Jan 30, 2009

80% of Amazon Deforestation Stems from Cattle Ranching

Greenpeace Brazil has released a report at the World Social Forum in Belém showing that up to 80 percent of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest is due to an increase in raising cattle for human consumption.
Brazil has quickly become the largest exporter of beef in the world, but they are not satisfied with their current market share and plan to increase production. The plan flies in the face of their supposed commitment to tackle climate change. The country is currently the fourth biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, 75% of which stem from deforestation.

LED energy revolution starts today!

Cambridge University researchers have developed cheap, light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs that produce brilliant light but use very little electricity. They will cost $2 and last up to 60 years. Despite being smaller than a penny, they are 12 times more efficient than conventional tungsten bulbs and three times more efficient than the unpopular fluorescent low-energy versions.
If installed in every home and office, they could cut the proportion of electricity used for lights from 20 per cent to 5 per cent a year. As well as lasting 100,000 hours, ten times as long as today's eco-bulbs, the LED bulbs do not contain mercury, so disposal is less damaging to the environment, and they do not flicker - a problem that has been blamed for migraines and epileptic fits.
'That won't just be good news for the environment. It will also benefit consumers by cutting their electricity bills.
'It is our belief they will render current energy-efficiency bulbs redundant.'
Read full at dailymail

Spent nuclear fuel: a trash heap deadly for 250,000 years or a renewable energy source?

Scientific American: A 98-foot-wide, two-mile-long ditch with steep walls 33 feet deep that bristles with magnets and radar reflectors will stand for millennia as a warning to future humans not to trifle with what is hidden inside the Waste Isolation Pilot Project (WIPP) outside Carlsbad, N.M. Paired with 48 stone or concrete 105-ton markers, etched with warnings in seven languages ranging from English to Navajo as well as human faces contorted into expressions of horror, the massive installation is meant to ...
Source link ecologicalinternet.org David Biello

Free RF energy harvesting from sources like WiFi

VIA treehugger

One of Intel's focuses for eco-technology is increasing our ability to harvest free energy sources from the sun to kinetic energy. This also includes RF energy harvesting from sources like WiFi, cell phone towers and TV signals.

Intel has just let loose details on a technique for harvesting ambient RF energy. The researchers powered a wall-mounted household weather station with an LCD screen using a TV antenna pointed at a local TV station.

The Intel researchers aimed a TV antenna at a TV station 4 km away, and harvested enough energy to power a mini weather meter. The technology used for this technique is an extension of that used in off-the-shelf RFID tags in which the tag reader supplies power to the otherwise unpowered ID tag.

With gadgets becoming more and more energy efficient, the idea of using RF energy harvesting to power them is closer to reality...though it will be quite awhile before we have gadgets on the market powered through this method.

Details about the experiment:

The Intel Researchers set up a TV antenna on a balcony with line of sight to the KING-TV tower 4.1 km away. The TV station broadcasts on channel 48 between 674 and 680 MHz with an effective radiation power (ERP) of 960 Kw. The TV antenna used was a UHF log periodic with 5 dBi gain connected to a 4 stage charge pump power harvesting circuit of the same design as that found in an RFID tag. Across an 8 KOhm load the team measured 0.7V, corresponding to 60 microwatts of power harvested. That was enough to drive a thermometer/hygrometer and its LCD display, which is normally powered, by a 1.5 volt AAA battery.

Intel is also focused on energy harvesting from indoor and outdoor ambient light, waste heat from both systems and human bodies, mechanical and kinetic energy. The company feels that by developing technologies that utilize a hybrid power architecture - including alternative energy, better power delivery, better power management and an adaptive system - the use of electronics can be cheaper and lighter on the planet. With that in mind on all their eco-technology research, Intel is working hard to be a leader in better ways to run systems. We're pretty excited to see what more they roll out in the near future.

Via Gizmag


Important discovery flood-tolerant rice

DAVIS, California (CNN) -- If every scientist hopes to make at least one important discovery in her career, then University of California-Davis professor Pamela Ronald and her colleagues may have hit the jackpot.
Ronald's team works with rice, a grain most Americans take for granted, but which is a matter of life and death to much of the world. Thanks to their efforts to breed a new, hardier variety of rice, millions of people may not go hungry.
About half the world's population eats rice as a staple. Two-thirds of the diet of subsistence farmers in India and Bangladesh is made up entirely of rice. If rice crops suffer, it can mean starvation for millions.
"People [in the United States] think, well, if I don't have enough rice, I'll go to the store," said Ronald, a professor of plant pathology at UC-Davis. "That's not the situation in these villages. They're mostly subsistence farmers. They don't have cars."
As sea levels rise and world weather patterns worsen, flooding has become a major cause of rice crop loss. Scientists estimate 4 million tons of rice are lost every year because of flooding. That's enough rice to feed 30 million people.
Rice is grown in flooded fields, usually to kill weeds. But rice plants do not like it when they are submerged in water for long periods, Ronald said.
"They don't get enough carbon dioxide, they don't get enough light and their entire metabolic processes are thrown off. The rice plant tries to grow out of the flood, but when it does, it depletes its sugar reserves. It starts to break down its chlorophyll, important for photosynthesis. It grows really quickly, and then when the flood recedes, it just dies. It's out of gas."
The team relied on something called precision breeding, the ability to introduce very specific genes into plants without the associated baggage of other genes that might tag along in conventional breeding.
"This can be a problem for farmers," Ronald said. "The varieties that were developed from conventional breeding were rejected by farmers because they didn't yield well or taste good."
Using precision breeding, scientists introduced the Sub1 gene three years ago into test fields in Bangladesh and India. The subsequent rice harvests were a resounding success.
"The results were really terrific," said Ronald. "The farmers found three- to five-fold increases in yield due to flood tolerance. They can plant the normal way. They can harvest the normal way and it tastes the same. Farmers had more food for their families and they also had additional rice they could sell to bring a little bit of money into the household."
Read full at CNN

LED Lighting As Cheap As CFLs Invented

New Scientist reports that a British team has overcome the obstacles to cheap LED lighting, and that LED lamps as cheap as CFLs will be on the market in five years. Quoting: 'Gallium nitride cannot be grown on silicon like other solid-state electronic components because it shrinks at twice the rate of silicon as it cools. Crystals of GaN must be grown at 1000C, so by the time a new LED made on silicon has cooled, it has already cracked, rendering the devices unusable. One solution is to grow the LEDs on sapphire, which shrinks and cools at much the same rate as GaN. But the expense is too great to be commercially competitive. Now Colin Humphreys's team at the University of Cambridge has discovered a simple solution to the shrinkage problem. They included layers of aluminium gallium nitride in their LED design... These LEDs can be grown on silicon as so many other electronics components are. ... A 15-centimetre silicon wafer costs just $15 and can accommodate 150,000 LEDs making the cost per unit tiny.'"


