March 4, 2010
The Plastiki Expedition
An 11,000 nautical mile journey-with-a-message from San Francisco, California, to Sydney, Australia, setting sail March 2010.
Photo: Eco-Friendly Catamaran, The Plastiki, Made From 12,500 Reclaimed Plastic Bottles Prepares to Embark on Transpacific Voyage From US to Australia. February 25, 2010. San Francisco, CA. (Photo: Luca Babini).
The Plastiki, an eco-conscious catamaran made from reclaimed plastic bottles is embarking on transpacific journey to raise awareness of ocean pollution problem by showcasing plastic debris as a resource and demonstrating real world solutions through its design and construction.
The goal of The Plastiki Expedition is to draw attention to the massive amounts of plastic debris in the world's oceans, and to showcase re-thinking waste as a resource by demonstrating real world solutions to this pressing problem.
The legacy of The Plastiki Expedition will be its capacity to shift public thinking and perception from plastics as the enemy to how plastic can become part of the solution. To solve the marine debris and waste issues at large will require a reprogramming of how the global community currently uses, re-uses and ultimately disposes of plastics.
December 4, 2009
World Bank: Majority of People Want Action on Climate Change, Even if it Entails Costs
Photo: View of lakes and mountains. Photo © Curt Carnemark / World Bank.
A new poll of 15 nations, most of them in the developing world, finds that majorities of the people canvassed want their governments to take steps to fight climate change, even if that entails costs. People signaled they would support public measures to limit greenhouse gas emissions and step up adaptation measures. For example, respondents would support higher fuel efficiency standards for cars, preserving or expanding forests, and extending funding to vulnerable countries so they can develop hardier crops suited to more severe climates.
Photo: Fishing. Photo © Alex Baluyut / World Bank.
"The poll's findings shed light on global attitudes at a particularly important moment: the run-up to the conference on climate change to be held December 7-18 in Copenhagen. Hearing from people in the developing world offers a new lens on this issue," says Katherine Sierra, World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development.
Photo: Horse-drawn cart. Mali. Photo © Curt Carnemark / World Bank.
Photo: Mali. Photo © Curt Carnemark / World Bank.
Carried out by WorldPublicOpinion.org and commissioned by the World Bank, the poll questioned 13,518 respondents in 15 nations -- Bangladesh, China, Egypt, France, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Russia, Senegal, Turkey, the United States, and Vietnam.
Other key findings include:
• Public concern about climate change is high worldwide, but it's generally higher in developing countries.
• Publics, particularly in developing countries, believe climate change is already having negative effects.
• In most countries, wealthy and poor alike, large majorities are willing to pay to fight climate change.
• Support for increased adaptation funding to poor countries is widespread worldwide.
Photo: View of river and mountains. Bhutan. Photo © Curt Carnemark / World Bank.
"It is encouraging indeed to see strong across-the-board support for committing to emissions limits in both developed and developing nations, since behavior change and attitudes will help determine whether we succeed or fail in addressing this global issue," says Marianne Fay, World Bank Chief Economist for Sustainable Development and Co-Director of the World Development Report 2010: Development and Climate Change.
Ms. Fay explained that the poll was commissioned as a follow-up to the recently released WDR. The aim was to gain a better understanding of how the recommendations of the Report to invest substantially and immediately to manage climate change ("Act now, act together, and act differently") resonate in a cross-section of countries.
In the low-income country of Vietnam, for example, 98% say their government should commit to limiting emissions as part of a deal, and 93% support the same course in the absence of a deal. At the other end of the wealth spectrum, the people of France express 97% support if an agreement is reached at Copenhagen, and 87% if no agreement emerges.
Photo: View of road before storm. Ghana. Photo © Curt Carnemark / World Bank.
Majorities in 14 of 15 countries are willing to pay to fight global climate change.
Majorities in most countries also support measures that would raise costs for energy and transportation.
Photo: Portrait of children. India. Photo © World Bank / Curt Carnemark.
Similarly, majorities in 12 countries support "gradually increasing the requirements for fuel efficiency in automobiles, even if this raises the cost of cars and bus fares." Majorities in 11 countries support "gradually reducing government subsidies that favor private transportation, even if this raises its cost." Majorities in all countries polled support "preserving or expanding forested areas, even if this means less land for agriculture or construction."
WorldPublicOpinion.org operates as a collaborative project involving research centers from around the world that is managed by the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland. The margins of error for each country range from +/-3 to 4 percentage points. The surveys were conducted across the different nations in September and October 2009.
Source: World Bank
"We, the Heads of the MDBs and the IMF, appeal to the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to agree in Copenhagen the foundations for an ambitious, comprehensive, and equitable global climate change regime that enables all countries to achieve sustainable development along climate-resilient and low greenhouse gas emission-intensive paths. We recognise the primacy of the UNFCCC, whose principles and process we have supported from the start. We endeavour, in accordance with our organizations' respective mandates, expertise, and resources, to further coordinate our financing and analyses of climate change actions and enable our client partners to maximise the effective use of new financial flows."
-- Joint statement by the heads of the African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, European Investment Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund.
The International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC) has released the names of over 140 leading climate experts from 17 countries who are asking the United Nations and other supporters of this month's Climate Change Conference to produce convincing OBSERVATIONAL EVIDENCE for their claims of dangerous human-caused global warming (AGW) and other changes in climate.
• "With revelations that critical temperature data used by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change appear to have been intentionally distorted to increase warming trends, national representatives to the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference must demand a thorough re-examination of the scientific evidence supporting proposed mitigation actions. This should not be limited to simple temperature data auditing but must also include a re-evaluation of many of the climate-related assertions uncritically accepted by politicians and media worldwide."
