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December 31, 2011

Court Slows Smog Rule

A federal court delays roll-ouf of an EPA rule to cut smog-making emissions from power plants

December 30, 2011

Last Words For 2011: Vaclav Havel

Vaclav Havel (d. 2011) closes out the year

Don't Forget 2011

Does this video recap of record-breaking weird weather in 2011 makes you look forward to 2012?

Drowning In Carbon Credits

The glut of CER credits in the EU carbon market combined with Durban climate talk inaction depresses prices and puts the system at risk

Financing Fracking

One way to peer into the future of hydrofracking is to look at the corporate bond market

Cuomo In 2012

Get some year-end hints about Governor Cuomo's 2012 sustainability, energy and transportation agenda

NY's Newest Green MBA

Working from the premise that business solutions are critical to solving environmental problems, Bard College launches a sustainability-rooted MBA program

December 29, 2011

Public Health Costs Of Climate Chaos

Whatever the specifics of a changing climate, factoring in its public health impacts steeply raises the cost of inaction

DOE: Picking Winners

DOE $41.6 million stimulus fund investment in clean energy fuels cells starts to pay off

Buying Newt

A look at corporate contributions in 2008 might offer insight into Newt Gingrich's pivot on climate and energy issues

Brazil: Buying Wind

Brazil orders 254 MW in new wind turbine capacity for delivery by 2014

No Crash Test Dummy

Buying a car? Consider the injury rate of passengers in accidents involving hybrids compared to gas-powered vehicles

UK: Investing in 15x20

Since April 1, 2011, renewable power projects have attracted $3.8 billion in the UK, but critics say this is not enough and call future funding uncertain

Wind: Wins and Losses

A top Massachusetts court upholds a long-term power purchase agreement for Cape Wind but a pending Delaware wind project loses its purchase commitments

Adjusting To Climate Chaos

Get acquainted with efforts around the world to cope with challenging climate changes

Methane Mysteries

Methane is known to be a potent GHG, but why its atmospheric concentrations change is not well-known

December 28, 2011

A Different Us v Them

To understand the uproar at the over the chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, don't think Democrat v Republican

Hydrofracking Happy In Canada

Western Canada speeds down the road to becoming a capital of hydrofracking for fossil fuel extraction

Japan: Sun Signs

Although Japan's CO2 output soared this year, there are hints of solar-powered alternatives on the way

Denmark: Down Year For Wind Turbines

Vestas, the giant wind turbine maker, has had a bad year, facing low cost foreign competition and depressed European demand

Vermont: 90x50

Consider the Vermont plan for getting 90% of its energy from renewable sources by 2050

India: Fuggedaboutit

India announces it will not sign any binding agreement to cut its GHG emissions

Fracking Photo-Op

A snapshot of the conflicting impacts of hydrofracking in one New York community

UK: Low Carbon v Fossil Future

Predictions are the cost of developing a low-carbon energy future is close to the cost of a fossil fuel-filled future.

NYC's Green Build List 2011

Who made it on this top ten New York City green real estate stories for 2011?

December 27, 2011

NYC's Newest Green Laws

Mayor Bloomberg signs a raft of green bills, including two that make NYC a more bike-friendly and healthier city.

Research Surprise

Scientists find that warming temperatures may slow the spread of malaria by making the killer parasite milder.

A Plea For Supporting Science

With so much still to learn about climate and earth sciences and the need to do data-gathering research, now more than ever, research funding is key to scholars, decision-makers and citizens alike.

Looking For Leadership

Former Senator and Clinton-era official Tim Wirth calls on President Obama to to show some leadership on climate action if he gets re-elected.

Climate Needs B-2-B Strategy

Can businesses who get green become the key to unlocking the resistance of other businesses to act on climate change?

China: Super-Sized Coal Plant

China plans to build Asia's largest coal-burning power plant in the port city of Beihai.

Bank Talks Green But Backs Fossils

Despite its renewables commitment, the bulk of the European Investment Bank energy investments still go to fossil fuel projects.

