Sunday, June 27, 2010

Plastic Bags Into Power


Rather than languishing in landfills or littering roadsides, plastic bags could make their way into useful products like toner, lubricants, or rechargeable cell phone or laptop batteries, if new research becomes commercialized.

Plastic recycling is limited by the fact that different types of plastic cannot be mixed. The quality of the resulting recycled plastic may also be poor. "That's why recycling is not very successful," said study author Vilas Pol of Argonne National Laboratory in Argonne, Ill.
I was thinking why not go beyond this," he said. "Take it and degrade it. You can take the different kinds of plastics together."
In a process that is as simple as throwing bits of plastic in a chamber and heating it up, Pol can turn the plastic into tiny spheres of pure carbon just a few microns across.
These spheres, which conduct heat and electricity, could be useful in a long list of applications from tires to batteries to lubricants.
Adding the spheres to tires, for instance, could dissipate the heat generated from friction against the road, protecting the rubber from melting. Carbon microspheres are also useful in lubricants, toner, paint and filters.
Rather than just melting the waste plastic and re-extruding it, Pol's process continues to heat plastic bags or other plastic waste past the point of melting.
At high temperatures and pressures in the chamber, the plastic decomposes into its elements. If the chamber is filled with inert gas instead of air, the hydrogen in the plastic becomes hydrogen gas, which can be collected and used as hydrogen fuel.
The carbon in the plastic forms spheres or egg-shapes depending on the type of waste plastic used in the reactor. The uniform size and shape make the spheres particularly useful for certain applications, like filtration, where packing tightly together is useful.

Ecological Change in the Abyss: The Amperima Event


We often think of the deep ocean floor as stable, relatively unvarying environment untroubled by surface climate conditions. But long-term monitoring has shown that animal communities living at great depth on the seafloor can change radically over remarkably short periods, and that these events are ultimately driven by climate.
Such faunal changes are exemplified by the 'Amperima Event' - the sudden mass occurrence of the sea cucumber (holothurian) Amperima rosea recorded on the Porcupine Abyssal Plain (PAP) situated off the southwest coast of Ireland in the northeast Atlantic. Communities of animals living on the seabed there at depths of nearly 5000 metres have been monitored from 1989 to the present day.
A major change occurred in the PAP community between 1996 and 1999 involving a number of animal groups, including sea anemones, segmented worms, sea spiders, sea squirts, brittle stars, and sea cucumbers, all of which increased in abundance.
The animals living on the deep seafloor feed on organic matter in the form of phytodetritus - the remains of tiny marine plants that once lived in the sunlit surface layer - and which fall down through the water column and settle on the seabed. It seemed possible that an increase in the amount of this 'marine snow' might have driven the 'Amperima Event'.
It is known from the fossil record that deep-sea animal communities change over geological timescales. Knowing how species density and dominance change in relation to environmental variables in the present will help in interpreting the geological record and will allow predictions of how deep-sea fauna might alter in relation to climate change

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Researchers go 'Green' with DEVap AC technology - 90% more energy efficiency

Researchers have reportedly unleashed a new air-conditioning technology called “DEVap”, which apparently uses 'liquid desiccants' - a hygroscopic liquid to remove water and water vapors from the gas stream. Apparently, in an effort to minimize the carbon emissions (CFCs & HCFCs) as a residual exhaust from the conventional air-conditioners, the researchers have decided to go 'Green' with the advent of “DEVap” technology that promises 90% more energy efficiency and make use of salt based solutions to replace carbon solutions.
A liquid desiccant AC (air conditioner) is said to work on the following principle. The hot & humid air is passed through the conditioner, where the air gets cooled by the coolant liquid by absorbing the heat from the humid air and vaporizing the liquid desiccant to have a cooling effect, as the air leaves the conditioner. The residue hot liquid desiccant enters the regenerator where cold air can again be recycled to dry humid air, by absorbing water content and subjecting the air to hot liquid desiccant. Thus recycled warm humid air leaves the regenerator and enters the conditioner. This process can continue infinitely and hence increase the efficiency of the air conditioner.
However, this technology is apparently in the testing stage and not yet made live to the commercial market. So, until then we might just have to stick to the traditional fanning methods or the water coolant based desert coolers, as a dedicated effort against global warming!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Cradle to grave

There is no guessing game when dealing with the US Carbon Footprint legislations. Most of the entities will have to adopt a step-by-step process to determine the best possible approach to minimize harmful outputs and increase possible resources for Carbon credits.
Twenty-four states and over 350 cities in the US have passed or have legislation in progress to reduce emissions by 2010. In addition, various other international initiatives, including the Kyoto Protocol and the United Nations Environment Programme's (UNEP) Climate Neutral Network, are pushing nations and industry to drastically reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Industry pressures are also a driving factor as many major corporations and big-name retailers are championing GHG reduction strategies. Companies see ths as potential for large financial savings through the reduction of carbon dioxide output, particularly through reductions in energy use and that these savings can also be felt down the supply chain.
A fundamental component of these regulations, are the need to measure the cradle-to-grave ‘Carbon Footprint' involved in the development, production, distribution and disposal process for a product. Thus, a Carbon Footprint calculation is a measurement of the impact of company's activities on the environment and is expressed in terms of greenhouse gases produced, measured in units of carbon dioxide.
Most of the entities are required to access the environmental impact and start demystify the carbon footprint/credit programs set up in response to these regulations. They are required to calculate the level of GHG emissions and address questions regarding the specific carbon footprint in oder to meet legislated GHG reduction targets.
The key components of evaluations are:
Identification and clarification of emission-reduction responsibilities for a facility
Calculation of carbon footprint
Recommendations regarding greenhouse gases and CO2 emissions reductions
Recommend sources for ‘carbon credits'
This area of white space is required to be addressed through IS solution and intervention.

More than 1,000 people have been rescued from rushing flood waters in eastern China after a dyke burst on the Fu river in Jiangxi province.


