25 Oct 2021

feedEnvironmental Law Prof Blog

Precommitment Strategies to Avoid the Justice Worst Case in the Climate Worst Case

Open-eyed assessment of the potential for and on-the-ground realities of 4 degrees of warming supports the implementation of extraordinary and immediate mitigation measures and portends that, even with such measures, climate impacts will strain adaptive capacity to the breaking point...

25 Oct 2021 7:49pm GMT

22 Oct 2021

feedEnvironmental Law Prof Blog

Catastrophic Inequality in a Climate-changed Future

Climate change has consistently proven to be more extreme than climate models have projected. If this trend towards extremely unpleasant surprises holds, more drastic adaptive responses will be required. Climate change poses an existential threat to human societies because it...

22 Oct 2021 5:14pm GMT

21 Oct 2021

feedEnvironmental Law Prof Blog

Letting Go of 2˚ C, Letting Go of Race?: What does climate justice mean at 4˚ C?

Given the "existential threat to democratic governance" posed by a sober assessment of continued global climate warming, J.B. Ruhl and Robin Kundis Craig, in their provocative article 4˚C, posit the need for a reframing of established approaches to climate adaptation....

21 Oct 2021 2:22pm GMT

20 Oct 2021

feedEnvironmental Law Prof Blog

Contemplating Equity from the Deck of the Titanic: A Metaphoric Meditation for a 4°C World

Indulge an extended metaphor. The deck chairs on the Titanic are not arranged so that all passengers have fair access to them. For that matter, all the ship's amenities are inequitably distributed, from food to medical care to cabin space....

20 Oct 2021 7:06pm GMT

19 Oct 2021

feedEnvironmental Law Prof Blog

The Costs of Political Polarization and Gridlock

Although some Republican officials have signaled a willingness to work on mitigation and adaptation policies, political promises to address climate change still largely come from only one party: the Democrats. In fact, according to the Center for American Progress, 139...

19 Oct 2021 3:50pm GMT

18 Oct 2021

feedEnvironmental Law Prof Blog


The "veil of ignorance" thought experiment devised by the philosopher John Rawls has long haunted law school seminar rooms and lecture halls. And for good reason. In his ambitious 1971 book, A Theory of Justice, Rawls offered a way to...

18 Oct 2021 5:26pm GMT

15 Oct 2021

feedEnvironmental Law Prof Blog

Harnessing Eco-Anxiety and Triaging for the Future

Our children are scared and anxious. Our climate scientists are facing unprecedented levels of stress and depression. The future appears a dark and scary place. Sometimes, it seems like the only sensible engaged response is to pour all energy and...

15 Oct 2021 1:56pm GMT

14 Oct 2021

feedEnvironmental Law Prof Blog

More Better Information as 4°C Preparedness: Ecosystem Benefit Flows and Community Engagement

From an ecosystem services perspective, access to nature-and the benefits that come from functioning ecosystems-is poorly distributed across class, race, gender and throughout communities. We might explain the divide by comparing ecosystem services demand between rural and denser population areas,...

14 Oct 2021 5:36pm GMT

13 Oct 2021

feedEnvironmental Law Prof Blog

Climate Change Lessons from a Disney Princess

It may seem an unlikely connection, but while reading Robin Kundis Craig and J.B. Ruhl's excellent (if depressing!) paper 4° Celsius, I found myself thinking about the Disney movie Frozen II. Frozen II presents a parable about climate change through...

13 Oct 2021 7:35pm GMT

12 Oct 2021

feedEnvironmental Law Prof Blog

The 4° City

Just as rising global temperatures will accelerate change in ecological systems, a 4° Celsius world will catalyze social changes in the United States. In some parts of the country, these changes will include greater need for rapid emergency responses, heavier...

12 Oct 2021 1:14pm GMT

12 Nov 2011

feedLatest Items from TreeHugger

Use Etsy to Find Local and Handcrafted Holiday Yoga Treats

My flame for the small-business and artisan supporting marketplace was re-kindled surfing the 263 items -- from mat bags, to hand-knit yoga socks, calming wall art and more -- made locally in Brooklyn alone.

12 Nov 2011 6:08pm GMT

Ringo Starr Designs Timberland Boots for Charity

Ringo Starr lends his oriiginal peace sign artwork to 75 pairs of Timberland boots to support WaterAid.

