India to Build New Powerplant with Assistance from France

Last Sunday, the proposed 9,900-megawatt Jaitapur nuclear power plant in India received the go-ahead from the country’s Environment Ministry, provided that the project adheres to 35 conditions and safeguards. Initial planning was stalled by environmental controversy and financial considerations.

Environment Minister, Jairam Ramesh, said he considered a multitudinous matters like economic growth, diversification of fuel mix for power generation and environment protection.

The proposed project to be put up on the Konkan coast and jointly developed by state-owned Nuclear Power Corporation (NPC) and French giant Areva, has faced much opposition from locals and green groups.

The Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) of the Ministry already suggested a conditional environmental clearance involving setting up of six units of 1,650 mw each.
An agreement between Areva and the NPC is expected to be signed during French President Nicholas Sarkozy’s visit next month.

The project will help energy deficient states like Maharashtra, that face obligatory power cuts and the NPC foresees the first unit of the project being commissioned by 2017-18.

The project’s opposition expressed worry about the radiological safety of the nuclear plant and its environmental impact.

Israel Defense Forces Set an Impressive Ecological Example

According to the blog, TheCoolJew:

“The IDF announced today the implementation of its new plan, “IDF Protects the Environment“, to the sum of one billion NIS, in which it will mend past damages and prevent future harm to Israel’s natural landscapes. The initial phase of the plan was marked by the opening of the IDF’s first “green base”, the newly-renovated Officer Instruction School.”

The plan was kicked off with a ceremony featuring attendance by Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, Commander of the Ground Forces, Maj. Gen. Shlomo (Sami) Turjeman, Head of the Technology and Logistics Branch, Maj. Gen. Dan Biton, and Commander of the Officer Instruction Base and Col. Yehuda Fox.

During the event, Chief of General Staff, Ashkenazi unveiled the “Solar Farm Project”, which includes 400 solar panels expected to save up to 90,000 liters of solar fuel per year.

The new facilities at the renovated Officer Instructor School were constructed in order to conserve water and electricity. They include: volume-calculating systems (that save up to 25-35% of electricity), T5 fluorescent bulbs (that save up to 30% of electricity) and rationing water faucets (saving up to 20-50% of water).

“The change in perspective which the IDF is currently undergoing,” reads the IDF blog, “particularly within the Officer Instruction School, is part of the ongoing training process of the future generation of officers.”

The Gulf Today: Status of Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

The ultimate ecological fate of the BP spill that released roughly 4.9 million barrels of crude oil in the Gulf of Mexico is yet to be known. In the beginning of August, a high-level U.S. government official declared that more than 75% of the oil spill was “gone” – based on preliminary National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimates.

Samantha Joye, a marine biogeochemist from the University of Georgia said

“The oil budget NOAA came out with was just a joke, a fairy tale scenario.” She continued, explaining that people see and hear what they wish to, “I understand why people want it to disappear, but who in their right mind would believe that? It makes absolutely no sense.”

Taking and analyzing sediment cores in the Gulf aboard the research vessel Oceanus, Joye says she’s found layers of oil in ten sediment cores taken around a mile deep and up to 80 miles north of the well. She said that in some places the oil layer was up to two inches thick.

The oil layer in one core sample covered dead organisms like shrimp and marine worms.
The plumes, reported Joye have also changed since their initial detection. They’re much more disseminated, with lower methane gas concentrations and very active microbial communities.

In an email sent to National Geographic from Oceanus, Joye wrote:

“The oil is not gone…You only find it, however, if you look in the right place. The sediment signal is robust. Water column is patchy, but that is not surprising.”

According to the Associated Press, the federal government has set up a security zone around the wreckage site of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, which now lies on the sea floor about 50 miles southeast from the coast of Louisiana where it exploded and sank in April.

The Justice Department said that the zone extends 750 feet in all directions from the rig and its debris field.

There is however an upside to all of this. The impact on wildlife appears to be far lower than during the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, when 3,100 marine mammals and more than a hundred thousand birds succumbed in Prince William Sound in Alaska.

From the BP Gulf oil spill, more than a thousand turtles, 70 marine mammals and 4,000 birds have died.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration tests of more than a thousand fish samples taken from areas closed to fishing during the initial stages of the cleanup have found only a small fraction contaminated with PAHs. So Gulf Coast seafood has been deemed safe to eat. The levels detected have been a hundred to a thousand times lower than levels of known risk.

“My fear is that [the public will] say, Hallelujah, the oil is gone!” said Samantha Joye, “People will forget about it and walk away and we’ll never learn what is happening…Clearly we didn’t learn anything from Exxon Valdez. … We can do much better than this. If you can do better and choose not to, it’s inexcusable.”

A Green Machine

August was a brow-lifting month for American green energy enthusiasts and so will be October. So will be every month until we see some actual change!

