America’s Dirtiest Power Plants

How Close do You Live to America’s Dirtiest Power Plants? | BillMoyers.com.

Out of about 6,000 power plants in the US, These are the dirtiest.

The researchers found that the 50 dirtiest power plants in the U.S. are responsible for 30 percent of the energy industry’s CO2 emissions, and a full two percent of all emissions worldwide — these 50 plants were responsible for more climate change than all but six countries in the world.

Click the link above to open the map.

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iPhone, the Cloud, and Your Refrigerator

 

Your iPhone uses more energy than a refrigerator – The Week.

As we become more and more connected across the web, and through our phones and tablets, the cost to the environment rises accordingly.

According to a new paper by Mark Mills, CEO of Digital Power Group

The average iPhone uses more energy than a midsize refrigerator.

The paper, rather ominously titled “The Cloud Begins With Coal: Big Data, Big Networks, Big Infrastructure, and Big Power,” details how the world’s Information Communication Technology (ITC) ecosystem — which includes smartphones, those high-powered Bloomberg terminals on trading floors, and server farms that span the size of seven football fields — are taking up a larger and larger slice of the world’s energy pie.

Since coal is still the largest source of electrical power generation in the world, the rising use of electricity to stay connected is taking a toll.

Will we develop new technologies to decrease our energy use?  How will we pay for it?  Who will control it?  And what are you doing now to decrease your energy consumption?

Genghis Khan Would Not Be Pleased

 

Inner Mongolia: Little Hu and the mining of the grasslands | The Economist.

LOCAL legend has it that the beauty of the grasslands in Xilin Gol, a prefecture in eastern Inner Mongolia, so captivated the 13th-century warrior Genghis Khan that he planned to settle down there once his battles were over.

But the grasslands are disappearing into the maw of giant machines that scrape coal from the ground.  Ethnic Mongolians, who make up about 20% of the province’s population, are upset with what they see as land grabs by corrupt officials and giant corporations.

Hu Chunhua, the provincial communist Party chief, is working hard to quell the unrest.  Mr. Hu is believed to be a favorite of China’s current leader Hu Jintao, who is said to be preparing the young Mr. Hu for higher office.  But what seemed to be an easy job in booming Inner Mongolia has proved to be more difficult than expected.

The mining is ripping up the delicate grasslands for both coal and rare earths such as germanium, used in making solar cells and wind turbines.  This mining also depletes the scarce water supply.

Land disputes between miners and Mongol herders became commonplace. In a typical incident, in May 2011, a group of Mongol herders was trying to stop mining lorries crossing and churning up grassland near their homes about 110km (70 miles) north-east of Xilinhot. During the night, a lorry driven by an ethnic Han Chinese driver hit one of the herders, called Mergen (single-named, like many Mongols). It dragged him over the grassland for 150 metres, killing him.

Protests erupted, leading to a march on the provincial capitol.  They spread as far south as Shangdu, the site of Kubla Khan’s “pleasure domes.”

Mr. Hu responded with force, calling out paramilitary police to patrol the areas.

In the provincial capital, Hohhot, university students were temporarily barred from leaving campuses and the central square was sealed off by security forces.

How will China’s leaders manage both the country’s need for energy and the ethnic minority’s need to maintain their heritage?  How will his response affect Mr. Hu’s chances of rising within the ranks of the Communist Party?

…grievances over the environment and land rights are widespread across China, as shown last week by large-scale and violent protests against the building of a copper-alloy factory in the south-western city of Shifang. Even if most Mongols are not yearning for independence, Mr Hu cannot relax.

Energy Crunch Time

via Thirst for Energy Drives Beijing’s Global Push – WSJ.com.

WASHINGTON—China’s emergence as the world’s most voracious energy consumer has wide implications for U.S. foreign policy as Beijing moves to sew up energy sources from the Middle East to Latin America, and strives to take a lead in advanced energy technology.

China is now the largest importer of Saudi crude oil, outpacing the US.  They have signed contracts all over the world for coal, natural gas, uranium, and more.  At the same time they are working much faster on green technologies than the US.

Is this a competition?  If it is, where does that leave the US?

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