• Is Shale Gas Good or Bad? Panelists and the Audience at KPMG Summit are Split

    "Is the emergence of shale gas a positive or negative development with respect to sustainability?" This was one of the most interesting questions discussed on one of the panels at KPMG's Global Summit last week in New York. Given the growth of both interest and dispute around shale gas, is shale gas is a bridge to a sustainable future or a bridge to nowhere? It'’s not that we lack controversial sources of energy, from nuclear energy to ethanol, but none of these resources has the potential to become a substantial resource like shale gas has for better and worse. With so much at stake when it comes to how sustainable the future of energy is going to be, it's no wonder that even at the KPMG summit, shale gas became such a hot topic that the panelists and the crowd seemed to be very passionate about and at the same time split about the answer to the question. First let's look at why this question matters at all. According to KPMG's Energy Survey 2011 there's a growing interest in shale gas and oil: 44 percent of respondents believe these to be the energy sources that will see the most future investment (the corresponding figure was less than 1 percent in 2010). Shale gas will represent 65 percent of US gas production by the 2030s, up from an estimated 43 percent by 2015 according to the survey. >> Read the Full Article
  • New Apple HQ to be really green!

    Last year, the late Steve Jobs revealed plans for Apple's new 'Spaceship' building to be located in Cupertino City, California. The futuristic structure should be completed in 2015 and will house approximately 13,000 employees. It may look like it's been plucked from the imagination of Philip K Dick, but what was previously the realm of science fiction has now become science fact. It promises to be one of the most technologically advanced offices in the world, being totally self-sufficient for power with the national grid acting only as backup. >> Read the Full Article
  • In the News: New sanctuaries to help threatened dolphins

    Three new wildlife sanctuaries have been declared by the Government of Bangladesh, in the hope that they will help to prevent the extinction of the threatened Irrawaddy and Ganges river dolphins. >> Read the Full Article
  • Fires and deaths from deforestation linked

    A new study links smoke from the burning of wood waste from deforestation to deaths from the effects of breathing all that smoke. Worldwide, smoke from these fires (called landscape fires) contributed to an average of 339,000 deaths per year between 1997 and 2006, according to new research published in Environmental Health Perspectives and released today during the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia were the hardest hit by fire-smoke deaths, with an estimated annual average of 157,000 and 110,000 deaths, respectively, attributable to fire smoke exposure, said researcher Fay Johnston, who represented a global team at the 2012 AAAS Annual Meeting in Vancouver, Canada. >> Read the Full Article
  • The Quiet Clean Mining Revolution

    Few industries have got the black eye, literally and metaphorically, of mining. After centuries of environmental effects ranging from toxic emissions to unsightly tailings ponds, acid mine drainage, massive energy consumption and other impacts, mining is slowly cleaning up its act. Why? Mostly because new clean technologies are increasing industrial efficiencies. They're lowering mining companies' power needs. And they're even helping reduce water requirements, and/or remediating the produced water and mines of years past that are now leaching toxins. And that's translating into cost savings for mining companies, which are being held increasingly accountable for their environmental impacts and are looking for ways to minimize the expenses of both the production phase of their operations, and reclamation. >> Read the Full Article
  • Republic of Congo Expands National Park to Protect Great Apes

    The Nouabale-Ndoki National Park is a lush rainforest park within the equatorial nation of the Republic of Congo (ROC), not to be confused with the much larger Democratic Republic of Congo to the south and east. The ROC has followed through on its commitments to expand the NNNP by 8 percent, from about 1,500 square miles to about 1,630 square miles. The newly included area holds a unique ecosystem known as the Goualougo Triangle. The Goualougo is a very dense, swampy forest that is home to a nearly pristine and untouched great ape population that was first discovered in 1989 by Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) scientists. >> Read the Full Article
  • National Defense and President Obama's 2013 Clean Energy Budget

    As far as clean energy and green jobs go, President Obama's 2013 budget includes a Christmas-in-July package of initiatives that are designed to help pull the U.S. out of recession while transitioning the economy to cleaner, safer, more reliable and less price-spikey forms of energy. Those last two items – price and reliability of supply – are especially important to the Department of Defense, which will see its rate of growth slow dramatically under the new budget. >> Read the Full Article
  • World Meteorological Organization launches new weather data system

    An international information system designed to improve and expand the exchange of data on weather, climate and water will help boost food security around the world, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The UN agency, which launched the system last month (31 January), said it would improve access to meteorological observations and products for stakeholders including the research and disaster risk reduction sectors. >> Read the Full Article
  • High Productivity Farms may be Greener than Organic

    While organic farms are great, new research finds that farms that aim for high food production using environmentally-friendly practices could be better for the environment than both organic and conventional farms. A new study, led by Oxford University scientists, compared the environmental impact of different farming systems. They found that 'integrated' farms that maximized crop yields while using environmentally-friendly techniques – such as crop rotation, organic fertilisers, over winter cover crops, and minimal use of pesticides – would use less energy and generate lower greenhouse gas emissions per unit of production than both organic and conventional farms. >> Read the Full Article
  • Science Spending

    Science has changed the world. It has created new products and ease of service. What the future will bring is, of course, always uncertain. "It’s not every day you have robots running through your house," Barack Obama quipped last week at the White House science fair, a showcase for student exhibitors that also gave the US president a chance to reiterate a favourite theme. Science and technology, he said, "is what’s going to make a difference in this country, over the long haul". >> Read the Full Article