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21st Century Snake Oil – Why the U.S. Should Reject Biofuels

25 February 2013

An in-depth report by CAPT T. A. “Ike” Kiefer, from the Department of Strategy at the USAF Air War College, critical of the U.S. Navy's biofuels efforts.

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Flying into green skies with bio-fuel

ABC, 27 February 2013

The so called greening of the skies is the big challenge for aviation. It currently pumps out 2 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions but it is aiming to be carbon neutral by 2020. Alternative energy experts who have flown in for Victoria's Avalon Airshow say bio-fuels are the key.

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Will a bicycle helmet save your head?

Crikey, 27 February 2013

New research indicates bicycle helmets are very good for your head even if you collide with a motor vehicle. However helmet-wearing rates by teenagers and children involved in accidents are very low. A new paper attracted a lot of attention earlier this month because of a finding that cyclists who ride without a helmet are more likely to take risks.

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Crash data shows cyclists with no helmets more likely to ride drunk

The Conversation, 4 February 2013

Cyclists who ride without helmets are more likely to take risks while riding, like disobeying traffic controls or cycling while drunk, a new study of road accident data has found. The study, conducted by academics at the University of NSW and published in the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention, examined NSW hospital and police records on 6745 cyclists involved in a motor vehicle collision between 2001 and 2009. It found that wearing a helmet reduced the risk of head injury by up to 74%.

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Tough Truths from China on CO2 and Climate

New York Times, 26 February 2013

I’m way overdue to post excerpts here from an extraordinary recent China Dialogue with Zou Ji, the deputy director of China’s National Center for Climate Change Strategy. (China Dialogue is a fascinating independent dual-language blog with offices in London, Beijing and San Francisco that is supported by several foundations and other institutions.) The interview is blunt and crystal clear in laying out the demographic and economic realities that will, for many years to come, slow any shift from Chinese dependence on coal. Zou Ji has a remarkable resume for someone now working inside the Chinese establishment, having worked previously as the China director for the World Resources Institute.

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Meet the scientific accident that could change the world

io9, 26 February 2013

Last year, researchers at UCLA made a rather fantastic, if serendipitous, discovery. A team of scientists led by chemist Richard Kaner had just finished devising an efficient method for producing high-quality sheets of the Nobel-prize winning supermaterial known as graphene… with a consumer-grade DVD drive. That was groundbreaking in and of itself, but the real surprise came when Maher El-Kady, a researcher in Kaner's lab, wired a small square of their high quality carbon sheets up to a lightbulb. Then something incredible happened.

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U.S. offers airspace-based emissions regime

Reuters, 25 February 2013

A U.S. proposal for curbing aircraft emissions would exclude time spent flying
over international waters, an approach that some environmental groups say is too
timid in addressing the rise in greenhouse gasses from the aviation sector.

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The Case for a Higher Gasoline Tax

New York Times, 21 February 2013

THE average price of gasoline in the United States, $3.78 on Thursday, has been steadily climbing for more than a month and is approaching the three previous post-recession peaks, in May 2011 and in April and September of last year.  But if our goal is to get Americans to drive less and use more fuel-efficient vehicles, and to reduce air pollution and the emission of greenhouse gases, gas prices need to be even higher. The current federal gasoline tax, 18.4 cents a gallon, has been essentially stable since 1993; in inflation-adjusted terms, it’s fallen by 40 percent since then.

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The shale phenomenon: fabulous miracle with a fatal flaw

Christian Science Monitor, 22 February 2013

Shale gas and tight oil are giving the US its biggest, most rapid boost in energy production in history. But it will probably prove fleeting. At a petroleum conference held some years ago, at the dawn of the shale rush, Richard Nehring, an industry veteran, was asked whether shale gas was “just a band-aid.” “I hope not,” Mr. Nehring laughed. “Because we need a tourniquet!”

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Drill, Baby, Drill

Post Carbon Institute, February 2013

In this landmark report, J. David Hughes from Post Carbon Institute takes a far-ranging and painstakingly researched look at the prospects for various unconventional fuels to provide energy abundance for the United States in the 21st Century. While the report examines a range of energy sources, the centerpiece of “Drill, Baby, Drill” is a critical analysis of shale gas and shale oil (tight oil) and the potential of a shale “revolution.” (large file- 26MB)

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