Tag Archives | Environmentalism

KLM To Use Recycled Frying Oil To Fuel Flights

800px-Klm.fokker.f100.ph-ofg.arpKLM airlines are going green, well, at least for some flights. BBC reports:

The Dutch airline KLM says it plans to use recycled cooking oil on 200 flights between Paris and Amsterdam.

The fuel, biokerosene, is derived from used frying oil, which has to be tested to meet the same technical specifications as traditional kerosene.

Airlines are under EU pressure to cut their carbon emissions by 3% by 2012.

KLM’s interest in biofuels dates back to 2009, when it ran a test flight carrying 40 people, including the then Dutch economics affairs minister.

The 90-minute flight was majority powered by traditional aviation fuel, with just one of the its four engines powered 50% by biofuel.

Future flights will use half traditional kerosene and half biofuel.

[Continues at BBC News]

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Lawmakers Debate The Mass Killing Of Sea Lions In The Pacific Northwest

Photo: Oregongirlmary (CC)

Photo: Oregongirlmary (CC)

Kill the sea lions to save the salmon? The Raw Story reports:

A House Natural Resources Committee panel is holding a hearing this morning about the Endangered Salmon Predation Prevention Act (HR 946), which, under its tame-sounding official name, would authorize tribal members in the Pacific Northwest to kill sea lions to allow the endangered wild salmon to replenish in the Columbia River.

“As Northwest residents spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year to protect salmon, California sea lions camp out at Bonneville Dam and other areas along the Columbia River and gorge themselves on endangered fish,” Natural Resources Committee chairman Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA) explained in a statement last month.

The National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration in May authorized “lethal” removal of sea lions on the 140-mile stretch of the Columbia River in Oregon and Washington below the dam.

“This is not an easy decision for our agency to make, but a thorough analysis shows that a small number of California sea lions preying on salmon and steelhead are having a significant effect on the ability of the fish stocks to recover,” William W.

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Australia’s ‘Kill A Camel’ To Cut Pollution Concept

800px-Camel_in_the_Thar_Desert

Photo: Dan Searle (CC)

How can we curb the emission of greenhouse gases? Get rid of a bunch of camels, apparently. Via Physorg:

Australia is considering awarding carbon credits for killing feral camels as a way to tackle climate change.

The suggestion is included in Canberra’s “Carbon Farming Initiative”, a consultation paper by the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, seen Thursday.

Adelaide-based Northwest Carbon, a commercial company, proposed culling some 1.2 million wild camels that roam the Outback, the legacy of herds introduced to help early settlers in the 19th century.

Considered a pest due to the damage they do to vegetation, a camel produces, on average, a methane equivalent to one tonne of carbon dioxide a year, making them collectively one of Australia’s major emitters of greenhouse gases.

In its plan, Northwest said it would shoot them from helicopters or muster them and send them to an abattoir for either human or pet consumption.

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Video: Disturbing Abuse Of Australian Cattle At Slaughterhouses

Animals Australia and RSPCA Australia have launched a public campaign against the torture cattle endure during live export. The campaign asks the Live Export organization to reconsider the trade of living animals because of the cruel way they are treated before being slaughtered. Note, they are not necessarily advocating vegetarianism or the elimination of slaughterhouses (although there are many benefits to reducing industrialized slaughterhouses including cutting down on pollution, increase agricultural land and reduction of animal cruelty), but they argue the unfair treatment of live animals being exported to other countries. Warning: The video below include graphic material that may be difficult to watch.
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Brazil’s Biggest Bank Sued For Funding Amazon Deforestation

DeforestationBBC News recently reported:
Brazil's biggest bank — the state-run Banco do Brasil — is being sued for allegedly funding deforestation in the Amazon. Public prosecutors say the bank lent money to companies that illegally cleared the rainforest and used labour practices bordering on slavery. The smaller state-owned Banco da Amazonia is also being sued. Brazil says it has drastically reduced the rate of deforestation in the Amazon in recent years. Prosecutors in the state of Para said they had uncovered 55 loans worth nearly $5m (£3m) that the Banco do Brasil approved to farms that had broken environmental and employment laws. They also said they had uncovered 37 loans worth $11m given to farms with similar violations by the Banco da Amazonia. The loans violated Brazil's constitution, environmental laws, banking regulations and international agreements signed by Brazil, the independent prosecutors at the Public Ministry said.
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Pepsi Unveils Plastic Bottle Made Entirely From Plants

plasticPepsi is trumpeting its creation of a plastic bottle made entirely from plant matter. Great — now we’ll be filling our landfills with plastic forever, even after we run out of oil. Via Gizmodo:

Soda’s bad for you, but plastics—especially the petroleum-based PET plastics used widely for bottles—are bad for everyone. Thankfully, after millions of dollars and years of research, Pepsi thinks it’s cracked the code on a 100% plant-based PET bottle.