12 Nov 2011 4:41pm GMT

Turkish Photographers Capture Climate Change

Traveling exhibit in Turkey prompts audiences to put on their 'climate glasses' and see how floods, fires, and drought in the country are all connected.

12 Nov 2011 4:30pm GMT

Healthy 75' Tree Cut Down to Decorate Rockefeller Center. Does It Have to Be This Way?

The tree that will decorate Rockefeller Center this holiday season was cut down this week - but was it needlessly killed?

12 Nov 2011 1:02pm GMT

GM Salmon No Longer Dead in the Water Thanks to USDA Funding

USDA gives AquaBounty a financial boost.

12 Nov 2011 1:00pm GMT

Adrian Grenier, Bill McKibben, Fisker and More Get Global Green Awards

Sustainable design awards to pay tribute to innovators

12 Nov 2011 10:40am GMT

11 Nov 2011

feedLatest Items from TreeHugger

Greens Celebrate Keystone XL Delay, But Biggest Fight Still Looms (Video)

Let's not get overly gushy here ...

11 Nov 2011 11:40pm GMT

Cyclists Paint 5 km of Guerilla Bike Lanes Outside Congress in Mexico City

In an act of public protest, cyclists took to the streets in Mexico to paint their own network of bike lanes outside the city's congress building.

11 Nov 2011 10:30pm GMT

If US Followed Germany's Lead on Solar, We'd Create 2.5 MIllion Jobs: Bill Clinton on the Daily Show (Video)

The former president chats with Jon Stewart about how we can create millions of green jobs with smart, simple policies.

11 Nov 2011 9:44pm GMT

Controversy over that Viral 'Murmuration' Video

A magical video of a flock of starlings has gone viral, and spurred questions from other filmmakers.

11 Nov 2011 8:49pm GMT

Tesla CEO Confirms Rapid-Charging Station Between San Francisco and Los Angeles

The company will build the first of many super-fast-charging stations between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

11 Nov 2011 8:40pm GMT

Colorado Works to Fix Major Loophole in Tire Recycling Program

Advisory committee tries to eliminate loophole that allows company to be paid to dump tires.

11 Nov 2011 8:26pm GMT

Remembering Wangari Maathai, Monday November 14th in NYC

A public memorial ceremony will be held in NYC for Wangari Maathai on November 14.

11 Nov 2011 8:25pm GMT

Boulder Votes to Go Clean Energy On Its Own

Boulder, Colorado, voted last week to create its own utility to help break away from coal.

11 Nov 2011 8:13pm GMT

UK Shoppers Throw Out 10% of Their Weekly Shop Uneaten

British shoppers could save £50 a month if they served sensible portion sizes and learned to store their food safely.

11 Nov 2011 7:57pm GMT

Recycled Dystopia: Spooky Sculptures of Found Objects By Greg Brotherton

Junked odds and ends find a home in artist Greg Brotherton's brilliant and dystopian sculptures.

11 Nov 2011 6:55pm GMT

10 Nov 2011


Turning Commercial Jets into Hybrids

A company called WheelTug has devised a way for commercial airplanes to run on electricity at slow speeds, much like a hybrid vehicle does.

The WheelTug system includes a pair of electric motors embedded in an airplane's nose wheel which provide power for backing the plane away from the gate and for taxiing up to 28 mph. The electricity for the motors is provided by the auxiliary power unit of the plane, a small engine located at the back of the aircraft used for running lights and the ventilation system when the main engines are off.

The auxiliary power unit uses only about half a gallon of fuel per minute compared to two gallons per minute for each of the main engines. The WheelTug allows a plane to taxi without use of the main engines and to back from the gate without the help of a diesel-fueled tug, cutting down significantly on fuel use while a plane is on the ground.

Another advantage to creating hybrid jets is that planes will spend less time on the ground since they won't have to wait for a tug. Also, by running the main engines less, engines will sustain less damage.

The company has just signed a deal to outfit 20 El Al jets with the system and hopes to get certification from European and American aviation regulators by early 2013.

via NY Times Green Blog

10 Nov 2011 6:29pm GMT

09 Nov 2011


California Hits 1 Gigawatt of Rooftop Solar

According to a new report by Environment California, a major solar power milestone has been reached in the state: it is now home to 1 gigawatt's-worth of rooftop solar power. To put that into perspective, only five countries have hit the 1 GW mark in solar power so far: Germany, Spain, Japan, Italy and the Czech Republic.

