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The Moral Question Of Our Time: Can We Share The Planet?

UN Climate Report: We Must Focus On 'Decarbonization', and It Won't Wreck the Economy - "The basic message is simple: We share a planet. Let's start acting like it." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 23, 2014 - 50 comments

Game behind gamed: your narrative programming for the day

How The Economic Machine Works by Ray Dalio[1] actually makes a case against austerity[2] and for redistribution, but also for money printing (and, arguably, for bailouts), while stressing the need to keep making productivity-improving public and private investments. However, it could be equally entitled: How The Industrial Age Political-Economy Doesn't Work Anymore, viz. Surviving Progress (2011)... [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Sep 25, 2013 - 28 comments

Sweden is running out of garbage

Sweden is putting only four percent of its household waste in landfills (the US puts about half of its garbage in landfills) and much of the remainder is used for heating through an innovative waste-to-energy program. The problem? They are now running out of garbage, and have to import from neighbouring countries.
posted by Harald74 on Aug 3, 2013 - 64 comments

We need to im(wait...no...ex)-port natural gas to save the U.S. economy

A new DOE-funded study has concluded liquified natural gas exports will help the US economy. (PDF) In this report, the word "environment" occurs four times -- none of them with respect to impact on, or cost to the environment of either extraction or transportation. [more inside]
posted by dylanjames on Dec 7, 2012 - 60 comments

Poo-Powered Rickshaw Unveiled At The Denver Zoo

Poo-Powered Rickshaw Unveiled At The Denver Zoo Poop. Is there anything it can't do? On Wednesday, The Denver Zoo introduced what is believed to be the world's first poo-powered motorized tuk tuk showcasing The Denver Zoo's very own patent-pending gasification technology.
posted by novenator on Mar 28, 2012 - 24 comments

The Crash Course

Economic analyst Chris Martenson explains why he thinks that the coming 20 years are going to look completely unlike the last 20 years.
posted by mhjb on Dec 1, 2011 - 68 comments

Blow dry or hand towel?

The Great Debate: What's the most environmentally-friendly way to dry your hands in a public bathroom? Scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have completed what is believed to be the first major study to assess the greenest way of drying your hands.
posted by modernnomad on Nov 11, 2011 - 86 comments

Another April 20th, another accident while gathering hydrocarbons

One year after BP's Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, a hydraulic fracturing operation in northern Pennsylvania experiences a blowout resulting in the release of fracking liquids. The use and chemical content of fracking liquids is a point of contention when debating what role natural gas will play in the future of energy.
posted by nowoutside on Apr 20, 2011 - 84 comments

"This house believes that the world would be better off without nuclear power."

The Economist is holding an online debate on nuclear power. These debates provide a great opportunity to get an overview of the different perspectives on an issue. If f you are so inclined, you can share your own views on the topic too. Today's discussions focus on a contribution by Amory Lovins.
posted by philipy on Apr 11, 2011 - 68 comments

Corexit Blues

Corexit [Bing cache] is mostly what BP has used on the spill. There are a few things to know about Corexit. One is that is was banned in U.K. over ten years ago because it is so toxic, as in poisonous to humans and sea life. ... Corexit was also used on the Exxon Valdez spill. Now read carefully: Almost all the clean up workers who worked on the Exxon Valdez spill are dead. (previously)
posted by Joe Beese on Dec 7, 2010 - 45 comments

Coal Without Carbon

Dirty Coal, Clean Future
To environmentalists, "clean coal" is an insulting oxymoron. But for now, the only way to meet the world's energy needs, and to arrest climate change before it produces irreversible cataclysm, is to use coal—dirty, sooty, toxic coal—in more-sustainable ways. The good news is that new technologies are making this possible. China is now the leader in this area, the Google and Intel of the energy world. If we are serious about global warming, America needs to work with China to build a greener future on a foundation of coal. Otherwise, the clean-energy revolution will leave us behind, with grave costs for the world's climate and our economy. (more here and responses here, here and here)
posted by kliuless on Nov 12, 2010 - 49 comments

Peak Oil in Alaska

Recent exploration drilling and 3-D seismic surveys reveal the U.S. Geological Survey's optimistic 2002 assessment of Alaska's untapped oil reserves is actually off by about 90 percent. Oil and Gas Online explains the new geologic analysis and difficulty predicting petroleum reserves.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on Oct 27, 2010 - 54 comments

Worse than Three Mile Island?

