Archives for January, 2012

It’s probably a safe bet that nearly everything this election year, including energy policy, is going to be viewed through the prism of jobs. And fair enough: the Great Recession cost us nearly 8.4 million of them, after a decade where America barely broke even on job growth. Surveys show the economy as the public’s…

President Obama’s call in his State of the Union address to capitalize on “the strongest two-year period of manufacturing growth since the 1990s” by encouraging businesses to bring work back to the United States can be accelerated with energy efficiency innovation. While Obama urged Congress to take a series of tax steps to encourage businesses…

Participate in the conversation with energy and environment experts during the president’s State of the Union address tonight at 9pm EST. You can follow on twitter using the #ecosotu hashtag or you can follow here.

Last week, China’s National Development and Reform Commission reportedly directed seven regions to set overall emissions control targets and submit proposals for how caps should be allocated. The directive, which encompasses the cities of Beijing, Chongqing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Tianjin and the provinces of Guangdong and Hubei, aims to establish cap-and-trade pilot projects for the…

The State Department announced Wednesday that it will reject the proposed $7 billion expansion of the Keystone pipeline, which would carry oil from Canada’s tar sands to refineries in Texas. “The Department does not have sufficient time to obtain the information necessary to assess whether the project, in its current state, is in the national…

The Environmental Protection Agency last week launched its much-awaited database reporting on the greenhouse gas emissions of major power plants. You can go to ghgdata.epa.gov and find out how many tons of carbon dioxide, methane and other gases are being put out by facilities in your community or state. It’s a major advance for transparency…

The Russian tanker Renda, loaded with 1.3 million gallons of fuel, finally made it to Nome over the weekend, ending a journey that began in mid-December and involved breaking through more than 300 miles of ice. It followed a path plotted and sheared out by the U.S. Coast Guard’s currently only operating Arctic icebreaker, the…

What if your carry-on suitcase could save a woman’s life? In the fight against maternal mortality in the developing world, a rugged, portable “Solar Suitcase” is providing reliable electricity to clinics in 17 countries where healthcare workers previously struggled to provide emergency obstetric care by the light of candles, flashlights and mobile phones. The Solar…

Average prices of oil and gasoline at the pump reached an all-time high in 2011, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration data. Brent crude oil, the global benchmark, averaged $111 a barrel—the first time it broke $100 for a whole year. In some ways, these records snuck up on Americans, since there was no extreme…

A report released Wednesday by the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) attempts to provide the first-ever public assessment of nuclear security in 176 countries. The NTI Nuclear Materials Security Index, developed with the Economist Intelligence Unit, foremost provides a security ranking for the 32 countries possessing nuclear materials, with Australia scoring highest. Japan, still reeling from…

In announcing a long-term ban on uranium and other mining around the Grand Canyon, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar emphasized a link that is all too clear to anyone following energy news. Whether the subject is hydraulic fracturing, or tar sands, or oil spills, or power plant impacts, the connection between water and energy is…

Highlights from a workshop on the environmental and social implications of fracking. A group of the nation’s leading experts on energy and the environment are at Duke this week attending a workshop to try to ferret out the facts (and tamp down the hype) around shale gas and fracking, the controversial method for extracting natural…

If you can express an idea in five or fewer words – no matter how ridiculous – textile artist Paul Nosa will turn it into a custom embroidered patch on the spot. Using no pre-drawn designs or computer templates, Nosa’s method of freestyle embroidery is an artform in its own right. But what makes Nosa’s…

In November, the Obama administration decided to delay a decision on whether to approve the Keystone XL pipeline to bring tar sands from Canada to the United States. But in December, Republicans attached a provision to a tax bill, which President Obama signed, that urges the administration to decide on the pipeline within 60 days,…

In society’s ever-deeper dig for energy, one of the risks is causing the Earth to move. The most recent dramatic example came on New Year’s Eve outside of Youngstown, Ohio. A 4.0 earthquake was the last and largest of a series of temblors that prompted state officials to halt nearby underground disposal of wastewater from…