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News & Views Curation

September 29, 2011

UK: Renewable Gains

Renewable energy supplies increase sharply this year in the UK.

EPA A Perennial Perry Target

Governor Perry has made a career of EPA-bashing and takes credit where it isn't due.

Americans Like Green Jobs

By wide margins, polls and focus groups find the US public supports a federal role in growing green jobs and a clean energy economy.

Court OKs CA Cap n Trade

Overcoming challenges from environmental justice groups, a California court green lights the state's carbon cap and trade program

DOE Chief: I'm In Charge

Whether falling on his sword or signaling 'the buck stops here', DOE Secretary Chu takes responsibility for the federal loan guarantee to the now-failed PV-maker Solyndra

Geo-Architecture Of The Big Apple

A new book explores how New York City's near-time urban environment meshes with geological processes billions of years old and makes the case for environmental responsibility.

Durban, SA: Chilly On Climate Talks

The US climate envoy chills expectations for December's international climate treaty talks to be held in Durban, South Africa.

September 28, 2011

Norway: Solar Factories Shut

A Norwegian solar equipment maker cuts capacity and lays off 700 workers in the face of worldwide oversupply and sinking prices.

UK: Something In Bath's Water

England's venerable resort town of Bath worries that nearby hydrofracking for natural gas could contaminate its thermal baths.

Australia: Carbon Tax Combat

A supporter of Australia's proposed carbon tax class calls the tenor of critics' attacks a threat to democracy.

Inhof Pounces On EPA

Senator Inhof (R-OK) solicits a report from the EPA Inspector General that identifies flaws in the agency's climate change peer review process. The EPA and the Office of Management and Budget vigorously rebut the report and spell out why. Takeaway: Fatal flaws? No!

TX Takes Federal Clean Energy Funds

The US DOE awards Texas $450 million to build a power plant that burns low-carbon coal and uses high-tech acid-gas capture devices.

Scotland: Trump's Highland Fling

Donald Trump lashes out against an off-shore wind farm plan near a golf course he is building in Scotland.

Transit At Risk

The DOE views the greatest economic and national security risk facing the country is the transportation system's reliance on oil. Too bad the EPA delays issuing rules to double vehicle fuel efficiency.

Deeper Into The Stabliization Triangle

Professor Socolow's essay refining his 2004 wedge strategy for grappling with climate change elicits hisses and kisses.

September 27, 2011

Fast Tracking High Speed Rail

How could creation of an interstate infrastructure corporation help realize the goal of developing high speed rail in the northeast?

Japan: Utility Faces Insolvency

If rates are not raised or remaining nuclear generators reopened the electric utility owning the Fukushima power plant faces grim financial prospects.

Follow The Fine Print

The Senate budget extension bills do not include House language that strips $100 million from a DOE renewable energy loan program to fund FEMA and the House is now expected to support the Senate version.

More Dope Peddling

The fossil fuel industry uses the same PR strategy the tobacco companies deployed against the science of smoking's health impacts.

Enter The Stabilization Triangle

The scientist who launched the strategic idea of a wedged climate stabilization triangle in 2004, says we know what to do about global warming but delves into why so little has been done.

Scotland: Major Wind Investment

Scotland announces a $54 million fund to help produce next generation, off-shore wind turbines and expects to leverage another $80 million in private investments.

What New Yorkers Like

A new poll finds New Yorkers like Governor Cuomo a lot, but are dubious about hydrofracking for natural gas.

Military Housing Loses PV Option

Because Congress fails to approve a loan guarantee, the company set to install PV panels at military housing in 33 states, will work in just 11.

Legally Green

Get an attorney's view of the fast-evolving field of high performance building law.

India: Blue And White Are Green

Indian planners see the nation's potential for green jobs as creating opportunities for blue and white collar workers alike.

September 26, 2011

Auto Separation

Higher tolls on Hudson River crossings have more commuters taking mass transit to work in NYC. LOL at the Post "shun" headline.