Over fifty years after Los Angeles' first nuclear meltdown, the State of California is finally getting around to decontaminating the radioactive fallout.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on Sep 3, 2010 - 35 comments

World's largest solar power plant

The world's largest solar power plant will probably be cleared for construction in California. At 1GW it is the size of a nuclear power plant and nearly doubles the US installed base of commercial-scale solar power. It will take 6-years, $6-billion and 7,000-acres. Proposed site (on Google maps). It will use parabolic trough's (video). It is being built by a German company (construction video / operation animation). There are many other CSP (Concentrated Solar Power) projects.
posted by stbalbach on Aug 27, 2010 - 71 comments

The Age of Xtreme Energy

Michael T Klare (previously here and here) has been writing for some time about the coming age of America's oil wars. Recently with the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Storms Mexico, he's been writing about the coming about of what he calls "The Era of Xtreme Energy" and the extreme length we're going to have to go to secure it. [more inside]
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey on Jun 24, 2010 - 50 comments

"This will go down in the history books as the Earth Day blowout"

The fire is out on the offshore oil rig Deepwater Horizon. But since the rig sank last Thursday, Coast Guard officials believe about 13,000 gallons (7,400 bbl) of crude oil per day is coming out of the exploratory hole drilled by the rig, about 41 miles offshore from Plaquemines Parish, LA. "An early suggestion that damage would be minimal because the fire was consuming most of the fuel 'does have the potential to change,' BP official David Rainey told the New York Times." [more inside]
posted by toodleydoodley on Apr 26, 2010 - 99 comments

Google, all up in your grid

Google is rolling out free PowerMeter software that works with the TED 5000 smart meter to transmit near real time utility usage to Google servers. This data can then be securely displayed on your Android or iPhone. With stimulus money earmarked for smart meters they will eventually become ubiquitous as standards evolve from the current patchwork. [more inside]
posted by cedar on Nov 20, 2009 - 29 comments

The Wealth of Nature

Recently, John Michael Greer has been exploring a little known idea of the deceased economist E.F. Schumacher (a student of the oft-discussed Keynes). "Schumacher drew a hard distinction between primary goods and secondary goods. The latter of these includes everything dealt with by conventional economics: the goods and services produced by human labor and exchanged among human beings. The former includes all those things necessary for human life and economic activity that are produced not by human beings, but by nature. Schumacher pointed out that primary goods, as the phrase implies, need to come first in any economic analysis because they supply the preconditions for the production of secondary goods. Renewable resources, he proposed, form the equivalent of income in the primary economy, while nonrenewable resources are the equivalent of capital; to insist that an economic system is sound when it is burning through nonrenewable resources at a rate that will lead to rapid depletion is thus as silly as claiming that a business is breaking even if it’s covering up huge losses by drawing down its bank accounts." [more inside]
posted by symbollocks on Jul 10, 2009 - 14 comments

Definancialisation, Deglobalisation, Relocalisation

In a talk titled Definancialisation, Deglobalisation, Relocalisation given at The New Emergency Conference, Peak Oil activist and writer Dmitry Orlov (previously 1 2 3) shows how he has come to the conclusion that the oil price spike of summer 2008 was the trigger for the financial collapse that occurred later on in the fall. He goes on to summarize (from his point of view) pretty much everything that has been happening in the past year or so, and what he thinks is coming up next. [more inside]
posted by symbollocks on Jun 19, 2009 - 41 comments

Shine on, friend. Goodnight.

The Big Picture has photos taken during Earth Hour 2009. Click the photos to go from "lit" to "unlit." (Earth Hour home, wiki, previously)
posted by hifiparasol on Apr 1, 2009 - 65 comments

For all your infrastructure news needs

Infrastructurist. Although the blog is only a few days old, they've already debunked some of the myths of 24, interviewed Michael Dukakis, and grappled with Amtrak economics.
posted by Horace Rumpole on Feb 5, 2009 - 27 comments

Two Google searches use as much energy as boiling the kettle for a cup of tea

Revealed: the environmental impact of Google searches - "Physicist Alex Wissner-Gross says that performing two Google searches uses up as much energy as boiling the kettle for a cup of tea."
posted by nthdegx on Jan 11, 2009 - 74 comments

