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Archive for the ‘Earth’ Category

(ENVIRONMENT) READ: Gizmos’ Energy Draw Alarms Experts…

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294955-6-20090919194543.image(Newser Summary) – All around the house, electronic gadgets are blinking, buzzing, computing—and drawing on an immense amount of energy, the New York Times reports. Worldwide, they take up 15% of household power, and will likely consume three times as much by 2029, making it harder to combat global warming. Two hundred and thirty nuclear plants would be needed to fuel that demand, the International Energy Agency says.

Most experts say regulations are needed to limit gadgets’ energy draw, but manufacturers have resisted such mandates. A federal attempt to limit the power draw of TVs—flat-screens are the biggest energy offender—died in the 1990s due to industry opposition. But Congress has done it before, limiting the energy use of appliances like refrigerators and washers. “Standards are one of the few ways to cheaply go after big chunks of energy savings,” one advocate says.

Neal Colgrass

Source: New York Times

Written by dnnnewshound

September 26, 2009 at 10:34 am

Posted in Ecology, Economics

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(CLIMATE) READ: Venice Is Sinking Despite Billion-Dollar Efforts To Keep It Afloat…

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venice1The construction of mobile floodgates aims to safeguard the 1,300-year-old island city of Venice. It’s an ambitious engineering project, but some scientists say it may not be sufficient to protect Venice from rising sea levels due to climate change.

Venice rose from mudflats in the middle of a lagoon which forms the largest wetland in the Mediterranean. One of the world’s most endangered cities, it has been subject to increasing flooding due to sinking land — but also to rising sea levels.

It’s known as “aqua alta” — high water — and it brings city life to a standstill for several hours. Big boats can’t go under low-hanging bridges, and water seeps into buildings through the sewage system. Venetians have not lived on the ground floor for decades. READ MORE

Written by dnnnewshound

September 21, 2009 at 1:29 pm

Posted in Earth, Ecology

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(ENVIRONMENT) READ: Informant: Italian Mafia Sank Ship Carrying Nuke Waste…

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1268792_45d1_625x625(Newser Summary) – Italian authorities are investigating an informant’s claim that the mafia sank a ship containing nuclear waste off the country’s southwest coast, the BBC reports. Underwater cameras show the ship intact, with barrels nearby marked as containing toxic contents; the informant says that organized crime has gotten into the nuclear waste-disposal business, but rather than go the usual routes, sank the ship, and two others, off the Calabrian coast.

 

W. McCahill

Source: BBC

Written by dnnnewshound

September 15, 2009 at 4:55 pm

(ENVIRONMENT) READ: Is There A Toxic Waste Dump In Your Town?…

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Source: The Huffington Post

www.huffingtonpost.com_Coal Ash_s-COAL-ASH-largeWASHINGTON — (AP) The toxic leftovers from burning coal for power are sitting in nearly 600 sites in 35 states, according to a federal survey released Tuesday.

Spills have occurred at 34 of those sites over the last decade.

Many of the spills were minor compared with the disaster that occurred at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s power plant in Kingston, Tenn., in December. That spill, which flooded hundreds of acres of land, damaged homes and killed fish in nearby rivers, is not included in the data, although it triggered the EPA’s March request of 61 power companies for information on how they manage coal combustion waste.

The survey is the most comprehensive list to date of coal ash storage sites and includes information submitted by 219 facilities.

The EPA said Tuesday that to date it had not received any information or detected any issues at the 584 coal ash storage sites identified that required immediate action.

But environmental groups, which obtained the data last week, said that the number of sites and the danger they pose to surrounding communities shows that coal ash ponds need federal regulation.

Coal ash is a byproduct of burning coal that can include heavy metals and other toxic contaminants. But no federal regulations or standards govern its storage and disposal, although the EPA has long recognized coal ash as a risk to human health and the environment and knows of 67 cases where it is known or suspected of polluting water.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson earlier this year said that the agency would consider federal rules, but it is unclear whether the ash will be controlled like household trash or under the more stringent rules for hazardous waste. READ MORE

Written by dnnnewshound

September 10, 2009 at 9:16 am

(MONEY) READ: BP Discovers Huge Oil Store in Gulf of Mexico…

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i.telegraph.co.uk__oil-rig-404_673814c(Newser Summary) – BP discovered a massive oil cache under the Gulf of Mexico after drilling the world’s deepest exploration well, Bloomberg reports. The discovery at Tiber Prospect may hold reserves equivalent to 3 billion barrels. In order to find it, BP engineers drilled to a total depth of 35,055 feet—taller than Mount Everest.

Although the find will take years to develop, it is expected to increase BP’s output in the Gulf by 50%, to 600,000 barrels a day after 2020. “What today’s announcement proves is that BP is a very, very successful explorer,” said an industry analyst. “They’ve opened up the whole area for discoveries.”

Nick McMaster

Source: Bloomberg

Written by dnnnewshound

September 2, 2009 at 6:38 pm

(READ): Department for the Environment has worse recycling rate than national average…

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Source: Telegraph.co.uk

The Government department in charge of the environment recycles less than the average household in Britain, according to new figures

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs recycled just 29 per cent of its waste last year.

In comparison, the national average is 35 per cent, while the top councils recycle more than 60 per cent of waste and companies like Boots recycle almost half their rubbish. Read More

Written by dnnnewshound

August 29, 2009 at 12:37 pm

Posted in Blogs, Ecology

(READ): More Wind Power: Not So Simple…

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Source: LiveScience

By 2030 the Department of Energy wants 20 percent of electricity produced in the United States to be generated by wind. Wind currently generates less than 1 percent of the country’s electricity, so the increase will require the number of new wind turbine installations to jump from 2,000 to 7,000 per year, according to the DOE.

Although wind turbines, which typically stand 300 feet tall, are environmentally benign when compared to coal fired power plants, they are much more complex than the simple windmills of the past and face a number of operating problems that scientists are trying to solve. Several papers published recently in physics journals propose solutions to some of the current roadblocks in the path to reaching the 20 percent goal for wind power.

Some of the windiest locations in the nation also happen to be some of the coldest, and early experience with wind farms has revealed that turbine icing is one of the most significant threats facing the efficiency of the turbines.

In the Northern and Midwestern states where the wind blows hard and reliably, temperatures well below freezing are the norm during winter months and ice buildup on the long blades of the turbines can dramatically reduce their efficiency.  Ice accumulation on the blades not only reduces the aerodynamic functions and efficiency of the turbine, but can throw the blades out of balance and force them to stop. Beyond the direct damage to the turbines, the blades shedding large piece of ice as they spin poses significant safety hazards to people and property. Read More

Written by dnnnewshound

August 28, 2009 at 10:27 am

Posted in Earth, Ecology, Science

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