Worth an article: my December 2008 tweets

twitter-earthriseSince I don’t have that much time to blog, I restrain myself to publishing here around 25 articles per month. However, many more great news are worth reading and blogging about.

My goal being to provide you with the latest headlines and best researches on sustainable development, climate change and the world energy sector , I had to find a solution.

It finally came with my use of Twitter. Indeed, each time I find a news worth reading I tweet about it. Here are my best tweets this month.

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Why passive houses need to become widespread

765px-passivhaus_section_enEven if I learned more than two years ago about the theory on passive housing for my Master’s Thesis at the Audencia Nantes Management School, the reality is little known to me.

Even if I knew such houses don’t need any heater it seemed too vague a notion. But an interesting article from the New York Times brought me a most interesting insight of such constructions.

The result is staggering and a lot of energy could be saved if such houses were to become widespread as they use 20 less energy than traditional ones.

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I avoided a tonne of CO2 emissions this year

tgv-blurThis year I avoided the emission of more than a tonne of carbon dioxide – more likely 1,500 kilograms – by simply taking the train on various occasions like business or leisure trips.

Fast trains in France –  like the TGV on the left – are powered by electricity, which is 90% low carbon. Relatively reliable, it is a pleasure to use them and work while going at 360 km/h. (200mph)

Thus, using public transportation systems fights climate change. Decreasing CO2 emissions is easy, we will see it with my Towards Sustainability series.

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Great astrophotographies – December 2008

los-angeles-night-skyLike every last Sunday of each month, this is time for me to present you my selection of the best pictures of the NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD)

Like each month, this one was packed with beautiful images and it was very difficult to select just ten. I am absolutely amazed at how many splendors can be seen at night.

The picture above shows how light pollution affects night skies in Los Angeles. Only the moon, Jupiter and Venus can be seen.

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Obama’s environment dream team: Steven Chu

stevenchuI described Barack Obama’s election as a new hope for a planet in peril. This couldn’t be more true as the President-elect chose real scientists to run the environment and energies agencies.

This is a stark difference with President Bush’s policies and environmental record. But a fact was little noticed: Dr. Steven Chu, the new Secretary of Energy, could be a great link with China.

What if under the impulse of this Nobel Prize, the two largest greenhouse gases emitters were working hand in hand to solve the climate change issue ?

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World of Goo, a brilliant video game

It’s Christmas eve and you are perhaps looking for a last minute gift. So, it is time for me to introduce you to a little jewel that caught my attention for the past two weeks. World of Goo is a video game for the Nintendo Wii, PC and Mac that will make you think to … Read more

The Greater Mekong is a biodiversity treasure

map-mekongAccording to a recent news by the WWF, the region of the Greater Mekong (left)  is a biological treasure trove, as it enabled to discover more than a thousand new species in only ten years.

Nonetheless, all these species are threatened by economic growth and the lack of environmental protection in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and other countries of the region.

This has to change as I noted earlier, we have to protect Nature as it is protecting us. To read out more on this topic, see you after the jump !

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Overestimated global coal reserves

coal-fired-plan02tAccording to recent studies global coal reserves may be much smaller than previously thought. Indeed, estimates are now of 662 billion tons instead of 850 billion tons.

That’s 23 percent smaller. So, what occurred with estimates of remaining oil is also true here : countries overestimated their coal reserves and peak coal is nearer than expected.

Coal accounts for more than a fifth of our primary energy sources. With smaller reserves, this makes it even more urgent to switch to alternatives.

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Towards sustainability, a series of lifestyle tips

towards-sustainability2009 is due to be in many countries a recession year. This makes it the perfect occasion to embrace the tenets of sustainable development and consume less energy, water and so on.

This will save you money,  preserve our environment and make you live a fitter life. A bright prospect called Towards sustainability,  it is the title of the series of articles I will publish in 2009.

Each month you will find tips on a specific topic such as heating, water, transport… If that sounds exciting, please feel free to subscribe to read these articles.

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Decreasing amounts of snow in the Himalayas

himalayaOne of the most worrying consequences of climate change is the decreasing amounts of snow. At the end of winters, snow melts and  thus brings water to billions people during the drier seasons.

Thus the snow of the Himalayas brings water to nearly 1.5 billion people, a quarter of Mankind. As climate change increases dramatically in Asia, there is less and less snow, and thus water.

Today’s article will bring you data on this fact and how the phenomenon is increasing. I wanted to investigate this after Al Gore’s speech in Poznan.

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EDF buys half of Constellation nuclear activities

edf-logoThe French national utility Electricité de France – EDF –  just bought half of nuclear activities of US based utility Constellation for 4.5 billion US Dollars (3.3 billion euros).

This occurs only a few months after the acquisition of British Energy by EDF, which is willing to become a major global player in nuclear energy, one of the lowest carbon emitting solutions.

EDF will manage on US soil five reactors which accounts for  nearly 4,000MW of generation capacity. This adds up to the 58 reactors already managed in France.

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Higher gas prices and lower income tax

dollarsBy browsing through the RSS feed of the Oil Drum I came across an interesting article on how increasing gas prices and lowering income tax in the meantime could bring huge benefits.

This is not new to me as I have already discussed this very topic in my review of Le Plein s’il vous plaît [Fr], a brilliant book written in 2006 by Jean-Marc Jancovici, which shares the same views.

Nonetheless, such an idea would be perfect to enable our civilizations to become less dependent on the polluting energy sources that are fossil fuels.

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