• Edinburgh named home city for Green Investment Bank HQ

    Edinburgh has won the competition to be the home city of the headquarters of the world's first Green Investment Bank, the UK Government confirmed today. The Scottish capital beat off 31 rival bids to be announced the HQ location, with the GIB's main transaction team based in London. Business Secretary Vince Cable said locating the bank across the two cities will enable the GIB to become a world leader, playing to the strengths of both capitals. He added: "Harnessing the strengths of Edinburgh and London will support the Green Investment Bank's ambition to become a world leader. Edinburgh has a thriving green sector and respected expertise in areas such as asset management. London, as the world's leading financial centre, will ensure that the GIB's transaction team can hit the ground running. This decision will allow the GIB to operate effectively and achieve its mission of mobilising the additional investment needed to accelerate the UK's transition to a green economy." Scottish Secretary Michael Moore welcomed the news, and added: "I am delighted that the Green Investment Bank will be headquartered in Edinburgh. Scotland has enormous green energy potential and its capital is the UK's second biggest financial centre. The size and scale of the UK's single energy market ensures the level of investment that will unlock Scotland's renewables future, providing sustainable and affordable green energy across the UK. It makes perfect sense to have a GIB presence there." >> Read the Full Article
  • Brazil's Growth Offers Wealth and Worry in The Northeast

    Two years ago I predicted this would be the Brazilian Decade, and so far Brazil's stunning success has proven me correct. It is not just about the large international events like the World Cup and Olympics that are on the calendar in 2014 and 2016. Brazil has become a creditor nation; once a net food importer, it now feeds much of the world; and recently it surpassed the United Kingdom to become the world's sixth largest economy. For decades much of the growth was centered around São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, then stretched south towards the border with Uruguay. Industries such as aircraft, petrochemicals and automobiles anchored Latin America's largest economy. But now Brazil's economic might has extended to regions of the country that had long underperformed compared to the wealthy south. >> Read the Full Article
  • White Roofs reduce urban heat island effect

    Black roofs have been the norm for commercial buildings for decades since early roofs used a tar-coated paper material and tar based coatings to provide water proofing. Black roofs also add heat which in the winter, is not a bad thing for the building. It turns out that black roofs contribute to the urban heat island effect. This effect, caused not only by black roofs, creates warmer temperatures in urban areas compared to the surrounding suburbs. A study by Stuart Gaffin of Columbia University in New York looked at the effect of roof color on temperatures. On the hottest day of the New York City summer in 2011, a white roof covering was measured at 42 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than the traditional black roof it was being compared to, according to a study including NASA scientists that details the first scientific results from the city's unprecedented effort to brighten rooftops and reduce its "urban heat island" effect. >> Read the Full Article
  • International Labor Organization raps Brazil over monster dam

    The UN's International Labor Organization (ILO) has released a report stating that the Brazilian government violated the rights of indigenous people by moving forward on the massive Belo Monte dam without consulting indigenous communities. The report follows a request last year by the The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights for the Brazilian government to suspend the dam, which is currently being constructed on the Xingu River in the Amazon. >> Read the Full Article
  • Abu Dhabi bets on anti-dust solar panels

    Abu Dhabi is teaming up with a global electronics company to develop better coatings for solar panels to make them cheaper and easier to keep clean in desert conditions. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region stands to benefit from concentrated solar power (CSP) — a technology that uses lenses or mirrors to focus large amounts of sunlight onto a small area. This light is converted to heat, which generates electricity. In 2009, a joint study by the International Energy Agency's SolarPACES group, the European Solar Thermal Electricity Association and Greenpeace International concluded that CSP could generate up to a quarter of the world's energy needs by 2050. But harsh desert conditions in parts of the MENA region generate large amounts of airborne dust which collects on the solar panels used in CSP systems, reducing their efficiency. They need regular cleaning, which consumes large amounts of water. Bodo Becker, operations manager at Flagsol, which developed Egypt's first solar-thermal plant, Kuraymat, said this is a serious issue at his facility. "If we leave dust to accumulate for just one month, the output of the solar panels decreases by about 35 per cent," he said, adding that the facility uses nearly 40,000 litres of water every day. >> Read the Full Article
  • D.C. Circuit Hears Challenges to EPA Climate Regulations

    On February 28 and 29, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in a series of challenges to the [EPA's] regulation of [GHGs] under the Clean Air Act, far-reaching litigation spanning dozens of parties and at least four separate rules. Decisions from the panel of Judges David Sentelle, David Tatel and Janice Rogers Brown are expected later this year. The rare, two-day argument began with a challenge to EPA's December 7, 2009 finding that emissions of six GHGs, including carbon dioxide, "may reasonably be anticipated both to endanger public health and to endanger public welfare." This "endangerment finding" is the cornerstone of all subsequent action by EPA. >> Read the Full Article
  • Persistent Droughts Plaguing Much of the World

    Long dry spells have been a problem in various parts of the world including China, Africa, Russia, Australia, the southern and western United States, and Western Europe. Many are hoping that this is just a cyclical nuisance and not evidence of a permanent change in climate patterns. England in particular is used to being a damp and rainy island, but has been surprised now with three straight winters of drought-level precipitation. The first to notice and be affected by the changing levels of rainfall are the farmers. However, now public officials are beginning to worry about the long-term stability of their water supplies and the effects that lower rainfall will have on the environment as a whole. >> Read the Full Article
  • Diesel Exhaust linked to cancer

    Heavy diesel exhaust (DE) exposure in humans may increase the risk of dying from lung cancer, according to two new studies released this week. Starting in the 1980s, studies have investigated a possible causal relationship between exposure to diesel exhaust and lung cancer. In 1989, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified diesel exhaust as a probable carcinogen. To determine the association between diesel exhaust exposure and the risk of dying from lung cancer, Michael D. Attfield, Ph.D., formerly of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, in Morgantown, West Virginia, Debra T. Silverman, Sc.D., of the National Cancer Institute, and colleagues, conducted a cohort study of 12,315 workers in eight underground nonmetal mining facilities, called the Diesel Exhaust in Miners Study. >> Read the Full Article
  • Land and Sea Bridge To Connect Saudi Arabia and Egypt

    More than two decades after it was first planned, Egypt and Saudi Arabia may be about to start work on a land and sea bridge connecting the two countries. The proposed bridge would run 50 kilometres from the Tabuk region in Saudi, across the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba in Egypt. Conservationists in Egypt have however raised concerns about the possible destruction of coastal and marine environments in the process of building the bridge. Some explain that the bridge could negatively impact protected areas including coral reefs, the nesting grounds of turtles and the Tiran Island sea birds. >> Read the Full Article
  • More Americans Believe Climate Change is Happening

    The number of Americans who believe global warming is happening is on the rise, according to a Brookings Institution report on the latest National Survey of American Public Opinion on Climate Change (NSAPOCC) survey conducted in December of 2011. The report shows much of that new-found belief comes from direct experience with independent studies showing that four out of five Americans have been directly impacted by climate change. 2011 was a "year for the record books" bringing record drought and heat waves, hurricanes, floods, winter storms and wildfires. In all, there were 14 record climate and weather-related events in 2011, each causing at least $1 billion in damage. Hurricane Irene alone caused more than $7 billion in damages. >> Read the Full Article