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Thu, Feb

  • World divided on new plan to combat global warming

    A new plan to curb global warming risks becoming a battleground between rich and poor nations and could struggle to get off the ground as negotiators battle over the fate of the ailing Kyoto climate pact. The 1997 Kyoto Protocol covers only emissions from rich nations that produce less than a third of mankind's carbon pollution and its first phase is due to expire end-2012. Poorer nations want it extended, while many rich countries say a broader pact is needed to include all big polluters. Australia and Norway have proposed negotiations on a new agreement, but say it is unrealistic to expect that to be ready by 2013. They have set a target date two years later, in 2015. "This is the only way ahead. There is no other way than failure," said a senior climate negotiator from a developed country on the Australia-Norway proposal, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the talks. Developing nations insist Kyoto be extended to commit rich countries to tougher carbon cuts and fiercely resist any attempts to side-line the world's main climate pact, meaning the Australia-Norway plan faces a tough time . >> Read the Full Article
  • the Bubble car takes on Paris

    Paris launches its first car-sharing project next week with the aim of clearing its traffic-clogged boulevards and delivering what its backers hope will be a major boost for electric vehicles. The Autolib system builds on the success of the Velib bicycle-sharing service and could provide a shop window for entrepreneur Vincent Bollore and his nascent car battery business. In a two-month pilot scheme starting October 2, a rounded, ultracompact Bluecar built by Bollore's conglomerate and powered by his alternative lithium-metal-polymer battery can be hired for 30 minutes for 4-8 euros by motorists who pay a 10-euro Autolib membership fee. "We want to persuade people to shift from the concept of owning a car to that of using a car," Autolib General Manager Morald Chibout told Reuters. The project, which echoes increasingly popular car clubs such as City Car, gets underway as top automakers test driver enthusiasm for electric cars on a large scale in Europe. Renault SA and its Japanese sister company Nissan Motor Co, which have invested 4 billion euros in electric vehicles, have begun selling a few such cars ahead of volume production and sales are set to kick off in 2012. Carlos Ghosn, who leads Renault and Nissan, has said electric cars could account for 10 percent of new car sales by 2020. >> Read the Full Article
  • New Zealand adjusts its CO2 trading program to address market distortions

    New Zealand is looking to exclude the use of U.N. offsets from industrial gas projects in its emissions trading scheme from as soon as 2012, as these offsets threaten to distort the market, the government said on Friday. Climate change minister Nick Smith said he wanted to maintain the integrity of the emissions trading scheme, which is why the government is considering banning offsets from the potent greenhouse gas hydrofluorocarbon-23 (HFC-23) and nitrous oxide credits. "The high value for destroying these gases creates perverse incentives in developing countries to manufacture more of them bringing into question the environmental gains," Smith said in a statement. The New Zealand scheme allows polluters and traders to import U.N. offsets called Certified Emission Reductions from clean energy projects in poorer nations. The CERs can help polluters meet their emissions reduction obligations. But about two-thirds of the nearly 745 million CERs issued to date have come from projects that destroy HFC-23 and nitrous oxide, leading to criticism that the owners of these projects, mainly in China and India, are enjoying massive windfall profits. >> Read the Full Article
  • Plants and CO2

    Plants absorb carbon dioxide and exhale Oxygen. They are a major part of the global cycle. The global uptake of carbon by land plants may be up to 45 per cent more than previously thought. This is the conclusion of an international team of scientists, based on the variability of heavy oxygen atoms in the carbon dioxide of the atmosphere driven by the El Niño effect. As the oxygen atoms in carbon dioxide were converted faster than expected during the El Niño years, current estimates for the uptake of carbon by plants are probably too low. These should be corrected upwards, say the researchers in the current issue of the scientific journal NATURE. Instead of 120 petagrams of carbon, the annual global vegetation uptake probably lies between 150 and 175 petagrams of carbon. This value is a kind of gross national product for land plants and indicates how productive the biosphere of the Earth is. The reworking of this so-called global primary productivity would have significant consequences for the coupled carbon cycle-climate model used in climate research to predict future climate change. >> Read the Full Article
  • Global CO2 Emissions Reach All-Time High, Rising More Than 5% in 2010 to Close Out Past 20 Years

    Global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions reached an all-time high in 2010, rising 45% in the past 20 years. Rising rapidly between 1990 and 2010, global atmospheric CO2 levels totaled 33 billion metric tons last year, according to a report published by the European Commission’s Joint Research Center and PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency. Global CO2 emissions fell 1% in 2009, during the Great Recession, but rose at an unprecedented 5% rate in 2010. That was similar to the drop and greater emissions growth in 1975 and 1976, when the global economy suffered through the first oil crisis, a subsequent stock market crash and began a recovery in 1976, the report authors note. >> Read the Full Article
  • Ford Develops E-Bike Protoype

    Earlier this year, Ford announced its ongoing commitment to vehicle electrification.. The automaker will be sticking to expansions in four-wheel offerings, but, surprisingly they’re also also turning their attention to two-wheelers: E-bikes. While this change represents a radical departure from the company’s core offering, it’s a logical move nonetheless. Vehicle electrification might be the sort of technology that forces a paradigm shift in personal transportation. Although electric vehicles have been around for as long as those powered by internal combustion engines, advanced batteries, sophisticated software controllers and modern and compact electric motors have created new opportunities to reinvent traditional vehicle platforms – the lowly bicycle included. >> Read the Full Article
  • L.A. Air Force Base Will Deploy 100% Electric Vehicle Fleet

    The U.S. Air Force recently announced that its Los Angeles base would be the first federal facility to replace 100 percent of its general purpose fleet with electric vehicles. This switch will mean all 40 vehicles owned or leased by the base, including passenger sedans, two-ton trucks and shuttle buses, will be replaced by fully-electric, plug-in hybrid electric, and extended-range electric alternatives. Force protection, tactical and emergency response vehicles will remain exempt for now. >> Read the Full Article
  • The VOLT goes to Europe as the Vauxhall Ampera

    As GM gets ready to introduce the Chevy VOLT to Europe as the Vauxhall Ampera, this article by ENN Affiliate the Ecologist examines some background, and why this car really IS a game changer. From fossil fuel generated electricity to unreliable batteries, electric cars haven't always lived up to the hype. But with the launch of the Vauxhall Ampera, could all that be about to change? Ruth Styles reports I'm sitting in a huge, futuristic-white room in the Louwman Museum in The Hague when suddenly the back wall swings up to reveal a shiny crimson car. It rolls forward silently before coming to a halt in front of a room packed with journalists. This, the Ampera, say its makers, Vauxhall, is the future of eco-friendly motoring and a good-looking beast to boot. Good looks, I thought. Well yes, OK. But eco-friendly? How eco-friendly can driving really be? The Louwman Museum was the perfect place to find out. The Hague's Louwman Museum is dedicated to cars past and present with the odd plane or two to spice things up. The museum's restaurant is located in a vast hangar-like space tricked out to resemble a turn-of-the-century Dutch town, complete with perfectly realised replicas of a plate-glass fronted haberdashery, a grocer and an impressive recreation of a neo-Palladian town hall facade. >> Read the Full Article