Archive | July 2019

“There’s a $5,600 Electric Makeover for Your Old Diesel Car”

About 5,000 euros ($5,600) are set to buy your 10-year-old combustion clunker an electric makeover—and offer a cut-price way to avoid driving bans across European cities.

French startup Transition-One has developed retrofitting technology that adds an electric engine, batteries and a connected dashboard into older models of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, Volkswagen AG, Renault SA and PSA Group for about 8,500 euros, or 5,000 euros after government subsidies in France.Y

“A Dead End for Fossil Fuel in Europe’s City Centers”

Ever since Volkswagen AG was found out in 2015 to be rigging engines, harmful car emissions have come under intense scrutiny from consumers and regulators. Municipalities in Europe have been pushing to get diesel cars, in particular, out of inner cities. Come 2024, a diesel car won’t get you around Paris or Madrid as the capitals ban all passenger vehicles running on the fuel.

A few years later, all combustion drivers in and around Barcelona, London and Rome reliant on cars will lose access. All told, some 24 European cities accounting for 62 million people are banning diesels over the next decade, including 13 cities that’ll strike off all combustion cars in a bid to stop failing emissions limits.

“Climate scientists drive stake through heart of skeptics’ argument”

A painting of "frost fair" on the frozen River Thames in London in 1814 during the Little Ice Age.

Global warming skeptics sometimes say rising temperatures are just another naturally occurring shift in Earth’s climate, like the Medieval Warm Period of the years 800 to 1200 or the Little Ice Age, a period of cooling that spanned from roughly 1300 to 1850.

But a pair of studies published Wednesday provides stark evidence that the rise in global temperatures over the past 150 years has been far more rapid and widespread than any warming period in the past 2,000 years — a finding that undercuts claims that today’s global warming isn’t necessarily the result of human activity.

“In the Circular Economy, Products Are Designed to Be Recycled”

Take, make, use, dispose. For decades, this has been the standard approach to production and consumption. Companies take raw materials and transform them into products, which are purchased by consumers, who ultimately toss them out, creating waste. But as warnings about climate change and environmental degradation grow ever louder, people are starting to challenge the sustainability of this model. Many business leaders and governments — including China, Japan and the U.K. — argue that we should ditch this linear system in favor of a so-called circular economy of take, make, use, reuse and reuse again and again.

“Arctic Summer Melt Shows Ice Is Disappearing Faster Than Normal”

The retreating ice fields of Ellesmere Island.

Ice covering the Arctic Ocean reached the second-lowest level recorded for this time of year after July temperatures spiked in areas around the North Pole.

The rate of ice loss in the region is a crucial indicator for the world’s climate and a closely-watched metric by bordering nations jostling for resources and trade routes. This month’s melt is tracking close to the record set in July 2012, the Colorado-based National Snow & Ice Data Center said in a statement.

“Adidas joins the fight against plastic “

The global sportswear maker said Monday that it has committed to using only recycled plastic by 2024.

“Fear of humans influences behavior of predators, rodents”

When the presence of humans is palpable, pumas and medium-sized carnivores keep a lower profile, according to a new study. The research suggests the change in predator behavior allows rodents to take a more brazen approach to foraging.

“Feeding 10 Billion People Will Require Genetically Modified Food “

Like it or not, genetic modification is going to be an important tool to feed the planet’s growing population.

If we want to feed 10 billion people by 2050, in a world beset by rising temperatures and scarcer water supplies, we will need to dramatically change the way we produce food. Increased public investment in technologies like genetic engineering is a vital piece of that, according to a report published Wednesday by the World Resources Institute.

“Fossil Fuels Are Far Less Efficient Than Previously Thought”

Fossil fuels, long regarded for their high-energy return on investment, are not as efficient as once thought. In fact, their final yields are not much better than those of renewable options, according to a new study. 

Oil, coal and natural gas have generally returned energy at a ratio of 25:1, meaning that for every barrel of oil used in production, 25 barrels have been made. But that measurement, called energy return on investment (EROI), has traditionally been taken when fossil fuels are removed from the ground, and fails to account for energy used during the refining process.