THE FUTURE OF THE GRID IS HERE, IN THESE TWO PRODUCTS...

Jan 21, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Samantha Page CLIMATE PROGRESS CREDIT: Shutterstock Rooftop solar plus storage installations can be combined to help manage the grid.   It’s no secret that solar power is having a moment. The renewable energy source has had year after year of record-breaking growth — and now employs more people than the coal industry. But the electrical grid can’t run off solar alone. In addition to the fact that it’s only expected to be 3 percent of generation by 2050, there is also the very basic problem that the sun only shines during the day, and we use electricity all the time. Enter electrical storage. The U.S. Department of Energy on Tuesday announced a round of new grants for research and development on solar plus storage — what the head of the solar industry...

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THE PROBLEM WITH ROOFTOP SOLAR THAT NOBODY IS TALKING ABOUT...

Jan 18, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Where does the green energy from your panels really go? —By Tim McDonnell   MOTHER JONES A couple of years ago, Steven Weissman, an energy lawyer at the University of California-­Berkeley, started to shop around for solar panels for his house. It seemed like an environmental no-brainer. For zero down, leading residential provider SolarCity would install panels on his roof. The company would own the equipment, and he’d buy the power it produces for less than he had been paying his electric utility. Save money, fight climate change. Sounds like a deal. But while reading the contract, Weissman discovered the fine print that helps make that deal possible: SolarCity would also retain ownership of his system’s renewable energy credits. It’s the kind of detail your average solar customer wouldn’t notice or maybe care about....

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DESERT TOWER RAISES CHILE’S SOLAR POWER AMBITION TO NEW HEIGHTS...

Jan 16, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   THE GUARDIAN Towering 200 metres above the desert, the Atacama 1 will harvest the sun’s energy from a surrounding field of giant mirrors. But the completion of the $1.1bn project, the first of its kind in Latin America, has been thrown into doubt by the financial difficulties of its Spanish owner Atacama 1 concentrated solar power plant being built by Spanish firm Abengoa in Chile. Photograph: Jonathan Watts for the Guardian Jonathan Watts in the Atacama desert Rising more than 200 metres above the vast, deserted plains of the Atacama desert, the second tallest building in Chile sits in such a remote location that it looks, from a distance, like the sanctuary of a reclusive prophet, a temple to ancient gods or the giant folly of a wealthy eccentric. Instead, this extraordinary...

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THERE WILL BE CHAOS: BIG OIL’S COLLAPSE AND THE BIRTH OF A NEW WORLD ORDER...

Jan 14, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Barrel prices have completely cratered. With alternative energies on the rise, geopolitics may never be the same Michael Klare, TomDispatch.com  VIA SALON.COM This piece originally appeared on TomDispatch. As 2015 drew to a close, many in the global energy industry were praying that the price of oil would bounce back from the abyss, restoring the petroleum-centric world of the past half-century.  All evidence, however, points to a continuing depression in oil prices in 2016 — one that may, in fact, stretch into the 2020s and beyond.  Given the centrality of oil (and oil revenues) in the global power equation, this is bound to translate into a profound shakeup in the political order, with petroleum-producing states from Saudi Arabia to Russia losing both prominence and geopolitical clout. To put things in perspective, it was...

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THE FEDS WANT TO GIVE $14 MILLION IN TAXPAYER MONEY TO A KOCH BROTHER’S COAL MINE...

Jan 14, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Shutterstock/Kritchanut By Katie Herzog   GRIST Damn, it feels good to be a billionaire. Today in WTF News, we learned that billionaire industrialist William Koch — brother of arch conservatives Charles and David Koch — may be getting a $14 million royalty refund after his coal mine on leased federal property in Colorado shut down. And that $14 mil would come compliments of the American taxpayer. When coal is mined from underground on federal land, the federal government is entitled to an 8 percent royalty. But coal-mining companies can claim they face trying economic conditions and ask for a “royalty rate reduction,” Reuters reports. One of Koch’s companies did just that. It’s not a big surprise that a greedy fossil fuel billionaire would ask for an extra government handout. What’s crazy is that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management wants to grant the request. Put another way, to...