-- Dr. Tim Patterson, ICSC Chair and Professor of Earth Sciences at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada.
• "While policies designed to conserve energy, reduce pollution and help vulnerable peoples adapt to climate change are important to pursue, proposals to severely curtail GHG emissions in an effort to control climate make no sense, given the current state of scientific knowledge. Instead we need to focus on environmental issues we know we can positively impact - air, land and water pollution being primary examples."
-- Dr. Wibjörn Karlén, Professor Emeritus, Physical Geography, Stockholm University, Sweden.
November 30, 2009
U.S. Crude Oil Production in 2009 Poised To Show Big Jump: Platts Analysis
Photo: Platts' new 100-year anniversary global branding ad for oil rolled out in February issue of UK's Energy Risk Magazine; first in a series of Platts' 2009 ads to highlight the commodities it covers: Oil, Petrochemicals, Electricity, Natural Gas, Metals and Renewable Fuels.
• United States crude oil production for 2009 is on target to have its biggest one-year jump since 1970, according to a Platts analysis of industry data.
Platts, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies, is a leading global provider of energy and commodities information.
With U.S. oil production averaging 5.268 million barrels per day (b/d) through October, the gain in U.S. output will be the most since the country produced 9.637-million b/d in 1970, which turned out to be the peak year of U.S. crude output, according to Platts' analysis of data published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). If that 5.268 million b/d figure holds through December, this year would show a 6.4% boost from the 4.95 million b/d average of 2008 and rank as the best U.S. oil production year since 2004, when output averaged 5.419 million b/d.
Projections from the U.S. Minerals Management Service (MMS) indicate that the primary driver for this year's U.S. oil production resurgence is actually just getting started. That driver is the Gulf of Mexico, where operators have begun launching a group of new fields, fulfilling what has been a decade-long focus on unlocking the promise of deepwater exploration there.
Photo: Oil tanker and offshore drill on ocean.
In its reporting, Platts concluded that with the jump in the Gulf of Mexico, combined with the emergence of two other new oil-production trends, it appears the U.S. has a chance of at least maintaining oil output in the range of five million to six million b/d for some years to come.
The Gulf posted its biggest oil production year in 2002 with 1.556 million b/d, but only 61% of that total came from deepwater. In contrast, this year the MMS projects oil output of 1.213 million b/d with 76% from deepwater as the Gulf ramps toward an expected new oil production record of 1.635 million b/d by 2011.
Besides growth in the Gulf, those other trends involve further development of the Bakken Shale oil play in North Dakota and success by a group of operators now training their onshore exploration sights toward new oil targets at the expense of natural gas.
Photo: Oil Rig at Sunset.
As for companies shifting their strategies, that group includes large Houston independent and Bakken pioneer EOG Resources, which has set a goal of shifting from a 70% gas production share to a 50:50 oil and gas mix by 2011 with a comprehensive review of additional potential North American shale oil targets.
This rise in output has helped the U.S. reduce its net imports -- defined as imports less exports, both crude and petroleum products -- by a substantial amount. While there are many factors that go into the United States' net import figure, the decline has been striking, according to EIA data.
And while the drop in U.S. consumption can be seen as accounting for much of that decline, the U.S. also has put more than 140 million barrels of crude oil and products into inventory since the beginning of October 2008, something made possible in part by the rise in crude oil output.
November 19, 2009
Bridget Moynahan is the Newest Spokesmodel for Garnier Nutritioniste
Moynahan will be the face of the Garnier Nutritioniste Ultra-Lift product collection.
Global skincare company Garnier Nutritioniste is introducing actress Bridget Moynahan as the latest spokesmodel for the brand. Moynahan will appear in print and TV campaigns for the brand's top-selling Ultra-Lift skincare collection, set to debut July 2010.
Moynahan joins an impressive roster of Garnier spokesmodels, including Sarah Jessica Parker, Bar Rafaeli and Alana de la Garza.
"We are thrilled to partner with the beautiful Bridget Moynahan," says Maybelline New York-Garnier President David Greenberg. "Her class, grace and accessibility make her a model representative of the Garnier brand. Most importantly, she exhibits a likeable, healthy beauty that speaks to our consumer in such a positive way."
Moynahan is an all-American girl raised in the East Coast town of Longmeadow, Massachusetts. Before earning international recognition in films and TV, she had a successful modeling career, appearing on the covers of numerous magazines including Glamour, Vogue, Elle and Self. Moynahan has since appeared in a number of major films, such as Serendipity, The Sum of All Fears, The Recruit, I, Robot, and Lord of War. She is the star of the upcoming 2010 film Ramona and Beezus and is currently shooting the film Battle: Los Angeles.
November 12, 2009
Marriott International Developing Green Hotels
Photo: Marriott International will expand its green hotel portfolio ten-fold in five years, with a new green hotel prototype for its Courtyard brand that will be pre-certified LEED(R) (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) by the U.S. Green Building Council. Shown here, the Courtyard Portland City Center, which is certified LEED-Gold. (© Marriott International, Inc., William James Photography)
• Marriott International, Inc. announced today that it will expand its green hotel portfolio ten-fold over the next five years by introducing a green hotel prototype that will be pre-certified LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), an internationally recognized green building certification system designed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
The green hotel prototype, which will be available in April 2010, will save owners approximately $100,000 and six months in design time, and reduce a hotel's energy and water consumption by up to 25 percent.
The green hotel prototype, referred to by the USGBC as "volume build certification," has been created for Marriott's Courtyard brand, which has a development pipeline of nearly 160 hotels worldwide. In 2010, the company expects to introduce similar green hotel prototypes for its Fairfield Inn, Residence Inn, SpringHill Suites and TownePlace Suites brands, which represent more than 290 hotels in the pipeline worldwide.