Review The Reviewer

Did the New York Times goof in picking a technocrat rather than an industry expert to review Daniel Yergin's energy industry book The Quest?

There Will Be Change

Blame the Texas monster-drought and wildfires on climate change, La Nina or bad luck, there is no doubt it's changing life in the Lone Star State.

Running On High Speed Rails

California estimates that a full-scale high speed rail system would need 3 billion kilowatt hours of electricity a year, about one percent more than the state uses today.

$149 Million For Rail Upgrade

New York gets $149 million in federal funds to reduce delays and add service between upstate cities.

Canada: Wind Boom

Canada expects to install 1,338 megawatts of wind power this year, nearly doubling last year's figure.

Street Signs

If you see a yellow arrow hanging on a NYC street or lot, what does it mean?

Getting Under Your Skin

Climate change impacts are not remote in time and space since they can make you sick now.

Yes We Have

With the opening of Via Verde apartments in the South Bronx, New York shows that green building can be healthy, affordable and handsome.

Maintstreaming Green Leases

The time is now for green commercial leases to relocate from the financial frontier to the industry standard .

September 25, 2011

Living PlanIT - Maybe Not

Pegasus, New Mexico, the latest software experiment to make cities smarter, might be outfoxed by human serendipity.

September 23, 2011

UK: Less Than Meets The Eye

Did an Australian shale gas prospector exaggerate the size of its discovery to attract UK political support?

That's Genius

Shwetak Patel, one of this year's Macarthur Genius award-winners, has invented a sensor able to track the energy and water used by every appliance and faucet in your house.

Everywhere: Hopes Sink For CSS

Around the world, support is fading for CSS, a method to capture and store CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use, while energy demand continues to skyrocket.

Needed: A 3rd Industrial Revolution

According to big-ideas author Jeremy Rifkin, our future depends on shifting to a renewable energy economy.

Being Latino Is A Health Risk

Half of US Latinos live in neighborhoods with health-threatening air pollution levels.

Milwaukee Hops To It

The former beer-brewing center of Milwaukee is re-emerging as a green metro district.

China: City Vanishes

China abolishes the municipal status of Chaohu, a city of four million people.

It Might Take A Weatherman

Hitting energy efficiency building targets could get a boost from software that factors in the weather.

There Outght To Be A Plan

With electric use on track to grow sharply and its historic reliance on fossil fuels and an aging nuclear power fleet, New York needs to plan a new energy future.

Cheaper Than Champagne

Cost ovrruns for building the Croton drinking water filtration plant will drive up New Yorkers utility bills.

September 22, 2011

Follow The Money 2.0

Wonder which energy sources have received the biggest taxpayer subsidies? Want to know more about tax lingo and what's at stake?

Parsing Distributed Power

No, this is not a poli-sci posting, it's all about competing models of electric power generation, ownership and control.

The Arctic: Thinking About Thawing

Scientists grapple with understanding why Arctic ice is melting so fast, it's not just academic.

Students Race For The Sun

Tour the 2011 Solar Decathlon, a student competition for the best solar home design.

Republicans Growl At Green Jobs

The latest spray of Republican attacks on efforts to grow green jobs.

September 21, 2011

Germany: Next Year's Energy

Coal could be the next big thing with the shut down of German nuclear power plants.

Canada: Bullish On Oil Exports

The Canadian Prime Minister calls the upcoming US decision on a pipeline to send tar sands oil to the Gulf of Mexico a 'no brainer'.

Australian: Carbon Tax Won't Bite

The Australian government predicts that a carbon tax will reduce incomes by .1% a year, while overall, incomes will rise 1.1% annually.

Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda

According to The Guardian, the World Bank will urge rich nations to redirect the $50 billion that goes to fossil fuel subsidies every year toward helping poor countries deal with climate change.

Solydra: Hiccup Or Horror

Observers weigh in on the significance of Solydra's bankruptcy saga for renewable energy development.

NYCs GHGs - Data Galore

NYC's annual Greenhouse Gas Inventory finds real cuts, both annual and over its baseline year, 2007.

