Archive for the month “December, 2015”

How viable is renewable energy?

Both solar and wind energy depend on rare earth elements that will likely become scarce in 20 years or so. China accounted for 95 percent of the worlds rare-earth production, raising fears that it might exert monopolistic control. Meanwhile, renewable energy technologies that could function without rare earths, particularly photovoltaic technologies, arent close to deployment.

Clear path, indecisive travelers

Sagar Dhara, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists

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India’s Energy Crisis

Can India modernize its manufacturing economy and supply electricity to its growing population without relying heavily on coal—and quite possibly destroying the global climate?

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Richard Martin, Technology Review

An old man wakes on the floor of a hut in a village in southern India. He is wrapped in a thin cotton blanket. Beside him, music wails softly on a transistor radio. A small wood fire smolders on the floor, filling the space with a light haze; above it,the bamboo timbers of the hut’s roof are charred to a glossy black.

The man’s name is Mallaiah Tokala, and he is the headman of Appapur village, in the Amrabad Tiger Reserve in Telangana state. On his forehead he wears the vibhuti, the sacred daub of white ash. He is uncertain of his exact age, but he is well into his 10th decade. He has lived in this village his whole life, a period that encompasses the tumultuous 20th-century history of India: the rise of Gandhi, the Salt March, the end of the Raj and the coming of independence, Partition and the bloodshed that followed, the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi and the dawning of a new era of sectarian violence and terrorism. And now he has lived long enough to witness the coming of electricity to Appapur, in the form of solar-powered lights and TVs and radios. Read more…

Richard Heinberg: An open letter to climate leaders

 Author and Post Carbon Institute founder Richard Heinberg writes: Here are nine critical issues to consider as we come away from COP21–because as media commentaries about whether the COP21 meetings were a success or a failure run their course, the burden falls on our shoulders to return to the hard work of fighting for, and implementing, the energy transition.

The climate conference is over.
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Special: Institutions are pulling out investments worth billions from fossil fuels

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What is fossil fuel divestment?
Divestment is the opposite of investment – it is the removal of your investment capital from stocks, bonds or funds. The global movement for fossil fuel divestment (sometimes also called disinvestment) is asking institutions to move their money out of oil, coal and gas companies for both moral and financial reasons. These institutions include universities, religious institutions, pension funds, local authorities and charitable foundations.

It is the fastest-growing divestment campaign in history and could cause significant damage to coal, gas and oil companies, according to a study by Oxford University. Previous divestment campaigns have targeted the tobacco and gambling industries and companies funding the violence in Darfur. Divestment is perhaps most well known for its role in the fight against apartheid in South Africa. Read more…

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