Sustainability

Is EV battery technology more advanced than we thought?
June 19, 2013 06:51 AM - Editor, Electric Forum

Are EV manufacturers holding something back? If we take a look at the EV market it seems that we have barely moved on, at least in the mass market, since the General Motors EV1 debacle in the 1990s. Mainstream battery journey capacity is still roughly the same as was available for the EV1 despite the fact that the industry has received billions of dollars in additional funding from governments and private investors. So, are EV manufacturers holding something back? There is some speculation that various EV manufacturers are holding back the best of their technology until it has been fine tuned and thoroughly tested. There is speculation that while some of the "financially weak" companies are falling by the wayside, in the shape of Fisker for example, we are starting to see some stronger companies emerge from the market. This is potentially the perfect storm for the EV market, with companies falling by the wayside leaving the lion's share of future investment to those looking further forward and able to give stability and long-term credibility.

Industrialisation of the Great Barrier Reef
June 18, 2013 06:33 AM - WWF

The Australian Marine Conservation Society and WWF-Australia said today that Australia’s governments are putting the Great Barrier Reef at risk by failing to implement the World Heritage Committee recommendations around rapid industrialisation. Australia's Richard Leck, who has been attending the World Heritage Meeting as an observer, said Australia had been put 'on notice' by the World Heritage Committee.

Energy saving measures boost house prices, new research reveals
June 17, 2013 08:49 AM - Editor, ClickGreen

Energy saving improvements made to a property could increase its value by 14 per cent on average - and up to 38 per cent in some parts of England - new research has shown. For an average home in the country, improving its EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) from band G to E, or from band D to B, could mean adding more than £16,000 ($25,000 USD) to the sale price of the property.

Clinton Global Initiative, Ikea and Global Green USA team to bring backup solar power to NY and NJ
June 17, 2013 06:21 AM - ALYSSA DANIGELIS, Discovery News

When Superstorm Sandy cut power to millions in New York, New Jersey and beyond, solar-powered generators helped some residents recharge. Now a new project aims to install backup solar energy systems in areas that remain vulnerable. Low-income residents who were devastated by Superstorm Sandy are going to be first in line for a new solar power generation project called Solar for Sandy from the Clinton Global Initiative, the environmental organization Global Green USA and Ikea. The idea is that grid-tied solar will help lower bills and provide back-up in an emergency, according to Global Green USA’s announcement. The program wants to start by equipping at least five community facilities with solar energy systems that can offer lighting, mobile phone charging, heating, cooling, and refrigeration for medicine. A small-scale version is being installed in Far Rockaway, Queens. After that's completed, one for the Red Hook community in Brooklyn is scheduled to be installed by Oct. 29. Last fall, that neighborhood was hit hard by flooding.

Update: UN climate change talks start making progress
June 15, 2013 07:40 AM - UN News Center

The United Nations climate change body said it has made concrete progress towards a new universal agreement on climate change during its latest round of talks which wrapped up this week in Germany. "This has been an important meeting because Governments are moving faster now from the stage of exploring options to designing and implementing solutions," said Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). During the two-week talks in Bonn, participants focused on how to transform the world's energy systems quickly enough towards low-carbon, including renewable energy, energy efficiency and the consideration of carbon capture and storage.

Logging may destabilize carbon in forest soils
June 14, 2013 03:01 PM - Rhett Butler, MONGABAY.COM

Logging in temperate zones may release more greenhouse gases than previously thought by destabilizing carbon stored in forest soils, argues a new paper published in the journal Global Change Biology-Bioenergy. The research involved analysis of carbon released from forest management practices in the northeastern United States. It found that while most models assume carbon stored in mineral soils to be relatively stable, in fact intensive logging operations, like clear-cutting, trigger release of carbon from various pools above and below ground.

New poll confirms majority of public support renewable energy
June 14, 2013 09:03 AM - Editor, ClickGreen

A new survey report has revealed that the majority of the public believe the Government should support the construction of more renewable energy sources like solar, wave and tidal power. And the poll, commissioned by the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, found a third of those questioned would even consider investing in small-scale community renewable projects like wind farms, solar farms or small-scale biomass plants.

How can agriculture best adapt to changing climate?
June 14, 2013 06:37 AM - Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security via eurekAlert

Whether it’s swapping coffee for cocoa in Central America or bracing for drought in Sri Lanka with a return to ancient water storage systems, findings from a new report from the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) chart a path for farmers to adapt to climate shifts despite uncertainties about what growing conditions will look like decades from now. As this week's UN climate talks in Bonn continue to sideline a formal deal on agriculture, the study, Addressing uncertainty in adaptation planning for agriculture, which was published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences (PNAS), finds that the cloudy aspects of climate forecasts are no excuse for a paralysis in agriculture adaptation policies. "Climate projections will always have a degree of uncertainty, but we need to stop using uncertainty as a rationale for inaction," said Sonja Vermeulen, head of research at CCAFS and the lead author of the study. "Even when our knowledge is incomplete, we often have robust grounds for choosing best-bet adaptation actions and pathways, by building pragmatically on current capacities in agriculture and environmental management, and using projections to add detail and to test promising options against a range of scenarios."

Better Land Use May Help Protect Coral Reefs
June 13, 2013 02:21 PM - Editor, ENN

According to new research, for nations that have outlying coral reefs, better land use of the mainland is crucial in order to prevent further damage to these ocean habitats. A recent study reveals important implications for Madagascan and Australian reefs based on deforestation scenarios.

Of Wolves and Elk in Yellowstone National Park
June 13, 2013 06:03 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

What does the rising wolf population mean for the elk in Yellowstone? A new study casts light on this question. It turns out that the mere presence of wolves, previously shown to affect the behavior of elk in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem, is not potent enough to reduce the body condition and reproductive rates of female elk, according to new research. The research, led by recent University of Wyoming Ph.D. graduate Arthur Middleton, provides the most comprehensive evidence to date refuting the idea that wolves are capable of reducing elk calf recruitment indirectly through predation risk.

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