More than 1,000 people have been rescued from rushing flood waters in eastern China after a dyke burst on the Fu river in Jiangxi province, the Xinhua news agency reported.About 35,000 people had to flee the area because of the rushing water, the news agency said. This new flooding comes as heavy rains have battered nine Chinese provinces -- including Fujian, Jiangxi, and Hunan provinces -- in the last two weeks. Devastating floods have already killed 199 people and left another 123 missing, Xinhua reported, quoting a Ministry of Civil Affairs statement. More than 29 million have been affected with almost 2.6 million evacuated from their homes, Xinhua said.Total economic losses could reach 42.12 billion yuan ($6.17 billion) with 1.6 million hectares of farmland flooded and 12.5 percent of crops destroyed.
Reported by CNN.

Officials in Brazil say they fear the death toll may rise after four days of flooding left at least 33 people dead and thousands homeless.

Officials in Brazil say they fear the death toll may rise after four days of flooding left at least 33 people dead and thousands homeless.The flooding has mainly affected the northeastern states of Pernambuco and Alagoas. More than 1,000 people are missing in Alagoas with about 500 people unaccounted for in the town of Uniao dos Palmares alone, a state spokesman said.
According to Brazil's civil defense agency, more than 40,000 are homeless.
Reported by CNN

Monday, June 21, 2010

Is China Next after Europe

competition among major countries is no longer fought on land or water or in the air.Its fought in board
rooms and markets.Take for example the Chinese. Its political leanings may be communist,but the competition is economic, and the question is whether the country,
having already overtaken France and Germany, will surpass Japan soon to become the world’s second largest economy behind the US.The biggest concern for the US is not which country has the largest armed forces, but whether China, Japan, and the oil exporting nations, will continue to buy U.S. bonds, and hold U.S. dollars in their central bank reserves, happy to be the largest foreign holders of U.S. debt.The entwined economic dependence among all the economies means that the various countries will see their fortunes rise and wane together. It should be no surprise then that the economic worries blowing over Europe this year have circled the globe. The effects of what’s happening in china haven’t become very visible yet, but
they soon will be.For the past few years, the Chinese economy has been growing at a blistering pace, which has not escaped the attention of investors. The market has now been in decline for some months now, even as its economy remains one of the strongest. Stock markets typically look ahead six to nine months and react now to what they expect economies to be six to nine months in the future.Is China’s stock market forecasting trouble ahead for the Chinese economy?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

BP Oil Spill: A Big Disaster

In the wake of the BP oil spill, we faced a major environmental disaster.
Hundreds of animals are dead, and even more are in danger. It could take years for affected areas to fully recover.As cleanup efforts are ongoing, engineers are still trying to work out the best method to control or stop the oil.Countless environmental lessons can be gleaned from this catastrophe,and BP and the nation as a whole will hopefully learn from the mistakes that were made.While the focus is currently centered on what lessons the spill has taught us about drilling, safety, and the environment, we can also gather a number of lessons about life when we step back and look at the big picture.Did BP get caught up in the 'It can't happen to us' mentality? Leaders and companies need to regularly assess the most likely areas where their hidden risks might occur.There's no doubt that the gulf oil spill is offering a post-graduate course in how to live on planet earth (and how not to), but will anyone learn?
Will we understand that the spill was caused by greed? Our greed for oil and the oil company's greed for money.

Friday, June 18, 2010

I think the new snob value is showing the Green quotient of person.

Today I was reading about Eco friendly jewellery. Its a great idea. But I think it is streching the idea of green a bit too much. Or is it that people are trying to make quick money out of something that is becoming a craze. I think the new snob value is showing the Green quotient of person. Green should be close to heart. It should not be someting that people should start flaunting about in everything.

Dell states it is the first an only tech company using bamboo for its packaging

Dell states it is the first an only tech company using bamboo for its packaging, so we'd love to see details from their life cycle analysis on this switch-up. The company is already extending it to more of its products, including a range of laptops. Dell has announced that not only is the packaging made from bamboo, but it's also officially compostable.

Lake Naivasha was a site visited by several journalists following the major UN conference for World Water Day in Nairobi.

Lake Naivasha was a site visited by several journalists following the major UN conference for World Water Day in Nairobi. The lake, which is listed as protected by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, was once an incredible tourist attraction. Development around the lake has resulted in deforestation and now wildlife is disappearing. In the meantime, two of the rivers that flow into the lake.
Reported By treehugger.com

The last year has been a momentous one indeed for the IPCC and climate science, - IPCC chief Dr R K Pachauri



I would like to start by saying that I am not deaf to those who do not agree with the scientific consensus on man-made climate change. Nor, indeed, to those who do not agree with the findings - or, in some cases, the existence - of the IPCC. Such scepticism is inevitable, and has been the case with every area of new knowledge that has burst into human consciousness. We who are on the side of the consensus must remind ourselves that the evolution of knowledge thrives on debate. - - IPCC chief Dr R K Pachauri

A "global pattern" of change in the Earth's climate began 2.7 million years ago,could be the "missing link" to explain this global pattern.


A "global pattern" of change in the Earth's climate began 2.7 million years ago, say scientists.
Researchers found that, at this point, temperature patterns in the tropics slipped into step with patterns of Ice Ages in the Northern Hemisphere.
They report in the journal Science that atmospheric CO2 could be the "missing link" to explain this global pattern.
The findings, they say, reveal a "feedback process" that could have been magnified by greenhouse gases.

Reported By BBC.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Aviation biofuels continue to gain momentum, with both commercial airlines and the military all conducting test flights and in general finding them more efficient than petroleum-based fuels.

