Climate change in America: What the U.S. stands to lose

10 12 2009

When it comes to global warming, it’s a common belief that the industrialized countries in the north have created the problem and the developing countries in the south have to suffer the consequences. But that doesn’t mean the industrialized world would escape impact. Read the rest of this entry »


China’s environmental laundry list

10 12 2009

The Copenhagen conference is rolling and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao joined the ranks of world leaders attending the summit, ensuring the People’s Republic will not be overlooked at the negotiation table. But as the international community addresses the global issue of climate change, China already has its hands full with environmental problems in its own backyard – and some of them will be completely brushed over at Copenhagen. Read the rest of this entry »

Seven Real Scientific Scandals (and why the climate change emails don’t qualify)

6 12 2009

Kristen Minogue/MEDILL

The email leak from the Climate Research Unit at Britain’s University of East Anglia ranks among the major gaffes in science, if only because it’s rare for so many researchers in a single institution to be thrown under scrutiny at once.

But calling it a scientific scandal or implying that it tarnishes the credible evidence for global warming is simply inaccurate. Read the rest of this entry »

Green building: an ironic truth

1 12 2009

David Dwyer's home and first green project. Close to $1 million renovation, but utilities are only $80/month. Kristen Minogue/MEDILL

Nine months after Congress passed the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, investments in energy efficiency haven’t quite gripped the American public the way legislators hoped they would – and part of it might be because they focused too much on renewables.

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The green dollar dilemma

25 11 2009

With some investors skeptical of the long-term returns, many hopeful green companies have to look for capital in unlikely places. Kristen Minogue/MEDILL

The founders of Natcore Technology had a vision. They wanted to create a thin film for solar cells that would decrease the amount of silicon manufacturers would need to assemble them, cutting the cost of solar panels in half and making the technology more competitive.

But they had trouble winning over potential investors, especially since at the time they did not even know how long the technology would take to develop, much less how much revenue it would generate.

“They didn’t understand that the R&D takes time,” said Charles Provini, president, CEO and director of the company. “They didn’t understand that prototypes have to be developed. They didn’t get that concept.”

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Six technologies that could change the Earth

25 11 2009
These phosphorescent microparticles could power photovoltaic cells 24/7 for up to 12 years. Steve Stark/MPK, CO.

This sheet of phosphorescent microparticles could power photovoltaic cells 24/7 for up to 12 years. Steve Stark/MPK, CO.

From emissions-eating biofuels to metals-scavenging chemicals, the Midwest Clean Tech 2009 conference this week showcased a tidal wave of green ideas. Here are six expo show stoppers. Still in the developing stages, most won’t emerge on the market for at least another year. But they prove that the green movement is moving on innovation. Read the rest of this entry »

Barcelona walk-outs don’t dampen optimism for Copenhagen

12 11 2009

A new climate treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol seems unlikely. But despite the international antics that marked Copenhagen’s prelude in Barcelona, the mood remains hopeful that something will be accomplished when the international community comes together again this December. Read the rest of this entry »