Sat, Mar

  • Cities Can’t Combat Climate Change Alone

    By 2050, 70 percent of the world’s population will live in urban areas. Cities consume over two-thirds of the world’s energy and are responsible for 70 percent of global CO2 emissions. It will be cities, not individual states or governments, who will need to employ effective urban planning, implement eco-friendly ordinances, reduce emissions, and plan for the coming effects of climate change. In Life in the Big City: Unlocking Smart Development (SXSW Eco), the discussion centered around the premise that cities, centers of global economic activity and innovation, have the greatest power to impact climate change. But can they do it alone? >> Read the Full Article
  • GM to produce all-electric Chevy Spark

    General Motors Co confirmed it will make its first all-electric vehicle, a version of the Chevrolet Spark minicar that will debut in 2013 and take aim at Nissan Motor Co Ltd's Leaf. "Chevrolet will produce an all-electric version of the Spark minicar for selected U.S. and global markets, including California," Jim Federico, Chevy's global vehicle chief engineer for electric vehicles, said at the company's Detroit headquarters on Wednesday. Electric cars have been slow to catch on. In the U.S. market, demand has been held back by the lack of models to choose from, skimpy infrastructure for charging the vehicles, high sticker prices, and low gasoline prices compared with other industrialized nations. News of the electric Spark continues GM's push to seize the mantle of "greenest automaker in the world" from Toyota Motor Corp, which makes the popular Prius hybrid car. GM, like other major automakers, also needs more fuel-efficient cars as the industry pushes toward more stringent U.S. requirements that will be in place by 2025. >> Read the Full Article
  • Eight Amazing Things About Solar Panels That Could Change the World

    Green energy is one of the most rapidly expanding industries in the world right now due to so many people looking to do their part to help save the planet. With so much focus on solving global warming and reducing air pollution, smarter and cleaner forms of energy are being looked at very closely by scientists and consumers. There are several cool facts about solar power that can change the world. >> Read the Full Article
  • Chevrolet's Carbon Initiative Program

    In the U.S., our buildings – schools, homes, and offices – consume one third of the energy we use. That makes them a major source of carbon dioxide emissions. And when your home isn’t properly insulated, you need more energy to heat it. That produces more carbon dioxide and raises your heating bill. As part of its Carbon Initiative Program, Chevrolet is teaming up with MaineHousing (Maine State Housing Authority) to help increase energy efficiency through a verifiable carbon reduction program – the weatherization of 5,500 low-income homes over the next 5 years. Chevrolet’s investment will be used to pressurize homes to determine heat /cooling leakage, blow recycled content insulation into walls and ceilings, seal chimneys, insulate exposed foundation and tune heating systems for efficiency. When its all said and done, this program will not only help reduce home energy use, improve air quality and cut resident’s heating and cooling bills, it will also aggregate tons of avoided CO2 emissions from thousands of weatherized homes. It's pretty impressive, and substantial. But that's how big changes are made — one small change at a time. >> Read the Full Article
  • Coffee: is the black stuff as green as it should be?

    From deforestation to fertilizer; our taste for coffee has left some of the world’s most precious eco-systems in a precarious state. George Blacksell looks at how the coffee industry is cleaning up its act. The world’s second most tradable commodity after oil; coffee growing and processing has proven itself to be a lucrative industry. The burgeoning coffee culture that sprang up over the last few decades has led to overwhelming success for handful of coffee franchises and a massive spike in supermarket sales. Of the high street coffee chains, Costa, Starbucks, Cafe Nero and Pret A Manger have cornered the lion’s share of the profits. While no one is denying their right to make a buck, the big question is whether the profits these franchises are making are trickling down to the people actually growing the beans? And how green are they really? Is the high street coffee industry one we should buy into or should we be avoiding it altogether? >> Read the Full Article
  • Recycled Water Quenches San Antonio's Thirst

    Gliding along in a flat-bottom boat on the San Antonio River thorough the heart of downtown San Antonio is a beautiful and authentic Texas experience. There's one thing a boat tour guide is not going to mention, however. Texas is in the middle of a historic drought, and the river that tourists are cruising along with ducks, big bass, catfish and perch is actually treated sewage water. >> Read the Full Article
  • Record Arctic ozone hole appears

    A huge hole that appeared in the Earth's protective ozone layer above the Arctic in 2011 was the largest recorded in the Northern Hemisphere, triggering worries the event could occur again and be even worse, scientists said in a report on Monday. The ozone layer high in the stratosphere acts like a giant shield against the Sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which can cause skin cancers and cataracts. Since the 1980s, scientists have recorded an ozone hole every summer above the Antarctic at the bottom of the globe. Some years, the holes have been so large they covered the entire continent and stretched to parts of South America, leading to worries about a surge in skin cancers. During extreme events, up to 70 percent of the ozone layer can be destroyed, before it recovers months later. >> Read the Full Article
  • 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