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How the Koch Brothers’ ‘Bankers’ Snuck an Anti-Wind Op-Ed Past the New York Times...

Jan 13, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Environment Since 1997, the Kochs have given more than $79 million to groups that distort climate science and malign renewable energy. By Elliott Negin / The Huffington Post   VIA ALTERNET Charles and David Koch. Photo Credit: DonkeyHotey on Flickr In the run-up to the perennial debate in Congress over whether to extend a tax credit for the wind industry, The New York Times ran a provocatively headlined — and misleading — op-ed column denouncing it as corporate welfare. “Giving Billions to the Rich” was a broadside against Congress’ end-of-the-year tax extenders package, which renews temporary corporate tax breaks, and it singled out the wind production tax credit as one of the most egregious. The November 23 column was written by Marc Short and Andy Koenig, both from an organization called Freedom Partners. They...

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Breathing Fire: How ‘Dragon Water’ Could Help Power the Planet...

Jan 11, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] The quest is on to develop new technology that can tap the intense heat deep below the Earth’s surface and supply the whole world with electricity. By Paul Brown / Climate News Network   VIA ALTERNET Photo Credit: N.Minton/Shutterstock.com An ambitious project is being launched to drill deep into the Earth’s crust to harness super-heated “dragon water” that would generate massive quantities of renewable energy. Unlike traditional geo-thermal heat, which exploits hot rocks to produce steam for turbines, this project goes far deeper − to where the pressure and temperature are huge but the potential benefits are 10 times as great. There is an infinite amount of energy beneath the Earth’s crust. The problem is the technology to harness it. The European Union (EU) believes that deep drilling techniques developed by the oil industry...

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ENERGY BOOST FOR RUSSIA AND NEIGHBORS...

Jan 7, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] By Paul Brown / Climate News Network   VIA TRUTHDIG     The Kosh-Agachsky solar power plant in southern Russia, near the Kazakhstan border. (Darya Ashanina via Wikimedia Commons) This Creative Commons-licensed piece first appeared at Climate News Network. LONDON—A new study says that Russia and the countries of Central Asia could become a highly energy-competitive region by getting all their electricity from renewable sources within the next 15 years. So far, most of the region’s governments appear not to have found the will to realise this huge potential. But researchers at Lappeenranta University of Technology in Finland calculate that the cost of electricity produced entirely from renewables would be half the price of modern nuclear technology and fossil-fuel burning if carbon capture and storage (CCS) had to be used. This would make all the...

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Headaches and Nosebleeds Reported as Months-Long Methane Leak Continues in Los Angeles (VIDEO)...

Dec 29, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] Environment Over 1,000 families have chosen to relocate and the school district recently authorized the two local schools to move out of the area. By Hilary Lewis / Earthworks  VIA ALTERNET Photo Credit: Lano Lan/Shutterstock Have you ever seen methane? What about benzene? Or the chemical the gas company adds to make your stovetop gas stink, mercaptan? I asked residents at a Save Porter Ranch meeting in northwest Los Angeles if they had seen the pollution they knew was in their community, pouring down from the SoCal Gas storage facility on the hill behind town. No one responded. For months now, methane pollution has been billowing from the breached facility into their community. Families have reported bad odors resulting in headaches and nosebleeds. Over 1,000 families have already chosen to relocate and the...

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GREENBUILD GOES MAINSTREAM

Dec 27, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] It may be more challenging than anyone has supposed for Greenbuild to penetrate popular consciousness. Susan S. Szenasy  METROPOLIS MAGAZINE MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski interviews director James Cameron at this year’s Greenbuild conference. Courtesy Greenbuild International Conference & Expo In November, I boarded Amtrak to head to Washington, D.C. Our capital city, boasting more monuments than any other in the country, apparently inspires Greenbuild, the annual conference of the United States Greenbuilding Council (USGBC), to make some monumental announcements. Much has been accomplished in the organization’s 23 years of environmental advocacy. But it may be best known for its LEED-rating programs, which consider construction and planning at all scales, asking architects, builders, and developers to pay attention to, among other things, water, energy, and health—all that our home planet, and the living creatures that inhabit...

