Saturday, December 27, 2008

Will Green Funding Be Harder to Come By?

As the year wraps up on a gloomy economic forecast, people are wondering what will become of the green initiatives set forth by hundreds of organizations and governments as cash becomes harder to come by.

Despite the negative outlook on the market, many expect green initiatives (and the funding for them) to continue to grow, according to a survey released by SunTrust Bank Private Wealth Management. The study surveyed more than 200 business owners, with at least $10 million in annual revenue, about their outlook on "green" giving and investing.

Of those surveyed:

69 percent responded positively to the statement, "Even if there is an economic downturn that moderately affects my business, I plan to maintain my current level of giving to environmental causes in the coming year."
Most survey respondents believe it is a "good" or "average" time to invest in mutual funds or other financial instruments that are specifically marketed as "green" or environmentally responsible.
40 percent of respondents believe it is a "good time" for all businesses to adhere to the highest possible environmental standards.
59 percent believe that a "green" investment would generate a rate of return similar to any other fund.
Nearly half said their company had an official "green" policy that included recycling, energy saving plans and other measures.
Almost half of the business owners donated personal money to organizations devoted to helping the environment.
"The survey shows that business owners recognize that environmental stewardship can have genuine bottom-line results," says Dave Johnston, senior vice president, 45 percent of business owners surveyed believe that the earth's environment is slowly deteriorating.

47 percent characterized the health of the earth's environment as "fair."
30 percent cited it as "good."
18 percent called the environment's health "poor."
Only 5 percent deemed it "excellent."
"In the surveys we have conducted over the past year, we have found business owners give altruistically and abundantly," added Johnston. "This survey indicates that business owners consider it a priority to take action based on their personal concerns about changes in the world around them."

Other concerns motivating executives to invest in the earth included pollution and energy policy, a personal desire to make positive changes in the world and past performance of a particular investment fund.

Friday, December 26, 2008

3 Tons of Ewaste from Santa Monica Hi Band!

 
 
 
 
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Full of powerful wind? Bury it in the ground for later

By Glenn Fleishman

A not-so-new notion is gaining traction for storing power generated at nonpeak times: compress regular air into underground chambers, then retrieve it later to spin turbines.

Wind power can be generated any time the wind is blowing at the same cost day and night. Because there's no efficient way to store power when it's generated but not needed, utilities and wind-power farms around the world are already having to slough off power as wind-based generation scales to something beyond scattered projects.

The New York Times blogs about a variety of efforts focused on using the excess electricity from some wind systems to compress air into sealed underground chambers, such as those left behind from various kinds of pumping and mining operations. The compressed air has potential energy that can be released later.

The current generation of compressed air energy storage (CAES) systems have to burn natural gas to heat the compressed air before the air can be used to turn turbines and recapture a good fraction of the energy used in compression. Future CAES plants are planned that skip the natural-gas input, shunting waste head from compression into the decompression process.

Certain parts of the world are better suited to using CAES for energy storage. In Ontario, the Toronto Star reported a few days ago that there are 50,000 wells in the province of which just 2,000 are still in use. Some of these wells are used for a different kind of stored energy: compressed natural gas, pumped and held until demand requires its release. Others could be used to store compressed air.

The comments on the Times blog entry are particularly interesting, with the author of a significant paper on the technology chiming in, along with a wind industry representative named Michael Goggin. Goggin wrote that storage is unnecessary because other types of generation can be shut down on demand in favor of wind—water can be held behind a dam for later release or natural gas held in pipes for later burning.

But that's surprisingly idealistic. In the real world, the cheapest power is used first. If wind power is generated during nonpeak times, less money is paid for it, even with the subsidies in effect in many countries to encourage wind generation. Goggin's scenario works only if the costs are the same among different forms of generation, or a single utility owns the various forms of generation and chooses a more-expensive method to obtain carbon credits or meet greenhouse gas emission goals.

This view also requires that transmission systems are capable of moving wind power at nonpeak times precisely to where it's best needed. As Sandia National Laboratories researcher Georgianne Peek said (in a press release about an Iowa CAES project) in June 2008, "The wind blows in some areas when electricity is not needed or where the transmission system can't accept all of the energy."

If wind power can be offset from nonpeak to peak times, then it becomes more viable, and thus sees greater use. This could balance green-power principles (more wind generation) with market motivations (lowest cost).

While batteries can also be used to store energy, they are expensive to make, use hazardous and toxic metals and compounds, and can't hold energy for very long. They're useful in specific situations, like home storage and backup with solar systems. Peak shifting, in which power generation is used during off hours to be reclaimed in some form during more expensive daytime uses, involves everything from next-generation flywheels to making ice power air conditioning during the day to providing incentives and for future electric-car owners to charge their cars primarily overnight

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Bada Boom!!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_largest_artificial_non-nuclear_explosions

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Schwarzenegger to Push ‘Green’ Policy

Despite Economic Woes

The former action-hero in an interview on the CBS program 60 Minutes discussed ‘green’ policy, emission limits, climate change, and renewable energy. He also was unafraid to criticize the Bush administration for their lack of ‘interest’ in cutting tailpipe emissions.
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, in an interview on CBS’s 60 Minutes tonight, vowed to push on with his tough environmental laws despite last month’s announcement that his state faced a whopping $40 billion deficit.