The Cable Guy

Buried in the human interest story about the man who dives to the bottom of the Hudson River to lay new cable, is the infrastructure story of what that cable does and who owns it

China: Two Ways On High Speed Rail

China continues development of new ultra-high speed experimental trains while it cuts back on building new capacity

Past Performance Is No Guarantee

Although life on Earth has always bounced back after radical changes in its climate, this time it could be different

December 25, 2011

The Urban Forest In Winter

An urban ecologist's final observation for the year about a Manhattan forest

December 23, 2011

Benchmarking Bragging Rights

A four-star review of the NYC Greener Greater Buildings Plan and the latest on Local Law 84, its benchmarking law

States Unclog Path To Solar Growth

Hawaii and California reconsider utility rules that limit the growth of roof-top solar installations and other forms of distributed generation

China: Down On Aviation Carbon Fee

Hostile to The EU imposing an aviation carbon emissions fee, China threatens trade retaliation

Canada: Dreaming Of A White Christmas

Unlike the famous holiday tune, Canadians are likely to have more green Christmases

India: Getting Urban

Anticipating a rising tide of urban growth in India, transit options will be key to sustainability and the government seeks to relaunch infrastructure development

A Holdiay Wish - Seal Your AC

Tis the season to learn the best way to seal up your window-mounted air conditioners and save on home energy costs

From The Halls Of Montezuma

Us Marines can now rely on solar power when deployed in remote field locations

In The Smart Grid Crystal Ball

An industry optimist sees significant smart grid global growth along with renewables capability and security concerns in 2012

UK: Transmitting To Tomorrow

UK authorities approve a low-voltage electric transmission network designed for renewable energy sources

December 22, 2011

Nuke Design Gets The OK

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission signs off on the design of the Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear power plant, but a critic calls the decision premature.

The Quebec-California Connection

Quebec and California team up on a carbon cap & trade program through the Western Climate Initiative

A Sure Thing In 2012

Even without government enforcement, consumers will have a wide spectrum of energy efficient light bulbs to choose from in 2012

Science At Work

Another in a series that explores how science gets done, focusing this time on how paradigms get shifted.

Not A Jobs Pipeline

What's wrong with the argument that the Keystone XL tar-sands pipeline would be a big jobs generator?

Philadelphia: Soil Kitchen

Catching up on some of the niftiest urban eco-innovators of the year, this one's from Futurefarmers

In Case You Missed 2011

List of top environmental events in 2011, not much good cheer here

December 21, 2011

A Bike Rider's Quest

Would the local sale of Amsterdam-type bikes in New York City encourage more people to pedal?

EPA: Safer to Inhale

Moving to cut emissions of airborne mercury by 90%, along with other toxic power plant pollutants, EPA issues its long-awaited Clean Ar Act rule while opponents grumble

2011: Smart Grid Trends

Follow the year's five top developments in the smart grid sector

Public Hearings On NYC Zone Green

Public hearings will begin in January on NYCs greener zoning proposals

Can't See The Forest For The Trees

To satisfy the state's timber industry, Maine's Governor bans LEED ratings from use in government buildings

Fukushima: Reality Is Bad Enough

Scientific American debunks bad science that links US deaths to the Fukushima nuclear disaster

Lord Stern's Contradiction

Dig deeper into the meaning of UK economist Nicholas Stern's insight on the contradiction between climate action and the market vale of fossil resources

Reflecting On Energy Predictions

Review six energy predictions made this year and consider their merits

UK: Predicting An Efficiency Fiasco

Why does the goal of upgrading the energy efficiency of 14 million British homes over the coming decade appear doomed to failure?

