After decades of debate and with growing anxiety about climate change, the planet is no closer to a systematic solution to our collective energy challenge. Yet still we try. At its impressive Vancouver gathering, National Geographic asked a simple question:  Is natural gas the bridge to a sustainable energy future? The meeting brought together an…

The U.S. Department of Energy has been counting on leftover residue from corn cultivation—such as  stalks and cobs—as an abundant future source of renewable clean energy, and touted it as a potential goldmine for farmers as well. But University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) researchers may throw a damper on those plans, with a newly published study…

Forty-four years ago today, Denis Hayes convened the very first Earth Day, an event that drew millions to events across the United States and heralded a new global awareness of the need to preserve our natural resources. Hayes is now at the vanguard of an effort to rethink our buildings and, by extension, our growing…

Federal loan guarantees for renewable energy, which spurred the development of massive projects like the recently completed Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in California – and roiled the 2012 elections – are emerging from hibernation. More than two years after closing the last such loan guarantee, the U.S. Department of Energy announced on Wednesday that…

Environmental winner documents the impact of the Deepwater Horizon disaster on the ecosystem — the human ecosystem. Full Frame Festival: A Springtime Cornucopia of Documentaries With the first weekend of April in the rearview mirror, so is, for Durhamites and aficionados of documentary film, the 2014 edition of the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, reportedly the…

Energy use increased in the United States in 2013 as a fourth consecutive year of economic growth exerted its influence, but the longer-term trend shows the country operating with greater efficiency while also revealing the small but growing role of renewable sources like solar and wind. The font for these insights is the Lawrence Livermore…

California enacted its Global Warming Solutions Act (AB32) in 2006. Since then, an entire network of interacting, mutually-reinforcing legislation  has evolved in the state,  historic in how the different measures support one another. A solar roof mandate (one million by 2020)  augments  an electric vehicle mandate (also one million in 2020), while both bolster  a…

In a newly issued document, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has shifted position on biofuels, for the first time acknowledging that they may have negative impacts that take away from their value in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Working Group II contribution to the IPCC’s report, Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability ,…

British Columbia finds itself at the forefront of the global debate on natural gas, and its role in the future of energy. Some 15 energy company consortiums are vying to build massive export terminals on the Pacific coastline of Canada’s westernmost province, with an eye to shipping gas to energy-hungry Asia. British Columbia, in other…

Alternative energy company KiOR, which aimed to lead the nation into a future in which fuel manufactured from wood chips, grasses and other plant materials would replace petroleum, now faces dire financial difficulties that may threaten the company’s future. (See earlier story on KiOR: “Beyond Ethanol: “Drop-In Biofuels Squeeze Gasoline From Plants.”) In a March…