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EcoWatch is a community of experts publishing quality, science-based content on environmental issues, causes, and solutions for a healthier planet and life.
Diane Wilson holds up a bag full of nurdles she collected from one of Formosa's outfall areas on Jan. 15. Julie Dermansky / DeSmogBlog

By Julie Dermansky

On the afternoon of Jan. 15, activist Diane Wilson kicked off a San Antonio Estuary Waterkeeper meeting on the side of the road across from a Formosa plastics manufacturing plant in Point Comfort, Texas.

After Wilson and the waterkeeper successfully sued Formosa in 2017, the company agreed to no longer release even one of the tiny plastic pellets known as nurdles into the region's waterways. The group of volunteers had assembled that day to check whether the plant was still discharging these raw materials of plastics manufacturing.

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Crude oil extraction pump pulling crude oil up to the surface and pushing it into pipelines in the Permian Basin in West Texas on May 27, 2018. ©Studio One-One / Moment / Getty Images

By Justin Mikulka

ExxonMobil is a company capable of contradictions. It has been lobbying against government efforts to address climate change while running ads touting its own efforts to do so.

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Frederic Stevens/ Getty Images News / Getty Images

For nearly as long as solar panels have been gracing rooftops and barren land, creative people have been searching out additional surfaces that can be tiled with energy-generating photovoltaic (PV) panels. The idea has been pretty straightforward: if solar panels generate energy simply by facing the sun, then humans could collectively reduce our reliance on coal, oil, gas and other polluting fuels by maximizing our aggregate solar surface area.

So, what kind of unobstructed surfaces are built in every community and in between every major city across the globe? Highways and streets. With this in mind, the futuristic vision of laying thousands, or even millions, of solar panels on top of the asphalt of interstates and main streets was born.

While the concept art looked like a still from a sci-fi film, many inventors, businesses and investors saw these panels as a golden path toward clean energy and profit. Ultimately, though, the technology and economics ended up letting down those working behind each solar roadway project — from initial concepts in the early 2000s to the first solar roadway actually opened in France in 2016, they all flopped.

In the years since the concept of solar roadways went viral, solar PV has continued to improve in technology and drop in price. So, with a 2021 lens, is it time to re-run the numbers and see if a solar roadway could potentially deliver on that early promise? We dig in to find out.

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A protest against the Jordan Cove LNG terminal and Pacific Connector pipeline corresponding with the Department of State Lands hearing in Salem, Oregon. Rick Rappaport

By Simon Davis-Cohen

When the incumbent Democratic Governor Kate Brown defeated Republican Knute Buehler in a contentious race for Oregon's governorship, many in the state's climate movement let out a momentary sigh of relief. Brown had promised to "lead on climate" while Buehler had pledged his support for new fossil fuel infrastructure.

Now, residents are working to hold Governor Brown to task over what they see as the most pressing climate issue facing the state: the proposed Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal and its Pacific Connector Gas pipeline. Backed by the Canadian company Pembina Pipeline Corporation, the project would transport natural gas extracted via hydraulic fracturing (fracking) from Colorado to Oregon's coast, where it would be super-cooled into liquid form and loaded on ships to international markets.

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Pump jacks and a gas flare are seen near Williston, North Dakota on Sept. 6, 2016. ROBYN BECK / AFP / Getty Images

By Jake Johnson

Amid dire scientific warnings that the international community must act immediately to slash greenhouse gas emissions, President Donald Trump's U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is reportedly set to take another step in the opposite direction Thursday by unveiling a rule that would gut restrictions on the fossil fuel industry's methane pollution.

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Justin Trudeau delivers remarks during an election rally in Markham, Ontario, Canada, on Sept. 15. Creative Touch Imaging Ltd. / NurPhoto via Getty Images

By Chloe Farand for Climate Home News

Canadians are voting on Monday in an election observers say will define the country's climate future.

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Senior Airman Alec Cope plugs in a hybrid vehicle at Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts on June 2, 2016. U.S. Air Force photo / Linda LaBonte Britt

By Dana Drugmand

Fossil fuel interests appear intent on swaying public opinion about the electric vehicle tax credit, based on recent polling on the policy. A deeper look at these efforts reveals oil and gas funding behind the groups conducting the polls and blatant bias in the polling methodology, according to experts.

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A natural gas flare in Balmorhea, Texas. Ken Lund / CC BY-SA 2.0

The Trump administration has found a new way to boost the reputation of fossil fuels: associate them with the cherished American value of freedom!

While announcing an increase in exports from a Texas liquified natural gas (LNG) terminal Tuesday, the Department of Energy (DOE) referred to the energy source as "freedom gas."

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A protest march against the Line 3 pipeline in St. Paul, Minnesota on May 18, 2018. Fibonacci Blue / CC BY 2.0

By Collin Rees

We know that people power can stop dangerous fossil fuel projects like the proposed Line 3 tar sands oil pipeline in Minnesota, because we've proved it over and over again — and recently we've had two more big wins.

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Thousands of young people gather in London to protest lack of government action on climate change on February 15, 2018.WIktor Szymanowicz / NurPhoto / Getty Images

England's High Court ruled Wednesday that the government's planning policy on fracking was unlawful, in a major victory for anti-fracking group Talk Fracking.

