New US government rule allows drilling in forested land

September 4, 2020 by  
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A new rule published by the U.S. government legalizes oil and gas drilling within forested land. This action threatens forest ecosystems, reversing decades of work to protect forested areas. For over 50 years, a public participation system has helped protect critical ecosystems and other natural resources. The U.S. has over 193 million acres of forested land spanning 47 states. Stakeholders with a strong interest in forest resources have helped defend this land. The stakeholders’ environmental review process challenges fossil fuel companies attempting to set up operations in protected ecosystems. Consequently, thousands of species remain safe from potential harm caused by fossil fuel mining activities.  Despite this, a new rule by the U.S. federal government seeks to exclude public participation when deciding on land use in forested areas. With public input kept out of key decisions, fossil fuel companies may gain more access to forested land. Traditionally, regulations have restricted the presence of fossil fuel activities in the national forest land. To date, only 2.7% of the entire forest acreage has been leased to fossil fuel companies.  The main concern about the rule is that it eliminates critical environmental review steps, which entirely sidelines public participation. Further, the rule eliminates the U.S Forest Service’s oversight role. Consequently, fossil fuel companies seeking to operate in forested land will no longer be required to undergo a thorough environmental review.  This new rule comes amid worldwide concerns about global warming’s effects. An increase in forest fires has led to the destruction of forested lands, depleting the best-known carbon sinks . With more fossil fuel companies allowed to operate in forests, the number of forest fires may continue to spike, consequently leading to an increase in carbon emissions. As the Forest Service said in a statement, this rule is just one among many irresponsible land management policies put in place by the Trump Administration. The service now warns that if actions are not taken to stop the federal government from making such laws, the country risks losing precious natural resources. + Natural Resources Defense Council Image via Pexels

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New US government rule allows drilling in forested land

Zealandia drilling unveils secrets of once-hidden continent’s past

September 27, 2017 by  
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Scientists recently gathered more clues into the history of Earth’s seventh continent, Zealandia . The continent that was hiding in plain sight until a new study backed up its existence this year is mostly submerged. But after drilling expeditions, researchers think the landmass was once closer to land level, allowing animals and plants to move across continents. Researchers embarked on a two-month-long expedition to Zealandia in one of the first extensive surveys of the area, according to The Guardian. They recently shared discoveries like fossils and signs of tectonic movements. Stephen Pekar, a researcher aboard the JOIDES Resolution research vessel, said in an August post their drilling allowed them to “say something completely new that basically has improved and in many cases has rewritten our understanding of the tectonic history of Zealandia.” Related: Geologists find seventh continent hiding in plain sight Researchers collected sediment cores by drilling in six locations in Zealandia, finding information of change over millions of years. Gerald Dickens, professor at Rice University, said, “The discovery of microscopic shells of organisms that lived in warm shallow seas, and spores and pollen from land plants, reveal that the geography and climate of Zealandia was dramatically different in the past.” Zealandia is around 1.9 million square miles, and researchers think it might have separated from Australia and Antarctica 80 million years ago. The idea that Zealandia could once have been closer to land level might offer an answer to another question scientists have puzzled over: how plants and animals dispersed in the South Pacific . Rupert Sutherland, professor at Victoria University, said, “The discovery of past land and shallow seas now provides an explanation: there were pathways for animals and plants to move along.” Researchers will keep scrutinizing the sediment cores for information on climate change and Zealandia’s past. Via The Guardian Images via Wikimedia Commons and JOIDES Resolution Twitter

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Zealandia drilling unveils secrets of once-hidden continent’s past

Evaporation energy could provide 2.85M megawatt hours of electricity each year

September 27, 2017 by  
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In a world where much energy is wasted, whether through food waste , poor insulation, or inefficient appliances, valuable renewable sources may be disappearing into thin air. Scientists at Columbia University and elsewhere seek to harness the potential power of energy generated from evaporating water. According to Ozgur Sahin of Columbia University, water evaporating from the United States (excluding the Great Lakes) could provide up to 2.85 million megawatt hours of electricity per year, enough energy to meet two-thirds of US electricity usage in 2015. Much as solar power potential differs from state-to-state, potential energy from evaporating water would exceed demand in 15 of the 47 states studied by researchers at Columbia. While the potential energy from evaporation is enormous, capturing this power remains an elusive challenge. Many potential designs for evaporation energy involve engines covering the surface of freshwater bodies, irrigated fields, greenhouses , or sheltered bays. The prototypes built by Sahin’s team at Columbia are all constructed of materials that shrink as they dry, including tape covered with bacterial spores. “They work like a muscle,” said Sahin. “They can push and pull with a lot of force.” The prototypes also take advantage of changes in humidity to achieve desired results. One prototype includes shutters on top, which close and shut based on the humidity within the engine. This system enables energy generation to occur even at night, when evaporation is naturally lower due to cooler temperatures. Related: Bowl-shaped roofs harvest rainwater and promote natural cooling in arid environments Renewable energy from evaporating water is still in the early stages of development and some scientists doubt that it can be cost effective. Evaporation energy would also have to contend with solar energy , which is much more advanced and increasingly affordable. However, Sahin suggests that evaporation energy engines could be constructed out of biological materials, which could be cheaper and more biodegradable than solar panels. Another factor to consider is the impact that a widespread application of evaporation engines might have; scientists at Columbia estimate that there would only be significant reduction of evaporation if an area of 250,000 square kilometers is covered by such engines. As some consider geoengineering as a potential response to climate change, evaporation energy engines may have some appeal. Via New Scientist Images via Xi Chen , Flickr , and Tim Geers

