WANT TO SEE CLIMATE ACTION IN TRUMPLANDIA? LOOK TO CITIES...

Nov 20, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]  THINK PROGRESS “The government has been trying to suppress science since Galileo, and it doesn’t work.” CREDIT: Pixabay By Marlene Cimons Like many people, Portland, Oregon Mayor Charlie Hales endured a long election night. But surprised as he was at the outcome, he knew that one thing would not change: “Cities are where the action is on climate, and there will be no turning back,” he said. “If we get it right, the world will get it right. And we can get it right without the support of the national government.” This was true, in fact, even before the stunning upset election of Donald Trump as president. And Trump — who has called climate change a hoax and vowed to dismantle President Obama’s environmental record — can’t change that. He will likely, as he has promised, keep the...

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PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION WON BIG ON ELECTION NIGHT...

Nov 14, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] CLIMATE PROGRESS From Austin to Los Angeles, voters chose to invest in a better way to travel. CREDIT: AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes On Tuesday night, American voters showed strong support for measures to increase public transportation projects throughout the United States. A record 48 public transportation initiatives were on the ballot in cities and states across the country, which in total would have raised some $200 billion for projects such as bike-sharing, bus improvements, or more walkable cities, according to the American Public Transportation Association. And on election night, 33 of those passed — 69 percent. “This remarkable passage rate for public transportation measures sends a strong message to President-elect Donald Trump and to Congress that Americans support moving forward with funding from all levels of government that connects infrastructure investment with job opportunities and our country’s...

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GERMANY UNVEILS WORLD’S FIRST ZERO-EMISSIONS HYDROGEN-POWERED PASSENGER TRAIN...

Oct 7, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] French company Alstom unveiled the first-ever passenger train powered completely by hydrogen at this week’s Berlin InnoTrans trade show. The hydrogen train or “hydrail” will be put into service on Germany’s Buxtehude-Bremervörde-Bremerhaven-Cuxhaven line in Lower Saxony by December 2017. After two years in development, the “Coradia iLint” train offers a zero-emissions alternative to Germany’s existing fleet of diesel trains, thanks to a roof-mounted tank of hydrogen fuel. The hydrail is an electric train operating with a hydrogen fuel tank on its roof that powers a fuel cell to generate electricity. This train, and others like it to come in the future, are part of a big push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. The Coradia iLint will be the first of its kind to carry passengers along the railway, as most other...

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World moves to offset airplane emissions in landmark deal...

Oct 7, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] For the first time, the industry will offset its pollution through carbon credits or funding green projects. CREDIT: FLICKR/Dsleeter_2000 The aviation industry, long known for eluding emissions standards, will for the first time offset its pollution through carbon credits or funding green projects, the result of a United Nations-sponsored deal approved Thursday. Delegates at the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montreal sealed the historic plan that some environmental advocates have deemed weak, but the industry and countries overwhelmingly favor. Under CORSIA — short for Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation — the industry will voluntarily (at first) offset its emissions through the purchase of credits, or the funding of still unspecified projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions elsewhere. CORSIA applies only to international flights, which make up about 60 percent of aviation-related emissions,...

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WORLD’S FIRST BOAT POWERED BY 100 PERCENT RENEWABLES TO CIRCLE GLOBE...

Sep 16, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT (Photo: EcoWatch)Article reprinted with permission from Ecowatch The Energy Observer, the world’s first boat powered by solar, wind and self-generated hydrogen, is gearing up for its scheduled maiden journey in February. The €4.2m ($4.72 million) vessel—nicknamed the “Solar Impulse of the Seas”—aims to circumnavigate the globe using only clean power, a feat similar to Solar Impulse 2‘s historic, solar-powered flight around the world that was completed this past July. The boat will sail for six years around the world as a floating exhibition and clean energy laboratory, with stops in 50 countries and 101 ports of call. “For the first time, Energy Observer will allow us to explore the oceans without leaving any trace behind us,” Jerome Delafosse, a director and co-captain of the...

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It Is Time to Begin the Process of Rebuilding Our Middle-Class Economy...

Aug 25, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Inequality Our collapse from an “opportunity for all” middle-class economy to a “winner-take-all,” dog-eat-dog system is behind many problems we face as a society. By Bill Moyers and David Bly An ice sculpture reading Middle Class is displayed as people gather to protest before the beginning of the Republican National Convention on August 26, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images, Artwork by Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese) In The New York Times recently, the paper’s former Washington bureau chief, the veteran journalist Hedrick Smith, asked an important question: “Can the States Save American Democracy?” Smith, who traveled the country to write his latest book, Who Stole the American Dream?, also serves as the executive editor of the Reclaim the American Dream website, where he keeps a keen eye on efforts to...