Aviation biofuels continue to gain momentum, with both commercial airlines and the military all conducting test flights and in general finding them more efficient than petroleum-based fuels. While we're still a number of years from commercial deployment on any significant scale--and indeed may never be able to sustain global aviation at its current scale on biofuels--another milestone has been reached. Honeywell touts that it was their fuel that has been used in the first helicopter test flight using aviation biofuel.
Conducted by the Royal Netherlands Air Force in a Boeing Apache AH-64D helicopter, the flight occurred at Gilze-Rijen Airbase. The fuel used was Honeywell's Green Jet Fuel (that's a trademark, folks...), which is made from algae and used cooking oil. The biofuel was blended 50:50 with traditional jet fuel and used in one of the Apache's engines without modification.
The same fuel has been used by KLM Airlines in its commercial test flights, as well as by the the US Air Force and Navy.
Reported By treehugger.com

Architect David Hertz is building Francie Rehwald the home of her dreams: an eco-friendly house on 55 acres in the remote hills of Malibu, California.

Architect David Hertz is building Francie Rehwald the home of her dreams: an eco-friendly house on 55 acres in the remote hills of Malibu, California. Called the Wing House, the structure is being built using a commercial Boeing 747-200. We first reported the plans for the house back in 2005. But the structure requires FAA approval as to not be mistaken for a crash site. Boeing 747's are enormous pieces of modern transportation. Measuring 230 feet in length and 63 feet tall, the aircraft has over 17,000 cubic feet of cargo room. That's a lot of house! Which is why the "house"-- using almost all of the 395,000 pound plane--is spread over seven different structures.
Reported by treehugger.com

$20 billion escrow fund to be created by BP for Oil Clean Up

BP will continue to pay the costs for the oil spill cleanup and will work out with its drilling partners later who is liable for the costs, a executive for the oil giant told a Senate subcommittee Wednesday. Willis said it was too early to say specifically how the $20 billion escrow fund to be created by BP will work. The details will be worked out in the next few weeks, he told the committee. The total governmental cost for the cleanup is $217 million so far, Bennett said.Reported By CNN.

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill has already claimed many victims : Louisiana pancake batfish

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill has already claimed many victims -- from pelicans to oyster beds and precious marshland. But there may be one more: a species only just recently discovered. Scientifically known as halieutichthys aculeatus, it is not a thing of beauty. But it lives an anonymous sort of existence on the seabed of the Gulf, some 1,500 feet below the waves and -- like all marine life in the gulf -- plays its role in the food chain. Its more digestible name is the Louisiana pancake batfish. And if oil stays deep under water, the gulf could lose it before it's even officially recognized as a species.
Reported by CNN.

Eight weeks after an explosion uncorked a massive oil spill into the Gulf, BP does not know whether its efforts to staunch the flow will soon succeed

Eight weeks after an explosion uncorked a massive oil spill into the Gulf, BP does not know whether its efforts to staunch the flow will soon succeed, its CEO plans to testify Thursday.
"We cannot guarantee the outcome of these operations, but we are working around the clock with the best experts from government and industry," Tony Hayward says in prepared testimony to be delivered before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.
Reported by CNN.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Professor Michael Graetzel from the Lausanne Polytechnic invented what's now called the Graetzel Cell, a non-photovoltaic solar cell made of a layer of titanium dioxide, glass and a dye from fruit that absorbs sunlight like the chlorophyll in green leaves; Artificial photosynthesis


Back in 1991, Professor Michael Graetzel from the Lausanne Polytechnic invented what's now called the Graetzel Cell, a non-photovoltaic solar cell made of a layer of titanium dioxide, glass and a dye from fruit that absorbs sunlight like the chlorophyll in green leaves. The Swiss professor has since continued developing this "artificial photosynthesis" without the need for an expensive manufacturing process, and last week he won the million dollar Millennium Technology Award.
Reported by treehugger.com.

Timberland's new high performance outdoor running shoe with outsoles made with Green Rubber™, a compound containing at least 42% recycled tires.

"Mountain Athletic Route Racer", Timberland's new high performance outdoor running shoe with outsoles made with Green Rubber™, a compound containing at least 42% recycled tires. And that's not all for green attributes, these kicks feature uppers made with 70% recycled PET; lining made with 50% recycled PET; and 100% recycled PET oval laces.

