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News & Views Curation

January 31, 2012

Hot and Salty

Molten salt will be used at three California solar power plants to store power and boost output if regulators approve

Do It In Brooklyn

Brooklyn gets its first e-waste recycling drop-off center

Battery Dud Isn't Doomsday

Time for some background and perspective on the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of the federally-funded EV battery maker

Japan: Nuke Plant Stress Tests

Most UN experts approve the stress tests related to restarting nuclear power plants in Japan

India: Seaweed Power

A biofuel enzyme maker partners with an Indian firm to make ethanol from seaweed

Put Your Green Best Foot Forward

Why the best product pitches don't flag the brand's environmental pluses

Why Republicans Love Solyndra

Republicans consider a contempt of Congress vote against the White House over the bankruptcy of PV maker Solyndra

Chu Chewed Up

Carl Sagan's famous quote captures an essence of DOE Secretary Chu's Washington years, “Our planet is a lonely speck. In all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.”

Useful Knowledge

Chicago leads the way on building an e-platform for the city and with its citizens

January 30, 2012

Hot Volcanos, Chilled Climate

How did a spate of volcanic eruptions in 1250-1300 AD lead to the Earth's Little Ice-Age?

For Your Consideration

Here's the WSJ anti-climate science editorial that's making the rounds and the pro-climate science letter in Science the Journal refused to publish and don't overlook the economic angle

Oceanic Acid Indigestion

Trend data on ocean acidification, an outcome of rising CO emissions, is getting clearer and the implications are not good

See Climate Change

Watch the NASA video map of global temperature trends starting in 1880

Crimping CA Eco-Leadership

A keystone of California's climate policy -- its low-carbon fuel standards -- faces numerous obstacles

How To Slash Energy Bills 15-30%

US apartment dwellers could save $3.4 billion annually in electric and natural gas fuel costs through energy efficient retrofits

Poland: Fracking Fan

Taking a different tack than many EU nations, Poland embraces hydrofracking for shale gas extraction

UK: Wind Power Money Jumps In

The UK is seeing an investment surge in on-shore wind turbine projects

India: Sun Spots

India will develop a solar atlas for pinpointing the country's best places to site solar power facilities

January 27, 2012

Rx For Climate Change

If the $409 billion in annual global production and consumption subsidies for fossil fuels was ended, we would advance half way to cutting enough GHG emissions to keep the planet tolerably cool

Singapore: Insuring Its Future

Singapore develops defenses against the threat of climate-induced flooding from the South China Sea

Obama Stays The Green Course

Turning his back on political fallout from the Solyndra bankruptcy, the President sticks with his commitment to building a green energy economy. Meanwhile, some firms producing or using natural gas could be the biggest winners

Oil: Peak, Plateau or None-Of-The-Above

Another round in the peak oil prize fight BTW, don't skip the readers comments & a rebuttal

Berlin: Cleaning Up The Police

Berlin adds eleven EV and hybrid vehicles to its Police Department fleet

Capping RGGI

RGGI, the 10 state the carbon cap and trade program, cuts down the number of available emissions allowances

Bloomberg's Slow On Solar

The Manhattan Borough President says Mayor Bloomberg is a solar power slowpoke and proposes to put PV on 1,094 school roofs

EU: When Cheap Is No Bargain

A leaked EU report finds the price of carbon emissions permits is too low to stimulate climate-friendly investment, but makes no recommendations

The Next Big Thing

A California workshop might be incubating the electric storage technology that could change the rules of the power game

January 26, 2012

Speed Dialers For Renewables

Low expectations of Congressional action on the President's energy agenda is a safe bet, but panels of citizen speed-dialers gave the Obama SOTU speech high marks on solar and wind power proposals

China: Wind Power Piracy

Delve into allegations of industrial espionage involving China and US wind turbine technology

Light Up

The energy efficient light bulb revolution is happening here and now

Money Gusher For Pipeline

Who paid what for the lobbying campaign on the Keystone XL pipeline project

Honest Buildings, Honest

Incubated in NYC, a new website let's you be part of the high performance building and the social media revolutions. Here's one example

Court Gives PACE A Little Lift

PACE, the program for financing building energy upgrades, struck down by the nation's mortgage regulator in 2010, gets a chance to come back

Germany: Rain On Solar Power

Has Germany's pro-PV power policy become a money sinkhole?

