Massive solar power stations are being built in the world’s “sun belts” − with the US and India competing to have the largest in the world.
Democrats (myself included) enjoy ridiculing Republicans who deny the scientific consensus behind climate change. But we then deny the inconvenient truth behind our own preferred climate policies: they will have regressive impacts on the poor and middle class.
The G7 nations, at the week’s summit in Germany, have called for “a decarbonization of the global economy over the course of this century”. Of course, this group of nations is among those most heavily in favor of strong climate action, but the opportunities for climate-friendly growth are everywhere.
The article in The Australian by Liberal Democrat senator David Leyonjhelm highlighted some very good points about wind turbine noise and its effect on people living near them. People are complaining of a range of health related problems and are attributing them to wind turbines. The question is: what is the cause of these health problems?
New report says a successful outcome at this year’s Paris climate talks will be far more likely if the world takes note of how China is reducing emissions. The pace of change in China’s energy policy means that the targets it has set for cutting greenhouse gases (GHGs) are likely to be achieved sooner than expected, according to a new study.
Eminent group urges governments to make the massive research investment that would enable the world to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy by 2025. The vision is simple, the cost would be eye-watering, and the result could stop the growing threat from burning fossil fuels in its tracks.
The Indian Ocean can be an angry and sometimes lethal neighbour, but those who live beside it are now learning how to prepare for its next onslaught.
Trillions of dollars need to be redirected into building low-carbon economies to avoid serious climate change, the UN warns.
Economic links with China help Pakistan tap into enormous solar energy potential that can provide clean power to boost production and reduce poverty. One of the world’s largest solar plants has been opened in Pakistan with the aim of supplying clean, reliable energy and helping alleviate the country’s chronic power shortages.
In 1900, humans travelled a total of just 0.2 trillion km by vehicle, nearly all by train. By 1950, people travelled a total of 3.3 trillion km, and by 2010, the annual total was over 40 trillion km – or over 133,000 round trips to the sun. That’s an average of nearly 6,000 km per person each year. About half of all travel was by car, and 12% was by air.
São Paulo’s ongoing water crisis has left many of the city’s 20m or more residents without tap water for days on end. Brazil’s largest metropolis is into its third month of water rationing, and some citizens have even taken to drilling through their basements to reach groundwater.
Climate-friendly boost for global energy mix as scientists say solar power alone could now meet the needs of California five times over.
Inside a sprawling single-story office building in Bedford, Mass., in a secret room known as the Growth Hall, the future of solar power is cooking at more than 2,500 °F.
An increasingly water-stressed world takes a new look at desalination. It seems simple enough: Take the salt out of water so it’s drinkable. But it’s far more complex than it appears at first glance. It’s also increasingly crucial in a world where freshwater resources are progressively strained by population growth, development, droughts, climate change and more.
If you want to know what we have to do to avoid catastrophic climate change, 17 of the world’s leading climate scientists have worked out a simple but challenging solution: the world, they say, must turn by mid-century into a zero-carbon society.
The researchers say their act-now, save-future-costs model not only demonstrates the dangers of underestimating the cost of future climate change, but is the first one to emerge from a purely market-based approach. The considerations do not have to be based on moral judgements about sustainability and the wellbeing of future generations.
California’s byzantine water system and crushing drought are leading farmers to extraordinary measures as they try to keep themselves from running dry. On a warm March afternoon, farmer Cannon Michael walks alongside wheat fields adjacent to his house in Los Banos, in California’s Central Valley. Most of these fields won’t be watered again this year.
New technologies are about to disrupt the traditional energy market in a big way. What if you could sit at home and use your smartphone to buy energy directly from the wind farm down the road or the solar panels on the local school roof? After all, you can already control your heating from your phone and set your washing machine going from your tablet...
The urge to solve humankind’s energy-generating problems is felt by innovators around the planet. Before the Internet and its open sourcing of knowledge, lone inventors tried to single-handedly save us from our dependence on dirty fuels. And long before hippies saw the dawning of an Age of Aquarius, a few individuals discovered that water is a key to independence.
Texas is known for cheap and plentiful energy resources, but they’re usually of the dirty, fossil fuel–based variety. That reputation is changing. Texans can now buy renewable energy packages that are as cheap as or cheaper than the coal- or natural gas–based alternatives.
After years of bitter disappointment, things look different now. Sure, U.S. state houses and Congress are a denier-dominated mess, the big Paris conference is already being written off, and the on-the-ground evidence is looking bleak. But after years of cynicism, I see elements of a sea change in urgency and attitude on climate.
The announcement that a pioneering wave farm off Perth has started generating electricity is an exciting and welcome development. The project, developed by Fremantle-based Carnegie Wave Energy, features two buoys, 11 m in diameter, below the sea surface (with a third to follow).
