Day: October 25, 2013

People don’t put a high value on climate protection

Read the full story at Phys.org.

An international team of researchers led by Manfred Milinski from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology has shown how poorly we manage collective risk. “Our experiment is based on an essay which Thomas Schelling, the Nobel laureate in economics, wrote back in 1995″, explains Milinski. Schelling pointed out that it was today’s generation which would have to make the efforts for climate protection, while it would be future generations who would gain the benefits. So the people of the present have little motivation actually to do anything. Does this gloomy theory withstand experimental scrutiny?

The full study is: “Intra- and intergenerational discounting in the climate game”, Jennifer Jacquet, Kristin Hagel, Christoph Hauert, Jochem Marotzke, Torsten Röhl, and Manfred Milinski, Nature Climate Change, 20 October 2013. DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2024

Environmental Psychology LibGuide

The University of Illinois’ Ricker Library of Architecture and Art has developed a guide to environmental psychology resources available through their library. Most of the materials included should be readily available through your local library.

Green Building is Now the Law in Dallas

Read the full story from ENN.

Dallas has now accepted the first building permit applications under its green building ordinance. Dallas is one of the first major cities in the nation to implement comprehensive mandatory green building standards for both all new residential and commercial construction.

Air Pollution and Cancer Spikes linked in Alberta

Read the full story from ENN.

Alberta is Canada’s industry epicenter and home to more than 40 companies that produce industrial emissions. Recent studies conducted by the University of California and the University of Michigan have indicated higher levels of contaminants which can potentially be linked to spikes in the incidences of cancer in the region.

Scientists propose quantum wells as high-power, easy-to-make energy harvesters

Read the full story at Phys.org.

By collecting heat energy from the environment and transforming it into electrical power, thermoelectric energy harvesters have the potential to provide energy for a variety of small electronic devices. Currently, the biggest challenge in developing thermoelectric energy harvesters is to make systems that are both powerful and efficient at the same time.

One material that scientists have experimented with for making thermoelectric energy harvesters is quantum dots, nano-sized crystals with semiconducting properties. Due to their sharp, discrete energy levels, quantum dots are good energy filters, which is an important property for thermoelectric devices.

In a new study published in the New Journal of Physics, a team of researchers from Switzerland, Spain, and the US has investigated a thermoelectric energy harvester design based on quantum wells. Although quantum wells are also made of semiconducting materials, they have different structures and energy-filtering properties than quantum dots.

More information: Bjӧrn Sothmann, et al. “Powerful energy harvester based on resonant-tunneling quantum wells.” New Journal of Physics, 15 (2013) 095021. DOI: 10.1088/1367-2630/15/9/095021

Spanish Winemaker Obtains Permission to Cut Down 154 Acres of California Redwoods

Read the full story from Inhabitat.

As California’s wine industry continues to grow, it has extended its search for suitable areas to grow grapes outside of the valleys and closer to the coast. But Spanish winemaker Artesa Vineyards and Winery is taking this quest too far with plans to destroy 154 acres of coastal redwoods and Douglas firs to make space for new grapevines. With one study indicating that areas suitable for vineyards in the world’s major wine-producing regions could shrink between 19 and 73 percent by 2050, it’s likely that the situation will get worse before it gets better.

EPA annual GHG report shows emissions from power plants declined 10% from 2010 due to growing use of natural gas

Read the full post at Green Car Congress.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its third year of greenhouse gas data detailing greenhouse gas emissions and trends broken down by industrial sector, greenhouse gas, geographic region, and individual facility. Data for 2012 show that in the two years since reporting began, emissions from power plants have decreased 10%. This is due to a switch from coal to natural gas for electricity generation and a slight decrease in electricity production.