EU: Aviation Carbon Fees Upheld

Europe's highest court upholds a rule imposing carbon fees on airlines landing in EU member nations

December 20, 2011

Beyond Petroleum - Not

Fossil fuel giant BP quits the solar energy business

Canada: Not So Clean

Newly released documents reveal that official Canadian claims about the environmentally acceptability of tar-sands oil were less than true

NY: Zero Sum For Fracking Oversight

Governor Cuomo's initial budget proposal for 2012 contains no money for oversight of natural gas drilling [Greenwire $ub]

US To EU: We Won't Pay For Plane Emissions

The US threatens to retaliate against the EU for requiring airlines to pay a fee on their carbon emissions.

Google Earth-Friendly

Google to buy four California solar power plants, bringing its sector investment up to $915 million

Credit Strains In Transit

With the rollback of a 2009 tax dedicated to the MTA and no replacement sources tapped, Moody's warns about 'credit strain' pressures on transit revenue bonds

On The Bronx Waterfront

MIT students and Bronx residents start planning for eco-puncture, waterfront access and infrastructure adaptation on the borough's waterfront

600,000 Homeowners Save $$$

Now that federal federal stimulus funds have weatherized 600,00 low-income homes, owners can save $400 a year on heating and cooling bills

Tracking Fracking

Scientific American creates an on-line resource to track ongoing inquiries and debates in the hydrofracking sphere


December 19, 2011

Fight Or Flight

The international fight over new GHG emission fees for the aviation industry in unlikely to be resolved by a court ruing expected this week

2012 Energy And Climate Batttle Fronts

Start making lists of the hottest federal energy policy and GHG emissions controls fights coming up in 2012

Moving The Green Dial

Consider the tactics of an emerging generation of eco-activists.

Behind The Shale-Gas Boom

Think it was the miracle of market forces that propelled the shale-oil boom? Think again

Gone Soon

Check out this list of energy efficiency federal tax credits that disappear on New Year's Eve

Top Eco-News Of The Year

Check out this list of the best in environmental journalism for 2011

Air Toxics Rule A Lightening Rod

Even before its official release, the new EPA rule cutting mercury, acid gases and particulates emissions from coal-fired power plants has foes and friends

Ireland: The Salt Water Solution

Zap salted water with electricity and get a low-cost, non-toxic, energy efficient industrial-strength cleanser

EU: Life Raft For Carbon Trading

With Euro carbon emissions permits trading at levels too low to matter, the EU considers market interventions while a London-based low-carbon investment firm faces the end

Cities: The Other 90%

An exhibit of practical, socially-conscious urban interventions from Caracas to Durban and more is reviewed here

December 16, 2011

Take This Seriously, Please

Grist's Dave Roberts explores the tone, tenor and thresholds needed to get Americans serious about climate action

Newt's Back Pages

A short recap of Newt Gingrich's comings and goings on climate change and eco-stewardship

Australia: Hold The Applause

The new Australian carbon scheme gets a skeptical once-over

No Tar Sands For Top Banana

Chiquita Brands pledges to shun the use of energy derived from Canadian tar sands.

Russia To Canada - Me Too

Russia applauds Canada's withdrawal from the Kyoto climate treaty and announces it won't make any new carbon-cutting commitments

Electricity: Paying More And Using More

US wallets shrink as utility bills soar, but consumers don't cut back on their electricity use

Everybody Talks About The Weather

Looking for an eco year end wrap-up? Here's the US weather catastrophe slide show

Old Mines, New Wind Power

Abandoned iron ore pits in Minnesota could be used as hydroelectric batteries for storing and dispatching wind power

UK: Solar Challenge And Nuclear Decisions Time

A UK court rules that solar power companies can challenge government cuts to subsidies, while a decision on construction of a new nuclear power plant is imminent

Watered-Down Oil Pipeline Bill Passes

Congress passes legislation that increases penalties and tightens some operating standards for fossil-fuel pipelines, but critics see serious safety omissions.

California 33x20

California advances toward getting 33% of its electricity from renewables in 2020 by approving the utility purchase of another 444 MW of solar power

December 15, 2011

Seeing Sun Dots

Power from quantum dots of semiconductor material could be the lower-cost, high-efficiency future for solar energy.