Cities may only occupy about 2% of the world’s habitable land, but they are big drivers of global climate change. Cities are usually hotter than rural areas, and get referred to in the jargon as “urban heat islands.”
In April 2015, we will mark the five-year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The accident released millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, causing extensive impacts on the marine ecosystem, wildlife habitat, and the fishing and tourism industries in Louisiana and other Gulf states.
It can be tempting to think that people who disagree with you are mad, bad or simply stupid. However, not only are such judgements usually wrong, but telling people that they are stupid is unlikely to convince them of the merit of your own view.
China has now overtaken the European Union as the largest new market for solar power as the industry becomes one of the fastest growing in the world.
In this red state, publicly owned utilities provide electricity to all 1.8 million people. Here's how Nebraska took its energy out of corporate hands and made it affordable for everyday residents.
Over the past five years the world has seen a dramatic fall in the cost of solar energy, particularly rooftop solar panels or solar photovoltaic power. It is now a real alternative and considerable player in the power markets.
According to the pundits and techno-prophets who dominate the media, the future of transportation is all figured out for us. Cheaper gas prices mean we can still count on our private cars to take us everywhere we want to go. The only big change down the road will be driverless autos, which will make long hours behind the wheel less boring and more productive.
Scientists in the US estimate that economic damage caused by CO2 could be six times higher than the value used to guide current energy regulations.
Increasing oil production but falling demand is creating big problems for the fossil fuel industry as some investors are now turning away from the sector.
Chemicals are all around us. They are crucial in all manner of industries, from agriculture to food to cosmetics. Most people give little thought to how these chemicals are made – and certainly very few would consider the chemical industry as a contributor to our society’s dependence on oil. But it is.
Increased production from US fracking operations is a major reason for the drop in oil prices, but there are warnings that the industry now faces a crisis.
Emissions from planes are a major clause of climate change, yet they remain unregulated. Can they be curbed in time to protect the planet?
A few years ago, the Mexican government pinpointed a promising method for reducing carbon dioxide emissions: Encourage Mexicans to trade in their old refrigerators, air conditioners, light bulbs and the like for more up-to-date models. But how to pay for the program, while making it affordable for poor households?
India’s contribution to global carbon emissions was only 7% last year, yet there are fears being expressed in the western world that rapid population growth and development will mean this vast country will soon be a major polluter − like its neighbour, China.
The urbanization of our population has major implications for climate change. The sheer volume of all this growth in highly concentrated areas, combined with the corresponding growth in carbon emissions, requires that our cities be able to adapt and evolve more quickly than ever before.The good news is: they can.
As extremes of heat increasingly threaten to become the norm, scientists have invented a new way to reflect sunlight and beam heat away from buildings straight back into space.
When we design cities like ecosystems, they have the potential to address many of our most pressing issues. Of all the things people build, cities are the most important.
There is no shortage of shouting and dire warnings about the state of the climate and our need to phase out fossil fuels. But there is a more silent revolution happening too — in micropower.
The European Union, nervous about Russia cutting off gas supplies and keen to cut emissions by developing renewable energy sources, aims to link all its 28 member states to one electricity grid.
The United States, the world’s biggest historical emitter of greenhouse gases, has pledged to cut emissions by 26-28% by 2025 relative to 2005 levels, while China, the current biggest emitter, has promised to peak its emissions by no later than 2030.
A new book argues that death threats and abuse illustrate how climate change messengers are being demonised in a way that is without parallel in the history of science.
Warnings within the world of high finance are coming thick and fast that the increasingly urgent need to combat climate change means investors could lose heavily by sinking funds into coal, oil and gas.
When it comes to providing jobs and money to towns and cities, not all renewable energy is created equal. At last month’s People’s Climate March, among the most popular signs were ones supporting renewable energy like wind and solar as the best way to avoid a climate catastrophe.
Through burning fossil fuels, humans are rapidly driving up levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which in turn is raising global temperatures.
Groups have been divesting money from oil, coal, and gas for years. Now they’re hoping to get more climate-healing bang for their buck.
International researchers, in what they believe is the most comprehensive global assessment of clean energy’s potential, report that a low-carbon system could supply the world’s electricity needs by 2050.
Global business can find good investments that also address climate change by looking to the world’s most vulnerable populations.
Researchers’ urgent message to world leaders at the UN climate summit: save 1.4 million lives and trillions of dollars by controlling vehicle pollution, improving public transport and shifting away from the car culture.
Combined, the People’s Climate March on Sunday followed by Flood Wall Street the next day, uplifted a narrative around climate change that was impossible for even the most mainstream of media to ignore. In the words of Fox News talking head James Carville, “It’s the economy, stupid.”
