Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Activists Blockade Chevron Fracking Site in Eastern Romania

Energy
Activists Blockade Chevron Fracking Site in Eastern Romania

Twenty-five activists from across seven countries, chained themselves to the gates of a Chevron shale gas exploration well in Eastern Romania yesterday, and are calling on the government to ban fracking in the country.

Photo credit: Greenpeace Romania Facebook page

The Greenpeace activists—from Romania, Hungary, Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Germany—held banners reading “Pungesti anti-Chevron quarantine area” and “Stop Fracking!” in protest of the U.S. energy giant’s exploration work on the ground.

Chevron began work on the exploration well in Pungesti, northeast of Bucharest, in December last year having postponed operations several times due to local opposition.

The protests in the village attracted widespread attention and media coverage last year as villagers, framers, protesters and the community’s religious leaders came together to block the fracking site and halt Chevron’s plans.

For more than two months, the village became the front line of a nationwide battle to stop fracking.

Photo credit: Greenpeace Romania Facebook page

Yet, despite the local council of Pungesti having unanimously voted to ban fracking, the protesters were eventually forcibly removed, amongst accusations of police aggression.

According to figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Romania could potentially hold 51 trillion cubic feet of shale gas. That’s enough to cover the country’s domestic demand for more than a century.

However, rapidly scaling up fracking operations in any country ignores the potential health impactswater contaminationmethane leakage and the threat of earthquakes as a result of the controversial process.

Photo credit: Greenpeace Romania Facebook page

Chevron is the first company to begin exploring for shale gas in Romania and aims to drill more wells in the area. It has repeatedly said it does not plan to use fracking under its five-year exploration program.

But yesterday’s protest aims to highlight the potentially devastating impact on the local community if fracking was allow to go ahead in the region.

The protesters argue that the Romania government has failed to protect the local environment and its citizens by allowing Chevron to explore the area for shale gas and are calling on it to end it support for dirty fracking.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The frozen meat section at a supermarket in Hong Kong, China, in February. Chukrut Budrul / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images

Imported frozen food in three Chinese cities has tested positive for the new coronavirus, but public health experts say you still shouldn't worry too much about catching the virus from food or packaging.

Read More Show Less
This image of the Santa Monica Mountains in California shows how a north-facing slope (left) can be covered in white-blooming hoaryleaf ceanothus (Ceanothus crassifolius), while the south-facing slope (right) is much less sparsely covered in a completely different plant. Noah Elhardt / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 2.5

By Mark Mancini

If weather is your mood, climate is your personality. That's an analogy some scientists use to help explain the difference between two words people often get mixed up.

Read More Show Less
Flames from the Lake Fire burn on a hillside near a fire truck and other vehicles on Aug. 12, 2020 in Lake Hughes, California. Mario Tama / Getty Images

An "explosive" wildfire ignited in Los Angeles county Wednesday, growing to 10,000 acres in a little less than three hours.

Read More Show Less
Although heat waves rarely get the attention that hurricanes do, they kill far more people per year in the U.S. and abroad. greenaperture / Getty Images

By Jeff Berardelli

Note: This story was originally published on August 6, 2020

If asked to recall a hurricane, odds are you'd immediately invoke memorable names like Sandy, Katrina or Harvey. You'd probably even remember something specific about the impact of the storm. But if asked to recall a heat wave, a vague recollection that it was hot during your last summer vacation may be about as specific as you can get.

Read More Show Less

A film by Felix Nuhr.

Thailand has a total population of 5,000 elephants. But of that number, 3,000 live in captivity, carrying tourists on their backs and offering photo opportunities made for social media.

Read More Show Less
Scientists have found a way to use bricks as batteries, meaning that buildings may one day be used to store and generate power. Public Domain Pictures

One of the challenges of renewable power is how to store clean energy from the sun, wind and geothermal sources. Now, a new study and advances in nanotechnology have found a method that may relieve the burden on supercapacitor storage. This method turns bricks into batteries, meaning that buildings themselves may one day be used to store and generate power, Science Times reported.

Bricks are a preferred building tool for their durability and resilience against heat and frost since they do not shrink, expand or warp in a way that compromises infrastructure. They are also reusable. What was unknown, until now, is that they can be altered to store electrical energy, according to a new study published in Nature Communications.

The scientists behind the study figured out a way to modify bricks in order to use their iconic red hue, which comes from hematite, an iron oxide, to store enough electricity to power devices, Gizmodo reported. To do that, the researchers filled bricks' pores with a nanofiber made from a conducting plastic that can store an electrical charge.

The first bricks they modified stored enough of a charge to power a small light. They can be charged in just 13 minutes and hold 10,000 charges, but the challenge is getting them to hold a much larger charge, making the technology a distant proposition.

If the capacity can be increased, researchers believe bricks can be used as a cheap alternative to lithium ion batteries — the same batteries used in laptops, phones and tablets.

The first power bricks are only one percent of a lithium-ion battery, but storage capacity can be increased tenfold by adding materials like metal oxides, Julio D'Arcy, a researcher at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, who contributed to the paper and was part of the research team, told The Guardian. But only when the storage capacity is scaled up would bricks become commercially viable.

"A solar cell on the roof of your house has to store electricity somewhere and typically we use batteries," D'Arcy told The Guardian. "What we have done is provide a new 'food-for-thought' option, but we're not there yet.

"If [that can happen], this technology is way cheaper than lithium ion batteries," D'Arcy added. "It would be a different world and you would not hear the words 'lithium ion battery' again."

Trending

Aerial view of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Gamboa, Panama, where a new soil study was held, on Sept. 11, 2019. LUIS ACOSTA / AFP via Getty Images

One of the concerns about a warming planet is the feedback loop that will emerge. That is, as the planet warms, it will melt permafrost, which will release trapped carbon and lead to more warming and more melting. Now, a new study has shown that the feedback loop won't only happen in the nether regions of the north and south, but in the tropics as well, according to a new paper in Nature.

Read More Show Less