Guardian, UK - Britain's biggest polluting companies are abusing a European emissions trading scheme designed to tackle global warming by cashing in their carbon credits in order to bolster ailing balance sheets.
The sell-off has helped trigger a collapse in the price of carbon, making it cheaper to burn high-carbon fossil fuels and leading to a fall in the number of clean energy projects. The moves were seized on by environmentalists and other critics who have previously criticized the European Union's ETS for delivering more windfall profits for business than climate change.
Steel, concrete and glassmakers are believed to be the main sellers along with financial speculators such as hedge funds. The sell-off of the pollution permits has led to carbon prices plunging 60% . . .
Environmentalists expressed anger last night about the way the ETS was being used. "The ETS has bowed to corporate self-interest at every stage of its design and implementation, so there is no surprise that it is now being used as a cash cow to see firms through a difficult financial phase," said Oscar Reyes, a researcher with Carbon Trade Watch.
"Recession in Europe is bringing a slowdown in manufacturing meaning less production and less emissions. Companies are doing exactly what is the rational thing to do in these circumstances which is to sell if they are long on credits. It is right that if they are emitting less then they do not need the credits so much and the price of carbon will fall," said Henrik Hasselknippe, global head of carbon at Point Carbon.
Read full at Guardian, UK
Source link TPR

Jan 28, 2009

A Little Dirt Is Good for You

JANE E. BRODY, NY Times - In studies of what is called the hygiene hypothesis, researchers are concluding that organisms like the millions of bacteria, viruses and especially worms that enter the body along with "dirt" spur the development of a healthy immune system. Several continuing studies suggest that worms may help to redirect an immune system that has gone awry and resulted in autoimmune disorders, allergies and asthma.
Dr. Ruebush deplores the current fetish for the hundreds of antibacterial products that convey a false sense of security and may actually foster the development of antibiotic-resistant, disease-causing bacteria. Plain soap and water are all that are needed to become clean, she noted.
"I certainly recommend washing your hands after using the bathroom, before eating, after changing a diaper, before and after handling food," and whenever they're visibly soiled, she wrote. When no running water is available and cleaning hands is essential, she suggests an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
These studies, along with epidemiological observations, seem to explain why immune system disorders like multiple sclerosis, Type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, asthma and allergies have risen significantly in the United States and other developed countries.
"What a child is doing when he puts things in his mouth is allowing his immune response to explore his environment," Mary Ruebush, a microbiology and immunology instructor, wrote in her new book, "Why Dirt Is Good". "Not only does this allow for 'practice' of immune responses, which will be necessary for protection, but it also plays a critical role in teaching the immature immune response what is best ignored."
One leading researcher, Dr. Joel V. Weinstock, the director of gastroenterology and hepatology at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, said in an interview that the immune system at birth "is like an unprogrammed computer. It needs instruction."
He said that public health measures like cleaning up contaminated water and food have saved the lives of countless children, but they "also eliminated exposure to many organisms that are probably good for us."
"Children raised in an ultraclean environment," he added, "are not being exposed to organisms that help them develop appropriate immune regulatory circuits."
Studies he has conducted with Dr. David Elliott, a gastroenterologist and immunologist at the University of Iowa, indicate that intestinal worms, which have been all but eliminated in developed countries, are "likely to be the biggest player" in regulating the immune system to respond appropriately, Dr. Elliott said in an interview. He added that bacterial and viral infections seem to influence the immune system in the same way, but not as forcefully. Most worms are harmless, especially in well-nourished people, Dr. Weinstock said. . .
Dr. Weinstock goes even further. "Children should be allowed to go barefoot in the dirt, play in the dirt, and not have to wash their hands when they come in to eat," he said. He and Dr. Elliott pointed out that children who grow up on farms and are frequently exposed to worms and other organisms from farm animals are much less likely to develop allergies and autoimmune diseases.
Also helpful, he said, is to "let kids have two dogs and a cat," which will expose them to intestinal worms that can promote a healthy immune system.
Read full from NY Times
Source Link -  TRP

Jan 27, 2009

Mercury in nearly half the samples of high fructose corn syrup

Mercury was found in nearly fifty percent of tested samples of commercial high fructose corn syrup According to an article published in the scientific journal, Environmental Health.

A separate study detected mercury in nearly one third of fifty-five popular brand name foods and beverages where HFCS is the first or second highest labeled ingredient.

According to David Wallinga, M.D., from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy,

"Mercury is toxic in all its forms.  Given how much high fructose corn syrup is consumed by children, it could be a significant additional source of mercury never before considered."

Radical wind idea from Wisconsin inventor

The Impossible Wind Turbine Design That Just Might Work

Adam Fuller has dedicated his life— and his life savings— to disproving the wind industry's claim that vertical turbines are ineffective. Last week, I had a chance to talk to the Racine, Wisconsin inventor about his 12 foot diameter, 36 foot tall patent-pending wind turbine.

Read more of this story »

Peak oil? Global warming? No, it's 'Boomsday!'

