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US Ambassador in Austria meets FPS Europe team in Kuchl/Salzburg
U.S. Ambassador, Alexa Wesner, visited the Salzburg University of Applied Sciences (SUAS) on Nov. 6, in order to meet the winners of the Solar Decathlon 2013 competition in California at Campus Kuchl. Her excellence revealed that “Austria become in the U.S. a competent pioneer country for intelligent building," and had an interesting discussion with students and teaching staff about their experiences in eco-house competition with the World Champion House "LISI," pointing out the importance of academic exchanges between the U.S. and Austria.
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The emerald ash borer is 'winning' along East Coast
Nature World News
Even as winter closes in, the emerald ash borer continues to be a threatening nuisance to states across the East Coast, destroying ash trees and jacking up the price of firewood just before we need it. Now it has spread to new states and Canada, sparking renewed efforts to keep it contained.
UN report outlines growing biofuels role in developing economies
Biofuels now account for 1 percent of global energy use, a new report from the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development finds. “The State of the Biofuels Market: Regulatory, Trade and Development Perspectives” provides a sweeping global overview of the development of liquid biofuels. It is an update of the U.N. agency’s initial 2006 report done as part of its biofuels initiative.
Coal reliance driving thermal energy globally
Thermal energy is an important component of the energy mix in both developed and developing countries that depend upon processing large quantities of fossil fuels to meet growing demand for power. Global Industry Analysts Inc. predicts that fossil fuels will account for about 83 percent of the global energy market by 2030 while global electricity demand is expected to increase by around 62 percent by the same year.
Construction industry building toward a strong finish for 2014
By Michael J. Berens
After a disappointing third quarter, the construction industry regained momentum in October, with signs pointing to continued growth in the months ahead. Indicators were up across the board, including employment figures, with most areas of the industry reporting notable year-over-year increases. Early forecasts are that 2015 will look even better. If the economy continues to improve, some categories — such as commercial and residential — could see double-digit increases in the year ahead.
Could shipworms lead to new biofuels?
The Washington Post via The Herald
Shipworms were already weird animals, but they just got weirder. The ocean-dwelling clams, which actually look much more like slimy worms, are some of the only creatures in the world that can eat wood. Now scientists have figured out that shipworms are even more unique than they thought: instead of breaking down their food using bacteria in their guts, shipworms break down wood using bacteria in their gills.
EU underestimates biofuels' greenhouse gas savings by 50 percent
The E.U. has underestimated the greenhouse gas emissions savings offered by biofuels by as much as 50 percent, according to a report published recently.
To correctly understand the benefits of biofuels, their emissions should be compared to the fossil fuel emissions they replace in the market, the Ecofys study said.
New versatile process efficiently converts biomass to liquid fuel
Purdue University via Biomass Magazine
Researchers have demonstrated a new process to convert all biomass into liquid fuel, and the method could make possible mobile processing plants.
The researchers at Purdue University filed a patent application on the concept in 2008 and have now demonstrated that it works in laboratory experiments, said Rakesh Agrawal, the Winthrop E. Stone Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering.
White House renewable fuels policy raises questions
Last May, Reuters ran two articles about the White House’s pending decision on the renewable-fuel standard, which federally mandates how much biofuel must be blended into the transportation fuel supply in the U.S.
The first Reuters article reported that an Environmental Protection Agency proposal to scale back the RFS — by cutting the amount of biofuels in our nation’s fuel supply in 2014 — was the result of a secret deal cut between the Carlyle Group, Delta Airlines, two congressmen, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and other high-level administration officials.
New US Forest Service plan retreats from ban on fracking in national forest in Virginia
The Washington Post
The U.S. Forest Service has backed off a proposal to ban fracking in the George Washington National Forest, a move likely to upset conservationists who oppose the controversial drilling practice.
Under a final plan set for release soon, the Forest Service will allow drilling on some land.
Canada, US at loggerheads again over lumber
Business in Vancouver
With less than a year to go until the Canada-U.S. Softwood Lumber Agreement expires, lines are being drawn on both sides of the border over the future of lumber trade between the two countries. Canadian producers say they want to extend the agreement, which has brought an uneasy peace to the decades-long lumber war since it was signed in 2006, but their U.S. counterparts say they won’t sign on again.
US Forest Service proposes opening roughly 700,000 acres of Pisgah-Nantahala to logging program
Southern Environmental Law Center via High Country Press
In what conservation groups flag as a dramatic shift, the U.S. Forest Service is proposing industrial-scale logging in the vast majority of the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest in western North Carolina — about 700,000 acres, or an area bigger than the Great Smoky Mountain National Park — instead of protecting popular backcountry recreation destinations and conserving the Blue Ridge landscapes treasured by residents and tourists from across the U.S.
Should American wood fuel European power?
ClimateWire via Scientific American
A growing feud over the use of American wood to fuel power production in Europe came into sharp relief on Nov. 13, as an environmental group staged a seafaring protest during a forest industry conference.
Participants at the Mid-Atlantic Forest Products Conference toured a deepwater export terminal near Norfolk, Virginia, owned by Enviva LP, a major wood pellet manufacturer and conference sponsor.
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