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THESE SOLAR PANELS CAN CAPTURE SUNLIGHT FROM ALMOST ANY ANGLE...

Dec 27, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] With a special glass coating, these solar panels can capture sunlight from almost any angle Environment With a special glass coating, these solar panels can capture sunlight from almost any angle by Cat DiStasio  INHABITAT When it comes to boosting efficiency in solar panels—that is, increasing the amount of the sun’s energy each photovoltaic cell can harness—researchers have tried a lot of tricks. Many solar power systems are equipped with tracking devices that enable the solar panels to follow the sun, changing their angle so they are always attracting a maximum amount of solar energy. Now, researchers have developed a special glass coating for solar cells that capture sunlight from almost any direction and increase efficiency by as much as 46 percent. As an added bonus, the coating also repels dust, meaning the...

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CONGRESS JUST EXTENDED THE PTC AND ITC: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW...

Dec 23, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] eLab Network Manager ROCKY MOUNTAIN INSTITUTE Late last week, Congress passed a bill that extends the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and Investment Tax Credit (ITC) that have benefited wind and solar, respectively. This is big news for the U.S. renewable energy industry. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the net result could be 37 gigawatts of new wind and solar capacity—a 56-percent boost to the industry over 5 years, catalyzing $73 billion in new investment, and enabling as many as 8 million more households to access clean, renewable, affordable energy. In exchange for the tax credit extension, Congress has lifted the 40-year ban on crude oil exports that began with the 1970s Oil Embargo Crisis. Environmentalists and energy analysts (among others) are asking if this grand compromise is a good one. We think...

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‘POWER PAPER’ STORES ELECTRICITY AND RECHARGES IN SECONDS...

Dec 21, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] One of the difficulties with renewable energy, like solar cells and wind turbines, is the problem of how to store that energy for use when the sun goes down or the wind stops blowing. Researchers in Sweden have come up with a novel solution which they call “power paper”. The slightly plasticky paper made from organic materials has set a world record for its exceptional ability to conduct ions and electrons. The researchers at Sweden’s Linköping University’s Laboratory of Organic Electronics created the paper by combining nanocellulose with a conductive polymer. The process begins with cellulose, which is subjected to high-pressure water and broken down into nano fibers. Then, an electrically charged polymer is added to the water solution, where it forms a thin coating around the fibers. Related: Hemp supercapacitors are as...

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SCIENTISTS COMBINE COAL WASTE AND ALGAE TO CREATE A NEW SUPER-CLEAN FUEL...

Dec 21, 2015 Posted by

[Translate]   by Cat DiStasio   INHABITAT Scientists have discovered a new, clean-burning fuel made from unlikely ingredients: coal dust and algae. Coalgae is easy to produce, low in cost, burns without smoke, and researchers believe it can be make a major dent in crude oil imports. It also provides a market for reusing the 50-million to 60-million tonnes of coal dust produced annually as a byproduct of the coal mining industry. This discovery has the potential to save South Africa up to 40 percent of its crude oil imports. Ben Zeelie and his team at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) developed a method for producing clean-burning briquettes made from coal dust, which is a waste product of the coal mining industry, and algae. Some 30 percent or so of coal is lost as dust,...

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The Bogus Climate Change Deal Reached in Paris Isn’t Historic — It’s a Death Sentence...

Dec 21, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] The deal fails to hold industrialised nations to account for the devastating consequences for developing countries. By James Wright / The Canary  VIA ALTERNET December 18, 2015 Photo Credit: Frederic Legrand – COMEO/Shutterstock.com The climate change deal reached in Paris is a symbolic cop out, with no concrete plan to reduce emissions. Branding the agreement as “landmark” and “historic” is true, but only because past action on climate change has been so desperately inadequate. The previous summit in Copenhagen in 2009 ended with no target for aggregate emission reduction, so hardly sets a promising precedent. The agreement’s acclaimed centrepiece of preventing global average temperatures rising 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, is non- binding and depends upon ‘Intended Nationally Determined Contributions’ (INDCs). These are voluntary promises made by individual governments to cut emissions, which they say they will act on from 2020 onwards....