Strange insight by marketwatch
Five reasons 'population explosion' is world's biggest economic problem
Bruising battle? .... focus on the one core problem overshadowing all other global economic issues: Population growth.
Too many boomers and babies in this equation
Yes, population is the core problem that, unless confronted and dealt with, will render all solutions to all other problems irrelevant.
Population is the one variable in an economic equation that impacts, aggravates, irritates and accelerates all other problems.
Indeed, a United Nation's study estimates the world population will continue exploding, from 6.6 billion to 9.3 billion by 2050!
And not only will there be about 50% more people on the planet before today's kids reach the age of the youngest boomers today, but every year they'll also be demanding more opportunities, more benefits and more resources for their personal economic growth as well as for the expansion of their national economies.
Warning: by 2050 America's 400 million will be vastly outnumbered by 8.9 billion others across the planet, all competing with America.
In short, within four decades human demands will easily double. That makes population growth the key variable in every economic equation .. impacting every other major issue facing world economies ... from peak oil to global warming ... from foreign policy to nuclear threats ... from religion to science ... everything.
Population is the No. 1 variable in the economic equation.
And here's how an exploding population will remain the key variable driving all other major economic issues in the next four short decades:
1. Global wars ... over food, water and energy
Five years ago Fortune reported on "The Pentagon's Weather Nightmare." Yes, from inside our military comes a warning of "the mother of all national security issues." As "the planet's carrying capacity shrinks, an ancient pattern reemerges: the eruption of desperate all-out wars over food, water, and energy supplies." But ask yourself: What if nations prioritized population control policies to minimize growth and reduce demand?
2. 'Global warming' ... and nuclear threats
Will it work? In the latest Foreign Policy magazine, environmental economist Bill McKibben, author of "The End of Nature," warns: "It might already be too late ... to save the planet from a climate catastrophe." The International Energy Agency's answer is more supply to feed exploding demand: The world must spend "$45 trillion to build 1,400 nuclear power plants and vastly expand wind power" in order to "halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2050." Their supply-side obsession assumes three billion more people. But what if we focused on cutting demand by stabilizing world population at 6 billion?
3. 'Peak oil' ... versus 'peak population'
Experts warn that "The Age of Oil" is over. Soon the marginal cost of extracting a barrel will equal the sale price. We are on the downside of the bell curve. Special interests like Exxon-Mobil and the Saudis disagree.
But check sites like LifeAftertheOilCrash.com: "Civilization as we know it is coming to an end soon. This is not the wacky proclamation of a doomsday cult, apocalypse bible prophecy sect, or conspiracy theory society. Rather, it is the scientific conclusion of the best paid, most widely respected geologists, physicists, bankers and investors in the world. These are rational, professional, conservative individuals who are absolutely terrified by a phenomenon known as global 'peak oil.'" Warning: We're near the tipping point: Stabilize population or self-destruct.
4. Alternative energies, 'political will' and lobbyists
Wall Street, Washington and Corporate America hustle the myth that we must become "energy independent." History suggests narrow special-interest lobbyists will dull the "political will to act" till we pass the point of no return. Our population will grow from 300 million to 400 million by 2050, but the rest of the world will add another 3 billion, with all demanding more economic resources to meet burgeoning demands for energy, food and water. If the world's population isn't addressed, we'll be outnumbered and outgunned.
5. The mythological math of 'economic growth'
Economic equations stumble on bogus data. Last spring political historian Kevin Phillips wrote a brilliant Harper's article "Numbers Racket" warning us that "the economy is worse than we know." Politicians use "deceptive statistics" to sell "Americans that the U.S. economy is stronger, fairer, more productive, more dominant, and richer with opportunity than it really is. The corruption has tainted the very measures that most shape public perception of the economy."
Making matters worse, economists are part of this conspiracy, tacitly endorsing government propaganda about progress.
Evolutionary geologist Jared Diamond put all this in perspective in his Pulitzer Prize-winning "Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed:" "One of the disturbing facts of history is that so many civilizations collapse. Few people, however, least of all our politicians, realize that a primary cause of the collapse of those societies has been the destruction of the natural resources on which they depend. Fewer still appreciate that many of those civilizations share a sharp curve of decline. Indeed, a society's demise may begin only a decade or two after it reaches its peak population, wealth and power."
What's the one common reason societies, cultures, nations have collapsed across the world and throughout history? Leaders "focused only on issues likely to blow up in the next 90 days," lacking the will "to make bold, courageous, anticipatory decisions." Their short-term thinking, unfortunately, sets the stage for a rapid "sharp curve of decline."
Read full from marketwatch

Jan 26, 2009

Six times more plastic than plankton in the Pacific Ocean

Amass of plastic in the Pacific, increasing tenfold each decade since 1945, is now the size of Texas and killing everything in its wake.
Each day, North Americans throw away more than 385,000 cellphones and 143,000 computers-- electronic waste is now the fastest-growing stream of garbage. Lead and mercury are seeping from this waste into ground water.
Most of this electronic waste is shipped overseas, where it is dismantled and burned, deleterious to the environment and human health. Some of the e-waste, however, is winding up in the sea.
Each hour, North Americans consume and discard about 2.75 million plastic water and soda bottles; that's 24 billion a year.
Globally, 100 million tonnes of plastic are generated each year and at least 10 per cent of that is finding its way into the sea. The United Nations Environmental Program now estimates that there are 46,000 floating pieces of plastic for every square mile of ocean. Some of that trash circulating the globe is 30 metres deep.
Worldwide, each year 113 billion kilograms of small plastic pellets called nurdles--the feedstock for all disposable plastics-- are shipped and billions are spilled during transfer in and out of railroad cars. Those spilled nurdles are ending up in gutters and drains and eventually carried into the ocean.
The U.S. produces about 6.8 billion kilograms of plastic each year and only one per cent of it is recycled. As a matter of fact, the average American uses 101 kilograms of plastic each year and by 2011 it's projected to be as high as 148 kilograms per annum.
At least 80 per cent of the plastic in the ocean originated from the land. Thousands of cargo containers fall overboard in stormy seas each year. In 2002, 33,000 blue-and-white Nike basketball shoes were spilled off the coast of Washington.
Plastic in the ocean acts like sponges attracting neuron-toxins like mercury and pyrethroids insecticides, carcinogens such as PCBs, DDT and PBDE (the backbone of flame retardants), and man-made hormones like progesterone and estrogen that at high levels induce both male and female reproductive parts on a single animal.
Japanese scientists found nurdles with concentrations of poisons listed above as high as one million times their concentrations in the water as free-floating substances.
Each year, a million sea birds and 100,000 sharks, turtles, dolphins and whales die from eating plastic.
The massive clockwise North Pacific Gyre is carrying plastic that is over 50 years old. Last year, plastic found in the stomach of an albatross had a serial number traced to a Second World War seaplane shot down just south of Japan in 1944 and identified over 60 years later off the West Coast of the U. S.
Currently, there is six times more plastic than plankton floating in the middle of the Pacific.
Read more by  Dr. Reese Halter  from greenchange