Reported By: treehugger.com

Marks & Spencer aims to become world’s greenest retailer by 2015


Retail giant Marks & Spencer (M&S) has today reported a 20 per cent reduction in food packaging, a 19 per cent increase in energy efficiency in stores, 417 million fewer carrier bags used last year and over £50 million of profit invested back in the business from Plan A activities in its annual ‘How We Do Business Report’. The report details the progress of Plan A, M&S’ eco and ethical programme launched in 2007. After three years, 62 of the original 100 commitments have been achieved, 30 are ‘on plan’ to be achieved by 2012 and seven are ‘behind plan’ as a result of unexpected challenges. One, the use of bio-diesel, is on-hold until sustainable supplies become available. Other headline achievements revealed in the report, include: 33 per cent less waste sent to landfill year-on-year; 40 per cent of electricity sourced from ‘green’ tariff renewable supplies; 18 per cent reduction in refrigeration emissions (compared to 06/07); 1.8 million garments recycled through the Oxfam Clothing Exchange; Packaging reduced by 36 per cent on general merchandise products1; 84 per cent of PET food plastic packaging made using recycled materials; 72 per cent of wood used is Forest Stewardship Council, recycled or from sources which otherwise protect forests and communities; Healthier food now makes up 38 per cent of food products ranges;91 per cent of food products now meet FSA salt reduction targets;Over £13.2 million invested last year in community projects. Sir Stuart Rose, Chairman of Marks & Spencer, said: “Plan A is making a real difference to the environment and for our customers, employees and people working in our supply chains. We’ve introduced products and services to help customers live more sustainably, increased our contribution to local communities and, this year, generated £50 million additional profit which has been invested back in the business. “We’ve made excellent progress, but there’s no time to stand still. It is clear that evidence of environmental damage and social inequality has increased since we launched Plan A. “That’s why we’re now pushing ahead with our new, bigger and bolder version of Plan A with 80 new commitments and the ultimate goal to become the world’s most sustainable retailer by 2015.”Plan A was extended in March this year to incorporate 80 new commitments and extensions to the original commitments. Progress on the new and extended commitments will be reported on in the 2011 How We Do Business Report.Plan A progress in more detail …Progress on tackling climate change …Since the launch of Plan A, M&S has cut its carbon emissions by eight per cent and 20 per cent per sq ft of sales floor. This has been achieved by improving energy efficiency, reducing emissions from refrigeration systems and improving the efficiency of delivery fleets. In 2009 M&S was certified with the Carbon Trust Standard for measuring, managing and reducing its carbon footprint. M&S Energy has now signed up over 300,000 customers since launch. Customers are rewarded for cutting their energy use and every unit of electricity used is matched with the same amount of clean electricity, generated from hydro dams and put back into the National Grid. Last year M&S Energy launched a home insulation service to help customers save energy and reduce their bills and all M&S employees were offered either loft or cavity wall insulation free of charge. Progress on reducing waste …In the past twelve months waste sent to landfill was down by 33 per cent and in February Birstall, a Simply Food store near Leeds, became the first ‘zero waste to landfill’ M&S store. Food waste has been reduced by 29 per cent and last year we collected 133 million clothes hangers and re-used 76 per cent of them with the remainder being recycled.Non-glass packaging is down by 20 per cent (foods, average per item) and 36 per cent (non-foods, average per item). We are also using more recycled content in our packaging and encouraging more recycling amongst consumers by investing in local authorities to increase their kerbside recycling capabilities. Progress on using sustainable raw materials …In the past twelve months M&S has lead the market by becoming the first UK retailer to purchase GreenPalm certificates, which fund the development of sustainable palm oil, to cover its entire palm oil usage and launched eight products that use RSPO certified palm oil. These are amongst the first products in the UK to receive the certification. Wood sourcing has been improved with 72 per cent (including 100 per cent of paper and board used in marketing materials) being FSC certified, recycled or in a category which otherwise protects forests and communities. 62 per cent of M&S wild fish is now either Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified or undergoing MSC assessment and M&S was the first UK company to sign the WWF Seafood Charter. As part of its Cotton Sustainability Strategy, M&S signed a deal with WWF to help fund a programme for best practice for cotton production in Warrangal in India and, also in association with WWF, published a ‘Good Water Stewardship’ guide for agricultural suppliers on World Water Day in March. Progress on being a fair partner …Over £13.2 million was invested by M&S in community projects last year, the equivalent to 1.9 per cent of adjusted pre-tax profits. In addition customers and employees raised over £2.1 million for Breakthrough Breast Cancer, £2.8 million for local charities as part of the 125 year celebrations, £1/4 million for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research’s Botham Walk and £1/4 million for the Poppy Appeal. M&S helped suppliers set up 10 Ethical Model Factories last year which demonstrate how good employment practices can improve productivity and provided over 80,000 hours of supplier training. Marks & Start – the work experience scheme for those who face barriers getting into the workplace – had another successful year with over 700 people taking part. Since launch, 40 per cent of participants have gone on to find jobs. Progress on health …Last year M&S expanded its health food ranges, which now make up 38 per cent of food products, with the launch of new products such as the Simply Fuller Longer range and selenium enriched spinach. No artificial colours and flavourings are used in M&S foods and 91 per cent of M&S food meets FSA salt reduction targets. A healthy lifestyle website and a monthly health bulletin for customers was launched last year and employees are benefiting from an internal ‘Plan A way to health’ website and initiatives such as ‘Free Fruit Friday’.

Biomass worse than coal


Massachusetts has a law mandating a portfolio of renewable energy, including energy derived from wind, solar, and biomass. But a new study says that replacing coal power with biomass will actually increase the amount of CO2 emitted, throwing a wrench in the state's plan and casting some doubt over the utility of using biomass on national scale and the inclusion of biomass titles in the energy bills now being negotiated in Congress.Massachusetts Environmental Secretary Ian Bowles said Thursday the state is now rethinking that policy, including taxpayer incentives for wood-burning plants.
"Now that we know that electricity from biomass harvested from New England forests is not 'carbon neutral' in a timeframe that makes sense given our legal mandate to cut greenhouse gas emissions, we need to re-evaluate our incentives for biomass," he said in a statement accompanying the report.
The Waxman-Markey bill that passed through the House last year included language that would ultimately create a market for small-diameter trees, brush and forest slash to be used as biomass fuel. Some advocates want even greater federal incentives for biomass, such as woody biomass from federal lands to qualify as renewable feedstock for biofuels production.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Himalayan climate impacts 'cannot be generalised'

Melting glaciers in the Himalayas will have varying impacts on the region's five major river basins, a study says.
Changes to the flow of meltwater as a result of global warming is likely to have a "severe" impact on food security in some areas, say scientists.
Yet people living elsewhere are likely to see food productivity increase, they added in a paper published in Science.
Overall, the food security of 4.5% of 1.4bn people in the region is threatened, the researchers conclude. More than 1.4bn people depend on water from the Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra, Yangtze and Yellow rivers.
The Brahmaputra and Indus basins are most susceptible to reductions of flow, threatening the food security of an estimated 60m people. The researchers described mountains as the "water towers of the world."
"Snow and glacial melt are important hydrological processes... and changes in temperature and precipitation are expected to seriously affect the melt characteristics," they explained.
The effects in the Indus and Brahmaputra basins are likely to be severe owing to the large population and the high dependence on irrigated land and meltwater.
In the Yellow River, climate change may even yield a positive benefit as the dependence on meltwater is low and a projected increased upstream precipitation, when retained in reservoirs, would enhance water availability for irrigated agriculture and food security.

Professor John Beddington, the UK goverment's chief scientific adviser, has received a knighthood in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.


He attracted media attention last year when he said the world faced a "perfect storm".
He was refering to the impact of climate change on food, energy and water security.
Other recipients include physicist and TV presenter Professor Brian Cox, who has been made an OBE.
Professor Beddington became chief scientist in 2008, suceeding Sir David King.
Responding to the news, Professor Beddington said: "I am delighted by this honour, and particularly delighted because it recognises the importance of science and engineering in the UK."
Formerly the head of environmental sciences and technology at Imperial College, London, he hit the headlines last year when he forecasted a "perfect storm" by 2030.
He suggested that "a whole series of events coming together" could threaten global food, water and energy supplies.
"Can we cope with the demands in the future on water? Can we provide enough energy? Can we do it, all that, while mitigating and adapting to climate change? And can we do all that in 21 years' time?" he asked.
Before taking up the post of chief scientist, his main research interest was the application of biological and economic analysis to the management of natural resoruces.

