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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…

Only Five Years Left to Make Transition to Low-Carbon Infrastructure

The infrastructure built over the next five years could “lock in” enough emissions to push the world past its target for limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius, according to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) latest annual update of energy trends, World Energy Outlook. The Agency is “increasingly pessimistic” about the prospect for dealing with climate change, said deputy…

California Adopts Cap-and-Trade System, Serves as Greenhouse Guinea Pig

After a unanimous vote by the California Air Resources Board, the state adopted the most comprehensive cap-and-trade system in the country, a key part of a 2006 global warming law that had yet to be implemented. The system will cover 85 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the state, and allows businesses to counterbalance up to…

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…

“Crony Capitalism” Alleged Behind Tar Sands Pipeline Review

The proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which could carry a diluted form of tar sands from Canada to Texas, has attracted the ire of many environmentalists, including Bill McKibben, who spearheaded protests in front of the White House last month. This week, McKibben argued the Obama administration is practicing “crony capitalism” and that e-mails obtained through a Freedom of…

Ending Fossil Fuel Subsidies May Be the Way to Jumpstart Climate Finance

A leaked World Bank document, due to be presented at the G20 meeting in November, proposes that rich countries eliminate their fossil fuel subsidies and instead contribute the money to climate aid for poor countries to help with green energy and adaptation measures. The paper also said donor countries are unlikely to come up with the…

Scrambling to Head Off Power Outages Caused by Heat Waves, Rapid Growth, and Disaster

Texas has suffered through the worst drought and one of the worst heat waves on record, pushing electricity use to a record high in an attempt to cope. Texas is the state with the largest installed wind capacity, and recently installed wind farms came through to boost the state’s electricity generation just in time. However, even this jump was…

As Markets Dive, Clean Energy Stocks Hit by “Triple Whammy”

The stock market took a beating this week, after the rating agency Standard & Poor’s downgraded U.S. bonds—but clean tech stocks have been falling even faster than the market as a whole. Shares in clean energy companies have been hit by a “triple whammy”—producing too much capacity for the demand, problems with government debt, and…

China Aims to Become Solar Powerhouse with New Subsidies

China is already the world’s biggest solar panel manufacturer, but now it is making a move to become a major solar energy consumer as well, with a nationwide feed-in tariff to pay people or businesses a subsidy for electricity they produce with solar panels. This follows on the heels of the country’s wind energy feed-in tariff in…

Debt Ceiling Impasse Could Hit Clean Energy Hard

Clean energy could be among the hardest-hit sectors if the U.S. government does not raise the debt ceiling and then defaults on the national debt. If there is a default, it could hurt in direct ways, by stopping payments for cash grants and loan guarantees that support many renewables projects. It could also hit innovation, by putting the Department…

Beleaguered EPA Must Take Charge of Greenhouse Gases, Supreme Court Rules

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court shot down a global warming lawsuit several states and environmental groups had brought against five of America’s biggest utilities, responsible for about one-tenth of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. The case was aimed at getting the court to rule greenhouse gas emissions a public nuisance and order the defendants…

Here Comes the [Entire] Sun

Yesterday—Superbowl *Sun*day—NASA released the first global view of our sun, courtesy of a pair of space probes collectively called Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory, or STEREO. Launched in October 2006, the two probes left Earth together but then separated and headed for opposite sides of the solar orb. On February 6, STEREO-A and STEREO-B finally reached…

Voyager 1 News: Probe Now Crossing Where a Mighty Wind Ceases to Blow

Technically, everything within our solar system could be said to exist in the sun‘s atmosphere. In most cases we call the corona the sun’s upper atmosphere, because that’s the part we see as the faint, outermost halo stretching from the bright orb, usually visible from Earth only during a solar eclipse. (See eclipse pictures from…

It’s Raining Planets in Pasadena

Your Breaking Orbit blogger is back from vacation, and I’ll be bringing you highlights direct from the 42nd meeting of the American Astronomical Society’s Division of Planetary Sciences in Pasadena, California. It’s a cold, drizzly day outside the convention center, but inside it’s raining hot new finds about planets, dwarf planets, exoplanets, minor planets, and…

Pluto Gets 14 New Neighbors

Beyond Neptune‘s orbit, roughly five billion miles from the sun, the solar system can seem like a dark, desolate place. But like the murky depths of the ocean, the darkness hides millions of mysterious bodies—or at least, so we think. Known collectively as trans-Neptunian objects, or TNOs, the first of this population to be discovered…