Jan 25, 2009

'The end is always near' Boom time for doomsayers

Since the dawn of time there have been doomers ...a real doomster's view that the world is going to end soon so the borrowing will never have to be paid anyway. This is an extraordinarily dangerous view, especially when it is held by economists (perhaps subliminally) and politicians (literally, in some cases).
In all reality 'The end is always near and we are all destine to die' . A doomer viewpoint is dangerous and irrational to believe the quantity of 'time' we spend here out weighs its quality. Simply doing the wrongs things to ourselves and others 'because we could all die tomorrow' mentality ... is some teenage potheads excuse for doing nothing productive (WE ALL KNOW THIS).
A rational understanding is that all life and time on earth can not be qualified or quantified by monetary or personal gains and that the only true peace and happiness we find is through the love and togetherness with others.
Think about this for a moment -
Lets say you have a week before we are all going to die from, a Yosemite eruption, massive meteor hit or Hadron Collider creating a self sustaining black hole - If 'the end is near' are you grabbing your guns and cash or making last minute time and reconciliation with friends and loved ones.
And if you have never experienced these relations you will be desperately looking to have or get it from others...
In perspective time is relative to what we make of it. 'what we do with it is our own choice'
HAASE - The only way to get out of a hole is climb or jump out not dig in deeper....

Another US fail in MPG

gas2.org/ Quote - 'The Euro 6 compliant version gets 54.7 mpg where as the US version will get around 42 mpg. ' Volkswagen showed off its latest roadster that is barely over a ton. It’s lightweight construction includes a soft top that is the lightest in its class. It paid off. It will take less than 6-seconds to hit 60 mph. Of course, it’s weight also pays off in fuel consumption.
With a top speed of 140 mph, the 2.0-liter turbodiesel (TDI) delivers 258 lb-ft of torque.

"Toxic Chinese drywall" used in cheap homebuilding industry is causing serious health problems, destroying TVs and computers, corroding metal, pipes, electrical wiring and jewelry.

"Toxic Chinese drywall" used in cheap homebuilding industry is causing serious health problems, destroying TVs and computers, corroding metal, pipes, electrical wiring and jewelry. Read from heraldtribune
From comments - ...Apparently when you buy your goods from china, you don't care what THEY are doing to our global environment. You just care how to save a buck... would these people still have bought their homes if it cost another 10,000 for American made drywall? I think they would rather buy their home cheaper...then worry about the problem.

We do business with China...but not Cuba??? Give me a break. If you go out to eat, and every time you go to the same place, and the food tastes crappy, would you not go somewhere else?

EPA objects to coal plant, Sierra Club claims new day

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Environmentalists claimed on Friday that a new era regarding coal-fired power plants had arrived with the Obama administration after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency turned back South Dakota's approval of a big coal-fired power plant in that state because of pollution concerns.

"EPA is signaling that it is back to enforcing long-standing legal requirements fairly and consistently nationwide," said Bruce Nilles, head of the Sierra Club's effort to stop coal power plants.

Tragedy only resides in reality...

Yes, that is tragic. And it is because it is true. Tragedy only resides in reality. Dreams can be scary, but they're never tragic.

We have a journey ahead of us that will be harder than we can imagine today for many among us. At least, you don't have to do it on your own. Look around you, get closer to the people around you, seek out those who need help now or will need it in the future. The nuclear family is no more, and neither is their abode, the McMansion. People need people.

From theautomaticearth

Jan 24, 2009

Senator Nelson Introduces Biogas Legislation

January 22, 2009 – Billions of gallons of fossil fuels could be reduced through renewable energy sources produced from wastes with a little ingenuity and modest government support.  Nebraska’s Senator Ben Nelson has introduced groundbreaking legislation that promotes the development of biogas – a natural gas substitute created by converting agricultural, animal or other organic wastes – through tax incentives.
“We already have the technology to break down these wastes to create biogas but it needs encouragement from the federal government to become a commercially-viable alternative to natural gas.  This new energy source would benefit rural communities and the environment while lessening our dependence on fossil fuels and ensuring energy security,” said Nelson.  “We shouldn’t waste the waste; we should promote biogas development.”
Biogas is produced through technologies such as anaerobic digestion (AD) that can convert animal wastes and other agricultural or organic wastes into at least 50% methane (the principal ingredient of natural gas).  Biogas can be used as is on the farm or co-located with another facility such as an ethanol plant, or as a renewable substitute for natural gas, propane or other fossil fuels.
Nelson’s legislation, the Biogas Production Incentives Act of 2009, would encourage greater production of biogas for energy purposes by providing biogas producers with a tax credit of $4.27 for every million British thermal units (mmBtu) of biogas produced. This could mean more jobs and a boon for rural communities.
Biogas production also offers environmental benefits such as a reduction in the greenhouse gas emissions of both carbon dioxide and methane and improved water quality through better manure management.
“We’ve made great strides in developing an ethanol industry in Nebraska and we should do more to diversify and expand our production of biofuels and renewable energy,” said Nelson.  “My legislation will put into place tax incentives for large scale and small scale producers to get involved in biogas production.”

