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- Thu Apr 12, 2018 - Tesla's world's largest solar battery is about to get beaten --- badly
An energy company wants to build another huge solar farm in the California desert --- and it may come with the world's biggest battery.
That battery would be triple the size of the one Tesla drew worldwide attention for building in Australia last year.
The Crimson solar project would span 2,500 acres of public land south of Interstate 10, east of Palm Springs at the base of the Mule Mountains.
San Francisco-based developer Recurrent Energy has asked the federal government for permission to build 350 megawatts of solar power at the site and up to 350 megawatts of battery storage. The biggest battery currently in existence is a 100-megawatt system that Elon Musk's Tesla, the electric-car maker and solar energy provider, installed in Australia.
It's unclear whether Recurrent will actually build a 350-megawatt battery. It doesn't have a buyer for the electricity yet, and the federal permitting process will take several years.
An encouraging sign
Still, experts say
- Thu Apr 12, 2018 - Colombia takes 'unprecedented' step to stop farms gobbling forests
Indigenous communities that depend on Colombia's Amazon rainforest for their survival will have more say over their ancestral lands, as Colombia adds 8 million hectares to its protected areas in an effort to stem forest loss.
The new measures announced by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Tuesday aim to create a buffer zone for the country's southern Amazon region.
Farmers are pushing deeper into forests, cutting down more trees to clear land for cattle-grazing and agriculture.
Santos said the protected areas will be marked off in the next two weeks, meaning that \'once and for all, we (will) know where we can farm, produce - and from what boundary we will protect all the forests and the entire Amazon\'.
This brings the total area of protected forests in Colombia to nearly 40 million hectares, Santos said in a speech in the Amazon town of Leticia, flanked by indigenous tribes and Norway's prime minister and environment minister.
Norway, a key financial backer of Co
- Thu Apr 12, 2018 - This Could Be a Very Big Moment in Canadian History
If the federal cabinet came up with a plan in its emergency meeting on the troubled Trans Mountain pipeline expansion Tuesday, no one is saying.
The meeting followed Kinder Morgan's Sunday announcement that it was suspending all \'non-essential spending\' on the $7.4-billion project because of the B.C. government's opposition.
But Burnaby South NDP MP Kennedy Stewart said he was concerned about repressive measures. He would be \'shocked,\' but not entirely surprised, if Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government invoked the Emergencies Act, which replaced the War Measures Act used by Trudeau's father, Pierre, during the 1970 FLQ crisis in Quebec.
\'This could be a very big moment in Canadian history,\' said Stewart, who was arrested March 23 for participating in a demonstration against Kinder Morgan's pipeline expansion. He returns to court Monday to learn whether the civil contempt charge he faces will be upgraded to a criminal charge.
Stewart's concern is supported by Natural R
- Thu Apr 12, 2018 - The Brazilian villagers turning plastic pollution into profit
Maria das Gracas started collecting her plastic bottles after she saw the body of her neighbour floating past her house, carried along with the pollution that helped cause the deadly floods.
She stores them by the front door of her one-story home, which sits on the litter-strewn banks of the Tejipió river in north-east Brazil.
When she has enough she will take them to the local storage skip, where a litter collector will pay her two reals for 50 plastic bottles -- about 40 pence. She's not just doing it for the money. She's doing it to stop the tide of plastic drowning this community.
Every day Maria and other residents of Coqueiral, a poor neighbourhood in the city of Recife, feel the impact of the world's plastic binge. It is visible in the waters of the river that once flowed freely through the area.
Fifty years ago when Rildo Wandray was a boy, he would jump into the Tejipió and swim, while his friends fished beside him.
Today the river is stagnant, obstructed at eve
- Wed Apr 11, 2018 - FactCheck: Pruitt's tall tale on toxic cleanups
In recent interviews, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt made two false claims about his agency's record on removing toxic sites from the Superfund National Priorities List:
*Pruitt said the EPA will remove \'almost 30\' sites from the list \'this year,\' claiming that's \'never been done before.\' But it has been done before. In 1996, the agency removed 45.
*He claimed the EPA removed seven sites from the list \'last year.\' That's false. The agency removed three sites last year.
Pruitt did not specify if he was referring to calendar years or fiscal years, which run from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30. But either way, he's wrong. The above numbers are for calendar years. As for fiscal years, the EPA has removed 30 or more sites from the list in fiscal years 1996, 1997 and 2001, and the agency deleted two sites last fiscal year.