Slight Edge For Marcellus Drilling

By a thin margin, New Yorkers support natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale, with opposition greatest upstate.

September 20, 2011

Yergin Writes Again

Check out this review of the latest book by energy industry maven Daniel Yergin on the new world of oil.

White House Might Defend Clean Air

Advisors to the President recommend veto of a pending House bill that would block EPA powers to regulate air pollution.

Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me

Guess who's a fan of Obama's infrastructure building plan?

It's Not Your Grandma's World

Climate change along with political change means The Times of London must redraw its global map atlas every four years, bloopers and all.

NY Hydrofracking: Dryden Says No

A law suit seeks to overturn the Dryden, NY (pop.13,000) ban on hydrofracking to extract natural gas claiming that state law trumps local zoning rules.

China: Catching Brazilian Breezes

China turns heads with its growing presence as a wind turbine supplier in Brazil.

Ontario: Renewable Power Politics

In upcoming Ontario elections, the candidates debate over green energy policies heats up.

ACE Is On The Way

Next month, climate scientists launch ACE, the first working model for figuring out when weird weather is climate change-related.

Fossil Fuel Fever

While spiraling demand for oil will keep it the world's dominant energy source, by 2035 renewables could provide 14% of the energy mix.

Solar Installations Soar For Now

During the final year of federal incentives, 2011 is a great time for new solar power, with US installed capacity up 69% over last year.


Private investors plan to pump $650 million into PACE financing to upgrade energy efficiency at commercial buildings in California and Florida.

September 19, 2011

Rick Perry Gives Reality A Lift

Could it be that Rick Perry's anti-climate screeds have boosted public opinion on the reality global warming?

In Hot Water

Using the latest data, scientists model how oceans respond to a changing climate. [$]

Washington: Energy Calendar

Supporters of a national renewable energy policy have plenty to keep an eye on this week in Washington.

Greenland: Cracking Up

A giant Greenland glacier field stuns scientists by melting in two years time.

September 16, 2011

The Daily Show Does Solyndra

Hard to top Jon Stewart's riff on the Solyndra brouhaha and Obama.

Maybe It's The Weather Or Something Like That

A Reuters poll finds an upswing in the number of Americans who believe in human-caused global warming and are concerned about it.

Jamaica Bay Revival

Step by step, Jamaica Bay returns to life.

September 15, 2011

NZ: Amber Light For Green Market

New Zealand officials are concerned about the cost and integrity of its carbon emissions trading scheme and might delay expansion.

See Solar Clearer

Although the collapse of Solydra grabs the headlines, there's more good news about the US solar industry.

Climate Denial Is An Election Risk Factor

A Bloomberg polls finds risks for anti-green candidates in the general presidential election with 45% of respondents unlikely to support a candidate with climate denial views and 66% less likely to choose an EPA-hostile candidate.

Another EPA Miss

EPA will miss its September 30 deadline for issuing draft power plant GHG emissions rules.

South Africa: 2nd Thoughts On N-Plant

South Africa delays review on nuclear power plant construction bids citing safety concerns of this power option.

One More Solar Flame-Out

A California solar-cell maker withdraws its application for a federal loan guarantee and fires 80 workers.

NYC Bar White Paper On Green Zoning

The New York City Bar Association examines how the City's powerful Zoning Resolution can be steered toward planning for sustainability.

September 14, 2011

Corporate Climate Concerns

The Carbon Disclosure Project finds that climate change and energy efficiency are now a focus of the worlds biggest firms.

The Fewer Green Jobs The Better

Spend some time with this Contrarian column on environmental economics and green jobs.

Millions For Florida Sunshine

A Florida electric company puts in $5 million to reopen its solar power rebate program.

Solyndra: The China Angle

Was it politics or competitive pressure from Chinese industrial policy that lead to a fast approval for the Solyndra loan guarantee?

No Price Signal, No Pulse

If you put down Tom Friedman's column after the "global weirding" paragraph, read what he as to say about the need for a carbon price signal or companies like Solyndra will be left for dead.