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“Tiny buses for everyone!” says Elon Musk...

Jul 22, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] TED Conference You get a bus and you get a bus! By Heather Smith   GRIST Tesla has had a rough ride lately. A Tesla Model S on autopilot slammed into a semi-truck in May, killing the driver and prompting a federal highway safety investigation. There’s talk that the company’s yearned-for merger with Solar City might fall apart, and its high-flying stock has plunged 12 percent in three months.What better time for Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, to unveil his “Master Plan Part Deux,” which says, essentially: “Don’t look at right now! Look waay over there, in the amazing future!” The plan, released on Tesla’s blog Wednesday, is full of wondrous whizbangery. There will be cars so autonomous that they will earn money for you when you aren’t driving, battery-enhanced solar panels so beautiful that you will...

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A SOLAR POWERED PLANE JUST CROSSED THE ATLANTIC...

Jun 26, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Solar Impulse sunprecedented By Samantha Lee GRIST If you thought there was something solar power couldn’t do, think again, because the sun just carried an airplane across the Atlantic Ocean. Early Thursday morning, Swiss pilot Bertrand Piccard successfully landed the Solar Impulse 2 in Spain after a four-day journey that began in New York. All the while, the scrappy little plane, powered by 17,000 solar cells, emitted no pollution and guzzled no fuel. This flight was the latest leg in a round-the-world journey set to end in Abu Dhabi, and is particularly symbolic “because all the means of transportation have always tried to cross the Atlantic,” Piccard told the Guardian. With seating room for one, the Solar Impulse — which has a larger wingspan than a Boeing 747 but is lighter than a car...

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ELECTRIC CARS ARE BREAKING RECORDS IN CALIFORNIA – SHARE THE NEWS...

Jun 1, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   The Union of Concerned Scientists partnered with Consumers Union to survey Californians on their interest and ability to drive an electric vehicle and found that more than half of Californians are likely to consider an electric vehicle as their next car purchase or lease. That is great news for our climate since, over their lifetime, battery electric vehicles produce far less global warming pollution than their gasoline counterparts—and they’re getting cleaner as California invests in more renewable sources of energy. Help make the shift to electric vehicles by sharing the great news: Electric cars are breaking records in California—and demand remains high. We need your help to spread the word and share this powerful graphic on social media. It’s clear that millions of Californians are excited about shifting away from gas-guzzling vehicles,...

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MEET PROTERRA, THE NEXT GENERATION OF BUS...

May 26, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Joe Romm CLIMATE PROGRESS CREDIT: Proterra   “Everything that has an urban drive cycle will ultimately be an electric vehicle.” That’s what Ryan Popple, the president and CEO of Proterra, the leading U.S. electric bus company, explained to me in a recent interview. The future of transit isn’t cleaner diesel, hybrids, natural gas, or hydrogen fuel-cell buses, argues Popple. The rapidly dropping price for electric batteries combined with new fast-charging technology appears to render the competition obsolete. Right now, the biggest question isn’t which technology will win in the bus market — it’s how quickly all-electrics will take over, and whether Proterra can keep ahead of the Chinese competition, like electric vehicle giant BYD. Popple is focused on electrifying the transit market, which he expects “will be 100 percent electric” in a...

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DERAILED IN D.C.: “BOMB TRAINS,” POISON TRACKS AND MY CHEMICAL EXPOSURE...

May 10, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   Richard Eskow  AMERICANS FOR A SAFE FUTURE A CSX freight train derailed in Washington, D.C. last week. The Washington Post reported that ethanol, which is colorless and highly flammable, was leaking out of one of the overturned cars in the accident’s immediate aftermath. The 14-car derailment also “spilled half the liquid contents of a 15,500-gallon tanker” filled with a sodium hydroxide onto the ground beside the Rhode Island Avenue Metro Station. That’s nearly 8,000 gallons of something the Post describes as a “highly caustic chemical.” Sodium hydroxide is also known as “lye.” If that name sounds more familiar, perhaps it’s because killers often use it to dissolve their victims’ bodies on TV crime shows. It has also been used by a host of real-life murderers, including Mexican drug cartel assassins and the...

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SIGNS OF THE ‘HUMAN AGE’...

