(3BL Media/Just Means) - I remember that on my first visit to Switzerland back in the 1990s, I was surprised when my host asked me whether I wanted fizzy or still water from what looked like a standard water dispenser. I was not familiar with fizzy water makers then, they were not common in London,where I lived at the time. “I’ll take fizzy,” I said, which is my choice when I drink water away from home. It's a small treat.
(3BL Media/Justmeans) - Where will the scientists of tomorrow come from? Just maybe from the Amgen Foundation, which is expanding its Amgen Scholars Program, with new host institutions in the U.S., Europe and for the first time in Japan.
(3BL Media/Justmeans) - In a global show of support for increased efforts to tackle diet-related ill health, leading health campaigners and consumer advocates from across the world have publically endorsed calls for a tobacco-style Global Convention to protect and promote healthy diets.
(3BL Media/Justmeans) – The world’s largest cloud-computing company, Amazon, has made a major commitment to run its cloud services entirely on renewable energy. With this comprehensive environmental pledge, Amazon has finally chosen to follow the same path as already taken by tech giants Google, Apple, and Facebook.
(3BL Media/Justmeans) — We have seen impressive growth in renewables over the past several years, but much of that growth is based on the somewhat shaky foundation of continuing subsidies. So argues Eduardo Porter in the New York Times. Porter points out that while wind power added 13 GW of new capacity in 2012, only one additional GW was added in 2013. The reason why: expiration of the Production Tax Credit (PTC).
Referring to the rapid expansion in the market, Letha Tawney of World Resources Institute says, “any time there is uncertainty about the production tax credit, it all stops.”
According to the IEA’s Energy Technology Perspectives report, their “annual progress report on global efforts to engineer a clean-energy transformation,” says that despite best efforts in many areas, “the carbon intensity of our energy supply is stuck.” Gains in renewables are being offset by added fossil fuel capacity. Furthermore, even where wind and solar PV are thriving, some of the other technologies, like offshore wind, geothermal, and biofuels have been lagging.
According to IEA Executive Director, Maria van der Hoeven, we have the technology and it is cost effective, but the political will is still lacking. How do we get people and governments in particular, to spend the money?
Here’s an analogy. Let’s say you just moved into a house that was built 30 years ago. The furnace in that house is very inefficient but it is still working. If you replaced the furnace today, you’d begin saving the money (and helping the planet) immediately. But how many of you, despite the fact that the investment can be shown to be cost effective in terms of payback, would still wait until the furnace breaks down before replacing it. That’s exactly where we are today on the clean energy journey. Even though these technologies can be shown to be cost-effective without incentives, it seems to take that extra push to move people to action.
(3BL Media/Just Means) - Solar power is the cleanest form of generation as far as the source of power is concerned. But as things stand now there’s one catch: we still rely on toxic materials to produce the cells that harness solar light and convert it into electricity. These include arsenic, cadmium telluride, lead and polyvinyl fluoride, and others.