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Posts Tagged "fossil fuels"

Extinction Countdown

Does Controversial Decision Pit California Condors against Wind Turbines?

california condor

Talk about a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation. The U.S. needs to generate more renewable energy if we hope to stave off the effects of climate change. At the same time, critically endangered California condors (Gymnogyps californianus)—which today number 417 birds after the last 22 members of their species were put [...]

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Observations

12 Graphics That Contain Everything You Need to Know about Climate Change

earth-energy-heat-budget

Climate change is real, it’s here and it will be affecting the planet for a long, long time. That’s the lesson of the latest iteration of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change‘s state of climate science report, released in its entirety on January 30. Concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have now touched 400 [...]

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Observations

Does Increased Energy Efficiency Just Spark Us to Use More?

chevy-volt-fuel-economy-sticker

Last year, the U.S. raised its fuel economy standards for cars and trucks for the first time in decades. By 2025, the fuel efficiency of vehicles will be required to double. As a result, oil consumption is predicted to fall and—given that the U.S. remains the world’s largest consumer of oil—global crude prices might fall [...]

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Observations

All-of-the-Above Energy Strategy Trumps Climate Action

obama-enters-press-conference-november-14

“I am a firm believer that climate change is real, that it is impacted by human behavior and carbon emissions. And, as a consequence, I think we’ve got an obligation to future generations to do something about it.” So spoke newly re-elected President Barack Obama at a press conference on November 14 when questioned by [...]

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Observations

Climate Change Action and More Drilling Likely in Obama’s Second Term

obamas-hug

President Barack Obama secured a second four-year term in yesterday’s vote. What is the likely outcome of that historic event on energy and environmental issues? Simply put: more of the same. Let me rephrase that slightly. Obama will likely stay the course on his current energy and environmental policies. That means more executive orders like [...]

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Observations

Energy Economics: What Will Turn Us On in 2030?

oil-platforms

Advanced lithium-ion batteries may be all the rage for electric cars, but that doesn’t mean one no longer faces drain anxiety when sitting in the audience of an energy conference taking notes on a laptop while a speaker extols their virtues. Sadly, my battery (and at least one other reporter’s) went kaput while attending the [...]

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Observations

“The Quest” for Energy Security: The Search for More Oil and Its Alternatives

Mottanai: it’s a Japanese term that translates as “too precious to waste.” It’s the philosophy that guides the island nation’s approach to natural resources like energy, and it has become particularly important as the meltdowns at Fukushima have resulted in roughly 25 percent of Japanese electricity supply disappearing as other nuclear reactors remain shutdown. It [...]

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Observations

How do we solve energy poverty?

Each year, human civilization consumes some 14 terawatts of power, mostly provided by burning the fossilized sunshine known as coal, oil and natural gas. That’s 2,000 watts for every man, woman and child on the planet. Of course, power isn’t exactly distributed that way. In fact, roughly two billion people lack reliable access to modern [...]

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Observations

Why Shifting from Fossil Fuels to Cleaner Alternatives Will Require Fossil Fuels

The world is waiting for a clean revolution, a shift away from the greenhouse gas-emitting, mountain-leveling, air-polluting, fossil-fuel burning way of life. The world may have to wait a long time if past energy transitions are anything to go by, according to environmental scientist Vaclav Smil of the University of Manitoba—especially since fossil fuel energy [...]

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Observations

Saving Nature by Ending It: Geoengineering and the Moral Case for Conservation [Video]

Climate change is a foregone conclusion. The amount of carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere from two centuries-worth of fossil fuel burning (and, apparently, with decades more worth to come, given the glacial pace of efforts to slow said emissions) is enough to substantially warm global average temperatures. And that leaves so-called geoengineering—the deliberate, large-scale [...]

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Observations

World’s First Transatlantic Flight… on Biofuels [Video]

This past weekend, the Paris Air Show witnessed two historic firsts: the first transatlantic flight on biofuels, closely followed by the second, which involved a much larger jet (although a smaller percentage of bio–jet fuel).  Honeywell’s corporate Gulfstream G450 sped from North America to Europe burning a 50–50 blend of kerosene derived from fossil algae [...]

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Plugged In

The Quest for Vertical Axis Wind Turbines Despite Failures

Wing Power Energy's small-scale vertical axis wind turbine. Image courtesy: Wing Power Energy

The vision is beautiful, if not somewhat tried: a large cluster of 360 foot tall towers encircled with long, slightly cupped blades, similar to airplane wings, spinning in the wind like a wind vane. The result? An outpouring of clean electricity at the Megawatt (MW) scale. That’s what Harry Ruda, CEO of Wing Power Energy, [...]

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Plugged In

Fossil Fuels Compete for Generation

CoalNatGasElasticity

Today, power plants in the United States rely primarily on fossil fuels. In 2011, more than 2/3 of the electricity generated domestically came from coal and natural gas. But, the ratio of electricity production from coal to natural gas to petroleum has shifted over time. This month, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) published [...]

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