Ethanol Lawsuit Proceeds

FROM csnews -  Suit claims that companies at fault for not warning boat owners that gas can damage engines, fuel tanks
A Florida lawsuit against six oil companies that alleges negligence for failing to warn boat owners of potential harm from ethanol-blended gasoline, survived a motion to dismiss from the defendants, NaplesNews.com reported.
The next step is pursuing certification to become a class-action lawsuit, said plaintiff attorney Jeffrey Ostrow in Fort Lauderdale.
The intent is to represent all Florida boat owners who have used ethanol-blended fuel and those whose boats have been damaged by ethanol added in fuel, Ostrow said. He filed the lawsuit in August 2008 says the oil companies have been negligent by not providing warnings to boat owners that ethanol additive can corrode fiberglass fuel tanks and require the tanks to be replaced, and secondly, that phased separation of ethanol from gasoline can cause engine damage.
The goal with a class-action lawsuit is reimbursement to boat owners for repairs and to require a warning label on fuel pumps alerting boaters not to use ethanol-blended gasoline or consult with a boat mechanic, Ostrow said.
U.S. District Court Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga issued an order Tuesday allowing the complaint to move forward on one count of negligence that the oil manufacturers have failed to warn boat owners of the potential harm of ethanol-blended gasoline. During earlier proceedings, the plaintiff’s attorney agreed to drop two other counts that the oil companies intentionally concealed potential harm of ethanol in gasoline and that such violated Florida’s deceptive and unfair trade law.
At issue is a state law adopted in spring 2008 that all gasoline sold in the state contain 10 percent ethanol, called E10, by the end of 2010 as part of conservation measures. Two exemptions were included allowing ethanol-free gas to be sold for airplanes and boats. About a half dozen other states require ethanol additives in gasoline.
For once I'm actually on the side of the oil companies. Gov. insisted requiring ethanol in all the gas, and thats what we got. I think its completely stupid and uncalled for to expect refiners and suppliers to have to double their storage and shipping capacity in order to keep ethanol and exempt gas separate. Complete waste of resources... read full here

Government report slams EPA, calls for overhaul of toxic chemical review

By Meg Kissinger of the Journal Sentinel

The Government Accounting Office is out with a scathing indictment of the Bush era's treatment of toxic chemicals. The report takes on the very issues that we have been writing about for more than a year in our series "Chemical Fallout."

The report slams the Environmental Protection Agency, saying it does not have sufficient information to adequately protect the public from chemicals that may pose substantial health risks. The government watchdog identifies chemical safety as one of three areas in need of a major overhaul -- including the nation's financial system and oversight of medical products. Read more about it later today on JSOnline and in Saturday's Journal Sentinel.

Jan 23, 2009

First Offshore Wind Farm is Meeting Stiff Resistance

Wall Street Journal -- The fate of what would be the nation's first offshore wind farm is calling attention to the political obstacles facing renewable power, despite President-elect Barack Obama's determination to greatly expand its use.
Supporters say it will deliver annual reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions equivalent to taking 175,000 cars off the road. Opponents warn it will industrialize Nantucket Sound, a popular summer playground, and interfere with fishing and recreation. Some time before Mr. Obama is inaugurated Jan. 20, the Bush administration is expected to publish a review of the expected environmental impact of the project, resolving the last major regulatory hurdle blocking the project in Washington.
The conflict over Cape Wind illustrates a persistent problem for renewable power. Policy makers and environmentalists love the idea of generating clean power from the sun, wind, water and geothermal sources to displace imported oil. But at the local level, there is often opposition to the hardware needed to make renewable power work: big windmills, acres of solar panels and large-scale transmission lines.
Resolving such conflicts will be critical if Mr. Obama's administration is to achieve his goal of generating at least 25% of the nation's electricity from renewable sources by 2025. Wind, solar and geothermal energy currently account for less than 1% of U.S. electricity supply.
The Energy Department concluded last year that wind energy could generate 20% of the nation's electricity by 2030. But that would happen only if a "superhighway" transmission system is created to carry wind power from sparsely populated areas to states and cities that need the energy.
"You can build wind farms all day, but unless you have eminent domain to allow you to build a 1,000-mile transmission line, it won't work," says James Rogers, chief executive of North Carolina-based Duke Energy Corp.,

The Cost of Warner-Lieberman ponzi scheme....

When they say the 'EIA, EPA, MIT or Haase is wrong', we have to start asking who it is they are protecting...

I think it is VERY clear that we can save our economy in less than three years and provide millions of jobs by investing in a sustainable economy that will continue to add trillions to our GDP.  However, most 'media marketed renewable energy programs look like another ethanol or ponzi scheme.

According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the Climate Security Act will cost American taxpayers $1.21 trillion during the 2009 – 2018 period and impose mandates on the private sector that would exceed $90 billion per year during the 2012-2016 period. CBO states that while covered facilities would be responsible for these initial costs, the bulk would be passed onto consumers in the form of higher prices for energy and energy-intensive goods and services and cost nearly 4 million jobs in 2015, growing on a year-by-year basis to more than 7 million jobs 2050.

The overall cost of the bill to the average household of 2.6 persons will exceed $2,300 annually in 2015, which approximates the amount households now spend annually on healthcare.

The economy will suffer from large year-over-year losses in GDP through 2050 because of the high costs of compliance in the early years and the limited availability of zero carbon technologies throughout the economy in the later years when caps require near-zero emissions. By 2050, GDP losses accumulate to $5.3 trillion (present value 2007$).

The analysis states that the impacts will be felt especially by the poor, who spend more of their income on energy and other goods than other income brackets. By 2020, higher energy prices mean that low income families (with average incomes less than $18,500) will spend between 19% and 22% of their income on energy under L/W compared to a projected 17% without L/W. Others on fixed incomes, such as the elderly will also suffer disproportionately.


More information on this scheme and the economic impacts of S. 2191,  are summarized below (from IER):

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) core analysis of the economic impacts of Lieberman-Warner “assumes, among other things, that key low-emissions technologies – including nuclear and coal with carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) – are developed and deployed in a timeframe consistent with the bill’s emissions reduction requirements without encountering any major obstacles, even with rapidly growing use on a very large scale.

Even with this assumption, EIA concludes that S. 2191 “increases the cost of using energy, which reduces real economic output, reduces purchasing power, and lowers aggregate demand for goods and services.“ Specifically, EIA estimates that S. 2191 will result in a $76 - $723 increase in average annual household energy bills (excluding transportation costs) and a $444 billion to $1.3 trillion loss gross domestic product by 2030.

EIA also notes that the “potential for and the timing of the development, commercialization, and deployment of low-emissions electricity generating technologies such as nuclear power, coal with CCS, and dispatchable renewable power is a major determinant of the energy and economic impacts of S. 2191. The absence of these technologies is estimated to significantly increase compliance costs.” 