"Marriott's' commitment makes it among the first in the world to commit to implementing green buildings on this scale," said Doug Gatlin, Vice President, USGBC. Marriott was the first hospitality member of the USGBC, and has more than 20 LEED accredited professionals on staff.
While many of the benefits of LEED certification, such as improved energy savings, better indoor air quality and reduced CO2 emissions, are transparent to guests, others are easier to identify such as easy access to public transportation, in-room recycling, and light sensors in the guest rooms.
October 21, 2009
Tokyo Motor Show: Honda CR-Z Concept 2009 Makes World Debut
• Stylish hybrid coupe will arrive in North America in 2010 as 2-seat model.
Honda today debuted CR-Z Concept 2009, the second concept version of the stylish, sporty hybrid coupe, at the 41st Tokyo Motor Show. While the vehicle displayed at the show is a global concept with a rear seat, the production version that will be introduced to North America in the second half of 2010 will be packaged as a sporty, 2-seat hybrid that provides a personal driving experience for North American customers.
"The Honda CR-Z will expand our lineup of hybrid vehicles and reinforce the fun-to-drive values associated with the Honda brand," said Erik Berkman, vice president of Automobile Corporate Planning and Logistics for American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "Beyond great styling and features, CR-Z will bring new levels of engagement and fun to customers interested a small car or a hybrid vehicle."
The production version of the Honda CR-Z will make its world debut at the January 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Source: American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
September 30, 2009
All-Electric Navistar Truck Unveiled on Capitol Hill
• Navistar Developing Clean Transportation Technologies.
Photo: At the U.S. Capitol today, U.S. Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN), on right, inspects Navistar Inc.'s zero emissions, all-electric delivery truck designed for maximum efficiency in urban environments. With help from a $39 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, Navistar Inc. initially will build 400 of these clean technology trucks at its facility in Elkhart, Indiana, and expects to be producing several thousand trucks annually within a few years.
Today, members of the U.S. Congress were shown an all-electric commercial truck from Navistar, Inc. that does not depend on oil.
With the help of a $39 million U.S. Department of Energy grant announced by President Obama in August, Navistar will build these high technology trucks, designed for maximum efficiency in urban environments.
Navistar intends to build 400 all-electric delivery trucks in 2010 at its facility in Elkhart County, Indiana, and expects within a few years to be producing several thousand vehicles annually as the market grows.
"The all-electric commercial truck is a concrete example of advanced technology that will be swiftly brought to market with government incentives, just like diesel-hybrid trucks and school buses," said Greg Elliott, senior vice president, Navistar. "We must continue to invest together for the next generation of advanced vehicles with innovative aerodynamic design and greater hybrid and electric market penetration across the nation."
This zero tailpipe emission electric commercial truck is the latest of Navistar's green vehicle advancements.
Navistar International Corporation is a holding company whose subsidiaries and affiliates produce International brand commercial and military trucks, MaxxForce brand diesel engines, IC Bus™ brand school and commercial buses, Monaco RV brands of recreational vehicles, and Workhorse brand chassis for motor homes and step vans.
September 28, 2009
Corcoran Gallery Of Art to Exhibit Landscapes by Canadian Photographer Edward Burtynsky
Photo: Edward Burtynsky, SOCAR Oil Fields #3, Baku, Azerbaijan, 2006. Chromogenic color print. (© Corcoran Gallery of Art).
Corcoran Gallery of Art has invited the media to an exclusive preview of Edward Burtynsky: Oil.
Organized by the Corcoran, this exhibition will show 56 large-scale color landscapes, many on view for the first time, by Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky.
The exhibition opens to the public on Saturday, October 3, 2009.
Edward Burtynsky: Oil is organized by the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., and sponsored by the Scotiabank Group.
"For Oil, Burtynsky traveled for more than a decade to chronicle the global production, distribution, and use of oil, the energy source that has shaped the modern world," informs Corcoran. "This world premiere exhibition provides a penetrating look at one of the most important subjects of our time, by one of the most respected and recognized contemporary photographers in the world."
After closing at the Corcoran on December 13, the exhibition will embark on an international tour through 2012.
Source: Corcoran Gallery of Art
September 25, 2009
New York City Green Buildings Program Launch: Building Owners, Union Leader Joined By Mayor Bloomberg
Labor-Management Program to Train 1,000 Building Supers.
Photo: New York Mayor Bloomberg, along with union president Mike Fishman, launched a green building worker training program at an apartment building in Manhattan on Friday, September 25, 2009. The One Year, One Thousand Supers program, said the mayor, "is a smart, practical, effective way to help make the Big apple green.".
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg joined Realty Advisory Board President Jim Berg and 32BJ President Mike Fishman today in launching an ambitious green buildings program to train one thousand superintendents and resident managers in one year in the latest energy efficient practices.
The launch of One Year, One Thousand Green Supers, which took place at a downtown apartment building, was attended by Jeff Brodsky, President of Related Management, and James O'Connor, President of Douglas Elliman, two of the first companies to have their employees participate in this labor-management green buildings program.
"By working together, 32BJ and New York's building owners have put into place a smart, practical and effective way to help make the Big Apple green," said Mayor Bloomberg. "One Year, One Thousand Green Supers provides a low-cost way to make our buildings more energy and cost efficient, and our environment cleaner, all while saving our city millions of dollars."
"With 77 percent of our city's greenhouse gas emissions generated by buildings, we must all work together to protect the environment," said Mike Fishman. "Making the Big Apple green starts with recognizing the vital role of building service workers."
