CA communities sue Exxon, Shell and 35 other fossil fuel companies over climate change

July 27, 2017 by  
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A trio of California communities are standing up to fossil fuel peddlers and holding them to account for their role in climate change . San Mateo and Marin counties and Imperial Beach filed an unprecedented suit against 37 companies, including major players like Shell, Chevron and Exxon Mobil. The complaint states that these companies have knowingly caused billions of dollars worth of damage and have caused sea levels to climb, putting lives and property in serious danger. The lawsuits state that the 37 defendants are responsible for hundreds of gigatons of carbon emissions – about 20 percent of the total emissions from the mid-1960s to today. The suit alleges that the companies knew about the impact they were having on climate change, and have worked to not just avoid reduce their impact but to deny the threats altogether in a “co-ordinated, multi-front effort to conceal and deny their knowledge of these threats”. Related: Shell predicted the effects of climate change in its own 1991 film California isn’t the first to sue fossil fuel companies. An Alaska community sued after being forced to relocate their village , but the case was dismissed as being a political question, not a legal one. The lawsuits may comprise the first step towards a future that holds fossil fuel companies to account, much like citizens held tobacco companies responsible for their role in peddling dangerous chemicals. Via The Guardian images via Flickr and Depositphotos

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First fully-integrated sustainable smart energy system promises to democratize renewables for all

July 27, 2017 by  
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Solar might be the future, but few people and businesses can afford to invest in the technology. This is why SolPad’s latest innovation is so newsworthy. The new SolPad Mobile is the first personal, portable solar energy generator capable of providing power anywhere. Developed to “democratize” renewable energy for all consumers, the 25-pound invention has built-in battery storage and output power that exceed any other portable solar device in its class. Additionally, it is capable of providing clean energy to the “untapped market” of home renters, including tiny home dwellers and van-lifers. In essence, the one device makes clean, reliable power accessible to everyone and provides the tools required to collect, store, convert and manage solar energy. SolPad was founded in 2012 with a mission to “disrupt the conventional sustainable energy landscape” by ensuring off-grid power environments and sustainable smart homes have access to quality and cost-effective renewable energy. The company recognized that solar has experienced an average annual growth rate of 68 percent, but fails to be adopted by consumers on a mass level due to economic challenges. Equipped with this knowledge, the minds behind the California-based company decided to develop the first fully-integrated system that can provide an all-in-one, scalable solution to renewable energy . “The reality is that SolPad completely shifts the energy paradigm, delivering comprehensive management and control for daily power usage,” said Christopher Estes, CEO of SolPad. Though the units cost $1,795 (monthly payment options are available for $150), the investment is well worth it. This is because the SolPad Prox X is a permanent solution to obtaining solar energy , and the purchase and installation costs are as least half of other market alternatives. Additionally, the power system generates as much power as one needs and ensures minimal energy is wasted while increasing the available AC power. Because the software integrates solar generation and energy storage, energy management becomes an automated process. From a phone app , you can track, manage and automate your energy usage. SolControl also prioritizes which appliances and items should receive personal solar power based on one’s habit of turning them on and off. The SolPad panels can store both solar and grid energy. According to the press release, “By placing storage at the source of solar collection, inefficiencies in transmission and conversion are reduced or eliminated entirely. Because collection and storage are adjacent within each SolPad Pro X panel, low voltage battery power is used to make the panels safer and more efficient than legacy solar systems.” “Everyone is responsible for their impact on the environment . SolPad Mobile allows people to take energy management into their own hands, reducing carbon footprint and giving access to AC electricity anywhere,” said Jigar Shah, co-founder of Generate Capital, past CEO of Carbon War Room. “Whether you’re in an industrialized nation trying to decrease negative impacts on the environment or in a developing nation looking to save money versus fossil fuels, this disruptive portable panel provides unparalleled access to clean and easy-to-use power.” Related: SolPad residential solar panels come with built-in battery storage and an inverter The unique invention will ensure more people have access to clean, renewable energy and, as a result, will provide innumerable benefits to the environment. + SolPad Images via SolPad

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Oil giants are waking up to carbon bubble risks

March 15, 2017 by  
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Statoil releases a “climate roadmap” as Shell warns that public faith in fossil fuel industry is disappearing.

