• Highway in Boliva would cut through National Park

    Growing conflicts over development in South America have come to a head in Bolivia, where indigenous groups are resisting a highway project that would slice through a national park. How Bolivia resolves this showdown could point the way for other regions seeking to balance economic growth and the environment. Carmelo Aguilera steadies the dugout canoe as his 11-year-old son, Juan Gabriel, stands precariously and aims his bow and arrow toward the Secure River below. "Fish flesh makes better bait," says the boy, explaining why the dawn expedition begins with a hunter's weapon rather than a hook and line. Deep inside Bolivia's Isiboro Sécure National Park and Indigenous Territory, known as TIPNIS, the Aguileras live more than 30 hours by boat from the nearest city, surviving mainly on fish and a few homegrown crops. "The river is our lifeblood," says Aguilera, 62. >> Read the Full Article
  • Incandescent Light Bulbs have served us well but now it is time to turn them off!

    After more than a century lighting up the world, the switch will be flicked off across the EU for the final time on incandescent bulbs on Saturday as the phased ban on their sale is completed. From 1 September, an EU directive aimed at reducing the energy use of lighting means that retailers will no longer be allowed to sell 40W and 25W incandescent bulbs. Similar bans came into effect for 60W and 100W incandescent bulbs over the past three years. The restrictions are predicted to save 39 terawatt-hours of electricity across the EU annually by 2020. Earlier this year, the UK government said the ban would bring an "average annual net benefit" of £108m to the UK between 2010 and 2020 in energy savings. But the phase-out of incandescents has been met with resistance by some users who say replacement technologies, such as CFLs, halogens and LEDs, do not perform as well. Despite the substantial long-term financial savings promised, the higher upfront price of replacement bulbs has also been criticised by those opposing the ban. >> Read the Full Article
  • American Meteorological Society confirms Climate Change and Man's Role

    Weathercasters in the U.S. not only tend to not ever mention climate change, but the majority of them do not even believe it is human-caused, as an article I recently wrote shows. However, that may change. The American Meteorological Society (AMS) released an official position statement on climate change this week which not only said that it is occurring, but it is human-caused. What is so great about the statement by the AMS is that it includes so much information about climate change, including that there is scientific consensus. The AMS makes it clear that the statement is "based on the peer-reviewed scientific literature and is consistent with the vast weight of current scientific understanding." The statement details how the climate is changing, both in the U.S. and around the world. The changes listed include increases in globally averaged air and ocean temperatures, the widespread melting of snow and ice, and the rising of globally averaged sea level. As the statement puts it, "Warming of the climate system now is unequivocal, according to many different kinds of evidence." That is not good news for the world's population, but it is good news that the AMS is acknowledging that climate change is real and is occurring. >> Read the Full Article
  • Isaac packs a punch to the Gulf Coast

    Isaac might not be in the same league as Hurricane Katrina seven years ago, but the latest storm to batter Louisiana's Gulf Coast is punching above its weight class in more ways than one, scientists say. The 2005 Hurricane Katrina, which devastated Louisiana and parts of Mississippi and Alabama, was a Category 3 storm (sustained winds of 125 mph) moving at about 15 mph when it made landfall on the Gulf Coast. By comparison, Isaac was a weak Category 1 storm as measured on the Saffir-Simpson scale, with sustained winds of 74-95 mph. By Wednesday afternoon, Isaac had been downgraded to a tropical storm, although it still was close to the Gulf Coast and continued to dump torrential rain. While Isaac is considerably less intense than Katrina, it is large and slow — a dangerous combination — and it's moving west of the Mississippi River, a track that intensifies storm surge, says Timothy Shott, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service's Tropical Cyclone Program. >> Read the Full Article
  • Study Reveals that Drought Brought Down Ancient Egypt

    The drought parching the United States is one of the worst in the nation's history, but it hasn't been as destructive as the drought that may have withered ancient Egypt's Old Kingdom. Pollen and charcoal buried in the Nile Delta 4,200 years ago tell the tale of a drought of literally Biblical proportions associated with the fall of the pyramid builders. "Even the mighty builders of the ancient pyramids more than 4,000 years ago fell victim when they were unable to respond to a changing climate," said U.S. Geological Survey Director Marcia McNutt in a press release. "This study illustrates that water availability was the climate-change Achilles Heel then for Egypt, as it may well be now, for a planet topping seven billion thirsty people." >> Read the Full Article
  • China Beats U.S. to Become Number One In Installed Wind Power

