Electric buses are a solution to our cities’ worst problems

A lot of news and noise surround electric cars but another vehicle is also benefitting largely from elecrification: buses. Running not for just a little bit in the morning and in the evening, they run all day, and sometimes, even part of the night. Tranporting not just one or two people to work at a … Read more

How to go solar with these two super tools

Years ago when Google Earth was launched, we were all amazed at the levels of details provided. It was just very impressive. Now Google does it again with a most interesting feature: Google Project Sunroof.

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Large cities are determined to fight climate change

If countries and nations are failing short in acting on climate, big cities around the world are increasingly acting on these matters. This has been particularly apparent in the New York summit last month. 

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400,000 people in New York demanding action on climate

You might have heard it in the news, as this weekend no less than 400,000 people marched in New York City to demand adequate action on climate change. Similar marches were organized around the world. 

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Emissions in United States rebounded in 2013

US emissions rebounded in 2013This was a major setback for me last week, US greenhouse gases emissions related to energy rose two percent in 2013 compared to 2012. To the US EIA this is due to ” a small increase in coal consumption in the electric power sector. “

” Coal has regained some market share from natural gas since a low in April 2012 “ This is explained by decreased coal prices and rising natural gas prices as the Los Angeles Times reported.

Overall, US emissions are still around ten percent lower than in 2005. President Obama goal’s is to have 17 percent lower emissions in 2020.

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Starry, Starry, Starry Night

Rio de Janeiro without any lightsYou may perhaps remember the not so distant time when I was posting astrophotography pictures on this very website. I have also wrote a few times on how we are lighting up our cities too much.

Now a fellow Frenchman, Thierry Cohen, created a series of pictures of what the night could look like if cities like Paris, New York, Shanghai or Sao Paulo were to turn of all their lights. The result is quite stunning.

Not that I am advocating turning off ALL lights at night in our cities, I am just thinking that we should see more stars at night.

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Are our cities just too big to flood ?

Flood in BangkokThis was the question asked on the the Yale Environment 360 blog and I believe the timing is perfect as last year cities such as New York City, Manila and Bangkok got it by record floods. Now it is the turn of Jakarta.

The capital megacity of Indonesia now has water in its streets and people to evacuate because of another flood. Given that rising temperatures mean rising sea levels and more extreme weather, the threat is huge.

First in terms of people – as the majority of people will live in cities in 2050 and as 14 of the world’s 17 largest cities are located along coasts.

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Hurricane Sandy, aka the Frankenstorm

Sandy hitting the United StatesUnless you have spent the week remote from civilization, you must have heard of THE event of the week : Disney bought the Star Wars franchise. Ooops, sorry, I meant : Hurricane Sandy, also known as the Frankenstorm.

All joking aside, the matter is tremendously serious as dozens died in the Caribbean and the United States. Billion of Dollars of damages will probably be recorded as New York and many other cities were flooded.

This hurricane broke the deafening climate silence of the US presidential election, or at least in the collective mind (but not for candidate Romney).

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Putting the A/C at the right temperature

Air conditioning is a fantastic invention as it allows to remain cool when temperatures are reaching 30°C and even 40°C. However, in many buildings around the world, the A/C is not set at the right temperature. As the New York times noted :

“Without fail, every year since moving to Hong Kong, I get a really bad cold. (…) “Oh, it’s quite common this time of year,” my doctor told me. “Everyone gets sick.” He was referring to the time of year that Hong Kong cranks up its air-conditioning. “

I have read that the same situation occurs in Singapore. I have witnessed it first hand in Europe as well. Others have told me about such a situation in America. This is a widespread phenomenon.

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Freshkills Park, and what it can teach us

While traveling at 220 km/h in the TGV between Nancy and Paris I read about the Fresh Kills landfill and how it became a beautiful park in Staten Island. This is a continuation of my previous post, Turning a landfill into a beautiful garden.

Indeed Courrier International proposed last week the translation of the full article from The Ecologist on how what was considered as the world’s biggest landfill became “a bird-watcher’s paradise”

This article really made me think about what we can – and should – do about our planet’s landfills. As we will see, this would be a win-win-win project.

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New York State unveils solar thermal plans

Solar photoelectric and concentrating solar thermal are all the rage and little is said about the much simpler solar thermal. However this technology has a huge potential as New York will soon show.

Indeed the US State is willing to add the equivalent of no less than two gigawatts of capacity by 2020. Heating water and buildings with solar on such a scale would enable NY to save up to $175 million per year (around 135 million euros).

The goal is to enable New York to ” become the national leader in the research, development, deployment and manufacture of solar thermal technologies.”

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