NYC: An Energy Efficieny First

The NYC Energy Efficiency Corporation makes its first investment in the energy efficiency upgrade of a 1958 office building in lower Manhattan

UK: Yawning At Climate Change

In 2011, opinion polling finds that climate change drops off the list of top British concerns

Greens Bark At Toothless Proposals

Green groups criticize European Commission proposals to make natural gas a 'transition' fuel on the way to a 97% renewable target in 2050 as lacking binding goals

The Competitive Edge

At the Department of Energy Washington headquarters, the building is divided into zones competing for monthly energy efficiency improvement awards [Climate Wire $]

Congressional Cuts

Here's the latest on what gets cut and remains intact of EPA powers and funds in Congress's budget bill

Laffer Smiles On Carbon Tax

Reagonomics guru,Arthur Laffer calls for a carbon tax to replace the income tax

Out Of Town

With climate change adding to the peril of desertification in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, does innovative reforestation stand a chance? [New Yorker $]

December 14, 2011

EU: Cheap Carbon

The price of EU carbon emissions permits hits a new low

Driving Low-Carbon Innovation

Don't miss these four case-studies of leading corporate low-carbon innovators

Canada: Petro-State

Understanding the breadth of Canada's petro-economy is key to the country's exit from the Kyoto treaty

Bloomberg To Obama: Cut Mercury Emissions

Citing the toxic health impacts of mercury emissions from coal-burning power plants, Mayor Bloomberg urges the President to regulate them now

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

The latest media sighting of the shuttered solar panel maker Solyndra is that a Delaware grand jury is investigating how the firm handled its federal loan guarantee

Stern On Durban: One Thumb Up

US climate negotiator Todd Stern spells out his progress assessment from the Durban COP17 meeting & Abigail Borah's POV

MA Makes RGGI Work

The much maligned northeast carbon cap and trade program, RGGI, proves its economic multiplier effect in Massachusetts and New Jersey too.

Pre-Copenhagen, Post-Durban

Written prior to the 2009 Copenhagen climate treaty meeting, this Rx for making a fossil fuel-free world still packs a punch after the 2011 Durban gathering.

December 13, 2011

Australia: Dissimilar Cities

Urban ecologists start to rethink the one-size-fits-all model of how cities grow and the eco-impacts they make

Old Green Is News

LEED certification for existing buildings outstrips LEED for new building by 15 million square feet.

Sustainable Business In 2012

Triple bottom line prospects for 2012? Not so good

Portugual: Unplugged

Nissan backs out of plans to build an EV battery plant in Portugal, saying it's got enough existing production capacity.

Anthropocene Optimists

For some, living in a world made hotter by humans will be the incentive for the next wave of technological innovation

Italy: Bank Backs Renewables

In 2011, an Italian bank invested $2 billion in renewable power projects in Italy and Eastern Europe, with growth expected in Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey next year.

Testing, Testing

GSA is the federal agency with $4.8 billion to develop innovations in testing the energy efficiency of the government-owned buildings and vehicles

Another Fracking Profit Center

Companies that supply workers and equipment to handle tainted water from gas-extracting hydrofrackers are thriving

France: Nuclear Company Loses Billions

Areva, the giant French nuclear power utility, loses 1.6 billion euros as post-Fukushima uranium prices plummet

December 12, 2011

Fresh Greens

The latest on what New York City's got on tap to make its zoning rules an instrument for - not an obstacle to - a greener Gotham, greenhouses included

Durban: Post-Mortem

What did the media say about the outcome and meaning of COP17, the Durban climate meeting?

