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Science

The World Bank has launched a global partnership aimed at helping countries include the costs of destroying nature into their national accounts.

Ten nations will take part in the pilot phase, including India and Colombia.

The bank’s president Robert Zoellick said environmental destruction happens partly because governments do not account for the value of nature.

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GE announced Thursday that it’s planning to go big in solar panel manufacturing and will build the largest solar panel factory in the U.S., with an annual capacity of 400 megawatts of production of thin-film solar when it is up and running in 2013.   GE will spend $600 million on the project.

It’s a head on challenge to First Solar (FSLR), the largest maker solar panels made from thin layers of cadmium telluride. GE is going to manufacture the panels with the same composition of materials.

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Japan is set to announce incentives for renewable-energy generation on June 18 and will endorse the rates proposed by a government panel, an official said today.

Trade Minister Yukio Edano will confirm the subsidized tariff of 42 yen (53 US cents) a kilowatt-hour for 20 years for solar power, Masato Yasuda, an official in charge of the incentive program at the ministry, said by telephone today.

The decision is needed for Japan to start a so-called feed- in tariff program on July 1 to increase clean-energy use following the March 2011 nuclear accident.

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Buildings consume 40 percent of American energy
In its first ever National Building Competition, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency challenged teams from across the nation to cut wasteful energy use in buildings in which they live and work. Residential and commercial buildings together consume 40 percent of U.S. energy and the Obama Administration is eager to show how that load  can be reduced.

In recent remarks at Pennyslvania State University, President Barack Obama promoted a plant that could help commercial buildings achieve greater energy efficiency.

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The belief that older people tend to suffer worse sleep may be false – in fact the reverse may be true, according to US researchers.

A telephone survey of more than 150,000 adults suggested that, apart from a blip in your 40s, sleep quality gets better with age.

Those in their 80s reported the best sleep, says the study in Sleep journal.

A UK sleep researcher said while poor health could affect sleep, it was a “myth” that age alone was a factor.

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Land-scarce Singapore has its first vertical farm on a plot of land in Lim Chu Kang the size of about five football fields.

Vegetables – Chinese cabbage, nai bai and xiao bai cai – grow on 120 towers and the harvest is sol

d at five NTUC FairPrice Finest outlets.

The innovation is also a boost for the country’s efforts to widen food-supply sources.

Each 9m-tall tower, made of tiers of planting troughs rotating around an aluminium frame, produces five to 10 times more vegetables than conventional methods in the same land area.

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South Africa is to unveil plans this week for what it claims will be the world’s biggest solar power plant – a radical step in a coal-dependent country where one in six people still lacks electricity.

The project, expected to cost up to 200bn rand (£18.42bn), would aim by the end of its first decade to achieve an annual output of five gigawatts (GW) of electricity – currently one-tenth of South Africa’s energy needs.

Giant mirrors and solar panels would be spread across the Northern Cape province, which the government says is among the sunniest 3% of regions in the world with minimal cloud or rain.

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Carbon emissions at sea have received more attention over the last decade. Ports, especially, can have a negative impact on air quality in the populated areas that surround them. The many emissions sources at ports include ships, trucks, trains, and cargo-handling equipment. Harbor-crafts also contribute a significant portion of total port emissions. These include tugboats, ferries, fishing boats, and dredge vessels. Recently, the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have started using a hybrid electric tugboat. A new study by the University of California (UC) Riverside has shown that this has been effective at reducing emissions.

Tugboats are typically powered by marine compression ignition engines. The engines are built to be extremely powerful relative to the size of the vessel. Larger tugboats used in deeper waters have power ratings up to 27,000 horse power. They can have a power:tonnage ratio of up to 4.5, similar to engines used in locomotives. These engines typically drive the propellers mechanically rather than converting the output through electric motors, as is done on trains.

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Sierra Leone, one of Africa’s poorest countries, today announced the establishment of Gola Rainforest National Park (GRNP), an area of forest home to chimpanzees, a key population of pygmy hippo, and hundreds of bird species, reports the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).

The park covers 71,000 hectares (175,000 acres) in southeastern Sierra Leone near the border with Liberia. Until now the Gola had been a forest reserve, but it suffered from illegal logging and mining during the civil war that raged during the 1990s.

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Two university students have won a national competition, after founding a company which aims to reduce the cost of keeping track of pets and treasured possessions.

Baran Ceylan and Matt Manders created the RECollar Pet ID Tag, which costs just £4.99 and allows owners to help ensure the safety of nomadic pets by storing crucial information, such as personal details or even illnesses and ailments.

The duo from the University of Bath founded their company ‘BC&M Technologies’ for the PricewaterhouseCoopers & Bright Futures National Business Champion competition. Their challenge was to come up with a workable money making idea, and make it a reality.

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After extensive user testing and field research, the BioLite team has redesigned the camp stove unit to be smaller, easier to light and more durable. The BioLite stove burns wood or other small combustible materials. Using energy captured from the fire, the stove can power or charge small gadgets and cell phones. Currently in production, the BioLite camp stove will be available in the coming months but is ready for pre-purchase now.

In addition the BioLite camp stove, BioLite also developed a home stove for use in developing countries, to address the hazardous health issue of smoke inhalation. The BioLite home stove removes 90 percent of the dangerous smoke found in wood-burning stoves, providing clean and efficient cooking. In 2012, BioLite will be starting a large scale pilot program with the home stoves in Ghana, Uganda, India and Kenya.

Thanks to crispgreen.com for this – Visit Biolitestove.com

Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Serbia and Slovenia today signed a historic declaration to establish a trans-boundary UNESCO Biosphere Reserve to protect their shared nature and wildlife along the Mura, Drava and Danube rivers, ‘Europe’s Amazon’.

The declaration – signed during the Informal Ministerial Meeting within the Hungarians EU-Presidency – paves the way for creating the world’s first five-country protected area and, with an overall size of about 800,000 ha, Europe’s largest riverine protected area.

“This landmark cross border agreement is a powerful demonstration of a shared green vision that builds on and reinforces regional cooperation and unity in Europe,” said Jim Leape, WWF International Director General.

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