Friday, June 11, 2010

In honor of the FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup, one company has designed a handbag made from recycled soccer balls

In honor of the 2010 World Cup, one company has designed a handbag made from recycled soccer balls, so sports enthusiasts can show the world they're fans of the environment too. The idea is quite simple: take a ball that has sprung a leak, turn it inside out.
Reported By treehugger.com

Murkowski amendment:Obama's new, highly touted national fuel economy standard into the trash heap.

The Murkowski amendment, which is currently heading to the Senate floor for a vote, is around one sentence long. It's simple, and potentially devastating. It's solely stated goal is overturning the endangerment finding filed by the EPA that ruled greenhouse gases are a harmful pollutant, and threaten public well-being. Which would both effectively stop the EPA from being able to clamp down on the nation's heaviest greenhouse gas polluters and toss Obama's new, highly touted national fuel economy standard into the trash heap.

Reported by treehugger.com

Community in Philippines has thrived after embracing whale shark tourism


>Community in Philippines has thrived after embracing whale shark tourism


>Previously the marine animals were seen as pests

>Former cameraman Dave Duran was instrumental in changing attitudes

>Number of whale sharks have increased as have local income levels
 
Reported By CNN.

The Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital claims to be the largest of its kind in the world, employing 52 people and treating around 5,000 birds each year.

The Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital claims to be the largest of its kind in the world, employing 52 people and treating around 5,000 birds each year.

  • >Falconry is an important cultural tradition in the UAE .
  • >Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital treats about 5,000 patients each year .
  • >Hospital director Margrit Muller says in the UAE "Falcons are like a son or daughter"
>Falcons can cost between $5,000 and $80,000


Reported by CNN.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The incoming head of the UN climate convention has said rich nations must pledge bigger emission cuts if climate change is to be tackled effectively.


Christiana Figueres said she was confident that leaders would meet the challenge "because humanity has to meet it - we don't have another option."
Ms Figueres was speaking at a two-week session of UN negotiations in Bonn.
She said the mood was "constructive"; but major differences are evident between different groups of countries.
"[The pledges] are not ambitious enough to protect the most vulnerable of the Earth, and they need to grow," Ms Figueres told reporters.
"Let's admit the glass is not half full yet; but is starting to fill again."
Ms Figueres, a Costa Rican diplomat and 15-year veteran of the UN climate process, takes over from the current UNFCCC executive secretary Yvo de Boer early next month.
"What we need to be mindful of is that all interests that will be there among parties of the UNFCCC are represented," she said.
"That did not happen in Copenhagen."
The European Commission's Laurence Graff said events in Copenhagen had damaged public confidence in the UN process.
"From the public side, there was such a wide gap betwen the expectations at Copenhagen and what it delivered that it was very damaging indeed.
"There is a trust issue in relation to the process - and hence the need, here and later, to show that the process is delivering."

Transforming Event

The detailed story of President Obama's reaction to the oil spill indicates that in future the oil exploration companies will have to address the risk of environment and ecology. The oil spill has caused BP $450 million so far. Further, the spill threatened coastlines, local businesses and animal habitats, it also created complications for Obama's energy policy.
Mr Hayward told BBC Radio 4's program that significant changes to the oil industry should arise from what he called a "transforming event". He told "I don't believe it should [result in a ban], in the same way as Apollo 13 did not stop the space program nor have serious airline accidents from time to time stopped people flying." But he said changes would have to be made to address the risk of such drilling. "I think undoubtedly that this will be a transforming event for exploration and production activities in the deep water of the world, in particular the deep water of the United States," he said. "You can't have an incident of this seriousness and not expect significant changes as a consequence".
What we need to do is ensure that the changes we make address the risk that has occurred here. This has a clear indication that along with the business continuity, the organisation must prepare itself for owning up and take accountability for driving triple bottom line. The careful reading of the above quotes of Mr Hyward reflects that the organisation of BP's stature was actually not fully prepared. The event of this magnitude, BP was never prepared despite the CSR awareness. The point may be noted that triple bottom line as a concept charters various responsibilities on the Corporate entity. The most of the corporate entities are also taking various initiatives to comply with norms. However, the most of the entities are not indexing their business continuity risk in measurable matrices and create provisions for resources to withstand such Transforming Events.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Apple's iPhone 5 and the next iteration of the iPad could have- a solar cell integrated into the touchscreen.

Apple's iPhone 5 and the next iteration of the iPad could have- a solar cell integrated into the touchscreen. Apple has filed for a patent for r "media players with integrated touch sensor solar panel surfaces."

Reported By treehugger.com

Yasuni National Park in Ecuador's Amazon region is thought of as the most biologically diverse forest in the world. Covering around 1 million hectares of rainforest in eastern Ecuador's Amazon region, it is home to an abundance of plant and animal life.


Yasuni National Park in Ecuador's Amazon region is thought of as the most biologically diverse forest in the world.  Covering around 1 million hectares of rainforest in eastern Ecuador's Amazon region, it is home to an abundance of plant and animal life.

Reported By CNN.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Environment Agency bans staff from air travel to cut carbon


The UK Environment Agency has announced that it is to introduce further measures to reduce its carbon footprint following a comprehensive review of staff travel. The organisation has already reduced business car mileage by 24 per cent (11 million miles) over the last four years and will further strengthen its policy on air travel by no longer allowing flights within England and Wales, or to Eurostar destinations such as Paris and Brussels. It already encourages staff to travel only when necessary and to take the train wherever possible. The Environment Agency says it aims to lead the way on reducing carbon emissions and improving environmental performance and the action it has taken has gained external recognition including awards for its approach to fleet management, sustainable procurement and energy saving. The Agency said that the change in air travel policy is expected to save approximately 30 tonnes of carbon a year.

