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Dr. Reese Halter


Aussie Households Go Solar: Game-Changer

Dr. Reese Halter | July 23, 2014 | Green
Australia's household solar revolution has caught the government-owned electricity sector by surprise. Join Earth Dr Reese Halter from Los Angeles in another SOS segment as he tells how Australian homeowner are fighting back against climate disruption. More than one million Australians have already installed solar panels on their rooftops. It has caused demand for electricity from the grid to plummet. The race to power Australian homes from the sun has left Prime Minister Tony Abbott's Coalition government speechless. Photo credit: Despite being a sun-rich country, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott continues to promote coal, a known heat-trapping pollutant, as the only source of energy for the future. The government has just spent over $50 billion upgrading the coal-powered energy grid expecting more demand for more electricity. By the time coal-powered electricity reaches Australian homes it has traveled hundreds of miles through the grid - a network of wires, cables and poles. Photo credit: As a result of falling demand, the remaining customers are being charged more for electricity. So more people are switching to solar. The Australian boom for solar installations shows no sign of slowing down. Over one million Australian households are generating their own electricity from the sun and avoiding government-owned network charges of $349 million annually. Photo credit: In the meantime, Abbott's Coalition government has abolished the carbon tax. It's just another in a series of initiatives to promote coal and undermine innovations in renewable energies like solar thermal and ocean wave farms. The Hazelwood coal power station in Victoria's La Trobe Valley spewing tons of toxic mercury vapor into Earth's biosphere. Photo credit: The Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt, spent one year studying and writing a university thesis on "A Tax To Make The Polluters Pay." It appears that at one point in his life he believed, "it better ensures that the polluter bears full responsibility for the cost of his or her conduct." That was when he was young and not in charge of the environment, which regularly takes a back-seat to the Coalition's economic plan for the coming decade, one which will see a ramping-up of coal production to a whopping 770 million metric tons per annum - a death knell for the biosphere. The abolition of the carbon tax comes at a time when Australian researchers lead the renewable energy sector with breakthrough solar thermal 'supercritical' steam. It's another game-changer for power stations enabling them to utilize supercritical solar steam that pressurizes water with enormous force. Heat from the sun, reflected off a field of heliostats (or mirrors) is concentrated onto a central receiver point to create the steam at these supercritical levels. This phenomenal achievement is likened to breaking the sound barrier. It is so impressive, its possible implications for solar thermal technology is revolutionary. Photo credit: Solar thermal can almost compete with the peak performance capabilities of fossil fuel sources especially as the International Monetary Fund disclosed when the global fossil fuel industry subsidies of $1.9 trillion annually are removed and the playing field is leveled. For the past 15 years, climate disruption has battered the Australian continent. Bushfires, prolonged sub-continental drought, extreme heat waves and enormous floods are occurring more often, eclipsing more records more frequently. Australian households are fighting back against climate disruption by leaving the coal-powered electricity grid in droves. Technological advances in battery capacity enable households to now operate during peak demand, at night. The price of solar panels in Australia has plunged by 80 percent over the past 4 years. One in eight households is now powered by the sun and the race has only just begun! Photo credit: Tony Abbott and Gregg Hunt have bet the 'family farm' on coal, a dirty, old, heat-trapping technology that's killing the Great Barrier Reef and contaminating the biosphere. Australian households, on the other hand, are leaving the coal-powered grid by capitalizing on innovation that harnesses the power of the sun thereby erasing their carbon footprints. We need a government that is in touch with the people. Earth Dr Reese Halter is a broadcaster and conservation biologist. His upcoming book is "Shepherding the Sea: The Race to Save Our...
Forest Trends


UK Met Office Charts Life on a Managed Planet

Forest Trends | July 22, 2014 | Green
Earlier this year, the U.S. Climate Assessment warned of parched prairies and flaming forests if we don't reel in climate change right now.
Joel Reynolds


EPA Takes the Next Critical Step Toward Protecting Wild Salmon and Stopping the Massive Pebble Mine

Joel Reynolds | July 22, 2014 | Green
Last Friday, the U.S. EPA formally proposed limitations that would block the massive, ill-conceived Pebble Mine projectThis action by EPA is a critical step toward protecting Bristol Bay's salmon from the inevitable devastation that a large-scale mine would cause.
Brad Friedman and Desi Doyen


'Green News Report' - July 22, 2014

Brad Friedman and Desi Doyen | July 22, 2014 | Green
Record wildfires burn a million acres in the Pacific Northwest; It's official: June 2014 was the hottest June globally on record; EPA moves to block massive Pebble Mine; California moves to block oil industry polluting groundwater.
John Seager


Hollywood's Dystopian View of Population: Entertaining But Not Realistic

John Seager | July 22, 2014 | Green
While Hollywood continues to offer up diversions -- something most of us need in one form or another -- in the real world there is a script we can follow to dramatically improve life on our planet.
Peter Neill


