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Air Pollution Now Top Environmental Health Risk

New analysis from the World Health Organization (WHO) links exposure to air pollution to roughly 7 million deaths annually. The report confirms that air pollution is now the world’s largest environmental health risk. It estimates 4.3 million people died in 2012—mainly due to cooking inside with coal or wood stoves. Another 3.7 million died from outdoor pollution, including…

Global Temperature Rises in 2012, Climate Conditions Questioned

Just days after the announcement that last year was the warmest in history for the continental United States, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) found global temperatures are rising too. In their separate annual analyses of surface temperatures, NASA and NOAA ranked 2012 among the 10 warmest years on record globally (NOAA showed 2012…

Experts Debate a Link between Climate Change and Extreme Weather

As the 2012 harvest season comes to a close, pumpkins appear to be one of the few successes for farmers following the severe drought felt across many parts of the United States. Damage to the nation’s two largest crops, corn and soybeans, puts these staples below demand for the first time since 1974, while the rising cost to feed cattle drives up…

Women Workers Tap the Sun to Light Up Homes in Rural Bangladesh

  In the developing world green jobs can have a double-barreled impact; providing work and wages while tapping renewable energy technology to deliver “developed nation” services to people who desperately need them. These twin benefits are converging in Bangladesh, where female entrepreneurs are gaining economic independence as solar power contractors and providing life-changing electricity to…

The Evolution of Solar Technology

(View infographic larger.) By Priyeshu Garg In a world where most energy production comes from non-renewable resources, people are trying to find efficient and price-effective ways to use renewable energy. One of the great leaps in renewable technology has been the solar panel, which is composed of several solar cells that convert light into electricity.…

U.S. Energy Department: Peak Travel Season Could Cost Drivers 6% More

Gasoline prices have edged off the pedal in recent days, but the Energy Information Administration this week released new data showing motorists will pay about a quarter more per gallon during peak travel season—April through September. Prices will top out at $4.01, on average, in May. The last time gasoline spiked to such levels was…

Maldives President and Climate Advocate Forced at Gunpoint to Step Down

Maldives leader Mohamed Nasheed, called the “world’s most environmentally outspoken president” because of his calls for drastically cutting greenhouse gas emissions, was forced to resign—at gunpoint, he claimed. He had used stunts such as an underwater cabinet meeting to highlight his island nation’s vulnerability to sea-level rise. His resignation followed weeks of protests and was apparently motivated by internal politics unrelated to…

Shine a Light: The Suitcase That’s Saving Women’s Lives

What if your carry-on suitcase could save a woman’s life? In the fight against maternal mortality in the developing world, a rugged, portable “Solar Suitcase” is providing reliable electricity to clinics in 17 countries where healthcare workers previously struggled to provide emergency obstetric care by the light of candles, flashlights and mobile phones. The Solar…

Renewable Energy Saves Jobs

  By Ezra Drissman In a slow economy during a time when people are looking to save money, renewable energy can provide a dual solution.  The two biggest expenses for most businesses are labor and utilities.  What if a company could use clean energy technology to save on its second biggest cost? The logic in…

Detroit Can Revitalize Ailing Economy by Spurring Solar Jobs

  By Ezra Drissman With so many people out of work, bold and creative ideas are needed to revive floundering economies. This is particularly true in Detroit, where recent figures show some areas suffer from 14 percent unemployment. As an engineering hub and manufacturing powerhouse, Detroit has a chance to develop a solution that could…

Australia’s Wild Weather May Have Helped Push Carbon Tax

Although Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard had promised before to not enact a carbon tax, floods, bush fires, heat waves, and drought reawakened discussion about putting a price on greenhouse gas emissions. This week, Australia’s House of Representatives narrowly passed a carbon tax, sending the bill to the country’s Senate, where observers say it is almost certain…

Ending Oil Tax Breaks Could Pay For New Jobs—and Some May Be Green

President Obama unveiled a new job creation plan in a major speech to Congress last week and follow-up speeches this week, in which he called for an end to tax breaks for oil and gas companies to bring in an additional $32 billion over 10 years to pay for increased government spending. Earlier this year, Obama called…

Solar Industry “Darwinism” Weeding Out Weaker Companies

Solar panel manufacturer Solyndra, which recently filed for bankruptcy, got special treatment from the Obama administration, some have alleged, since the company’s $535 million in federally guaranteed loans had much lower interest rates than those of other green energy companies, according to an investigative report. The FBI raided Solyndra’s office, although it would not comment on the…

Tar Sands Pipeline Gets Green Light in Environmental Review

Hundreds of protesters—including famed climate researcher James Hansen—have been arrested in protests in front of the White House over the past two weeks, in an attempt to stop the construction of a pipeline from Canada to Texas to carry diluted tar sands to Gulf Coast refineries, mainly over concerns about greenhouse gas emissions and risks of…

Australia’s Ambitious Scheme Sets World’s Highest Price on Emissions

Australia, with the highest per capita greenhouse emissions of any large developed country, will soon take on one of the most ambitious schemes to tackle climate change, with a new carbon-trading system. The planned carbon tax will start in 2012 and apply first to the 500 worst polluting companies responsible for about 60 percent of the country’s emissions,…