Like A Fish Needs A Bicycle, But Better

A new 'bicycle pump' technology uses wave power to create on-shore electricity

January 25, 2012

Why It Will Get Warmer Sooner

NASA pulls together oceans of information to explain predictions of rapid global warming

Energy: He Said, They Said

Here's a summary of the President's remarks on energy in his State of the Union speech and Republican reactions

China: Carbon Cutting By Province

China's Guangndong Province has the biggest carbon-cutting ambitions in a five-year, seven province pilot program

Corporate Sustainability Catches On

The number of corporations that see sustainability providing a profitable competitive advantage is reaching a 'tipping point', with resource-intensive firms as leaders

Sunny California

Although California is not the only state to take up the solar power challenge, it still leads the way

A New Low For RGGI

CO2 emissions hit a record low in states that are part of the RGGI cap and trade program

Paying For The Train

The MTA objects over a $75 million fee payment to New York State as part of a $9 billion bond deal

January 24, 2012

More Inconvenient Truth

Despite a wave of VC investment, technological innovation and federal support, fossil fuels are still king

Eat Out, Stay Warm

NYC eateries are on the way to providing the grease for 20 million gallons of clean burning biodiesel to use in local building boilers (Greenwire $ub]

James Green Bond

Swedish & Japanese firms lead the way on underwriting green bonds issued by large development agencies like the World Bank

State of The Union 2012

Chief energy goals spelled out in the President's 2011 State of the Union address required Congressional action and went nowhere, expect ideas this year that don't need Congress But what does Gingrich say about science?

How To Save The Planet

People should live in cities, here's why

UK: Nuke Plant Nixed

The GE and Hitachi proposal for a plutonium-powered nuclear reactor is by UK authorities

January 23, 2012

Suing San Diego

The state of California sues the city of San Diego because its regional transportation scheme will not cut GHG emissions

Lighting The Way

Confused about which light bulbs to buy or have trouble with the one's you bought already? Ask Umbra

UK: On The Donor Trail

A renewed effort is underway to find out who funds a London-based foundation that disputes human-caused climate change

What A Concept

Renovate vacant foreclosed homes in federal receivership to create thousands of energy-efficient, affordable rentals

DOE: Small Nuke Power Is Next

The US Department of Energy throws it weight and funding behind the development of small modular reactors but where the radioactive waste goes is still a problem

Demark: Lomborg Loses

Facing funding cuts from the Danish government, Bjorn Lomborg's climate change skeptic center is set to close this summer

Plumbing Climate Denial

If today's 'deficit' of scientific literacy does not explain widespread public skepticism about climate change, what does?

Fraught In Florida

Keep an eye on what Republican Presidential primary candidates say in Florida about environmental protection

What NY Greens Want

New York's environmental groups have ten top goals for State action in 2012

A Different Kind Of Hybrid

GE wants its wind turbine customers to buy its solar PV equipment too

Navy Yard Farm

An organic rooftop farm is slated to open at the Brooklyn Navy Yard this summer

2030: When Less Is More

With aggressive code requirements and efficiency technology deployment, the Energy Information Administration projects US commercial and residential consumption could drop below 2005 levels in 2030. Complete report here

January 22, 2012

Too Many Taxis

Consider the unintended consequences of New York City's plan to create 2,000 addition taxi medallions

January 21, 2012

Reality Check

What's a weather disaster? a climate disaster? and when will the signals be seen? [Hint: Don't skip the links]

