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Energy This Week: Pipeline Abandoned, EPA Gas Data, and China’s CO2 Plans

A roundup of the most important energy stories from the past week.
January 20, 2012

As Kevin Bullis mentioned on Wednesday, the Obama administration declined to issue a permit to TransCanada for the construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. The pipeline would carry crude made from oil sands from Alberta to multiple destinations in the U.S., ending at the Gulf of Mexico. The president left the door open for the company to refile the proposal, one of many reasons to think that this story is far from over. (Read more at The Hills E2 Wire and Bloomberg.)

Bloomberg New Energy Finance reported that $260 billion was invested worldwide in renewable energy last year. That total is a new record, 5 percent greater than the total investment last year. (Read more at Bloomberg.)

Meanwhile, the world’s largest wind-turbine manufacturer, Vestas, announced it will cut over 2,000 jobs worldwide. Increasingly fierce competition and rising costs helped “wipe out” the Danish company’s 2011 earnings, reports Reuters.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released an online tool for viewing data that reflect greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, which since 2008 have been required by law to report such numbers. The searchable database draws from 6,157 sources and is current through 2010. (Read more at The New York Times.)

China will impose absolute CO2 caps for the first time, in seven pilot cities and provinces. The country’s National Development and Reform Commission has directed the cities Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Chongqing, and Shenzhen, and the provinces of Hubei and Guangdong, to set “overall emissions control targets” and submit plans for achieving them. (Read more at Reuters and The New Scientist.)

California became the first state in the U.S. to enact more stringent energy efficiency standards for battery chargers used with cell phones, laptops, power tools, and other electrical devices. Automotive battery chargers are exempted from the standards, which the state’s energy commission says could save as much electricity per year as could power 350,000 homes. (Read more at McClatchyDC and Green Car Congress.)

Deep Dive

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Five poems about the mind

DREAM VENDING MACHINE I feed it coins and watch the spring coil back,the clunk of a vacuum-packed, foil-wrappeddream dropping into the tray. It dispenses all kinds of dreams—bad dreams, good dreams,short nightmares to stave off worse ones, recurring dreams with a teacake marshmallow center.Hardboiled caramel dreams to tuck in your cheek,a bag of orange dreams…

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lucid dreaming concept
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I taught myself to lucid dream. You can too.

We still don’t know much about the experience of being aware that you’re dreaming—but a few researchers think it could help us find out more about how the brain works.

panpsychism concept
panpsychism concept

Is everything in the world a little bit conscious?

The idea that consciousness is widespread is attractive to many for intellectual and, perhaps, also emotional
reasons. But can it be tested? Surprisingly, perhaps it can.

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Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

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