Green Party U.S. – Green Technology, Recycling & Alternative Energy News & Information

Storing nuclear waste and politics in the US

July 4, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Since 1950s, nuclear waste is filing up at the source in the US. It is estimated that the United States has over 70,000 metric tons of nuclear waste stored at more than 130 sites all around the country. More than two thirds of it stored in pools of water and the reminder in thickly lined casks. Storing nuclear waste safely and environmentally sensitive manner in the United States appears to be caught up in politics.

The Federal government is building an underground, 1,000 feet below the surface, nuclear waste storage facility in Yucca Mountain near Las Vegas, Nevada since 1982. So far the government spent billions of dollars on the project. Land acquisition cost more than $10 billion and another $19 billion or so spent on legal settlements all of which over the construction cost. Originally the project was to go into operation by mid-1990s but most recent estimates indicate that the facility will not be ready until 2020s. The latest is politics that enter into the picture that will delay the project even further. In the meantime nuclear waste is getting accumulated all over the country and the recent Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan reminds everybody the danger of dealing with nuclear technology.

New environmentally sensitive solutions for deep sea drilling

April 10, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The Deepwater Horizon platform disaster and subsequent environmental damage that started in 2010 brought the underwater drilling to the forefront. Few years later, the attention is now focused on placing production equipment directly on the seafloor, under 10,000 feet of water. One reason, it is cheaper to place equipment and operations on the bed of the seafloor compared to above water platforms. The other reason is technological advancements in the deep water drilling. The University of Houston is planning to launch a graduate program in subsea engineering, underwater robots that will supervise underwater operations and exploration of other technologies.

Concerns of environmental disasters such as those that caused by the Deepwater horizon has not been eliminated through new technologies. Many thinks technological advancements need to prove the new technology is safe, not just cheap. Since 1961, the Royal Dutch Shell has been placing well pressure-control valves directly on the seabed. But oil and gas brought to the platform with a series of pipes for processing and separated gas through another series of pipes to the shore. Moving these operations to the seabed will avoid environmental risk associated with these operations. But the concerns still remain until proven otherwise.

Space Junk, an environmental disaster waiting to happen

March 24, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

If you think environmental pollution is only on the surface of the planet, think again. According to the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordinating Committee, a global consortium that track space junk not only monitor they also track special events such as fallen debris from particular space apparatus.

Since 1957 when Soviet’s first send the Sputnik 1 to the space, more than 7,100 apparatus now orbits the planet Earth. An array of space junk produced by exploding satellites, launch rockets, and other metal fragments are littering the space. They are mostly concentrated within the first 500 miles above the earth. They travel at very high speeds and can cause serious damage to other circling space apparatus and debris hitting the earth surface. Some of the debris burn out when it enters the earth atmosphere but still can create incidences such as the one occurred closer to Falkland Islands recently. Many engineering experts still think the space junk hasn’t hit the level that requires attention by world powers. More than anything else, cleaning the space junk will be an enormous task and a costly project for the planet earth in the future. It begs international agency coordination and efforts.

Bold new moves from Ford to save the environment

February 24, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Ford Motor is making calculated and bold movement. When redesigned 2015 Ford F-150 pickup truck hit the market, it will come with a lightweight aluminum instead of traditional welded steel cab and cargo bed. It is the most important news of the 111 year history of the company. The move will cost Ford millions of dollars to switch factory equipment, assembly lines, retooling and engineering expenses. But the change is aimed at drastically reduce the F-150’s weight and fuel cost helping the environment. New truck will be 15 percent less heavy than its predecessor. The aluminum body and cab bed will lower the weight by about 450 pounds. When combined with other parts including the engine, the 2015 F-150 will be almost 1,000 pounds lighter than the 2014 model.

The new design will deliver 6 to 7 percent fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Ford estimates that the new Ford F-150, 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 will deliver around 30 miles per gallon. Compare this to the close competitor Ram 1500 that deliver 25 miles per gallon or the 23 highway mpg for 2014 F-150. Ford F-150 is the America’s bestselling truck for several years and sold over 763,000 trucks last year.

Responsible drilling mad dash taking place in the Gulf of Mexico

January 17, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

BP’s April 2010 Gulf disaster happened not too long ago. It led to a five month drilling moratorium in the Gulf. But within last few months more than ten new mega oil discoveries happened in the Gulf of Mexico. Billions of dollars have been invested in deep-water wells off of Louisiana and Texas since the BP disaster. Drillers in the Gulf of Mexico include BP, Hess, Chevron, Royal Dutch, Anadarko Petroleum, Murphy Oil and others. The United States is producing more gas and oil than ever and setting new production records thanks to fracking and other technologies. Is this another environmental disaster waiting to happen?

New wells are being drilled in the deepest part, more than 1,300 feet deep in the ocean that will increase the U. S. production by more than 15 percent. Since the disaster regulators have bolstered safety regulations. Seismic and drilling technological advancements since the disaster satisfy many regulators who are equally concerned over environmental protection and overall Gulf region. There are billions of barrels of oil yet to be drilled using environmentally sensitive technologies. New regulations will help to avoid another disaster taking place similar to BP.