The Solar Connection

Rethinking Earthrise. On the 40th anniversary of the NASA's Apollo 8 mission [caution: weird JFK animation], which answered Stewart Brand's epochal, LSD-inspired question "Why haven't we seen a photograph of the whole Earth yet?" with an unforgettable image of a seemingly fragile and isolated blue planet, Nature editor Oliver Morton -- author of a new book on photosynthesis called Eating the Sun -- disputes the notion that the Earth is fragile and isolated. "The fragility is an illusion," he writes. "The planet Earth is a remarkably robust thing, and this strength flows from its ancient and intimate connection to the cosmos beyond. To see the photo this way does not undermine its environmental relevance -- but it does recast it."
posted by digaman on Dec 24, 2008 - 39 comments

Offshore windfarms attract killer whales

Chris Goodall, author of Ten Technologies to Save the Planet, talks about the ten big green energy myths.
posted by Artw on Dec 1, 2008 - 42 comments

Hot Rocks

Google goes geothermal with EGS.
posted by Artw on Aug 19, 2008 - 16 comments

Lester Brown's Plan B 3.0

In Lester R. Brown's new book Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization (2008, full-text)) - an update to Plan B 2.0: Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble (2006, full-text) - he calls for a war-time mobilization (ch.13) to save global civilization (already showing Early Signs of Decline (ch.6)) from Deteriorating Oil and Food Security (ch.2), Rising Temperatures and Rising Seas (ch.3), Emerging Water Shortages (ch.4), and Natural Systems Under Stress (ch.5)
posted by stbalbach on Jul 2, 2008 - 15 comments

Inconvenient Truths: Get Ready to Rethink What It Means to Be Green

Inconvenient Truths: Get Ready to Rethink What It Means to Be Green. Last month, Wired published what it called "10 green heresies" which makes the case for urban living, intensive forest management and, er, air conditioning, among other things.
posted by nthdegx on Jun 13, 2008 - 120 comments

Smoke and mirrors

Meet Joules the climate change-sceptic robot. Joules is employed to teach 8-14 year-old school children in the UK about energy use. Joules says: "oil and gas could be in short supply in about 50 years time. The earth is believed to be getting warmer and sea levels apper to be rising. Energy Chest is funded in part by the world's biggest oil company: ExxonMobil. [more inside]
posted by MrMerlot on May 27, 2008 - 45 comments

More than just a sore taint?

Does riding a bike really help the environment? Mr. Green at the Sierra Club says don't over think it, but a couple of folks trying to measure the energy cycling uses aren't quite sure. There are plenty of excuses for not to riding your bike, but is there a rationale? If you want a go at calculating this yourself, here's a handy guide to the variables. [more inside]
posted by Toekneesan on May 14, 2008 - 49 comments

Zed's zero carbon, baby: hydrogen-cell motorbikes

If hydrogen-cell cars are no good, how about hydrogen-cell motorbikes!
posted by nthdegx on May 14, 2008 - 22 comments

It's Easy Being Green

Simple, with icons. 50 Ways to Help the Planet. [more inside]
posted by netbros on May 1, 2008 - 98 comments

Biocrude

Pond scum saves the planet? In the beginning, there were algae, but there was no oil. Then, from algae came oil. Now, the algae are still there, but oil is fast depleting. In future, there will be no oil, but there will still be algae. ^ Power your ride with pond scum. In some iterations you don't even need light. (we have talked about this before and the fact that CO2 powers the algae production is not insignificant) More details here.
posted by caddis on Apr 17, 2008 - 28 comments

Biofuels worsen global warming

Biofuels worsen global warming, according to two studies published in Science last week. Current US biofuel policies would double carbon emissions over the gasoline alternative. More details: ScienceExpress fulltext pdf of study #1, powerpoint summary of study #1, abstract of study #2, summary of both, policy recommendations pdf (via: 1, 2). [more inside]
posted by salvia on Feb 10, 2008 - 45 comments

"This collection outlines the promises and pitfalls of new energy technologies..."

