Google set out to discover the effects of technological breakthroughs, and in the process discovered that strong government policies are key to accelerating their penetration into the market. Radical new battery technology and solar panels are great, but regular consumers don’t pick them up unless they're nudged in the right direction. In other words, the internet’s most successful capitalists say that the free market is all well and good, but we really need government regulation.
Germany, Korea, China, and now India are all venues for U.S. carmaking giant General Motors’ new all-electric hotness, the Chevrolet Beat.
The phrase "green jobs" has been taken too literally by both advocates and detractors, leading to a bean-counting skirmishes that cast more heat than light.
Focus the Nation is trying to help young people find their place in the clean energy revolution, be it innovators, technician, storytellers, or politico.
Google says that without a focus on renewables and electric vehicles, delaying the clean energy economy could cost the U.S. trillions of dollars.
A 250 mile long coal seam discovered deep in the interior desert of Australia's Northern Territory appears to be the most gigantic coal deposit on planet Earth, and Central Petroleum Limited wants to burn it all. They project it will take them at least a century to go through the entire reserve, or right about until they’ve turned Australia’s notoriously harsh desert into an incomprehensibly lifeless hellscape populated by miners in climate controlled space-suits.
Even if we do manage to set up a shiny futuristic renewable smart grid made of glitter and staffed by zebra unicorns, there are still going to be times when it poops out. Maybe the wind isn’t blowing; maybe a mean old cloud got in the way. And when that happens, there aren't enough boat batteries in the world to store all the electricity we're going to need to keep everything running.
Production of biofuel from palm oil has been an unmitigated disaster for the rainforest, leading to clear-cutting throughout Indonesia and propelling that country to the top ranks of the world's largest greenhouse gas emitters. That's why it's so strange that biologist Willie Smits, last seen cooking up a plan to save orangutans, thinks that biofuels could actually save the rainforest.
If there's anything we learned from the revolutions in the Middle East, it's that the internet has become a critical tool for burgeoning democracies. So what to do in places where the internet is tightly controlled, or just unreliable? For residents of Jalalabad, Afghanistan, the solution is: build your own. Using help from the National Science Foundation and a pile of household trash, they've built an open-source wireless network that can transmit up to several miles.
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