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China Leads World to Solar Power Record in 2013

earth-policy.org - by J. Matthew Roney - June 18,2014

In the last two years, countries around the world have added almost as much new solar photovoltaics (PV) capacity as had been added since the invention of the solar cell. . .

. . . China—the leading manufacturer of PV—had until recently installed very little solar power at home. Those days are over.

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Strawberry Trees Offer Free Public Solar Charging for Gadgets

submittted by Margery Schab   

      

Strawberry Energy

treehugger.com - by Derek Markham - March 14, 2014

In a bid to bring more renewable energy choices to the public, while educating people on the benefits of solar power, one Serbian startup is building public solar charging stations that will energize mobile gadgets and serve as a social hub.

The vision of Strawberry Energy is to make renewable energy sources more accessible for all people, and to show that solar power and other clean energy solutions aren't just abstract concepts, but are instead practical and desirable. The way they're helping to get that message across is through their public solar charging stations, dubbed Strawberry Trees, which offer free charging for mobile devices, and in some cases, free WiFi.

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Gazprom Cuts Russia’s Natural Gas Supply to Ukraine

      

Prime Minister Dmitri A. Medvedev of Russia, center, meeting on Monday with Gazprom’s chief executive, Alexei Miller, left, and Russia’s energy minister, Alexander Novak. Credit Pool photo by Dmitry Astakhov

nytimes.com - by Neil MacFarquhar - June 16, 2014

MOSCOW — Further aggravating already tense relations between Russia and Ukraine, the Russian energy giant Gazprom cut off natural gas supplies to its neighbor on Monday, warning that the reduction could diminish the amount of gas flowing to Europe.

The cutoff came after Ukraine missed a Russian-imposed deadline Monday to pay a nearly $2 billion installment for past gas deliveries, with senior officials on both sides exchanging heated remarks blaming the other.

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Oil Industry in Iraq Faces Setback to Revival

submitted by Margery Schab

      

Standing guard at Iraq’s Al-Basra Oil Terminal. Iraq has re-emerged as a critical source of oil in recent years.
Credit Nabil Al-Jurani/Associated Press

nytimes.com - by Clifford Krauss - June 13, 2014

After a long history of wars and sanctions, Iraq re-emerged as a critical source of oil in recent years. Mounting Iraqi production helped to ease world oil prices despite the tightening restrictions on Iran and tanking exports from Libya. And Western and Chinese oil companies rushed back, revitalizing long-neglected oil fields in the north and south.

Now suddenly all that progress has been put in jeopardy with the intense military offensive by extremist insurgents.

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Germany CEOs Lament Lost Innovation as Fracking Angst Rises

      

BMW Chief Executive Officer Norbert Reithofer uses the term “German Angst” to explain the paradox of the country’s innovation ability on one hand and its reluctance to embrace technological change on the other. 
Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

bloomberg.com - by Sheenagh Matthews - June 10, 2014

Germany has rejected genetically modified crops, nuclear power and magnetic levitation trains. Now, the country that invented the modern car and X-ray technology is adding fracking to the list of innovations it’s wary of.

Business leaders had lobbied for the extraction method, which injects water and chemicals underground, to lessen Germany’s dependence on Vladimir Putin’s Russia where a third of its natural gas supply is derived. Last week, the government started preparing a law to limit fracking to rare cases, unlike in the U.S. where the practice is widespread.

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GHG Emissions Changes: Redrawing Baselines

environmentalleader.com - by Ailsa Burns - June 12, 2014

Greenhouse gases (GHG) can be measured by recording emissions at source by estimating the amount emitted using active data and applying relevant conversion factors. . . With recent changes to how the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) calculate CO2 emissions, the potential exists for companies in the UK to experience significant shifts in both individual emission factors and overall Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions. These changes have been published as part of DEFRA’s greenhouse gas conversion factors for company reporting: methodology paper for emission factors which reviewed the format and content of GHG conversion factors.

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Canada Bars Its Meteorologists From Mentioning Climate Change

      

Pipelines carrying steam to wellheads and heavy oil back in Alberta, Canada Todd Korol/Reuters

newsweek.com - by Zoe Schlanger - June 2, 2014

Just weeks after President Obama made on-air appearances with meteorologists explicitly to address climate change, a journalist learned that in Canada, official policy dictates that government-employed meteorologists aren’t supposed to talk about climate change at all.

Government scientists “speak to their area of expertise,” a government spokesman recently wrote to journalist Mike DeSouza defending the policy. . . Questions about climate change or long-term trends would be directed to a climatologist or other applicable authority.”

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Denmark, Portugal, and Spain Leading the World in Wind Power

Wind Share of Electricity Generation in Leading Countries, 2013

Image: Wind Share of Electricity Generation in Leading Countries, 2013

earthpolicy.org - May 27th 2014 - J. Matthew Roney

Denmark produced one third of its electricity from the wind in 2013. In no other country has wind’s share of annual electricity generation yet topped 30 percent. But the Danes are not stopping there—they are eyeing a goal of 50 percent wind by 2020, with most of the needed expansion coming from offshore wind farms.

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Tar Sands Linked to Health Problems

      

priceofoil.org - by Andy Rowell - April 1, 2014

In a landmark report to Alberta’s energy regulator, a panel of experts has concluded that odours from a controversial tar sands processing plant are linked to human health impacts.

The report, which was published [March 31, 2014], examined the emissions from Baytex Energy’s Peace River plant, which has been the subject of a number of health complaints from local residents over the last few years.

The situation has been so bad that seven families have been forced to leave.

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Regulator says Peace River area emissions potential cause of health problems
http://www.edmontonjournal.com/Regulator+says+Peace+River+area+emissions+potential+cause+health+problems/9682279/story.html

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New cheap, environment-friendly solar cell developed

The tin-based perovskite layer acts as an efficient sunlight absorber that is sandwiched between two electric charge transport layers for conducting electricity to the outside world.Image: The tin-based perovskite layer acts as an efficient sunlight absorber that is sandwiched between two electric charge transport layers for conducting electricity to the outside world.

economictimes.indiatimes.com - May 5th, 2014 - Mercouri G. Kanatzidis

In a breakthrough, scientists have developed a new low cost, efficient and environment-friendly solar cell that uses tin instead of the hazardous lead.

Researchers from Northwestern University are among the first to create a solar cell that uses a structure called perovskite, with tin as the light-absorbing material instead of lead.

"Exculding the use of lead is a quantum leap in the process of creating a very promising type of solar cell called a perovskite," said Mercouri G Kanatzidis, an inorganic chemist with expertise in dealing with tin.

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