Tag archives for science

By John Perlin Many people believe that solar energy is a twentieth century phenomenon, untried and untested. But I discovered through writing my new book Let It Shine: The 6000-Year Story of Solar Energy that houses have been designed since Neolithic times to scoop up sunlight in winter; that over the last three thousand years people have used solar concentrators…

No ignition at the U.S. National Ignition Facility, home to the world’s largest laser.

Maldives leader Mohamed Nasheed, called the “world’s most environmentally outspoken president” because of his calls for drastically cutting greenhouse gas emissions, was forced to resign—at gunpoint, he claimed. He had used stunts such as an underwater cabinet meeting to highlight his island nation’s vulnerability to sea-level rise. His resignation followed weeks of protests and was apparently motivated by internal politics unrelated to…

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,…

GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman expressed skepticism about the science on climate change, so now all GOP candidates are on the record as doubting either that the planet is clearly warming, or that people are responsible for most of the warming. Of all the GOP candidates, Huntsman had been the most supportive of action on…

A group of 285 large investors, representing more than $20 trillion in assets, urged world governments to forge a binding treaty at upcoming climate negotiations in Durban, South Africa, and said global spending has not been nearly enough to keep warming below 2 degrees Celsius. The call came from a coalition of four green investment…

Although Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard had promised before to not enact a carbon tax, floods, bush fires, heat waves, and drought reawakened discussion about putting a price on greenhouse gas emissions. This week, Australia’s House of Representatives narrowly passed a carbon tax, sending the bill to the country’s Senate, where observers say it is…

The proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which could carry a diluted form of tar sands from Canada to Texas, has attracted the ire of many environmentalists, including Bill McKibben, who spearheaded protests in front of the White House last month. This week, McKibben argued the Obama administration is practicing “crony capitalism” and that e-mails obtained through…

A leaked World Bank document, due to be presented at the G20 meeting in November, proposes that rich countries eliminate their fossil fuel subsidies and instead contribute the money to climate aid for poor countries to help with green energy and adaptation measures. The paper also said donor countries are unlikely to come up with…

After rebel forces swept into Libya’s capital, Tripoli, the country may be able to start to ramp oil production and exports again, which many analysts hope will bring down oil prices. Libya claims Africa’s largest proven oil reserves, and was producing about 1.6 million barrels a day when the production suddenly dropped to near zero…

The stock market took a beating this week, after the rating agency Standard & Poor’s downgraded U.S. bonds—but clean tech stocks have been falling even faster than the market as a whole. Shares in clean energy companies have been hit by a “triple whammy”—producing too much capacity for the demand, problems with government debt, and…

Putting the “geo” in engineering could screw up the “geo” in politics. ‘Plan A’ Still on the Table Scientists have warned for decades that our dependence on fossil fuels is the root cause of global warming and to slow the warming we’ll need to wean ourselves off of them and ramp up low-carbon technologies. Flash…

In his State of the Union address, President Obama declared that we’re going to solve our energy problems by “out-innovating” the rest of the world. But there’s a key question we’ve got to figure out:  who’s going to be doing all this innovating? The President made it clear what he thought the answer should be,…