Navarre now generates more than 50% of its energy needs by wind power: a profile of the small autonomous region in northern Spain that is leading the way in renewable energy. This is one of many free access articles in this special supplement on energy issues to the journal Nature.
posted by sergeant sandwich on Sep 11, 2007 - 24 comments

Renewable Energy Incentives

Want to increase your energy efficiency and use more renewable energy? Want to install solar panels on your roof, buy a hybrid car, put in new storm windows, or make any number of other green improvements to your home or business? Want to save money doing it? DSIRE is a comprehensive source of information on state, local, utility, and federal incentives that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency. Just click on your state and take it from there.
posted by alms on Feb 23, 2007 - 13 comments

Water Footprint

Water footprint - "of an individual, business or nation is defined as the total volume of freshwater that is used to produce the goods and services consumed by the individual, business or nation"
posted by Gyan on Jan 11, 2007 - 9 comments

Does the Smiling Yellow Orb See the Light?

Wal-Mart and the Light Bulb [NY Times link] - Wal-Mart officials admit their push to sell 100 million compact fluorescent lights per year is at least partially a marketing ploy, but if successful, it would increase the number of the energy-efficient bulbs in use by 50% while "saving Americans $3 billion in electricity costs and avoiding the need to build additional power plants for the equivalent of 450,000 new homes." Wal-Mart's environmental record is less than perfect, of course, but if they managed to pull this off it would be hard to see it as a bad thing.
posted by mrbula on Jan 2, 2007 - 111 comments

NYT OpEd by Thomas Homer-Dixon "The End of Ingenuity"

The End of Ingenuity (NYT OpEd by Thomas Homer-Dixon)"..cheap energy is tightening, and humankind’s enormous output of greenhouse gases is disrupting the earth’s climate. Together, these two constraints could eventually hobble global economic growth and cap the size of the global economy." See also The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity and the Renewal of Civilization. (2006).
posted by stbalbach on Nov 30, 2006 - 61 comments

sustainable living in ontario

miniHome: "What is it? A cottage? A Trailer? A Home? All of the above. Technically, the miniHome is classed as an RV - or recreational vehicle (yes, it is on wheels!) but it is designed to work as a comfortable, year-round dwelling in extreme climates. While we see it as the future of sustainable housing and urban infill, it is ideally suited as a ski chalet, cottage, vacation retreat, guest cabin, a place for the kids or family - basically as a luxurious yet simple home-away-from-home." Welcome to life off the grid in Ontario.
posted by heatherann on Sep 30, 2006 - 39 comments

Nuclear waste UK rail hazard?

A timetable of UK trains carrying nuclear waste. (PDF file). The related Greenpeace UK article. UK nuclear waste train route graphic. Mirror tabloid hack plants fake bomb on nuclear waste train. "The gate was open, there were no security guards. I walked up to the train and planted my bomb". The Guardian's take on the story.
posted by nthdegx on Jul 30, 2006 - 16 comments

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it.

Global warming underestimated by up to 78%. Scientists analyzing historical climate data for Europe have established the existence of a greater-than-anticipated positive feedback mechanism between high temperatures and global carbon dioxide levels. This provides more scientific evidence to support previously-expressed concerns that as global warming intensifies, a chain-reaction of considerably higher temperatures may occur. This corresponds with a new report released by the Australian government, claiming that "there is now perceived to be a greater risk that the upper end of the well known IPCC TAR estimate of a 1.4 to 5.8°C temperature rise will be reached or exceeded by 2100." "Estimates of future warming . . . may have to be raised by about 50 percent."
posted by insomnia_lj on May 24, 2006 - 40 comments

Dumping the SUV guilt!

The jolly green Hummer? The growing band of environmental offset companies which give you the chance to offload your SUV driving, energy squandering guilt onto an annual subscription and a fancy bumper sticker looks like one way that we'll be able to live with ourselves in the power hungry 21st century. Is this the placebo we've all been waiting for?
posted by Duug on Jan 13, 2006 - 20 comments

How Green is Green?

Unexpected Downside of Wind Power - Wired reports on the shutdown of wind power turbines along Altamont Pass in California. Wind power is seen by some as an alternative to burning fossil fuels; yet these turbines are being shut down over environmental and ecological concerns. Some of the concerns about turbines are that they endanger bird migrations, yet others say that they are not a problem for bird migrations. It's not just a question of the ecological footprint, though. The entire environmental impact has to be assessed for any project. Hydroelectricity is not without its effect on ecosystems, either (Scroll down to "Ecosystems and Large Dams", about 40% of the way down).

