China has begun operating what is, by several measures, the world’s fastest rail line: a dedicated 968-kilometer line linking Wuhan, in the heart of central China, to Guangzhou, on the southeastern coast. In trials, the “WuGuang” line trains (locally built variants of Japan’s Shinkansen and Germany’s InterCity Express high-speed trains) clocked peak speeds of up to 394 kilometers per hour (or 245 miles per hour). They have also recorded an average speed of 312 kph in nonstop runs four times daily since the WuGuang’s December 26 launch, slashing travel time from Wuhan to Guangzhou from 10.5 hours to less than three.
WuGuang’s speed blows away the reigning champion: France’s TGV, which runs from Lorraine to Champagne and averages 272 kph. It also bests China’s first high-speed train, the Beijing-to-Tianjin trains that average 230 kph, as well as Shanghai’s magnetically levitated airport shuttle trains that can hit 430 kph but average less than 251 kph.
Germany will stick to a more ambitious goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2020 even though the U.N. climate conference in Copenhagen fell short of expectations, a government adviser said on Monday.
Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, head of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, said it was unclear if the European Union as a whole would pursue a 30 percent target when it submits its plan to the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat by January 31.
Germany had hoped that its offer to raise its 2020 target from 30 to 40 percent, combined with an EU offer to raise its goal from 20 to 30 percent if other nations pledged substantial cuts, would spur a deal on worldwide reductions in Copenhagen.
The Copenhagen accord set a goal of limiting global warming to a maximum 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial times. But it failed to say how this would be achieved.
“Germany has a firm target that the government has even spelled out in its coalition agreement to cut its emissions by 40 percent,” Schellnhuber told a news conference. “That’s unconditional. Germany will continue to be a driving force.”
Germany is the world’s sixth largest emitter. Some industry groups have urged Berlin to drop ambitious emissions targets, saying they could jeopardise jobs. Germany has created hundreds of thousands of green tech jobs in the last decade.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh laid out ambitious plans to make his country a global leader in solar power on Monday as he launched a government initiative to boost use of the technology.
Solar can help secure India’s energy independence and tackle climate change, Singh said, as well as offering new opportunities for industry in a country with a crippling shortage of power.
The National Solar Mission, launched Monday, could “establish India as a global leader in solar energy” in the areas of power generation and technology production, Singh told business leaders and government officials.
“The rapid spread of solar lighting systems, solar water pumps and other solar power-based rural applications can change the face of our rural energy sector,” he said.
The Solar Mission has the goal of increasing solar energy capacity exponentially to reach 20,000 megawatts for the year 2022, reducing reliance on fossil fuels.
That amount would provide enough power for 20 million homes, with each receiving one kilowatt of power.
Expanding on its incentives package for wind power, India is launching a major solar energy deployment campaign. With 9,000 megawatts of solar already up and running, the country has set a goal to have 20,000 megawatts of capacity online by 2022 “” enough power to run about 20 million U.S. households. How does India plan to do it? Major subsidies.
The populous nation was roundly criticized for its stubborn stance on climate change during the United Nations climate talks in Copenhagen. But it’s actually becoming one of the most proactive developing countries in the world when it comes to clean energy. Renewables already account for 10 percent of power generation there. To put this in context, he U.S. generated 11.1 percent of its power from renewable during the first half of 2009, and its economy is much bigger.
India’s plan to increase solar generation was first announced in July last year, and is still estimated to cost $19 billion. The government says it is willing to provide 90 percent of the support needed to make a number of solar plants operational. It has also set down policies requiring solar panels in all government buildings. It’s obviously serious about weaning itself off of fossil fuels, and cutting greenhouse gas emissions “” further evidenced by its pledge to spend $200 billion on building a cleaner, more efficient Smart Grid by 2015.
Encouraging the growth of green technology and green jobs has been a priority for the Obama administration. The recent announcement that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will fast-track green technology patent applications is a step in the right direction.
According to U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke the USPTO pilot program will speed up the process of examining certain green technology patent applications, with the ultimate goal of promoting U.S. competitiveness in the green sector.
Can East Coast rocks save the climate?
Buried volcanic rocks along the coasts of New York, New Jersey and New England could help lock away the carbon dioxide emitted by coal-fired utilities and other sources, according to a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
A group of scientists from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory looked at opportunities that can be found in basalt, an igneous rock.
Previous research looking into carbon sequestration sites in New York has targeted shale formations that are located inland, a more controversial proposal because some fear the CO2 could eventually leak from these sites.
If the public has to choose between creating jobs and spending billions to scrub invisible heat-trapping gases from the sky, jobs will win. That’s why the campaign to combat climate change is morphing, at least politically, into an economic-development drive with an environmental twist.
Many billions of dollars are being spent on clean energy, even amid the recession. One key to combating climate change will be increasing that investment so the economy keeps growing but coughs out less carbon. Most talk focuses on a “cap and trade” system, in which companies would buy and sell permits to emit dwindling amounts
World leaders should focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions as much as possible over the next 40 years to avoid perilous warming conditions, researchers said Monday.
In the first study of its kind, analysts used a detailed energy system model to analyze the relationship between emissions levels in 2050 and chances of achieving end-of-century targets of two or three degrees Celsius (3.5 or 5.5 Fahrenheit) above the pre-industrial average.
Rooftop solar panels usually sound great until you see the price tag. Even with generous tax breaks, a home-installed system can cost as much as an SUV depending where you live.
But what if you could put solar on your roof virtually for free?
Solar companies hungry to get panels on your home have come up with some innovative ways to finance complete solar systems.
Before you sign up, however, do the math and make sure it adds up. With so many local, government and federal incentives, it might be cheaper just to buy the system.