The electricity produced by rooftop solar power installations in California now equals two coal-fired power plants and could power 750,000 homes.

The solar installations include new and existing homes and commercial buildings, and panels connected to the grid by both large utilities and smaller municipal utilities.

The report gives most of the credit to a statewide rooftop solar incentive program called the California Solar Initiative. The initiative is responsible for 600 MW of installed solar power in the state.

via Mercury News

09 Nov 2011 7:59pm GMT

08 Nov 2011


Facebook Adding Solar Power to New Headquarters

Facebook, a company that so far hasn't done much in the "green" arena, is incorporating a nice-sized solar power system into their new headquarters.

The cogeneration system, which is being built by Cogenra Solar, will include both solar PV and solar hot water heating and have far greater efficiency than just a solar PV system alone. The 24-module system will reside on the roof of a 10,000 square foot fitness center, providing electricity for the fitness machines and hot water for the showers. The system will have a capacity of 10 kW of electricity and about 50 kW of thermal energy.

Facebook sees this as their initial investment in solar power and hopes to expand the system later on to include powering and heating other parts of the campus, like the cafes.

via Crisp Green

08 Nov 2011 8:34pm GMT

07 Nov 2011


Solar Ship Is Half Airship and Half Flying Wing

Incorporating solar power onto airships is not an entirely new idea, but we continue to find interesting developments of the concept. The latest is the Solar Ship,a hybrid aircraft that merges bouyant lifting and aerodynamics as well as thin-film solar panels. The combination makes for a long-range vessel that is able to take-off and land on very short airfields.

Earlier studies have been critical of the efficiency of airships, finding that trucks offer a lower overall cost in time and energy. But that presupposes the existence of a network of available roads. While developed areas may be more readily served by trucks, they are less than ideal for many other parts of the world.

The Solar Ship concept was specifically developed for use in areas without a network of roads available. The two areas being focused on at present are to provide medical services in remote areas and to provide cargo transport alternatives to the "ice roads" presently used to move supplies in the high Arctic.

"Solar Ship blends the technologies of aerodynamic lift, aerostatic lift, and solar cells to create a cost efficient, long range, energy efficient cargo carrier for areas with minimal or unreliable infrastructure."

As a heavier-than-air craft, the Solar Ship does not need to have a ground crew to help support the craft at each destination point. The buoyant assitance of helium gives the craft enough help that it is able to use a soccer field as its airstrip. A solar powered Solar Ship will have unlimited effective range, while the hybrid version increases the cargo capacity while still providing great range.

07 Nov 2011 4:31pm GMT

Saving Land with Floating Solar Panels

A water treatment plant in New Jersy has gone solar with an unusual floating aray of solar panels. Because the water treatment facility is located on a protected site there was very little land available for construction. Floating the solar panels on the reservoir was the best way to add solar power to the facility.

According to New Jersey American Water, the installation at the Canoe Brook Water Treatment Plant is the first solar array on a body of water designed to withstand a freeze/thaw environment. The installation comprises 538 modules on a floating structure that is designed to rise and fall with the water levels in the reservoir.

The panels are expected to provide about 2 percent of the plant's energy needs, resulting in about $16,000 in energy cost savings annually. The company press release notes that this is part of a $1.35 million dollar pilot project undertaken by the utility. That may not be cost effective even in the lifetime of the solar panels. But perhaps the infrastructure investment will help pay off in other long-term benefits.

image: New Jersey American Water (Facebook)

via: Solar Thermal Magazine

07 Nov 2011 3:49pm GMT

03 Nov 2011


Climate Change May Be Super-Sizing Birds

Researchers from San Francisco State University and Point Reyes Bird Observatory believe that among the wide array of consequences and adaptations that are occurring with climate change, birds are getting larger and fatter.

The team analyzed data from thousands of birds that were caught and released over the past few decades in the San Francisco Bay and Point Reyes National Seashore area and found that birds, on average, had increased in mass and in wingspan over the past 27 to 40 years.

The researchers believe that climate change could be leading to this super-sizing of the birds in a couple of ways. One is that birds could be storing more fat to survive the harsher winter storms that have become more common as the world warms. The other cause may be that climate change is affecting plant growth in a way that is leading to fatter birds.

