Business & Technology

Oil

Keystone pipeline spilled tar-sands oil 11 times in past year. Do we really want to supersize it?

The routes of the existing and proposed Keystone pipelines. Image: RL MillerThe State Department is currently weighing whether to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry tar-sands oil some 2,000 miles southward, from Alberta, Canada, to Houston and Port …

Sustainable Farming

Factory farms the only way to ‘feed the world’? Not so, argues Science paper

To “feed the world” by 2050, we’ll need a massive, global ramp-up of industrial-scale, corporate-led agriculture. At least that’s the conventional wisdom. Even progressive journalists trumpet the idea (see here, here, and here, plus my ripostes here and here). The …

Climate & Energy

Bill Gates’ blind spots

So right, and yet so not-quite-rightPhoto: Suzie KatzWhen Bill Gates first jumped into the energy discussion with a big TED talk, I wrote a post called “Why Bill Gates is wrong.” In retrospect, I should have been a bit more …

Business & Technology

Charge your phone by yelling at it

As if cell phones don't already encourage enough annoying, disruptive public noise, researchers at Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul have developed a phone battery that you charge by yelling at it. The battery has zinc oxide wires running between two electrodes; …

Animals

Critical List: Biofuels kinda suck, biomass kinda sucks, Toys ‘R’ Us embraces solar

The Fish and Wildlife Service has promised to evaluate the endangered status of 251 species in the next six years, if only so those pesky enviros will be quiet for a bit. The country's largest rooftop solar-energy field will be …

Climate & Energy

Bill Gates on energy philanthropy, R&D funding, & why the U.S. will out-innovate China

Bill Gates goes casual at the Climate Solutions breakfast.Photo: nonfictionmediaThe Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation — the richest in the world, with an endowment of $37 billion — doesn’t have plans to focus on clean energy and climate change, Bill …

Transportation

The iPhone is the new Prius

Ditch the car and get a bike, a transit farecard, and a smartphone.Photo: NoktonCross-posted from Shareable. Two years ago, my California driver’s license expired. Living in Chicago at the time, where the smart resident uses bikes or public transit to …

Business & Technology

U.S. finally catching up to rest of world on solar

In the U.S., solar photovoltaic (PV) panels are, somewhat unexpectedly, suddenly the belle of the renewable energy ball — and their dance card is wide open. There is now more solar PV capacity planned for the immediate future than any …

Business & Technology

Saudi Arabia scrambling to get off own oil, build 5 gigawatts of solar power by 2020

What do you do when you're basically a giant welfare state whose stability depends on keeping the money tap open, yet your population is set to double and your electricity consumption to triple by 2032? If you're Saudi Arabia, the …