Build A Better Light Bulb

Bulb manufacturers step up to the energy efficient lighting challenge with investments and new jobs

Legal Risks For Wind Tech

Intellectual property laws can be a land mine for wind turbine makers

Perry Stumbles Over Solydra

While criticizing the President's energy policy, Rick Perry lashes out at the 'country' of Solydra

Cabon Price Slumps On Euro Woes

Ignoring some bright spots at the Durban climate talks, EU carbon prices sag under the weight of ongoing euro turmoil

Variable Speed Rail Policy

A good national rail policy includes support for both conventional and high-speed service

Beyond Durban, Get Urban

The best ideas to come out of the Durban climate meeting focus on cities as the locus of sustainable action

The Sahara: Beyond Hybrid Power

Visitors to a solar-natural gas hybrid electricity generator in Egypt see signs of a solar-powered future based in the Sahara

Incoming Fire

Ten pillars of federal environmentalism at risk over the next twelve months

December 10, 2011

Durban Blog

As the time for a Durban climate agreement dwindles, what is the current state of play?

December 09, 2011

Solar Circumnavigation

While the Earth circles the Sun, a solar-powered catamaran is circling the Earth.

Silver Lining For Fate Of Climate

Will the hot international race for efficient low carbon technologies and market share do more to cool the climate than UN negotiations?

Immerse In Blue Carbon

The dynamic role of oceans in storing and releasing CO2 comes into climate science focus.

Learning More By Using Less

New York City students, working with teachers and building supers, can compete in a program with a cash award for the best way to cut their school's carbon footprint.

Architects' Green Their Own Nest

The architecture firm HOK get a Platinum LEED rating for the commercial interior renovations of its own NYC office.

Climate Goals Put In Doubt By Market Values

Climate economist Nicholas Stern sees a contradiction between public climate policy goals and the market value of fossil fuel companies based on estimates of underground reserves.

Last Chance For Sustainability

In what could be the last such funding for a long time, HUD awards $97 million in sustainable planning grants to a rainbow of regional and local projects

Africa: Urban Green

Find out who stars and who lags on the African Green Cities Index.

Teens Sue For Their Future

Youth sue the feds and nine states to compel governments to uphold their responsibility to protect atmospheric resources in trust for future generations.

December 08, 2011

EPA: Don't Drink The Water

EPA finds evidence that aquifer groundwater in Wyoming is contaminated with hydrofracking fluids.

Cuomo Greens Prospect Park

The Prospect Park Alliance receives $2,687,000 from Governor Cuomo to replace an ice-skating rink and building with a LEED-certified recreational facility with 'green roofs', while restoring historic landscaping. [Source: Open for Business: Strategic Plan & Regional Project Awards, Dec. 2011]

Klein's Climate Message

After Naomi Klein attended a Heartland Institute conference, she wrote about climate politics in The Nation and followed it up in an Dot Earth dialog with Andy Revkin

Durban: Redefining The Road Map

The G77, composed of more 130 nations and China, warms to a climate road map without a set destination while the US dithers

Coal On The Move

As China becomes a market for US coal, a fight over new West Coast shipping terminals heats up.

December 07, 2011

China: Bill Gates Partnership

China and Bill Gates explore new technologies to jointly develop next-generation nuclear power plants

Big Retailers Trend To Mass Transit

Pivoting away from auto-dependent big-box stores, major national retailers seek more mass-transit links

Fixing The Volt

GM says its near to solving the electric battery problems that lead the Volt car to go up in flames.

Buffet Buys California Sun Power

A utility owned by Warren Buffet buys a 550 MW California solar power project for $2 billion, no federal loan guarantees needed.

Can't Get Here From There

Despite job and population growth that is concentrated in the outer boroughs, New York's public transit options haven't kept up with the trend.

Blogging The Smart City

Take a virtual tour of big ideas and trends at the Barcelona Smart City Expo 30

Durban: Downbeat Tone

UN Secretary -General Ban Ki-Moon is not optimistic about the outcome of the Durban climate treaty meeting.

Climate Change Poses Health Dangers

It won't affect everyone the same way, but the impacts of climate change will raise the world's health risks levels

Beijing: Don't Inhale

Health-hazard levels of ultra fine particles pollute the air - outside and indoors - in Beijing.

December 06, 2011

Getting Up To Grid Speed

The state-based realities of the US electric grid, with its 1930's rules lack the planning and regulatory coordination to satisfy 21st century needs.