The U.S. Environmental protection Agency (EPA) analysis of the economic impacts of Lieberman-Warner assumes that carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology is deployable at scale across the entire U.S. electricity sector, and that there is a 150 percent increase in U.S. nuclear power generation by 2050. The EPA analysis also assumes that the U.S. complies with the Kyoto Protocol, which it currently does not.

Based on those assumptions, EPA concludes that Warner-Lieberman would result in annual reductions of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) ranging from $238 billion to $983 billion in 2030, and from roughly $1 trillion to more than $2.8 trillion in 2050; gasoline prices would increase by $0.53 per gallon in 2030 to $1.40 per gallon in 2050; and electricity prices are projected to increase 44 percent in 2030 and 26 percent in 2050.

Based on these assumptions, the S. 2191 will result in $1.7 trillion to $4.8 trillion in losses to gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030, annual job losses ranging from 500,000 to 1,000,000, and an increase of $467 per household each year for natural gas and electricity.

The Heritage Foundation also conducted an analysis of the economic impacts of S. 2191 on the 50 states, which is available here.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change examined several Congressional proposals to limit carbon emissions using their Emissions Prediction and Policy Analysis (EPPA) model. For S.2191, MIT found that, by 2020, S.2191 will lower expected GDP by nearly 1% (range of estimates is -.69% - -.78) or by between $136 billion and $154 billion. They also found that cap and trade proposals “imply large-scale changes in the U.S. energy system. For example, even with strong growth in wind, solar and other renewable sources the required removal of CO2 emissions from the electric sector would require on the order of 500 new no- or low-carbon power plants to be built by 2050. If all of these were nuclear power plants that would be a six-fold increase from the 100 now in place.”

Haase note:  This analysis also includes a breakdown of S. 2191’s impacts on the 50 states, which can be found by visiting IER’s Cost of Climate Change Policies Map.

The MIT analysis can be found here.

The executive summary of EIA’s analysis is available here.

The complete CBO cost estimate is available here.

The EPA analysis is available here.

The CRA International study is available here.

Peak Oil, Gas, Coal and Uranium... Peak prosperity?

Much Awesomeness From BigGAV
One of the biggest energy conference in the world that is being attended by key policy makers, financiers, leading academics and no less than 400 journalists from all over the world opened with a prince who spoke about the lessons that we need to learn from the collapse of historic civilizations in perspective to the four peaks of oil, gas, coal and uranium that await us.
From  A Prince and Four Peaks: Peak Oil, Gas, Coal and Uranium speech:
Ladies and gentlemen, did you know that when the Roman Empire finally collapsed, large parts of Europe had been deforested. Acres of forestland had been cleared for farmland and to provide firewood. Wood and food were essential, to maintain the Roman Empire. To meet their short term needs, the Romans overexploited their prime energy resource. They did not think about the consequences for later generations. So the demise of a seemingly invincible civilization was partially due to the unsustainable use of their prime energy resource. The question is, are we going to be any wiser?

What the Romans were experiencing, we would now describe as peak wood. Reaching a point of maximum production after which it enters terminal decline. We are now facing a century of at least four undesirable peaks, peak oil, peak gas, peak coal and peak uranium. Mountaineers may be proud to conquer peaks, but there is no reason whatsoever for us to be proud. We can, however, change the course of history. The technologies we need are there.

On a global level, the sun and the deserts present us with major opportunity. We know all energy resources originate from one source, one masdar, nuclear fusion from the surface of the sun. Arab traders sailed the Indian Ocean, long before Europeans ventured into these regions. The same winds Columbus used were there, generated by the sun's heat to make his historic journeys. My wife and I traveled to this beautiful city by plane, with fossil energy generated millions of years ago by that same sun. If it were up to the sun we would have no energy problems at all. Every 30 minutes the earth absorbs enough light to meet the energy needs for one year. Every 30 minutes, if only we could harvest it. To do so we need the world's deserts. Many regard deserts as a barren and hostile environment. In fact, they are a precious source of life, which we should embrace and protect for the common good.

The point is, if we don’t treat energy as a long term investment, we will end up paying much higher bills. But we mustn’t wait until solar energy plants and cross border grids are available for sustainable energy supplies. We need to invest at the local level too. Technologies for local production of sustainable energy are readily available for both electricity and local cooling. These technologies can be applied without a large infrastructure, making them more promising than existing examples. There are three examples I would like to share with you today, two designed in the Netherlands and a third a joint venture between Canadian and Spanish scientists and entrepreneurs.

The first is the green greenhouse, a new generation of greenhouses that produces not only plants and food but also clean electricity, heating and cooling. One transformed, greenhouse can provide sufficient energy for 200 homes. The green greenhouses produce biogas for electricity generation and uses the CO2 thus generated to stimulate the growth of plants. This process also produces water of drinking quality.

The second example is vacuum sewerage for toilet and kitchen disposal. The sewage is used locally for the production of biogas. The pipelines are only half the size of the normal pipelines, giving higher flexibility for construction. Both CO2 emissions and water use are reduced by 50%. No larger infrastructure is required and developing regions are presented with the opportunity to obtain much better water conditions.

The third example is the production of clean energy by a new, completely closed system of garbage gasification in small units. 99.8% of the total garbage supply is re-used or converted, producing 80% more biogas then it uses. No water is wasted during the process. On the contrary, water is one of the products.

What makes all these technologies interesting is that they contribute to the solution of the energy problem and also help in other areas. They help us reduce water scarcity and get rid of excess waste, and present new economic opportunities in developing regions. Contrary to general belief, they are no more costly than the traditional polluting production processes. In fact, they result in substantial savings. The payback time, in green greenhouses for example, is only three years.

So, ladies and gentleman, we know the technologies are there, for both global and local solutions. We need the political will and the right approach to investment for a fundamental transition toward a new energy system. We owe it to our children and to future generations. Investments in sustainable solutions make our communities healthier, our planet cleaner, our economy stronger, and our future brighter.

