The Eco News Roundup brings stories and commentary about issues related to climate change, renewable energy and the environment.

Colored solar cells could make display screens more efficient

A new kind of screen pixel doubles as a solar cell and could boost the energy efficiency of cell phones and e-readers. The technology could also potentially be used in larger displays to make energy-harvesting billboards or decorative solar panels.

An Escalator That Feeds the Building

Regenerative braking, which involves taking unwanted mechanical energy and turning it back into electricity instead of letting it dissipate as heat, is well established in cars like the Toyota Prius and has lately made inroads in railway locomotives.

In both cases, an electric motor, which converts current into mechanical energy, briefly reverses its function to become a generator, converting mechanical energy into current. One problem for cars is that the flow of electricity is so great that batteries have trouble absorbing it.

Iron filings may not be a magic fix for carbon dioxide

New Delhi: An Indian experiment may have dealt a decisive, possibly fatal blow to a body of research that aims to arrest global warming by sprinkling iron dust into the oceans.

The leaves, they are a-changing _ even as scientists try to log climate’s impact on colors

PORTLAND, Maine — Clocks may not be the only thing falling back: That signature autumn change in leaf colors may be drifting further down the calendar.

Scientists don’t quite know if global warming is changing the signs of fall like it already has with an earlier-arriving spring. They’re turning their attention to fall foliage in hopes of determining whether climate change is leading to a later arrival of autumn’s golden, orange and red hues.

Climate change leading to shrinking animals?

Melting ice, outbreaks of disease, more intense storms and more forest fires are just some of the effects scientists say will accompany human-caused climate change. Scientists are now exploring another, perhaps more surprising, potential effect: Shrinking animals.

7 Futuristic Modes of Green Transportation

Hybrid and electric cars are a great way to cut down on your transportation carbon footprint on land, but sometimes it’s nice to dream big and beyond a rechargeable battery and paved roads. While we haven’t quite met the Jetson’s age when it comes to getting around, we’re getting pretty close. Designers worldwide are creating some seriously stellar transportation vehicles for use on land, sea and sky, aimed at the everyday man and woman. We’ve searched high and low for the most impressive designs that really exemplify innovative green thinking and creativity with no bounds. Read ahead to learn more about these awesome concepts – some of which have already gone into production and exploring the world as we speak!

Climate change eradicating Arctic’s oldest ice

The Arctic’s oldest, thickest sea ice — much of which used to survive the year’s warmest months — had all but disappeared by the end of this summer’s near-record meltdown, according to new U.S. analyses that vividly show how the circumpolar region is being transformed by warmer temperatures and other features of climate change.

Major overhaul needed of standards for Arctic drilling: Study

A leading Arctic environmental group says it has identified “critical weaknesses” in Canada’s regulatory system for approving potential offshore oil projects in the North, including “ambiguity” regarding standards to prevent the kind of catastrophic blowout that struck the Gulf of Mexico last year.

Most Arctic oil spills impossible to clean up: WWF

If a major oil spill happened in the Arctic, it would be impossible to clean it up during much of the year because of the region’s harsh environmental conditions, says the World Wildlife Federation.

“This hypothetical ability to respond may not really exist” because crews might not even be able to reach the spill, says Rob Powell, director of the environmental group’s Mackenzie River Basin Program.

Climate change will show which animals can take the heat

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Species’ ability to overcome adversity goes beyond Darwin’s survival of the fittest. Climate change has made sure of that. In a new study based on simulations examining species and their projected range, researchers at Brown University argue that whether an animal can make it to a final, climate-friendly destination isn’t a simple matter of being able to travel a long way. It’s the extent to which the creatures can withstand rapid fluctuations in climate along the way that will determine whether they complete the journey.

In a paper in Ecology Letters, Regan Early and Dov Sax examined the projected “climate paths” of 15 amphibians in the western United States to the year 2100. Using well-known climate forecasting models to extrapolate decades-long changes for specific locations, the researchers determined that more than half of the species would become extinct or endangered. The reason, they find, is that the climate undergoes swings in temperature that can trap species at different points in their travels. It’s the severity or duration of those climate swings, coupled with the given creature’s persistence, that determines their fate.

Rick Perry officials spark revolt after doctoring environment report

Officials in Rick Perry’s home state of Texas have set off a scientists’ revolt after purging mentions of climate change and sea-level rise from what was supposed to be a landmark environmental report. The scientists said they were disowning the report on the state of Galveston Bay because of political interference and censorship from Perry appointees at the state’s environmental agency.

By academic standards, the protest amounts to the beginnings of a rebellion: every single scientist associated with the 200-page report has demanded their names be struck from the document. “None of us can be party to scientific censorship so we would all have our names removed,” said Jim Lester, a co-author of the report and vice-president of the Houston Advanced Research Centre.

Here are some other links you may find worthwhile:
Climate Change News Digest
Climate Progress from Center for American Progress
Rocky Mountain Institute “an independent, entrepreneurial nonprofit think-and-do tank™ that drives the efficient and restorative use of resources.”

At BPI Campus our Progressive Agenda is:
1. People matter more than profits.
2. The earth is our home, not our trash can.
3. We need good government for both #1 and #2.


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