Anthony Leiserowitz, Ph.D.
Director, Yale Program on Climate Change Communication
School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
Yale University

This company wants to capture energy from the tides

A massive underwater turbine could harness the natural power of the ocean.

By Bruce Lieberman
Friday, February 16, 2018

Clean energy jobs are booming in Minnesota

People are installing renewables and making buildings more energy efficient.

By Daisy Simmons
Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The turbine was deployed in November 2016 and retrieved in June 2017. The next deployment is anticipated for mid-2018.

Reporting credit: Mark Knapp/ChavoBart Digital Media.
Photos: Courtesy of Cape Sharp Tidal..

A brand-new town is going green from the ground up.

Kitson: “Our goal has been to create the most sustainable new town in America.”

Twelve years ago, developer Syd Kitson bought a Florida ranch about five times the size of Manhattan. He sold most of it to the state as a wildlife preserve. He’s using a portion of the rest to build Babcock Ranch, an entire town with restaurants, stores, a school, and 20,000 homes. The first residents will move in this winter.

12 years ago, this developer had a big goal: '... to create the most sustainable new town in America.' Click To Tweet

The town includes rain gardens, an irrigation system that uses recycled water, fifty miles of trails, and a huge solar farm that will meet the town’s daytime energy needs.

And Kitson says, before long, it will be a place where people do not need to drive. The town is investing in a network of self-driving electric shuttles. In a few years, he hopes the system will expand to include self-driving cars that can pick people up on demand.

Kitson: “We’ll be able to turn parking areas into parks and really change the way that people go from point to point.”

From energy generation to transportation, Babcock Ranch will show what can be achieved when a green community is built from scratch.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.
Image: Photos courtesy of Babcock Ranch.

Filed under: Bruce Lieberman.

The tides come in and the tides go out. To most people, it’s just a lot of water sloshing around. But some see it as a source of energy.

A company called Cape Sharp Tidal is developing underwater turbines that capture energy from the tides in Nova Scotia’s Bay of Fundy.

Richard: “The Bay of Fundy happens to have the highest tides in the world. The difference between low and high tide could be up to 50 feet. And so there’s a tremendous resource.”

'The Bay of Fundy happens to have the highest tides in the world .... so there's a tremendous resource.' Click To Tweet

Director Christian Richard says the turbines use energy from tidal currents to turn the blades. They sit on the ocean floor – underwater – so they do not create an eyesore.

Richard: “That’s one of the advantages with this technology. It’s invisible, and it doesn’t impede any naval traffic.”

Richard says testing is still in the early stages. The team is improving the technology’s cost, efficiency, and corrosion resistance. They also need to show that it won’t harm marine life.

So there’s a long road ahead, but the technology is promising – especially because tides are so predictable.

Richard: “To be able to match it with wind or solar, or even apply batteries to it, it provides quite a unique product in the renewable energy mix.”

That first cup of rich, smooth coffee is a delicious jump-start to the day. But its taste could change as the climate warms. Aaron Davis at the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, in the U.K., studies Ethiopian coffee.

Davis: “Ethiopia is world renowned for its range of different flavor profiles, and these are really the unique selling point of Ethiopian coffee. That’s what makes it special.”

But drought and extreme weather pose a threat to those flavors.

Davis: “If you don’t have enough rainfall, then the beans don’t develop properly. And that really influences not only the productivity of the bush and each berry but also the taste.”

If you enjoy a cup of joe in the morning ... listen in! Click To Tweet

Davis says farmers could switch to varieties that better withstand the changing climate. But that would limit the range of coffee flavors Ethiopia has to offer, and eliminate the farmers’ competitive edge.

Another option is to change farming practices.

Davis: “They can mulch the soil, they can improve the shade coverage, and if possible, they can irrigate. Those are all things that do have an impact.”

But changes cost money.

Davis: “We should be paying more for our coffee, and that would help secure its future if that money went back to the people who actually produce the coffee.”

Reporting credit: Mark Knapp/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Filed under: Jan OBrien

Developer wants to build a town where no one will need to drive

The idea is that electric shuttles and self-driving cars will carry people from point to point.

By Bruce Lieberman
Thursday, February 8, 2018.

Rising CO2 levels are making your food less nutritious

That could put more people at risk of malnutrition.

By Jan O'Brien
Monday, February 19, 2018


Rising carbon dioxide levels are causing climate change. But they could also be making the food on your plate less nutritious.

Loladze: “Every time you eat, say, a carrot or a bread or potatoes, the quality of it is different than, all else being equal, it was, say, a hundred years ago.”

Irakli Loladze, of Nebraska’s Bryan College of Health Sciences, studies how carbon dioxide levels affect plant nutrients. He analyzed studies from around the world that examined the nutrient levels of plants grown in experiments with elevated levels of CO2.

The data include more than 7,000 samples of 130 plant varieties, including rice, wheat, and other grains, as well as fruits and vegetables.

Loladze says the overall trend is clear.

Based on data from more than 7,000 samples, the trend is clear. #food #CO2 Click To Tweet

Loladze: “Rising CO2 lowers the concentration of minerals, so calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, they all drop.”

The effects are small, and the cumulative effects on human health are still unknown. But because mineral deficiencies can cause medical and developmental problems, he says it’s a worrisome finding – especially for people already struggling to meet their basic nutritional needs.

Reporting credit: Justyna Bicz/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Filed under: Jan OBrien

  Raging Grannies Eugene

Clean energy takes a lot of work – and that’s good news for Minnesota’s job market.

Mast: “This rapid transition to cleaner and more sustainable energy is driving significant job growth all across the state.”

Guess how many Minnesotans are working in clean #energy and #EnergyEfficiency jobs. Click To Tweet

That’s Gregg Mast of Clean Energy Economy Minnesota. He says clean energy and energy efficiency jobs grew almost four times faster than all other job types in the state between 2015 and 2016.

Now, more than 57,000 Minnesotans work in these fields. Most are employed in energy efficiency – for example, installing high-efficiency appliances or constructing energy-efficient buildings.

A small but rapidly-growing number are also working in clean energy generation, such as installing solar panels and wind turbines.

This new economic growth comes as several coal-fired power plants are expected to close in the next decade. The growth of clean energy does not automatically lead to jobs for former coal workers.

Mast: “There’ll be a need for a focused effort on retraining workers as the energy economy continues to transform.”

But if trends continue, these industries will reduce global warming pollution while putting more Minnesotans to work.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.
Photo credit: ODOT (CC by 2.0)

Filed under: Daisy Simmons

Climate change could be bad for your coffee

Something to consider the next time you brew a cup.

By Jan O'Brien
Monday, February 5, 2018