earth

Rapid, affordable energy transformation possible, study says

The United States could slash greenhouse gas emissions from power production by up to 78 percent below 1990 levels within 15 years while meeting increased demand, according to a new study by NOAA and University of Colorado Boulder researchers.

A high-resolution map based on NOAA weather data showing one measure of wind energy potential across the United States in 2012. Credit: Chris Clack/CIRES

US taxpayers subsidising world’s biggest fossil fuel companies

The world’s biggest and most profitable fossil fuel companies are receiving huge and rising subsidies from US taxpayers, a practice slammed as absurd by a presidential candidate given the threat of climate change.

  • A proposed Shell petrochemical refinery in Pennsylvania is in line for $1.6bn (£1bn) in state subsidy, according to a deal struck in 2012 when the company made an annual profit of $26.8bn.
  • ExxonMobil’s upgrades to its Baton Rouge refinery in Louisiana are benefitting from $119m of state subsidy, with the support starting in 2011, when the company made a $41bn profit.
  • A jobs subsidy scheme worth $78m to Marathon Petroleum in Ohio began in 2011, when the company made $2.4bn in profit.

How it took just one generation to stuff the planet

The damage done by economic growth unchecked by environmental considerations over the past six and seven decades could potentially force a complete change in the state of the planet, which may render it a whole lot less hospitable for future generations.

International scientists released two papers, published in the magazine Scientist, that suggests that the planet has already been disrupted.

Earth lost 50% of its wildlife in the past 40 years, says WWF

“If half the animals died in London zoo next week it would be front page news,” said Professor Ken Norris, ZSL’s director of science. “But that is happening in the great outdoors. This damage is not inevitable but a consequence of the way we choose to live.” He said nature, which provides food and clean water and air, was essential for human wellbeing. Photograph: Global Warming Images/WWF[...]