• With more than 85,000 members in six states and Washington, DC, SEIU Local 32BJ is the largest property service workers union in the country. The union represents window cleaners, doormen, building maintenance workers, cleaners, porters, and security officers in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Connecticut, Maryland, and Virginia.
• One Year, One Thousand Green Supers is part of the Thomas Shortman Training Fund. The program is a 40 hour class that provides building service workers with the latest, state-of-the-art practices in energy efficient operations. The curriculum trains workers to identify and address wasted energy, create a green operating plan and perform cost-benefit analysis for building owners and managers.
"By learning how to air seal a building, improve heating and air conditioning performance and reduce overall energy use in a building's common areas, graduates can achieve substantial savings at their buildings," said Linda Nelson, Director of the Thomas Shortman Training Fund. The third and final pilot class of building service workers in the program is set to graduate next week.
• The Fund's programs provide 150,000 hours of industry, academic, and computer courses at over 20 locations in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia.
• The One Year, One Thousand Supers curriculum combines classes and field exercises with elective courses, including renewable technologies, green roofs and water reuse.
With a growing demand for greener buildings, smarter management practices could reduce energy use in buildings by twenty to forty percent, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Energy.
Source: SEIU Local 32BJ
September 22, 2009
Clinton Global Initiative: President Barack Obama and President Bill Clinton Address the Opening Plenary Session of the Fifth Annual Meeting
Among others, following are joining President Clinton in Panel Discussion on Global Challenges:
• Michelle Bachelet, President of the Republic of Chile.
• Mike Duke, CEO of Wal-Mart Stores.
• Muhtar Kent, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Coca-Cola.
• Kevin Rudd, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia.
Photo: President Barack Obama and President Bill Clinton Greet Each Other on Stage at the Opening Plenary Session of the Fifth Annual Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative.
Today, in New York, President Barack Obama joined President Bill Clinton to open the Fifth Annual Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative.
The meeting is bringing together leaders from the political, corporate, and civil sectors to develop and implement innovative solutions to the world's most pressing problems.
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) brings together a community of global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges.
"This week, even as we gather at the United Nations to discuss what governments can do to confront the challenges of our time, even as we're joined tonight by so many presidents and prime ministers - this Global Initiative reminds us what we can do as individuals: that you don't have to hold public office to be a public servant," President Obama said, adding: "That's the beauty of service - anyone can do it and everyone should try."
"In the midst of a global financial crisis, I don't think it's a coincidence that more people are attending this meeting than ever before," President Clinton said. "Since 2005, it has become clear that CGI has found an effective model for addressing challenges around the world. Our members have made more than 1,400 commitments affecting more than 200 million people around the world. Because of their efforts, more than 10 million children have access to a better education, 48 million people have better health care, and more than 12 people million have safe drinking water. But there is still work to be done."
President Clinton announced that more than 60 current and former heads of state, 500 business leaders, and 400 leaders from nongovernmental and philanthropic organizations will be attending the meeting, representing 84 countries.
Photo (Added Sep 23): From left: Diane Sawyer moderates panel including Lloyd Blankfein, chairman and CEO of The Goldman Sachs Group, Merlanne Verveer, ambassador-at-large for global women's issues at the U.S. Department of State, Robert Zoellick, president of The World Bank Group, Zainab Salbi, founder and CEO of Women for Women International, Rex Tillerson, chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, and Edna Adan, director and founder of the Edna Adan Maternity and Teaching Hospital (speaking).
Photo (Added Sept 23): From left to right, Matthew Bishop, New York Bureau Chief and American Business Editor, The Economist, Al Gore, Chairman, The Alliance for Climate Protection, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Managing Director, The World Bank Group, Jack Ma, Chairman and CEO, Alibaba Group, Judith Robin, President, The Rockefeller Foundation, Muhammad Yunus, Founder and Managing Director, Grameen Bank.
Source: Clinton Global Initiative
September 14, 2009
Dow Corning Celebrates "Solar Day'
• Begins Construction at Solar Monosilanes Facility.
• Unveils Solar Array and Education Center.
Photo: Dow Corning installed solar panels at its corporate headquarters in Michigan that also serve as a testing site for its silicone-based solar materials.
"Autumn may be approaching, but the sun is shining brightly at Dow Corning. And it is waiting for us," said Stephanie A. Burns, Dow Corning's chairman, president and CEO. "There is still much work to do to make solar energy a sustainable energy option for everyone, everywhere. These investments represent our continued commitment to both innovating and using alternative energy technologies."
At an event the company is calling "Solar Day," Dow Corning will announce the start of construction in Thomas Twp., Michigan of a manufacturing plant that will manufacture monosilane gas-a key material used to manufacture thin-film solar cells.
Dow Corning will also unveil a solar panel installation and Solar Discovery Center at its corporate headquarters in Midland, Michigan.
Photo: Dow Corning Solar Solutions Researchers.
The Dow Corning Monosilanes facility will manufacture high purity monosilane, a key specialty gas used to manufacture thin-film solar cells and liquid crystal displays. The Dow Corning Monosilanes facility is expected to be completed in 2011.
"This significant investment to become a leading supplier of monosilane for thin film solar technology will expand our feedstock offering and will further reinforce Dow Corning's position as a material supplier across multiple solar technologies," said Eric Peeters, global executive director, Dow Corning Solar Solutions.
The solar installation at Dow Corning headquarters features 136 solar panels and will produce approximately 30 kilowatt-hours of power--the amount of electricity consumed by approximately seven to 10 homes in a year.
Photo: A Dow Corning lab technician conducting a product performance test.
