Environment

ENVIRONMENT - ECOLOGY - NATURE - HABITAT - GAIA - PERMACULTURE - CLIMATE - ENERGY ...

President Obama bans oil drilling in large areas of Atlantic and Arctic oceans

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President Obama bans oil drilling in large areas of Atlantic and Arctic oceans

By Darryl Fears and Juliet Eilperin December 20 at 4:21 PM


Hundreds of kayaktivists protest drilling in the Arctic and the Port of Seattle being used as a port for the Shell Oil drilling rig Polar Pioneer (Daniella Beccaria/seattlepi.com via Associated Press)

President Obama moved to solidify his environmental legacy Tuesday by withdrawing hundreds of millions of acres of federally owned land in the Arctic and Atlantic Ocean from new offshore oil and gas drilling.

Obama used a little-known law called the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to protect large portions of the Chukchi and Beaufort seas in the Arctic and a string of canyons in the Atlantic stretching from Massachusetts to Virginia. In addition to a five-year moratorium already in place in the Atlantic, removing the canyons from drilling puts much of the eastern seaboard off limits to oil exploration even if companies develop plans to operate around them.

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Climate Change A Natural Climate Solution

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Climate Change

A Natural Climate Solution

Tana watershed tea plantation 640x400

Nature is the sleeping giant in solving climate change.

Climate change is a global problem, and it requires solutions on a global scale. One of those is hiding in plain sight. Our lands provide an untapped opportunity – proven ways of storing and reducing carbon emissions in the world’s forests, grasslands and wetlands, or natural climate solutions as we call them.

More than 30% of the climate change goals that our world leaders established at the 2015 Paris Climate Convention can be achieved through the power of nature.

This means that nature-based solutions – such as stopping deforestation and restoring coastal ecosystems – can get us more than a third of the way to the emission reductions needed by 2030.

Let’s give nature back its power to protect us! Oceans, grasslands, wetlands, peat bogs, forests – when they’re destroyed, the carbon they hold is released into the air, and their ability to provide us with life-giving assets disappears. A huge part of our climate work, therefore, is continuing the work that we’re known for: saving nature.   

These stories showcase the power of nature to solve climate change.

Maximizing Nature’s Role in Solving Climate Change
Tackling climate change isn’t just about changing how we produce and use energy. We must also maximize nature’s role.

Forest Carbon Science
Stay informed about the latest in climate change science on Cool Green Science.

This Decade’s Most Important Climate Solution
Read about how nature-based solutions are an essential piece of the climate puzzle. And nature’s time is now.

Mapping Ocean Wealth
Learn more about how our oceans and wetlands can help store carbon.

The Next Agriculture Revolution is Under Our Feet
We need to support innovation in soil health to meet the growing demand for food while strengthening the health of our communities, land, water and climate.

Not All Forestry is Carbon Equal
Learn about how forests clean our air, enhance water security and serve as the world’s oldest and most proven carbon storage technology.

The Forgotten Climate Solution
The land sector has the potential to deliver at least 20% of the climate solution.

Seeing the Forest for the Trees
See how we are helping loggers in the Berau District make changes that yield healthier local villagers and more intact forests sequestering carbon.

Source: http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/urgentissues/global-warming-climate-change/nature-is-a-powerful-solution/index.htm?intc=nature.hp.news3

 

Wind Vision: A New Era for Wind Power in the United States

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Wind Vision

About

In support of the President’s strategy to diversify our nation’s clean energy mix, an elite team of researchers, academics, scientists, engineers, and wind industry experts revisited the findings of the Energy Department’s 2008 20% Wind by 2030 report and built upon its findings to conceptualize a new vision for wind energy through 2050.

The Wind Vision Report takes America’s current installed wind power capacity across all facets of wind energy (land-based, offshore, and distributed) as its baseline—a capacity that has tripled since the 2008 release of the Energy Department’s 20% Wind Energy by 2030 report—and assesses the potential economic, environmental, and social benefits of a scenario where U.S. wind power supplies 10% of the nation’s electrical demand in 2020, 20% in 2030, and 35% in 2050. The Wind Vision Report builds upon the continued the success of the wind industry to date and quantifies a robust wind energy future.