Wind Power Slump

As developers rush to take advantage of final tax credits for 9 gigawatts of wind-power projects in 2012, the industry's near future looks grim

Another Round On Jevons Paradox

Arguments about the Jevons Paradox, also known as the rebound effect, still enthrall energy efficiency wonks

Spain: Solar After Dark

Two 50 MW solar thermal power plants in Spain generate power long after dark

January 20, 2012

Blues For Blue-Green Alliance

An alliance of unions and environmentalists loses a union member over the group's opposition to the oil sands Keystone pipeline project

Germany: Negative Solar Impact

Solar power stocks skid on global markets as German speeds up cuts to its feed-in tariffs

Efficiency Gamification

The new Green Button Program attracts developers to create competitive energy efficiency apps

Where Do We Go From Here

With the expiration of federal loan guarantees and tax breaks that serve as renewable energy policy, EDF offers ideas about what should we do now

The Canada-California Carbon Link

While the Canadian oil pipeline project is on hold for now, a court decision striking down California's low-carbon rule could allow local refineries to process Alberta's oil sands in the future

Japan: A Teachable Moment

Japan faces the prospect of a long, hot summer with no nuclear power plants on-line

Plan To Respond

The public comment period is open for a draft federal road map indicating how local authorities could adapt to climate change impacts

Hansen Does 2011

Jim Hansen crunches 2011 world weather data (a La Nina year) and finds it the ninth warmest since 1880

Save NYC Wetlands

New York City's got a draft strategy to protect thousands of acres of wetlands threatened by climate change & rising sea levels, development & pollution Public comment period through Feb. 18

See Air Pollution In Beijing

Click through these current photos of Beijing, but don't inhale

January 19, 2012

Who's Watching Now

Sharp increases in US toxics and carbon emissions, despite a slow economic recovery, show the need for more corporate innovation, government monitors and citizen watchdogs


On a per-capita basis, which states rank in the top ten for LEED-certified commercial and institutional buildings in 2011?

Renewables Skeptic

According to fossil fuel giant BP, rapid growth in renewable energy won't be enough to cut GHG emissions and stabilize the global climate by 2030 & predicts North American self-sufficiency in oil and gas

Science (Still) At Work

Understanding that all science is a work-in-progress done by real folks is the first step toward understanding climate science

Conservative Case Against Carbon Tax

Hint: More tax revenue = more government

Shale Gas Is A Wedge Not A Bridge

Experts debate over the claim that shale gas will be a bridge to a renewable energy economy

UK: Too Hot For Hedgehogs

Researchers seek public involvement on a survey to determine whether climate change endangers British hedgehogs

Conferencing In Queens

Governor Cuomo promises that private funds will build the proposed Queens convention center, but who will pay for extra MTA service?

January 18, 2012

California Sun Powers Japanese Tech

A Japanese firm sells 150 MW of thin-film PV panels, using a new low-cost technology, to a California power company

Norway: Puts $$$ Where Mouth Is

Norway promises $300 million a year to help nine African and Asian nations develop efficient power supplies by tapping into the global carbon emissions market

Green Button Data Sharing

California utility customers now can share their electricity data by using a commonly formatted on-line tools by hitting the Green Button

Europe: The Supergrid Challenge

The technical challenge of building a European supergrid capable of conveying renewable power around the continent could be the easy part

US Nixes Canadian Pipeline

The State Department will not approve the Canadian Keystone XL oil pipeline project as now proposed & the reactions roll in

Germany: What $2.15 Will Trillion Buy

Nuclear power plant builder Siemens estimates replacement of nuclear power with other sources will cost Germany $2.15 trillion

Climate-As-Culture War: Round X

Wham, bam etc

Think Like A Market

Examine one piece of the raging debate over the US export of natural gas, potential domestic price volatility

State of Green Business Report

Using twenty indicators, the annual state of green business report paints a dark picture, with just a few few bright spots

Australia: The Year Of Living Efficiently

What was learned from the experience of an Australian family who spent a year in an experimental energy efficient home?

