Sustainability

Commuting on an e-bike
June 26, 2013 09:26 AM - Susan Clark, The Ecologist

It's week two riding an e-bike to work and it looks like a romance might be blossoming between Susan Clark and her borrowed bike...... It's only been a week but already I am feeling better, healthier, fitter and even a little trimmer. I have a nasty ripened mango-shaped and size bruise on my bottom. Raising just one eyebrow, my husband has casually enquired how I might have acquired this? In all honesty, I am not sure but I have a hunch it might be linked with my recent acquisition (on loan) of a supercharged e-bike which I have now spent a whole week using to cycle to and from work.

Very Little Soy is Actually Sustainably Produced
June 26, 2013 07:03 AM - Gina-Marie Cheeseman, Triple Pundit

While other commodity crops have much higher sustainable certification levels, only three percent of the world’s soy supply is certified sustainable, according to a new paper by KPMG International, titled A Roadmap to Responsible Soy. By contrast, 50 percent of non-farmed whitefish is certified, 16 percent of coffee, and 14 percent of global palm oil production. The paper is part of KMPG's Sustainable Insight Series.

Half the Oil Plan
June 25, 2013 08:42 AM - Allison Winter, ENN

With the consumption and price of oil on an upward trend, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) has come up with a realistic plan that will help cut the United State's projected oil use in half over 20 years. The plan hopes to dramatically reduce US oil consumption while saving consumers billions of dollars and making the United States a global leader in transportation technology.

Tel Aviv Testing Electric Scooters
June 24, 2013 05:57 AM - SHARON UDASIN, THE JERUSALEM POST, NoCamels

As part of a broader citywide program to reduce air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and noise, the municipality of Tel Aviv-Jaffa is launching a pilot program to potentially replace its fleet of scooters with electric versions. To this purpose, the city has decided to purchase about 25 electric scooters to examine their effectiveness in comparison to the gasoline ones that municipal workers employ today. If the pilot yields positive results, the municipality will explore the possibility of gradually replacing its entire 300-scooter fleet with their electrical counterparts, the city said. City officials will be examining a number of parameters during the pilot program, including the scooter performance capabilities, riding experience, environmental footprint, cost effectiveness and safety, they explained.

A new approach to calm potential EV battery worries
June 23, 2013 07:26 AM - MOVEFORWARD, Electric Forum

While the Nissan Leaf is perhaps the best known EV in the mass market today there have still been issues with regards to the journey capacity and battery technology. Even though battery technology continues to catch up with EV technology there is something of a vacuum while this process is completed. As a consequence, like competitors such as Tesla, Nissan is now launching a new service to put EV driver's minds at rest. In simple terms Nissan will offer Nissan Leaf drivers in the US the opportunity to replace their battery for whatever reason while part of the battery replacement program (cost $100 a month). When you bear in mind that the cost of the battery pack in an EV is the single most expensive piece of equipment this will certainly help.

A Catalyst to Convert CO2 to Fuel
June 21, 2013 10:26 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

Carbon dioxide is the result of burning fuel to make things like cars work. Plants slowly convert that CO2 back to something organic to begin the process again. Working in his lab in the University of Delaware's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Joel Rosenthal and doctoral student John DiMeglio have developed an inexpensive catalyst that uses the electricity generated from solar energy to convert carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas, into synthetic fuels in a far faster manner for powering cars, homes and businesses.

Plastic Bag Ban Passes in LA
June 21, 2013 06:17 AM - Gina-Marie Cheeseman, Triple Pundit

The Los Angeles City Council voted on Tuesday, June 18 to approve a ban on single-use plastic shopping bags. The Coucil voted 11 to 1 in favor of the ordinance, and a final vote is scheduled for next week. Last year, the Council voted 13 to 1 to move forward on banning single use plastic shopping bags. The ban will go into effect for large stores on January 1, 2014, and for smaller stores on July 1, 2014. Paper bags will not be included in the ban, but stores now have to charge 10 cents per paper bag. When the ban goes into affect, one in four Californians will live in a city that bans single-use plastic shoppings bags, according to the environmental group, Heal the Bay. There is good financial reasoning behind the ban. Only five percent of single use plastic bags are recycled every year across the state and California municipalities spend almost $25 million a year to collect and throw away plastic bags that litter the streets and clog storm drains. Currently there are almost two billion plastic shopping bags and 400 million paper bags are distributed every year in Los Angeles.

Are Coffee Pods a Recycling Problem?
June 20, 2013 05:58 AM - Leon Kaye, Triple Pundit

As the consumption of coffee pods surges in the U.S., so do the questions about their disposal and recycling. Although using a pod to make a cup of joe takes about the same amount of time as it does to fire up some water and then make a French press of coffee, the popularity of the single-serve coffee pod machines has taken off. For now, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters-owned Kaurig has taken the lead in the coffee pod market share race, but Nestlé’s Nespresso and Starbucks' Verismo also fare well among java fans. All of the coffee pod machine manufacturers use flowery language on their sustainability pages to describe how they are working to make the pods' disposal and recycling more "sustainable." The fact is, however, that there is no differentiation in what happens to these pods after use; all of them are creating more waste.

Hawaii's Fishermen: Scapegoats for Forces Outside their Control
June 19, 2013 09:26 AM - Andrew Burger, Global Warming is Real

Climate change is affecting fisheries in the Western Pacific and around the world, but a host of other factors, including land use, are threatening fisheries and the health and integrity of marine ecosystems. Aiming for sustainable fisheries, marine policymakers, resource managers, fishermen and other stakeholders are increasingly looking to take a more holistic, integrated approach to fisheries management, as evidenced during the latest meeting of the Western Regional Fishery Management Council (WRFMC) meeting, which was held in Oahu. Often blamed for overexploiting fish stocks, local fishermen in Hawaii are keenly aware of external impacts on the health and integrity of marine ecosystems and fish populations. At the latest WRFMC meeting in Honolulu, they argued in support of taking a more comprehensive ecosystems management approach, specifically zooming in on how land use and associated runoff from cities, agriculture and industry are harming marine ecosystems and fisheries.

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.

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