Apr 18, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   By NICHOLAS ST. FLEUR  NYTDOT   Welcome to the “Anthropocene” — a new epoch in our planet’s 4.5 billion year history. Thanks to the colossal changes humans have made since the mid-20th century, Earth has now entered a distinct age from the Holocene epoch, which started 11,700 years ago as the ice age thawed. That’s according to an argument made by a team of scientists from the Anthropocene Working Group. Scientists say an epoch ends following an event – like the asteroid that demolished the dinosaurs and ended the late Cretaceous Epoch 66 million years ago – that altered the underlying rock and sedimentary layers so significantly that its remnants can be observed across the globe. In a paper published Thursday in Science, the researchers presented evidence for why they think mankind’s...

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THE DRONES ARE COMING

Apr 11, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] THE DIRT  by Jared Green Drones / South Park There are expected to be 20 million unmanned aerial vehicles or drones in the U.S. by 2020, according to Lisa Ellman, who ran drone policy under the Obama administration. At SXSW Interactive in Austin, Texas, Ellman painted a rosy portrait of a future filled with drones carrying out useful tasks like delivering packages, conducting routine crop dusting on agricultural fields, inspecting oil and gas pipelines, taking aerial photography, and even monitoring endangered wildlife. Meanwhile, the reality is many states and municipalities have restricted or outright banned these flying robots from going anywhere near people due to real safety and privacy concerns. A man in Kentucky recently shot down a drone hovering over his property, claiming the air space above his home was his property....

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CAN TECHNOLOGY SAVE OUR CRUMBLING INFRASTRUCTURE?...

Apr 11, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] THE DIRT  by Jared Green Mississippi collapsed bridge / Wikipedia “The infrastructural situation in the U.S. is bad,” said Harvard Business School professor Rosabeth Moss Kantor at SXSW Interactive in Austin, Texas. Traffic causes “5.5 billion of hours or about $70 billion of lost productivity, costs 2.9 billion gallons of fuel, and increases our healthcare costs by $45 billion each year.” About a quarter of American bridges are crumbling and structurally obsolete; and we hear horror stories nearly every month of another major collapse. “But technology is the big hope.” Kantor argued that embedded sensors can be used to make roads and cars smarter so they can relay traffic reports in real time, identify structural issues and report them, and reduce traffic collisions and fatalities, which also cost the U.S. hundreds of billions...

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BRITISH COLUMBIA’S CARBON TAX HAS BEEN SO SUCCESSFUL THAT BUSINESSES WANT TO INCREASE IT...

Apr 2, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Alejandro Davila Fragoso CLIMATE PROGRESS CREDIT: AP Photo/Charlie Riedel   A carbon tax may be a controversial topic in the United States, but in one Canadian province, this eight-year-old policy has been such a success that on Wednesday more than 100 businesses said they support a tax increase. In a letter addressed to Premier Christy Clark, who governs the province of British Columbia, more than 150 companies said they back a plan to increase the carbon tax by $10 — about $7.70 U.S. — per metric ton a year starting in July 2018, an idea the government-sponsored Climate Leadership Team unveiled earlier this year. Since 2007 British Columbia has been setting greenhouse gas reduction targets based on findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world’s most respected authority on...

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CLEAN AVIATION WILL TAKE WING, BUT ETA IS UP IN THE AIR...

Mar 10, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   By Thor Benson  TRUTHDIG Jerry Lin / Shutterstock Elon Musk is not the kind of eccentric billionaire who proposes strange ideas for the future and doesn’t deliver on them. He talked about creating reusable rockets for space travel, and he’s done that. He talked about making the Tesla a successful electric car brand, and the company started turning a profit in 2013. Then he said the cars would become self-driving, and that prospect is looking good. Musk has also talked about creating a “hyperloop” that will quickly transport people across long distances in tubes, another project that is in the works. So when Musk starts talking about fully electric airplanes, you’d better believe he’s not just blowing smoke. Musk cares about Tesla because electric cars are good for the environment, and he...

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HERE’S HOW THE EPA CAN ACHIEVE PARIS CLIMATE GOALS — WITHOUT INVOLVING CONGRESS...

Mar 5, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] An unused provision of the Clean Air Act authorizes the EPA to develop and implement an economy-wide, market-based program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. By Michael Burger / Sabin Center for Climate Change Law Photo Credit: Bart Everett/Shutterstock A team of law professors and attorneys at three of the country’s leading centers devoted to climate change and environmental law have published a joint paper concluding that an unused provision of the Clean Air Act authorizes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to develop and implement an economy-wide, market-based program to reduce domestic greenhouse gas emissions and achieve the Obama Administration’s Paris Agreement pledge. The program could be implemented without further Congressional action and would provide regulators and businesses seeking to mitigate climate change with clear benefits – increased flexibility, heightened administrative and economic efficiency,...