January 17, 2012

Minding The Media

Looks like CBS News fact checkers flubbed their facts on federal loans to clean energy companies

Paradoxical Thinking

If the most powerful forces arrayed against climate action are stagnating national economies, is the opposite true?

Scotland: Trump v Wind Power

Donald Trump threatens to pull the plug on a resort and housing project at his golf course in Scotland if the country proceeds with an offshore wind power project

Contain Your Enthusiasm

Seeing potential in a glut of shipping containers, Starbucks opens a new chapter in green building & urban retail

Climate Deniers' Curriculum

Several states now require science educators to include climate denial if they teach about climate change

Weird Weather At Home

Last year's extreme and destructive weather, climate change-driven or not, reverberates in rising home insurance bills

Funding For Biofuel Study

$17 million in venture capital will go to research on improving the aviation fuel potential of the inedible japtropha plant

China: Urban Milestone

For the first time, the majority of Chinese live in the nation's cities

January 16, 2012

EU: Carbon Market Lows

The market price of EU carbon emission reduction credits hits new lows on fears of system fraud and wider economic woes

China: Urban Carbon Caps

Seven Chinese cities are told to pilot CO2 cutting programs and prepare for emissions trading markets.

January 14, 2012

China 2011: Renewables Hop, Coal Leaps

While China was expanding its renewable power supply, it burned an additional 95 million additional tons of coal in the year of the rabbit

Made In The Shade

Among many high performance features, New York City's new Learning Spring School has sun-screening shades on its facade to keep classrooms cool

Life's Not A Beach

Southeast Florida, home to 5.6 million people, isn't waiting for international climate treaties to undertake its own climate adaptation planning

January 13, 2012

UK: Green Goals Flash Red

The UK's hallmark energy efficiency program 'loft lagging', or in US English 'attic insulation', is headed toward collapse

Experts Disagree

Experts disagree over the impact of falling natural gas prices on energy use, development of renewables and whether prices will stay low

CA Mandates Green Gizmo And More

California to require sale of energy efficient battery chargers and clarifies renewable and energy efficiency rules for utilities

GHG To-Do List

Here's a list of 14 ways to cut methane and soot pollution and make the world a climate-safer place

Decision Pending On VT Nuke Plant

Expect a court decision on Vermont's challenge to federal relicensing of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant

Nuclear Decision Pending In VT

Expect a court decision on Vermont's challenge to federal relicensing of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant

Denmark: Renewable Labor Pains

Vestas, the leading Danish wind turbine maker, lays off 10% of its global labor force

Power Math

If part of the decision about the future of Indian Point pivots on the cost of electricity, why is it hard to do the math?

January 12, 2012

The Holy Grial Of PV

It's complicated to explain, but grid parity, when solar power costs the same as fossil-fueled power, could be coming to New York by 2016

Wind Over Water

Examine the challenges of creating scalable off-shore wind power systems and what UK efforts show

Saskachewan: Could Tax Carbon

The province of Saskatchewan Canada contemplates writing a carbon tax into its revised environmental code

Find That Footprint

Explore the new EPA GHG emissions map starting with New York and scan the horizon too

Gas Glut

With a surge in natural gas supplies, prices sink to a two-year low but production costs don't [WSJ $ub]

Risk of Derailment

Mobility stakes are high in the 2012 election since New York's transit future relies on federal dollars & innovative funding

Some Like It Cheap

Some airlines are eager to get in on free or low-market cost carbon emissions permits, others oppose the entire scheme

January 11, 2012

Forget Jevons Paradox

In case you missed last year's set-to, here's why improved energy efficiency does not result in a rebound in energy use

