Israel Solves Water Woes with Desalinization

SOREK, Israel (AP) — After experiencing its driest winter on record, Israel is responding as never before – by doing nothing. While previous droughts have been accompanied by impassioned public service advertisements to conserve, this time around it has been greeted with a shrug – thanks in large part to an aggressive desalination program that has transformed this perennially parched land into perhaps the most well-hydrated country in the region. “We have all the water we need, even in the year which was the worst year ever regarding precipitation,” said Avraham Tenne, head of the desalination division of Israel’s Water Authority. “This is a huge revolution.” By solving its water woes, Israel has created the possibility of transforming the region in ways that were unthinkable just a few years ago. But reliance on this technology also carries some risks, including the danger of leaving a key element of the country’s infrastructure vulnerable to attack. Situated in the heart of the Middle East, Israel is in one of the driest regions on earth, traditionally relying on … Continued

The Green Ladies of Hollywood

Many celebrities pay lip service to giving back and helping the Earth, but these dedicated women actually pull up their sleeves and get to work. In addition to her work with the One Voice Movement and Global Green USA, Natalie Portman has taken a personal role in spreading the word about the plight of Rwanda’s mountain gorillas. She traveled to Rwanda in 2007 to host a documentary, Gorillas on the Brink, which focuses how changes to the environment have threatened the lives of these endangered animals. A vegan for years, Portman created her own line of vegan shoes to benefit the Nature Conservancy, a leading non-profit that protects the environment around the world. Like many difference-makers, Portman knows that the biggest changes start with the smallest steps. Her engagement ring is eco-friendly: the ring is recycled platinum, the center stone is antique-mine cut and the surrounding diamonds are conflict-free. And yet when I make an engagement ring out of a straw wrapper and some Gummi Bears, everyone says I ‘m just being cheap. Talk about … Continued

How Obama’s Power Plant Emission Rules Will Work

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is poised to unveil the first rules limiting carbon emissions from the thousands of power plants across the nation. The pollution controls form the cornerstone of President Barack Obama’s campaign to combat climate change and a key element of his legacy. Obama says the rules are essential to curb the heat-trapping greenhouse gases blamed for global warming. Critics contend the rules will kill jobs, drive up electricity prices and shutter plants across the country. Environmentalists and industry advocates alike are eagerly awaiting the specifics, which the Environmental Protection Agency will make public for the first time on Monday and Obama will champion from the White House. While the details remain murky, the administration says the rules will play a major role in achieving the pledge Obama made in Copenhagen during his first year in office to cut America’s carbon emissions by about 17 percent by 2020. Some questions and answers about the proposal: — Q: How does the government plan to limit emissions? A: Unable to persuade Congress to … Continued

World’s Largest Protected Area Isn’t Where You Might Think

When I think of nature preserves and national parks, I immediately think of places like the Grand Canyon, Pelican Island and Yosemite National Park. But these expanses pale in comparison to the world’s newest and largest protected area: the waters around New Caledonia, located about 2,000 miles east of Australia. Across an aquatic area three times the size of Germany, this small island (also a French territory) and its government is setting the bar pretty high for the rest of the world.     BIODIVERSITY IN NEW CALEDONIA   What makes the dedication of so much maritime territory significant is the astounding amount of biodiversity in the area. The waters around New Caledonia are home to the Chesterfield and Bellona barrier reefs. Here, deep sediment basins and seamounts create an underwater terrain that fosters an amazing number of species.   So far, scientists have noted 48 species of sharks, 19 different kinds of nesting birds, 25 different marine mammals and five species of sea turtles who call the waters home. As with most island nations, … Continued

Administration Proposes Updated Great Lakes Plan

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — The Obama administration is proposing an updated blueprint for Great Lakes environmental restoration that puts greater emphasis on climate change and using science to select projects and measure their effectiveness. Congress has appropriated roughly $1.6 billion for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, with the first installment in 2010. The administration is proposing to extend the program another five years. The initiative is designed to accelerate progress toward dealing with the freshwater seas’ most pressing environmental threats, including toxic pollution, invasive species, loss of wildlife habitat and runoff that causes toxic and nuisance algae blooms. A task force including 11 federal agencies and led by the Environmental Protection Agency released a draft of the updated plan Friday for public review. A final version is scheduled for adoption by Oct. 1. © 2014 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THIS MATERIAL MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED, BROADCAST, REWRITTEN OR REDISTRIBUTED. Learn more about our PRIVACY POLICY and TERMS OF USE.

Exxon CEO: Sanctions Not Hurting Russia Operations

DALLAS (AP) — The CEO of Exxon Mobil says U.S. sanctions against Russian officials are having no effect on his company’s activities there. Rex Tillerson also says that he is skeptical of sanctions and has discussed his view with U.S. government officials. Tillerson made the comments Wednesday after Exxon Mobil Corp.’s annual meeting. U.S. sanctions over Russia’s annexation of Crimea have targeted close associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin, including the president of Russia’s largest oil company, Rosneft, but not the company itself. Exxon has an exploration and production agreement with Rosneft in the Russian arctic and Siberia. “There has been no impact on any of our business activities in Russia to this point, nor has there been any discernible impact on the relationship” with Rosneft, Tillerson told reporters. “The organizations continue to work business as usual.” Tillerson said he generally opposes sanctions as imprecise and ineffective. He said he has discussed his view with U.S. officials. He declined to identify them but said, “Our views are being heard at the highest levels.” Exxon Mobil … Continued

Green Fleet Roundup: VW, LNG America,JJ Taylor, ClipperCreek

Beverage distributors JJ Taylor has opened a second compressed natural gas fueling station in Florida at its Fort Myers location. The station was designed by CNG fueling infrastructure firm TruStar Energy. ClipperCreek has launched its ETL listed utility smart grid connected charging station, the CS-40-SG2. The CS-40-SG2 charging station features ZigBee Smart Energy Protocol 1.1 demand response/load control capabilities and Itron revenue-grade […]