He also made the claim in an interview that same day on Fox News, while defending hiring Albert Kelly, a former banker, to lead the agency's Su
- Wed Apr 11, 2018 - The rise of wooden skyscrapers
Forget steel and concrete --- wood is the latest go-to material for building skyscrapers. The renewable resource has high potential.
\'The world's tallest wooden house!\' reads a huge poster on the side of a building under construction in the Norwegian municipality of Brummundal.
The house doesn't have any scaffolding; cranes and an outdoor elevator are used to transport the building material to where it's needed. The wood is sourced from Norwegian forests.
When it's finished in March 2019, the wooden house will be 81 meters (265 feet) tall, and will have 18 stories with 27 apartments that ranging from 67 to 149 square meters (720 to 1,600 square feet) as well as a swimming pool, a hotel, offices and restaurants.
But despite the declaration on the poster, this is not actually the world's tallest wooden house after all. Vienna is currently working on an 84-meter-tall wooden building 24 stories tall (with a staircase made out of cement).
The building in Vienna will also co
- Wed Apr 11, 2018 - A Drop in the Ocean?
In an apparent coup for conservation, Brazil recently created two massive marine protected areas (MPAs) totaling more than 900,000 square kilometers (almost 350,000 square miles), upping the country's protected waters from 1.5 percent to nearly 25 percent. Upon closer inspection, however, it's clear that these new MPAs will actually allow a variety of activities---including commercial and recreational fishing, mining, and oil and gas exploration---in all but a small portion of the habitats they contain. And some scientists argue that the protections these designations provide are simply misplaced, because, they say, while remote, deep-ocean MPAs help countries meet conservation targets, they may not do enough to protect vulnerable biodiversity.
Brazil's recent announcement, the latest in a string of similar high-profile ocean conservation initiatives over the past decade, has rekindled an ongoing debate among scientists and conservationists about how best to design marine parks and
- Wed Apr 11, 2018 - India leads increasing antibiotic consumption
India's total use of antibiotics more than doubled from 2000 to 2015, new research says, making the country the world's biggest consumer of antibiotics and stoking fears of increasing antibiotic resistance.
Globally, total antibiotic consumption soared 65% during the time period studied. At the forefront were India with a 103% increase, China with 79%, and Pakistan with 65%, according to an international team led by Eili Y. Klein of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics + Policy, and Simon A. Levin of Princeton University (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2018, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1717295115). The researchers analyzed antibiotic consumption in 76 countries and projected total global antibiotic consumption through 2030.
When calculated as doses per 1,000 inhabitants per day, global antibiotic consumption rose 39%, with India increasing 63%, China increasing 65%, and Pakistan increasing 21%. In high-income countries, total consumption increased modestly while doses per 1,000 inhabitan
- Tue Apr 10, 2018 - Apple Now Runs On 100% Green Energy, And Here's How It Got There
You have to see Apple's Reno, Nevada, data center from the inside to truly understand how huge it is. It's made up of five long white buildings sitting side by side on a dry scrubby landscape just off I-80, and the corridor that connects them through the middle is a quarter-mile long. On either side are big, dark rooms--more than 50 of them--filled with more than 200,000 identical servers, tiny lights winking in the dark from their front panels. This is where Siri lives. And iCloud. And Apple Music. And Apple Pay.
Powering all these machines, and keeping them cool, takes a lot of power--constant, uninterrupted, redundant power. At the Reno data center, that means 100% green power from three different Apple solar farms.
The nearest one, and the first one built, is the Fort Churchill solar farm an hour southeast in desolate country near the town of Yerington, Nevada, where there's nothing but flat, dry land bordered by low, jagged hills and blue desert sky. From the main road you c
- Tue Apr 10, 2018 - In Letter to E.P.A., Top Ethics Officer Questions Pruitt's Actions
The federal government's top ethics official has taken the unusual step of sending a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency questioning a series of actions by Administrator Scott Pruitt and asking the agency to take \'appropriate actions to address any violations.\'
The letter, sent to Kevin Minoli, the E.P.A. official designated as the agency's top ethics official, addresses questions about Mr. Pruitt's rental for $50 a night of a condominium linked to an energy lobbyist, as well as his government-funded flights to his home state of Oklahoma. The letter also cites reporting last week in The New York Times that agency staff members who raised concerns about these and other actions found themselves transferred or demoted.
\'The success of our government depends on maintaining the trust of the people we serve,\' said David J. Apol, acting director of the Office of Government Ethics, in the letter sent Monday morning to the E.P.A. \'The American public needs to have confidence tha