February 29th, 2012 by Zachary Shahan
Some top green news from around from the past day or so:
An associate of the Heartland Institute, the thinktank devoted to discrediting climate change, taught a course at a top Canadian university that contained more than 140 false, biased and misleading claims about climate science, an expert audit has found.
The course at Ottawa’s Carleton University, which is being accused of bias, was taught for four terms from 2009-2011 by Tom Harris, a featured expert at the Heartland Institute.
Heartland’s core mission is to discredit climate change, and it is currently moving into the education realm. It plans to spend $100,000 on a project countering established teaching of climate change to American school children, an unauthorised release of documents showed….
A new study led by the Georgia Institute of Technology provides further evidence of a relationship between melting ice in the Arctic regions and widespread cold outbreaks in the Northern Hemisphere….
Since the level of Arctic sea ice set a new record low in 2007, significantly above-normal winter snow cover has been seen in large parts of the northern United States, northwestern and central Europe, and northern and central China. During the winters of 2009-2010 and 2010-2011, the Northern Hemisphere measured its second and third largest snow cover levels on record.
Ernst & Young released its quarterly Country Attractiveness Indices report (CAI) for renewable energy today. There are some quite interesting observations regarding the state of and projections for renewable energy (and specific renewable energy sectors) within the report, but the ranking of the top countries in the index remains the same:
GE Energy Financial Services and JP Morgan announced yesterday that they are jointly investing $225 million into the 662.5-megawatt Capricorn Ridge wind farm in West Texas that is mostly owned and operated by NextEra Energy Resources.
In the month of February, wind energy supplied Spain with a record 21.7% of its electricity needs, 4.890 GWh of electricity. This helped keep the country’s price of electricity lower and was a huge benefit for the country’s economy (see more details at the end of this post).
Despite the lengthy time lags involved, delaying rollouts of low-carbon-emission energy technologies risks even greater environmental harm in the second half of this century and beyond. This underscores the urgency in developing realistic plans for the rapid deployment of the lowest-GHG-emission electricity generation technologies. Technologies that offer only modest reductions in emissions, such as natural gas and — if the highest estimates from the life-cycle analyses are correct — carbon capture and storage, cannot yield substantial temperature reductions this century. Achieving substantial reductions in temperatures relative to the coal-based system will take the better part of a century, and will depend on rapid and massive deployment of some mix of conservation, wind, solar, and nuclear, and possibly carbon capture and storage.
California-based Envia is claiming that their unique lithium-ion battery technology results in a three-fold increase in energy density, while cutting the cost of batteries in half.
If you’ve ever been to London, its insane number of pretty, red, double-decker buses are probably forever ingrained in your mind, and it’s probably not unusual for you think about them when thinking about the city. Now, the good news is, those pretty red buses are getting twice as fuel-efficient.
During the most dire period in the Fukushima meltdown, the president of Japanese utility company Tepco tried to evacuate all workers at the stricken reactor. If that order went through, it would have precipitated a worst-case scenario and ultimately the evacuation of Tokyo. Luckily, the plant manager, at great risk to himself and his employees, ignored his boss and instead told workers to stick around and start cooling the reactors with sea water — a decision that ultimately allowed him to get the runaway nuclear reactions in the core under control….
Today, in the UK, the world’s oldest nuclear power plant shut down. Actually, it did so just a few hours ago.
The British nuclear power plant, which had been running for 44 years, shut down at about 11:00 GMT (or 6:00 am EST) today. The area may not be without nuclear power for too long, though. Another nuclear power plant is planned for a site nearby — it is supposed to go up by 2025.
Herons swoop over a flat-bottomed boat navigating a canal and rest in one of the water-loving ahuehuete trees on the embankment. In a nearby field, an ageing farmer with a straw hat and chiselled features checks his cabbages while two younger men weed a field of lettuces. Another man skilfully manoeuvres a wheelbarrow across a narrower canal and disappears past a bush of the white, trumpet-shaped alcatraz lilies that Diego Rivera was so fond of painting.
Welcome to San Gregorio Atlapulco – a bucolic paradise in the middle of the watery corridor along the south-eastern edge of the Mexican capital and one of the last true redoubts of the floating gardens, known aschinampas, that once sustained the great Aztec capital Tenochtitlan. But even here, where the madding crowd is still relatively far away, there is a palpable sense that the clock is ticking for this way of life.
They’re voting today in the Michigan and Arizona primaries, and the big story is the tight race in Mitt Romney’s home state. Win or lose, Romney faces a long cold road to the nomination.
Up until a few weeks ago, Romney was counting on a strong showing here to put this race to bed. But this year’s GOP base aren’t cooperating.
Images: Heartland Institute website screenshot via Guardian; Renewable Energy Girl courtesy of shutterstock; Capricorn Ridge wind turbine courtesy of NextEra Energy Resources; Spain wind farm courtesy of shutterstock; Nathan Myhrvold photo courtesy of Sifu Renka; Iconic Routemaster Buses via Gene Hunt; Fukushima courtesy of Gonzalo Déniz; visualization of new Oldbury nuclear power plant courtesy of jonbgem; Mexico floating gardens courtesy of Laurent Bugnion; Mitt Romney caricature courtesy of Donkey Hotey
Keep up to date with all the most interesting green news on the planet by subscribing to our (free) Planetsave newsletter.