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CONGRESSIONAL REPUBLICANS DELIVER EARLY CHRISTMAS GIFT TO BIG OIL, EXXON AND KOCH BROTHERS...

Dec 19, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] Michael Brune |ECO WATCH Don’t miss out. Stay Informed. Get EcoWatch’s Top News of the Day. Today the U.S. Congress approved a trillion dollar omnibus spending bill alongside a major tax overhaul. The centerpiece of this bill, lifting the crude-oil export ban, is an outrage. At the same time, Democrats successfully secured a number of important victories for clean energy, public lands and our climate during hard fought negotiations. This early Christmas gift to Big Oil, ExxonMobil and the Koch brothers from Congressional Republicans will send American jobs overseas, rip up more iconic American landscapes to pump oil that nobody needs, and increase the carbon pollution that’s driving the climate crisis. Unfortunately, Congressional Republicans have yet to recognize that the entire world, including even the biggest oil producing states like Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, and...

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THE SURPRISING WINNER OF CONGRESS’ BUDGET DEAL...

Dec 18, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] CREDIT: Shutterstock There has been a lot of outcry about Congress repealing the oil export ban in the new budget bill, but two alternative forms of energy just got big boosts. The solar Investment Tax Credit, which has helped propel the solar industry in the United States to record growth over the past few years, has been extended. Wind, too, will get an extension. In a call with reporters Friday, the head of the Solar Energy Industries Association said that extending the credit would provide certainty for the industry and allow it to grow to 5 percent of the nation’s electricity supply by 2020. “We expected a significant drop off in 2017 if the ITC was not extended,” the group’s president, Rhone Resch, said. Under the extension, the industry will enjoy a 30...

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DUBAI MAKES A STRONG PUSH FOR CLEAN ENERGY, WILL MAKE SOLAR POWER MANDATORY BY 2030...

Dec 18, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] mre Solt/ Wiki Commons FUTURISM In Brief Dubai announces commendable initiatives focusing on the use of clean and renewable energy for 2030. Solar Power Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid recently unveiled Dubai’s Clean Energy Strategy 2050, and there is a notable renewable energy target: Mandatory use of rooftop solar power by 2030. “Through this strategy, which is based on innovation, research and development, we aim to explore the future of the energy sector to unveil initiatives that will make use of the scientific and technological developments in this sector and take the lead in their development and application,” said Shaikh Mohammad in a release. This announcement complements the country’s goal of generating 75% of the city’s energy via solar power by 2050. Ultimately, by 2030, the country hopes to reach  25% of this goal. In order to accomplish this...

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CALIFORNIA’S NEW $1 BILLION DESALINATION PLANT PRODUCES 50 MILLIONS GALLONS OF WATER A DAY...

Dec 17, 2015 Posted by

[Translate]   by Cat DiStasio   INHABITAT After 20 years of planning, the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant began operations on Monday, churning out 50 million gallons of drinkable water each day. The plant takes in 100 million gallons of seawater a day from the adjacent Agua Hedionda Lagoon and puts it through a multiphasic process to remove particulates and impurities before using reverse osmosis to create fresh drinking water. The concentrated brine leftover is then diluted with seawater and piped back out to sea. The massive $1 billion public-private project was designed with energy efficiency in mind, but some critics continue to oppose the plant for its yet unknown environmental impact. The largest desalination project in the Western Hemisphere is a partnership between Poseidon Water and the San Diego County Water Authority, and was...

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OBAMA JUST RELEASED THE BIGGEST ENERGY EFFICIENCY RULE IN U.S. HISTORY...

