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Showing posts from June, 2006

A New Way to Ask, 'How Green Is My Conscience?'

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By CHRISTINE LARSON, NY Times "Call them green upgrades: easy ways for consumers to help the environment without changing their behavior. Such upgrades have been proliferating: Skiers, for example, can spend an extra $2 at some resorts to offset the pollution produced in a drive to the mountains; the money goes to environmental organizations. On Web sites like TerraPass.com or CoolDriver.org, drivers can total a car's pollution for a year and direct a corresponding sum to clean-energy projects. " Click To Read

Air Conditioning: Our Cross to Bear

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About 5.5 percent of the gasoline burned annually by America's cars and light trucks -- 7 billion gallons -- goes to run air-conditioners. That's equivalent to the total oil consumption of Indonesia, a petroleum-rich country with a population size comparable to ours. Four states -- California, Arizona, Texas and Florida -- account for 35 percent of that extra fuel consumption Fifty-six percent of refrigerants worldwide are used for air-conditioning buildings and vehicles. North America, with 6 percent of the world's people, accounts for nearly 40 percent of its refrigerant market, as well as 43 percent of all refrigerants currently "banked" inside appliances and 38 percent of the resultant global-warming effects. Finally, in counting costs, it's important to consider not only fuel and refrigerants but also the materials -- steel, copper, plastics and a lot more -- that have gone into building up the nation's colossal tonnage of air-conditioning capaci

Panel Supports a Controversial Report on Global Warming

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By ANDREW C. REVKIN, NY Times An influential and controversial paper asserting that recent warming in the Northern Hemisphere was probably unrivaled for 1,000 years was endorsed Thursday, with a few reservations, by a panel convened by the nation's pre-eminent scientific body. More broadly, the panel examined other recent research comparing the pronounced warming trend over the last several decades with temperature shifts over the last 2,000 years. It expressed high confidence that warming over the last 25 years exceeded any peaks since 1600. And in a news conference here on Thursday, three panelists said the current warming was probably, but not certainly, beyond any peaks since the year 900 Click To Read Article

Pollution From Chinese Coal Casts a Global Shadow

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By KEITH BRADSHER and DAVID BARBOZA, NY Times. Unless China finds a way to clean up its coal plants and the thousands of factories that burn coal, pollution will soar both at home and abroad. The increase in global-warming gases from China's coal use will probably exceed that for all industrialized countries combined over the next 25 years, surpassing by five times the reduction in such emissions that the Kyoto Protocol seeks. The sulfur dioxide produced in coal combustion poses an immediate threat to the health of China's citizens, contributing to about 400,000 premature deaths a year. It also causes acid rain that poisons lakes, rivers, forests and crops. Click To Read

Who Killed The Electric Car

Coming soon: Cars that get 100 miles per gallon

Coming soon: Cars that get 100 miles per gallon Last modified: April 25, 2006, 4:00 AM PDT By Michael Kanellos Staff Writer, CNET News.com A car that doesn't need gas, or at least not much, is getting slightly more realistic all the time. A few small companies will start to offer services and products for converting hybrid cars like the Toyota Prius that currently get around 50 miles per gallon into plug-in hybrids that rely more heavily on electrical power and can get about 100 miles per gallon. "I get about 99 miles to the gallon," said Felix Kramer, founder of The California Cars Initiative (CalCars), who owns the eighth Prius converted into a plug-in hybrid. "When gasoline costs $3 a gallon, driving most gasoline cars costs 8 to 20 cents a mile. With a plug-in hybrid, your local travel and commuting can go down to 2 to 4 cents a mile." In general, plug-in hybrids have much larger battery packs than standard hybrids--in prototypes, the extra batt

One Farm Town's Drive for Energy Independence

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by Monica Davey, NY Times The State of Indiana first brought the idea to Reynolds last year, calling it BioTown, in an experiment Gov. Mitch Daniels acknowledged could be viewed as a bit of "a stunt." But in the ensuing months and as the price of gasoline soared, Reynolds adopted the notion as its own, and residents began speaking passionately of an end to their reliance on foreign oil and of the potential electricity they could envision in the more than 150,000 pigs that wander nearby. Since November, nearly 100 of the community's residents have begun driving cars that can run on ethanol-based fuel, as has the employee who drives one of the town's three vehicles. The other two town cars have been replaced with diesel vehicles, so they can run on bio-diesel fuel like vegetable oil. Click To Read