Rethinking The Apple

Reflect on why the New York City Zoning Code is up for a greener make-over and at the age of 50

South Africa: Green Street Now

If you've been to Cato Manor in Durban South Africa, this story will make you glad and if not, it will still make you glad.

Japan: Demolition Derby

A Prius was the only car to survive a highway pile-up that destroyed Ferraris, Mercedez and a Lamborghini.

A Class Of One

Is UK columnist George Monbiot the only media environmentalist who supports nuclear power?

Payroll Tax-Eco Funding Linkage

Republicans bring fast-tracking Keystone XL pipeline approval and blocking EPA industrial boiler emissions rules into the Congressional fight over extending the the payroll tax. EEnews $ub

UK: Upfront Power Payments Pinch

The demand of UK for upfront payments to supply new manufacturing businesses slows economic growth.

December 05, 2011

India: Going Once, Going Twice...

India drives down the cost of solar power by compelling companies to auction their developments, bringing project prices into coal territory.

Zero Learning

A new net-zero carbon emissions school in Los Angeles starts by being 70% more energy efficient than similar facilities and it's LEED Gld too.

Up On Your ToEs

Scientists develop a method to distinguish the "noise" of natural climate variations from the Time of Emergence (ToE) of climate change signals around the planet.

Billions For Better Buildings

The Obama Administration announces $2 billion to make current federal buildings more energy efficient and another $2 billion for greening universities, hospitals and private properties.

Power Ads

A quick history of advertising for electric and power says a lot about how we live.

The Lullaby Of Birdland

Songbirds change their tune in urban settings.

Schwarzenegger's Advice

Get over Solydra already, ex-Governor Schwarzenegger's advises GOP Presidential aspirants, and focus on how the US can support new energy sources.

Some ABCs of Renewable Power

How much renewable power is used in the US, where does it come from and other fundamentals can be found here

Durban: some Must, Others May

While stipulating a new international climate treaty should keep required carbon cuts for industrialized nations, similar targets should be voluntary for the rest says China.

UK: Worry On Green Investment Bank

The future of the UK Green Investment Bank is clouded by funding cuts, allegations of pork-barrel politics and more

UK: Carbon Comparison Aviation

Proposed legislation would allow travelers to compare standardized carbon emissions data among UK airlines when buying tickets.

December 04, 2011

Starting To Sweat

Global carbon emissions set new records in 2010, up 5.9% in just one year.

December 03, 2011

Get Passive

Ultra-low energy using housing design makes an appearance in the New York City apartment market

December 02, 2011

Re-Engineering The Climate

Weigh some pros and cons of geo-engineering as a solution to climate change.

Big Changes For Natural Gas

Industry forecasters predict the US will become the world's leading natural gas exporter by 2010, although 90% of production would be consumed domestically.

Cities For The 21st Century

Gurgaon, a mushrooming IT center at the edge of New Delhi, is just one of sixteen cities that will matter most in the 21st Century.

Offsets Undermine Carbon Markets

The problems with measuring and monitoring carbon offsets in the Alberta, Canada emissions trading scheme are not uncommon.

December 01, 2011

It Will Cost You

An accurate calculation of the subsidies given to different energy industry sectors depends on who you ask.

Energy Software In Court

Two home energy reporting software developers are locked in a court battle over copyright claims.

Solar Power: 33x60

Solar power, in all its forms, could deliver one-third of the world's power needs by 2060, according to the International Energy Agency.

Africa: Tomorrow Is Here Now

From Cairo to Capetown, African nations are already feeling the impacts of a more chaotic climate.

See Delaware Now

Due to rising sea levels and sinking land levels, Delaware is shrinking, with its coastal wetlands the first to go.

South Africa: Solar Prospects

South Africa, now relying on coal for 90% of its electricity, eyes creation of 9,400 MW of solar power by 2030.

Betting On Solar

In considering today's investment options, solar power shines.