• Europe moves ahead on Cap & Trade, Japan seen shelving carbon emission trading scheme

    Japan is likely to shelve a plan to introduce carbon emissions trading as the troubled ruling Democratic Party bows to powerful business groups still recovering from a costly downturn. If confirmed, it would be a massive reversal by the party, which has backed one of the toughest emissions reduction targets of any major economy and said emissions trading was a key way to achieve that goal and drive greater energy efficiency at home. It would also be a blow to hopes more top greenhouse gas polluting nations outside the European Union would usher in emissions trading, after efforts in the United States and Australia were shelved. >> Read the Full Article
  • Large Scale Solar Power Installations On Public Lands

    What do you get when you add public land in sunny Western states and a federal government that wants to develop renewable energy? The answer: an announcement by the Interior Department last week that it selected about two dozen potential sites for large-scale solar power installations on public lands. The sites are in six states: California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico. The Bureau of Land Management has 120 million acres in the six states, and 22 million acres could be identified as solar energy zones, but only 214,000 acres will be considered. >> Read the Full Article
  • The Other Electric Vehicles

    During the last few decades, increased concern over the environmental impact of the petroleum-based transportation infrastructure has led to renewed interest in an electric transportation infrastructure. Electric vehicles differ from fossil fuel-powered vehicles in that the electricity they consume can be generated from a wide range of sources. A key advantage of electric or hybrid electric vehicles is regenerative braking and suspension; their ability to recover energy normally lost during braking as electricity to be restored to the on-board battery. In 2003, the first mass-produced hybrid gasoline-electric car, the Toyota Prius, was introduced worldwide, and the first battery electric car produced by a major auto company. Other major auto companies have electric cars in development, and the USA and other nations are building pilot networks of charging stations to recharge them. So what about the rest of the world? The Russian automotive industry is not one that is totally familiar with the green changes towards electric vehicles and other models that have been sweeping other countries throughout Europe or the world. In fact, historically, there has never been much to say about the Russian automotive industry as a whole. Now, however, Russia is ready for her first hybrid car. >> Read the Full Article
  • Cap & trade, European style

    A new regulatory regime for dispensing around 100 billion euros of carbon permits has been approved by EU regulators, granting steelmakers and oil refineries free emission allowances in an effort to shield them from international competition after 2012. Fears that tighter controls on CO2 emissions in Europe will drive factories to relocate abroad has led the EU to grant sweeping exemptions for industries deemed to be at risk. Existing proposals for the permits to be allocated according to carbon intensity "benchmarks" were approved with only slight modifications by the European Commission on 15 December. >> Read the Full Article
  • Arctic 'Ice Refuge' Envisioned As Region Warms Rapidly in 21st Century

    As the Arctic rapidly warms in the 21st century and Arctic sea ice largely disappears in summer, a strip of year-round ice is likely to remain to the north of Greenland and the Canadian Arctic archipelago, providing a refuge for some sea-ice dependent wildlife, such as polar bears and ringed seals, according to researchers. A panel of scientists at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco said the remaining band of ice could provide a haven for some iconic Arctic creatures, although the disappearance of the vast majority of summer sea ice, probably by mid-century, will undoubtedly be bad news for polar bears, which use the ice as a feeding platform to hunt ringed seals. The remnant strip of summer sea ice will likely exist because prevailing winds blow sea ice away from the shores of Russia and toward Canada, according to Stephanie Pfirman of Barnard College. She and colleagues from Columbia University, McGill University, and the U.S. government said it is important to protect this ice refuge from the oil drilling and mineral exploration that is likely to spread through other parts of the Arctic as summer sea ice disappears and the Arctic Ocean becomes navigable for part of the year. >> Read the Full Article
  • California Carbon trade plan approved

    California on Thursday approved rules for a multibillion-dollar carbon market, in what proponents hope and detractors fear will be a turning point for the United States toward building a national program to address global warming. After Congress failed to pass a climate change law last year, California is the vanguard of the nation's effort to address global warming and its bid to build alternative energy and related industries. California has mandated that a third of its electricity come from renewable sources like solar and wind. It is also encouraging "low carbon" auto fuels, like some biofuels and natural gas, and on Thursday approved rules for the carbon market. >> Read the Full Article
  • Which Should Live?

    Ecology is the branch of science that studies the distribution and abundance of living organisms, and the interactions between organisms and their environment. Any ecological group is always in a dynamic equilibrium. If you change one part, some other part will change in response to that change. Changes may come from man, climate, pollution or any other change. In this case conservationists have been so successful at protecting endangered birds in a Spanish nature reserve that the birds are now killing the reserve's ancient cork oak forest. This may mean some bird colonies will have to be moved to protect the trees, some of which date back to the seventeenth century. Move is one method. In other cases (for example New Jersey) bears and deers are periodically hunted and killed because the alternative is that they will starve because of a lack of natural predation and food supply as a result of burgeoning populations. In order for ecology to work, it must be balanced. >> Read the Full Article
  • White House to Host First-Ever Forum on Environmental Justice

    Today, December 15, the Obama administration will be hosting the first White House Forum on Environmental Justice. Major members of the cabinet will be featured during the summit as well as environmental leaders from throughout the country. The forum can be watched live online and will be accepting questions from the public (see links below). >> Read the Full Article
  • Finland forest protected: 80,000 hectares of green cover rescued from industrial logging

    Metsahallitus, a forest enterprise controlled by the Finnish government, have agreed to preserve 80 percent of 107,000 hectares of pine forests in northern Finland. The area, which serves as a grazing land for the reindeer, includes tracts of old growth forest. >> Read the Full Article
  • Rabbits named Britain's most costly invasive species

    They were introduced to Britain by the Romans, are hated as pests and celebrated in children's books. Britain's estimated 40 million rabbits cost the economy more than £260m a year including damage to crops, businesses and infrastructure, a report says today. >> Read the Full Article