Reflections on Copenhagen: The Economics of Green

Last year's disappointing climate summit in Copenhagen demonstrated if not proved two important things about "saving the earth": 1. Sustainability is a very emotional topic for some 2. Sustainability is a financial topic for most Unfortunately, what transpired in Copenhagen is probably the rule, rather than the exception. It was disheartening to realize the events probably represent and reflect the domestic and world population's perspective on saving the environment. Perhaps due to decades of protesting, a wide array of real or perceived injustices, unruly public demonstrations have for the most part become unproductive. Even the nightly news has lost interest in well meaning protesters being hauled away by force. I recall the first time I saw an eco activist chained to a tree in the seventies, and thinking "how cool is that." It did not matter what the cause was, I really admired the commitment.

Electric Cars on the Move in Germany

Electric cars have many merits: They are quieter and require less maintenance than cars with internal combustion engines. A network of smartly located charging stations covering the entire Harz region in Germany is bound to make electric cars a regional feature. The Harz region is banking on electric cars. Electric cars will soon be rolling through Quedlinburg, Werningerode and other cities in the region. Seventeen partners from research, academia and industry have committed themselves to this with their project Harz.ErneuerbareEnergien-mobility or Harz.EE-mobility for short.

Is the Copenhagen Accord already dead?

Less than two months after it was hastily drafted to stave off a fiasco, the Copenhagen Accord on climate change is in a bad way, and some are already saying it has no future. The deal was crafted amid chaos by a small group of countries, led by the United States and China, to avert an implosion of the UN's December 7-18 climate summit. Savaged at the time by green activists and poverty campaigners as disappointing, gutless or a betrayal, the Accord is now facing its first test in the political arena -- and many views are caustic.

Decline in fog threatens California’s redwoods

A surprising new study finds that during the past century the frequency of fog along California's coast has declined by approximately three hours a day. Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the researchers are concerned that this decrease in fog threatens California's giant redwoods and the unique ecosystem they inhabit. "As fog decreases, the mature redwoods along the coast are not likely to die outright, but there may be less recruitment of new trees; they will look elsewhere for water, high humidity and cooler temperatures," explains coauthor Todd E. Dawson, professor of integrative biology and University of California, Berkeley professor of integrative biology with the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management (ESPM).

Forecast on Climate Change Legislation Cloudy

The President remains committed to advancing his stalled legislative agenda. Addressing the Democratic National Committee in Washington last Saturday, Obama insisted he is not going to let go of his aspirations for America. "I'm not going to walk away from the American people," he said. "I'm not going to walk away on any challenge." However, Senators from Red States, Coal States, and Rust Belt States are concerned about job losses and increased costs associated with a climate bill. Many lawmakers are also concerned about controlling the emissions of rapidly developing nations like India and China.

What’s stopping us getting solar power from deserts?

Plans to use concentrating solar power plants in the Sahara to generate and export electricity have been on the table for years. Now, it looks as though political will might help move things forward The logic of the idea would seem obvious to a child: the human race needs to wean itself off fossil fuels, so why don't we build solar power plants in the world's deserts, to give us all the energy we need?

New error in UN Climate report

The U.N. panel of climate experts overstated how much of the Netherlands is below sea level, according to a preliminary report on Saturday, admitting yet another flaw after a row last month over Himalayan glacier melt. A background note by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said a 2007 report wrongly stated that 55 percent of the country was below sea level since the figure included areas above sea level, prone to flooding along rivers.

Evidence of Rapid Sea Rise Found in Coastal Cave in Mediterranean

An examination of mineral deposits in a coastal cave on the Spanish island of Mallorca shows evidence of rapid rises and declines in sea level as the planet warmed and cooled. Reporting in the journal Science, University of Iowa researchers said that studies of the mineral, calcite — deposited by sea water on the inside of a seaside cave, like rings on a bathtub — showed that roughly 81,000 years ago sea levels jumped by more than 6 feet a century during a warm period, and then dropped during a subsequent cooling cycle at a similar rate — 66 feet per 1,000 years.

Richmond Olympic Oval represents green gold for buildings

Gold medals are not handed out for architectural design, but the environmentally friendly speed skating arena built for the Vancouver Olympics is being called a winner by the bladed athletes who will compete there this month. The Richmond Olympic Oval, considered the signature building of the Games, contains salvaged wood damaged by a pine-beetle infestation and has a massive roof shaped like a wave. "We compete in some nice ovals that have been built as Olympic facilities in the past," defending 5,000 meters champion Chad Hedrick of the United States told Reuters. "This one here obviously outdoes all of them. They went big on this.

How Ground Water Contamination Spreads

Why are some wells contaminated and some are not? All wells are not equally vulnerable to contamination because of differences in three factors: the general aquifer chemistry, groundwater age, and paths within aquifer systems that allow water and contaminants to reach a well. More than 100 million people in the United States receive their drinking water from public groundwater systems, which can be vulnerable to naturally occurring contaminants such as radon, uranium, arsenic, and man made compounds, including fertilizers, septic-tank leachate, solvents and gasoline hydrocarbons.