After Fracking

The gas and oil extraction industry is working on superfracking

Banking On Energy Efficiency

The Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation looks for the value of energy efficiency housing and finds it in The Benefits of Energy Efficiency in Multifamily Underwriting and the Benefits of Energy Efficiency in Multifamily Affordable Housing

Rio: Cities High On Earth Summit List

At the upcoming Rio+20 UN conference, urban sustainability will be a top goal

Follow The Oil And Gas Money

Here's how much money members of Congress got from the oil and gas industry since July 2009 as an industry trade association warns there will be consequences over President Obama's upcoming decision on the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline {EE News $ub]

Business v Brown On Cap And Trade

California businesses denounce Governor Brown's plan to use the carbon cap and trade fee to help fill state budget holes

NJ Stalls On Solar

On the last day of the New Jersey legislative session, a bill to support the state's slumping solar credits market failed to move forward

January 10, 2012

A State Of Success

States find their clean energy fund programs also succeed at stimulating economic growth

Monitor The Media

Is it true that general climate coverage in the media took a nose dive last year or was it just certain topics that took the hit?

France: 6,000 x 2020

A major French utility has the plan but not the financing to build 6,000 MW of off-shore wind power by 2020

One Cheer For The Aviation Carbon Tax

The awkward EU aviation carbon tax could provoke a trade war, but it's better than nothing at all. Meanwhile, a study of the US industry finds big profit opportunities hidden in the EU fine print

Thumb Up For Solar New York

Governor Cuomo's solar New York plan gets a warm editorial embrace

Green Helps Put California In The Black

Governor Brown plans to use half of the annual $1 billion in carbon cap and trade revenue to help reduce the California deficit

Count On It

Energy efficiency saves homeowners and businesses money and payback times are another plus

Bio-Power Grows Up

A process that converts wood chips and crop waste into clean fuel cell energy gets scalable

EU: Carbon Market Slump

Sagging prices and an oversupply emissions credits leads to calls for government intervention in the EU carbon market

A Polymer To Save The Planet

Scientists have created PEI, a low cost polymer that can be used infilters to adsorb CO2 right from the air, and recycled into fuel

January 09, 2012

Fly With Smaller Footprints

German airline Lufthansa launches a regular flight from Frankfort to Washington DC partly fueled with biosynthetic kerosene

Getting Green In Bushwick

Students in Bushwick, Brooklyn learn about urban sustainability by growing food and building a greenhouse

Wind Storm

A study claiming that harnessing wind power adds to climate change stirs up a tempest

Germany: The Political Economy Of PV

Before cutting PV subsidies, Germany set an all time record for installations in December 2011 and every aspect of the industry and government policy is now in play

UK: Derailing High Speed Rail

Government plans for high speed rail service from London to Birmingham face an internal Tory rebellion

Bangalore v India

The solar power potential made possible by the IT revolution centered in Bangalore may find it hard to grow in India

EVs Won't Make A Dent

Industry observers don't expect significant market growth for hybrid and EVs until 2025 and news on the clean energy front is no better

Sierra Club Does New Hampshire Primary

The Sierra Club sums up the environmental views of Republicans running in the New Hampshire primary with a cast of sock puppets

The Long Interglacial Era

What evidence do scientists consider when calculating the onset of an Ice Age, and what is likely to delay the next one?

NYC's Emerald Waterfront

Park development accelerates along the east coast of Manhattan

January 08, 2012

Mental Structures

Cognitive neuroscience converges with architecture to sprout new urban forms rooted in the natural world

January 06, 2012

Chicago: Upgrading The Grid

Over the decade, Chicago's Con Ed will spend billions to make its electric grid smarter and self-healing

India: Investing In Renewables

With government backing and purchase power agreements, investors are attracted to renewable power projects in India, as purchase of turbines for solar power plants rises

Australia: Demonstrating Carbon Storage

Based on a demonstration project, scientists find that depleted gas reservoirs in Australia could be used for carbon sequestration

Predictions And Wish Lists

What are some insiders thinking could happen on the energy and climate fronts in this Presidential-race year?

