September 28, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - No matter who wins the 2012 election, the next president will take office as the United States faces vast new opportunities in energy production and profound challenges to environmental protection. After decades of growing dependence on imported oil, the U.S. is moving to energy self-sufficiency, thanks to greater domestic supplies of oil and natural gas and reduced demand. Coal, which once fired most American power plants, is being edged out by natural gas, renewable energy and stricter efforts to cut pollution - a trend that has touched off bitter political fights.
June 5, 2012 |
Five of the country's biggest companies are throwing their weight behind plants. In the name of eco-friendliness, the Coca-Cola Co., Ford Motor Co., H.J. Heinz Co., Nike Inc. and Procter & Gamble have banded together to develop and use plant-based PET plastics in products including bottles, apparel, footwear, automotive fabrics and carpets. PET, known officially as polyethylene terephthalate, is a durable and lightweight resin. Plant-based versions don't require petroleum, as many other plastics do. Coke's current PlantBottle initiative draws from a similar idea and uses packaging partially made from a material derived from sugar cane.
May 30, 2012 |
WASHINGTON -- On a patch of pavement outside the Canadian Embassy, Jay McGinley is trying to starve himself to death. After drinking nothing but water for more than 30 days, he appears close to achieving his goal. When he stands up, his dark blue sweater hangs from a wasted frame. On the 21st day of his hunger strike, May 15, McGinley was hospitalized briefly when his kidneys almost failed. He returned to his post the next day. Wednesday is his 36th day without food.
April 5, 2012 |
Last week, the Senate voted on a proposal by New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez to end some of the billions of dollars in handouts enjoyed by the fossil-fuel industry. The Repeal Big Oil Tax Subsidies Act was a curiously skimpy bill that targeted only oil companies, and just the five richest of them at that. Left out were coal and natural gas. Even so, the proposal didn't pass. But that hasn't stopped President Obama from calling for an end to oil subsidies at every stop on his early presidential-campaign-plus-fundraising blitz.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 5, 2012 |
Construction cranes rise like storks 40 stories above the Mojave Desert. In their midst, the "power tower" emerges, wrapped in scaffolding and looking like a multistage rocket. Clustered nearby are hangar-sized assembly buildings, looming berms of sand and a chain mail of fencing that will enclose more than 3,500 acres of public land. Moorings for 173,500 mirrors -- each the size of a garage door -- are spiked into the desert floor. Before the end of the year, they will become six square miles of gleaming reflectors, sweeping from Interstate 15 to the Clark Mountains along California's eastern border.
December 5, 2011 |
Arnold Schwarzenegger on Monday urged Republicans running for president to do more to encourage investment in renewable energy, and pledged to be a "cheerleader" for the issue. The former California governor was honored in Washington on Monday night as the "renewable energy leader of the decade" by the American Council on Renewable Energy. Speaking at the group's 10th anniversary dinner, he said the United States had lost its way when it came to investing in developing new sources of energy.
November 25, 2011 |
Renewable energy is surpassing fossil fuels for the first time in new power-plant investments, shaking off setbacks from the financial crisis and an impasse at the United Nations global warming talks. Electricity from the wind, sun, waves and biomass drew $187 billion last year compared with $157 billion for natural gas, oil and coal, according to calculations by Bloomberg New Energy Finance using the latest data. Accelerating installations of solar- and wind-power plants led to lower equipment prices, making clean energy more competitive with coal.
November 9, 2011 |
California is on track to meet an ambitious goal of putting solar panels on up to 3 million Golden State homes by 2016, according to a new report by an environmental group. The $3.3-billion initiative, which provides subsidies to homeowners, has spurred the installation of 800 megawatts of rooftop panels over the last five years. That's the energy equivalent of two gas-burning power plants. With the prices of photovoltaic panels plummeting, California's installations are expected to triple over the next five years, helping the state reach its goal of 3,000 megawatts of rooftop solar by 2016.
July 15, 2011 |
After 10 months of negotiations and sometimes nasty public debate, Australia's government has finally announced the details of a carbon tax of $24.65 a ton, aimed at lowering greenhouse gas emissions by discouraging the use of fossil fuels and increasing investment in renewable energy. In 2015 it will be replaced by an emissions trading program. The plan, announced Sunday by Prime Minister Julia Gillard, will now go before Parliament, but its passage is assured as it is the result of a deal reached with the Australian Greens and two independents with whom the Labor Party formed a government last year.
July 7, 2011 |
"We're a disaster area," Alexis Bonogofsky told me, "and it's going to take a long time to get over it. " Bonogofsky and her partner, Mike Scott, are all over the news this week, telling the world about how Montana's Exxon Mobil pipeline spill has fouled their goat ranch and is threatening the health of their animals. But my conversation with Bonogofsky was four full days before the pipeline began pouring oil into the Yellowstone River. And no, it's not that she's psychic; she was talking about this year's historic flooding.