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All-Electric Vehicles

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All-Electric Vehicles

Tesla Model S

All-electric vehicles (EVs) run on electricity only. They are propelled by one or more electric motors powered by rechargeable battery packs. EVs have several advantages over vehicles with internal combustion engines (ICEs):

  • Energy efficient. Electric vehicles convert about 59%–62% of the electrical energy from the grid to power at the wheels—conventional gasoline vehicles only convert about 17%–21% of the energy stored in gasoline to power at the wheels.*
  • Environmentally friendly. EVs emit no tailpipe pollutants, although the power plant producing the electricity may emit them. Electricity from nuclear-, hydro-, solar-, or wind-powered plants causes no air pollutants.
  • Performance benefits. Electric motors provide quiet, smooth operation and stronger acceleration and require less maintenance than ICEs.
  • Reduce energy dependence. Electricity is a domestic energy source.
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Office of Global Change

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Date: 05/21/2009 Description: Renewable Energy © USG Photo

The Office of Global Change (OES/EGC) works on a broad range of international climate change issues, under the guidance of the Special Envoy for Climate Change. The United States is taking a leading role by advancing an ever-expanding suite of measures at home and abroad. The President’s Climate Action Plan highlights unprecedented efforts by the United States to reduce carbon pollution, promote clean sources of energy that create jobs, protect communities from the impacts of climate change, and work with partners to lead international climate change efforts. The working partnerships the United States has created or strengthened with other major economies has reinforced the importance of results-driven action both internationally and domestically and are achieving measurable impacts now to help countries reduce their long-term greenhouse gas emissions.

To reach the Office of Global Change, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

What is Climate Change?

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Climate Change: Basic Information


How is the climate changing in the U.S.?

Observations across the United States and world provide multiple, independent lines of evidence that climate change is happening now.

Climate change is happening

Our Earth is warming. Earth's average temperature has risen by 1.5°F over the past century, and is projected to rise another 0.5 to 8.6°F over the next hundred years. Small changes in the average temperature of the planet can translate to large and potentially dangerous shifts in climate and weather.

The evidence is clear. Rising global temperatures have been accompanied by changes in weather and climate. Many places have seen changes in rainfall, resulting in more floods, droughts, or intense rain, as well as more frequent and severe heat waves.

The planet's oceans and glaciers have also experienced some big changes oceans are warming and becoming more acidic, ice caps are melting, and sea levels are rising. As these and other changes become more pronounced in the coming decades, they will likely present challenges to our society and our environment.

What are climate change and global warming?

View of Earth from space

Global warming refers to the recent and ongoing rise in global average temperature near Earth's surface. It is caused mostly by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Global warming is causing climate patterns to change. However, global warming itself represents only one aspect of climate change.

Climate change refers to any significant change in the measures of climate lasting for an extended period of time. In other words, climate change includes major changes in temperature, precipitation, or wind patterns, among other effects, that occur over several decades or longer.

Learn more about the signs of climate change in the United States.

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Humans are largely responsible for recent climate change

Over the past century, human activities have released large amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The majority of greenhouse gases come from burning fossil fuels to produce energy, although deforestation, industrial processes, and some agricultural practices also emit gases into the atmosphere.

Emissions at sunsetGreenhouse gases act like a blanket around Earth, trapping energy in the atmosphere and causing it to warm. This phenomenon is called the greenhouse effect and is natural and necessary to support life on Earth. However, the buildup of greenhouse gases can change Earth's climate and result in dangerous effects to human health and welfare and to ecosystems.

The choices we make today will affect the amount of greenhouse gases we put in the atmosphere in the near future and for years to come.

Learn more about the causes of climate change.


Climate change affects everyone

Our lives are connected to the climate. Human societies have adapted to the relatively stable climate we have enjoyed since the last ice age which ended several thousand years ago. A warming climate will bring changes that can affect our water supplies, agriculture, power and transportation systems, the natural environment, and even our own health and safety.

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Take a Quiz

How much you know about the health impacts of climate change? Take our new online quiz and share your score with friends!Climate Change and Human Health quiz

Some changes to the climate are unavoidable. Carbon dioxide can stay in the atmosphere for nearly a century, so Earth will continue to warm in the coming decades. The warmer it gets, the greater the risk for more severe changes to the climate and Earth's system. Although it's difficult to predict the exact impacts of climate change, what's clear is that the climate we are accustomed to is no longer a reliable guide for what to expect in the future.

We can reduce the risks we will face from climate change. By making choices that reduce greenhouse gas pollution, and preparing for the changes that are already underway, we can reduce risks from climate change. Our decisions today will shape the world our children and grandchildren will live in.

Learn more about the impacts of climate change and adapting to change.