It looks…just like the old bottle. “It’s indistinguishable,” says Rocco Papalia, PepsiCo’s senior vice president of advanced research. But instead of drawing from our planet’s diminishing supply of petroleum, it’s made entirely from plant waste—currently switch grass, pine bark, corn husks and eventually incorporating orange peels, oat hulls, potato scraps and other materials leftover from its food business.

Pepsi’s going to test the bottle with a run of a few hundred thousand in 2012, and if all goes well they plan on converting all their products to the new bottles thereafter.

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Orlando Uses Sewage To Produce Electricity

Photo:  wfmillar (CC)

Photo: wfmillar (CC)

Can poop be turned into power? The city of Orlando has been working with private-industry partners on turning sewage into electricity in an attempt to answer the age-old question: ‘What if you could take sewage and get rid of it cleanly and quickly, without dumping it in rivers or landfills — and generate pollution-free electricity at the same time?’ Orlando Sentinel reports:

Orlando officials think they’ve perfected a technology that has flummoxed scientists for decades — one they hope will be used worldwide to turn sewage into electricity and earn the city tens of millions of dollars in royalties.

If city officials and their private-industry partners are right, it could be the biggest thing in sewage treatment since the flush toilet.

“We call it poop to power in five minutes,” said project consultant Roy Pelletier.

While the five-year, $8.5 million project has drawn little attention locally, a small, experimental test plant off busy Alafaya Trail near the University of Central Florida has drawn visitors from Mexico, Rio de Janeiro, Abu Dhabi, Canada, Europe and elsewhere in recent weeks.

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German Inventor Saves Fuel By Flying A Kite

SkySail kite being demonstrated at promotional event. Photo: Ursula Horn (CC)

SkySail kite being demonstrated at promotional event. Photo: Ursula Horn (CC)

SkySails has invented a method that could cut down on ‘fuel consumption, costs and carbon footprints’ for commercial ships by developing giant kites. The Raw Story reports:

The blue-hulled vessel would slip by unnoticed on most seas if not for the white kite, high above her prow, towing her to what its creators hope will be a bright, wind-efficient future.

The enormous kite, which looks like a paraglider, works in tandem with the ship’s engines, cutting back on fuel consumption, costs, and carbon footprint.

“Using kites you can harness more energy than with any other type of wind-powered equipment,” said German inventor Stephan Wrage, whose company SkySails is looking for lift-off on the back of worldwide efforts to boost renewable energy.

The 160-square-metre (524-square-foot) kite, tethered to a yellow rope, can sail 500 metres into the skies where winds are both stronger and more stable, according to the 38-year-old Wrage.

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China Leads The World In Clean Energy

Solar collectors on apartment rooftops in Xian Chian. Photo: Richard Chambers (CC)

Photo: Richard Chambers (CC)

One of the most polluted countries has become number one in clean energy. The US ranks number three. The Guardian reports:

China has overtaken the US for the first time in a league table of investments in low-carbon energy among the G-20, according to a new report by not for profit group the Pew Charitable Trusts published this week.

The report found that despite an overall 6.6 per cent global decline in clean energy investments last year, China invested almost twice as much as the United States in clean energy during 2009.

But the US still leads in energy capacity. It’s interesting for the UK too:

• third in overall clean energy investments
• fourth in five-year clean energy investment growth rate
• fifth in the percentage of total power it receives from clean energy sources ahead of France, China and the US

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Are Paper And Cotton Bags Bigger Eco-Villains Than Plastic?

4359906568_daa3beccdfHas the disposable plastic bag been unfairly scapegoated? The Independent reports on a contrarian U.K. study which found that, with typical use, plastic grocery store bags actually have less of an environmental footprint than paper ones or cotton tote bags. The lesson: avoid needless consumption, and don’t imagine your screen-printed tote is saving the planet:

Hated by environmentalists and shunned by shoppers, the disposable plastic bag is piling up in a shame-filled corner of retail history. But a draft report by the Environment Agency has found that ordinary high density polythene (HDPE) bags used by shops are actually greener than supposedly low impact choices.

HDPE bags are, for each use, almost 200 times less damaging to the climate than cotton hold-alls favoured by environmentalists, and have less than one third of the Co2 emissions than paper bags which are given out by retailers such as Primark.

Most paper bags are used only once and one study assumed cotton bags were used only 51 times before being discarded, making them – according to this new report – worse than single-use plastic bags.

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