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Archive for December, 2007

solar-energy.jpgCredit to Jasmine Marcus in the Cornell Daily Sun

On Dec. 4, U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-22nd District) announced that Cornell will be one of five universities joining New York State’s Solar Energy Consortium, which he helped create.

The consortium, according to a press release, is “a not-for-profit solar consortium driven by industry, in collaboration with public, private, academic, environmental, labor and economic development partners – with the goal of creating fully integrated solar-powered systems.”

The consortium, whose members include Clarkson University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the State University of New York, Binghamton and The State University of New York at New Paltz, will be based in Kingston, N.Y., and is expected to generate thousands of jobs over the next few years.

According to Prof. George G. Malliaras, materials science and engineering, director of the Cornell NanoScale Science and Technology Facility, solar energy is “a green technology that harvests energy from the sun.”

Solar energy is produced by solar cells, which are also known as photovoltaic devices. The cells are flat structures that absorb the solar energy in sunlight to produce electrical energy. This electricity can be used directly in homes and businesses to power a variety of appliances.

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no_coal_200.pngAt the close of the Bali climate change negotiations, we are left again with the disappointment of the Bush administration and all the other climate criminals in Washington. These fossil-fuel-phillic people have slowed down negotiations, stripped key renewable energy provisions in the US energy bill, and pretty much told the rest of the world that they don’t care if global warming cripples their economies. Ted Glick, now in a climate emergency fast for over 100 days, recently said the truth about these climate criminals, and Gore made it clear at Bali that the world must move without the US for the moment. Of course, wonderful things are building on the ground in the US, but we’ll have to wait until 2009 to get seriously going on this issue in the US.

But we don’t have to stop here. We have to make 2008 bigger than 2007. So, to kickoff the year, I created a petition, with the help of peer organizers, for youth around the world to tell world leaders that we want, in 2008, mandates to get rid of coal use by 2020. Dr. James Hansen from the Goddard Institute for Space Studies has made it clear that we can’t continue burning coal if we can’t capture it, and that it must stop within the next decade, or else we risk runaway climate that will literally cook the planet. So, youth have to tell world leaders that we want exactly that. On January 1st, we need to send these leaders a strong message with international media on this Youth Call to End Coal by 2020!

To make this really big, we need 10,000-100,000 youth from around the world to sign the petition and get ready to do media work on January 1st about it in every major global warming polluter. So, what are you waiting for? Sign the petition now and tell your friends to do the same! Go!

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coral.jpgCredit to Susan Lang from the Cornell Chronicle:

If world leaders do not immediately engage in a race against time to save the Earth’s coral reefs, these vital ecosystems will not survive the global warming and acidification predicted for later this century. That is the conclusion of a group of marine scientists from around the world in a major new study published in the journal Science on Dec. 13.

“It’s vital that the public understands that the lack of sustainability in the world’s carbon emissions is causing the rapid loss of coral reefs, the world’s most biodiverse marine ecosystem,” said Drew Harvell, Cornell professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and head of the Coral Disease Research Team, which is part of the international Coral Reef Targeted Research (CRTR) group that wrote the new study.

The rise of carbon dioxide emissions and the resultant climate warming from the burning of fossil fuels are making oceans warmer and more acidic, said co-author Harvell, which is triggering widespread coral disease and stifling coral growth toward “a tipping point for functional collapse.”

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By Tim Ashmore from the Ithaca Journal:

ITHACA — Imagine it: Ithaca with less traffic congestion, less road construction and a new-age monorail zipping people around some 15 feet above ground. The concept may sound strange, but after a conference in Uppsala, Sweden in October Connect Ithaca, an organization dedicated to building a more sustainable infrastructure, met with the Institute for Sustainable Transportation and learned about a transportation system that’s safer, faster, cleaner and quieter than any transit unit used on Ithaca’s streets.The monorail is called PRT, short for personal rapid transit systems, or podcar, and though at present it’s only an idea being kicked around by some residents, it could become a reality sooner than people might think.

“The industry itself, of course, has in its own best interest to start building these networks,” said Jacob Roberts, former chairman of Connect Ithaca and representative at the 2007 conference.

Roberts said if the community gets behind the idea and is open to it, European companies may be interested in building part of one of the first demonstration podcar networks in the world for free.

He said that creating demonstration cities is a good way for the companies to market its product.

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