Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Global Warming

Colorado Integrated Solar Project

The world's first hybrid solar/coal power plant has been built near Palisade in Colorado. Xcel Energy and Abengoa Solar are partnering on the demonstration project which uses solar parabolic trough technology to supplement the use of coal. Initially, it's expected to reduce the emissions generated by the Cameo Station's Unit 2 plant by three to five percent, but it's thought that this could increase to up to ten percent.  Read More

The Nomad is a concept for a futuristic cross-country RV and biosphere designed to cope wi...

If our politicians continue contributing to global warming through spouting hot air, German industrial designer Mario Pitsch's concept for the Nomad - a sustainable "cross-country RV for the far future" - may need to become a reality sooner rather than later.  Read More

Chemist Robert Perry checks a flask containing an ingredient similar to those found in sha...

New York-based scientists believe that materials closely resembling ingredients found in hair-conditioning shampoos and fabric softeners might be used to “scrub” carbon dioxide (CO2) from coal-burning emissions. These aminosilicones show potential as a less expensive and more efficient alternative to current technologies with tests resulting in removal of up more than 90 percent of CO2 from simulated flue gas.  Read More

Dr Philip Rasch is Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's first Chief Scientist for Clima...

Scientists in the US have been cloud-spotting over shipping lanes and have noticed something more interesting than teddy-bear shapes and faces. They have detected that rising steam from passing ships has caused brightening in the clouds which they theorize alters the reflectivity of the cloud and prevents the energy from reaching the Earth. They propose that if this could be achieved artificially via geoengineering it could be an effective defense against global warming.  Read More

A construction crew paints a white roof in downtown Washington, D.C. (Image: Maria Jose-Vi...

Previous studies have indicated that painting the roofs of buildings white could be a low tech way to reduce global warming by reflecting the sun’s rays back into space. Now the first computer modeling study to simulate the impacts of white roofs on urban areas worldwide has added more weight to such a proposal indicating that painting every roof in a city entirely white could cool the world’s cities by an average of about 0.7 degrees Fahrenheit or 0.4 degrees Celsius.  Read More

Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) image of the largest ozone hole ever observed in S...

You'd think the healing of the hole in the ozone layer would be good news, but it seems that although every cloud is said to have a silver lining, they also have a gray one as well. The Antarctic ozone hole was once regarded as one of the biggest environmental threats, but researchers now argue that the ozone hole over Antarctica helped to shield this region from carbon-induced warming over the past two decades and its repair could actually increase warming in the southern hemisphere.  Read More

The USPTO's Green Technology Pilot Program will accelerate the examination of certain 'gre...

Recognizing there’s now a sense of urgency in saving the planet, the U.S. Commerce Department’s Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will pilot a program to accelerate the examination of certain “green” technology patent applications. According to the USPTO the move is designed to “accelerate development and deployment of green technology, create green jobs, and promote U.S. competitiveness in this vital sector.”  Read More

ETA report takes a close look at the real impact of EVs on the environment

“Electric cars should be rewarded for their energy efficiency, not for moving emissions from exhaust pipes to powerstation chimneys” says the UK's Environmental Transport Association (ETA). In a report titled "How to avoid an electric shock - Electric cars: from hype to reality", the ETA has taken a close look at electric-powered vehicles (EVs) and their associated technologies. In what could be a shock to some commuters – and governments - the report states that EVs could potentially speed climate change, rather than reduce it, and might not be as good for the planet as some of the spin suggests. Simply put, it’s not necessarily the cars themselves that will cause the damage, but the way the electricity is generated to power them and how often we drive them. For instance, EVs powered by “green energy” - wind or solar - are obviously superior, but if the electricity comes from coal, hybrids perform better.  Read More

'Green roofs' like these rooftop gardens atop the Rockefeller Center may go a long way to ...

‘Green roofs’- urban rooftops covered with plants - are gaining in popularity to help buildings reduce their reliance on air conditioning, and now scientists in Michigan are reporting they could also help fight global warming by eliminating carbon dioxide in cities, more effectively than was first thought.  Read More

Cellphone towers could soon become more than just ugly buildings to satisfy our communicat...

Atmospheric humidity can strongly influence radio signals by scattering them in all directions, weakening and making it much harder to detect on the receiving end. A team of researchers from the University of Tel Aviv has now found a new, promising way of exploiting this phenomenon to accurately predict the intensity of imminent floods and other natural catastrophes.  Read More

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