Oxford, UK to create first zero-emissions zone in the world

October 12, 2017 by  
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Oxford , England, with its history of learning dating back to the 11th century, is now shifting into the future with an electric-vehicle only zone in the city center. In banning all internal combustion engine vehicles, the city is establishing what it says is the first zero-emissions zone in the world. Starting in 2020, six streets in Oxford’s city center will be free of smaller gas-guzzling vehicles, including buses and taxis. By 2035, the ban will have expanded to all fossil-fuel powered vehicles and will encompass the entire city center. While such a dramatic change in the city center’s urban design may encourage less driving, thus less greenhouse gas emissions, the zone was inspired by a need to reduce levels of nitrogen dioxide, most of which comes from car exhaust, by three-fourths. Chronic exposure to nitrogen dioxide can cause respiratory problems and eye irritation. Data from the World Health Organization also indicates that Oxford is one of eleven British cities to exceed the safe limits of toxic particles known as PM10s and PM2.5s. A “step change” is urgently needed to prevent air pollution from “damaging the health” of Oxford residents, said city councilor John Tanner. Related: GM’s plans for “all-electric-future” spell doom for fossil fuel industry The switch-over plan is expected to cost Oxford city government, bus companies, and local businesses approximately £7 million to replace the fossil-fuel consuming vehicles, including all municipal vehicles, with electric vehicles. An additional £7 million will be spent to build compliance infrastructure , such as CCTV cameras with plate number recognition technology. Those who still choose to bring their old fashioned vehicles into the city center after the ban will face a significant fine. To sustain such a project, Oxford would require sustained commitment from local, regional, and perhaps federal government. Via The Guardian Images via  Martijn van Sabben ,  Giuseppe Milo

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Oxford, UK to create first zero-emissions zone in the world

The entire world could be powered by one deep-sea wind farm

October 10, 2017 by  
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What if the world’s energy problems could be solved with one deep-sea wind farm ? A new study, conducted by the Carnegie Institution for Science at Stanford University, California, suggests it could. Scientists determined that if a renewable energy project the size of India were to be constructed in the ocean, enough electricity could be generated to fulfill the energy needs of every nation on earth. In the study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, doctors Anna Possner and Ken Caldeira wrote: “On an annual mean basis, the wind power available in the North Atlantic could be sufficient to power the world.” The duo noted that wind speeds are on average 70 percent higher over the Earth’s oceans than on land. In order to generate the equivalent of all energy used today, a deep-sea wind farm would need to span three million square kilometers. On land, the concept would never work. This is because when more wind turbines are added to a farm, the combined drag from the turning blades limits the amount of energy that can be obtained. As a result of this effect, electricity generation for large wind farms on land is limited to about 1.5 watts per square meter . In the North Atlantic, however, the limit would be much higher — more than six watts per square meter. Related: The world’s biggest offshore wind farm is being built in the UK The Independent reports that this is possible because more heat pours into the atmosphere above the North Atlantic Ocean. As a result, the problem of “ turbine drag” is essentially overcome. Said Possner, “We found that giant ocean-based wind farms are able to tap into the energy of the winds throughout much of the atmosphere whereas wind farms onshore remain constrained by the near-surface wind resources.” During the summer, the output from the vast North Atlantic wind farm would drop to one-fifth of the annual average. Despite this, enough energy would still be generated to meet the electricity demands of all countries in the European Union . The scientists added that a deep sea wind farm would have to operate in “remote and harsh conditions,” where waves heights often reach more than 3 meters. If these hurdles were overcome, political and economic challenges would need to be tackled next. + Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Via The Independent Images via Wikimedia Commons [1] , Wikimedia Commons [2] , Wikimedia Commons [3] and Depositphotos ( 1 , 2 )

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The entire world could be powered by one deep-sea wind farm

