Nick Engelfried

Nick Engelfried

Posts by This Writer

11 years 2 months ago

When talking about deforestation as one of the causes of climate change, the image that springs to mind for most people is probably one of tropical hardwoods being felled in Brazil, Indonesia, or some other developing country located near the equator. It’s true that the majority of countries experiencing the worst deforestation today are tropical, developing nations. However forests are also under siege in industrialized, mainly temperate countries that still have large tracts of primary forest within their borders.

This month some of the world’s most...


11 years 2 months ago

While the US struggles to implement basic policies to encourage renewable energy growth, solar energy’s sustainable business is booming in Italy. Though Italy’s investments in renewable energy have received less media attention than those of neighboring countries like Germany, Italy has watched installations of solar power infrastructure explode within its borders over the past few years.

Italy’s sustainable business success story seems to be due to a combination of a national commitment to quickly install thousands of megawatts of...


11 years 2 months ago

If state lawmakers in Pennsylvania give the go-ahead on certain funding requirements, Pennsylvania State University will soon be making a shift away from burning coal—the dirtiest fossil fuel and biggest contributor to climate change. For more than eighty years, Penn State’s West Campus Steam Plant has burned coal to provide the school with energy. However the university now plans to refurbish the plant so it burns natural gas,...


11 years 2 months ago

This spring the Barack Obama administration took a first step toward achieving a nation-wide fleet of (comparably) green vehicles. The administration officially confirmed that by the model year 2016, the US car fleet must measure up to an average fuel economy standard of 35.5 miles per gallon. The announcement marked the first time fuel economy standards had been raised since 1990, and remains perhaps the single largest thing the Obama administration has done to combat global warming. However much remains to be done before we’ll see truly green vehicles in...


11 years 2 months ago

It seems hardly a month goes by without some member of the US Senate or the House of Representatives making an attempt to curb the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate the causes of climate change. Not only Republican lawmakers, but conservative Democrats like Senators Blanche Lincoln and Mary Landrieu have joined the cause, introducing or supporting amendments that would tie the EPA’s hands at seemingly every opportunity.

The impression you would get is that there must be...


11 years 2 months ago

Like many small island countries, the nation of Kiribati is facing the likelihood of annihilation if effects of climate change continue unchecked. Yet this country of thirty-three atolls in the western Pacific Ocean has decided not to settle for simply begging major economies to curb their emissions of greenhouse gases. Instead Kiribati is leading by example, showing it is willing to make the sort of short-term sacrifice it is asking other countries to take in order to prevent long-term effects of climate change.

Because Kiribati’s consumption of...


11 years 2 months ago

Within the last year, energy generation and associated emissions from the Hatfield Ferry Coal Plant in Greene, Pennsylvania contributed to an estimated eighty nine deaths in the surrounding area. Fine particle pollution from the plant caused around 140 heart attacks, and ten times that number of asthma attacks. Eighteen deaths in Greene County were partly attributed to coal plant pollution, while in the relatively “safe” Pennsylvania county of Centre, only eight coal-related deaths occurred.

Meanwhile in the region surrounding Ohio’s Clermont County, the Walter C. Beckjord Coal Plant had an even more deadly impact. Pollution from this plant is estimated...


11 years 3 months ago

If every potential offshore wind development site in the United States was dedicated to generate electricity from wind, the US could produce 4,250 gigawatts of wind-based energy each year. At least, that’s the estimate made in a report released today by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory of the US Department of Energy. The authors of the report surveyed average wind speeds off the coasts of the lower forty-eight states and Hawaii. Their conclusion was the sustainable business of offshore wind has immense potential to re-power the country, at least in states with a coastline.

In fact 4,250...


11 years 3 months ago

The Pacific Northwest United States is, arguably, on its way to becoming one of the most climate-friendly economies in the industrialized world. Certainly the region is acting as fast as anyplace in the US to reduce the causes of climate change. Both Oregon and Washington were early adopters of strict fuel economy standards for vehicles, and the two states have some of the nation’s most progressive statewide renewable energy standards. Yet perhaps most important of all is the fact that Oregon and Washington are at the forefront of the fight to end US dependence on...


11 years 3 months ago

In the US, a comprehensive energy and emissions bill that drives down consumption of fossil fuels is almost certainly dead for this year. However there’s still at least some hope that the US Congress could implement another type of policy meant to spur clean energy innovation, and make the US competitive in the world of clean tech once again. This last hope for sustainable business advocates is the renewable energy portfolio standard—a law that would require major utilities to produce a certain amount of their electricity from renewable energy sources within a certain specified time frame.

A...


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