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  • Fukushima Meltdown Hastens Decline of Nuclear Power

    With the world’s fleet of reactors aging, and with new plants suffering construction delays and cost increases, it is possible that world nuclear electricity generation has peaked and begun a long-term decline. More

  • Global Wind Power Climbs to New Record in 2011

    Wind energy developers installed a record 41,000 megawatts of electricity-generating capacity in 2011, bringing the world total to 238,000 megawatts. With more than 80 countries now harnessing the wind, there is enough installed wind power capacity worldwide to meet the residential electricity needs of 380 million people at the European level of consumption. More

  • Global Economy Expanded More Slowly than Expected in 2011

    The global economy grew 3.8 percent in 2011, a drop from 5.2 percent in 2010. Economists had anticipated a slowdown, but this was even less growth than expected, thanks to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, unrest in oil-producing countries, the debt crisis in Europe, and a stagnating recovery in the United States. More

  • U.S. Carbon Emission Down 7 Percent in Four Years, Even Bigger Drops Coming

    By Lester R. Brown Between 2007 and 2011, carbon emissions from coal use in the United States dropped 10 percent. During the same period, emissions from oil use dropped 11 percent. In contrast, carbon emissions from natural gas use increased by 6 percent. The net effect of these trends was that U.S. carbon emissions dropped […] More

  • Solar PV Breaks Records in 2010

    Solar photovoltaic (PV) companies manufactured a record 24,000 megawatts of PV cells worldwide in 2010, more than doubling their 2009 output. More

  • Occupy George: Protest Wealth Inequality in America on Your Dollars

    As Occupy Wall Street protests ramp up around the country, conversations abound about wealth and income inequality in America. But now you can put your message on your money with Occupy George dollar bill templates, which highlight economic disparities through clever graphics that you can print directly on your greenbacks. More

  • Learning from China: Why the Existing Economic Model Will Fail

    By Lester R. Brown For almost as long as I can remember we have been saying that the United States, with 5 percent of the world’s people, consumes a third or more of the earth’s resources. That was true. It is no longer true. Today China consumes more basic resources than the United States does. […] More

  • FTC Green Guide & Marketing: Greenwashing or Truth in Advertising?

    Green is a hot trend, and businesses try to capitalize on consumers’ concern for the environment by touting their products’ eco-friendly traits.  “Recyclable”, “natural”, “compostable”, “biodegradable”, “organic”…what do these terms mean?  Unfortunately for consumers, there are no standards or consensus about what green actually signifies. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the governmental agency in […] More

  • Bicycling: The Present, and the Future (infographic)

    We’re big fans of bicycling here at sustainablog: from the large scale economic and community impact, to smaller efforts that promote cycling and even incorporate it into unlikely activities. So when our friends at WellHome published this infographic yesterday on the present and future of bicycling, we had to share. How big is cycling now […] More

  • Raging Storms and Rising Seas Swelling the Ranks of Climate Refugees

    By Lester R. Brown In late August 2005, as Hurricane Katrina approached the U.S. Gulf Coast, more than 1 million people were evacuated from New Orleans and the small towns and rural communities along the coast. Once the storm passed, it was assumed that the million or so Katrina evacuees would, as in past cases, […] More

  • A Fifty Million Dollar Tipping Point?

    By Lester R. Brown At a press conference on July 21, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that he was contributing $50 million to the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign. Michael Brune, head of the Sierra Club, called it a “game changer”. It is that, but it also could push the United States, and […] More

  • Iowa Eclipses Canada in Grain Production, Challenges China in Soybean Production

    By Lester R. Brown The U.S. state of Iowa is an agricultural superpower, simultaneously eclipsing Canada in grain production and challenging China in soybean production. No, these are not mathematical errors. Last year Iowa’s farmers harvested 55 million tons of grain while Canada’s farmers harvested only 45 million tons. Over the last five years, Iowa […] More

  • Growing Water Deficit Threatening Grain Harvests

      By Lester R. Brown Many countries are facing dangerous water shortages. As world demand for food has soared, millions of farmers have drilled too many irrigation wells in efforts to expand their harvests. As a result, water tables are falling and wells are going dry in some 20 countries containing half the world’s people. […] More

  • Shining a Light on Energy Efficiency

    Our inefficient, carbon-based energy economy threatens to irreversibly disrupt the Earth’s climate. Averting dangerous climate change and the resultant crop-shrinking heat waves, more destructive storms, accelerated sea level rise, and waves of climate refugees means cutting carbon emissions 80 percent by 2020. The first key component of the Earth Policy Institute’s climate stabilization plan is […] More

  • Are High Global Food Prices A New Norm?

      FAO (The food and agriculture organization of the United Nations) released their June estimate of global food price indices yesterday.  The new numbers were mixed, but not encouraging overall. Sugar was up 15% over the month. All the other indices were nearly flat: Dairy up 0.2%, Oils down 0.6%, Meat down 1.5%, Cereals down 1.3%. […] More

  • Rising Temperatures Melting Away Global Food Security

    By Lester R. Brown Heat waves clearly can destroy crop harvests. The world saw high heat decimate Russian wheat in 2010. Crop ecologists have found that each 1-degree-Celsius rise in temperature above the optimum can reduce grain harvests by 10 percent. But the indirect effects of higher temperatures on our food supply are no less […] More

  • Cross-Country Rideshare to Highlight National Parks and Forests

    Ridesharing (or car pooling, if you prefer) is a great way to cut the environmental impact of commuting and/or traveling, and to save some money on gas. But the rideshare as an activism tool? That’s what a group of young professionals has in mind for three weeks later this Summer: the GreenXC project will use […] More

  • The Good News About Coal

    By Lester R. Brown During the years when governments and the media were focused on preparations for the 2009 Copenhagen climate negotiations, a powerful climate movement was emerging in the United States: the movement opposing the construction of new coal-fired power plants. Environmental groups, both national and local, are opposing coal plants because they are […] More

  • Growing Goat Herds Signal Global Grassland Decline

    After the earth was created, soil formed slowly over geological time from the weathering of rocks. It began to support early plant life, which protected and enriched it until it became the topsoil that sustains the diversity of plants and animals we know today. Now the world’s ever-growing herds of cattle, sheep, and goats are […] More

  • Geothermal Power Heating Up Worldwide

    By J. Matthew Roney In 1904, Italy’s Prince Piero Ginori Conti became the first person to use thermal energy from within the earth to turn on the lights — five of them, to be precise. Now, more than a century after his experiment, 24 countries are using geothermal power. The 10,900 megawatts of capacity installed […] More

  • Biofuels For Transportation: Been There, Done That

    There is a great deal of controversy about the wisdom of diverting a significant percentage of the US corn crop into the production of ethanol to fuel cars.  Something like 25-30% of the crop will probably be used this way in 2011 which sounds alarming in the face of global food supply issues that have […] More

  • "Let No Man Say It Cannot Be Done": Restructuring the American Economy

    By Lester R. Brown We need an economy for the twenty-first century, one that is in sync with the earth and its natural support systems, not one that is destroying them. The fossil fuel-based, automobile-centered, throwaway economy that evolved in western industrial societies is no longer a viable model — not for the countries that […] More

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