"It is important for everyone in our community, especially students, to understand both how solar technology works and the opportunity it represents for the world," said Marie N. Eckstein, Dow Corning's vice president and chief administrative officer. "We would like to invite community and student groups to contact us if they're interested in seeing the solar panels and solar education center."
Dow Corning's silicon-based materials are used in solar cell manufacturing, solar module assembly and installation. In the past five years, Dow Corning and its joint ventures, the Hemlock Semiconductor Group, have announced investments of more than $5 billion to research and develop as well as to expand production of materials critical to the solar industry.
A global leader in silicones, silicon-based technology and innovation, Dow Corning offers more than 7,000 products and services via the company's Dow Corning and XIAMETER brands. Dow Corning is a joint venture equally owned by The Dow Chemical Company and Corning, Incorporated. More than half of Dow Corning's annual sales are outside the United States.
Source: Dow Corning Corporation
September 4, 2009
Climate Change: Helena Christensen Witnesses its Impacts in Peru
Photo: Model and photographer Helena Christensen traveled to Peru with humanitarian organization Oxfam to document the impacts of climate change on poor people ahead of an important global conference on climate. Photo Credit: Jason Mcdonald/Oxfam.
Model and photographer Helena Christensen traveled with international humanitarian organization Oxfam to her mother's native country to witness and document the dramatic effects that climate change is having on poor people today in Peru.
"The impacts of climate change are extremely severe in the areas we visited," said Christensen in Peru today. "The farmers we met and talked to are already living very hard lives, and are now being forced to adapt to the effects of the rapidly changing climate."
Christensen has documented the trip with a series of photographs that will be exhibited in New York, Washington, London and at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen this December. A short film of the expedition, captured by award-winning Director Richard Bullock, will also be shown.
"One of the women I spoke to, Elizabeth Ayma, told me that because rainfall are less frequent now and impossible to predict due to the climate changes, this is having a huge effect on crop production," said Christensen. "As a result, her family has less food to eat and less produce to sell, resulting in her not being able to afford her children's school fees. The lack of nutritional vegetables also affects her family's health."
"Climate change in Peru is already devastating and we welcome Helena's commitment to show this to the rest of the world. Peru is on the frontline of climate change, along with other developing countries, which have played little part in causing the problem," said Frank Boeren, Oxfam's coordinator in Peru. "It is crucial that rich leaders do the right thing at Copenhagen so that we can begin to stop run away climate change and protect vulnerable people around the world."
"We are at a critical tipping point. We need to put pressure on our governments in order for them to take the necessary, radical steps that are needed. There's no time left, it is absolutely imperative to act now," said Christensen.
Source: Oxfam America
August 19, 2009
Goodyear Assurance Fuel Max Tires Help Couple Shatter Fuel Efficiency Guinness World Record
Photo: Helen & John Taylor (of Melbourne, Australia), holders of more than 80 fuel economy and driving world records, finish the Goodyear Fuel Max Challenge journey through the United States by crossing the ceremonial finish line at Virginia Tire & Auto in Ashburn, VA. After a three week, 9,505 mile drive touching all 48 contiguous U.S. states, the Taylors arrived Tuesday, August 18, having set a new Fuel Efficiency Guinness World Record of 67.9 mpg, shattering the 58.8 mpg they set last year.
In a display of fuel economy, two drivers from Australia have broken the "48 Contiguous U.S. States Fuel Economy Guinness World Record," driving a car equipped with Goodyear Assurance Fuel Max tires. This three-week, 9,000+ mile drive through all 48 contiguous states in the U.S., showcased the potential fuel savings from the breakthrough fuel-efficient tread compound found in the new tires.
The couple refueled the car at Shell-branded stations along the way. Shell, a global leader in diesel technology, was the fuel sponsor of the Taylor's 2009 Guinness World Record attempt. In the U.S., Shell is the best-selling fuel brand and has the widest availability of diesel.
"While our own testing shows just how fuel-efficient these new tires are, we wanted to provide a real-world example of the difference Fuel Max Technology can make," said Mark Cherveny, Goodyear brand manager, passenger tires. "Helen and John Taylor broke their own world record set last year, using the same car, the same fuel, and traveling the same route. We believe the difference this year is the set of Assurance Fuel Max tires."
Photo: The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company Blimp. The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has been recognized as America's most respected automotive company by the Reputation Institute (RI) and Forbes magazine. RI's Global Pulse consumer opinion survey measures the overall respect, trust, esteem, admiration and good feelings consumers hold toward the world's largest companies.
Goodyear is one of the world's largest tire companies. It employs approximately 71,000 people and manufactures its products in more than 60 facilities in 25 countries around the world.
August 14, 2009
FORD INCREASES CAR PRODUCTION, DEMAND FOR ITS FUEL-EFFICIENT VEHICLES GROWS
Photo: Chicago Assembly Plant Celebrates New 2010 Ford Taurus Aug. 4, 2009; (left to right) Jan Allman, Chicago Assembly plant manager, Bob King, UAW vice president, Joe Hinrichs, group vice president, global manufacturing and labor affairs, Ford Motor Company, Pat Quinn, Governor, State of Illinois and Mark Fields, president of the Americas, Ford Motor Company at Chicago Assembly Plant during the 2010 Ford Taurus celebration. Photo by: Sam VarnHagen/Ford Motor Co.
• Ford is increasing North American production by another 10,000 units to 495,000 units in the third quarter as it builds more fuel-efficient vehicles to meet "Cash for Clunkers" demand. Ford's planned third quarter production now exceeds year-ago production levels by 18 percent.
