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Backing Up Wind Power: The Policy Issues Associated with Hydroelectricity

What happens when there's no wind and wind turbines stop turning? What provides the back up power for this clean energy source on calm, windless days? While wind may be the fastest growing renewable energy source in the US, in order for us to rely on wind power, there needs to be some backup technology to fill in when wind does not blow. >> Read the Full Article

Indonesia's fires are a global concern

During the smoky season, or "musim kabut" as it is called in Indonesia, skeletons of leaves fall from the sky and disintegrate like melting snowflakes in children's hands. Historically, Indonesia's smoky season has peaked at the end of the dry season (September-October), just before the monsoon rains arrive. This year the dry season just began, and yet Singapore’s PSI (Pollutant Standard Index) record has already been broken – reaching a new high of 401 (Hazardous) on June 21, 2013. The air pollution in Peninsular Malaysia has also spiked to an all-time-high, resulting in Prime Minister Najib Razak declaring a state of emergency in Muar and Ledang districts on June 23, 2013. >> Read the Full Article

Are We Living Through a Shale Bubble?

On May 24th, J. David Hughes and Deborah Rogers gave a briefing to summarize the findings of two new reports dismantling the myth of a "shale revolution". We've heard about it in the media, on both sides of the political aisle: shale gas and oil are the future of US energy. Indeed, natural gas prices dropped thanks to hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) and horizontal drilling, which helped lower the country's carbon emissions by reducing coal consumption. >> Read the Full Article

Horse Genome

In the movie Jurassic Park dinosaurs were cloned from old DNA genome that had miraculously survived from millions of years ago, In practice this is not very likely. The oldest genome so far from a prehistoric creature has been sequenced by an international team, led by scientists from the Natural History Museum of Denmark (University of Copenhagen). The team, which included Dr Jakob Vinther of the University of Bristol, sequenced and analyZed short pieces of DNA molecules preserved in bone-remnants from a horse frozen for the last 700,000 years in the permafrost of Yukon, Canada. >> Read the Full Article

After Long Wait, Obama Lays Out Fight Against Climate Change

Five years after being elected president and six months after winning a second term, President Obama today gave his first speech devoted solely to climate change and announced several executive actions to begin weaning the United States (historically the largest emitter of greenhouse gases) off fossil fuels. At Georgetown University today, Obama stated that his administration would expand renewable energy projects on federal lands, raise energy efficiency standards on appliances, and, most importantly, limit carbon pollution from both existing and new power plants, which represent about 40 percent of the U.S.'s emissions. Obama also noted that the U.S. would spearhead global efforts to combat climate change which is pushing sea levels higher, melting glaciers and sea ice, exacerbating fires, imperiling species, and worsening extreme weather worldwide. >> Read the Full Article

Norway Natural Gas in Europe

In the US shale natural gas is now dominating pricing and supply. In Europe the knig had been Russia natural gas. Norway overtook Russia as the main supplier of the European Union’s natural gas in 2012 as stated by the chief economist for the British Petroleum Group chief said in unveiling a new energy report in Brussels. Christof Rühl, who is also a BP vice president, said that over the past 10 years, there have been two trends – the rapid growth of shale gas production in the United States and the rapid growth in liquefied natural gas trade. In the last year, shale gas production continued at a slower level, and LNG trade suddenly declined. >> Read the Full Article

Commuting on an e-bike

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. >> Read the Full Article

Very Little Soy is Actually Sustainably Produced

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. >> Read the Full Article

Mammal Sizes

Scientists have added another piece to the evolutionary puzzle to explain why certain mammal families evolved to be very large, while others remained very tiny. In research published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, an international group of scientists including Monash University's Dr Alistair Evans proposed a new theory explaining the diversity of mammal sizes - from the Etruscan shrew which weighs around two grams, to the blue whale which clocks in at almost 200 tonnes. Surprisingly, baby weight relative to adult body mass is key. >> Read the Full Article

Over 30 tons of explosives to be detonated in Manu National Park buffer zone

A consortium of gas companies headed by Pluspetrol and including Hunt Oil plans on detonating approximately 38 tons of explosives in the south-east Peruvian Amazon in one of the most biodiverse regions in the world. The detonations are part of 2D and 3D seismic tests planned by Pluspetrol in its search for new gas deposits in the Camisea region—plans that are currently pending approval by Peru's Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM). According to a series of 'fact sheets' recently issued by Pluspetrol, the tests will require approximately 38 tons of explosives, the construction of 80 heliports, roughly 1,200 workers, and about 9,500 explosions, each one 15 meters underground. >> Read the Full Article