Environment Forum

Countering the contrarians on global warming

July 17, 2009

Just how hot is it going to get?

That’s what everyone wants to know, and the focus of a lot of research. But parsing through the science can present some problems, with plenty of opportunity for mischief.

New ‘gold rush’ buzz hits Germany over Sahara solar

June 24, 2009

A “gold-rush-like” buzz has spread across Germany in the last week over tentative plans to invest the staggering sum of 400 billion euros to harvest solar power in the Sahara for energy users across Europe and northern Africa. Even though European and Mediterranean Union leaders have been exploring and studying for several years the idea of using concentrated solar power (CSP), the Desertec proposition suddenly captivated the public’s attention a week ago when German reinsurer Munich Re announced it had invited blue chip German companies such as Deutsche Bank, Siemens and several major utilities to a July 13 meeting on the project. The 20 companies aim to sign a memorandum of understanding to found the Desertec Industrial Initiative that could be supplying 15 percent of Europe’s electricity in the decades ahead.

Home is where the CO2 cost is — or will be

March 25, 2009

Home electric bills could rise as much as 30 percent under a U.S. cap-and-trade plan to address carbon dioxide emissions, Moody’s estimates.

Electric cars to help solve riddle of storing power

March 19, 2009

Since the days of Thomas Edison, finding a way to effectively store electricity has been one of the “Holy Grails” for power companies.

State-by-state rules best for US carbon from cars?

January 26, 2009

President Barack Obama set in motion a process on Monday that may eventually allow California and other states to set tougher greenhouse gas pollution and efficiency standards on cars than those mandated by the federal government. 

Will Obama see the forest for the trees?

January 20, 2009

A Chinese campaigner has urged U.S. President-elect Barack Obama to prove his green credentials, asking him to offset the emissions generated by his inauguration by funding a forest in China.

How much electricity do you use in a year?

January 16, 2009

It was a disarmingly simple question but, embarrassingly, I didn’t have a clue when first asked that 18 months ago. Even though I’d have to describe myself as a genuine tightwad when it comes to expenditures, I simply had no idea, strangely enough, about how much money my four-person household was spending on electricity — nor how much carbon dioxide was being produced.

On Antarctic safaris, remember to bring a microscope

January 13, 2009

Many people hope to come back from a wildlife safari with close-up pictures of lions or elephants – this picture below is my best attempt from a search for the largest land animals in Antarctica.

Greenhouse gases: saints, villains or future saviours from an Ice Age?

November 13, 2008

 It’s not often that greenhouse gases spewed out by human activities get praise as potential saviours of the planet in a leading scientific journal — they’re normally viewed as villains for causing global warming.