This incredible floating tent is the stuff of camping dreams

October 10, 2017 by  
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This incredible floating tent is one of those things you never knew you needed. Ohio-based outdoor equipment company SmithFly has designed what they describe as the world’s first floating tent , the Shoal Tent . With it, according to SmithFly, “the world is your waterbed.” SmithFly’s floating tent looks like way too much fun. The base is an inflatable raft, covered by a tent topper. There are no tent poles necessary, according to the company, because the tent structure is inflatable. They also say when it is inflated, it can endure high winds. Naturally, the tent fabric is waterproof . And it seems the Shoal Tent would be a pretty cozy place to spend the night; the “six inch thick drop stitched” floor basically acts as an air mattress. Related: See-through dome lets you immerse yourself in nature and sleep beneath the stars “The tent topper sides all attach and detach using heavy duty hook and loop for the ability to use just the top and get in and out easily through the sides if the need arises suddenly,” the company said in their product description, and the floor inflates to 10 pounds per square inch (psi), while the tubes inflate to three psi. The floating tent is eight feet by eight feet, measured from outside to outside. Inside, a person 6’3″ tall can lay down or stand up in the middle. The tent weighs around 75 pounds, and can fold down to a burrito shape to fit inside a storage bag that’s around 60 by 24 by 18 inches. The company suggests camping on “your favorite farm pond, salt water flat, spring creek, or eddie on your favorite river .” SmithFly launched in 2010, the brainchild of designer and fly fisherman Ethan Smith, who aimed to create a better fly fishing vest pack. The company offers products manufactured in the United States and lists sustainability as one of their top priorities. They aim to make multi-generational products, with the hope customers “only buy one of our vests and that it lasts long enough that your great-grand kids can use it.” The Shoal Tent costs $1,499 and is available to pre-order online; SmithFly says they’re not in stock yet but the first batch will be going out in December or January. The tent kit comes with a storage bag, manual foot pump, and patch kit. + SmithFly Images via SmithFly

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This incredible floating tent is the stuff of camping dreams

Catholic churches to make massive divestment from fossil fuels

October 4, 2017 by  
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To mark the anniversary of the death of Saint Francis of Assisi, over 40 Catholic institutions have announced their imminent divestment from fossil fuels, the largest move of its kind by a faith-based organization. The announcement’s timing with Saint Francis’s feast day, October 4, seems fitting for a Catholic Church guided by Pope Francis . He has elevated environmentalism as a key tenet of his papal tenure and chose his title to honor Saint Francis, who is known for his love of the natural world and the poor. Although the specific amount of divestment has not been yet released, the number of participating Catholic organizations is over four times the previous record . In recent years, divestment from fossil fuels has gained in strength as a tool to combat climate change by denying financial support, through investments, to companies and organizations in the fossil fuel industry. The global fossil fuel divestment movement is estimated to be worth $5.5 trillion. “I hope we will see more leaders like these 40 Catholic institutions commit,” said Christiana Figueres, former United Nations climate chief who helped negotiate the Paris climate agreement, “because while this decision makes smart financial sense, acting collectively to deliver a better future for everybody is also our moral imperative.” Related: Nuns build open-air chapel to protest natural gas pipeline on their land The Catholic institutions that are participating in the latest divestment include the Archdiocese of Cape Town, the Episcopal Conference of Belgium and the German Church bank and Catholic relief organisation Caritas. The Italian town of Assisi, Saint Francis’s hometown, also divested from fossil fuels on the day prior to a visit from Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentolini. “When we pay attention to the environment, we pay attention to poor people, who are the first victims of climate change,” said Assisi Mayor Stefania Proietti. “When we invest in fossil fuels, we stray very far from social justice. But when we disinvest and invest in renewable and energy efficiency instead, we can mitigate climate change, create a sustainable new economic deal and, most importantly, help the poor.” Via the Guardian Images via Nicola/Flickr ,  Long Thiên/Flickr , and Christopher John/Flickr

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Catholic churches to make massive divestment from fossil fuels