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Hands on a globe

We can make a difference

You can take action. You can take steps at home, on the road, and in your office to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the risks associated with climate change. Many of these steps can save you money; some, such as walking or biking to work, can even improve your health! You can also get involved on a local or state level to support energy efficiency, clean energy programs, or other climate programs.Link to EPA’s Household Carbon Footprint Calculator

Calculate your carbon footprint and find ways to reduce your emissions through simple everyday actions.

EPA and other federal agencies are taking action. EPA is working to protect the health and welfare of Americans through common sense measures to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and to help communities prepare for climate change.

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Source: https://www.epa.gov/climatechange/climate-change-basic-information#main-content

 

STATEMENT: Secretary of Energy Should Embrace America’s Clean Energy Future

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STATEMENT: Secretary of Energy Should Embrace America’s Clean Energy Future

Statement - December 13, 2016

WASHINGTON (DECEMBER 13, 2016)– According to multiple media reports, President-elect Donald Trump has chosen Governor Rick Perry to lead the Department of Energy. Perry was governor of Texas from 2000 to 2015, and twice ran for president of the United States.

As Secretary of Energy, he would lead the Department’s mission to “ensure America’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology solutions.” The Secretary of Energy oversees a budget of $29.6 billion (in 2016), including $10.7 billion for all-of-the-above science and technology.

Last week, several reports revealed that the Trump transition team sent a request seeking names of people within the agency who work on climate and clean energy.

Following is a statement from Jennifer Layke, global director of WRI’s Energy Program:

“Governor Perry comes from a state long-associated with the oil industry, but he also has a successful track record of promoting wind power. When Perry took office as governor, Texas had 116 megawatts of wind power, but it now boasts 18,000 megawatts, making it the country’s largest wind producer. If the incoming Secretary truly wants to boost America’s economy, health and security, he should look no further than extending the Department’s commitment to clean, renewable energy.

“The shift to clean energy is well underway and already employing hundreds of thousands of people across the country, including in rural communities. Wind and solar power have been the largest source of new electricity in the U.S. in recent years. The cost to install solar power has fallen by more than 70 percent over the last decade. Wind power currently supplies 4.7% of U.S. electricity and employs more than 88,000 Americans. That’s why states from Texas to Maine and Iowa to Florida are all investing in renewable energy.

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Global collaboration on climate change legal toolkit

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Global collaboration on climate change legal toolkit

2 December 2016
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Legal experts from key international organisations, including the Commonwealth Secretariat, are meeting to develop a climate change legal toolkit to help countries carry out the Paris Agreement.

The two-day consultation is taking place between 1 and 2 December at the Commonwealth Secretariat’s headquarters in London. Academics, think tanks and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are exchanging knowledge and pooling resources to explore how to best support the legal needs and priorities of countries for climate mitigation, adaptation and finance.

Partners include the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and UN Environment. Participants include representatives from six United Nations entities and the World Bank. The Paris Agreement was signed by 193 countries and aims to combat climate change and adapt to its effects.

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Marking the One Year Anniversary of the Paris Climate Change Agreement Celebration and Reality Check

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Marking the One Year Anniversary of the Paris Climate Change Agreement
Celebration and Reality Check

 Paris Climate Change Agreement

Bonn, Germany, 12 December 2016 – One year after the world adopted the Paris Climate Change Agreement, climate action across governments, business and societies continues to scale new heights. The challenge now is to take this to an even higher scale with a speed and an urgency that reflects the scientific reality.

“2016 was an extraordinary year in many ways. In less than 12 months the Paris climate agreement entered into force and almost weekly, more countries ratify. Meanwhile nations, cities, regions, businesses and investors continue to signal their unwavering support through practical action, shifts in investments and ever more ambitious pledges, “said Patricia Espinosa, the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

“This urgency and this action needs not only to continue but to go to scale and gather ever more speed over 2017 and the years and decades to come—because current ambition still falls short of what is needed. In 2016 the UN’s World Meteorological Organization announced world-wide average temperatures had risen 1-degree Celsius in 2015 and that concentrations of the key greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, reached past the significant milestone of 400 parts per million in the atmosphere over the entire year, “she added.

Ms Espinosa said achieving the aims and ambitions of the Paris Agreement will also rest on the speed and urgency of realizing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted in 2015.

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Investing in Infrastructure? Don't Forget the Electric Grid

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Investing in Infrastructure? Don't Forget the Electric Grid

Solar panels and wind generators against a city view

December 7, 2016

Photo by artJazz/Getty Images

by Aimee E. Curtright and Kathleen Loa

One of the initiatives on President-elect Donald Trump's agenda for his first 100 days in office is a plan that would spur $1 trillion in infrastructure investment over 10 years.

