The UK just went for a record 55 hours without using coal

April 19, 2018 by  
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Coal fueled the world for more than 100 years, but now it’s being pushed out of the market. Recent evidence for that can be found in the United Kingdom , which just set a new record by going nearly 55 hours sans coal. The UKs energy sector went from 10:25 p.m. on Monday to 5:10 a.m. on Thursday without utilizing coal for power generation. Grid data put together by Bloomberg revealed the United Kingdom’s power plants didn’t use coal to help generate electricity for close to 55 hours — the longest stretch of time in recent history. The Independent said this is the first time the UK has been powered without coal for this length of time since the first public-use, coal-fired power plant in the world opened in 1882 in London. The UK set its previous record in October when the nation went without coal for 40 hours. Related: 104% of Portugal’s electricity consumption in March came from renewable energy Wind turbines helped provide energy for the UK during this time; solar panels also helped meet demand. On Tuesday, the country obtained more than 60 percent of electricity from low- or zero-carbon sources: 33.7 percent from wind, 20.1 percent from nuclear , five percent from biomass , 3.3 percent from solar and 0.9 percent from hydro . The numbers were similar on Wednesday. Bloomberg said Britain has installed more offshore wind turbines than any other country, and they described the UK as an early adopter of renewable energy. Traditional power plants in the country are closing permanently, and the UK government aims to turn off all coal power plants by 2025. The UK set a new record of 54 hours and 50mins without #coal fired generation in the UK electricity mix this week https://t.co/knjFLPms2p Expect more records to be broken this summer as coal continues its rapid decline https://t.co/pQdDnipSJ0 pic.twitter.com/hgTP4eEJF5 — Carbon Tracker (@CarbonBubble) April 19, 2018 According to a March 2018 article from Carbon Brief, “Coal now accounts for only 5.3 percent of total primary energy consumed in the UK, down from 22 percent in 1995.” The country’s total carbon dioxide emissions are “as low as emissions were back in 1890.” Via Bloomberg , The Independent and Carbon Brief Images via Depositphotos and Wikimedia Commons

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The UK just went for a record 55 hours without using coal

Australia experiences record-setting, summer-like heat even though winter is coming

April 13, 2018 by  
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It’s autumn in Australia , but you might not be able to tell from the weather . Record-breaking heat has gripped large swaths of the country — the government’s Bureau of Meteorology said Sydney, Adelaide, and other locations have hit the “hottest or equal-hottest April days on record.” We have published a Special Climate Statement exploring the highly unseasonal hot spell experienced by much of Australia at the start of April. More at https://t.co/jHCzg7hb3c pic.twitter.com/Yg2uQHeOqj — Bureau of Meteorology, Australia (@BOM_au) April 13, 2018 Persistent heat in Australia prompted the Bureau of Meteorology to release a Special Climate Statement : a 22-page document delving into detail about record-setting temperatures across the country. In a media release about the climate statement, the Bureau of Meteorology said during the first week of April, the heat affected primarily northwest Australia. Then the hot spell moved southeast, impacting New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia. All those states set April temperature records. Related: Rise of just 0.5 degrees C in India has already resulted in deadly heat Bureau of Meteorology climatologist Blair Trewin said the heat’s extent was exceptional, saying in the statement, “The heat had been building up in northwestern Australia since monsoon rains ended in mid-March. Northwesterly winds then brought the hot air mass southeast at the start of this week, which is when we saw the impacts on South Australia, Victoria, and New South Wales.” The climate statement described conditions as as abnormally warm, and said the heat was more in line with what a person might expect in mid-summer, not mid-autumn. The statement said the heat “was unprecedented in many areas in April for its intensity, its persistence, or both.” Is climate change responsible for the heat? The Bureau of Meteorology didn’t say, in the statement or the media release. The climate statement pointed back to past notable April heat events in southeastern Australia, which occurred in 1922, 1938, 1986, and 2005. But the heat could be a preview of coming attractions, according to Mashable , which said extreme events such as this one could be more regular in a world impacted by climate change. + Special Climate Statement 65 — persistent summer-like heat sets many April records + Bureau of Meteorology Media Release Via Mashable Images via Depositphotos ( 1 , 2 )

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Australia experiences record-setting, summer-like heat even though winter is coming

