• The Energy Debate: Coal Vs. Nuclear

    ScienceDaily (June 13, 2011) — As America struggles down the road toward a coherent energy policy that focuses on a higher degree of self-reliance, policymakers face numerous issues and realities. These include: the finite supply and environmental impact of fossil fuels, the feasibility and costs to implement a widespread switch to renewable energy sources, and the variables that lead to consumers' preferences for particular types of power generation. >> Read the Full Article
  • EPA delays rollout of CO2 rule on power plants

    The Environmental Protection Agency, under pressure from Republicans and big utilities, said on Monday it had extended a deadline by two months on draft rules that would for the first time limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. The EPA said it had moved the date for proposing the rule from July 26 to September 30 after listening to businesses and states that will have to implement the regulation. The rule, known as a performance standard, would limit the amount of carbon dioxide that U.S. power plants may emit. The move was expected as the EPA has taken on its most ambitious agenda in years. Republicans in Congress and big utilities have complained the rules could cost jobs and raise energy prices. The EPA said in a release that the "stakeholders have presented the agency with important input which deserves to be fully considered." The deadline for final standards remains May 16, 2012, the EPA said. >> Read the Full Article
  • Court Rules France Not Doing Enough to Protect Its Hamsters

    When the subject of hamsters comes up, most people would think about the cute furry pets that run on wheels and roll around in clear plastic balls. But in Europe, there is an endemic species of wild hamsters. Much like mice, they live a very fragile existence, always on the lookout for predators. Now, that predator has come in the form of the French, who are driving them toward extinction. >> Read the Full Article
  • Proposed new environmental regulations will cause AEP to retire 6,000 MW of U.S. coal generation

    American Electric Power, one of the country's largest coal-burning utilities, said on Thursday it plans to retire nearly one-quarter of its coal fleet and retrofit other units at a cost of as much as $8 billion to comply with proposed environmental regulations. To meet stricter pollution limits for air, water and coal waste, AEP said it will retire 6,000 megawatts of coal-fired generation in Virginia, West Virginia and Ohio in 2014. It also plans to upgrade or install new advanced emissions reduction equipment on another 10,100 MW, convert 1,070 MW of coal generation to 932 MW of natural gas capacity and build 1,220 MW of natural gas-fueled generation. The Columbus, Ohio-based company, which operates utilities in 11 states serving 5 million customers, warned that costs of the proposed regulations to customers and local economies have "been vastly underestimated," especially in Midwestern states that rely heavily on coal to produce electricity. >> Read the Full Article
  • China's CO2 emissions rise sharply

    China's carbon dioxide emissions rose 10.4 percent in 2010 compared with the previous year, as global emissions rose at their fastest rate for more than four decades, data released by BP on Wednesday showed. "All forms of energy grew strongly (last year), with growth in fossil fuels suggesting that global CO2 emissions from energy use grew at the fastest rate since 1969," energy major BP's annual Statistical Review of World Energy said. The rapid growth is happening as U.N. talks look unlikely to agree on a legally binding deal to curb emissions and fight climate change before the existing Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012. Global carbon dioxide emissions are widely seen as a major factor responsible for an increase in world temperatures. They grew 5.8 percent last year to 33.16 billion tonnes, as countries rebounded from economic recession, BP said. China's emissions accounted for 8.33 billion tonnes. >> Read the Full Article
  • World Oceans Day is today, June 8th

    The 8th of June is World Oceans Day, our annual chance to celebrate all things marine! Coordinated by The Ocean Project and The World Ocean Network, World Oceans Day encourages us to consider everything that the oceans provide us with – from oxygen to climate regulation, food to pharmaceuticals and of course, the breath taking beauty of this underwater wonderland. By raising awareness of the resources that the oceans provide, World Oceans Day hopes to encourage us to do our bit to protect this valuable environment, especially in these challenging times when factors like climate change, plastic waste, over-fishing and environmental disasters such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill all threaten to damage our oceans beyond repair. >> Read the Full Article
  • MIT Study calculates cost of lax air pollution regulations in China

    A new study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change looks at the cost to the Chinese economy of lax air quality regulations between 1975 and 2005. The MIT researchers found that air pollutants produced a substantial socio-economic cost to China over the past three decades. China has experienced unprecedented development over the past three decades, but this growth has come at a substantial cost to the country's environment and public health. China is notorious for extremely high levels of air pollution. As the country faces continuous environmental challenges that mirror its continuing development, there is a need to measure the health impacts of air pollution. What makes this study unique is that researchers looked at long-term economic impacts that arise from health damages, and how pollution-induced morbidity and mortality cases may have had ripple effects on the Chinese economy beyond the time period when those cases actually occurred. This method creates a comprehensive picture of the cumulative impacts of air pollution on a dynamic, fast-developing country. >> Read the Full Article
  • Amazing new images from BBC Earth: Eating and living with Lions

    While diving into Life Is Human, we've cherished catching up with the Human Planet Production team via their blog. Traveling to eighty of the most remote locations on Earth, to gather incredible stories about man's remarkable relationship with the natural world... just was not enough! They decided to share their personal experiences too. Over the next few weeks we will be featuring some of the posts we've been bowled over by, and bringing them directly to you! This week, we're featuring Human Planet researcher Jane Atkins who tells the exceptional tale of the Dorobo tribe's hunter scavengers. Using skills passed down over 1000's of years, this ancient lifestyle is rapidly in decline, but is it the end of the Dorobo? Dive in to find out more. "You see, Lions and the Dorobo, we feed each other." "If we hunt a large animal, we take away as much as we can, but leave the rest for the lions to feed on. And sometimes the lions kill a really fat animal and we say, lets take this one. It is not simple, you have to track carefully and quietly. You are scared... thinking – will I be mauled?" "Once you make the decision to steal meat from lions, you have to be committed" Rakita says. "But when you are hungry and know lions have killed first - you take your chance. There are days when we eat only what the lion has killed. We live on those lion kills until we finally make our own kills." When we filmed 3 Dorobo hunters stride up to 15 lions to steal from their fresh kill our hearts were in our mouths. Courageous? Ingenious? Suicidal? All of these perhaps, but this one act is undeniably impressive. The Dorobo say they are hunters just like lions. They watch lions, and how they hunt. Just as lions do, the Dorobo watch every animal on the great plains – and study each individual. Like lions they observe which ones are wounded, slower, easier to pick off. They wait and wait until the time is right to hunt. And if the lion gets there first, well the Dorobo turn that into another opportunity. >> Read the Full Article
  • New Jersey to Withdraw from Climate Change Initiative

    New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced Thursday, May 26 that New Jersey would withdraw from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative ("RGG"), a cap-and-trade initiative of 10 northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector. New Jersey is the first state to withdraw from RGGI. >> Read the Full Article
  • World Environment Day

    World Environment Day is a day that is supposed to stimulate awareness of the environment and enhance political attention and public action. The official day is June 5. This was the day that the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment began. The first World Environment Day was on 1973. The theme this year is Forests-Nature At Your Service. Forests cover one third of the earth’s land mass, performing vital functions and services around the world which make our planet alive with possibilities. In fact, 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihoods. They play a key role in the world ecology, releasing oxygen into the atmosphere while storing carbon dioxide. Thousands of activities are typically organized worldwide, with beach clean-ups, concerts, exhibits, film festivals, community events and much more. Each year there is a different host city. For 2011 it is New Delhi, India. >> Read the Full Article