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Why coal country must be part of the clean economy

March 8, 2017 by  
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One of the most remarkable developments in recent years has been the relatively drama-free embrace in many corners of the private sector of the concept of environmental externalities. Arguments over the indirect costs of fossil fuel combustion — climate change, mercury contamination, ground level ozone and the like — have been a form of hand-to-hand combat in utility rate cases and other regulatory actions for years.

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Why coal country must be part of the clean economy

Why coal country must be part of the clean economy

March 8, 2017 by  
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One of the most remarkable developments in recent years has been the relatively drama-free embrace in many corners of the private sector of the concept of environmental externalities. Arguments over the indirect costs of fossil fuel combustion — climate change, mercury contamination, ground level ozone and the like — have been a form of hand-to-hand combat in utility rate cases and other regulatory actions for years.

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Why coal country must be part of the clean economy

Groundbreaking technology affordably captures CO2 from fossil fuel plants

February 22, 2017 by  
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What if fossil fuels could be burned without pouring emissions into the air? Many people consider that idea to be wishful thinking, but chemical engineer Rodney Allam doesn’t. He’s been working on carbon capture technology on and off since the 1970’s, and with the help of venture capital incubator 8 Rivers , recently put the finishing touches on the Allam Cycle , an electric-generation system that captures all the carbon dioxide (CO2) made from burning fossil fuels. Allam investigated bolt-on methods during his decades of searching for a way to capture CO2 from fossil fuel plants, but found those methods too expensive. He aimed to make carbon capture affordable, but gave up in the 1990’s. Then 8 Rivers came along in 2009 with a plan to make use of Recovery Act money from the federal government. When Allam returned to the issue, he was at last able to develop the Allam Cycle. Related: Breakthrough technology turns coal plant CO2 into baking powder The Allam Cycle doesn’t utilize steam to create electricity . Instead, CO2 under pressure and in a supercritical state spins the turbines powering the generators. Combustion adds CO2 to keep the process going, and any excess is sent into a pipeline. NetPower , 8 Rivers’ portfolio company constructing the first Allam Cycle plant, describes the technology as truly clean, saying plants that utilize the Allam Cycle are able to “inherently eliminate all air emissions.” That means no particulate matter, mercury, nitrogen oxides, or sulfur oxides either. Plus, Allam’s technology can generate electricity at the same six cents per kilowatt-hour as other gas-fired turbines. NetPower is working with Exelon and Toshiba on the first plant. According to Forbes, such a full-size plant costs around $300 million to construct and can generate 300 megawatts yearly. Once the plant is built, it will take a few months before NetPower can show the cycle is stable. Allam told Forbes they might know for sure in a year. The first plant will run on natural gas ; 8 Rivers says on their website they are also developing a coal -based system. Via Forbes Images via Wikimedia Commons and eutrophication&hypoxia on Flickr

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COP22 kicks off in Morocco with controversial presence of fossil fuel industry representatives

