Enviro News Wrap: New Rules on Mercury, Nuclear Energy Renaissance, Environmentalism Can’t Address Climate Change, and more…

The latest environmental news headlinesGlobalWarmingisReal contributor Anders Hellum-Alexander wraps-up the climate and environmental news headlines for the past week:

  • The US Environmental Protection Agency will soon enforce new rules on the industrial use of mercury. This will greatly reduce the amount of mercury being spewed into our environment. This is an environmental and public health victory, but some are unhappy with the negative financial impact it will have on the cement and coal industry.
  • Portugal has transformed its energy infrastructure by investing in hydro, solar and wind power. Residential power in Portugal is more expensive than in the US because of this heavy focus on green energy. But, paying the costs of energy production upfront is a less environmental destructive way to operate an economy.
  • When vast fields of GMO crops are created they infiltrate the environment. Monsanto Canola is flourishing in the wild and near agricultural lands in some US states. GMO Canola will affect the environment just as any invasive species does by pushing out native species and changing local ecological cycles.
  • The Guardian provides a short article about how some people are housing themselves with alternatives to our normal wood frame and brick houses.
  • The Christian Science Monitor reports that this US hurricane season may be among the most extreme in recent history. Some argue that global climate change is causing more severe and frequent hurricanes, and some disagree. No matter how the argument plays out, we still have to respond to real and occurring events, like an increase in the severity of hurricane seasons around the world.
  • The nuclear industry in the US is jumping on the environmental inertia against coal and gas power generation. Before deciding that you are against nuclear energy, please research the facts about modern nuclear energy, it has come a long way since the 1970s.
  • A Grist contributor explores the claim that the movement known as “‘environmentalism’ can never address climate change.” He makes the argument that revamping our energy and resource infrastructure in the US is too large of an undertaking for environmental do-gooders. Only a full movement of the entire US public could bring about an adequate response to the challenges created by climate change.
  • Another advancement in solar energy allows a solar module to create energy from heat as well as light, greatly increasing the efficiency of a solar module. Technology Review reports.
  • A new process decreases the financial and time cost of testing certain newly developed batteries for longevity and performance. This is greatly needed for renewable energy as batteries are an essential component of some green energy industries like solar and electric cars. Technology Review reports.
  • The New York Times reports on making butter into fuel. Many possibilities are available to us besides conventional fuels.

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  1. FYI: Regarding the item above on the nuclear industry:

    For a free, realistic portrait of this generation of US nuclear plants, I suggest my "Rad Decision: A Novel of Nuclear Power." It is written as a thriller to avoid reader boredom – and that seems to be working, judging from the comments I've received at the website. Why not hear what someone in the bowels of the industry has to say? It is free online, or it's in paperback. See http://RadDecision.blogspot.com

    “I got to about page four and I was hooked, I couldn’t put it down.
    … It was very easy to read, the characters were well described, and they were vibrant.”

    – DAVID LEVY, noted science author and Parade Magazine contributor. You can hear David Levy's interview with the author of Rad Decision at http://www.letstalkstars.com/recent_2010.htm

    "I'd like to see Rad Decision widely read"
    – STEWART BRAND, founder of The Whole Earth Catalog.


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