Along with fixing America's dilapidated roads, bridges, transit and airports, the plan envisions spending $52 billion in taxpayer money on electricity infrastructure, with a presumed emphasis on integrating advanced “smart grid” technologies. While many consumers might see this as just another technology rollout that could be best left to the private sector and the free market, leaving the future of the electricity grid to chance should not be an option.

To maximize the potential benefits of a multibillion-dollar smart grid investment, a closer examination of smart grid technology and policy is needed.

A smart grid is an electric grid that connects electricity producers to consumers in new ways, including allowing for electricity and information to flow not just from the producers, but back to them as well. It includes the various pieces of equipment and devices that are used to produce, deliver and monitor the electricity that keeps America's lights on.

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The environmental costs and benefits of fracking: The state of research

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The environmental costs and benefits of fracking: The state of research

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On July 30, 2014, the United States did something that had been legally prohibited for nearly 40 years: It exported domestically produced crude oil. While minor exports had occurred through the years and the July shipment involved some technical sleight-of-hand (the product was classified as lightly refined “condensates”), it was one of the first significant oil shipments since Congress banned exports in the wake of the 1974 oil embargo.

Respecting the law up to now has been easy, given America’s declining domestic oil production and thirst for imported oil — in 2006, the country imported 3.7 billion barrels. What changed between then and now all comes down to one word: fracking, the popular name for hydraulic fracturing. Combined with horizontal drilling, the technique has powered a boom in U.S. energy production, unlocking substantial petroleum and natural gas deposits trapped in shale formations. A lot of this is good news: U.S. consumers and industry rarely complain when energy prices fall, and reducing imports from unstable parts of the world has considerable appeal. Natural gas also releases half as much carbon dioxide as coal, allowing it to potentially serve as a “bridge fuel” to the cleaner energy supported by the majority of Americans.

U.S. oil production, 2000-2014 (U.S. EIA)

Despite these advantages, fracking remains highly controversial, in large part because of the potential damage it poses to human health and the environment. Reports of fracking operations contaminating aquifers are widespread, and research has found indications of higher rates of silicosis among well workers, an increase in congenital defects to children born nearby, and elevated cancer risk due to air pollution. Even earthquakes have been linked to fracking operations. Such concerns have led a number of towns to try to ban the practice, and fracking has become one of the central issues in the 2014 battle for Colorado’s governorship, a crucial swing state.

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Air Pollution in China

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Air Pollution in China

Coal is the leading culprit of air pollution in China. A recent University of Leeds study sponsored by Greenpeace East Asia traced PM2.5 (fine particles with a diameter under 2.5µm) in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and found the amount of PM2.5 released into the air in 2010 alone was more than ten million tons.

The study also confirmed that the majority of air pollution happens when certain gases are discharged into the air and turn into fine particles. And coal burning contributes most of these gases.

China's epic climb to the world's second-largest economy has had devastating health impacts. Another research project co-authored by Greenpeace on the health impacts of coal power plants shows that PM2.5 pollution from the 196 coal-fired power plants in the capital region of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei caused 9,900 premature deaths and nearly 70,000 outpatient visits or hospitalizations during 2011. 75% of the premature deaths are caused by the 152 coal-fired power plants in Hebei Province.

Air pollution will remain a serious problem in China as long as coal continues to be the country's major energy source.

PM2.5 concentration levels have particularly endangered public health in big cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Xi’an. The PM2.5 concentration levels in all four cities exceed World Heath Organisation (WHO) air quality guidelines. This means higher health risks to the cardiovascular system, cerebrovascular system and an increase in the probability of cancer and premature death.

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Wind Turbine Technologies

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Wind Turbine Technologies

The purpose of this report is to give investors a better idea of which turbine is suitable for a particular setting and to provide a new outlook on vertical-axis wind turbines. Vertical-axis wind turbines are more compact and suitable for residential and commercial areas while horizontal-axis wind turbines are more suitable for wind farms in rural areas or offshore. However, technological advances in vertical-axis wind turbines that are able to generate more energy with a smaller footprint are now challenging the traditional use of horizontal wind turbines in wind farms. Wind technology has grown substantially since its original use as a method to grind grains and will only continue to grow.

Source: http://www.geni.org/globalenergy/research/#hydrogenforelectricitygeneration

 


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