Nordic bank Nordea has sold all its shares in BP, accusing the oil giant of a lack of transparency over the US oil spill.


The bank said it had divested about 10m euros ($11.9m; £8.2m) spread across about 20 funds.
And it said it would halt investment in BP until further notice.
BP shares were one of the few risers on the FTSE 100 on Monday, although they have lost about a third of their value since the crisis started.
"The environmental catastrophe in the Mexican Gulf is an extraordinary situation given the size of the spill, weak response from BP, criminal investigation towards the company as well as anticipated risk for other accidents," Nordea said.
BP said it had been "open and transparent in every aspect of the response".
Given BP has a market capitalisation of about £81bn, Nordea is, a relatively small investor.

A genetically modified strain of maize classified as NK603 -- one that is explicitly banned in the European Union -- has been unleashed in Germany.


A genetically modified strain of maize classified as NK603 -- one that is explicitly banned in the European Union -- has been unleashed in Germany. The crop has been unwittingly planted on nearly 7,500 acres so far, and is continuing to spread. The source of the contamination has not yet been determined, but it is believed that it could cost farmers millions of euros to eradicate the tenacious GMO crop.
Reported by treehugger.com

Hawaii is hoping to develop 400 MW of wind farms on the islands of Molokai and Lanai.It plans to get the energy to the island of Oahu. through the undersea cable--the first planned solely to transmit renewable energy.


Hawaii is hoping to develop 400 MW of wind farms on the islands of Molokai and Lanai.It plans to get the energy to the island of Oahu. through the undersea cable--the first planned solely to transmit renewable energy.

Reported By treehugger.com

Sunday, June 6, 2010

World Environmental Day 2010 Blogging Competition! We've partnered with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) to help bring awareness to World

Logo via UNEP If you love blogging, care about the environment and want to visit one of the most biologically diverse places on earth, then you should join the World Environmental Day 2010 Blogging Competition! We've partnered with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) to help bring awareness to World Environment Day 2010 (WED 2010). The winner will win a free trip to Rwanda and get to write, blog and tweet about World .

The New York Times editorial page is calling on the Senate and President Obama to use the BP oil spill to pass comprehensive climate and energy reform


The New York Times editorial page is calling on the Senate and President Obama to use the BP oil spill to pass comprehensive climate and energy reform that would reduce our dependance on dirty fuels like oil and coal.
Reported by treehugger.com

DBA's 98 Pen, which is not only 98% biodegradable but is also eco-friendly from its manufacture to its packaging.


Conventional pens are often mass produced with non-recyclable, petroleum-based materials, filled with inks that contain toxic chemicals and blister-packed in non-recyclable PVC packaging. DBA's 98 Pen, which is not only 98% biodegradable but is also eco-friendly from its manufacture to its packaging. Reported by treehugger.com

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Human activity, not nature, was the likely cause of the gaping sinkhole that opened up in the streets of Guatemala City on Sunday, a geologist says.

Human activity, not nature, was the likely cause of the gaping sinkhole that opened up in the streets of Guatemala City on Sunday, a geologist says. A burst sewer pipe or storm drain probably hollowed out the underground cavity that allowed the chasm to form, according to Sam Bonis, a geologist at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, who is currently living in Guatemala City (map).The Guatemala City sinkhole, estimated to be 60 feet (18 meters) wide and 300 feet (100 meters) deep, appears to have been triggered by the deluge from tropical storm Agatha.

World's dams have displaced and affected about 400-500 million people


The world’s dams have allowed cities to sprout in dry lands—but at a steep cost to hundreds of millions of already impoverished people, according to a new report.Lead author Brian Richter, co-director of The Nature Conservancy’s Global Freshwater Program, knew from previous estimates that 40 to 80 million people have been directly displaced over the past decade by dam and reservoir construction.“Our conservative estimate of 472 million suggests that the number of people . . . exceeds by six to twelve times the number directly displaced by these structures,” the authors write.
Reporeted By National Geographic.

Inventor Turned Up Energy Savings by Dimming the Lights


Lutron based in Coopersburg, Pennsylvania, about 50 miles north of Philadelphia, can boast of installing lighting-control systems in the New York Times building, the Statue of Liberty, the Bank of China and many more high-profile locations, some of which the company declines to make public. Lutron claims that market penetration of its array of more than 15,000 lighting control products is substantial enough to save customers a total $1 billion in energy costs annually, and reduce the total U.S. lighting bill by 3 percent.
The new switch was attractive and produced far less heat than its massive predecessors. And, although it didn’t seem to matter at the time, it used less electricity and extended the life of the bulb.
And although other firms now make dimmers, Lutron is still the only company to create systems of dimmers and motorized window shades that control both electric light and daylight. The award-winning project that Lutron designed for the New York Times’s Manhattan headquarters, which opened in 2007, achieved a 72 percent reduction in electrical consumption over ordinary office lighting. The yearly energy savings are estimated at $315,100.

Brazilian Water Protection a $100 Million Market?


Across Brazil, efforts are under way to recruit and reward rural residents to safeguard water sources and the forests that normally retain water. Basically, they are paid to protect and plant trees.
Water is one of Brazil’s most plentiful resources, with the country holding about 15 percent of Earth’s freshwater. But pollution and potential shortages are jeopardizing the farms and factories that drive the nation’s booming economy. Paying for water protection may be the cheapest way to both guarantee supply and naturally purify water, without extra—and expensive—treatment.
Paying for protection also gives farmers a reason to cooperate with conservationists and has the potential to jump-start a broader “environmental services” market that could generate more than $100 million (U.S.) a year to fund conservation projects in Brazilian water basins.
The country’s biggest states and the national legislature are considering legislation to regulate such payments, while a dozen pilot programs are already spending tax revenues, environmental fines and water-use fees to encourage conservation.
Carbon credits, one of the best-known PES vehicles, allow landowners to cash in on the carbon dioxide emissions that their trees absorb from the air, relieving the atmosphere of a portion of global warming gasses. Charging for erosion control or natural water filtration offers a comparatively concrete transaction, as local groups charge water utilities or municipal governments to preserve nearby basins, tapping what the UN calls a $2-billion-a-year (U.S.) market for global watershed services.
Brazil holds more water than any nation and 2.5 times the U.S. supply, according to the California-based Pacific Institute research center. But those resources are unevenly distributed, with three-quarters in the Amazon—home to just 4 percent of Brazilians—and 8 percent along the southeastern coast, where half the population lives, Brazil’s National Water Agency says.

