21 countries decouple economic growth from emissions

21 countries from Austria to the United States have cut their greenhouse gases emissions while growing their economies in the past 15 years. This proves that decoupling economic growth and greenhouse gases emissions is feasible. 

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Swiss company unveils white solar panels

The future will be solar powered. We have seen it time and again. But for those fearing a world full of black or blue solar panels, have no fear. If I had reported about colored solar panels in 2010, here is something new…

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Solar electricity, A/C and water. All-in-one.

The High Concentration PhotoVoltaic Thermal system To Climate Progress, Swiss researchers working with IBM have built a new solar dish, called the High Concentration PhotoVoltaic Thermal system (HCPVT) that tackles the waste heat problem by using it to generate fresh water.”

Yep, a solar installation that generates fresh water, thus solving two common problems faced in developing nations around the world. Icing on the cake, it could also be used for air conditioning.

If all this wasn’t enough, IBM believes this could be cheaper than comparable solar systems, less than $10 cent per kilowatt hour. Talk about genius !

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Hope for climate in Davos’ World Economic Forum

world economic forumLast week in Davos, Switzerland, took place the annual World Economic Forum. As the financial crisis of 2008 is drawing to an end, climate change is emerging as a key crisis that has to be addressed as soon as possible. To Reuters :

” Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, summed it up for any Davos doubters: “Unless we take action on climate change, future generations will be roasted, toasted, fried and grilled.”

Now this is some serious talk and I am puzzled that this didn’t end up making headlines on both climate specialized blogs or general news.

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Countries with more than 30 percent of nuclear

Further to the catastrophe in Fukushima, Japan, the Christian Science Monitor wrote an interesting article on the ten countries relying for more than 30 percent on nuclear for their electricity. As they put it :

” As dependent as Japan is on nuclear power, 12 nations are even more reliant it, according to the World Nuclear Association. Using 2007 data, here are the Top 10 most nuclear-dependent nations. ”

As you may perhaps remember I believe this energy source could provide 40 percent of the electricity of the United States and the European Union. This would enable both to cut their emissions.

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Solar PV gets even more efficient and cheaper

To GreenTech Media : ” SunPower just announced their newest solar panels with total area efficiencies of more than 20 percent. The 96-cell solar panels use SunPower’s 22.4 percent efficient cells .” To Ecogeek : ” Researchers at Empa (the Swiss national research laboratory) have achieved a new record in thin-film solar cell efficiency. (…) … Read more

Great astrophotographies – February 2011

I think this is a record of some sort as I am only publishing today my selection of astrophotographies for February… Anyway, here is my selection of the best pictures of the NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD).

This month is a bit special as my favorite is a video : ” How big is our Sun compared to other stars? In a dramatic and popular video featured on YouTube, the relative sizes of planets and stars are shown from smallest to largest. “

The video is visible in the full post below. This clearly demonstrates how infinitesimal we are and how our beautiful planet is tiny, thus the need to protect our ability to live on it…

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Solar Impulse flies for 26 hours non-stop

The solar powered plane Solar Impulse flew for over 26 hours without interruption and landed on July 8th. This plane has a wingspan of 63 meters – the same as a Boeing 777 – weights 1,600 kg and goes as fast as a scooter, 70 km-h. The plane gathered enough energy from the sun during … Read more

Recycling by the numbers

The New Ecologist proposes a series of interesting figures on recycling. Here are some of them : The recycling industry is worth $160 billion and employs globally 15 million people.

Recycling aluminium needs only five percent of the energy needed to mine and refine the same quantity of new aluminium. The top 5 recycling countries are Switzerland, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway.

20 million tons of electric waste are thrown away each year. One ton of scrap from discared computers contains more gold than can be produced from 17 tons of gold ore.

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The Alps are endangered by climate change

The-AlpsTo the latest report of the European Environment Agency, climate change “poses a grave threat” to the snows of the Alps, and thus will decrease the amounts of water received by many rivers like the Danube, Rhine, Po and Rhone.

At the center of Europe the Alps – like the Himalayas are for Asia – are the water towers of the continent and play an important role for our environment, societies and economies.

Knowing how much the decreasing amounts of snow in the Alps would harm our agriculture, tourism industry and so on I hope our representatives will pledge to action in Copenhagen.

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Switzerland is considering building a new nuclear plant

After Russia, the United Kingdom and Italy, Switzerland is the fourth European country in just a few months to seriously think about building new nuclear reactors.

This occurs as current Swiss nuclear reactors are due to close around 2020 and the energy demand is increasing in an important way and this is due to continue.

I was mentioning previously we may face a nuclear golden age in a near future. It seems to be the case already as today’s headlines prove it.

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