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On The Environment

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Post-Communist Landscape: Mother Latvia and her Sustainable Countryside

In this guest post Avana Andrade, a second-year MEM candidate at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental studies, writes about her summer in Latvia working for the Baltic Environmental Forum (BEF) on its grasslands restoration project, VivaGrass.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Plodding Toward Paris: UN Climate Negotiations Summer 2014

As if somehow aware of the arrival of over ten thousand diplomats, researchers, and observers focused on climate change, the weather in Bonn, Germany turned a humid and hot 90 degrees Fahrenheit during the June 2014 international climate negotiations. While participants cleared security and swiped badges to enter the air-conditioned halls of the Hotel Maritime, the contrast stood out starkly between the “weirding” climate outside, and climate-controlled world of international policy inside.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Moving Forward on Offshore Wind in New Bedford: If You Build It, Clean Energy Will Come

A short walk from the famous Whalemen’s Chapel of Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, offshore wind power is getting a major push.  With construction of a new, $100-million marine commerce terminal well underway in New Bedford, Massachusetts, the city is on track to become a central hub for the emerging offshore wind industry in the United States – good news for the local economy, wind developers, and clean energy advocates alike.  Recently, I had a chance to tour the site for this new marine commerce terminal and learn more about its goals and prospects.  I’m grateful to Apex Companies’ Project Manager Dario Quintana for showing me around, and to Bill White and Matt Kakley at the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center for arranging the visit. 


Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Passive houses and living buildings provide fresh direction in mitigating climate change

By 2100 it may be impossible for humans to work outside. If the world continues on its business-as-usual growth trajectory, global temperatures could rise beyond 95 degrees Fahrenheit – the highest tolerable “wet bulb temperature” – as the new norm in many parts of the world. Particularly in urban areas, where heat island effects can add up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit, temperatures would be especially unbearable.

How do we avoid such a bleak future?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Homegrown Energy and Homeland Security

In a quest to reduce dependence on foreign oil, the United States government is increasing its mandatory minimum levels of renewable biofuel production each year. Because the US’s first large-scale foray into biofuels—corn for ethanol—was heavily criticized, many non-food plant species are now under consideration for biofuel production. However, this search for non-food biofuels has another, currently underappreciated, impact: The introduction and spread of invasive plant species across the US.


After two decades of international meetings on climate change have failed to reach consensus, the environmental world is beginning to sense a change in direction. The impacts of climate change no longer are being projected, they are being observed and measured, especially by those with the most to lose: corporations, cities and states.
The prevalence of pesticides may seem like something of a bygone era, one marked by Silent Spring and the Bhopal Disaster, but the grim reality is that they are unfortunately very much around. Whether it is BPA in your water bottle or neonicotinoids decimating bee populations, action has not been uniform.
At the United Nations Climate Summit on Tuesday in New York, President Obama issued a strong challenge to the Beijing leadership. China and the US “have a special responsibility to lead” on climate change, he said. “It’s what big nations have to do.” Obama said he had talked directly with Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli at the summit (President Xi Jinping did not attend) and urged the two countries to work together to cut global greenhouse gas emissions.
With a September 22 Op-Ed in the New York Times, YCELP Faculty Director Dan Esty proposes a new framework for "sealing the deal" on climate policy.
Minister of Oil and State Minister for National Assembly Affairs Dr. Ali Al-Omair on Monday commended the significant improvement Kuwait had achieved on the 2014 Environmental Performance Index (EPI), moving up from rank 126 to 42, among total 178 countries.
News broke Wednesday that the Obama administration may propose a “politically binding” climate agreement at upcoming United Nations talks that would bypass the U.S. Senate, where the climate accord negotiated in Kyoto in 1997 famously went to die. The outcry among conservative members of Congress was immediate. House science committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) called it evidence that Obama “is willing to ignore the rule of law to get what he wants."
According to fellow columnist Nuray Mert, “millet,” a word used a lot by President-elect Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, could mean “people.” That would make Turkey a People’s Republic like China. Since I recently spent two weeks there, I can tell you that the two countries are actually quite similar.
According to the Environment Performance Index (EPI) Yale University, Sri Lanka ranked as 69th place in EPI which is a Global Environmental Assessment Index in terms of air quality management in the country. In South Asia, Sri Lanka is the best in air quality management according to the above assessment. Properly operating vehicle emission testing program and industrial emission control system are the key air quality management tools utilized for successes.
At Scientific American, Angel Hsu & William Miao argue that despite the release of new soil pollution data in December and a subsequent report in March, details about the state of China’s soil are little clearer than when earlier findings were labeled state secrets.

Vanessa Hauc interviews Professor Dan Esty and actress and activist Maggie Grace to see why they are hopeful about progress in renewables.

Click here to watch the video.

Upcoming Events

Energy Perspectives: Macroeconomic and Energy Market Outlook Towards 2040

Tuesday, October 21 | 04:15PM
Please join us Tuesday, October 21, for a conversation with Eirik Wærness, Statoil chief economist.
LOCATION: Room 2430, Evans Hall | 165 Whitney Ave., New Haven, CT

Diversifying Climate Leadership: Private Sector Engagement in Climate Change Mitigation

Wednesday, November 12 | 12:00PM
Please join us Wednesday, November 12, for a conversation with James Cameron, chairman of Climate Change Capital.
LOCATION: Burke Auditorium, Kroon Hall | 195 Prospect St., New Haven, CT

Agriculture and Climate: The Forgotten ‘Wedge'

Thursday, November 13 | 06:10PM
Please join us Thursday, November 13, for a conversation with Peter Lehner, executive director of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
LOCATION: Room 128, Yale Law School | 127 Wall Street, New Haven, CT

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