Dec 17, 2015 Posted by

[Translate]   by Cat DiStasio   INHABITAT The new rules (PDF), according to the Energy Department’s announcement, “will save more energy than any other standard issued by the Department to date.” Over the course of the lifetime of the new rules, the Department estimates an energy savings of 15 quadrillion BTUs or “quads” for short. In 2012, the U.S. consumed about 75 quads of energy, so this savings represents a hefty percentage, which makes this the biggest energy saving ruling in U.S. history, and will leave one heck of a mark in President Obama’s legacy. A new set of energy efficiency rules—the biggest ever released by the United States government—was rolled out today. The energy-saving measures target commercial air conditioners and furnaces, which are responsible for consuming vast amounts of the nation’s energy. By tightening up...

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FRACKING EXPANDS IN LATIN AMERICA, THREATENING TO CONTAMINATE WORLD’S THIRD-LARGEST AQUIFIER...

Dec 15, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] Fracking Spanning an area that includes southern Brazil and part of Paraguay, Argentina and Uruguay, the Guaraní Aquifer holds 20 percent of South America’s water. By Santiago Navarro, Renata Bessi / Truthout   VIA ALTERNET December 11, 2015 Photo Credit: Calin Tatu/Shutterstock.com Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking – a method whereby hydrocarbons trapped within rocks are extracted – is expanding rapidly in Latin America. Fracking emits benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene, which are considered by the World Health Organization to be carcinogenic and responsible for blood disorders and other immunological effects. Despite these adverse health effects, however, reserves have already been mapped out in Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. In Mexico, recently passed energy reform legislation promotes fracking as a means of extracting shale gas – and with the reform,...

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RENEWABLE ENERGY AFTER COP21: NINE ISSUES FOR CLIMATE LEADERS TO THINK ABOUT ON THE JOURNEY HOME...

Dec 14, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] Richard Heinberg  POST CARBON INSTITUTE Download as PDF COP21 in Paris is over. Now it’s back to the hard work of fighting for, and implementing, the energy transition. We all know that the transition away from fossil fuels is key to maintaining a livable planet. Several organizations have formulated proposals for transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy; some of those proposals focus on the national level, some the state level, while a few look at the global challenge. David Fridley (staff scientist of the energy analysis program at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory) and I have been working for the past few months to analyze and assess many of those proposals, and to dig deeper into energy transition issues—particularly how our use of energy will need to adapt in a ~100 percent renewable future. We...

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DOES THE U.S. GOVERNMENT ACTUALLY REGULATE PIPELINES?...

Dec 7, 2015 Posted by

[Translate]   By Dahr Jamail, Truthout | Report The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has a reputation of effectively rubber-stamping every pipeline that comes its way. (Photo: Pipelines via Shutterstock; Edited: LW / TO) While global leaders meet in Paris at the COP21 climate talks in an effort to rein in global greenhouse gas emissions, the fossil fuel industry continues with business as usual. In far west Texas, that means a proposal for a controversial high-pressure natural gas transmission pipeline in a state that already boasts 431,997 miles of pipelines – enough to stretch to the moon and most of the way back to earth. The additional 143-mile-long, 42-inch-diameter Trans-Pecos pipeline will be built right through the heart of Texas’ starkly beautiful and remote Chihuahuan Desert, as Truthout previously reported. The aim of the pipeline is purportedly...

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VIDEO: James Hansen: United Nations’ Plans to Limit Emissions Are ‘Half-Arsed’...

Dec 6, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] DEMOCRACY NOW   VIA TRUTHDIG   James Hansen, one of the world’s leading atmospheric scientists, has warned the United Nations that its current attempt to prevent global temperatures from rising is “half-arsed and half-baked” and risks giving future generations a climate system that is uncontrollably destructive.ABOVE: At the U.N. climate conference in Paris, Hansen delivers his message to “Democracy Now!’ The Guardian reports: James Hansen, former head of Nasa’s Goddard Center and the man who raised awareness of climate change in a key Senate hearing back in 1988 said that the UN meeting was on the wrong track by seeking a 2C maximum rise in temperatures. “What I am hearing is that the heads of state are planning to clap each other on the back and say this is a very successful conference....

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India Unveils Global Solar Alliance of 120 Countries at Paris Climate Summit...

