Thursday, April 21, 2005

The End of Oil Is Closer Than You Think

The title of this story from The Guardian UK, The End of Oil Is Closer Than You Think, says it all. The roller coaster is nearing that first big drop and the ride promises to be wild and wooly.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Lining Their Pockets: The Global Warming Debunkers

Guess who is paying for many of the junk science studies and intemperate critiques of global warming scientists? Why, it's none another than ExxonMobil, the company that has pumped more than $8 million into trying to downplay the greatest threat the planet faces. As Chris Mooney points out in this Mother Jones article, Some Like It Hot, the goal is to undermine the scientific consensus that humans are causing the earth to overheat.

Revisiting Chernobyl

Those who swear by the safety of nuclear power should be airlifted to the Ukraine and left to stroll around the deserted streets of Pripiat to get a small sense of the impact of a large-scale radiation release. This Inter Press story offers some insight: ENVIRONMENT: Some Chernobyl Clouds Will Not Clear.

The latest novel from Martin Cruz Smith, Wolves Eat Dogs takes detective Arkady Renko to the Zone of Exclusion surrounding Chernobyl for a chilling, well-researched taste of the magnitude of the disaster and the effects on the remaining local residents.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Wildly Popular Hybrids

Spiraling gasoline prices have led to booming popularity for hybrid vehicles. As the Toyota sales manager in Baltimore says in this Baltimore Sun story, A Winning Hybrid Shows the Way, "People love this car. We could sell as many as we can get."

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Enabling Sustainable Development

Project results unveiled by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) this week provide strategically significant information for siting wind turbines and solar collectors, as described in this release from the Environment News Service, Mapping Reveals Earth's Best Sites for Wind, Solar Power. Focusing on 13 developing countries, UNEP hopes to make a difference in helping launch successful sustainable energy developments in regions with limited resources.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Where is the "Sound Science"?

As Derrick Z. Jackson reminds us in this Boston Globe article, President Bush has told us he needs to see the "sound science" on global warming before joining the rest of the world in combating it. A recent report, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, commissioned by the United Nations relied on 1,360 experts from 95 countries and devoted $24 million to compile a hard science perspective on the human impacts to our planetary ecosystem (including global warming). The Bush administration to date has been curiously silent on the sobering conclusions of this assessment.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Powerful Winds Aloft

Wind turbine energy systems are prone to the inconsistencies of wind forces near ground level, but at higher altitudes wind forces are persistent and strong. An Australian engineer, Bryan Roberts, has designed an approach to launch self-powered aircraft equipped with wind turbines skyward and working with a San Diego startup company, Sky WindPower, is seeking to commercialize the invention. This Wired article, Windmills in the Sky, provides the details.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Homeland Insecurity: Nuclear Plants Open to Attack

Nuclear power is safe and clean and our only future energy option as long as you don't take into account the mining and transport of uranium, the shutdown of reactors in heat wave conditions (as occurred in France during the record-breaking heat a couple of summers ago), the costs and risks of decommissioning reactors, the storage of wastes, and the possibility that terrorists might crash an aircraft into a reactor facility (as discussed in the Washington Post article, Homeland Insecurity: Nuclear Plants Open to Attack . In the age of terrorism, it would be difficult to find a worse choice than nuclear power to bank on for the future.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Missing the Big Picture

Bill McKibben is always an entertaining read and he's particularly sharp and well focused in this Orion article, On Not Quite Getting It.

Plug-in Hybrids Get Astounding Mileage

Suppose you could take that high-mileage Prius sitting in your garage and modify it so that it gets 180 m.p.g. rather than 45? This is the question that a couple of inveterate tinkerers asked as they set out to make their fuel-efficient car even more fuel efficient by plugging it into the garage wall outlet at night. Not surprisingly, Toyota and Honda frown about this kind of modification to their carefully engineered creations. Will such a vehicle be available commercially any time soon? [New York Times, requires registration]