While this doesn't seem to be a negative development so far, the researchers say these type of discoveries make it necessary to understand why some plants or animals are getting larger and some smaller and what the real impact of those changes could be.

via Discovery News

03 Nov 2011 9:12pm GMT

02 Nov 2011


Huge Sahara Desert Solar Project to Break Ground Next Year

The massive Dersertec Initiative, which will include several solar power plants constructed in the Sahara Desert, as well as parts of the MIddle East and Europe, is coming together as planned. The first plant, a 500-MW concentrated solar installation, is now set to break ground next year.

This first plant will be located in Morocco and cost about $2.8 billion and will take two to four years to complete. The first phase of the plant will be 7.4 square miles and have a capacity of 150 MW.

The Dersertec Initiative is being funded by a large consortium of European companies and organizations. The huge project is expected to provide 15 to 20 percent of Europe's electricity needs by 2050, while also providing electricity to the Middle East and Northern Africa.

via CleanTechnica

02 Nov 2011 3:45pm GMT

31 Oct 2011


Northeast States Teaming Up to Build EV Charging Network

The West Coast has wasted no time building electric vehicle corridors, but so far the Northeast has lagged behind on electric car infrastructure, especially considering the size of the population there. Luckily, the lagging behind will soon end. A new regional initiative called the Northeast Electric Vehicle Network will bring together 11 states plus Washington, D.C. to build an electric car charging network. The network plans to bring hundreds of chargers online over the next couple of years to encourage adoption of EVs in the region.

The states participating are Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont. Maine will be represented on a city level instead of statewide. The states will team up with automakers, both large retailers and small shops and charging network companies to work on placing charging stations in the most convenient locations.

Out of the 15,000 EVs currently on the road in the U.S., surprisingly only about 1,000 of them are in the Northeast. These states want to encourage more EV use not just for environmental reasons, but also because it will save them money. The Northeast imports about 25 billion gallons of oil each year, so if all-electric vehicles replaced just 5 percent of conventional ones, the region could save $4.6 billion every year. I'd call that a win-win.

If President Obama's call for one million plug-in vehicles on the road by 2015 comes to fruition, based on population, about 200,000 will be hitting Northeastern roads. Good thing those drivers will have a place to charge up.

via Inside Climate News

31 Oct 2011 3:24pm GMT

30 Oct 2011


High-Tech Programmable Thermostats

A couple of high-tech programmable thermostats are starting to draw a lot of attention for raising the bar for both style and user friendliness. Proper use of a programmable thermostat is one of the best ways to control your home energy usage and reduce energy costs, and these new thermostats can make it easier than ever to accomplish this.

Both the ecobee and the Nest thermostats come in stylish packages that offer wireless connectivity, user-friendly interfaces, and online access and mobile apps to let you control your system remotely.

The Nest thermostat is designed to learn and adapt itself over time, so that your house is at the temperature you want when you want it without having to fuss with reprogramming it. The ecobee web interface also gives you energy reports so you can see when you are using energy.

Both thermostats are priced in the range of a few hundred dollars, which is more than the average programmable thermostat, but they offer more features and easier accessability, which presumably should translate into greater energy savings. If using one of these thermostats helps save as much energy as they claim, either one would be well worth the investment, and should pay back its cost with energy savings within a couple of years.

via: p s proefrock architecture

30 Oct 2011 5:44pm GMT

Greener Solar Panels with Bio-Based Backsheets

Solar panels can be even greener with the use of the BioSolar backsheet, which recently obtained provisional UL certification which allows for its sale to the general market. This backsheet is made from materials derived from castor beans instead of polyester and Tedlar films.

The backsheet of a solar panel is the the structure that carries the other materials. It also serves as an electrical insulator and a weathertight enclosure on the back side of the panel.

Not only does the bio-based backsheet replace the need for petroleum products, but the thermal performance of the BioSolar material is better than currently used materials, allowing for faster heat dissipation and lower operating temperatures, which improves solar panel performance.

"This new tough bio-based material will be able to offer the durability and environmental characteristics of conventional petroleum-based plastics, such as electromagnetic properties, mechanical strength, dimensional stability, and weatherability required by PV solar applications. "

With petroleum prices rising, the use of bio-based materials offers lower cost and greater price stability. Furthermore, production of the new backsheet material does not require new, proprietary equipment for manufacture, so the technology can be readily adopted without businesses incurring additional capital costs related to choosing to use the new material.

via: Solar Thermal Magazine

30 Oct 2011 4:49pm GMT