Duncan Clark: The much-quoted three numbers of climate change have raised awareness of the simple fact there’s far more fossil fuel than we can burn and the more we extract, the greater the risk of climate catastrophe – but they don’t tell us the whole story
A Dutch energy company is installing radiator-sized computer servers — which infamously generate large amounts of waste heat as they churn out data — in residential homes to offset energy costs, company representatives said this week. In the trial program, Rotterdam-based Eneco has equipped a handful of houses with custom-built computer servers designed to heat rooms as the servers process data for a variety of corporate computing clients. Eneco and the company behind the radiator-servers, Nerdalize, expect each one to reduce a home's heating expenses by roughly $440 over the course of a year. Eneco will cover all computing-related energy costs, the company said, but they expect the program to reduce server maintenance costs by up to 55 percent through preventing complications that arise when servers overheat. In summer months, the server-radiators will redirect excess heat outside the home, its designers say. Eneco expects to expand the venture if the trial program, which will continue through the end of the year, is successful.
Fragmentation of the world’s forests has become so severe that 70 percent of remaining woodlands are now within 1 kilometer of a road or other form of development, according to a new study. Using the world’s first high-resolution satellite map of tree cover, as well as an analysis of seven long-term fragmentation studies, researchers showed that the ongoing destruction of global forests is decreasing biodiversity by as much as 75 percent in some areas and adversely affecting the ability of forests to store carbon and produce clean water. The study, published in the journal Science Advances, found that 20 percent of the world’s forests are just 100 meters from a human-created “edge.” Even many parks and protected areas have undergone fragmentation. The few remaining large, virgin tracts of forest can be found in parts of the Amazon, Siberia, Congo, and Papua New Guinea, the study said. “The key results are shocking and sad,” said lead researcher Nick Haddad. “This study is a wake-up call to how much we’re affecting ecosystems — including areas we think we’re conserving.”
Known for its beautiful natural landscapes, Christ the Redeemer statue, and Copacabana beach, Rio de Janeiro is an iconic city. Citizens’ ability to access these and local opportunities, though, has been limited in the past due to increased reliance on individual cars generating congestion.
Low-income communities lack access to reliable, affordable public transit. Commuters face atrociously long travel times due to intense traffic congestion exacerbated by the geography of the city. One study showed that congestion cost Rio and São Paulo $43 billion in 2013 alone.
But Rio’s transport system may be starting to switch gears. Over the past few years, city leaders have started pursuing low-carbon public solutions for urban mobility. And now, in celebration of its 450th anniversary this year and as the host city of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, the city is following up with concrete actions to begin transforming the city’s image into one of a global leader in sustainable mobility.
Our analysis shows that both municipally-owned utilities like Fort Collins Utilities and other member- or independently-owned utilities alike can achieve very real success while embracing efficiency and solar.
African countries are recalculating their gross domestic products to include previously unaccounted economic activities. Is it a strategy of these countries to market themselves or does rebasing reflect the economic reality of the situation?
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