If even green or renewable energy sources cannot be accessed without a significant adverse environmental impact, how can we meet our energy needs? Reducing consumption is only approaching the problem from one side. How do you properly gauge the environmental impact of a project and when is it okay to give it the green light? Or are we being oversensitive and should we let natural selection handle the birds that can't adapt?
posted by Eideteker on Oct 14, 2005 - 43 comments

Green makes green

"We're at a tipping point where energy efficiency and emission reductions also equal profitability," The world's largest company announces a massive commitment to the environment. Though not everyone agrees, both consumers (as suggested by this modern-day protest song) and market conditions are making "greener" companies the winners, even in the largest industries. Is the market the solution to environmental problems?
posted by blahblahblah on May 10, 2005 - 29 comments

Oily lollipops, carbonized brains

Pederasts of the mind: Of kids, lies and Oil. The American Petroleum Institute partners (in 2004) with The National Science Teacher's Association (NSTA) and Scholastic (see: Scholastic's creedo) to provide K-12 lesson plans, on energy and oil, which resemble the API's own "Teacher Lesson Plans" and snappy flash presentations such as Progress Through Petroleum! which are bundled with fun stuff and cool facts. The NSTA/API lessons teach all about energy and oil except the global environmental impacts. Didactic bonus from NSTA's oil-friendly curriculum : a surrealistic gallery of oil industry imagery for kids to download.

Recent glacial melt speedup in Greenland and Antarctica shocks researchers, while the Pentagon games scenarios of Abrupt Climate Change : Don't worry, says the DOE's Energy Ant - oil's good, like cows, m'kay ? . Extra credit : Play the Oil and natural Gas Crossword Puzzle, or the "Industry Lesson Plan Game" (that, and more, inside)
posted by troutfishing on Oct 5, 2004 - 21 comments

Talkin' Engery

Talk Energy is a filter site for discussion about sustainable energy. Their goal is to get a million people worldwide talking about energy. Members can post to a main discussion page, create profile pages including their own journals and indentify their connections with other members. The chattiest people get free samples of neat products to review, closing the communication loop for green companies. They're also giving away $50,000 USD in home energy renovation funds to one lucky person.

Innovators have their own space to collaborate on ideas and projects. They're even offering partnerships consisting of private discussion areas for any non profit that wants one.
posted by will on Jun 1, 2004 - 7 comments

Got power?

An alternative means towards alternative energy? Duke Energy in NC is offering its customers an opportunity to vote for alternative energy sources with their wallets starting today. While you are not really buying the Green Power directly, you are in effect subsidizing it. Is this a creative way to Go Green, or just another feel good gesture?
posted by ElvisJesus on Jul 28, 2003 - 13 comments

Solar Tower

A kilometre-high solar tower, to be built in the Australian outback by EnviroMission Ltd, will become the world's tallest structure when completed in 2006. Designed by Jorg Schlaich of Schlaich Bergermann und Partner, the solar tower (or solar chimney) operates like a hydroelectric power plant, but uses hot air instead of water, and it could provide enough electricity for 200,000 homes. Time calls it one of the best inventions of 2002, and I think it's one of the most ingenious ideas I've ever heard. Another solar chimney project was planned in Rajasthan, India, but I haven't found any information on its current status.
posted by homunculus on Jan 6, 2003 - 52 comments

As the Alberta government ratchets up its campaign against the Kyoto Protocol (and the Canadian government's support thereof), two environmental groups release a report that argues that Canadians could cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent and save $30 billion a year in the process by 2030 (PDFs of the report summary and full report). And, if reducing emissions starts at home, you can apparently cut your own energy bills and emissions in half simply by stopping leaks and drafts in your house.
posted by mcwetboy on Oct 6, 2002 - 11 comments

Clean air? We don't need no stink'n clean air.

Clean air? We don't need no stink'n clean air. "The White House firmly defended Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham on Tuesday as newly released documents showed he held at least eight private meetings with industry leaders -- but none with environmentalists -- while the administration crafted its energy plan." Is this really a surprise?
posted by aj100 on Mar 26, 2002 - 33 comments

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