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Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Reggie Watts Goes Solar for #ClickClean

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014
Reggie Watts Goes Solar for #ClickClean

Together, we can stop clicking dirty. Join us, and ask Internet companies to switch to a greener online, so we can all enjoy a greener offline. Learn what’s up at clickclean.org
#ClickClean

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The Southern Megalopolis: Using the Past to Predict the Future of Urban Sprawl in the Southeast U.S.

Friday, August 15th, 2014
Figure 1. Business-as-usual urbanization scenario for the Southeast US.

DEPARTMENT OF APPLIED ECOLOGY
NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY
Cities are expanding, and as they do urban sprawl–low-density urban development outside the urban core–is expanding even more rapidly. In some regions, expansion of suburban habitats as a result of shifts to automobile-dependent living has led to increases in the urban footprint even where populations have not shown large increases. Urban sprawl increases the connectivity among urban habitats while simultaneously fragmenting non-urban habitats such as forests and grasslands. These changes have a variety of effects on species and ecosystems, including impacts to water pollution, disturbance dynamics, local climate, and predator-prey relationships. Urban sprawl will also, almost certainly, influence the ability of species to respond to climate change, in as much as it creates barriers to the movement of species that cannot survive in cities and corridors for those who can. Knowledge about the potential future character of urban sprawl is thus useful to a variety of stakeholders, including resource managers, conservation organizations, and urban planners.

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The Societal Costs and Benefits of Commuter Bicycling

Monday, August 11th, 2014

NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH SCIENCES
Car use is the dominant mode of transport to work in many high-income cities. In car-oriented cities, commuting by private motor vehicle allows access to employment and training (crucial social determinants of health) while enabling households to manage competing responsibilities. However, car-dependent commuting has significant negative public health effects for commuters, the wider community, and local and global ecosystems. A mode shift to greater use of active transport would bring environmental, health, social, and equity benefits (de Nazelle et al. 2011; Hosking et al. 2011).

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Energy to Spare: NIST Completes Successful Net-Zero Energy House Experiment

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014
Energy to Spare: NIST Completes Successful Net-Zero Energy House Experiment

NIST conducted a year-long experiment to prove it could build a modern, spacious house that would create as much energy as it uses. This “net-zero” house was home to a virtual family that consumed as much energy as an average American family of four. Thanks to the house’s energy efficient construction and appliances, and solar panels for producing electricity and hot water, the house made more energy than the family used. The house will serve as a testbed for new energy efficient technologies for decades to come.

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The Economic and Climate Change Benefits of Accelerating Repair and Replacement of America’s Natural Gas Distribution Pipelines

Monday, July 28th, 2014
Figure 1: Historical U.S. Employment, Thousands of Jobs

BLUEGREEN ALLIANCE
As the United States continues a slow but steady recovery from the recession triggered by the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008, investment is desperately needed to fuel economic growth and job creation—including modernizing large swaths of our nation’s infrastructure. Repairing the system of distribution pipelines that deliver natural gasto homes and businesses offers an opportunity to drive significant investment in our economy. Doing so will help to fix a critical part of our aging infrastructure while creating jobs and cutting global warming pollution—a winning proposition for both the environment and the economy.

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The 2014 International Energy Efficiency Scorecard

Friday, July 25th, 2014
2014 Energy-Efficiency Scorecard

AMERICAN COUNCIL FOR AN ENERGY-EFFICIENT ECONOMY (ACEEE)
In this second edition of the International Energy Efficiency Scorecard, we analyze the world’s 16 largest economies covering more than 81% of global gross domestic product and about 71% of global electricity consumption. We looked at 31 metrics divided roughly in half between policies and quantifiable performance to evaluate how efficiently these economies use energy. The policy metrics were scored based on the presence in a country or region of a best-practice policy…The United States has made some progress toward greater energy efficiency in recent years, particularly in areas such as building codes, appliance standards, voluntary partnerships between government and industry, and, recently, fuel economy standards for passenger vehicles and heavy-duty trucks. However, the overall story is disappointing.

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Features of a Fully Renewable US Electricity System: Wind and Solar PV

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014
Figures 1 and 2

STANFORD UNIVERSITY
DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL AND ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING
CO2 and air pollution emission reduction goals as well as energy security, price stability, and affordability considerations make renewable electricity generation attractive. A highly renewable electricity supply will be based to a large extent on wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) power, since these two resources are both abundant and either relatively inexpensive or rapidly becoming cost competitive. Such a system demands a fundamentally different design approach: While electricity generation was traditionally constructed to be dispatchable in order to follow the demand, wind and solar PV power output is largely determined by weather conditions that are out of human control.

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Driving California Forward

Friday, June 13th, 2014
FIGURE E-1 Breakdown of net societal economic benefit by component (2025)

ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE FUND
AMERICAN LUNG ASSOCIATION IN CALIFORNIA

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Integrating Conservation and Highway Planning

Thursday, June 12th, 2014
Figure ES.1. Steps of the Integrated Ecological Framework.

TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH BOARD
This project addresses the questions of how to (1) achieve interagency agreement on ecological solutions, (2) identify and leverage existing ways to increase predictability and assurance that credit will be allowed for addressing agency conservation and restoration priorities early in planning, (3) identify and leverage existing tools to increase resource agency confidence that mitigation commitments will be kept, and (4) make decisions last over time and across jurisdictions.

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Runaway Train: The Reckless Expansion of Crude-by-Rail in North America

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014
Table 1: Ten Major Accidents Involving Crude-by-Rail in US A and Canada, 2013-2014

OIL CHANGE INTERNATIONAL
This report tracks the rise of crude-by-rail in North America, detailing where crude trains are being loaded and unloaded, how many trains carrying crude oil are crossing the North American continent, and who is involved in this burgeoning trade.

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