December 26, 2012
Mitt Romney, who opposed government subsidies for clean power and thought all energy production technologies should compete equally in the free market, did not win the election. That's the good news. The bad news is that his backward policies are still popular among many congressional Republicans, posing a threat to a wind-energy tax credit that is creating jobs and helping to wean the country off fossil fuels. Unless it is extended, the tax credit will expire at the end of the year.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 9, 2012 |
The Delta Energy Center, a power plant about an hour outside San Francisco, was roaring at nearly full bore one day last month, its four gas and steam turbines churning out 880 megawatts of electricity to the California grid. On the horizon, across an industrial shipping channel on the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, scores of wind turbines stood dead still. The air was too calm to turn their blades - or many others across the state that day. Wind provided just 33 megawatts of power statewide in the midafternoon, less than 1% of the potential from wind farms capable of producing 4,000 megawatts of electricity.
November 18, 2012
Re “Cut their power,” Opinion, Nov. 9 The largest oil and gas companies are already “energy” companies, as author Bill McKibben defines it. Chevron, for instance, is the largest geothermal power producer in the world. Instead of proposing to “break the power of the fossil fuel industry” to reduce global warming, as McKibben suggests, we should try a more realistic approach: Show them that embracing renewable technology makes good economic sense. The Department of Energy needs oil and gas companies to partner with geothermal companies to “co-produce” electricity from the waste heat inherent in oil and gas production.
November 9, 2012 |
It's not just Sandy. Sandy was off-the-charts terrible, a storm that broke every record in the books: for storm surge, for barometric pressure, for sheer size. But it also blew in toward the end of what will be the warmest year in U.S. history. It was a year that already had seen a summer-in-March heat wave described by meteorologists as the most statistically freakish weather event in the continent's history, an epic drought that raised grain prices 40% around the world and a record-setting melt of Arctic ice. It was a year in which scientists at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, who couldn't take the subway to their Manhattan offices in the days following Sandy, calculated that the 1-degree rise in global temperature we've already seen has raised the chance of extreme heat events by an order of magnitude.
October 19, 2012 |
At the bottom of a lake near Japan's Wakasa Bay, more than 50,000 years of history has been pulled out of the ground in the form of sediment and leaves. The information contained in those samples will allow scientists to determine the age of organic materials and fossils with new clarity by improving carbon dating, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Science. Carbon dating works by detecting the relative amounts of two varieties of carbon: carbon-14, or C-14, and carbon-12, or C-12.
October 9, 2012 |
Oregon State University researchers have discovered a spider and a wasp frozen together in a piece of amber, a moment in time from the Early Cretaceous period. The find, which was dug up in a northern region of Myanmar called Hukawng Valley, is believed to be the first fossil capturing a spider about to attack its prey. Just seconds before the spider was about to strike, resin flowed over the insects, preserving them both -- and the moment. The discovery was reported in the latest issue of the journal Historical Biology.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 6, 2012 |
Peering into the microscope, Alan Barton thought the baby oysters looked normal, except for one thing: They were dead. Slide after slide, the results were the same. The entire batch of 100 million larvae at the Whiskey Creek Shellfish Hatchery had perished. It took several years for the Oregon oyster breeder and a team of scientists to find the culprit: a radical change in ocean acidity. The acid levels rose so high that the larvae could not form their protective shells, according to a study published this year.
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.
July 3, 2012 |
A 135-million-year-old fossil of a juvenile dinosaur found in Bavaria suggests that most carnivorous dinosaurs may have been covered in feathers. Paleontologists had already known that many dinosaurs closely related to birds were covered in feathers, but the newly discovered one is from a different family and occurs much earlier in the dinosaur evolutionary tree. Because of the early appearance of feathers, the find indicates "that all predatory dinosaurs had feathers," said paleontologist Oliver Rauhut of the Bayerische Staatssammlung fur Palaontologie und Geologie in Munich, who led the team.
June 15, 2012 |
Are you an armchair dinosaur hunter who will be in Houston? Here's a target-rich opportunity: Carve out at least a couple of hours to prowl the Houston Museum of Natural Science 's dramatic new paleontology hall . Thanks to the latest technological wizardry -- such as computer-generated animation that creates virtual aquariums -- the museum manages to achieve the intimacy of an art gallery with ancient fossils both massive and tiny. A key is the way designers have posed the creatures.