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Environment

China’s coal fires belch fumes, worsening global warming
RUJIGOU, China — The barren hillsides give a hint of the inferno underfoot. White smoke billows from cracks in the earth, venting a sulfurous rotten smell into the air. The rocky ground is hot to the touch, and heat penetrates the soles of shoes.

Ex-Soviet bloc leads rises in CO2 emissions: U.N.
Greenhouse gas emissions in many industrialised nations are still rising, especially in the former Soviet bloc, despite agreements to cut back, the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat said on Monday. Emissions by 40 industrialized nations grew by 2.3 percent to the equivalent of 18.0 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2006 from 17.6 billion in 2000, it said. They dipped 0.1 percent in 2006 compared with 2005 but underlying trends were still up.

Climate Change Could Cost Calif. Billions Annually: Report
OAKLAND, Calif. — More than half of California’s real estate assets are at risk from rising sea levels and wildfires caused by climate change, and the state could end up spending billions of dollars each year coping with its effects, according to a research report released Thursday.
So let’s spend the billions to REDUCE climate change, maybe even roll it back.  Oops, maybe Ah-nold was listening.  See below.

Governor Schwarzenegger Boosts State’s Renewable Energy Standard to 33% by 2020
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger recently signed an Executive Order to streamline California’s renewable energy project approval process and increase the state’s Renewable Energy Standard to 33 percent renewable power by 2020

California ordered to prepare for sea-level rise
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Friday ordered preparations for rising sea levels from global warming, a startling prospect for the most populous U.S. state with a Pacific Ocean coastline stretching more than 800 miles.

Summit takes aim at climate change
Will the world’s economic meltdown stall initiatives to curb global warming? World leaders in the campaign to address climate change will confront that question as they gather in Beverly Hills tomorrow and Wednesday to shape policies aimed at responding to the mounting threats to food production, public health and the environment.

Eating carbon – Greenhouse gases
ONE way of helping to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is to pump the gas into underground caverns or old oil fields. But there is also a rock that is happy to gobble it up, and according to the latest research its appetite for the greenhouse gas is not only massive but could also be increased by a little human intervention.

Can concept of clean coal be salvaged?
Coal may be a four-letter word for many environmentalists. But some researchers believe technology may yet salvage the concept of “clean coal.”

Solar-Powered Plane to Perform Test Flight
It’s hard enough to construct viable solar powered vehicles , let alone airplanes. Nevertheless, the first solar-powered plane trip around the world is now one step closer to reality. A 1500 kilogram solar plane dubbed “ Solar Impulse ” will complete its first test flight next April. The plane, which has a 61 meter wingspan, will attempt to travel around the world in May 2011. It will go into commercial production the same year

U.S. Sugar sees the future in plant waste: ethanol
CLEWISTON — Egrets, herons and other birds circle as a sugar harvester rolls slowly through a cane field, slicing the stalks at the base, loading them into transport trucks, and then blowing the thrash back on the ground. The harvested cane will be milled into raw sugar in a mere seven hours. But someday there may also be value in what is left in the fields… Rather than distilling sugar cane into ethanol, U.S. Sugar is interested in using the estimated one million tons of plant waste generated in sugar production — the biomass — to make lower-cost ethanol.

Searaser Device Uses Waves to Pump Sea Water Uphill, Could Be Huge Boost for Hydro Power
A UK engineer has invented a device that harnesses wave power to pump sea water uphill , from where it can flow downhill to create hydroelectricity, raising hopes of a cheap, abundant source of renewable energy. In trials, the device, called the Searaser, has pumped water more than 160ft above sea level, using little more than the natural motion of the waves.

Why the future of wind power looks better and better
My Clean Break column today takes a look at a few startups that are trying to make wind farms more reliable and productive. Most of the companies I’ve mentioned in the past — Whalepower (blade design that mimics humpback whale flippers); Premium Power (utility-scale zinc-bromide battery storage cheap enough to couple with wind turbines/farms); and Catch The Wind (LIDAR adapted for integration into wind turbines). In the column I also discuss Vancouver-based ExRo Technologies, which has developed a new kind of generator with a built-in electronic transmission rather than an external mechanical transmission. This is a potentially game-changing innovation. ExRo says its technology can dramatically improve the efficiency of turbines because its unique design allows the generator to adapt more quickly to changing wind conditions and tap a wider range of wind speeds. In addition to my column, you can find more detailed explanation of ExRo’s technology at Greentech Media and Technology Review . And let’s not forget the potential of hydraulic wind-energy storage , or EEStor’s EESU and its massive potential for storing wind energy

Solyndra Signs $320M Deal for Cooler Solar Roofs
Tubular solar startup Solyndra piled on more sales contracts and today announced a $320 million deal with Carlisle Energy Services, a newly formed division of Carlisle Construction Materials . The deal is for 100 megawatts of panels over five years. Carlisle will work with an independent solar integrator to sell and install the cylindrical thin-film solar panels in conjunction with its Energy Star-certified, cool roof systems for commercial buildings.
It makes a LOT of sense for roofing companies to work with solar energy manufacturers.

GreenField Solar Cuts Costs on PV Cells
Greenfield Solar has developed a small 1.5 Kw power plant that can be assembled by two people in half a day using regular tools. The kicker is that their $6,000 unit has the output of about $4 per watt compared to the industry norm, which is currently about $8 per watt. The concentrating solar power plant tracks the pathway of the sun from dawn to dusk for maximum intensity of the rays. But, what makes this system unique is how the 40 layer solar chips are stacked in order to maximize electrical output.

Verizon, UPS, Cox Expand Their Green Fleets
NEW YORK, NY, ATLANTA, GA, and LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM — Verizon is doubling its fleet of hybrid sedans, UPS will add zero-emissions vans to routes in the United Kingdom and Germany, and Cox Communications is getting hybrid bucket trucks for operations in six states.

Indesit Taps Waste Materials to Make Greener Washing Machines
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM — The U.K. manufacturer of household appliances has taken the first steps toward making its machinery out of recycled materials.

Sony Earns Top Grade for TV Recycling
SAN FRANCISCO — The nonprofit Electronics TakeBack Coalition (ETBC) for the first time scored major TV manufacturers for their recycling efforts, including commitment, volume of goods taken and public policy stance. The group assigned Sony the top grade — a B- — followed by Samsung, LG and Wal-Mart, each of whom earned C marks.

Cadbury Cuts Water Use 10 Percent
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM — The United Kingdom-based candy maker also trimmed energy use and predicts it will cut carbon dioxide emissions 10 percent by 2010.

REI Forges Ahead with Solar Plan
OAKLAND, Calif. — Outdoor gear and apparel company REI has installed solar arrays on three stores in the San Francisco Bay Area — bringing the firm more than halfway to its goal of outfitting 10 percent of its retail sites with systems to harness power from the sun.

Top 8 Ways to Go Green on the Cheap
From helping employees visualize the impact of their waste to turning it into a revenue stream, innovative companies and consultants offer their suggestions for the best cheap and easy-to-implement green initiatives

Fruit and veg boom needed to feed Britain
It is an image worthy of a Keats poem or a Constable landscape: great orchards bursting with fruit, fields crammed with ripening vegetables and hillsides covered with sheep and cattle. But this is no dream of long-gone rural glories. It is a vision of the kind of countryside that Britain may need if it is to survive the impact of climate change and higher oil prices, according to leading agricultural experts.

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