• Ford, the UAW and suppliers are working together to ramp up production of the Escape small utility vehicle at Kansas City (Mo.) Assembly Plant and the Focus compact car at Wayne (Mich.) Assembly Plant through additional production shifts and increased overtime.
• Ford plans to produce 570,000 vehicles in the fourth quarter, a 33 percent increase versus year-ago levels and 15 percent above planned third quarter 2009 levels. The increase represents higher production across a range of cars, crossovers and trucks.
• After gaining U.S. market share in nine of the past 10 months and posting a year-over-year sales increase in July, Ford is off to a fast start in August due to continued strong demand for popular new products and the extended "Cash for Clunkers" program.
Photo: The 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid 1,000 Mile Challenge car in Alexandria, VA. 27, April, 2009. Photo by: Sam VarnHagen, Ford Motor Co.
At its Dearborn Michigan headquarters, Ford Motor Company announced on Aug. 13, 2009 that it is increasing North American production in the third and fourth quarters to respond to growing demand for new Ford products and to ensure dealers are well stocked with fuel-efficient vehicles eligible for the "Cash for Clunkers" program.
Ford is increasing third quarter production by another 10,000 units to 495,000 units primarily to build additional Escape small utility vehicles and Focus small cars, the two most popular Ford vehicles under the federal government's "Cash for Clunkers" program. Ford's planned third quarter production is now 18 percent above third quarter 2008 production levels.
Ford also announced plans to produce 570,000 vehicles in the fourth quarter, 33 percent higher than year-ago levels and 15 percent above the third quarter production plan. The increase represents higher production across a range of cars, crossovers and trucks.
Photo: Ford Focus
"Under the 'Cash for Clunkers' program, the Ford Escape and Focus are flying off dealer lots, and we're doing all we can to ensure our dealers are well stocked with the fuel-efficient vehicles that customers really want [and need]," said Mark Fields, Ford's president of The Americas. "We also are planning a significant increase in fourth quarter production compared with last year, continuing to match production to the real demand. We'll need this additional production as even more people are drawn to our high-quality, fuel-efficient lineup, including our newest entries such as the Ford Taurus and Lincoln MKT."
Ford is working closely with the UAW and its suppliers to ramp up production of the Escape and Focus. At the Kansas City (Mo.) Assembly Plant, for example, employees agreed to work Friday and Saturday, Aug. 21-22, during what was a planned shutdown week. In August and September, Ford will build approximately 3,500 additional Escapes.
Photo: 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Sonoma, California , USA, June 20, 2009. Bobby Labonte's Ford Fusion glides through turn 10. ©2009, autostock, USA.
At Wayne (Mich.) Assembly Plant, Ford is increasing Focus production by more than 6,000 units in the third quarter through increased overtime Monday through Friday and adding Saturday production shifts.
"This is a team effort with the UAW and our suppliers to meet the demand for fuel-efficient vehicles," said Joe Hinrichs, Ford group vice president, Global Manufacturing and Labor Affairs. "We asked our union partners to pull out all the stops - overtime, Saturday shifts, working during the shutdown - and they have delivered."
Photo: 2010 Ford Escape Hybrid: For 2010, Ford Escape Hybrid adds five new features that improve safety, reduce driver distractions and aid drivers. Integrated Blind Spot Mirrors, MyKey™, a Rear View Camera System and Active Park Assist are all now available to Escape Hybrid owners, and Escape Hybrid is one of the first Ford vehicles to feature the latest-generation hands-free SYNC system - now with Traffic, Directions & Information - helping reducedistractions while accessing important route and safety information.
The effort to meet "Cash for Clunkers" demand has required close coordination among Ford's sales and marketing, purchasing, manufacturing and material planning and logistics divisions. While increasing production, Ford also is "reprioritizing" vehicle shipments to ensure that vehicles in high demand, such as the Focus, Escape and Fusion, arrive at dealerships quickly.
Photo: Chicago Assembly Plant Celebrates New 2010 Ford Taurus August 4, 2009. Photo by: Sam VarnHagen/Ford Motor Co.
"Our carriers have been instructed to load Focus, Escapes and Fusions first," said Ken Czubay, Ford's vice president of U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service. "We want to ensure that dealers have an uninterrupted flow of product, because in many cases, they are selling them as soon as they arrive on the lot."
The fourth quarter production plan represents an increase of 75,000 vehicles versus the third quarter. The increase, which includes several Ford cars, crossovers and trucks, will help Ford rebuild inventories of key products.
"As we gain momentum with strong new products - with top fuel economy, quality, technology and safety - we are in a position to increase our production and deliver profitable growth over time," Fields said.
Source: Ford Motor Company
August 12, 2009
Sargent and The Sea Opens at Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
• September 12, 2009 - January 3, 2010
Photo: Beginning September 12, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. will feature more than 80 paintings, watercolors, and drawings depicting seascapes and coastal scenes from the early career of the pre-eminent late 19th century American expatriate painter John Singer Sargent (1856-1925). Photo Credit: John Singer Sargent, En Route pour la peche (Setting Out to Fish), 1878, oil on canvas. Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.
The exhibition will place the sea on center-stage and highlight the impact it had on Sargent's career, the development of his style, and his artistic preferences.
Organized by the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Sargent and the Sea brings together the artist's early beach scenes and will be the first to examine, in great depth, the little explored marine paintings and drawings produced during the first five years of the artist's career. A focal point of the exhibition is the Corcoran's masterwork En Route pour la peche (Setting Out to Fish), 1878, which will be accompanied by other works produced during, and inspired by, Sargent's summer journeys from his home in Paris to Brittany, Normandy, and Capri, as well as two transatlantic voyages.