Despite what appears to be an insurmountable problem, it may be possible to significantly reduce global water scarcity in 35 years.
Two companies in Japan recently announced they are to begin building two huge solar power islands that will float on reservoirs. This follows Kagoshima solar power plant, the country’s largest, which opened in late 2013 and is found floating in the sea just off the coast of southern Japan.
The critical links between water, sanitation, and our global consumption of energy – the “energy-water nexus” are more obvious than ever before. But how many of us will take direct action at the most basic level of all?
Whenever I tell people I work with solar cells I am asked the same two questions: are they ever going to be really cheap? And can you get me some? While the answer to the second question is no, the answer to the first is a lot more positive.
Scientists in the US believe they have identified a way to feed billions more people, while at the same reducing the strains and stresses on the environment.
Globally 1.2 billion people live in areas of water scarcity — defined by the United Nations as locations with an annual water supply that drops below 1,000 cubic meters per person.
The UK government’s senior adviser on science has made an entirely sensible call for researchers and policy makers to move the climate change debate towards workable strategies and solutions. The trouble is, the models we have for assessing those strategies are deeply flawed.
A guidebook with a difference is selling well in Germany. It details nearly 200 renewable energy sites it thinks will appeal to tourists. Wind turbines and solar panels: do you love them or hate them? Do you think of renewable energy as the way to a greener future, or an awful blight on the present?
Reducing deforestation in the tropics would significantly cut the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere by as much as one-fifth, research shows.
Last month, a researcher at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo., loaded a postage stamp–sized solar cell onto a tray and placed it under a high-intensity pulse solar simulator. A new world record for solar photovoltaic efficiency had been set.
The “Meatless Mondays” campaign was originally thought up to support the war effort during World War I, but now a modern army is using it to fight an even bigger battle—the one against climate change. It's not just Norway where the military is concerned about climate change. Former United States army officer...
The majority of Americans believe that global warming is real. A fewer number believe that it is a threat and less still believe that it is caused by humans. These are really amazing numbers...
Scientists in the US have found new ways to make biofuel, increase crop yields and exploit carbon dioxide through novel applications of familiar materials.
Bioenergy and biofuels have an important role to play in lowering the use of carbon-intensive fossil fuels – a point underscored by the IPCC report which confirmed the need for further research to improve such technology.
Global warming will be bad. Geoengineering could make it worse. Once again, a research team has considered all the benefits of climate technofix – that is, deliberate steps to neutralize the consequences of unrestrained greenhouse gas emissions – and come to a grim conclusion.
Forget the cost of mitigating climate change, say two researchers. It’s impossible to work out how much it will be – and whatever it is, we should do it anyway. Two researchers who tried to work out the economics of reducing global climate change to a tolerable level have come up with a perhaps surprising answer...
The forests stretching from Mexico through Central America have some of the richest species diversity on the planet. But despite expansive conservation efforts, this region continues to face staggering rates of forest destruction
Recent signs that Barack Obama may approve the Keystone XL pipeline have some environmentalists feeling down about the future of the climate. But huge and positive changes are quietly taking place.
Painting building roofs white could cool some major cities baking in the intensifying heat of a changing climate. How much benefits white roofs could bring depend on the region of the country they’re installed in and the season, new research shows.
Farmers may be able to rear livestock which produce fewer emissions from their stomachs of methane, one of the most important greenhouse gases. Stand by for a new breed of farm animal – the low-methane cow
The final film in the “Story of Stuff” series asks, What if the goal of our economy wasn’t more, but better—better health, better jobs, and a better chance to survive on the planet? In an ad for a major phone company blanketing TV this year, a circle of doe-eyed children is asked: "Who thinks more is better than less?"
If we really believe that doom is a viable expression of the endgame, wouldn’t we try to resolve some of this thanatos by“wresting control of our lives” from an inherently sick society? Wouldn’t we want to resolve remnants of cognitive dissonance by making our day-to-day behaviors more congruent with our “talk”?
In little more than a decade the world should be meeting 10% of its total energy needs from solar power, two British scientists say, despite the technological problems to be overcome. Hard on the heels of the latest UN report on climate change, two UK scientists have proposed an ambitious plan to tackle the problem it graphically describes.
When it comes to solving the climate crisis, the world can't afford to ignore women's voices. Women's equality goes hand-in-hand with finding real solutions to climate change. Here are three reasons why.
How farmers care for peatlands can influence how welll they soak up greenhouse gases, because the plants that grow there are crucial to their effectiveness as carbon sinks. Such areas can also act as important flood plains, soaking up excess water. The trouble is that in many parts of the world peatlands are being destroyed or are under threat.
There was a time when power generation belong to the public. This is a grassroots David and Goliath campaign to create a landmark model for how communities can take control of their energy future.