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WANT TO FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE? HERE ARE 7 CRITICAL LIFE CHANGES YOU SHOULD MAKE...

Feb 24, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Louis Vest By Heather Smith   GRIST A few months ago, the U.S. and 195 other countries signed this thing in Paris in which all parties involved kind of sort of agreed to stop messing with the world’s climate. It was very exciting. So what if we, as Americans, were going to join in as individuals in order to help the U.S. meet its emissions goals? What would we do differently? Two researchers at the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute, Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle, recently set out to answer those questions. (Here is the abstract of their report.) Their conclusion: The largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions is making things (industry, clocking in at 29 percent of greenhouse gas emissions). After that, there’s moving people and things around (transportation, 27 percent), then the energy...

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LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS: SHARE YOUR MOST INNOVATIVE IDEAS...

Feb 19, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] THE DIRT  by Jared Green Driverless highway of the future / Natalia Beard, SWA Group There are lots of great conferences that offer speaking opportunities for landscape architects. One in particular is SXSW Eco, which has become a leading forum for sustainable design across all disciplines. Last year, SXSW Eco provided a platform for a number of landscape architects, who spoke about everything from the future impact of autonomous vehicles on the built environment to how social media can be used to increase public participation in planning and design. Speaking at these kinds of inter-disciplinary events is important because it helps landscape architects reach a broad audience of influencers. SXSW Eco said last year nearly half of the conference’s attendees were their companies’ lead decision maker. This year, SXSW Eco will be held...

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HERE’S WHAT A YEAR OF GREEN ADVICE BOILS DOWN TO...

Dec 31, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] Grist / Shutterstock Auld Lang Sign-off By Ask Umbra Dearest Readers, The champagne is chilling. The ball is hoisted and in position for a midnight drop. The shiny hats and noisemakers are lined up, ready to party. But before we get too busy ringing in 2016, I always like to look back on the year that was. In my role as mistress of the Ask Umbra inbox, I get a unique peek into the concerns, fears, and everyday hassles that fill your lives, dear readers. And in looking back over your letters, I can begin to see some themes emerge. Here’s what consumed you most in 2015 — from major water woes in California to just where we should be peeing. 2015: When drought questions showed no sign of drying up If one...

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Googleplex designer’s sky offices above London would suck people up from their homes...

Dec 17, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] by Lidija Grozdanic   INHABITAT Clive Wilkinson, who design the original Googleplex, came up with a quirky design that puts a satirical spin on the idea of office spaces. His design envisions a layer of single-level workspaces that hover above cities and suck people up from their homes via pneumatic tubes. Entitled ‘The Endless Workspace,’ the project is a tongue-in-cheek proposal meant to “solve” London’s commuting problems. The architect designed The Endless Workspace for the latest issue of Flaunt Magazine. The magazine asked Wilkinson to create a design which would combine the cultures of California and UK, particularly the differences between how people commute in Silicon Valley and London. The resulting concept covers London streets with a layer of open-plan co-working spaces. Related: Google’s new California headquarters is a greenhouse utopia by BIG and...

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FUTURISTIC TRANSPORT

Dec 14, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] Gregory Han  METROPOLIS MAGAZINE Bringing eight modes of transportation together was not the only complex problem at the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC). The engineering firm BuroHappold worked with HOK, Parsons Brinckerhoff, and Clark Construction not only to build the largest span of ETFE roof cladding in North America, but to also reduce energy and water use by 30 percent, and achieve an anticipated LEED Platinum rating. Courtesy Rick Horn The future of transportation in Southern California resides 28 miles south of downtown Los Angeles, in the form of a voluminous LED-illuminated carapace that could easily be mistaken for an outpost of the Magic Kingdom situated only a few blocks away. But while Disneyland’s promise of “where dreams come true” is popularly appreciated, the newly opened $185.2 million Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal...

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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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TODAY’S U.S.-CHINA ANNOUNCEMENT IS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT MILESTONE TO DATE FOR BATTLING GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE...

Sep 26, 2015 Posted by

[Translate]  ROCKY MOUNTAIN INSTITUTE Today’s joint announcement by President Obama and President Xi represents the second time in two years the leaders have met to make significant climate commitments. Last year’s meeting focused on setting aggressive goals that reflect each country’s unique situation. This year’s meeting moved decisively to implementation commitments intended to deliver these results. The message is clear: the time for talking about climate is over. The two largest economies and emitters must lead in action. The commitments by the countries are sweeping and perhaps the greatest cause for hope yet in international attempts to address global warming—especially looking forward to COP21 in Paris this upcoming December. Among the outcomes are the creation of the world’s largest carbon market, market reforms within China that will help support accelerated renewables development, redoubled support...