While Sargent is best known for his society portraits, Sargent and the Sea will focus on his personal passion for the sea and his knowledge of seafaring. Sargent's two paintings depicting fisherfolk at Cancale (1878, Corcoran Gallery of Art and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston) are central works in the canon of the artist's early career. However, recent discoveries of three important seascapes, and the location of other pictures previously untraced, have cast a new spotlight on Sargent's activity as a maritime painter.
With the exception of the two well-known Cancale oils, Sargent's seascapes have not been widely studied or reproduced, proving that even for a renowned, frequently published artist there is yet new material to be mined.
Sargent and the Sea will feature works produced by the artist drawn from both public and private collections within the United States as well as Europe. By presenting Sargent's artistic career in conjunction with his personal fascination with the sea, this exhibition will reconcile these two paths of the artist's life.
Sargent and the Sea is organized by the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., and made possible by the support of the Terra Foundation for American Art, Christie's, The Mr. & Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation for the Arts, Inc., and Altria Group, Inc. Additional support for the exhibition is provided by the American Masterpieces initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts and The Joseph F. McCrindle Foundation.
Source: Corcoran Gallery of Art
"The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance."
July 28, 2009
Around the Americas Ocean Conservation Expedition
Funded by Rockefeller Family and Tiffany Foundation, Around the Americas project demonstrates global warming and climate change impacts on the environments and ecosystems, its Ocean Watch crew departs Barrow, hopes for a safe journey through the ice encrusted Amundsen Gulf.
Photo: 64-foot Ocean Watch makes its way into the Northwest Passage on the first part of a 25,000 mile ocean conservation expedition around North and South America.
After eight weeks at sea following its departure on May 31 from Seattle, the crew of Ocean Watch - the 64-foot steel-hulled sailboat - representing the 13 month- long Around the Americas expedition has turned east into the ice-filled Northwest Passage after traveling a predominantly northerly course.
The expedition is focused on the realities of global warming and climate change. Captain Mark Schrader describes in the latest Captain's Log what the boat and crew face as they enter the Northwest Passage.
"(Sunday) at 0745 the anchor was up and Ocean Watch headed to Point Barrow, approximately 8nm to the north. At Point Barrow we make a sharp turn east, exit the Chukchi Sea, enter the Beaufort Sea and finally point our bow into the Northwest Passage. With Cambridge Bay roughly 1050nm (nautical miles) due east and still blocked by ice in Amundsen Gulf. We'll make several stops along the way while waiting for the forecast mid-August breakup.
"The next community with a sheltered harbor, fuel and services with enough depth for OW [Ocean Watch] is Tuktoyaktuk (Tuk), 490nm down the line. All of our ice reports indicate the passage from here to Tuk is currently open. The predicted winds for the next few days should keep the ice away from the shore and leave plenty of room for us. If the conditions change we have some options; Thetis Island, Stockton Island, Kaktovik and Herschel Island can all afford some protection from wind and ice. Herschel Island with its long and rich whaling and over-wintering-for-stranded-sailors-history is on our 'must visit' list."
Photo: Captain Mark Schrader, leader of the 25,000 mile ocean conservation project Around the Americas, gives steering directions through the ice in the Northwest Passage.
Ocean Watch is carrying the message of the Around the Americas expedition that the oceans surrounding North and South America are very fragile and we need to be aware of the problems and make changes in our lives to help correct them. Led by Captain Mark Schrader, the first American to solo circumnavigate the earth via the five southern capes, the 25,000-mile voyage will be one of only about 100 boats to have travelled through the Northwest Passage in the past 100 years.
Schrader continues in the Log, "Writing this was just interrupted by a whale sighting off the bow, then a Polar Bear sighting on the beach. The beach is a little less than 1/3 nm away, the bear appears to be sleeping. The helmsperson also just announced we're finally turning east. Ocean Watch hasn't sailed an easterly course since leaving Seattle, some 3,400nm and 8-weeks ago. This is a significant waypoint for us - we're now truly going 'over the top' and into the Passage."
With a permanent crew of four experienced sailors, a scientist and educator on board, Ocean Watch will traverse the treacherous frozen waters of the Northwest Passage for the next four to six weeks making scientific observations and collecting information.
Around the Americas is a 25,000-mile clockwise-circumnavigation of the North and South American continents, never before undertaken in continuous fashion. The sailboat, equipped with some of the latest technology, along with scientists and educators who join during various legs of the voyage, is making 31 stopovers in 13 months to draw attention to the changing condition of the oceans. With major funding support from Tiffany & Co. Foundation, a non-profit consortium has been formed to make the public more aware of the plight of the oceans.
Source: Around the Americas
July 27, 2009
Canada's Tallest Hotel Tower
Hilton Hotel & Suites Niagara Falls Fallsview Opens its Doors on Major Expansion.
Photo: The Hilton Hotel & Suites Niagara Falls-Fallsview has changed the skyline in Niagara Falls, Canada. As Canada's tallest hotel tower, the Hilton Hotel & Suites rises 500 meters (more than 5 football fields) over the thundering Falls.
After months of construction and anticipation, Canada's tallest hotel tower has opened its doors and forever changed the skyline in Niagara Falls, Canada. With the best views, the new Hilton Hotel & Suites Niagara Falls - Fallsview rises 500 meters (more than 5 football fields) over the thundering Falls.
The Hilton Hotel & Suites began its transformation to become the tallest hotel tower in Canada in January 2007. Now the largest resort in Niagara Falls, it boasts over 1,000 hotel rooms and suites, including two spectacular Presidential Suites on the 52nd Floor. Each elegantly appointed 2-bedroom suite features a sitting room with a fireplace, magnificent city or falls views and wireless technology.