Let us look beyond the current financial and economic crisis and build the foundations of a sustainable future. As a result of this crisis, billions of dollars of public spending are needed to build better economies and generate economic growth. If we spend wisely in sustainable solutions, these investments will also contribute towards rescuing our planet.
Read full from the BigGAV


NASA - Calendar year 2008 was the coolest year since 2000, according to a NASA analysis of worldwide temperature measurements.The map above shows global temperature anomalies in 2008 compared to the 1950-1980 baseline period. Most of the world was either near normal or warmer than normal. Eastern Europe, Russia, the Arctic, and the Antarctic Peninsula were exceptionally warm (1.5 to 3.5 degrees Celsius above average). 

A wind fall We Energies drops spending for renewable energy plans

From: jsonline
We Energies says it's committed to expanding renewable energy but has pulled off the table, for now, a request to spend up to $69 million on renewable energy project planning.
The company said it needed to "re-evaluate its approach" to adding renewable generation. The company plans to make a new proposal "once the timing and direction of state and federal legislation becomes clearer."
Many pieces of legislation at the state and federal level could change mandates for utilities that are now required to generate 10% of the state's electricity from renewable sources by 2015. The state task force recommended boosting that to 25% of the state's electricity by 2025, and there is a push in Congress for a national renewable energy mandate.
President Barack Obama stressed the need to expand solar and wind power during his inaugural address Tuesday. The administration supports a national mandate for 10% of the country's electricity to come from renewable power by 2012 and 25% by 2025.
A report this week by energy analysts at Morgan Stanley predicted a national renewable mandate will be passed by Congress between April and October.
"Now that the sessions of Congress and the Legislature have kicked off, we're much more likely to see some additional factors that we need to consider," said Barry McNulty, a We Energies spokesman.
We Energies remains committed to renewable energy, McNulty said, including its proposal to build the Glacier Hills Wind Park in Columbia County, at a cost of up to $530 million, and previous commitments to expand solar and biogas generation.

Statewide coalition
We Energies has joined a statewide business coalition that has formed to support legislation that would expand the state's use of renewable energy, relax the state's ban on nuclear power plants and make other changes designed to reduce the state's emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.
That group, named Clean, Responsible Energy for Wisconsin's Economy made its debut Thursday. The coalition, led by former PSC Chairman Dan Ebert, plans to lobby in support of legislation that is expected to be proposed by Gov. Jim Doyle. But other business groups are expected to oppose the legislation, including Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the Wisconsin Paper Council and the Wisconsin Industrial Energy Group.
"Large manufacturers have strong concerns over rising energy costs," said Todd Stuart of Wisconsin Industrial Energy Group. "We would hope this new coalition would at least be pressing for the cost-containment measures in the Task Force package or, preferably, even stronger cost-containment measures."
Ebert said the goal of the task force is not only to reduce the state's emissions but to help position the state to take advantage of areas ripe for investment in tough economic times, including energy efficiency, renewable energy and biofuels.

On the Web Clean, Responsible Energy for Wisconsin's Economy: www.wicrewe.com

Jan 22, 2009

Carboncontrol and the bizarre contorted conception of economics.


A new advisory firm launched on Monday seeks to boost carbon emissions trading in sub-Saharan Africa and raise the continent's lagging profile in the $120 billion global carbon market.

CarbonStream Africa, a joint venture between South African state-owned CEF Carbon SA (Pty) and Nordic company GreenStream Network Plc, offers advisory services for firms seeking to trade greenhouse gas offsets in Africa under the Kyoto Protocol.

"Africa is really lagging behind, but I really believe it has the strongest potential," said Deven Pillay, CEO of CEF's carbon trading arm and chairman of CarbonStream Africa.

"It's where we need investment...the ingredients are there."

Under the United Nations' Clean Development Mechanism, companies can invest in clean energy projects in poorer countries like South Africa, and in return get offset credits which can be used toward emissions goals or sold for profit.

But with only 28 of the more than 1,300 projects registered so far by the U.N., Africa accounts for a little more than two percent of the global CDM market.

"Africa is the most politically correct region in which to develop CDM projects and we want to be there," said GreenStream's Arne Jakobsen at CarbonStream Africa's London launch.

The CDM market has been hit hard by the global recession, with offset prices trading below 10 euros ($12.98) a metric ton for the first time ever on Monday.

Pillay said CarbonStream Africa has a team of five CDM experts, who can also advise on the voluntary emissions markets.

"I'd like to see projects in Africa, by Africans, for Africans," he added.

10 Cancer-Causers to Remove From Your Home

By Melissa Breyer, Senior Editor, Care2

Given poor government regulation, many of the cleaning products available on the market contain “everyday” carcinogens such as formaldehyde, nitrobenzene, methylene chloride, and napthelene, as well as reproductive toxins and hormone disruptors. Not to mention other ingredients that cause liver, kidney and brain damage, allergies and asthma. I really am a happy person–not your basic Eeyore type, but toxic cleaning products seriously get my goat.

10 Cancer-Causers to Remove From Your HomeBut there are a host of products, other than those used for basic cleaning, that often contain carcinogenics. This list, from Cancer: 101 Solutions to a Preventable Epidemic (New Society Publishers, 2007) by Liz Armstrong et al, cautions against ten household products, in addition to cleaners, that you should avoid having in your house.

1. Air fresheners: Often contain napthelene and formaldehyde. Try zeolite or natural fragrances from essential oils. For more information, see Easy Greening: Air Fresheners.

2. Art supplies: Epoxy and rubber cement glues, acrylic paints and solvents, and permanent markers often contain carcinogens. For more information, see Arts and Crafts: Make it Safe.

3. Automotive supplies: Most are toxic. Keep them safely away from the house and dispose of at a hazardous waste disposal center.

4. Candles: Avoid artificially scented parafin candles that produce combustion by-products, including soot. Beeswax only, with cotton wicks. For more on beeswax candles, see The Brilliant Beeswax Candle.

5. Carpet and upholstery shampoos: Use only wet-clean, natural ingredients. For DIY carpet cleaning, see How to Remove Stains and Pet Odors from Carpets.

6. Dry-cleaning: Choose clothes that don’t need perchlorethylene to clean them. Ask for the wet-cleaning option at you local cleaners, or seek dry-cleaners that use liquid C)2 or citrus juice cleaners. For more information, see Healthy and Green Dry Cleaning.

