China and India have 36% of the world’s population and produce about 35% of global CO2 emissions, ranking first and third respectively in that category. The United States, with a little over 4% of the world’s population, produces about 16% of global CO2 emissions, good for second place.
It seems like something out of a science fiction movie, but a nearly silent train that glides along its tracks emitting nothing but water is a reality. In March, Germany conducted successful tests of the world’s first “Hydrail,” which is a hydrogen-powered, zero-emission train.
The North-Rhine Westphalia region of Germany was the crucible of that country’s industrial revolution and it still generates a third of Germany’s power, much of it using aging coal plants. However, Germany’s national energy transition program is pushing the country away from coal and other fossil fuels and towards renewable energy sources.
When we think of global climate change, what comes to mind? Rising seas? Melting glaciers? Shrinking sea ice? How about diminishing ocean oxygen levels?
Back in 2011, utility-scale solar power cost a little over $4 per watt on average. In February of that year, former Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the SunShot initiative, which had the goal of reducing the total cost of photovoltaic systems by 75% to the target value of $1 a watt by the year 2020.
Americans toss out an almost unbelievable $161 billion worth of food every year. There are numerous efforts underway to address this problem, but they are mostly at the local level or in the business sector. To date, we have no national- or international-level policies that tackle the issue. In this regard, Europe is way ahead of us.
The United Nations declared 2016 to be the International Year of Pulses. Pulses, which are also known as grain legumes, are a group of 12 crops that includes dry beans, dry peas, chickpeas and lentils. They are high in protein as well as fiber and various vitamins. Pulse crops are highly sustainable and require much less water than many other food crops. So there is a real effort underway to promote their production as part of improving food security around the world.
The declining populations of bees and other pollinators has been a topic of great concern for a number of years. There has not been general agreement on the root cause and, in fact, it appears as though there are multiple causes at play.
Germany has continued to be the most aggressive adopter of renewable energy among large industrial nations. The country has the goal of shifting to 100% renewables by 2050. Its continuing embracing of solar and wind generation resources over the past decade has resulted in renewables supplying a third of the country’s power on average.
Over the past decade, single-serve coffee pods have quickly become a favorite method for delivering a hot cup o’ joe as fast and efficiently as possible. The explosive growth of pod-based coffee machines is such that now nearly one in three American homes has one.
An international poll of over 45,000 people in 40 countries looked at opinions about climate change and the need to curb greenhouse gas emissions. The results are quite interesting.