Bacteria are known to be able to clean up toxic metals and even nuclear waste. But now, researchers at Michigan State University have unraveled the mystery of how these small micro-organisms pull off this helpful feat.
My esteemed colleague Teresa Küchler at SvD in Brussels, draw my attention to the rather awkward debate in the budget negotiations in the European Parliament, concerning the, apparently, no less awkward Copenhagen based, EU financed, European Environment Agency. The EEA, in their own words, have a noble cause: "Our task is to provide sound, independent information on the environment. We are a major information source for those involved in developing, adopting, implementing and evaluating environmental policy, and also the general public." What was up for questioning however, from the committee reviewing the budget, was somewhat different. Anyone on a visit to [...]
The carbon footprint of shale gas is about one-third as high as if coal were burned to produce electricity, says a team of researchers who were obviously offended by the rush-to-block-any-new-fuel “study” of Cornell University’s Robert Howarth. Howarth’s recent widely circulated, paper in Climatic Change claims shale gas is perhaps twice as bad for the environment as burning coal. Dr. Lawrence Cathless III, also of Cornell, sees shale gas as a bonanza for the whole world. He and his team reject the Howarth contention that huge amounts of shale gas will leak during well completion and gas delivery. “For a high volume shale [...]
If ever there were a case study in the absurdity of industrial policy, the federal mandates for cellulosic ethanol should be exhibit number one.
President Obama’s speeches sum up his views on oil, natural gas and energy prices in just 44 words.“We have less than 2% of the world’s oil reserves. We’re running out of places to drill. We’re running out of oil. We need to end our $4 billion in annual taxpayer subsidies to oil companies. We need to invest in clean, renewable energy.”As Congressman Joe Wilson would say, That’s a lie! Or at least a deliberate distortion of facts.Oil “reserves” are what can actually be produced at today’s prices, with existing technologies, and under current laws and regulations. America has vast oil, gas [...]
You’ve heard of a kilowatt of electricity, but how about a negawatt? Well unless you’re from England you probably haven’t heard of a negawatt yet, but the concept of paying consumers to turn off their power switch is now a reality in Britain. As reported by Bloomberg News, England’s efforts to meet its growing demand for electricity with wind power is proving daunting, as wind energy is unreliable and creates a lot of problems for electric grid managers. To help them out, a curb in demand is being pursued by offering consumers an opportunity to earn an average of [...]
Efforts to replace plastic shopping bags with those made of cloth are being promoted on environmental grounds. But are certain health and safety concerns being overlooked? Well according to the first-ever study on this matter by the Canadian-based Environment and Plastics Energy Council, the answer is “yes.” The study found that sixty-four percent of the reusable bags it examined contained worrisome levels of unhealthy bacteria, with more than thirty percent exceeding levels considered safe by government standards. Since the study also found forty percent of cloth bags contained yeast or mold that can lead to food poisoning, it may [...]
The idea of turning garbage into energy is nothing new. But a super high-tech plasma technology is now gaining steam that uses heat three times as hot as the surface of the sun to literally disintegrate trash into its molecular elements. According to Popular Science magazine, one facility in Connecticut has a 15-foot machine that uses a 650-volt current passing between two electrodes to convert ordinary air into plasma – thus creating a field of extremely intense energy much like lightning. This energy is capable of breaking down virtually any waste – and the only by-products are a [...]
Everyone knows that trash can be recycled into useful household items. But did you know that birds are also catching on to this?
Saying runoff from dairy farms owned by Pennsylvania’s storied Amish is polluting the Chesapeake Bay, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is demanding that the Amish change their centuries-old ways of farming.The Obama administration is cracking down on farms in states where agricultural runoff contributes to the buildup of nitrogen and phosphorus in the bay. States in EPA’s bull’s eye include Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania.. According to EPA data, Pennsylvania’s Lancaster County, home to the nation’s largest Amish community, generates more pounds of manure than any other county on the agency’s list of bay polluters.EPA’s latest effort to cleanup the [...]
CHURCHVILLE, VA—“Environmentalists are standing in the way of feeding humanity through their opposition to biotechnology, farm chemicals and nitrogen fertilizer”—straight talk from billionaire Bill Gates at the World Food Prize Symposium in Des Moines October 15th Gates could have said with equal truth that the same environmentalists, by demanding organic-only farming, are risking the future of the planet’s wildlife. The world will need more than twice as much food by 2050 to feed a peak population of 8 billion affluent humans and their pets. Gates believes we should get that additional food from higher yields on the 37 percent of the [...]
The idea of turning garbage into energy is nothing new. But a super high-tech plasma technology is now gaining steam that uses heat three times as hot as the surface of the sun to literally disintegrate trash into its molecular elements. According to Popular Science magazine, one facility in Connecticut has a 15-foot machine that uses a 650-volt current passing between two electrodes to convert ordinary air into plasmas – thus creating a field of extremely intense energy much like lightning. This energy is capable of breaking down virtually any waste – and the only by-products are a glass-like [...]
If you live in San Francisco, you can now be fined up to $100 if you do not compost your food scraps! The city recently passed a new recycling and composting ordinance that requires separate trash cans for recyclables and compost. City officials promise that they will first leave many warning notes on the trash cans of repeat offenders and that there is a moratorium on fines until 2011. Recycling and composting is all well and good, but making it a crime to throw an apple core in the trash can instead of the compost can is absurd. Big Brother needs [...]