Rising sea level to swallow few island nations

December 3, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Article written by : Quick Home Tips 

Global warming is threatening the mere survival of many island nations. Since 1800s, sea level has risen nearly a foot. Rising sea level is impacting more island nations in the Pacific and Indian oceans than any other. Among island nations that are threatened by rising sea level, Maldives (in the Indian Ocean), Nauru and Kiribati (a former partial British colony in the Pacific Ocean) have been mentioned more often than others.

Global warming is melting the ice more rapidly than any other time in the history. According to a recent study, oceans are absorbing heat 15 percent faster than it did 10,000 years ago. Additionally, heated water expands causing additional problems for island nations. Before many of island nations are swallowed by rising seas, they will run out of fresh water for consumption. Spreading diseases can’t be avoided due to limited space, population increases and many other factors.

Island nations such as Maldives and Kiribati are looking to purchase land in neighboring countries such as India and Fiji respectively. They are appealing to the United Nation and world leaders asking industrialized nations take responsibility for global warming and requiring them to compensate islands now, not later.

Climate change to cause more wildfires

September 17, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The Yarnell Hill fire in Arizona in June 2013 caused the loss of almost the entire firefighting team of Granite Mountain Hotshots. Only one member of the team was spared. During the 2013 fire season, the U.S. lost 32 people fighting wild fires, the largest number in nearly 20 years. Another huge wildfire spread near Yosemite National Park threatening some of the nature’s best.

People are moving closer and closer to areas prone to wildfires. On the other hand climate change is playing havoc throughout the world. Forest ecology is changing rapidly. All together disastrous wildfires are happening all over the world bringing air quality implications and destroying homes and infrastructure. There have been forest fires all throughout the history. But the difference now is humans are getting awfully closer to forest areas. On the other hand we humans are contributing to climate change causing forests to heat up and dry out. As a result scientists are predicting more devastating wildfires in the future. Australia, dry parts of the middle latitudes and tinder box of the American West are more prone to wild fires in the long run. Under extreme weather conditions carbon-rich peat soil of the high-latitude also becomes a candidate for future fires.

Environmental friendly hybrids and electric vehicle sales are on the rise

August 12, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Just about every car maker is coming out with an electric, hybrid and other clean vehicles. This is welcome news for the planet and the world’s environment. Consumers armed with government incentives are buying more and more environment friendly vehicles. After the power plants, the transportation accounts for 28 percent of the U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. According to the New York Times, increased vehicle fuel efficiency alone helped reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. by 16 percent between 2005 and 2012.

Hybrids and electric vehicles are selling well in the U.S. More than 350,000 such vehicles have been sold so far this year, an increase of 30 percent over the same period last year. More than 40 models of hybrids and electric vehicles are available for customers to choose and Toyota Prius outselling most other brands. Among environment friendly luxury brands Tesla’s Model S lead the pack. Its success has influenced BMW and Cadillac to come up with comparable vehicles. What is behind the renewed interest in environment friendly vehicles? The Federal government requires doubling the fuel efficiency by 2025 and the government has a $36 billion loan guarantee given to the car makers.

The U.S. President issues series of orders to fight greenhouse gas emissions

July 30, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The Whitehouse is laying out a plan to promote solar and wind energy projects on public land, introducing new standards on fuel economy, and requiring limitations on greenhouse gas emissions on power plants.

Forty percent of the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions and one third of greenhouse gases come from power plants in the U.S. Instead of waiting for the U.S. Congress to act on series of measures to cut down greenhouse emissions, the President is using the Clean Air Act and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) authority to require reduce pollution from power plants. The Administration is asking the power plant operators to incrementally switch from coal to natural gas, wind, solar and other renewable energy sources. Coal provides 40 percent of the U.S. electricity.

Internationally, China has become a point of concern which generates 80 percent of electricity from coal. It produces only four percent of its power needs from natural gas. The U.S. has an abundance of natural gas and the prices at the world market are more favorable for nations to use natural gas for power generation. Russia is building a natural gas supply line to China, which will help to cut greenhouse emissions by China.

Is deepwater drilling safe?

January 14, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The BP, Halliburton and Transocean’s Horizon drilling fiasco in spring 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico not only cost the companies billions of dollars, the environmental damage may take years to recover.  In addition to Federal charges, civil trials are scheduled to start in February 2013 unless there is a settlement before that date.  BP settled a criminal charge with the Justice Department in November 2012 and agreed to pay $4.5 billion.  However, recent technological advancements and rising oil prices worldwide closer to $100 a barrel are creating more demand for deepwater drilling again.

World’s largest deepwater oil and gas drillers include Transocean, Ensco, Diamond Offshore Drilling, Noble, SeaDrill, Atwood Oceanics and others.  The blowout-preventer recertification is underway.  The Department of Energy awarded $35.4 million for 13 projects to advance safer and cleaner deepwater drilling technologies in May 2012.  After a yearlong drilling moratorium, Federal regulators issued over 90 permits for wells deeper than 500 feet in 2012.  This is more than the combined permits issued in 2010 and 2011.  Besides the Gulf of Mexico, oil companies are moving into deepwaters of East Africa and eastern Mediterranean.  The U.S. Clean Water Act and Oil Pollution Act provide the framework and regulation for the deepwater drilling activities.

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