Environment Forum

from Photographers' Blog:

Asia’s largest solar power plant

Nicky Loh presents a series of time-lapse sequences of a solar power plant in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

Asia's Largest Solar Power Plant in Kaohsiung, Taiwan from Nicky Loh on Vimeo.

The first time lapse sequence was shot over a period of one hour at 1 frame every two seconds on a lens baby. I chose to use still photography to capture the time lapse over video as the movement of the panels was so small that a continuous one hour raw video file on the 5D MKII would have crashed my computer.

The second time lapse sequence featuring the overview of Kaohsiung City, used to illustrate a city gaining electricity, was shot over a 3 hour period, at 1 frame every 4 seconds, from inside a hotel with an overview of the city. Because the hotel room lights reflect on the glass panel of the hotel room window which I shot through, I had to sit in the dark for nearly two hours for the camera to finish snapping.

from The Great Debate UK:

Good eco-sense is good business sense too

JulietDavenport- Juliet Davenport is founder and CEO of Good Energy, a renewable electricity supplier. She is unique in being the only female founder in the UK of an energy supply business, traditionally a male-dominated sector. The opinions expressed are her own. Reuters will host a "follow-the-sun" live blog on Monday, March 8, 2010, International Women's Day. Please tune in. -

Regardless of their views on climate change and man’s contribution to it, most business leaders agree on one point – as fossil fuels get scarcer and the UK decarbonises our economy, our energy prices will continue to rise.

The UK’s recent cold snap gave us a foretaste of what we could be in for – with some businesses having their gas supplies cut to relieve pressure on pipelines - although it appears that the widely reported claim that the UK had just eight days’ gas supply left was political bluster and scaremongering.

New world wines: now from the north

global_post_logo This article by Paul Ames originally appeared in GlobalPost.

The terrace of the elegant 18th-century chateau offers views over the formal French garden and fields filled with neat rows of vines.

This idyllic scene could be reminiscent of Bordeaux or the Cotes du Rhone … were it not for all the snow.

Wijnkasteel Genoels-Elderen is the biggest and best-known vineyard in Belgium. It is one of a growing number of wineries taking root in parts of northern Europe once considered too chilly to produce drinkable wine.

Clean tech nuclear seduces White House


We’re told that President Obama is getting ready to propose a tripling of government loan guarantees for new nuclear reactors to the tune of more than $54 billion.

The move is likely to win over Republicans who want to see nuclear power playing a larger role in a climate bill for the country. Another group of Senators earlier this week said they would support a comprehensive climate bill based on Obama’s State of the Union speech that opened the possibilities of nuclear expansion.

Certainly, the Nuclear Energy Institute would agree the technology is the United States’ largest source of clean-air, carbon-free electricity, producing no greenhouse gases or air pollutants.

Haiti’s tragedy belongs to the environment


global_post_logo This commentary by Stephan Faris originally appeared in GlobalPost. The views expressed are his own.

Most people wouldn’t consider an earthquake to be an environmental issue. But while the tremors that shattered Haiti early this month have nothing to do with the island’s degradation, the extent of the suffering they unleashed is a direct result of the country’s ecological woes.

The reason can be seen from the sky. The devastated nation shares its island with the Dominican Republic, but misfortune always seems to strike on its side of a border that is demarcated by an abrupt shift from lush green to bare brown. While the Dominican Republic has largely managed to preserve its trees, Haiti has lost 98 percent of its forest cover.

Ted Turner returns to solar

tedturnerU.S. billionaire Ted Turner is taking a shine to solar power — again.

Back in 2007, Turner sold solar developer Turner Renewable Energy to solar panel maker First Solar for $34.4 million — which has since ramped up its push into developing its own solar power projects.

Now Turner is teaming up with Atlanta-based utility Southern Company to develop renewable energy in the United States. To start, they will focus on large-scale solar farms in the U.S. Southwest, where solar development is already heating up in states like California and Arizona.

Some of the projects could end up on Turner’s land. He is the largest individual land owner in North America with more than two million acres.  

Climate bill treads on thin ice


Supporters of a climate bill to cap and price greenhouse gases are losing hope that it will make it into law. But for many, the fight is far from over.

Topping the list of supporters of some form of the bill is President Obama. In his first State of the Union address, he focused on the bill’s potential to fuel a domestic clean tech industry lush with jobs, and said he still supported the bipartisan effort on the climate and energy bill, which would incorporate energy policies favored by Republicans.

(See also: Obama sticks to climate before divided Congress and Obama supports climate bill, but how clean will it be? )

from Davos Notebook:

Failure of Copenhagen cannot be repeated, SAP chief says

Failure to agree a successor to the Kyoto protocol would lead to countries pursuing their own objectives and expose world economies to protectionism, CEO of business software company SAP Léo Apotheker said while in Davos to attend the World Economic Forum.

"Copenhagen was supposed to be the big successor of Kyoto but, as we all know, it was not a big success," Apotheker said. "I felt already at Copenhagen that this was midnight. Now it is probably already a minute past midnight and we cannot afford yet another failure."

"The danger of not coming to an agreement is that many countries will go on a unilateral path to achieve their own objectives at which point in time we might fall into protectionism," Apotheker added. This situation, combined with the effects of climate change, would be a "double whammy disaster."

from Davos Notebook:

Africa feels the heat on climate change

kilimaIt may have contributed less than any other continent to CO2 emissions, but Africa is on the front line when it comes to the impact of climate change.

Just ask Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete.

"It is a threat for us," he told a panel at the World Economic Forum.  "On Kilimanjaro the snow is fast disappearing, sea levels are rising -- we have one island that has already been submerged -- and we've towns around the coast where we have to incur huge costs of adaptation to erect walls."

In theory, Africa is also in a strong position, given its virgin forests that represent one of the world's great carbon sinks. But setting up workable offset-trading schemes is easier said than done.  "I can assure you, it is so difficult to access these facilities," Kikwete said.

Factbox: Renewable energy targets around the world

(Reuters) – Several countries have introduced subsidies or incentives to encourage clean energy production, such as feed-in tariffs or green certificates. Listed below are countries which have established renewable energy targets from 2013 to 2020.


Source: Reuters, Renewable Energy Policy network (www.ren21.net)
(1) See individual EU member state targets here


(2) The Japan target may be subject to change as the Japanese government
plans to submit Climate Change Law to parliament in coming months
(3) In pending climate change legislation, the United States has proposed a
target of 15 pct by 2020. Twenty-nine out of 50 U.S. states have set targets for
minimum amounts of electricity generation from renewable sources, while another
five states have voluntary goals.
(Compiled by Nina Chestney; Editing by Sara Ledwith)