World’s first electric road that charges moving vehicles debuts in Sweden

April 12, 2018 by  
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The first electrified road capable of charging EVs as they drive across it is now open outside of Stockholm , Sweden. While the road — which links Stockholm Arlanda airport to a nearby logistics site — is only two kilometers long, it is a significant step forward in Sweden’s strategic plan for energy and climate change . The country aims to become independent of fossil fuels by 2030 – a task that will require a 70 percent reduction in emissions from the transportation sector. Once expanded, the electric roadways and highways in Sweden will make it convenient to charge electric vehicles and ease the country’s transition from traditional combustion engine vehicles. The system works by transferring electricity from the installed underground rail to the vehicle above through a flexible arm that attaches to the charging vehicle . “There is no electricity on the surface,” Hans Säll, chief executive of  eRoadArlanda , explained to the Guardian . “There are two tracks, just like an outlet in the wall. Five or six centimeters down is where the electricity is. But if you flood the road with salt water , then we have found that the electricity level at the surface is just one volt. You could walk on it barefoot.” Related: Siemens debuts first electrified eHighway in the US It currently costs 1 million euros to construct one kilometer of electrified road, but this is still 50 times less than the cost of installing an equivalent distance of an overhead tram line. At the moment, Sweden maintains about half a million kilometers of roadways, of which 20,000 are highways. “If we electrify 20,000 kilometers of highways that will definitely be enough,” Säll said. “The distance between two highways is never more than 45 kilometers, and electric cars can already travel that distance without needing to be recharged. Some believe it would be enough to electrify 5,000 kilometers.” Sweden and Germany are in discussion to eventually construct a network of electrified roads to encourage a Europe-wide adoption of electric vehicles. Via The Guardian Images via  Erik Mårtensson/eRoadArlanda

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World’s first electric road that charges moving vehicles debuts in Sweden

The Gulf Stream is the weakest it’s been in 1,600 years – here’s why that’s really bad news

April 12, 2018 by  
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The Gulf Stream current, which serves as an important regulator of weather and climate along the Atlantic Ocean, is now the weakest it has been in at least 1,600 years. This dramatic slowing of the current, known as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (Amoc), could usher in extreme shifts in weather patterns, such as more brutal European winters, rapid sea level rise on the American East Coast , and the disruption of essential tropical rainstorms. Suddenly, the 2004 climate-change disaster film The Day After Tomorrow, which depicted the dramatized consequences of a Gulf Stream slowdown, seems less science fiction, more predictive of a future plagued by catastrophic climate change. Although scientists have been aware of Amoc’s slowdown since 2004, two recent studies paint a more complete picture of just how dramatic this weakening has been. “The [current] climate models don’t predict [an Amoc shutdown] is going to happen in the future,” Dr. David Thornalley, leader of one of these recent studies published in the journal Nature , told the Guardian . “The problem is how certain are we it is not going to happen? It is one of these tipping points that is relatively low probability, but high impact.” Thornalley’s team gathered and analyzed sediments from North Carolina ‘s Cape Hatteras, as well as shells of marine animals at various Atlantic sites, to determine the full impact of the current slowdown. The study concludes that climate change has played at least a significant role in the weakened Amoc. Related: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is growing at an exponential rate Also published in Nature , the second study used thermometer data from the past 120 years to reach a similar conclusion: Amoc is about 15 percent weaker than it was in 400 AD. While the second study places much of the blame on climate change , the first study also cites natural climate variability as a contributing factor to Amoc’s slowdown. Regardless of its causes, the weakening is recognized in both studies as a potentially destabilizing phenomenon. “If we do not rapidly stop global warming, we must expect a further long-term slowdown of the Atlantic overturning,” second study co-author Alexander Robinson told the Guardian . “We are only beginning to understand the consequences of this unprecedented process – but they might be disruptive.” Via The Guardian Images via Depositphotos (1 , 2)

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The Gulf Stream is the weakest it’s been in 1,600 years – here’s why that’s really bad news