Rescue for the Global Ocean (Part 3)

Peter Neill | July 22, 2014 | Green
Our series on the new Global Ocean Commission report, From Decline to Recovery: A Rescue Package for the Global Ocean, continues this week, addressing Proposal 5, Plastics: Keeping Them Out of the Ocean, and Proposal 6, Offshore Oil and Gas: Establishing Binding International Safety Standards and Liability. Over...
Jason Ritchie


The Dangerous Truth Behind Wildfires

Jason Ritchie | July 22, 2014 | Green
This past week, as I drove through Central Washington, I came face to face with the horrifying destruction caused by the wildfires currently raging through much of Washington State. The haze was so thick that it was difficult to see.
Marc Yaggi


Fossil Fuel Transport Leads to a Crude Awakening

Marc Yaggi | July 22, 2014 | Green
The railways need to learn from the Exxon Valdez spill and put in place preventive measures to protect the environment before we see the rail equivalent of a Valdez disaster.
Miyoko Sakashita


Obama Administration to Whales, Dolphins: You Go Deaf, We'll Get Oil

Miyoko Sakashita | July 22, 2014 | Green
It isn't just the nightmarish consequences of this noise pollution that makes this plan wrong. We know drilling along the Atlantic Coast will mean a higher risk for oil spills, more polluted beaches and waters, more industrial equipment and fewer pristine places for wildlife and people.
Wayne Pacelle


Houston, We Have a Problem -- With Bird Poisoning

Wayne Pacelle | July 22, 2014 | Green
Aviation safety must be a priority, given that so many human lives depend on incident-free flights, and there are times when aggressive management of birds at airports is warranted. But the plan executed in Houston seems particularly cruel and unnecessary.
Dr. Kristen McDonald

Grassroots Organizations Will Help China Move Away From Coal

Dr. Kristen McDonald | July 22, 2014 | Green
If we as an international community care about our future climate, we must do more to support local efforts in China rather than relying on international negotiations alone to solve the climate problem.
Mike Hudema


It's Time Alberta Took Off Its Tar Sands Blinders and Embraced the Sun

Mike Hudema | July 22, 2014 | Canada Alberta
Despite the province having the most solar potential out of any province in Canada, investment in solar is still piecemeal. There are little to no government supports for solar and yet huge government subsidies are given to the provinces most polluting industries like the tar sands.
Mary Ellen Hannibal


Nature by Numbers

Mary Ellen Hannibal | July 22, 2014 | Green
Scientists use statistics because they know the human eye is blinkered by biases we so take for granted we can't possibly see past them. They are a tool in service of the earnest desire to depict a picture of nature that is more accurate than we are yet capable of otherwise defining.
Justin Guay


'Pay-as-you-go' solar financing hits new milestone

Justin Guay | July 22, 2014 | Green
We've said it before and we'll say it again: pay-as-you-go solar is the future for those working beyond the grid. From Pakistan to Kenya, anecdotal reports have trickled in that pay-as-you-go solar finance -- the off-grid solar market's version of a "solar lease" -- is...
Roger Germann


The Unlikely Hero: Could Belugas Save the Great Lakes?

Roger Germann | July 22, 2014 | Green
Believe it or not, belugas are not only part of our Great Lakes system, but they might just help save our Great Lakes.
Dominique Browning


"You Want Clean Air? Well, Screw You."

Dominique Browning | July 22, 2014 | Green
We are ALL complicit in fossil fuel fortunes, whether we are middle class or mega wealthy. We have all benefited, enormously, from the cheap and abundant and reliable power that has come of oil and coal.
David Sheff


The National Park Service Tells an Oyster Farm to Shuck Off

David Sheff | July 22, 2014 | Green
The highest court was the last hope for Drake Bay Oyster Company (DBOC) to stay in business; after almost a decade of political and legal wrangling, the family-run farm has been evicted from its home of 70 years.
Trip Van Noppen


EPA Court Victories Pile Up: It's Time To End Mountaintop Removal

Trip Van Noppen | July 22, 2014 | Green
Mountaintop removal mining is an extreme, dangerous act that must be ended, and with this vindication, the president and his EPA must be the ones to end it.
Margo T. Oge

Let American Ingenuity Lead the Way on Climate Change -- Again!

Margo T. Oge | July 22, 2014 | Green
On Monday June 2, 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed a regulation that would cut carbon pollution from power plants up to 30 percent by 2030. Within hours, House Speaker John Boehner delivered his response.
Roger Witherspoon


Nuke Plant Facing Shutdown to Protect Fish

Roger Witherspoon | July 22, 2014 | New York
New York State is prepared to close 40 years of intermittent and costly legal wrangling over the annual destruction of billions of fish by the twin Indian Point nuclear power plants in the productive Hudson River estuary if the plant agrees to shut down during peak spawning and hatching seasons for the river's major fish populations.
All posts from 07.23.2014 < 07.22.2014