Dec 6, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] Narendra Modi announces a new alliance of nations and industry on large-scale expansion of solar energy use in the tropics and beyond. By Arthur Neslen / The Guardian   VIA ALTERNET Photo Credit: Gyuszko-Photo/Shutterstock India’s prime minister has launched an international solar alliance of over 120 countries with the French president, François Hollande, at the Paris COP21 climate summit. Narendra Modi told a press conference that as fossil fuels put the planet in peril, hopes for future prosperity in the developing world now rest on bold initiatives. “Solar technology is evolving, costs are coming down and grid connectivity is improving,” he said. “The dream of universal access to clean energy is becoming more real. This will be the foundation of the new economy of the new century.” Modi described the solar alliance as “the sunrise...

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ENERGY GAME-CHANGERS LOOK TO THE FUTURE...

Dec 4, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] By Tim Radford / Climate News Network  VIA TRUTHDIG     New ways are being developed to capture and store maximum power from sun and wind. (lutmans via Flickr) This Creative Commons-licensed piece first appeared at Climate News Network. PARIS—Researchers now know how to keep the whole of the US powered by wind, water and sunlight without ever needing to fall back on emergency fossil fuel generators. They have also discovered how to extract hydrogen from methane without spilling any greenhouse gas into the atmosphere. And they have worked out a new and simple way to get the best available power from a wind turbine, and how to charge pocket electronic devices without plugging them into a socket. None of these technologies is ready for the market yet, and one of them exists...

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RENEWABLES ARE CHANGING THE CLIMATE NARRATIVE FROM SACRIFICE TO OPPORTUNITY...

Nov 29, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] THE GUARDIAN Oil-rich countries are choosing renewables as a means to create jobs, boost GDP and improve livelihoods – as well as reduce emissions The solar plant Shams 1 in the desert of Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates. Dramatically falling solar PV costs and visionary commitments by governments in the Middle East and North Africa are changing the economic equation of renewables. Photograph: Xinhua/Xinhua Press/Corbis Adnan Z. Amin The author is Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency     Accelerating signs of climate change and rising global temperatures are perhaps more pressing here in the Middle East, where the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) is headquartered, than anywhere else on the planet. Record-breaking temperatures made global headlines this year and a recent scientific study predicts the region will face heatwaves “beyond...

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HERE’S HOW THE AIRLINE INDUSTRY COULD CUT ITS EMISSIONS IN HALF...

Nov 27, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] Shutterstock By Nick Stockton   GRIST This story was originally published by Wired and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. Fuel economy is hardwired into the airline industry’s DNA. After all, fuel costs money, and using less of the stuff is an easy way to beef up the bottom line. Well … maybe not easy, but certainly worth doing. Saving fuel, by reducing carbon emissions, can help save the planet. And those cuts could come at little to no cost to the companies themselves. At least, that’s what a bunch of researchers in the U.K. think. They estimate — in a new paper published today in Nature Climate Change — that airlines can cut emissions in half by the year 2050. Those savings would come in the form of things like new aircraft designs, fuel...

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THE GLOBAL ECONOMY IS A PONZI SCHEME: BLACK FRIDAY, THE POPE AND THE PARIS CLIMATE TALKS...

Nov 27, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] by Joe Romm THINK PROGRESS CREDIT: AP   Black Friday has become an orgiastic celebration of unbridled consumerism. Last year, the Pope warned world leaders that “unbridled consumerism” was assaulting the natural environment “and this will have serious consequences for the world economy.” In his powerful June climate encyclical, the Pope went further, writing of “extreme consumerism” and “compulsive consumerism” and “an unethical consumerism bereft of social or ecological awareness.” The “pace of consumption,” the Pope asserts, “can only precipitate catastrophes.” Francis offered this blunt warning: “Obsession with a consumerist lifestyle, above all when few people are capable of maintaining it, can only lead to violence and mutual destruction.” Black Friday has become a sort of reverse “Hunger Games,” an annual ritualized competition, but one built around overabundance, rather than scarcity. It is...

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