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Just last week, around the same time President Donald Trump announced the U.S. is pulling out of the landmark Paris climate agreement, China officially switched on the world's largest floating solar farm.
Located near the city of Huainan, the power station can generate 40 megawatts of electricity—or enough to power 15,000 homes, according to operator Sungrow. The panels float on a surface of the water that ranges in depth from four to 10 meters.
The clean power plant is a symbolic turnaround for the Anhui province, "an area that for years saw intensive coal mining," as the South China Morning Post reports. The New York Times also notably points out that the solar facility was even built on top of a lake that was created by the collapse of abandoned coal mines.
"The plant not only makes full use of this area, reducing the demand for lands, but also improves generation due to the cooling effects of the surface," a local government official explained.
Installing solar panels on top of water bodies can be ideal for a number of reasons. For instance, compared to mounted rooftop panels, floating panels are cooled by the water they sit on, boosting power production efficiency. The panels also shade the water itself, and limits the growth of algae.
Perhaps China's new floating solar farm won't hold the title of "world's largest" for long, as other countries are also looking into the technology.
"Delegations from Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore and elsewhere have come to study the project while the maker, Sungrow, prepares to license the technology for overseas sale," the Times wrote.
China, the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, is increasingly looking towards renewable sources for its energy needs. The nation recently reconfirmed its efforts to tackle climate change in light of the U.S. exiting the Paris accord.
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It's become a familiar story with the Trump administration: Scientists write a report that shows the administration's policies will cause environmental damage, then the administration buries the report and fires the scientists.
By Jake Johnson
Calling the global climate crisis both the greatest threat facing the U.S. and the greatest opportunity for transformative change, Sen. Bernie Sanders unveiled today a comprehensive Green New Deal proposal that would transition the U.S. economy to 100 percent renewable energy and create 20 million well-paying union jobs over a decade.
The Parties to CITES agreed to list giraffes on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) today at the World Wildlife Conference or CoP18 in Geneva. Such protections will ensure that all giraffe parts trade were legally acquired and not sourced from the poached giraffes trade and will require countries to make non-detriment findings before allowing giraffe exports. The listing will also enable the collection of international trade data for giraffes that might justify greater protections at both CITES and other venues in the future.
The WHO stressed that more research is needed on the potential health risks of microplastic ingestion. luchschen / iStock / Getty Images Plus
The UN's health agency on Thursday said that microplastics contained in drinking water posed a "low" risk at their current levels.
However, the World Health Organization (WHO) — in its first report on the potential health risks of microplastic ingestion — also stressed more research was needed to reassure consumers.