We know from exhaustive past research that walkable neighborhoods and cities reduce driving, associated emissions, and living costs. Three important academic studies published earlier this year demonstrate that they are good for our health, too. In particular, the research,...
Today is World Food Day, a day to take a close look at our global food system and see what's working, what's not, and what needs to change. Much of the emphasis around feeding the world tends to focus around increasing food production. But just as important – and often left out of the conversation – is how we treat what’s already been produced.
Coating soybean seeds with a class of insecticides that has been implicated in honeybee deaths and partially banned in the European Union does not increase soybean yields compared to using no pesticides at all, according to an extensive review by the the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Seed treatment provides at most $6 in benefits per acre (an increase in revenue of less than 2 percent), and most likely no financial benefit at all, the EPA analysis concluded. The insecticides, known as neonicotinoids, are only effective for the first few weeks after planting, studies have found, when soybean pests are not typically active. Moreover, there are cost-effective alternatives, such as organophosphate insecticides, which can be applied as the plants are growing if pests do threaten the crop. Neonicotinoid seed treatments could theoretically help fend off sporadic and unpredictable pests, the report notes, but that benefit would be small and unlikely to be noticed outside of the southern U.S.
The outlook for the residential solar market in the United States remains strong, with policymakers looking to reduce the regulatory burden for new installations and major downstream players focusing on continued installed system cost reduction.
The “utility death spiral” is a term that is becoming all too familiar as distributed energy technologies expand. But how real is it? Are regulated utilities going way — or are they on their way to new business models? According to a new study by Berkeley Lab, distributed solar pho
Local communities are key to protecting the world’s last remaining forests. Indigenous peoples hold legal or official rights to one-eighth of the world’s forests, about 513 million hectares (1.3 billion acres).
Read more about how researchers used Global Forest Watch maps to identify lower rates of deforestation where governments protect communities’ rights.
Here’s a really interesting way to look at cities. Andrew Price at Strong Towns has developed a graphically compelling way to break down developed areas into what he calls “places” and “non-places.”
Places are for people. Places are destinations. Whether it is a place to sleep, a place to shop, a place of employment, or simply a place to relax – it has a purpose and adds a destination to the city. Building interiors are the most common form of Places found in cities. Examples of outdoor Places include;
Parks and gardens
Non-Places are the padding between destinations. Examples of Non-Places include:
For more than 15 years, there were many efforts to lure a new grocery store into the space. However, while the store would be profitable, it wouldn’t be profitable enough to satisfy the demands of the shareholder-based economy of a large corporation.
Increasing global supplies of unconventional natural gas will not help to reduce the overall upward trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions and the planetary warming that comes with it, according to a new study published in the journal Nature. The findings further undercut the notion, long touted by proponents of natural gas, that the fuel —Read More
Energy modeling allows designers to simulate a building’s energy performance during the early design and concept phase itself. It provides engineers with a display that is highly visual and interactive. As a result, engineers can analyze the results and device appropriate solutions; they can also communicate extensive databases and complex concepts...
The U.S. agriculture industry used nearly 800 trillion British thermal units (Btu) of energy in 2012, or about as much primary energy as the entire state of Utah. Agricultural energy consumption includes energy needed to grow and harvest crops and energy needed to grow livestock. Crop operations consume much more energy than livestock operations, and energy expenditures for crops account for a higher percentage of farm operating costs.
People who study ecological design understand the importance of thermal mass for keeping places cool in the summer and warm in the winter. As water issues continue to plague many parts of the planet, the notion of rainwater harvesting beco...
Offshore wind power isn’t usually associated with lower-cost energy, at least not in the public imagination. But it turns out that installing 54 gigawatts of offshore wind power off America’s coasts can cut the cost of electricity in the U.S. by an astounding $7.68 billion a year. That&r
The negotiating architecture that has governed the decades-long pursuit of an international climate agreement is outdated, said Todd Stern, the U.S. special envoy for climate change at the State Department and the nation’s lead climate negotiator. In remarks delivered at Yale University’s Law School on Tuesday, Stern reiterated the U.S. position that all nations — both rich ones and developing ones — must be brought together under one agreement that includes pledges to cut emissions. "This split between developed and developing countries in the climate convention is the singular fault line in these negotiations," Stern said, "and has been from the beginning." Under the recently expired Kyoto protocol, developing countries like China and India were exempted from committing to emissions cuts. Climate talks are scheduled to resume in Lima, Peru later this year, with a goal of achieving a new and fully global treaty at a meeting in Paris in 2015. That pact, Stern argued, ought to require all nations to submit emissions reduction targets, tailored as needed to national interests and abilities. These should not be made legally binding, Stern said — a tack he described as "untenable" — but compliance could be ensured with clear rules for transparency, standardized metrics for accounting and reporting of emissions, and ideally, the passage of sound climate policies in each nation. On the prospect for domestic climate legislation in the U.S., Stern suggested a tipping point was near: "I doubt, even year from now," he said, "whether major political candidates will consider it viable to deny the existence of climate change."