The way we make and use stuff is harming the world—and ourselves. To create a system that works, we can't just use our purchasing power. We must turn it into citizen power. Since I released "The Story of Stuff" six years ago, the most frequent snarky remark I get from people trying to take me down a notch is about my own stuff.
A war on climate change is a war on materialism, plain and simple. The carbon pollution spewing out of our power plants and tail pipes is a natural byproduct of the monstrous engine of economic growth we have built, an engine that exists solely to satisfy the demand our materialism creates.
The highly radioactive water leaking from the wrecked Fukushima plant is part of a problem that Japan will take decades to resolve and which will blight many thousands of lives. The discovery at the plant of a leak of radioactive caesium eight times more dangerous than the levels immediately after the Fukushima accident in March 2011 has aroused international concern that Japan is incapable of containing the aftermath of the accident.
Studies into how we use air conditioning technology suggest that our attempts to keep cool are in fact adding to rising temperatures.As the world swelters, so will energy demand rise: the heat extremes generated by climate change are likely to raise the global demand for air conditioning by 72%. So people will generate more heat and release more carbon dioxide just to stay cool as the thermometer soars.
By making 360-degree panoramic underwater vision available to anyone who has a computer, scientists hope to alert many more people to the plight of the world’s coral reefs. Scientists have hit on a way to harness 360-degree panoramas from Google’s underwater street-view format in order to let anyone with access to a computer see reefs in real time.
North Dakota, now the second-largest oil-producing state in the US, is neglecting the gas that also comes from its wells, says a report, wasting money and adding to greenhouse gas emissions.
The highly radioactive water leaking from the wrecked Fukushima plant is part of a problem that Japan will take decades to resolve and which will blight many thousands of lives.
Rachel Maddow reports on the increased emergency level at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan where hundreds of tons of radioactive water is leaking into the sea.
Scary stories of kidnappings and explosions lead our news feeds, but it's the good news that helps break down the myth of our own powerlessness. "If it bleeds, it leads." Ever hear that maxim of journalism? If you want readers, go with the scary, gruesome story—that's what gets hearts pumping and grabs attention. But what grabs our attention can also scare the heck out of us and shut us down.
It's taken 60 years, but solar is tantalizingly close to beating fossil fuels on price. The prices of solar cells are falling rapidly, and will keep doing so for the next few years. The big questions revolve around the rate of the price declines. And the panels themselves aren't the only place where cost reductions will be found. America has very high "soft costs" -- installation, permitting, marketing etc. Whittling down these expenses will help, too.
The arguments for and against fracking seem clear-cut. But it’s not that simple, and there is mounting evidence that exploiting shale gas may be neither necessary nor sensible. As the international debate intensifies over the arguments for and against exploiting shale gas, the largest British nature conservation charity has objected to proposals to drill at two sites in Britain.
When I give these climate talks, by the end people are typically agitated and full of questions. “What technology is going to fix this?” “How are we ever get people to agree on a solution?” “I’m just one person, what could I possibly do that would make an impact?”
Peoples who have lived in the same place for countless generations – the Amazon, perhaps, or the Arctic – possess invaluable knowledge about living with climate change, and it is evolving all the time. Climate change often seems to be seen as the preserve of scientists and environmental journalists. But what about the accumulated wisdom of traditional and indigenous peoples?
A recently published study by researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington found elevated levels of arsenic and other heavy metals in groundwater near natural gas fracking sites in Texas' Barnett Shale.
Urban sprawl may not be as bad for the environment as we thought – as long as every home is fitted with solar panels and electric cars become the norm. Modern planners are building compact cities, believing tightly controlled zones are better for the environment. New research suggests the opposite: urban sprawl might be a better option, with solar power fitted to suburban houses and the adoption of electric cars transforming the energy needs of a city.
Turning deserts into forests sounds like a utopian dream, but a group of scientists believe that “carbon farming” really might be the answer to climate change. Large forests planted with a single species of tough small tree could capture enough carbon from the atmosphere to slow down climate change and green the world’s deserts at the same time, researchers say.
Finnish researchers say they have found how to produce biofuel cheaply, while a US team says it can make hydrogen from water at less cost than conventional methods.
Many of the lessons learned are most applicable to those living in a similar climate to the Whole Systems Farm in Vermont; however, the farm’s thriving ecosystem has been created on marginal land, and Falk stresses that the concepts can be transferred to other locations where only marginal land is available and creative solutions are needed.
Red Cloud is the founder of Lakota Solar Enterprises, one of the country’s first Native American-owned renewable energy companies.
Powerful message to Europe’s politicians that building low-carbon cars and vans is the way to create a million jobs, boost the economy − and improve air quality