Pedal This Way

New York City to roll out a 10,000 bikes-to-share program and here's how it will work.

UK: Energy Efficiency Tourniquet

UK hospitals learn how to stop hemorrhaging money by becoming energy efficient.

Housing Bust Dims Solar Goals

While the California PV program for existing homes and businesses is on target to meet its goals, the housing crash has put a big dent in the solar rebate program for new construction.

September 13, 2011

Twists and Turns In The Solyndra Saga

Another twist in the Solyndra federal loan guarantee, bankruptcy saga. And here's one more. For now, the the whole thing is an industry PR nightmare.

Japan: Floats Wind Power Plan

Japan looks to floating wind turbines to provide power for the stricken Fukushima region.

EVs Rely On Fleet Markets

The auto industry holds that the success of electric vehicles will rest on fleet purchases rather than individual consumer choices.

Germany: More Wind Power Investment

Investors respond to rising German demand for wind power.

The Little Engines That Could

The manufacture of small wind turbines is creating domestic jobs.

Australia: Carbon Tax Attacks

The vote for the Gillard government carbon tax plan facesstiff political opposition.

Off Shore Wind - Bring It On

Let's hear it for the Long Island off-shore wind power project!

Skewering Obama's Ozone Decision

Grist calls Obama's decision to pull the plug on EPA ozone rules "a crass political move".

What's Happening Here

Forensic meteorology seeks to explain place-specific extreme weather events as new normals begin to appear.

September 12, 2011

Ars Longa But Recycle Those CDs

Love your music collection but hate those old CDs and want to go green? here's one option.

Warsaw Goes To Durban For Brussels

Coal and shale gas-reliant Poland will represent the EU at upcoming international climate talks in Durban, South Africa.

After Solyndra

After the flame-out of Solyndra, the PV maker with $535 million in federal loan guarantees, what are the prospects for two other high profile, green energy start-ups?

Climate Change And Cosmic Rays

Since CERN research finds a link between cosmic rays and formation of molecules that make up clouds, why don't these rays explain our changing climate?

Defending Obama's Ozone Decision

Bloomberg New weighs in on the side of the Obama Administration decision to delay on new ozone rules until 2013.

Walking In Cities v Walkable Cities

While large numbers of people use their feet to get around East African cities, that's not a measure of walkable cities.

Congress Tears Into Green

Start the week off right,find out what's in store at Congressional environment and energy hearings.

Ahem - About That Infrastructure Bank Idea

What could possibly be wrong with create public-private capital partnerships to improve America's aging infrastructure?

France: One Dead At Nuke Waste Site

One death and four injuries are reported at a nuclear waste treatment site near Avignon, France.

Canada: Beyond Green Roofs

Green walls provide the latest dimension in sustainable building in Vancouver, Canada.

September 11, 2011

Lost Jobs Found

The NY Post claims green jobs have been lost in California during the Obama years, but the Brookings Institute finds real eco-job growth for the 2003-2009 period.

Two-Wheeled Optimism

Three cheers for the bike lanes rolled out by NYC's Transportation Commissioner and the legacy they could create.

September 09, 2011

Natural Gas, Say It Ain't So

New research finds that replacing coal burning with natural gas does almost nothing to slow down global warming.

No Green Tea

The Economist headline say it all about findings of a Yale survey of Americans' climate change opinions.

Energy Efficiency Program: No Margin For Error

Stimulus funds for home energy efficiency upgrades run into a buzz saw of some bad contractors, short time lines and political hostility.

China: Magnet For US Clean Energy Money

A US private equity firm plans to raise a Chinese yuan-denominated clean energy fund to take advantage of rising urban concerns about energy and pollution.

Binghamton: The Opposite Of Dry

In just one year, Binghamton, New York gets socked with two once-in-a-century floods.

Houston: The Opposite Of Cool

The heat in Houston Texas this summer rates as a once-in-10,000-year event, but what does that mean?

