainability

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.

Electric Vehicles outpacing hybrids
July 23, 2013 04:36 PM - MOVEFORWARD, Electric Forum

The US Department of Energy has this week released a very interesting graph which shows the early-stage development of the hybrid market compared to the electric plug-in market. Many people have been of the opinion that hybrids offer an interesting steppingstone for the electric vehicle market but if sales forecasts are anything to go by the electric vehicle market is likely to outperform its hybrid counterpart. The graph took into account sales of electric vehicles and hybrids over the first three years of the technology. The start date for hybrids was 2000 and the start date for electric vehicles was 2011 — while some will point at an earlier Tesla Roadster Model made available before 2011 this was not designed for the main market.

Gravity-powered lamp to enter field tests
July 23, 2013 08:47 AM - Editor, SciDevNet

A cheap new light that could provide an alternative to kerosene and solar lamps in rural areas will enter field testing in Africa and Asia this year. The device, a gravity-powered LED lamp called 'GravityLight', works by attaching a weighted bag below it from a cord. As the bag slowly descends, gears convert the weight into energy — providing users with up to 30 minutes of light, depending on the weight of the bag. There are also settings to provide brighter light for a shorter period.

Long-term health of Congo forests threatened by human activity
July 23, 2013 06:40 AM - Rhett A. Butler, MONGABAY.COM

Unsustainable hunting of forest elephants, gorillas, forest antelopes, and other seed-dispersers could have long-term impacts on the health and resilience of Congo Basin rainforests, warns a study published today in a special issue of the journal Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B. Conducting a review of more than 160 papers and reports on trends in wildlife populations, hunting, and land use in the Congo Basin, a team of researchers from Oxford University, the University of Queensland, the University of Stirling, and the Wildlife Conservation Society conclude that unless effective management plans are put into place, hunting pressure in the region is likely to increase, with knock-on ecological effects.

Did Earthquake damage Iranian Nuclear Power Plant?
July 22, 2013 04:52 PM - Editor ENN, SciDevNet

Arab Gulf states have raised concerns about the safety of an Iranian nuclear power station built in an earthquake-prone coastal area. The concerns about the Bushehr plant, which officially opened in 2011, were raised during a meeting of the 35-nation board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, Austria, last month (3-7 June). The reactor lies on the north-east coast of the Arabian Gulf. Any leak of radioactive material could therefore affect coastal regions of Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman's Musandam Peninsula.

Should GM Lose Sleep Over Tesla?
July 22, 2013 12:43 PM - Leon Kaye, Triple Pundit

Should GM fret at the thought of Tesla? The Big 3 automakers had sneered at electric vehicles (EVs) for years, but a slow shift is underway. Ford has its plug-ins with the Fusion Energi and C-MAX Energi; Chrysler, thanks to Fiat, has a little toe in the EV waters with the 500e on California roads; and GM touts the Volt and Spark EV.

Antarctica Ice Sheet less stable than previously thought
July 22, 2013 06:36 AM - Carolyn Gramling, Science

Earth continues to hit temperature and greenhouse gas milestones—just a couple of months ago, multiple stations measured carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere of 400 parts per million, the highest in several million years. Many studies have tried to estimate how much and how rapidly the two great ice sheets covering Greenland and Antarctica might melt—and the one reassuring point has been the apparent relative stability of the eastern (and, by far, larger) half of the Antarctic Ice Sheet. Now, a new study of past melting in East Antarctica suggests that over the long haul, the "stable" ice sheet may be more vulnerable to warming than thought. To study possible future melting of the ice sheets, many scientists look to the past. Current warm temperatures and high greenhouse gas conditions are reminiscent of the warm Pliocene Epoch that lasted from 5.3 million to 2.6 million years ago. "Early and middle Pliocene global temperatures and greenhouse gas concentrations are probably the closest analog in Earth's history to the present climate on this planet and the climate conditions we will encounter before the end of this century," says Claus-Dieter Hillenbrand, a sedimentologist at the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, U.K., who was not involved in the study.

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