November 7, 2016 by  
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Days after the historic Paris climate deal went into effect, world leaders have again convened to discuss tactics for fighting climate change , this time in Marrakech, Morocco. The COP22 climate talks will offer an opportunity for government leaders from nations around the globe to cooperate in devising goals to reduce the effects of climate change. As Morocco takes advantage of the summit’s timing to launch new nationwide food security programs, controversy ensues following the inclusion of coal and oil interests in the international discussions. Morocco—which relies heavily on local agriculture—has been uniquely impacted by climate change, experiencing highs and lows in the same year as a result of shifting weather patterns. While this year’s regular El Niño season drenched croplands, producing above-average yields, it was followed by an intense dry period during which there was no rain for more than two months. The uncertainty of agricultural yields prompted Moroccan leadership to develop programs to address food security issues, and the nation is launching its Adaptation of African Agriculture (AAA) initiative, timed with the kickoff of the COP22 conference. Related: UN warns of 3C global temperature increase without swift and aggressive global leadership Morocco’s AAA plan involves improving soil management, as well as water and irrigation management, combined with better weather forecasting and insurance for drought-impacted farmers. Each of these efforts is designed to help support continued agriculture while maximizing its output with efficient methods that can, hopefully, endure some of the unstable weather conditions the nation will see in years to come. Taking swift action to address food security seems like a bold and positive move, but it’s not quite so simple. In addition to world leaders, Morocco’s climate summit also involves representatives of corporate interests —namely coal and oil giants like ExxonMobil, Chevron, Peabody, BP, Shell and RioTinto. Critics claim their presence equates to a conflict of interest, while others interpret their involvement as a brave step forward in attempting to partner with fossil fuel industries for cooperative change. It remains to be seen what influence these companies will have on delegates working to construct international climate change plans, as they will have “observer status” to nearly every official conversation as part of the global summit. Via The Guardian Images via Richard Allaway/Flickr and Pixabay

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Cutting-edge Science Center in Lithuania is topped with solar panels

November 7, 2016 by  
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The design treats public spaces as singular open-space volumes. The main entrance hall is arched with a spherical planetarium suspended overhead, while the south hall is a double-height open space for large-scale exhibition . A long-span cantilevering volume is built using structural steel fabricated into box and beam sections that make it appear to float in mid-air. Related: “Eyesore” garage transformed into a stunning waterfall illusion in Lithuania Prefab modular steel elements that make up the structural backbone of the project are efficient and quick to construct and require less labor. The project, which aims for a LEED certification , uses advanced ventilation systems and the adjacent river to cool the building. Solar panels embedded into the facade provide clean energy . + Architects of Invention

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Cutting-edge Science Center in Lithuania is topped with solar panels

Herzog & de Meurons Elbphilharmonie Plaza is the highest public square in northern Germany

November 7, 2016 by  
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The Elbphilharmonie Plaza opening ceremony on November 4, 2016 marks the first of many ceremonies to come counting down to the official opening on January 11, 2016. The plaza features an exterior walkway that wraps around the building and overlooks spectacular views of the city and harbor. The interior of the Plaza comprises stairs to the concert halls , the lobby of The Westin Hamburg hotel, the Deck & Deli cafe, and Elbphilharmonie shop. Related: Herzog & De Meuron’s stunning Elbphilharmonie to finally open in January “Right now, we are standing in the Port of Hamburg, 37 metres above sea level at the highest public square in northern Germany —and there is a skyscraper above our heads,” said Hamburg’s Mayor Olaf Scholz at the opening ceremony. “The Elbphilharmonie is a place for everyone. Hamburg is a city of music, and you could call this its parliament. It is a concert hall that will wow the world.” The Elbphilharmonie will host multiple musical events in the run-up to its official January opening. + Elbphilharmonie + Herzog & de Meuron Images via Elbphilharmonie , by Skynamic GmbH, Michael Zapf, Iwan Baan

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Herzog & de Meurons Elbphilharmonie Plaza is the highest public square in northern Germany

Magnetic levitating Glow lamp takes interior design back to the future

November 7, 2016 by  
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Glow is made from a synthetic material that gives it an ethereal glow. Inside are diode emitting low energy lights powered by lithium batteries . Two strength modes allow it to function as a task of mood light. After a full charge, Glow can last up to 80 hours and is easily converted into a wireless lamp that can be attached to any metallic surface thanks to a high-strength neodymium magnet. Related: Mesmerizing levitating plants blend technology and nature The design of the lamp pushes the envelope when it comes to lighting technology and brings us one step closer to a future filled with maglev vehicles and jet packs. The cost of this amazing lamp will be unveiled when its Kickstarter campaign launches on November 7, 2016. + Glow + Glow Design

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