New Zealand bans new offshore oil and gas exploration permits

April 12, 2018 by  
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New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, set a goal of zero carbon emissions by 2050 — and she’s taking action now. This week, she said the country will no longer grant new offshore oil and gas exploration permits, Reuters reported . Ardern said in a live Facebook video , “The whole world is going in this direction. We all signed up to the Paris Agreement that said we were moving towards carbon neutrality and now we need to act on it.” Ardern surprised the oil and gas industry with her announcement, which won’t impact the 22 existing exploration permits, Reuters said. She said in the Facebook video in making this decision, she considered ensuring security of supply; job security, especially for places where jobs center around the fossil fuel industry; and meeting their obligations and ambitions around tackling climate change . (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = ‘https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.12’; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’)); A few details on the big oil and gas announcement we made today A few details on the big oil and gas announcement we made today… Posted by Jacinda Ardern on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 Related: New Zealand plans to power its grid with 100% renewable energy by 2035 Not everyone is happy about Ardern’s decision. Neil Holdom, mayor of New Plymouth in the Taranaki region, which Reuters said is energy -rich, described the move as “a kick in the guts.” Taranaki Daily News quoted Energy and Resources spokesperson for the opposition party Jonathan Young as saying, “What will replace gas as the demand for more electricity rose with electric vehicles and we don’t have enough renewables . It will be coal — good one government.” Ardern said permits can last for years, and “that’s why we have to make decisions with really long lead times about what we do in the future.” She said the country will “continue onshore block offers” for three years and then review again. Environmental organization praised the move. Greenpeace New Zealand executive director Russel Norman told The Guardian , “Today’s announcement is significant internationally too. By ending new oil and gas exploration in our waters, the fourth-largest exclusive economic zone on the planet is out of bounds for new fossil fuel exploitation…Bold global leadership on the greatest challenge of our time has never been more urgent and Ardern has stepped up to that climate challenge.” + Jacinda Ardern on Facebook Via Reuters , Taranaki Daily News , and The Guardian Images via Thomas Hetzler on Unsplash and Depositphotos

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New Zealand bans new offshore oil and gas exploration permits

This NYC skyscraper will clean the air "at a rate of 500 trees"

April 12, 2018 by  
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This new  condominium building in New York City will actually clean the air . 570 Broome , designed by Tahir Demircioglu of Builtd , will be wrapped with a new facade material that utilizes sunshine to turn contaminating agents into salt and water vapor. The self-cleaning exterior will have an equivalent impact to removing 2,000 cars from roads for a year, or that of 500 trees . The luxury condominium, located in the West Soho neighborhood, boasts more than just floor-to-ceiling windows and 10-foot-nine-inch-tall ceilings. The exterior of the 25-story building cleans itself and the air around it. The facade material was developed in collaboration between sintered stone company Neolith and manufacturer PURETi . Related: This new Berlin apartment building literally purifies the city’s air According to Neolith’s website , the exterior material consists of Neolith plates sprayed with PURETi’s “aqueous and titanium dioxide nanoparticle-based treatment.” Sunlight activates the titanium dioxide nanoparticles, which “transform the moisture in the air into oxidizing agents which destroy the nitrogen dioxide particles and contaminating agents and transform them into water vapor and salt.” The process is called photocatalysis, and it’s “repeated millions of times per second,” enabling the building to clean itself. The technology improves air quality and is anti-bacterial, anti-allergen and anti-odor. Neolith and PURETi’s technology “receives LEED points when specified,” according to Neolith. The building’s design hearkens back to the history of the area, once called the Printing District, with “a silhouette evocative of staggered cubes,” according to Builtd . Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) designed the interiors. Indoor bicycle storage, an entry garden featuring a Japanese maple tree, a lounge opening onto a landscaped terrace and double-pane windows treated with a low-emissivity glaze are among the building’s other features. Sales for 570 Broome, which includes 54 units of one- to three-bedroom condos, began last fall. + 570 Broome + Builtd + Neolith + PURETi + Neolith + PURETI Images courtesy of 570 Broome

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This NYC skyscraper will clean the air "at a rate of 500 trees"

A company in Ghana is turning plastic bags into roads

April 6, 2018 by  
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Only two percent of plastic trash in Ghana is recycled , according to a video from the World Economic Forum (WEF) – but one local company is hoping to change that statistic. Nelplast Ghana Limited , which focuses on industrial processing, is turning plastic bags into pavement blocks that can be used to build roads. And it’s not just plastic bags than can be utilized, but just about any kind of plastic garbage. On the road to a cleaner environment. Learn more: https://t.co/5ioC4M7lsc pic.twitter.com/yioef3AK5j — World Economic Forum (@wef) March 29, 2018 Thanks to Nelplast, plastic bags can now have a new life as part of a road. Nelplast shreds the bags and mixes them with sand to create what WEF describes as “a new form of asphalt .” This asphalt requires fewer natural resources to create, lasts a long time, and is resilient to boot. And it’s not just plastic bags that can be utilized, but just about any kind of plastic garbage . Related: UK tests cheaper, longer-lasting roads made with recycled plastic Network engineer Nelson Boateng is behind Nelplast; online publication Konbini said he developed the asphalt, which is comprised of 60 percent plastic and 40 percent sand. He created his own recycling machine using scrap metal  and started the company to recycle around 4,400 pounds of plastic junk. The Nelplast website says Boateng possesses “over 20 years of experience in the recycling industry.” WEF’s video said Ghana’s Ministry of Environment already has the paving blocks in one district, and it wants to help Nelplast scale up. In addition to helping clean up the environment , Boateng has created jobs; the company directly and indirectly employs over 230 people. ? Nelplast aims “to seek the interest of the environment first in all [their] processes.” For example, the company also sells plastic roofing tiles and offers consulting in launching recycling companies. Their objectives include recycling “about 70 percent of plastics waste generated by the country daily into useful products that can be used for a lifetime.” + Nelplast Ghana Limited Via World Economic Forum on Twitter and Konbini Image via Depositphotos