The congressional Democrat resolution to not even bring to the senate floor a major energy bill invites the question: “how serious is President Obama about the environment?” reads:

The country that harnesses the power of clean, renewable energy will lead the 21st century. For too long, politicians in Washington have been beholden to special interests, but no longer. Our new, responsible energy policy recognizes the relationship between energy, the environment, and our economy and leverages American ingenuity to put people back to work, fight global warming, increase our energy independence and keep us safe.
But Obama-reality has failed Thomas Friedman’s “moon-shot” at best:

Barack Obama

After temporary off-shore drilling expeditions and foreign oil purchases, Obama’s dedication to green energy jobs in his weekly address last Saturday sounds like nothing more than a repetition of his original platform shpeel.

“There is perhaps no industry with more potential to create jobs now — and growth in the coming years — than clean energy…” said the Pres, but what was the point besides plugging one BrightSourceEnergy firm?

Meanwhile, Osama Bin Laden called for action against climate change in what appeared to be a new audio tape from the al Qaeda chief issued last Friday.

It was the second time that the mass-murderer made climate change a prominent theme of one of his statements, confidently holding it responsible for natural disasters:

“The huge climate change is affecting our (Islamic) nation and is causing great catastrophes throughout the Islamic world…It is not sufficient anymore to maintain the same relief efforts as previously, as it has become crucial to deliver tents, food and medicine.”

Raising Gas Taxes Will Speed-Up Electric Cars

In Thomas L. Friedman’s latest New York Times column he proposed that the United States of America is way behind China, laying out the infrastructure for a green globe future.

Recalling the plans Shai Agassi has for Israel and Denmark next year he cites:

Thomas L. Friedman

“The auto industry was the foundation for America’s manufacturing middle class” thus warning that “the country that replaces gasoline-powered vehicles with electric-powered vehicles — in an age of steadily rising oil prices and steadily falling battery prices — will have a huge cost advantage and independence from imported oil.”

Here are the facts as Mr. Friedman spat them:

“Europe is using $7-a-gallon gasoline to stimulate the market for electric cars; China is using $5-a-gallon and naming electric cars as one of the industrial pillars for its five-year growth plan. And America?”

Here it comes…

“President Obama has directed stimulus money at electric cars, but he is unwilling to do the one thing that would create the sustained consumer pull required to grow an electric car industry here: raise taxes on gasoline.”

While Friedman may be correct about Chinese and European business models laying out the green carpet for the electric car industry – this is what the Obama administration is doing while ignoring the gas tax issue: as Friedman acknowledges, they’ve begun building plants which manufacture electric cars, batteries and all of the other accessories

Actually, the United States is now set to produce 40% of the world’s advanced batteries by 2015. And by “advanced” I hope American manufacturers come up with something that will actually make the electric car dream, a pragmatic reality.

Jason Forcier, vice president for automotive solutions at A123Systems Inc. said during a July conference:

“Can we export our batteries to China? The answer is no. You have to build them in-country. And China’s making sure that it happens by the way that they’re structuring incentives…”

Last year, the Department of Energy gave A123, based in Watertown, Massachusetts with a Chinese joint-venture, $250m to expand battery manufacturing in the United States.

And speaking of which…

Coda Automotive will have 14,000 electric cars on California roads by next year. Costing $37,000, these can travel 100 miles on just one overnight charge. They are a hybrid amalgam of Chinese-made batteries and “complex American-system electronics — all final-assembled in Oakland.”

Gotta run guys, my car is almost done charging!

Who Can Afford An Energy Efficient Home?

Can green homes actually become affordable?

“To stand out in a still sluggish housing market, more builders are beginning to offer average-priced, ultra-efficient homes.”

Writes Wendy Koch a reporter and editor from USA Today.

Green One Construction Services, based in Beaverton, Oregon, is currently working on a zero-net-energy development of eighteen homes designed to produce at least as much power as they spend.

The triple bedroom, Sage Green homes come with excellent insulation, solar panels and triple-glazed windows. Prices start at $257,900.

In the southeast Phoenix suburb of Gilbert, Arizona, Meritage Homes unveiled the new Lyon’s Gate developments, which aim to be 80% more efficient than regular, code-compliant homes.

So what comes for the base price of $174,900? Try nine-inch thick exterior walls, a thermostat which can be remotely programmed using an iPhone and an ECHO solar electric/thermal system which may produce up to 10 kilowatts of power annually. Well, that is roughly half the amount consumed by a regular house.

Meritage’s vice president for environmental affairs, C.R. Herro told the publication, The Arizona Republic:

“If customers respond to this, this will become the way we build houses…If we built these with $50,000 worth of (green) features and charged $50,000 more, we wouldn’t sell one…I’m building these for people who couldn’t care less about energy efficiency.”

Energy bills will run at an estimated $734 annually for the 1,640 square-feet model and $1,218 per year for the largest, 3,062 square-feet one.

Getting Creative About Environmental Disaster

Gulf Oil shirtSteve Brooker, a good man from the state of Kansas, understandably perturbed by BP’s damage to the Gulf of Mexico has had a creative epiphany. He has made printing ink of lemons and oil. Brooker is using oil from the environmental disaster to make Necklaces and print T-shirts. Some of the proceeds he will donate to wildlife groups.

