Wind Tops 10 Percent Share of Electricity in Five States

A new picture is emerging in the U.S. power sector. In 2007, electricity generation from coal peaked, dropping by close to 4 percent annually between 2007 and 2011. Over the same time period, nuclear generation fell slightly, while natural gas-fired electricity grew by some 3 percent annually and hydropower by 7 percent. Meanwhile, wind-generated electricity grew by a whopping 36 percent each year. Multiple factors underlie this nascent shift in U.S. electricity production, including the global recession, increasing energy efficiency, and more economically recoverable domestic natural gas. But ultimately it is the increasing attractiveness of wind as an energy source that will drive it into prominence. Wind power accounted for just 2.9 percent of total electricity generation in the United States in 2011. In five U.S. states, however, 10 percent or more of electricity generation came from wind. South Dakota leads the states, with wind power making up 22 percent of its electricity generation in 2011, up from 14 percent in 2010. In 2011, Iowa generated 19 percent of its electricity with wind energy. And in North Dakota, wind’s share was 15 percent.

Sustainable Seafood Guide: How to Save the Seas with Your Diet

Maybe you have heard that eating beef is one of the biggest contributors to your carbon footprint, much more so than driving. However, if you are like many of us, you may not have thought about how eating seafood affects the environment. Whether you live by the coast or thousands of miles from the nearest shoreline, the biggest impact you have on the oceans is through your diet. Beyond its health benefits and its cultural significance, there is no denying how delicious lobster with freshly-squeezed lemon tastes on a hot summer day. With a seemingly (and deceptively) abundant supply of inexpensive seafood, it can be hard to say no to that double order of fish tacos. But can the seas really provide an endless bounty of food?

Melting Arctic Ice May Usher in New Era of Geopolitical Conflict

Countries of the Far North are set to be the new players in the emerging Arctic frontier. The polar ice cap is melting at much faster rates than previously predicted, and may be completely ice free by the summer of 2040 or sooner. There are vast untapped resources in the Arctic Ocean such as new shipping lanes, fishing grounds, tourism, and it is believed to contain the largest of the world's remaining energy reserves. This year has brought about a frenzy of oil and gas exploration which will only increase as the ice recedes. The coming summer will bring an even more intense search for resources. Cooperation will be required among the northern nations to avert territorial disputes and conflicts at the top of the world.

The Sounds of Other Worlds

We have pictures of other worlds but no sounds to date. This is not without trying but failing. In a world first, the sounds of Mars and Venus are revealed as part of a planetarium show in Hampshire this Easter. Despite many years of space exploration, we have no evidence of the sound of other planets. While most planetary probes have focused on imaging with cameras and radar and a couple have carried microphones, none of them successfully listened to the sound of another world.

Ocean Heating over the past hundred years

In 1872 the HMS Challenger pulled out from Portsmouth, England to begin an unprecedented scientific expedition of the world's oceans. During its over three year journey the HMS Challenger not only collected thousands of new species and sounded unknown ocean depths, but also took hundreds of temperature readings—data which is now proving invaluable to our understanding of climate change. Utilizing the temperature data from the HMS Challenger expedition and comparing it to contemporary temperatures, researchers writing in Nature Climate Change found that the oceans' surface— where marine warming is most intense—saw temperature rise on average by 0.59 degrees Celsius (1.1 degrees Fahrenheit) over the past 135 years or so. This implies that oceanic temperatures have been rising for at least a century.

Study Shows Coral Will Survive Warming Climate

A new study has increased hope that some coral species will be able to survive gradual ocean acidification. According to new research published in the journal, Nature Climate Change, a team of international scientists have identified a specific internal mechanism that could permit some coral species and their symbiotic algae to offset the unfavorable effects of an acidic ocean. In addition, this research has given hope that coral reefs will also be able to survive rising levels of ocean acidification.

Scientists Clone the Survivors of Dutch Elm Disease

Dutch elm disease is a terrible affliction that destroyed elm trees throughout North America and Europe. It is a fungal infection that is spread by the elm bark beetle. It is believed to originate from feline feces in Asia. Unequipped to handle the invading pathogen, the disease devastated massive populations of elms, nearly wiping them out. However, there are a few that survived which are now the foundation for the elm's future. Scientists from the University of Guelph in Canada are working to make genetic copies of the survivors. The clones that they produce, which are resistant to Dutch elm disease, could lead to a revival of the species in their former habitats.

Ford Focus EV Team Takes Steps to Avoid Chevy Volt’s Pitfalls

Undoubtedly sobered by the plight of the Chevy Volt, which recently idled production for five weeks, furloughing 1300 workers in an effort to draw down excess inventory, the Ford Focus EV team has taken a number of innovative steps to avoid a similar plight.

Senate Republicans Agree to End Big Oil Subsidies After Watching Polar Bear Film

In an stunning reversal, Senate Republicans have accepted President Obama's call to end tax breaks for the oil and gas industry, reversing a procedural vote on Thursday that had killed the Mendendez Bill (S. 2204 - Repeal Subsidies and Tax Breaks for the Big 5 Oil Companies), introduced by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ). On Thursday, the bill was defeated by a vote of 51-47, nine votes short of the 60 required to pass. But in a rare Saturday afternoon session called by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the measure was swiftly rejuvenated—and passed—after nine of the Republicans who voted against the bill on Thursday had a change of heart after watching a sneak preview on Friday of To the Arctic, a documentary that follows the life of a mother polar bear caring for her two seven-month-old cubs in the Arctic. Narrated by three-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep, To the Arctic arrives in IMAX theaters on April 20.

Earth Hour biggest ever this year

Last night, as Earth Hour beganits monumental journey around the globe, hundreds of millions of people united to demonstrate that we urgently need to take action to protect our planet. The largest voluntary action for the environment is reaching further than ever before. Earth Hour was celebrated in a record 150 countries and territories and 6494 towns and cities to send the message that our combined efforts are needed to change our future to one that is sustainable.