Pioneering technology to deliver the cheapest, small-scale concentrated solar power plants in the world could revolutionise the renewable energy market
The idea behind the design – so-called Concentrated Solar Power or CSP – is simple. A field of mirrors on the ground tracks the sun and concentrates its rays on to a central point which heats up. That heat is converted into electricity.
“We are developing plonkable heliostats. Plonkable means that from factory to installation you can just drop them down on to the ground and they work.”
So no costly cement, no highly-trained workforce, no wires, just two workers to lay out the steel frames on the ground and a streetlight-style central tower.
Tropical forests face a lot of threats, particularly from the logging and agriculture industries. Their continued disappearance from the face of the Earth is therefore no great news — but new research suggests that they may be disappearing even faster than we thought. And that could have big implications for the global effort against climate change.
Giant fires, insect outbreaks could be ‘game-changer’ for some forests Staff Report FRISCO —Forest Service researchers say “mega-disturbances” like giant wildfires and insect outbreaks are likely to hasten the slow demise of temperate forest ecosystems in the coming decades.
El Paso research shows strong link between school performance and air pollution Staff Report FRISCO — A new children’s health study by researchers at the University of Texas at El Paso reinforces existing evidence that exposure to toxic air pollution from cars and trucks has a big effect on school performance. The UTEP study found that fourth and fifth graders who are exposed to toxic air pollutants at home are more likely to have lower GPAs. The findings are based on an analysis of academic performance and sociodemographic data for 1,895 fourth and fifth grade children in the El Paso Independent School District.
Canada is facing a critical moment in its history.
The Canadian dollar is at an 11-year low, and some say the country is in a recession. Oil producers in the tar sands are selling at a loss. Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government, which had banked on turning the country into a sort of petrostate, is now mired in scandals. A scathing critique of the Harper administration, entitled "The Closing of the Canadian Mind," recently became the most-read story in The New York Times.
Meanwhile, in oil-rich and notoriously conservative Alberta, the left-wing NDP swept to victory in the May provincial elections — a seismic shift that Globe and Mail columnist Doug Sanders described in a tweet as akin to "Bernie Sanders becoming Texas governor by a big majority."
With a national election scheduled for Oct. 19 fast approaching, an unlikely voting bloc – native people – could play a key role in deciding the future direction of the country.
Scientists say warming waters and melting ice were to blame for levels rising faster than 50 years ago and ‘it’s very likely to get worse’ Sea levels worldwide have risen an average of nearly eight centimetres (three inches) since 1992 because of...
The consequences of global sea level rise could be even scarier than the worst-case scenarios predicted by the dominant climate models, which don't fully account for the fast breakup of ice sheets and glaciers, NASA scientists said today (Aug. 26) at a press briefing.
What's more, sea level rise is already occurring. The open question, NASA scientists say, is just how quickly the seas will rise in the future.
Beekeepers accuse pesticide industry of trying to ‘hijack’ public policy
FRISCO — The public comment period for proposed EPA rules on bee-killing pesticides may be over, but the battle over pesticide policies will continue, as conservation groups suspect that the pesticide industry may have exerted undue influence over the rule-making process. ADVERTISEMENT
Those concerns are reinforced by some of the country’s beekeepers, who say the proposed rule doesn’t do enough to address federal responsibility to address the impact of pesticides on bee deaths. The Pollinator Stewardship Council recently submitted a letter to the EPA detailing its concerns about the proposed new rule.
Carbon-pricing may be off the table, but there is agreement to keep pushing after crucial Paris talks in December
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Climate activists are encouraged by some measured progress at recent talks in Germany, but said there’s still a long way to go to meet the ambitious goal of creating a global agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions and slow the pace of global warming.
One of the most positive signs at the recent Bonn talks is that most countries seem prepared to keep talking after the COP21 conference in Paris — crucial because the Paris talks likely won’t deliver a deal that meets the make-or-break goal of limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius.“We don’t have eons to tackle this,” said David Waskow, the international climate director at World Resources Institute. “Having countries agree that there will be an ongoing process (after Paris) to ramp up actions, and also to continue building up resilience is important,” Waskow said.
Factories in Russia increased their production of industrial waste products and then claimed millions of carbon credits for destroying them after an international trading scheme went into effect.
Evidence published1 in Nature Climate Change reveals that several Russian chemical plants increased production of highly potent greenhouse-gas waste to “unprecedented levels” after they could reap financial benefits from their disposal.
Carbon credits grant nations the right to emit gases that contribute to global warming. They are traded internationally on carbon markets such as the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme, and their monetary value is determined by how much buyers are willing to pay for them.
FRISCO — A push to get kids eating healthier school meals isn’t exactly playing out as hoped, according to Vermont researchers, who used cameras to track what students are doing with the fresh fruit and veggies on their lunch trays. It may not be a surprise to anyone who has spent time in a school lunch room, but many students are putting the apples and oranges straight into the trash, eating even fewer of them than they did before the the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 was passed.
FRISCO — Plastic debris in the world’s oceans is now so widespread that about 60 percent of all seabirds have bits of plastic in their gut. Based on current trends, 99 percent of all seabirds will be affected by plastic ingestion by 2050, a team of international scientists said this week.
Based on a review of all studies published since the early 1960s, the scientists estimated that more than 90 percent of seabirds have alive today have eaten plastic of some kind. In 1960, plastic was found in the stomach of less than 5 per cent of individual seabirds, rising to 80 per cent by 2010.
“For the first time, we have a global prediction of how wide-reaching plastic impacts may be on marine species … and the results are striking,” said CSIRO researcher Dr. Chris Wilcox. “We predict, using historical observations, that 90 per cent of individual seabirds have eaten plastic. This is a huge amount and really points to the ubiquity of plastic pollution.”
FRISCO — The West Coast isn’t the only place seeing unprecedented algae blooms this summer. Recent water sampling by researchers at William & Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science show some of the densest concentrations of algae recorded in Chesapeake Bay in recent years.
Since the 1950s, when mass production of plastics began in earnest, the world has embraced their ease of use and robustness. But with millions of tonnes of of plastic debris entering the world's oceans every year, their durability is also a curse, as Ann Jones reports.
Maddy Harland tells the story of the Shona African community who healed their damaged ecosystems. They restored their springs, rebuilt their soil, regenerated their agriculture and alleviated poverty and malnutrition. Permaculture farming has proven effective all over the planet.
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