In order to print the T-shirts, the oil is mixed with the ink. The necklaces come with a vial of oil attached. Prices for the pieces start at 20 bucks.

The amount which goes to environmental charities is five bucks. The customer may choose which one he prefers out of the following selection: Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research, National Wildlife Federation and the National Audubon Society.

Every shirt and necklace says Brooker, represents one small step taken to clean up the Gulf.

The T-shirts may be found at

The page reads:

“Oil used to print the t-shirts or contained in our vial necklaces won’t be in the Gulf anymore and that’s a good thing!”

“Admittedly, the amounts of oil used are small and meant to be symbolic. By purchasing our Gulf Oil Necklaces and T-Shirts you show that you are doing your part to help clean up this mess.”

Big Problems for Big Coal USA

Every day that the chances for a Climate Change Bill drift further from the shore, the coal lobby becomes increasingly optimistic.

Friends of Big Coal on Capitol Hill, however, are insisting that they put the partying on pause. The Fat Lady has not yet sung the song for the coal industry — and she probably won’t.

Coal in the United States will soon go from the most popular and cheapest source of electricity to among the most expensive.

A New clean air and water regulations act will kick in next year – that is, combined with a boost in new natural-gas supply and a projected nuclear-power renaissance will do its damage to Big Coal and that is a Big Bonus for the environment.

The only policy that could possibly protect coal is the price on carbon which they are now fighting.

For many decades now, coal has been the nation’s foremost source of power, supplying roughly half of the nation’s electricity, while natural gas and nuclear energy generated about 20% of the national supply each, respectively – renewable made up the rest.

In the next two years though, the Environmental Protection Agency will introduce tough new regulations on coal pollutants such as the terrible acid-rain-causing sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide.

Well, also hitting the streets are brand new Clean Water Act regulations on coal, as well as myriad mining safety regulations.

All of the above will add to the price of coal thereby diminishing its novelty.

Well, in the meantime, utilities are rejoicing over the discovery of abundant domestic supplies of natural gas and anticipating new nuclear power plants in the coming years.

All of this is despite the likely fact of failure for any climate change legislation to happen this year.

Coal is a chemically complex fuel. Whenever and wherever it is burned, gases are given off and particles of ash — “fly ash” — get released. The sulfur in coal combines with oxygen to form sulfur
dioxide; this can be a major source of air pollution if emitted in large enough quantities.

Japan Has Some New Ideas for Reducing C02 Emissions

It was reported in the British newspaper the Daily Telegraph that the Japanese government has launched a campaign which encourages people to get to bed and get up extra early in order to cut-down household carbon dioxide emissions.

The Environment Ministry unveiled the Morning Challenge campaign, basing it on the premise that swapping late night electricity for an extra hour of morning sunlight could significantly reduce the carbon footprint of that nation.

If everyone goes to bed and gets up one hour earlier, a typical family can reduce its carbon dioxide footprint by 85kg a year. That is quite a feat.

“Many Japanese people waste electric power at night time, for example by watching TV until very late…But going to bed early and getting up early can avoid wasting electrical power which causes carbon dioxide emissions. If people change their lifestyle, we can save energy and reduce emissions.”

Well, the campaign also suggests that people take advantage of an extra hour of morning sunlight by improving their lifestyles through activities such as running, doing yoga and eating a nutritious and well-balanced breakfast.

This is the latest initiative in tackling climate change by the Japanese environment ministry, which is challenged with the task of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 25% from 1990 levels within the decade-to-come.

Actually, it was the same government department which launched the high profile Cool Biz campaign five years ago, which encourages workers to wear short-sleeved shirts and offices not to turn air con lower than 28 degrees during the summer.

Natural Separation: Al & Tipper The Gores No Longer

Environmental news is an all-embracing category – and so it needs to be in order to sustain longevity of popular interest and legitimacy even. Hey we can’t count emissions all day and expect that people won’t eventually get tired. has got to stay fresh you see, like the necessary dynamics in a healthy marriage.

So, this being said, we shall consider Al and Tipper’s separation worthy of the canvas.

“After a great deal of thought and discussion, we have decided to separate…This is very much a mutual and mutually supportive decision that we have made together.”

E-mailed the Gores.

The 40-year marriage of these high school sweethearts slowly eroded like too many coastlines, after losing the 2000 presidential election and the near-death of one of their children. The erosion was slow and subtle.

Being on the road so often made the 62-year-old former vice president and Nobel Peace Prize laureate increasingly isolated from his wife.

The word “Gore” became synonymous with climate change in the 21st century. Gore won a Nobel Peace Prize and an Oscar for his revolutionary documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” in 2007, which is responsible for the neo-environmental movement.

In the movie which grossed $49,000,000 and cost about $1,000,000, Gore discusses the scientific opinion on climate change, as well as the present and future effects of global warming. He famously stresses that climate change “is really not a political issue, so much as a moral one.”

Al and Tipper agree that if either the environment or a marriage need to be saved, the former is the more pressing.