France aims to become the first country to ban all fossil fuel production

September 6, 2017 by  
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To meet its carbon neutral goal by 2050, the French government plans to phase out all oil and gas production in the country and its overseas territories by 2040. President Emmanuel Macron is introducing legislation to the French Cabinet with the hope of passing the measure by the end of 2017. If the bill passes, France would be the first country in the world to ban all fossil fuel production. As a result of the bill’s passing, the government would no longer issue any exploration permits for gas and oil, and all present allowances would be phased out over the next twenty-two years. Even though fracking is illegal in the country, the bill would go one step further and prohibit all methods — both current and proposed. “The law will halt the exploitation of hydrocarbons in our territory; existing concessions cannot be renewed beyond 2040,” states the bill draft. France, the same country that banned supermarkets from purposefully wasting food , is in an ideal situation to pass the ban. As Gizmodo reports, France’s dependence on fossil fuels is very low. The country only produces about six million barrels of hydrocarbons per year, ranking it 71st in the world. In contrast, the United States, Russia , Canada and a handful of Middle Eastern Nations rely heavily on fossil fuel extractions. Russia, for example, produces 10.5 million barrels each day. Related: Futuristic tiny homes in France look like they’re from Mars Because France’s present-day consumption of oil and gas represents just one percent of its total consumption, the country will continue to import and refine oil after 2040. France’s leading oil company, Total, has been granted permission to locate oil deposits in overseas territories. It is unclear how the new legislation will affect the company. Other measures adopted by France include plans to stop generating electricity from coal by 2022 and to reduce its share of nuclear in its power generation by approximately 25 percent. The move is largely symbolic, since France only gets 1% of its fuel within the country, but it is a clear indication that the country is taking its carbon goals seriously. Via  New York Times , Gizmodo Images via Pixabay , President of Russia , and Depositphotos

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France aims to become the first country to ban all fossil fuel production

The UK will require electric car chargers at all major gas stations

August 10, 2017 by  
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Electric cars are expected to reach cost parity with gas-powered vehicles as soon as 2018 – and governments around the world are introducing new legislation and incentives to keep up with increasing demand. The UK just announced a new law that requires all major petrol (gas) stations and motorway services to install electric car chargers. The Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill, which was revealed during the Queen’s parliamentary speech, commits the government to improving the country’s electric charging infrastructure. It also requires that charging points be easy to access, work seamlessly across the UK and fall in line with the same set of technical and operational standards. As Auto Express reports, the UK’s public charging infrastructure is having a tough time keeping pace with EV uptake. In fact, a recent investigation reveals that electric and plug-in car ownership increased from 2,254 vehicles in 2012 to 85,983 at the end of 2016. At the same time, the number of charging points in the UK only grew to 11,736 in 4,243 locations (from 2,883 in 1,287 locations) during the same period. Previously, the European Parliament said there has to be at least one charger for every 10 electric cars on the road for EVs to become commercially viable. However, data obtained by charge point database Zap-Map shows that the ratio of EVs to chargers has grown from 0.78 to 7.32 in four years. Requiring all major petrol stations to install EV charging points is sure to further improve the car-per-charger-ratio. Related: GM is selling an electric car in China that costs just $5,300 Of course, it’s important to remember that it’s not just up to the government to install charging infrastructure. Says Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, “Ultimately, public investment in charging infrastructure will need to be matched by the private sector.” Via Auto Express Images via Pixabay

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The UK will require electric car chargers at all major gas stations

Some troubling new math on carbon reductions

July 12, 2017 by  
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It’s official: 100 companies officially have declared their intention to move entirely to renewable energy. But real reductions will require bolder action from the fossil fuels sector.

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Some troubling new math on carbon reductions

Does the world owe Trump a thank you letter?

July 12, 2017 by  
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The G19’s refusal to sign off on a statement offering a lifeline for high carbon energy is yet more evidence the Paris Summit marked the beginning of the end for the fossil fuel era.

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Does the world owe Trump a thank you letter?