In part of his ruling, Mr. Justice Dove found that the government had not taken up-to-date information on climate change into account when drafting its policy. This could make it easier for campaigners to challenge new fracking sites in the future on the basis of their climate impacts, The Guardian explained.

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For nearly 10 years, the Unistoten camp has occupied hereditary lands directly in the path of the pipeline. Photo by Stephen Miller / YES! Magazine

By Zoë Ducklow

1. Where Is the Unist'ot'en blockade, and What's It About?

The gated checkpoint is on a forest service road about 120 kilometers southwest of Smithers in Unist'ot'en territory at the Morice River Bridge. Two natural gas pipelines are to cross the bridge to serve LNG terminals in Kitimat. Unist'ot'en is a clan within the Wet'suwet'en Nation.

Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs claim title to the land, based on their pre-Confederation occupation and the fact that they've never signed a treaty. Their claim has not been proven in court.

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JPMorgan Chase building in New York City. Ben Sutherland / CC BY 2.0

By Sharon Kelly

A report published Wednesday names the banks that have played the biggest recent role in funding fossil fuel projects, finding that since 2016, immediately following the Paris agreement's adoption, 33 global banks have poured $1.9 trillion into financing climate-changing projects worldwide.

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A flare from the Shell Refinery in Norco, Louisiana shines along with Christmas lights on residents homes on Dec. 19, 2013. Julie Dermansky / Corbis via Getty Images

By Julie Dermansky

Louisiana is ground zero for the devastating impacts of climate change. Even though the state is already feeling the costly impacts to life and property due to extreme weather and an eroding coastline linked to a warming planet, its government continues to ignore the primary cause—human use of fossil fuels.

The impacts to the region, such as worsening floods, heat waves and sea level rise, will only be intensified as the globe continues warming, warn federal scientists in the latest National Climate Assessment report.

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EcoWatch is a community of experts publishing quality, science-based content on environmental issues, causes, and solutions for a healthier planet and life.
Diane Wilson holds up a bag full of nurdles she collected from one of Formosa's outfall areas on Jan. 15. Julie Dermansky / DeSmogBlog

By Julie Dermansky

On the afternoon of Jan. 15, activist Diane Wilson kicked off a San Antonio Estuary Waterkeeper meeting on the side of the road across from a Formosa plastics manufacturing plant in Point Comfort, Texas.

After Wilson and the waterkeeper successfully sued Formosa in 2017, the company agreed to no longer release even one of the tiny plastic pellets known as nurdles into the region's waterways. The group of volunteers had assembled that day to check whether the plant was still discharging these raw materials of plastics manufacturing.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Crude oil extraction pump pulling crude oil up to the surface and pushing it into pipelines in the Permian Basin in West Texas on May 27, 2018. ©Studio One-One / Moment / Getty Images

By Justin Mikulka

ExxonMobil is a company capable of contradictions. It has been lobbying against government efforts to address climate change while running ads touting its own efforts to do so.

Read More Show Less
Frederic Stevens/ Getty Images News / Getty Images

For nearly as long as solar panels have been gracing rooftops and barren land, creative people have been searching out additional surfaces that can be tiled with energy-generating photovoltaic (PV) panels. The idea has been pretty straightforward: if solar panels generate energy simply by facing the sun, then humans could collectively reduce our reliance on coal, oil, gas and other polluting fuels by maximizing our aggregate solar surface area.

So, what kind of unobstructed surfaces are built in every community and in between every major city across the globe? Highways and streets. With this in mind, the futuristic vision of laying thousands, or even millions, of solar panels on top of the asphalt of interstates and main streets was born.

While the concept art looked like a still from a sci-fi film, many inventors, businesses and investors saw these panels as a golden path toward clean energy and profit. Ultimately, though, the technology and economics ended up letting down those working behind each solar roadway project — from initial concepts in the early 2000s to the first solar roadway actually opened in France in 2016, they all flopped.

In the years since the concept of solar roadways went viral, solar PV has continued to improve in technology and drop in price. So, with a 2021 lens, is it time to re-run the numbers and see if a solar roadway could potentially deliver on that early promise? We dig in to find out.

Read More Show Less
A protest against the Jordan Cove LNG terminal and Pacific Connector pipeline corresponding with the Department of State Lands hearing in Salem, Oregon. Rick Rappaport

By Simon Davis-Cohen

When the incumbent Democratic Governor Kate Brown defeated Republican Knute Buehler in a contentious race for Oregon's governorship, many in the state's climate movement let out a momentary sigh of relief. Brown had promised to "lead on climate" while Buehler had pledged his support for new fossil fuel infrastructure.

Now, residents are working to hold Governor Brown to task over what they see as the most pressing climate issue facing the state: the proposed Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal and its Pacific Connector Gas pipeline. Backed by the Canadian company Pembina Pipeline Corporation, the project would transport natural gas extracted via hydraulic fracturing (fracking) from Colorado to Oregon's coast, where it would be super-cooled into liquid form and loaded on ships to international markets.

Read More Show Less
Trending
Pump jacks and a gas flare are seen near Williston, North Dakota on Sept. 6, 2016. ROBYN BECK / AFP / Getty Images

By Jake Johnson

Amid dire scientific warnings that the international community must act immediately to slash greenhouse gas emissions, President Donald Trump's U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is reportedly set to take another step in the opposite direction Thursday by unveiling a rule that would gut restrictions on the fossil fuel industry's methane pollution.