Guatemala Sinkhole Created by Humans, Not Nature


Human activity, not nature, was the likely cause of the gaping sinkhole that opened up in the streets of Guatemala city on Sunday, a geologist says.
A burst sewer pipe or storm drain probably hollowed out the underground cavity that allowed the chasm to form, according to Sam Bonis, a geologist at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, who is currently living in Guatemala City (map).
The Guatemala City sinkhole, estimated to be 60 feet (18 meters) wide and 300 feet (100 meters) deep, appears to have been triggered by the deluge from tropical storm Agatha.
But the cavity formed in the first place because the city—and its underground infrastructure—were built in a region where the first few hundred meters of ground are mostly made up of a material called pumice fill, deposited during past volcanic eruptions.

Natural sinkholes generally form when heavy, water-saturated soil causes the roof of an underground limestone cavity to collapse, or when water widens a natural fracture in limestone bedrock.
But there is no limestone beneath the section of Guatemala City where the new sinkhole appeared, at least not at the depth at which the hole formed.

Solar powered fridge is changing the lives of people in Swaziland

Swaziland is one of the poorest and most rural nations in the world. Most of the villages have no running water, electricity, or refrigerators. But a new innovation is serving to make life a lot more manageable for rural families in Swaziland. The communal building in many of the villages now has a solar powered fridge.
Reported By treehugger.com

Obama promises to throw full weight behind climate bill


President Barack Obama vowed to intervene personally to secure the Senate votes needed to pass US climate change legislation this year in a speech that attempted to harness the environmental crisis in the Gulf of Mexico to make the case for a low carbon economy.
"If we refuse to take into account the full cost of our fossil fuel addiction - if we don't factor in the environmental costs and national security costs and true economic costs - we will have missed our best chance to seize a clean energy future," he said. "The votes may not be there right now, but I intend to find them in the coming months… we will get this done. The next generation will not be held hostage to energy sources from the last century."
Obama also responded to criticism that he had failed to effectively harness anger over the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to make the case for the low carbon economy, arguing that current US reliance on fossil fuels is unsustainable from an economic as well as an environmental perspective.
Obama suggested in his speech that he was willing to try and face down Republican opposition, arguing that the Party was consistently guilty of trying to block legislation without setting out workable proposals of their own.
The speech came as reports emerged that senior Republican Senator Richard Lugar is preparing to release alternative proposals for cutting carbon emissions that would drastically water down the ambitions contained in the American Power Act.
The proposals are bound to be denounced by environmental groups and Democrats as being insufficiently ambitious, but there may also be grounds for optimism on some level given the rare admission from a Republican Senator that action needs to be taken to tackle climate change.

Barack Obama cautious on new move to halt Gulf oil leak


US President Barack Obama has said it is "way too early to be optimistic" as he made his third visit to the oil-hit Gulf of Mexico coast.
Mr Obama has been briefed in Louisiana by Adm Thad Allen, the US official leading the disaster response.
After landing at New Orleans airport, Mr Obama met Adm Allen for a briefing before driving to Grand Isle, a barrier island town hit by the spill.
Speaking to reporters after the briefing, the president said there seemed to be progress but it was too soon to be optimistic about a solution to the spill.
Mr Obama also questioned whether BP should be spending a reported $50m on TV advertising to improve its image while the crisis was still going on.
"This has been a disaster for this region, and people are understandably frightened and concerned about what the next few months and the next few years may hold," he added.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Mr Obama had invited the families of the 11 workers killed when the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and sank in April to visit the White House next Thursday.
The president's third trip to the Gulf came as beaches in the key tourist area of north-west Florida saw their first major signs of oil. Mr Obama has for the second time postponed a trip to Australia, Indonesia and Guam in order to deal with the crisis.

Could Life Survive on Mars? Yes, Expert Says


The subzero water is so salty that it doesn't freeze despite the cold, and it has no consumable oxygen in it. There are, however, big bubbles of methane that come to the surface, which had provoked the researchers' curiosity as to whether the gas was being produced geologically or biologically and whether anything could survive in this extreme hypersaline subzero environment.
It has been very recently discovered that there is methane and frozen water on Mars. Photos taken by the Mars Orbiter show the formation of new gullies, but no one knows what is forming them. One answer is that there could be that there are springs like Lost Hammer on Mars. This very cold salty water, it could potentially support a microbial community, even in that extreme harsh environment.
There are places on Mars where the temperature reaches relatively warm -10 to 0 degrees and perhaps even above 0ÂșC and on Axel Heiberg it gets down to -50, easy. The Lost Hammer spring is the most extreme subzero and salty environment we've found. This site also provides a model of how a methane seep could form in a frozen world like Mars, providing a potential mechanism for the recently discovered Martian methane plumes.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Top five eco athletes

Cycling champion Lance Armstrong trades two green wheels for four, professional snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler campaigns to "save the snow," and Planet 100 counts down the top five eco-athletes.