Trump approves new pipeline that will go right under the US-Mexico wall

June 30, 2017 by  
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As if President Trump’s promise to build a wall on the United States-Mexico border wasn’t controversial enough, he recently approved the construction of a new pipeline destined to go “right under” the dividing landmark. The New Burgos Pipeline will carry up to 108,000 barrels of refined petroleum products each day between McAllen, Texas and Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico. A joint venture between NuStar Energy LP and PMI, the project has, unsurprisingly, drawn plenty of criticism from environmental groups. According to The Hill , Trump remarked on the New Burgos Pipeline on Thursday at the Department of Energy’s “Unleashing American Energy” event. “[The pipeline] will further boost American energy exports, and that will go right under the wall, right?” said Trump, glancing at his cabinet for confirmation. “We have to dig down a little deeper under that section,” he added. President Mike Pence, Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke, Energy Sec. Rick Perry and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt also joined the President on stage. Though President Trump’s 17-minute speech focused on America’s “ energy dominance,” he failed to mention the rapidly growing renewable energy sector. Not even once did he mention his infamous “solar” border wall proposal . Rather, he paid homage to “clean, beautiful coal” and celebrated the newly approved pipeline. As EcoWatch points out, Trump also dismissed concerns about fossil fuels , calling them “a big beautiful myth.” In his speech, Trump also mentioned the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines, falsely stating that no opposition exists to their development. Noticeably perturbed by the new development, David Turnbull, campaigns director at Oil Change International , said: “The ‘energy dominance’ tagline should be called out for what it is: another manifestation of the president’s misogynistic, hyper-masculine, abusive outlook on the world. It reveals an attitude toward our environment and energy policy that would destroy communities and our climate in order to feed his own desire to feel powerful over others.” “Want to know what Trump’s idea of energy dominance looks like? Look no further than his crony cabinet,” Turnbull continued. “Thanks to this administration, Washington is more dominated by Big Oil, Gas and Coal executives and their shills than ever—and they’re having their way with American democracy. Someone should put the leash back on Donald Trump, while the rest of us keep working to make America the leader it needs to be in renewable energy innovation and job creation.” Related: Trump actually wants to build a border wall covered in solar panels Tim Donaghy, Greenpeace USA’s senior research specialist, had similar sentiments. He said, “People in this country demanded that President Obama protect public lands and waters from offshore oil and gas development, and communities from Alaska to South Carolina will do it again. Research shows that expanding offshore oil drilling will lead to increased global greenhouse gas emissions and higher costs that will be borne by Americans for decades to come.” In response to the news, Wenonah Hauter, the executive director of Food & Water Watch , asked local governments to invest in clean energy development. She said, ”A better vision for American energy exists, but it isn’t coming from the White House. Climate leadership and the transition to renewable energy will come from the local and state level, and we must continue to pressure elected officials around the country to commit to a transition to a clean energy future, starting now.” Via The Hill , EcoWatch Images via Sky News , Pixabay

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Trump approves new pipeline that will go right under the US-Mexico wall

Revolutionary solar paint creates endless energy from water vapor

June 15, 2017 by  
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Researchers at  RMIT University in Melbourne have created a revolutionary new  solar paint that can be used to produce endless amounts of clean energy. The innovate paint draws moisture from the air and splits it into oxygen and hydrogen. As a result, hydrogen can be captured as a clean fuel source. The paint contains a recently-developed compound that looks and feels like silica gel — commonly used in sachets to absorb moisture and keep food, electronics, and medicine dry — but acts like a semiconductor. Additionally, the synthetic molybdenum-sulphide material catalysis the splitting of water atoms into hydrogen and oxygen. The researchers’ discovery was recently  published  in Science Daily. Lead researcher Dr. Torben Daeneke elaborated on the invention, saying, “We found that mixing the compound with titanium oxide particles leads to a sunlight-absorbing paint that produces hydrogen fuel from solar energy and moist air.” According to colleague Professor Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh, hydrogen is the cleanest source of energy on the planet and can be used in fuel cells in addition to conventional combustion engines as an alternative to fossil fuels . Because of this, it is accurate to say that the development of the solar paint will have grand implications. Related: Mercedes Benz Unveils Hybrid Car Powered by Solar Paint In fact, because Titanium oxide is the same white pigment commonly found in wall paint when it is combined with the new material, the solar paint can “convert a brick wall into an energy harvesting and fuel production real estate,” said Daeneke. This means there is no need for filtered or clean water to feed the system. And, any location that has water vapor in the air — including remote areas — can produce fuel. “This system can also be used in very dry but hot climates near oceans. The sea water is evaporated by the hot sunlight and the vapour can then be absorbed to produce fuel,” said Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh. “This is an extraordinary concept — making fuel from the sun and water vapour in the air.” Via Science Daily Image via UnderstandSolar

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Revolutionary solar paint creates endless energy from water vapor

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