• Brazil urges Africa to join "biofuel revolution"

    Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has called on Africa to join the "biofuel revolution," saying it would help strengthen the world's poorest economies and fight global warming.

    Speaking during an African tour, Lula said Brazil's experience with biofuels showed the environmental and economic benefits of mass producing ethanol and bio-diesel.

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  • Virgin Atlantic 747 to Test Biofuel in Early 2008

    BOSTON (Reuters) - British billionaire Richard Branson said on Monday his Virgin Group hopes to produce clean biofuels by around the start of the next decade and early next year will test a jet plane on renewable fuel.

    Virgin hopes to provide clean fuel for buses, trains and cars within three or four years, Branson told a Mortgage Bankers Association meeting in Boston.

    In the meantime, Virgin will be conducting a test jet flight on renewable fuels. "Early next year we will fly one of our 747s without passengers with one of the fuels that we have developed," Branson told the annual conference.

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  • Biofueling water problems

    A new report from the U.S. National Research Council raises questions about the effects that homegrown fuels could have on water quality.

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  • Environmental groups hit Toyota on fuel economy

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Leading environmental groups pressed Toyota Motor Co on Thursday to drop its opposition to the tougher of two fuel economy proposals in Congress, calling the automaker's stance contradictory.

    In a letter to Shigeru Hayakawa, Toyota's chairman and chief executive of North American operations, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, the National Environmental Trust and other organizations said Toyota should support the higher standard since it makes the best-selling gasoline-electric hybrid, the Prius.

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  • EPA to develop rules for storing CO2 emissions

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday said it will develop new rules governing how coal-fired power plants and other industrial facilities sock away heat-trapping carbon dioxide gas in underground reservoirs.

    Burying CO2 in underground reservoirs is not commercially available yet, but has emerged as one possible way to slow global warming's potentially catastrophic results including flooding, heat waves and severe storms.

    The EPA said in a statement it will propose regulations next summer to "ensure there is a consistent and effective permit system under the Safe Drinking Water Act for commercial-scale geologic sequestration programs to help reduce the effects of climate change."

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  • For Energy Consumption, No Place Like Home

    According to a survey commissioned by the Johns Manville company (a leading manufacturer of an extensive line of energy-efficient building products, such as insulation materials) most Americans think that the transportation sector (cars, trucks, buses, etc) is the number one user of energy in the country.

    Americans are incorrect in their thinking.

    The family car is not the number one energy hog, it’s the family home. (Since most homes are energized by fossil fuels, American homes are also responsible for the most greenhouse gas emissions.)

    Johns Manville’s Energy Awareness Month Survey of 1,032 Americans, conducted by Opinion Research Corporation, revealed that 35 percent thought that road transportation was the single largest consumer of energy in the US. Only 12 percent of respondents said that residential buildings ranked first as the single largest energy consumer.
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  • Full Sail Ahead For Wind Energy

    Find a site. Buy’em. Plant’em. Plug’em in. Aside from the growing worldwide demand for clean power, it’s relatively easy to build wind energy capacity. Why would anyone consider building a nuclear power plant of say 1000 megawatts - which can take years to build - when power developers can buy off-the-shelf products (those megawatt-class wind turbines) and plant them in the soil for the same amount of power as the nuke in a very short period of time?

    (Given recent announcements of record, ten-years-ahead-predictions, greenhouse gas emissions along with record Arctic ice melt, we might not have enough time to build nukes or develop mythical clean coal power plants.)

    The announcement of plans from German renewable provider Conergy for a 1000 megawatt wind farm in the Australian Outback serves as a reminder as to how big and how smart and how much potential the wind energy industry still has. The wind is not only still in the sails of the wind energy industry, the wind is getting stronger as well.

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  • China and India biofuels could threaten food output

    Plans by China and India to raise biofuels production from irrigated maize and sugarcane could aggravate water shortages and undermine food output, an international report said on Thursday.

    The two countries, the most populous on the planet, might ease the projected water shortages by developing new biofuel technologies or boosting rain-fed crops such as sweet sorghum, the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) said.

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  • U.S. ethanol rush may harm water supplies: report

    NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. ethanol rush could drain drinking water supplies in parts of the country because corn -- a key source of the country's alternative fuel -- requires vast quantities of water for irrigation, the National Research Council reported on Wednesday.

    U.S. President George W. Bush has called for production of 35 billion gallons per year of alternative motor fuels including ethanol by 2017, as part of an effort to wean the country from foreign oil. U.S. capacity to make the fuel, believed to emit low levels of greenhouse gases, has spiked about 28 percent this year to nearly 7 billion gallons.

    But the use of more corn to make ethanol could drain water supplies like the Ogallala, or High Plains, aquifer, which extends from west Texas up into South Dakota and Wyoming.

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  • IAEA chief in India as worries rise on nuclear deal

    The U.N. nuclear watchdog's head arrived on Wednesday in India's capital for talks with government leaders, as concern grew a prolonged row with communists could scupper a nuclear deal with the United States or spark snap elections.

    Mohamed ElBaradei, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief, will meet Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee as part of a long-scheduled trip coinciding with threats from the leftists to withdraw crucial parliamentary support if the deal moves ahead.

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