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  • US weather disasters seen as sign of things to come
    Friday, July 29, 2011

    The United States is on a pace in 2011 to set a record for the cost of weather-related disasters and the trend is expected to worsen due to climate change, officials and scientists said on Thursday.

    "The economic impact of severe weather events is only projected to grow," Democratic Senator Dick Durbin told a hearing. "We are not prepared. Our weather events are getting worse, catastrophic in fact."

    The United States...

  • New mileage standards aim for less fuel, pollution
    Friday, July 29, 2011

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama and automakers ushered in the largest cut in fuel consumption since the 1970s on Friday with a deal that will save drivers money at the pump and dramatically cut heat-trapping gases coming from tailpipes.

    The agreement pledges to double overall fuel economy to 54.5 mpg by 2025, bringing even greater under-the-hood changes to the nation's automobiles starting in model year 2017. Cars and trucks on...

  • Amid bee die-off, healthy hives thrive in cities
    Friday, July 29, 2011

    CHICAGO (AP) -- Among the wildflowers and native grasses in the garden atop Chicago's City Hall stand two beehives where more than 100,000 bees come and go in patterns more graceful, but just as busy, as the traffic on the street 11 stories below.

    The bees are storing honey that will sustain them through the bitter winter and be sold in a gift shop just blocks away.

    "Already this season, one hive has...

  • SunPower, Citi to finance solar lease projects
    Thursday, July 28, 2011

    SunPower Corp and Citigroup have formed a new fund of $105 million to enable the solar panel maker extend its lease to customers in eight states, the companies said.

    A solar lease is a financing option that provides the use of a solar equipment in exchange for a monthly lease payment.

    Citi is contributing $80 million to the fund that will expand the lease option's reach in Massachusetts, Arizona, California, Colorado,...

  • Arctic scientist under investigation
    Thursday, July 28, 2011

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) -- A federal wildlife biologist whose observation in 2004 of presumably drowned polar bears in the Arctic helped to galvanize the global warming movement has been placed on administrative leave and is being investigated for scientific misconduct, possibly over the veracity of that article.

    Charles Monnett, an Anchorage-based scientist with the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, or BOEMRE,...

  • Cochise County braces for floods that follow fire
    Thursday, July 28, 2011

    Dennis and Mary Means know that floods follow fires.

    Their cabin in Miller Canyon in the Huachuca Mountains was washed away in 1977 after the Miller Fire.

    This year, the home they built to replace that one, the home in which Dennis and Mary raised three sons, survived the Monument Fire - barely. Firefighters lit a backburn about 75 yards from their property.

    The couple had fire insurance and they applied for flood insurance while the Monument Fire was still...

  • Juno's Jupiter mission may yield clues to Earth's origins
    Thursday, July 28, 2011

    Starting Aug. 5, NASA will enter the launch period for the spacecraft Juno, which will begin an unprecedented exploration of Jupiter's secrets. 'We are after the recipe for planet-making,' says a scientist.

    Even for scientists versed in the grand scale of astronomy, it's never been easy to grasp the scope of Jupiter.

    After all, you could fit every piece of the solar system other than the sun inside Jupiter — all the other planets, moons and asteroids...

  • U.S. rules seen shutting 20 percent of coal power capacity
    Wednesday, July 27, 2011

    The U.S. power industry will probably retire up to 20 percent of the country's coal-fired electricity generating capacity this decade, due to proposed federal environmental regulations, consulting firm ICF International said in a report on Wednesday.

    Fairfax, Virginia-based ICF, which helps utilities meet environmental rules, among other things, said grid operators and regulators in charge of reliability will have to work with environmental...

  • Solar tower twice as high as Empire State Building planned for AZ
    Tuesday, July 26, 2011

    PARKER, Ariz. — Plans are under way for a massive solar tower twice as high as the Empire State Building in the middle of the Arizona desert.

    KTVK-TV reports a company called EnviroMission wants to break ground next year on the solar project, 130 miles west of Phoenix in La Paz County.

    The company says a relatively new technology using turbines forces air heated by the sun up through a 2,...

  • Tucson's Solon Corp. seeks better ways to store energy
    Tuesday, July 26, 2011

    The sun and wind are great sources of clean and renewable energy, but the sun doesn't always shine and the wind doesn't always blow.

    A new local research project aims to address such intermittency with energy-storage technologies that can help keep grid power stable and capture electricity for later use.

    Tucson-based photovoltaics maker Solon Corp. is teaming up with Tucson Electric Power Co. and the University of Arizona's Arizona Research Institute for Solar...