“The more difficult it gets, the more joy I find in it. Because it’s just great to figure out all of the ways of bringing people together and shaping policy. But to get it done, to get there is always a long process. But when you get it done, it’s very satisfying,” Gov. Schwarzenegger told 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley.


The governor was unafraid to criticize the Bush administration for what he termed their lack of 'interest' in cutting tailpipe emissions.
When put on the spot and asked if the current economic crisis currently makes it a bad time to change America’s energy habits, Schwarzenegger quickly dismissed that notion.

“I think that there’s never the wrong time. There’s always the right time. I will argue the opposite. Because we have seen that the industries that are performing well in California, even right now in this economic decline, is green technology. It’s really spectacular to see those manufacturers coming up to me and saying, ‘Our business is booming,’ while there’s an economic decline. So, green technology’s where it’s at,” the governor retorted.

The former actor also addressed his concern that the American automakers were not doing enough to assist in the energy changeover.

“I have been in Detroit in 2000 and have talked to the car manufacturers then to put hydrogen engines in the cars and start experimenting. And they said to me then, ‘Well, this would take five to ten years to do something like that.’ Well, that time has come now. Where are the cars?” Schwarzenegger questioned.

When Pelley noted the hatred that the city of Detroit had for him after he came out with his ultra-strict emission laws, even going as far as displaying a billboard which read ‘Arnold to Detroit: drop dead’, the governor pretty much joked it off.

That was the best free publicity I could get. But actually I was not saying, ‘Arnold to Detroit: drop dead,’ I was just saying, ‘Get off your butt,’” Schwarzenegger said.

Mr. Schwarzenegger also spoke about the Hummer he owns, which he spent $100,000 to convert from a military vehicle to a legal civilian one. In fact, he is the inventor of the civilian Hummer, the infamous gas-guzzler, when he invested the astounding sum after being told by the military manufacturer that it couldn’t be done.

His Hummer has been modified and can now run on bio-fuel.

“You can literally go up to a restaurant and get cooking oil,” he said. “it runs, basically, on anything. Anything natural.”

He also knocked environmentalists who tried to hold up a proposed solar project in the Mojave desert for what they said can endanger some animals.

“The environmentalists are the first ones to say, ‘Yes, we need renewable energy. We should get rid of, you know, using our energy from coal and from natural gas,’ and all those kind of things. But then when you say, ‘Okay, let’s do renewable, let’s go that,’ ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold up, not so fast,’” reasoned Schwarzenegger.

He also said that when trying to cut tailpipe emissions, he was thwarted by an uninterested Bush administration.

“I could tell in his eyes (President Bush’s EPA administrator Stephen Johnson) that he did not believe in it, that we would never get it, that he will create every obstacle. And the administration just had no interest in it.”

Monday, December 22, 2008

Scientists discover new forest

with undiscovered species on Google Earth
Conservationists have found a host of new species after discovering uncharted new territory on the internet map Google Earth.

By Louise Gray, Environment Correspondent


Mount Mabu itself is under threat as Mozambique's economy grows and people use the wood for fuel Photo: Julian Bayliss/RBG Kew

The mountainous area of northern Mozambique in southern Africa had been overlooked by science due to inhospitable terrain and decades of civil war in the country.

However, while scrolling around on Google Earth, an internet map that allows the viewer to look at satellite images of anywhere on the globe, scientists discovered an unexpected patch of green.

A British-led expedition was sent to see what was on the ground and found 7,000 hectares of forest, rich in biodiversity, known as Mount Mabu.

In just three weeks, scientists led by a team from the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew found hundreds of different plant species, birds, butterflies, monkeys and a new species of giant snake.

The samples which the team took are now back in Britain for analysis.

So far three new butterflies and one new species of snake have been discovered but it is believed there are at least two more new species of plants and perhaps more new insects to discover.

Julian Bayliss, a scientist for Kew based in the region, discovered Mount Mabu while searching on Google Earth for a possible conservation project. He was looking at areas of land 5,400ft (1,600m) above sea level where more rainfall means there is likely to be forest.

To his surprise he found the patches of green that denote wooded areas, in places that had not previously been explored. After taking a closer look on more detailed satellite maps, he went to have a look.

An expedition was organised for this autumn with 28 scientists from the UK, Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania and Switzerland. The group was able to stay at an abandoned tea estate but had to hack through difficult terrain and use 70 porters in order to carry out their investigations.

Within weeks they had discovered three new species of Lepidoptera butterfly and a new member of the Gaboon viper family of snakes that can kill a human in a single bite. There were also blue duiker antelope, samango monkeys, elephant shrews, almost 200 different types of butterflies and thousands of tropical plants.

Jonathan Timberlake, expedition leader, said digital imagery has helped scientists to discover more about the world. He believes there may be other small pockets of biodiversity around the world that are yet to be discovered that could be stumbled upon by searching on Google Earth, especially in areas like Mozambique or Papua New Guinea which have not been fully explored yet.

Mr Timberlake said discovering new species is not only important to science but helps to highlight conservation efforts in parts of the world threatened by logging and development.

Mount Mabu itself is under threat as Mozambique's economy grows and people use the wood for fuel or clear the land to grow crops.

"We cannot say we have discovered all the biodiversity areas in the world, there are still ones to discover and it helps to find new species to make people realise what is out there," he said.

HVAC boot cleared of Asbestos in Los Angeles

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