Deployment Or Innovation — Which Road To A Low-Carbon Future?

Cross-post from Tobias Engelmeier At the “Energy for Tomorrow” conference in Paris, last week, one of the core discussions in the energy industry was: is a low-carbon world a challenge of deployment or one of innovation? In other words: do we already have the technologies we need (e.g. solar, wind, grid management) and now just need to focus on deploying them? This could …

15% of world’s electricity spent on lighting, which could displace 250 coal plants if transitioned to LEDs

Lighting accounts for around 15% of the world’s electricity consumption, more than the combined output of all the planet’s nuclear plants.  That demand is set to rise 50% by 2030 as the world’s population grows, urbanisation increases and 1.2 billion people who currently lack access to energy grids get connected. Equally though, an overnight transition to LED lighting could save …

Cities on their way to being fossil fuel free

Four cities in the US, including conservative Georgetown, Texas, have switched to 100% fossil fuel free electricity. Copenhagen will be 100% fossil fuel free or carbon neutral in 10 years.  “We see this an an investment which will pay itself back in jobs and good business,” says Copenhagen’s mayor, Frank Jensen.  Vancouver will do it in less than 15 now, …

Wind energy and pumped storage, working together

Wind energy production has soared in Spain, rising from 6 percent of the country’s electricity generation in 2004 to about 20 percent today. While that is certainly good news for boosters of clean energy, the surge in renewables has come with the challenge of ensuring that electric power is available.  Pumped storage facilities are typically equipped with pumps and generators …

Epidemic loss of life due to heat and dehydration among sugar cane workers on Pacific coast of Central America

When rural labourers first started turning up at the Rosales National Hospital in the El Salvadorian capital of San Salvador with advanced symptoms of chronic kidney disease (CKD), doctors put the phenomenon down to pesticides. Their latest thinking is simpler: it’s the heat. Sugar cane cutters are dying on a large scale in Central America from chronic kidney disease (CKD) …

Wildfires on tundra burn off protective layer, contribute to permafrost thaw and carbon release from formerly frozen soils and peatlands

Wildfires on Arctic tundra can contribute to widespread permafrost thaw much like blazes in forested areas, according to a study published in the most recent issue of the online journal Scientific Reports.  The project, led by the U.S. Geological Survey, examined the effects of the massive Anaktuvuk River fire, which burned roughly 1,000 square kilometers of tundra on Alaska’s North Slope …

This rapidly breaking and melting Greenland ice sheet could raise sea level by nearly 2 feet

Greenland’s glaciers held 75% of the world’s freshwater before humans started pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere in high volumes, at the beginning of the Industrial Age.  Since then, Greenland has been melting, but the melting has sped up considerably now.  The New York times produced an in-depth multi-media report on Greenland’s ice sheets. Now, a massive glacier in Greenland …

Single mine rivals coal emissions of whole countries, plus job and economic benefits much lower than promised and environmental costs much higher

The Carmichael coal mine in Australia will emit 79 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent a year — more than the annual emissions from Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, and about equal to the average annual emissions from both Malaysia and Austria. The projects will also emit three times as much carbon dioxide equivalent per year as the city of …

New Obama policy that energy, mining, and other development projects on America’s public lands should result in a net benefit — or at minimum no net loss — for the nation’s rivers, lands, and wildlife resources

  In what is being hailed as a “landmark” conservation policy, President Obama on Tuesday released a presidential memorandum establishing that energy, mining, and other development projects on America’s public lands should result in a net benefit — or at minimum no net loss — for the nation’s rivers, lands, and wildlife resources. “We all have a moral obligation to …