Archive for the ‘Science and Enviroment’ Category

New Benefits for Solar Energy Use

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2006

Federal tax credits implemented to encourage solar energy development and use

After years of failed attempts, the U.S. Congress passed comprehensive energy legislation last summer. Spurred by record prices for oil, natural gas and coal, lawmakers developed a tax package of $14.5 billion, the bulk of the incentives targeting mature, traditional energy industries. Yet the solar industry was able to win the strongest federal provisions for solar in two decades: a 30 percent federal investment tax credit for residential and commercial installations. These new incentives have been implemented from the 1st of January 2006.

The existing 10 percent tax credit for commercial solar installations rises from 10 percent to 30 percent for two years, with no cap on the credit. The incentive applies to all property placed in service after Dec. 31, 2005, and before Jan. 1, 2008. It switches back to the permanent 10 percent credit thereafter.

The policy includes a 30 percent tax credit for residential solar installations for two years, capped at $2,000. It applies to all property placed in service after Dec. 31, 2005, and before Jan. 1, 2008

For more information on solar energy and solar panels visit Siemens Solar

Global Warming Force Islanders to Move

Wednesday, December 7th, 2005

Global Warming Force Islanders to Move Inland, Says UN

Rising seas have forced 100 people on a Pacific island to move to higher ground in what may be the first example of a village formally displaced because of modern global warming, a UN report said.

With coconut palms on the coast already standing in the water, inhabitants in Lateu settlements on Tegua island in Vanuatu started dismantling their wooden homes in August and moved about 600 meters inland.

“They no longer live on the coast,” Taito Nakalevu, a climate change expert at the secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP), said during a 189-nation conference in Montreal on ways to fight climate change.

So-called “king tides” often whipped up by cyclones, had become stronger in recent years and made Lateu uninhabitable by flooding the village four to five times a year.

“We are seeing king tides across the region flooding islands,” he said.

The UN Environment Program (UNEP) said in a statement that the Lateu settlement “has become one of, if not the first, to be formally moved out of harm’s way as a result of climate change.”

The scientific panel that advices the United Nations projects that seas could raise by almost a meter by 2100 because of melting icecaps and warming linked to a build-up of heat trapping gases emitted by burning fossil fuels in power plants, factories and autos.

Many other coastal communities are vulnerable to rising seas, such as th U.S city of New Orleans, the Italians city of Venice or settlements in the Arctic where a hawing of sea ice has exposed coasts to erosion by the waves.

Pacific islanders, many living on coral atolls, are among those most at risk. Off Papua New Guinea, about 2000 people on the Cantaret Islands are planning to move to near by Bougainville Island, a four hour boat ride to the south west.

Two inhabited Kiribati islands, Tebua Tarawa and Abenuea, disappeared underwater in 1999.

“In Tegua, the dwellings are moving first. The chief has moved, he has to start the process, so his people are now following,” Mr. Nakalevu said.

A church would also be dismantled and moved inland.

Mr. Nakalevu said the rising seas seemed linked to climate change.

It was unknown if the coral base of the island, about 31 square km, might be subsiding. Most villagers rely on yams, beans and other crops grown on higher grounds…

EPA replaces standard control on selenium

Tuesday, April 12th, 2005

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is attempting to weaken the Clean Water Act’s pollution controls on selenium, a metal that in high doses has caused deformities and death in fish and waterfowl.
Numerous scientists with years of experience examining the impacts of selenium on fish, birds, and other wildlife–including the author of a key study that is the basis of the new regulation–believe the EPA made egregious errors when developing the proposed selenium limit. In addition, they worry that it will not be easily implemented and will ultimately fail to adequately protect the health of organisms that could be poisoned or even killed by unsafe levels of selenium in their food. More…

Manitoba’s Vanishing Woodland Caribou

Monday, April 11th, 2005

In Canada’s Manitoba province, clearcut logging, roadbuilding and industrial hydropower development have devastated the old-growth boreal forest habitat of the woodland caribou, cutting the provincial population of this majestic species in half in the span of just a few decades. Now numbering roughly 2,000 animals, Manitoba’s last remaining woodland caribou survive hard winters by feeding on abundant lichens in our Heart of the Boreal Forest BioGem and other boreal woodlands.

According to scientists, a dwindling caribou population serves as an alert that the health of other forest wildlife is in jeopardy as well. But despite warnings from federal and provincial endangered species committees about the impacts of habitat loss on woodland caribou, the Manitoba government still refuses to list woodland caribou as threatened under its Endangered Species Act. Please take action now to ensure the protection of this sensitive boreal species in Manitoba.