Source: Hilton Hotel & Suites Niagara Falls Fallsview
July 9, 2009
G8 Summit Opens in Italy
The 2009 G8 Summit is being held in L'Aquila, Italy, from 8 to 10 July. The main issues on the Italian Presidency's agenda are the economic crisis and a boost to growth, relaunching international trade, welfare policies, climate changes, development in the poor countries and in Africa, food security and safety, access to water, health, and the resolution of regional crises.
Photos: July 8, 2009, first day of the G8 Summit in L'Aquila. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and US President Barack Obama while visiting the historical center of L'Aquila destroyed by the earthquake of 6 April. Ansa photos: Maurizio Brambatti
Photo: Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso, signs the G8 logo plaque on the first day of the G8 Summit in L'Aquila. ANSA Photo: Ettore Ferrari
Photo: The President of the Russian Federation , Dmitry Medvedev, signs the G8 logo plaque on the first day of the G8 Summit in L'Aquila. ANSA Photo: Ettore Ferrari
Photo: Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, signs the G8 logo plaque on the first day of the G8 Summit in L'Aquila. ANSA Photo: Ettore Ferrari
Photo: German Chancellor, Angela Merkel , signs the G8 logo plaque on the first day of the G8 Summit in L'Aquila. ANSA Photo: Ettore Ferrari
Photo: Swedish Prime Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt, signs the G8 logo plaque on the first day of the G8 Summit in L'Aquila. ANSA Photo: Ettore Ferrari
Photo: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, signs the G8 logo plaque on the first day of the G8 Summit in L'Aquila. ANSA Photo: Ettore Ferrari
Photo: The EU Commission President, Manuel Barroso, signs the G8 logo plaque on the first day of the G8 Summit in L'Aquila. ANSA Photo: Ettore Ferrari
Photo: French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, signs the G8 logo plaque on the first day of the G8 Summit in L'Aquila. ANSA Photo: Ettore Ferrari
Photo: The President of United State, Barack Obama, signs the G8 logo plaque on the first day of the G8 Summit in L'Aquila. ANSA Photo: Ettore Ferrari
Photo: The G8 logo plaque with all the leaders' signatures, on the first day of the G8 Summit in L'Aquila. ANSA Photo: Ettore Ferrari
Photo: The interior of the Main Conference hall, where the Summit meetings are to be carried out in the premises of the Coppito Guardia di Finanza campus. Photo taken on 7 July 2009, the eve of the G8 Summit. ANSA Photo: Ettore Ferrari
June 17, 2009
A Comfortable Office Climate: Siemens Sensors for Buildings
• Sensors are to become the sensory organs of buildings.
• Siemens scientists are working to unite as many detection and measuring functions as possible on a single chip.
Photo: Siemens Corporate Technology is working on sensors which can monitor the climate in buildings and make it comfortable. The scientists develop sensors not only for measuring light and temperature but also for detecting odors and measuring different gases, such as CO2. (© Siemens AG)
The goal of the Siemens researchers is to develop sensors which act as the sensory organs of buildings and pass on their information to a building management system. These tiny watchmen make the management system know, for example, where aggressive substances have leaked or simply where the lights are to be switched off or the windows opened due to too high a CO2 level in the air.
Today, room climate sensors, air quality sensors and presence sensors can already control the air and light conditions in offices in relation to the number of persons present. And, using optimized control technology, they thus save up to 30 percent more of the energy consumption for heating, ventilation and air conditioning than that is done by any conventional control and regulating technology.
Photo: A lab technician of Siemens Central Research measuring the acidification, impedance and respiration rate of the cell sensors. (© Siemens AG)
In addition to sensors for measuring light and temperature as well as for the detection of different gases, the scientists are currently developing cell sensors which are to be used as an early warning system for contaminated water or bad air. The cells of these "living" sensors react to deviations by changing their metabolism which can be measured. They live in a nutrient on a silicon chip. The chip evaluates the data and sends them to a master process control system. The advantage over chemical sensors: Living cells react to all toxins.
Photo: CAR KEY -- Just how flexibly the tiny measuring instruments can be used is demonstrated by an alcohol sensor in an Automobile Key developed by Siemens. After the driver has blown into the sensor, it measures the level of alcohol in his breath by means of a conductive metal oxide which reacts to the gases. If the value exceeds the limit of 0.5 per thousand, for example, the key switches off and the engine will not start. (© Siemens AG)
This patented electronics system of the Siemens researchers is currently being tested in the field by a vehicle manufacturer.
Source: Siemens AG, Munich, Germany.
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April 23, 2009
Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 - Leg 6 - Rio de Janeiro to Boston
The Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 is the 10th running of this ocean marathon. Starting from Alicante in Spain, on 4 October 2008, it is, for the first time, taking in Cochin, India, Singapore and Qingdao, China before finishing in St Petersburg, Russia for the first time in the history of the race. Spanning some 37,000 nautical miles, visiting 11 ports over nine months, the Volvo Ocean Race is a leading global ocean yacht race for professional racing crews.
Photo: Battling for position, at the start of Leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Rio de Janeiro to Boston. The fleet heads out in light winds but a huge swell. (Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race)
Photo: The start of Leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Rio de Janeiro to Boston. The fleet heads out in light winds. (Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race)
Photo: Ericsson 3, skippered by Magnus Olsson (SWE) at the start of leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Rio de Janeiro to Boston. (Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race)
Photo: PUMA Ocean Racing, skippered by Ken Read (USA) at the start of leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Rio de Janeiro to Boston. (Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race)
Photo: Telefonica Blue, skippered by Bouwe Bekking (NED) at the start of leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Rio de Janeiro to Boston. (Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race)