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Renewables are making headway in Europe and bringing a low-carbon electricity system to the forefront. Renewables were 69 percent of new capacity added in 2012 in Europe and 49 percent in the United States. Not surprisingly, this threatens utilities unwilling to let go of outmoded business models and fossil-fuel generation. Laments for Europe’s money-losing electric…

Emissions of the potent heat-trapping gas, methane, the main component of natural gas, are likely 50 percent higher than U.S. government has estimated in its official greenhouse gas inventory, says a new study that is the most comprehensive effort yet to assess the problem. But the team of scientists, after reviewing more than 200 earlier…

Before the special ventilation system is installed, the solar water heaters added, and the insulated windows are fitted at a new set of super-efficient homes in Washington, D.C., the foundation must be laid and the wooden bones erected. Last month, several of us from National Geographic arrived to help do part of that work as…

They came, they built super-efficient vehicles, gained friends and conquered. All 105 student teams from 15 nations participating in this year’s Shell* Eco-marathon Asia are going back to their home countries with a feeling of fulfillment and pride. But winners of the four-day race for fuel-efficiency—from Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore—were in an even more festive…

This year’s Shell Eco-marathon Asia saw the first and only all-female team vying for the top prize. The PLM Alpha 2 team is from Pusat Latihan Mekanik (Mechanical Training Center) in the small country of Brunei, located on the island of Borneo in southeast Asia.  Their F1-inspired prototype vehicle runs on battery-electric-power. (Related: “In Manila, Students…

More than 100 futuristic vehicles built by students from Asia and the Middle East are competing this weekend on the streets of Philippine capital of Manila in a race for fuel efficiency. In a nation that has had more than its share of woe over the past year, with difficult recovery efforts continuing in the…

Last year more than 25 million tourists visited the Caribbean’s islands, drawn in part to the region’s sandy beaches and breathtaking sunsets. Though many consider it a tropical paradise, the Caribbean’s 40 million residents know that such positives also come at great cost: dependence on expensive, imported fossil fuel for energy generation. It affects everything…

Long-term solutions, collaboration, and planning for resilience amid population growth, scarce resources, and climate-related disasters like Supertyphoon Haiyan are key to achieving sustainable development and growth in Asia, said environment, urban planning, and energy experts who gathered Thursday in the Philippines.  (See related, “Q&A With Philippines Climate Envoy Who’s Fasting After Super Typhoon Haiyan.”) Thought…

Fracking in Water-Stressed Zones Increases Risks to Communities – and Energy Producers

Even as concerns arise about the threats hydraulic fracturing poses to water quality and human health, a new study released yesterday finds that the water demands of the “fracking” process are adding considerably to localized water depletion, especially in parts of Texas, Colorado, and California. (Vote and comment: “How Has Fracking Changed Our Future?“) Nearly…

The Obama administration gave environmentalists little to cheer about last week, but the game is hardly over. When it comes to climate change, Obama’s rhetoric has been striking and unequivocal (for example here), but with congressional deadlock, his ability to enact climate legislation has been … well, nonexistent. He has been able to make some…