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Enviro News Wrap: Coal Ash Sludge; 7 Billion People; Addicted to Oil; What Makes a Grid Smart, and more

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

  • Industrial processes leave behind nasty sludge and companies want to deal with it the cheapest way possible. The only thing standing in their way is our government. The U.S. government has deemed waste from incinerators “non-toxic” and waste from coal fired power plants can just be dumped in pits like the one that broke open and created a flood of coal ash in Tennessee a couple of years ago.
  • National Geographic’s feature this month is Earths approach to holding 7 billion humans. Overpopulation here we come!
  • A smug columnist for the New York Times writes this article on his winning of a bet. The bet was for $5,000 and the columnist would win if the price of oil was less than an average of $200 of the 5 year span between 2005 and 2010. Of course he won the bet, but his assertions from winning the bet are removed from context and paint a naive picture of energy production in 2010.
    To quote the article:

    “Giant new oil fields have been discovered off the coasts of Africa and Brazil. The new oil sands projects in Canada now supply more oil to the United States than Saudi Arabia does. Oil production in the United States increased last year, and the Department of Energy projects further increases over the next two decades.”

  • The low price of oil keeps us addicted while the stakes keep getting higher with climate change and human health. Oil prices should be higher but the market is distorted by the influence of the producers of the goods. The only reason why oil is so cheap in price is because of all the costs we do not pay with money but instead choose to pay with our health and the health of our environment.
  • Technology Review covers advances in materials in 2010.
  • The Smart Grid has become a popular idea, learn about some physical structures that make the grid “Smart.”
  • Rare Earth mining is dominated by China and the US is struggling to extract enough to continue being a player in the market.

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