Having spent his first week in office focusing on the global economic crisis and America’s many wars, Obama began his second week by tackling another looming problem: climate change. On Monday, President Obama signed two memos urging the EPA to begin moving on both emissions standards and fuel efficiency standards for cars.
In José Saramago's novel Blindness, when an epidemic of sightlessness sweeps the city, among the foulest signs of civic breakdown is its inability to handle its own excrement. Human waste piles where it lands, left to the elements and not modern plumbing. To newly minted industrial designer Virginia Gardiner, we might as well be blind to our own waste. Her plumbing-free toilet project, the Gardiner CH4, makes us personally responsible for our intimate product—and makes it useful.
Soldiers may soon get greener rides on-base, after the U.S. Army announced the acquisition of 4,000 neighborhood electric vehicles.
The plug-and-chug vehicles come in both sedan and light truck models, and can charge their batteries at any three-pronged household outlet. Estimates put the savings over a six-year service lifetime at 11 million gallons of fuel, not to mention 115,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
E. coli has earned a nasty reputation for upsetting stomachs and killing people. But now scientists at LS9, a start-up in South San Francisco, are putting the bad bug to good use, genetically engineering it to excrete biodiesel. The fuel "burns just like diesel," says Greg Pal, the senior director at LS9 [see Breeding the Oil Bug, about the rise of microbial biofuels].
Alan Burns made a fortune in the oil business. But as oil wanes, he’s convinced that clean energy will be—must be—the next big thing. And so this inventor has poured his fortune into a challenge far greater than finding new oil deposits: extracting energy from the ocean
Alan Burns breaks the surface with a huge grin on his face, his baggy black wetsuit hanging off his body like walrus skin. It's a scorching February afternoon, and we're floating in the clear blue water of the Indian Ocean. To our left is the Australian resort island of Rottnest. To our right—just beyond Burns's dazzling white yacht—is several thousand miles of open sea. And beneath us, the kelp forest where we had been diving moments before is swaying to the rhythm of the waves.
Will Brinton, the founder of Woods End Laboratories, a bioenergy consultancy, predicts a future without landfills. Instead we'll use table scraps and sewage to power our homes. Just dump the waste into a household digester, and bacteria will break it down and release the natural gas methane. Farms could sell their copious poop-based energy supplies back to the grid. But how much energy do animals yield? We ran the numbers and found that you might want to consider a pet elephant.
Ever since Russia planted a flag under the North Pole last year, the issue of sovereign rights under an increasingly slushy arctic has tensed. In a race to claim ownership of some of the arctic seabed, a two-ship caravan of Canadian and U.S. scientists is sailing around the Arctic Ocean right now. Their mission, which will last from September 6th to October 1st, is to measure the seabed and the continental margins in an attempt to solidify our possible rights over the far north—an area that will become accessible to oil drilling and mining as the earth warms and arctic ice melts.
A new map shows conflicting claims to Arctic territories—and its billions of gallons of oil
By Molika AshfordPosted 08.07.2008 at 11:14 am 6 Comments
As the earth warms and our hunger for oil and other natural resources grows, the Arctic—once a peaceful repose for Santa—is already a crisscross of territorial claims that could get even more complicated in coming years according to a new map drawn up by researchers at Durham University, who say it is the only geographically accurate map of its kind.
Much of Earth's oil reserves can be traced to a single volcanic eruption, scientists say
By Sam BarrettPosted 07.20.2008 at 10:29 pm 38 Comments
A new study by the University of Alberta suggests that a massive undersea volcano eruption 93 million years ago was the source of much of the world’s oil.
Researchers Steven Turgeon and Robert Creaser were alerted to the prehistoric blast when they found specific levels of osmium isotopes (indicators of volcanic activity in sea water) in black shale rocks off the coast of South America and in the mountains of central Italy.