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A company in Ghana is turning plastic bags into roads

The world’s first subsidy-free offshore wind farm is being built in the Netherlands

March 21, 2018 by  
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The world’s first unsubsidized offshore wind farms are currently under construction in the Netherlands . The underlying economics of offshore wind energy have become so favorable in the country that the projects will require no public funds to be completed. “Thanks to drastically lower costs, offshore wind farms are now being constructed without subsidy,” Dutch Economic Affairs and Climate Minister Eric Wiebes told Climate Action . “This allows us to keep the energy transition affordable. Innovation and competition are making sustainable energy cheaper and cheaper, and much faster than expected too.” Scheduled to begin operations in 2022, the two wind farms are being built by Swedish energy firm Vattenfall. The electricity created by the wind farms will be sold on the open market, competing with fossil fuels. The wind farms will be located 14 miles off the coast of the Netherlands and will fill an area of 137 square miles. Once operational, the farms will produce enough energy to power 1.5 million homes. While the wind farms are being billed as subsidy-free, their construction benefited from the Dutch government accepting some risks involved in the project, such as covering the cost of grid connection. Related: World’s first floating wind farm performing better than anticipated The Netherlands has taken swift action to develop its clean energy capabilities. In 2017, the 600-megawatt, 150-turbine Gemini wind park off the Dutch coast opened as one of the largest wind farms in the world. “As a country we were heavily dependent on fossil fuels , and our way to renewables has been bumpy,” Dutch minister for the environment Sharon Dijksma told MIT Technology Review . “So this government decided that we needed to step up the pace.” The low-lying European country has much at stake in how the world deals with climate change . If the Netherlands were to face a powerful flood, “we would have a massive breakdown, it would tear the country into pieces and the economy would collapse,” Dijksma said. “So this Armageddon scenario has to be fought against.” Via MIT Technology Review Images via Depositphotos (1)

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The world’s first subsidy-free offshore wind farm is being built in the Netherlands

New pay-what-you-can restaurant opens in Fort Worth, Texas

March 21, 2018 by  
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A Texas couple have opened a new restaurant that offers a pay-what-you-can model. Taste Community Restaurant targets middle class people struggling to get by who still deserve excellent food at a price they can afford. “Specifically,” Taste Community chef and co-founder Julie Williams told Dallas Morning News , “the missing middle 90 percent of the hungry who are not homeless and don’t qualify for government assistance. They might be choosing between food and medical bills or medication, be a single parent trying to make ends meet, be between jobs.” To serve this community, Julie and her husband Jeff founded the Taste Project , the 501(c)3 nonprofit that supports the restaurant. Guests at the Taste Community Restaurant are greeted with a warmly lit space, a friendly staff, 80 percent of whom are volunteers, and a menu that has no prices listed. Guests are not given a check at the conclusion of the meal and are instead encouraged to donate what they can to support the restaurant ‘s mission. Julie and Jeff Williams were inspired and informed in their work by  One World Everybody Eats , which helped pioneer the community cafe model in the United States .  While it is still early in the restaurant’s history, the staff are encouraged. “We measure success in number of patrons who come through the door, percentage of folks in need, number of volunteer hours served, and program revenue,” explained Julie Williams. “We need to increase the number of folks who can pay what they typically pay or a little more in order to reach those in need.” Related: The free grocery store fighting food waste and hunger Taste is particularly appreciated for its shrimp and cheese grits, rib-eye steak chili and butternut squash risotto. There are exciting options for vegetarians and vegans as well. A celery root-green apple vegan soup is popular, as is a farro dish with cauliflower, snow peas and broccolini, all covered with a poached egg and lemon vinaigrette. The menu is seasonal, with winter’s pimento cheese bruschetta giving way to spring’s sweet pea bruschetta. Taste Community Restaurant is currently serving lunch from Tuesday through Sunday. Via Dallas Morning News Images via Taste Project

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New pay-what-you-can restaurant opens in Fort Worth, Texas

Take a Bite Out of Waste in Your School Cafeteria

March 16, 2018 by  
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Every school cafeteria across the country is unique: different kitchens, … The post Take a Bite Out of Waste in Your School Cafeteria appeared first on Earth911.com.

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