Global environmental challenges
from Reuters Investigates:
Sarah McBride reports on brewing battles between environmentalists in her special report: "With solar power, it's Green vs. Green."
It turns out the perfect place to build a big solar plant is often also the perfect place for a tortoise or a fox to live. This means developers of large-scale solar plants are running into legal challenges from people who one would expect to be natural allies of alternative energy providers.
Here's a map of some of the more contentious projects.
One local resident of the Panoche Valley, Sallie Calhoun, had this to say:
"I am passionate about preserving open space," she says, adding she believes the solar plant achieves that goal. "The idea that we're going to protect every lizard, every drainage, seems counterproductive."
It's a tough dilemma for environmentalists. Tell us what you think?
To read the special report in multimedia PDF format, click here.
As the end of the year approaches, everyone seems to be making their lists. And, today, comes another one — U.S. states ranked for “clean energy leadership.”
Not surprisingly, California took the No. 1 spot, followed by Oregon, Massachusetts, Washington and Colorado. The bottom half of the Top 10 are New York, Illinois, Connecticut, Minnesota and New Jersey.
While California’s election results offered plenty for state environmentalists to cheer, the passage of a so-called “stealth” ballot initiative could undermine its proposed carbon market.
Last Tuesday, voters rejected Proposition 23, which sought to halt California’s landmark environmental law, AB 32, which mandates the state reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. They also elected climate hawk and AB 32 champion Jerry Brown governor.
By now, almost everybody — with the possible exception of Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina — realizes there’s a difference between climate and weather. Fiorina, running in the California primary and ultimately aiming to unseat Democrat Barbara Boxer, paid for and appeared in a campaign ad slamming the sitting senator for being “worried about the weather” when there are serious concerns like terrorism to deal with.
Take a look here:
A few problems with this ad earned it the not-so-coveted beyond-false “Pants on Fire” rating from Politifact, a Pulitzer-prize winning journalism website that checks on the truthfulness of political advertising. First off, Boxer didn’t say she was worried about the weather. She said that climate change was “one of the very important national security issues” — a position in line with the Pentagon and the CIA. The site also found that it’s not an either/or thing, that focusing on climate change doesn’t necessarily mean neglecting national security. They took a look at Boxer’s record and found she has supported at least six bills against terrorism.
U.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.
One of California’s biggest ports has cleaned up its fleet of 8,000 trucks.
The Port of Long Beach has cut nearly 80 percent of emissions from truck engines at the port since it started its ban of old diesel-fueled trucks. That’s roughly 200 tons less of soot — known as particulate matter — in the air at the port annually.
President Barack Obama came into office with climate change and the environment on his list of top priorities.
Nearly a year later, one of the top environmental groups in the United States says that Obama has made the grade so far.
Besides surfing, tourism and the ocean views, California may get another benefit from its famed coast: energy.
With shores that stretch for 745 miles along the Pacific Ocean, California could harness more than 37,000 megawatts of ocean power, or enough to supply a fifth of the state’s energy needs, according to the California Energy Commission.
Supporters refer to it as the policy that lets the electric meter spin backwards. It allows people who own solar power systems, for example, export electricity to the grid and earn credits — at retail prices — on their utility bill.
A string of PacifiCorp power plants are the biggest emitters of carbon dioxide included in the state’s 2008 inventory of carbon sources tied to state use.
California aims to start a cap-and-trade system for carbon pollution in 2012, if it is not preempted by a federal plan, and emissions reports by big power plants and the like represent a step toward that goal.