7. Flea, tick and lice control: Avoid lindane-based pesticides. FOrm more information, see Natural Flea and Tick Contol.

8. Paints and varnishes: Always chose low- or no-VOC finsihes. For more information, see Is Your Paint Making You Sick?

9. Household pesticides: Go natural. Make a Sugar Ant Hotel.

10. Microwaves: Never microwave or heat food in a plastic container. For more information about the dangers of food and plastic, see Kitchen Plastic: Easy Greening.

Colbert life cost-benefit analysis

Classic numbers by Colbert (VIA-Gristy Dave)

Biomass to coal project?

Is there enough residual biomass in Ontario to fuel a converted coal plant?
Ontario Power Generation, said it wants to find out if there’s enough biomass in the province for it to convert several of its coal-fired generating units in Ontario so they can burn 100 per cent biomass instead of coal. They also want to get a sense of how it would be collected and delivered and how much all that would cost. To assist the effort, the Ministry of Natural Resources put out its own call for interest to see what companies would be interested in harvesting biofibre — tree branches and tops, diseased and fire-damaged trees, etc. — from sustainably managed crown forests.
...from a logistical perspective. We’re talking huge volumes of biomass — whether in the form of wood or switchgrass or some other pelletized biosolid. It requires development of a reliable supply chain. If it can be done, the reduction in air pollution and CO2 emissions is just one benefit. Displacing imported coal with local biomass would give birth to an industry, local jobs, and leverage existing generation and transmission assets in the province. “The tricky part is ensuring that the fuel is produced sustainably,” says Keith Stewart of WWF-Canada, who supports the idea of turning several units at the Nanticoke generating station into biomass burners. “If we produce 2.5 to 3 terawatt-hours of electricity from biomass at Nanticoke it would allow Nanticoke to play the stabilizing role for the grid it does now while creating an infrastructure for a biomass sector.” Local greenhouse operations in the area, by leveraging that infrastructure, would also have a steady supply of biomass that could replace the burning of bunker oil or natural gas.
For perspective, 2.5 terawatt-hours is about 10 per cent of the electricity that was generated last year in Ontario by OPG’s four existing coal plants — enough to supply 200,000 homes with electricity for a year. Generating this much electricity with biomass is an immensely ambitious effort, but if OPG can pull it off, it would set a fine example for other jurisdictions looking to reduce their dependence on coal power as talk of cap-and-trade heats up under an Obama administration.
Read Full FROM: cleanbreak

Jan 21, 2009

Nurses who breathe in cleaning chemicals are more likely to get asthma

From telegraph
Nurses who are exposed to cleaning products, antiseptics and disinfectants in hospitals are 70 per cent more likely to be diagnosed with asthma, research has found.
Researchers in America found chemicals in wards run by nurses which could irritate the lungs including cleansers and antiseptics used on patients' skin, chemicals used in the sterilization of equipment and all purpose cleaners such as bleach.
Using powdered latex gloves, before they were phased out, and administering medicines in aerosol form also increased the risk of asthma, the study found.
There are 5.4m people in the UK currently receiving treatment for asthma and cleaning products and irritants in the workplace are known to be one of the causes of the disease.
The findings are based on a sample of 3650 healthcare workers including 941 nurses in Texas, America.
Cleaning instruments was associated with a 67 per cent increased chance of being diagnosed with asthma and nurses who were exposed to general cleaning products were 72 per cent more likely to have asthma.
The findings are published online by the British Medical Journal before appearing in print in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
Lead researcher Associate Professor Ahmed Arif, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, in America, said: "Substituting cleaning agents with environmentally friendly 'green chemicals' and using appropriate personal care protection could help minimize occupational exposures in this professional group.
Regular exposure to hospital cleaning products and disinfectants significantly increases nurses' risks of developing asthma, indicates research published ahead of print in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
"We are actively encouraging all employers to safeguard their employees’ health by reducing their exposure to potential asthma risks. We advise that where possible, solid or liquid cleaning products should be used instead of sprays and that using as little of the product as possible and opening windows can also make a big difference.
Read full From telegraph

Schwarzenegger roll back on humanity and green

I just watched a fluff piece on 'how great Arnold was on the environment'.... boy things change fast ;-)
I am baffled how investing in sustainable energy would not return a better on investment than 'tanked transport' and overrun gov projects???
Schwarzenegger has built himself a reputation as a world leader on tackling climate change and has imposed some of the most stringent green regulations anywhere in the US since he took office.
Read full from businessgreen

Nice water PIC from redgreenandblue

1.used to treat cardiovascular disease, 2.an herbicide banned in the European Union (still used in the US) has been implicated in the decline of fish stocks and in changes in animal behaviour, 3.a mood-stabilising drug used to treat bipolar disorder, 4.an oestrogen hormone blamed for causing gender-bending changes in fish, 5.an anti-cholesterol drug, 6.a tranquiliser used in psychiatric treatment, 7.a painkiller and anti-inflammatory linked to increases in asthma incidence, 8.an anticonvulsant used to treat epilepsy, 9.an antibiotic used against the “Strep” bacteria, 10.a reducing agent used in molecular biology, 11.an antibiotic

Christian Daughton of the EPA’s National Exposure Research Laboratory says that neither this nor other recent water assessments give cause for health concern. “But several point to the potential for risk - especially for the fetus and those with severely compromised health.”

Read full from redgreenandblue

GEM: The On-Site Waste-to-Energy Converter

From goodcleantech


While single stream recycling and gasification call for large-scale industrial facilities, IST Energy says its new Green Energy Machine (GEM) can do both on site at any location.

The new waste-to-energy conversion system can process at least two tons of trash daily, the company claims, turning post-consumer waste into electricity and gas heat. The four-stage waste processor takes in paper, plastic, food, wood and agricultural materials, converts the waste stream into fuel pallets, and breaks them down into generator-bound Producer Gas. IST says that GEM is also carbon negative and powers itself with the clean energy it produces, supplying users with a self-sustaining alternative energy source. "This model can save businesses, institutions and municipalities hundreds of thousands of dollars annually," said Stu Haber, president and CEO of IST Energy.