23
Fri, Feb

  • Cookie Cutter Sustainability

    For the girl next store or the company down the street, sustainability can be a real head scratcher, especially when you factor in busy schedules, limited cash flow, and confusing choices. Further tensions arise when individuals and companies give in to overly formulaic or prescriptive sustainability strategies. What's right for the single guy in Kentucky with a small plot of land isn't right for the big-city girl in Chicago with a house plant and a public transit card. And what works for the big coffee shop chain isn’t necessarily a good fit for the neighborhood café. >> Read the Full Article
  • NASCAR: Safe Driving is Green Driving

    NASCAR, best known for pushing the speed envelope, has launched a new traffic safety campaign with a sustainable twist. Rather than focusing narrowly on strategies to help drivers to look out for their own lives, the campaign deploys a broad message of taking responsibility for the safety of others. According to a press release launch, the campaign's mission goes far beyond road safety to encourage "personal responsibility for our planet and its people, especially teens." >> Read the Full Article
  • Fuel Cell Test in Hawaii, GM is on the move

    Fuel cells hold great promise as an emission-free way to power cars and other vehicles, but range is the bottleneck. Without a national infrastructure to support fuel cell re-fueling, drivers are pretty much stuck to a network of local charging stations. That could change fairly rapidly, if a test under way by the Department of Defense bears out. In cooperation with several DoD agencies and the car manufacturer GM, the U.S. Army has just launched a pilot fleet of 16 vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells in Hawaii. That's small potatoes compared to the tens of thousands of vehicles owned by DoD, but according to the Army it's the largest military fleet of fuel cell vehicles in the world. >> 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
  • GM Announces new trucks, and they are ALL green!

    Chevrolet and GMC today announced details of General Motors' bi-fuel 2013 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 2500 HD extended cab pickup trucks. Fleet and retail consumers can place orders beginning this April. The vehicles include a compressed natural gas (CNG) capable Vortec 6.0L V8 engine that seamlessly transitions between CNG and gasoline fuel systems. Combined, the trucks offer a range of more than 650 miles. The Silverado and Sierra will be available in standard and long box, with either two- or four-wheel drive. >> 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
  • 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
  • Fire at UK Biomass Power Plant triggered by a single spark

    Fire investigators believe a spark from machinery triggered the huge fire that swept through Europe's biggest biomass power plant yesterday. Firefighters spent more than 15 hours tackling the fire at the Tilbury power plant on the banks of the River Thames in Essex. The damage is understood to be widespread and fire chiefs believe it will take a further two days to remove the embers of the wood pellets that fuelled the blaze. >> Read the Full Article
  • Global CFC ban and unintended consequences

    The Montreal Protocol led to a global phase-out of most substances that deplete the ozone layer, such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). A happy side-effect of the gradual ban of these products is that the Earth’s climate has also benefited because CFCs are also potent greenhouse gases. However, now a "rebound effect" threatens to accelerate the rate of global warming. Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which have been used in recent years in increasing quantities as substitutes for CFCs, are also climatically very active and many are also extremely long-lived. >> Read the Full Article
  • 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