5. Lance ArmstrongThis week seven time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong became the first person in America to own the all electric Nissan Leaf.
Excited by the new clean, green technology, Armstrong was happy to represent the all-electric car that can go 100 miles on a single charge. Nissan's use of celebrity pedal power may have paid off—with all 13,000 production vehicles already sold out.
4. Yao MingIn a number four, at 7 foot 6 inches, Shanghai born NBA star Yao Ming is a predator on the court and when it comes to protecting the environment.
The Houston Rockets center and Shanghai Sharks owner teamed up with WildAid to urge China to say no to shark fin soup by appearing in a television commercial to shame the rich and stop the overfishing of these endangered species.
3. Gretchen Bleiler
Professional snowboarder and 2006 Olympic silver medalist Gretchen Bleiler clearly wants the snow to stick around.
The 29 year old FHM hottie works with the Climate Project, the NRDC, the Aspen Snowmass Save Snow campaign, and StopGlobalWarming.org—and has even designed a 100 percent recycled polyester snowboarding suit for Oakley.
2. Ovie MughelliAtlanta Falcons' fullback and eco athlete Ovie Mughelli is helping Southern youth tackle green issues.
The Ovie Mughelli Foundation provides football training camps to underprivileged kids in Charleston and Atlanta. But once in the camp, Mughelli serves up a dose of eco-education with talks and activities like recycling in a gridiron.
1. Leilani MunterAt number one, biology graduate turned race car driver, Leilani Munter is on a mission to ensure every race car uses clean, renewable biofuels and every race track has a recycling program.

Want to stop Global warming? Keep out immigratnts

You've likely heard a pretty diverse range of arguments from advocates of Arizona's draconian anti-illegal immigration law, and of cracking down on immigration in general: immigrants are stealing American jobs, unduly siphoning off taxpayer money, causing crime rates to rise, and other, even more xenophobic claims.
The underlying conceit is of course that all those immigrants will come streaming in from places where their carbon footprint is considerably lower, and once in America, they'll immediately start consuming and polluting as much as Americans do.
This is a dangerously preposterous argument on just about every front -- the fundamental idea itself is fraudulent, which is pretty much this: We here in America consume and pollute more than every other nation, so allowing more people in to act just like us is bad for the world. Say what? Obviously, this is flawed reasoning -- if these people honestly recognized that America consumes and pollutes too much, the response should be to address the problem at the root, not to point the finger at hypothetical citizens who may one day pollute as much as we do now. Shouldn't the first order of business be finding ways to get Americans themselves to lower their carbon footprints?
Second of all, it's been shown time and again that immigrant families consume and pollute much less than the average American family -- they tend to live in urban areas, use more public transit, and live in smaller homes.
Considering that the uber-conservative folks who brewed up this video wouldn't support climate legislation even if it meant they could banish every illegal immigrant in the US, it's especially offensive. It's an attempt to win over a liberal, environmentalist audience with an extremely dishonest argument. It's a clumsy attempt to channel xenophobia through a green lens: PFIR figure that people will feel better about adopting an anti-immigration stance if they can be convinced that it's for the greater good.

UK receives 'final warning' over air pollution




The European Commission has threatened to take the UK to the European Court of Justice over air quality breaches.
The UK could end up paying as much as £300m in fines.
The government received a second and "final" warning from the commission after the levels of dangerous airborne particles, or PM10s, in London and Gibraltar exceeded EU limits.
The commission says high levels of PM10 may lead to serious health problems.
"Air pollution is bad for our health. It reduces human life expectancy by more than eight months on average and by more than two years in the most polluted cities and regions," said the EU's environment commissioner Janez Potocnik.
The UK received its first warning in early 2009. It then tried to get a time extension for meeting the EU standards, but the request was denied.
The commission judged that London did not have any real plans for cleaning up the air and would not be able to reduce pollution by the time the exemption period expired in 2011.
Small enough to be inhaled, PM10s are emitted mainly by cars, factories and domestic heating systems.
Breathing in too much of these pollutants may lead to asthma, cardiovascular problems, lung cancer and premature death, said the commission.
According to the charity Environmental Protection UK, some 35,000 people die from particle pollution in the country every year - and as many as 4,300 in London alone.


US President Barack Obama wants the business of taxiing astronauts to and from the orbiting platform handed to the commercial sector; Falcon 9

US President Barack Obama wants the business of taxiing astronauts to and from the orbiting platform handed to the commercial sector; and many commentators believe the Falcon is in a prime position to win that business. The Falcon 9 has been developed privately by SpaceX of California with a large subsidy from Nasa.
Reported BY BBC.

Dubai is utilizing solar power to cool itself with working solar air conditioning system at the ESAB offices and warehouse in Dubai.

ClimateWell of Sweden has installed a working solar air conditioning system at the ESAB offices and warehouse in Dubai. ESAB is a worldwide welding equipment and supply company, and the building is considered by Construction Week to be one of the Middle East's five best green buildings
Reported By treehugger.com

A new UK study reported in the Times shows cyclists can be among the most vulnerable to dirty, particulate-rich city air, inhaling five times moe toxic nanoparticulates than pedestrians or car drivers.


A new UK study reported in the Times shows cyclists can be among the most vulnerable to dirty, particulate-rich city air, inhaling five times moe toxic nanoparticulates than pedestrians or car drivers.

Reported By treehugger.com

BP may learn Friday how effective the new cap it placed on the ruptured undersea well is in slowing down the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

BP may learn Friday how effective the new cap it placed on the ruptured undersea well is in slowing down the largest oil spill in U.S. history. The complex underwater maneuver completed Thursday night was applauded by U.S. and BP officials. Robot submarines steered the new cap to the well about 10 p.m. Thursday. But early Friday morning, a nonstop cloud of oil was still spewing from the pipe.BP plans to successively close four vents at the top of the containment cap Friday, hoping to stem oil that is still escaping into the Gulf of Mexico, said Doug Suttles, the company's chief operating officer.
Reported By CNN

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A new geological study has shown that many low-lying Pacific islands are growing, not sinking, because of rising sea levels ( global warming )

A new geological study has shown that many low-lying Pacific islands are growing, not sinking. In recent times, the inhabitants of many low-lying Pacific islands have come to fear their homelands being wiped off the map because of rising sea levels. But this study of 27 islands over the last 60 years suggests that most have remained stable, while some have actually grown,because of coral debris and sediment.
Reported By BBC.
http://www.wikio.co.uk