Splitting water with solar power

Splitting water with solar powerThis is a guest post from Mathias Aarre Maehlum, an environmentalist who studies energy engineering. In his spare time he works as a freelance writer. Read more of his stuff at Energy Informative.

Researchers at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have figured out a way to split water molecules (H2O) into hydrogen by using the sun.Hydrogen has long been touted as the energy carrier of the future.

Only time will tell whether or not this actually turns out to be true, meanwhile hydrogen does bring several promising benefits to the table.

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Composting matters

Compost cycleWithin my current involvement with the local JCI, I have been collecting information about biodegradable waste and composting. This is a question of importance as more than 30 percent of French waste could be biodegradable.

Meanwhile, recyclable waste – paper, cartons, glasses – represent just one percent more and are sorted out and recycled. I thus believe food leftovers, fruits and vegetable peelings, coffee and tea waste belong to a special bin.

This would have a lot of advantages as we will see in today’s post and I hope this will be as common as sorting out recyclables in a decade.

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A $370 billion idea for European buildings

Here we go again with a brand new article on Cleantechies. This time, we focus on one of my favorite topics : insulating buildings with a new study on the very matter. Here is the introduction : ” According to a new study presented by the Renovate Europe Campaign, weatherizing European buildings in an important … Read more

Worth an article – my November 2012 tweets

I have been committed since January 2007 to bring you each month a selection of the latest headlines and best researches on sustainable development, climate change and the world energy sector.

However, I don’t blog as much as I would like to and generally write around 25 posts per month. But many more news are worth reading. This is why I use Twitter to share dozens of news that are worth your time.

I believe it offers a good complement to this website. So if you are on Twitter and like this selection, don’t hesitate to start following me.

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COP 18 was another major disappointment

Doha COP18Last week COP18 ended in Doha, Qatar. As always, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has failed in addressing the climate crisis.

With the various commitments made there, we are on our way to warming our planet by more than three degrees (see below) whereas 2°C – and sometimes even a mere 1.5°C – is seen as the utter maximum to safety.

This sharply contrasts with the various recent calls for action made by no less than the World Bank, the IEA and the United Nations.

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Marine Protected Areas increase tenfold

Here are good news for marine conservation.To the BBC : ” A report to a UN meeting on biodiversity in Hyderabad reports that more than 8.3 million sq km – 2.3% of the global ocean area – is now protected.” ” The percentage is small but the rapid growth in recent times leads to hope … Read more

EPR costs : a blow to the nuclear renaissance

EPR nuclear reactor being built in Flamanville, FranceI have to say that I now have mixed feelings about nuclear. Since I wrote and published my 10 reasons to support nuclear – by far my most popular post on this blog – the catastrophe at Fukushima took place.

Now the main French utility – Electricité de France, aka EDF – announced that its EPR reactor in Flamanville, France, will cost a massive two billion euros more than previously forecasted, now totally 8.5 billion euros.

Until Fukushima many were forecasting a nuclear renaissance. I guess these additional costs will be another severe blow to their hopes and to EDF’s business model.

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The Oath Project, CSR at work

The Oath ProjectFor my 1,400th post on this blog, let’s talk about corporate social responsibility. If Medical Doctors have their Hippocratic Oath and lawyers have their equivalent, isn’t it high time for managers around the world to have their own ?

Corporate social responsibility – CSR for short – is more needed than ever as our planet is warming, our ecosystems are collapsing, our societies are suffering and our economies are crumbling.

Given both my management and business educational background and my passion for sustainability it was with interest that I read about The Oath Project.

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7 ways climate change is worse than thought

New Scientist cover on climate changeIn case you would haven’t guessed : Climate change is here and it’s even worse than we thought. New Scientist proposes a compelling series of article showing that the IPCC predictions in 2007 were below what we are witnessing.

Here are the seven points of their argumentation : arctic warming, extreme weather, food production, sea level, planetary feedback, human emissions and heat stress.

If you want further nightmarish details, please have a look at Climate Progress’ take on the article. So are we doomed ? Nope, we still can act. But we got to act quick and big.

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FSC and MSC : two labels you should know

MSC and FSC logosIt has been a while since I wanted to introduce you to two different kind of sustainable labels : the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

As you must have guessed, the former is concerning everything that is related to sustainable wood (paper, wooden flooring and other products) while the latter will concern sustainable fish and sea foods…

Of course, these products will be a bit more expensive than plain traditional ones. But this will force you too cut your waste.

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New low levels for Amazon deforestation

Deforestation of the Amazon is decreasing againAmong all the doom and gloom climate change news nowadays – arctic record low levels,no commitment at COP18 in Doha, permafrost melting… – I chose to write today about some good news.

We have seen that the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest has been steadily decreasing for the past few years. Well, it seems it decreased even more in 2012 as the BBC and Grist reported.

A 27 percent cut compared to already record low levels is astonishing. But still, over 4,656 square kilometers (1,798 square miles) got cleared of all their trees between 2011 and 2012.

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