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WHAT AMERICA CAN LEARN FROM EUROPE’S HIGH-SPEED TRAINS...

Sep 5, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] Shutterstock By Ben Adler GRIST Riding the high-speed train between Berlin and Hamburg, Germany’s two largest cities, is a radically different experience from riding its American counterpart, Amtrak’s Acela, which connects major East Coast cities. Germany’s InterCity Express (ICE) ride is as smooth as a Mercedes on the Autobahn. The conductor comes around politely offering to bring you coffee. The bathroom doors open electronically with the push of a button for disability access. There’s no perennial stopping and starting of the train, no grumpy barking conductor, no herky-jerky rolling of the bathroom doors, none of Amtrak’s chronically late arrivals. And on German trains, the wifi actually works. At 45 euros each way, roughly $50, it isn’t cheap. But it’s cheaper than Amtrak. Berlin to Hamburg is 179 miles, which is about the same...

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CHINA UNVEILS PLAN TO BUILD AN 8,000 MILE SPEED UNDERWATER RAILWAY LINE TO AMERICA...

Aug 12, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] Written By Alex Klokus  FUTURISM.COM 1 month ago China-high-speed-underwater-train-1 In Brief China plans to build an 8,000+ mile railroad (sounds plausible) connecting China, Russia, Canada, and the U.S. that includes a 125 mile undersea tunnel spanning the Bering Strait. The plan was announced in China’s state-run newspaper, the Beijing Times, and apparently Russia is already on-board with the plan. According to the report, which cites a single expert at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, Chinese officials are considering a route that would start in the country’s northeast, thread through eastern Siberia and cross the Bering Strait via a 125-mile long underwater tunnel into Alaska. Unsurprisingly, No other Chinese railway experts have come out in support of the proposed project. Whether the government has consulted Russia, the US or Canada is also unclear. Read...

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SAVING LIVES WITH SMART URBAN DESIGN...

Jul 27, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] THE DIRT by Liz Camuti Globally, 1.24 million people are killed in traffic accidents every year, with more than 90 percent of these deaths occurring in low and middle-income counties. Traffic-related incidents are the eighth-leading cause of death worldwide, and the number-one leading cause of death for those between the ages of 15-29. A response to the United Nations’ declaration to create a “Decade of Action” on improving traffic safety, Cities Safer by Design, a new report by the World Resources Institute (WRI) Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, offers urban design best practices and real-world case studies both developed and developing world cities can use to put an end to traffic deaths and injuries. Cities Safer by Design presents five basic urban design elements that create safer travel environments: block size, connectivity, lane...

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COLORFUL NOISE-POLLUTION BARRIERS GENERATE SOLAR ENERGY IN THE NETHERLANDS...

Jul 14, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] TRANSPORTATION Colorful noise-pollution barriers that also generate solar energy being tested in the Netherlands by Cat DiStasio, INHABITAT Technology research is often about finding ways to combine two different functions into one tool or, as you might have heard it said before, kill two birds with one stone. In the Netherlands, a consortium of research facilities and energy companies is a little closer to doing just that. By combining solar energy generation with much-needed noise-reduction barriers along a busy Dutch highway, the team hopes to prove that they’ve developed an environmentally-friendly solution to two of modern life’s biggest challenges.   Michael Debije at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) is the researcher who developed the original concept, which he expressed in a report published in the journal Nature in March 2015. The technology is known...

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THIS AIRLINE JUST INVESTED MILLIONS INTO TURNING GARBAGE INTO JET FUEL...

Jul 3, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] by Ari PhillipsCLIMATE PROGRESS CREDIT: Shutterstock This week, a California-based biofuel company announced a $30 million deal with United Airlines to develop jet fuel using oils derived from animal and vegetable fats — i.e. household trash. Fulcrum BioEnergy will use the investment to develop up to five projects to produce up to 180 million gallons of this fuel per year, with United signed up to buy at up to 90 million of those gallons each year at competitive rates. “The Fulcrum announcement is a big deal precisely because of the need for low carbon solutions for aviation,” Jeremy Martin, a senior scientist in the Union of Concerned Scientists’ clean vehicles program, told ThinkProgress. “Other companies have made fats and vegetable oils into aviation fuels, but what is important about the Fulcrum technology is...

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