Slowdown For Smart Meters

Less funding and spotty consumer acceptance are a drag on the smart electric meter business

Useful Urban Knowledge

Cities like New York are creating digital finger-prints to solve high priority problems, some of them could be ecologic

Coal Plant Courts Regulation

The owner of coal-burning power plant who has invested $885 million to cut pollution is dismayed by a federal court decision to delay new EPA rules

January 05, 2012

I See Green

Can you see prospects for green/clean economic development in New York City's emergent high tech tomorrow? Sallan wants to know

World: Rare Earth Shortage Threatens Renewables

The global short supply of rare earths crucial to renewable energy technology components could limit production growth

Cuomo's Solar Goal

Governor Cuomo announces his intention of quadrupling New York solar capacity by 2013 with small, medium & large scale projects

Climate B.S. Awards

See any patterns among the winners of the 2011 Bad Science awards?

EU: Airline Carbon Fee Won't Break The Bank

Compare Chinese airline profits with the cost of paying EU's carbon fee and wonder what the fuss is about

Making Affordable Housing More So

Habitat for Humanity builds low cost, energy efficient homes where heating/cooling and electric bills average $100 a month

ARPA-E Looks Ahead

Researchers at ARPA-E search forbig energy tech breakthroughs

Evidence Of Climate Change

Want to know how scientists identify and causal 'fingerprints' of global climate change?

China: Don't Inhale Yet

It will take decades to clean up the polluted air in Chinese cities and that may not include small, unhealthy particles

Yes We Could

One more time -- rebuild American with good green jobs

January 04, 2012

The Way We Were

Photos of America from the 1970's show what pollution and the natural world can look like

Norway: Pull Back On Solar

The Norwegian maker of solar power parts cuts production, citing low-cost Chinese competition

Watch That Tax Credit

Vestas, the Danish wind turbine maker, will reconsider its US operations if the federal production tax credit expires as company-wide earnings slide

Shall We Overcome

The rise of local opposition to renewable energy projects is the latest in the siting drama, Anywhere But Here

Edison's Bright Idea

The great-grandson of the inventor of the light bulb is sure Edison would approve of the new federal efficiency standard

Santorum: Let's Look At The Record

What does Rick Santorum have to say about global warming cooling?

Fire, Not Ice

Think a new ice age is on the way? Think again

UK: Waving At Engineers

The developer of wave-power turbines for installation along the UK coast seeks big engineering firms to scale-up production capacity

France: Old N-Plants Not Safe Enough

Billions of euros will have to be spent to bring the aging fleet of French nuclear power plants up to current safety standards

January 03, 2012

Pssst! Pay Attention

Media coverage of climate issues down 42% from its 2009 peak

Paying The Pipeline Piper

Stay tuned for President Obama's decision on the Keystone XL tar-sands pipeline and the political consequences while a former safety inspector speaks out

India: Auto Expo Split Personality

India's annual auto show will feature both small, energy efficient models and big, energy-slurping SUVs

Germany: Free Is Not Enough For Airline

Despite getting 15 million free carbon emissions permits, Lufthansa will raise air fares to pay for the remaining 35%

Energy Storage Calculations

While developing technology to store sun and wind power is critical to renewable power growth, calculating the cost of storage is another complexity

The Gold Shale Rush

International energy firms scramble to buy US shale gas deposits

Energized For 2012

With an annual energy bill of $4 billion, the Defense Department will be rolling out 27 cutting edge renewable projects

Making It In NYC

If you can make it there, you'll make it any where... clean, green and high tech firms get incubated in NYC

Germany: Bright Spot For Solar Industry

A Chinese solar equipment maker buys a troubled German high-tech PV firm, but the sector is not thriving

January 02, 2012

Generating Jobs

Renewable energy and efficiency projects are are the engines of new job creation in the US, not the Canadian oil sands pipeline