Arctic: The Big Summer Melt

In summer 2011, scientists detect record levels of melting Arctic sea ice and explain why that is important.

Up and Down, Up and Down

Now, New York City can shrink its carbon footprint through a utility program that makes high rise elevators energy efficient.

September 08, 2011

Illuminating Energy Politics

Grist warns that energy politics is not like graduate school, winning is disconnected from having the best argument.

WTC: Dust To Dust

The highly alkaline cement and gypsum in the dust from the destroyed World Trade Center was responsible for respiratory distress, while the contents and health effects of the disaster's airborne gases may never be known.

Good News At Last

Americans are consuming less electricity at home, down .5% a year, even as they plug in more gadgets.

Google's Carbon Footprint

For the first time, Google reveals the size of its annual carbon footprint, 1.5 million tons and a typical Google user share is 1.46 kilograms.

EU Seeks Energy Deal Powers

The EU seeks the power to review pending energy and energy infrastructure deals of its member nations with non-EU governments.

FBI Raids Failed PV Maker

The FBI shows up at Solyndra, the bankrupt solar panel maker, with a search warrant.

Making A Green Industrial Revolution

Testifying before Congress, the Center for American Progress offers concrete ideas for drawing on the nation's resources to launch a green industrial revolution.

Nuke Plant As Earthquake Lab

Since there are no rules for assessing earthquake damage to US nuclear power plants, the post-quake inspection at the Virginia North Anna plant offers a real world experiment.

Japan: Things Go Better With Coke

Coca Cola vending machines in Japan get eco-friendly by cutting energy use 70% with LED lighting.

Solar Loans Not Dead Yet

The Department of Energy provides $344 million in loan guarantees to put solar panels on homes at 124 military bases.

Up In The Air

UK scientists plan to launch a geo-engineering experiment that uses a high altitude, water-spraying balloon and determine its climate cooling potential. However, the US GAO throws cold water on the entire enterprise.

September 07, 2011

Consider The Onion

The Onion makes you laugh until you cry on the subject of doing something about climate change.

Spend The Money Already

An Energy Department audit reveals that nearly $900 million in federal stimulus grants for energy efficiency and renewables remains uncommitted past the program deadline date.

Canada: Help Wanted

Canada has a message for unemployed US construction workers, come north to get a job drilling in the oil-sands fields.

UK: The Sustainablity v Economy Debate

Hear echoes of the US brawl over environmental protection and economic development in the UK's sustainability debate and Einstein's quip, "The thinking it took to get us into this mess is not the same thinking that is going to get us out of it.'

Protect Us From Fracking And Hurricanes

According to City and State First Read "*When the Department of Environmental Conservation releases its complete report on hydrofracking today, Ramsay Adams of Catskill Mountainkeeper has a burning question for state officials: In the wake of Tropical Storm Irene's rampage across New York, where does the report stipulate how to protect gas wells against the increasingly common threat of flooding?" Link to DEC report.

Heads Up Or Heads Off

After President Obama abruptly offed the EPA smog rule, what are insiders saying about Lisa Jackson's shelf life at the agency?

Big Bucks For Green Tech

Worldwide, private-sector investments in green tech tops $400 billion this year, but more institutional investors are needed to solidify markets.

Energy And EPA On the Hill

Expect fire-fights over energy policy and the EPA as a warm-up to upcoming budget wars in Congress.

City As Infra-Lab

New Mexico is home to The Center, a city-scale experiment in developing and testing next-generation infrastructure.

September 06, 2011

Wind Turbines: Hurricane Survivors

A survey of northeast wind turbines in the path of Hurricane Irene finds they survived the ordeal and are in use.

What Made Controversial Story Bad Science

Climate scientist lays out the errors in a controversial skeptics' article that lead to a journal editor's resignation.

Climate Worries US Agriculture

Agriculture experts in the mid-west worry about the impact of climate variability on crop production and US ability to feed the world.

Bolivia: Let's Walk

To raise environmental awareness, Bolivia celebrated Pedestrian Day by banning two million cars from city streets.