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Evaporation energy could provide 2.85M megawatt hours of electricity each year

Victory: Obama just banned drilling in Alaska’s Bristol Bay

December 18, 2014 by  
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On Tuesday, Barack Obama passed a ban on drilling  Alaska’s Bristol Bay , dubbing it “one of America’s greatest natural resources…  a beautiful natural wonder and… something that is too precious to just put out to the highest bidder.” The ban makes the bay permanently off-limits to oil and gas drilling. Missing Attachment Missing Attachment Missing Attachment Related: Melting Arctic Ice Causes 35,000 Walruses to Mass on Alaskan Beach, Raising Fears of Stampede Read the rest of Victory: Obama just banned drilling in Alaska’s Bristol Bay Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: alaska , barack obama , Bristol Bay Alaska , drilling , drilling ban , epa , wild sockeye salmon

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Victory: Obama just banned drilling in Alaska’s Bristol Bay

Shell to Stop Drilling for Alaskan Oil Due to Falling Profits

January 30, 2014 by  
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Alaska oil pipeline / Shutterstock Shell’s incoming CEO Ben van Beurden recently announced that a court ruling has placed “significant obstacles” in the way of oil exploitation in Alaska . Europe’s largest energy company also announced that it will cut capital spending by around $10 billion this year and sell many of its assets in an effort to become more efficient. As old oil fields fade faster than new ones can be tapped into, Shell plans to shift its focus towards liquefied natural gas projects in places such as the Gulf of Mexico and Brazil. Read the rest of Shell to Stop Drilling for Alaskan Oil Due to Falling Profits Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Arctic Drilling , Ben van Beurden , fossil fuel , liquefied natural gas projects in Brazil , liquefied natural gas projects in Mexico , natural gas , oil drilling in Alaska , oil exploitation in Alaska , renewable energy , Shell , Shell in Alaska , Shell’s new CEO , Voser’s watch oil drilling        

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Shell to Stop Drilling for Alaskan Oil Due to Falling Profits

Japan Successfully Taps ‘Flammable Ice’ as an Energy Source for the First Time

March 12, 2013 by  
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Japan is faced with a number of challenges when it comes to domestic energy production – the country is the world’s largest importer of natural gas, and since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdown it has greatly increased its purchase of fossil fuels. In order to find a local energy source, the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has invested millions of dollars towards exploiting methane hydrate (also known as “flammable ice”) – and today they announced that they’ve successfully extracted it from the seabed for the first time. Methane is known to be an extremely potent greenhouse gas that is 20 times more damaging than CO2. If Japan taps reserves beneath the seabed, it could have catastrophic consequences for the environment. Read the rest of Japan Successfully Taps ‘Flammable Ice’ as an Energy Source for the First Time Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: atsumi peninsula , canada , chikyu , china , Climate Change , CO2 , drilling , flammable ice , fukushima daiichi , global warming , greenhouse gas , ice , Japan , methane , Methane Hydrate , north carolina , norway , ocean , seabed , south carolina

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Japan Successfully Taps ‘Flammable Ice’ as an Energy Source for the First Time

Nature Centre Hindsgavl is an Energy-Efficient Earth-Bermed Building in Denmark

March 12, 2013 by  
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Read the rest of Nature Centre Hindsgavl is an Energy-Efficient Earth-Bermed Building in Denmark Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “sustainable architecture” , AART , AART architects , Denmark , earth berm , earth bermed , eco design , green architecture , Green Building , green design , green roof , hindsgavl , hindsgavl nature center , middlefart , nature center , nature centre , nature centre hindsgavl , Sustainable Building , sustainable design

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Nature Centre Hindsgavl is an Energy-Efficient Earth-Bermed Building in Denmark

Lloyd’s of London Report Forsees Disaster in Arctic Development and Drilling

April 12, 2012 by  
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Lloyd’s of London market and the Royal Institute of International Affairs have released a new report which  predicts huge risks for those looking to invest in the Arctic. The companies believe that if economic development ramps up in the region — with estimated investments reaching $100 million within the next decade — the lack of infrastructure and gaps of knowledge about the most northernmost part of the globe could outweigh the economic benefits of their projects. To that end, Lloyd’s chief executive officer advises companies interested in the region to “step back” and think about the long term consequences of their pipeline projects, which range from oil exploration to fisheries. Read the rest of Lloyd’s of London Report Forsees Disaster in Arctic Development and Drilling Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Arctic , Arctic Council , arctic exploration , canada , environmental destruction , greenland , lloyds of london , offshore drilling , oil exploration

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First Takes: Britain’s Busted Bag Ban, Smart Meters Snag Scammers, & More…

August 9, 2011 by  
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Britain makes scant headway in efforts to cut use of plastic shopping bags and Emirates airline is the latest carrier to beef about the EU’s cap-and-trade plan, but on the plus side smart meters are looking to be smarter than at least one utility thought.

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How to Navigate the Risks of Drilling in a De-Iced Arctic Circle

August 8, 2011 by  
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The extractive industries are preparing to swoop in and capture their shares of Arctic oil and gas as the top of the world loses its ice cover. Here’s how they can approach it with caution, transparency and risk mitigation in mind.

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How to Navigate the Risks of Drilling in a De-Iced Arctic Circle

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