• 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • A Sustainable America's Cup Race

    Although the America's Cup is one of the most globally recognized names in sport, it remains relatively unwatched in its namesake country. That's likely to change in 2013 when the cup roars into San Francisco Bay – the first time in modern history that it will be easily viewable by spectators on shore (in years past, the race has taken place well off shore so anyone without a boat or helicopter was relegated to watching on TV). In fact, no less than five million people are expected to crowd the piers over the course of the final two events in June & September 2013. With such a turnout, one can imagine both the City of San Francisco and the cup organizers see a huge opportunity for education, outreach, and the promotion of all manner of issues. Sustainability will naturally be at the forefront of visibility. >> 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
  • Innovative Wastewater Treatment Technology

    Israel’s Aqwise is proving to be a success story of international proportions in the arena of biological wastewater treatment. The Company began as a small start-up offering innovative biological treatment of urban wastewater, and today offers a variety of solutions for municipal and industrial customers, due to intensive R&D and expansion into new arenas of activity. According to Israel NewTech, Aqwise is one of the first companies which singled out the potential of the cleantech market for Israeli hi-tech based entrepreneurs. The Company began as a small start-up, which developed innovative technology for the biological treatment of wastewater. Now, 12 years later, the Company is profitable, has 150 installations around the world, and representation and partnerships in over 20 countries. >> Read the Full Article
  • Charles Darwin's Birthday Feb 12th

    Sunday 12th February 2012 marks what would have been Darwin’s 203rd birthday, so we have decided to take a look back at the life of the father of evolutionary biology, Charles Robert Darwin. Quite possibly the most famous biologist in history, Darwin was born on February 12th 1809 in Shrewsbury. His father was a doctor and Charles looked to be following in his footsteps when he enrolled at the University of Edinburgh to study medicine in 1825. However neither medicine nor theology, which he later studied at Cambridge, was able to captivate the young Darwin as much as his passion for natural history – which can only be seen as a good thing for the advancement of science! >> Read the Full Article
  • Call for new indicators of sustainable development

    The world must develop different indicators on sustainable development that are not biased against developing countries, a major conference has heard. Bharrat Jagdeo, former president of Guyana, said current assessments and rankings use indicators such as access to potable water and sanitation, or malaria levels, which automatically rank developed countries higher. >> Read the Full Article