    China surpassed the U.S. this year to become the number one in the world for installed wind power generating capacity. In the last six years, installed wind power generating capacity in China increased from 2,000 megawatts (MW) to 52,580 MW, according to the country’s state grid company, the State Grid Corporation, which is the country’s largest utility company. In 2011, China generated 70.6 terrawatt hours (TWh) of wind power, a 96 percent increase. The Chinese government projects that China’s wind generating capacity would be more than 100,000 MW in 2015 and 200,000 MW in 2020. China's on-grid capacity reached over 50 gigawatts (GW) to date, according to the State Grid Corporation. This year on-grid wind power capacity under State Grid reached 50.26 GW, an annual growth rate of 87 percent for the last six years. >> Read the Full Article
  • Will Batman Celebrate International Bat Night?

    International Bat Night is happening this weekend, an event that hopes to inspire people across Europe to understand more about how bats live and why they are so important to conserve. A series of presentations, exhibitions and bat walks are happening in more than 30 countries, including the UK – check out the bat walk at Harcourt Arboretum in Oxford this Thursday. To join in the celebrations, we have delved into the ARKive collection to come up with some truly batty facts to get you in the mood for International Bat Night and to hopefully inspire you to take part in an event near you! >> Read the Full Article
  • Living with cats is good for your health (Dogs too!)

    News headlines over the past few years have linked cat ownership to everything from cancer to craziness, but new studies suggest that cats are actually beneficial to human health, and may even reduce our risk for cancer and other diseases. Reports in this week's issue of Biology Letters, for example, counter the tabloid-suggested link between cats and human brain cancer. Marion Vittecoq of the Tour du Valat research center and her colleagues conclude that cats should not be blamed for human cancer. In fact, studies show just the opposite. >> Read the Full Article
  • Cape Wind Gets Final Approval

    Cape Wind cleared its last bureaucratic hurdle Wednesday when the Federal Aviation Administration released its finding that the project poses no hazard to planes. The finding came after a court-mandated re-evaluation of possible safety hazards the 130-turbine project poses to planes and a GOP inquiry into whether the FAA's initial approval in 2010 was the result of political pressure from the left. "(The FAA's) aeronautical study revealed that the structure does not exceed obstruction standards and would not be a hazard to air navigation," the latest FAA determination reads. The project presents no hazard as long as Cape Wind marks and lights obstructions to planes, files required construction forms with the FAA and builds no turbines exceeding 440 feet above ground level, the decision reads. >> Read the Full Article
  • Philippines Working To Encourage Renewable Energy Development

    "Fortune favors the bold" might as well be the motto of the Philippines regarding their energy policy and their efforts to achieve their goals. However, a bold plan is only the first step to achieving the colossal task of weaning an entire country off its dependance on foreign-sources fossil fuels. The logistics of the effort are proving to be more than a challenge for even the most developed of nations. However the Philippines are stepping up to the challenge by implementing a clear, comprehensive and decisive energy plan. This can be an example for other countries to emulate. Why Is Renewable Energy Such a Priority For The Philippines? Renewable energy development in the Philippines is vital because the nation is one of the fastest growing in Asia with over 92 million residents. As population and economy continue to grow, meeting the increased demand for electricity will pose a difficult challenge for the island nation. The cost of transmitting power and transporting traditional fossil fuel (which the nation lacks) to the more than 7,000 islands and to isolated areas is very high. Philippines has the highest electricity rate in Asia. With this in mind, the government has decided to take action now to begin reduce its reliance on costly fuel imports and tap its vast potential for renewable, locally produced energy, estimated to be over 70,000MW. The Government of the Philippines views the development of renewable energy sources as a national priority. The Philippine Department of Energy (DOE) outlined a clear energy plan with emphasis on the development of renewables. Over the next 20 years, the country looks to increase renewable capacity by 200%, to account for 50% of all energy produced, and keep self-sufficiency at 60% minimum. Most of this development will be in geothermal, solar, and particularly wind, in which it looks to become the largest wind producer in Southeast Asia. >> Read the Full Article