Details Of PV Maker Bankruptcy

What drove Solydra, the PV panel maker with $535 million in federal loan guarantees, into Chapter 11 bankruptcy?

Pakistan v India

According to Wikileaks, Pakistan was miffed because it believes India got a more important role at the Copenhagen climate talks.

Bangkok: Sinking Feeling

The prospect of Bangkok's ocean inundation by 2030 lead to proposals and denials.

Waving A Red Cape At Green

In the most-e-mailed story of the day, New York Times columnist David Brooks charges that jobs won't come from government efforts to grow a sustainable energy economy. Compare this with The Nation columnist Eric Alterman who sees the death of Keynesian economics in Obama's policies. Another observer digs into the shifting market dynamics for PV makers and finds winners and losers. Nancy Anderson suspects that the lack of federal climate law just might have something to do with the business failures Brooks cites.

September 05, 2011

An Image Of Irene's Aftermath

This NASA photo shows sediments washed down the Hudson River into New York Harbor coming from Hurricane Irene's upstate flooding.

Evidence-Based Regulations

A next-generation battle shapes up over weighing the costs and benefits of environmental regulations.

September 03, 2011

Climate Science Editor Goofs, Quits

The editor of a presigious climate science journal resigns, taking responsibility for publishing a skeptic's paper that did not meet quality standards.

September 02, 2011

South Africa: New Fracking Front

The controversy over hydrofracking for natural gas spreads to the semi-arid South African home of the Khoisan people.

A Thought For Labor Day

"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea." Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Canada: US Loan Guarantees For Solar Project

With $455 million in US Export-Import Bank loan guarantees, two thin-film photovoltaic plants will be built in Ontario.

Modern Alchemy

Researchers combine two inexpensive chemicals to make hydrogen to power fuel cells from nothing but sunlight.

Republicans Seek Energy Loan Papers

Congressional Republicans demand the paperwork for the $535 million federal loan guarantee to Solyndra, a bankrupt PV maker.

Germany: Nuclear Burial

With plans to shut all its nuclear reactors, will Germany bury its highly radioactive waste in northern salt mines or build other permanent repositories?

Obama's Ozone Hole

President Obama orders the withdraw the draft NAAQS rules to regulate ozone. Now ask yourself this question.

Uprepared For The New Normal

A 'perfect storm' of events and political trends stops the country from preparing to face the weather's new normals.

Resurrecting PACE

PACE bonds, an innovative way to finance energy efficiency upgrades that was left for dead by the Federal Housing Administration, may be saved by a federal court ruling.

Canadian Oil Pipeline: Con and Pro-ish

Mark Bittman distills the anti Keystone XL oil pipeline position while Michael Levi offers lukewarm support.

Blue Skies

A survey of US insurance companies finds the industry is doing little to address and assess climate impact risks for business.

Good News On Jobs (Really)

In contrast to another month of dismal new job numbers, green industry clustering shows signs of economic growth.

September 01, 2011

Diesel Is So Last Year

New York Fashion Week 2011 cuts its reliance on dirty, smelly, noisy diesel-powered generators, from nine to seven.

UK: Economist Advises On Green Bank

Climate economist and former IMFer, Lord Nicholas Stern, will advise the UK government on establishing a Green Investment Bank.

Not Your Typical Bureaucrat

Chris Ward, Executive Director of the Port Authority, stirs things up in a speech calling the political assault on US infrastructure funding the "deterioration of the social contract", while he memorializes 9/11.

Hybrid Collaboration

Ford and Toyota team up to develop a line of hybrid light trucks and SUVs.

Japan: Energy Limits End Ahead Of Schedule

Japan will lift restrictions on Tokyo's big energy consumers ahead of schedule due to cooler weather and supply improvements.

Adapt At Scale

Acknowledging the need for climate change adaptation is the first step, but making impact forecasts at the local scale is a big challenge.

Australia: Demystifying Murdoch's Media Climate

A climate scientist takes aim at the climate-deniers in Murdoch's 167 newspaper-strong media empire.