Technology

Where is Solar Power Headed?

To have a shot at curbing the worst impacts of climate change, we need to extricate our society from fossil fuels and ramp up our use of renewable energy. Where does solar energy stand today, and where does it need to go in order for us to make the transition to renewable energy?

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The Race for Better Batteries

The worldwide transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy is under way, but to integrate all this variable power into the grid, battery storage is key. Researchers around the world are working on developing better and cheaper batteries.

by |June 12, 2015
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‘The Big Ratchet’

In her new book, Ruth DeFries argues that we have continually created new technologies that allow our numbers to grow. But each new invention creates a new problem—which we solve with yet another innovation that creates the next problem. Will we be able to sustain this so-far successful cycle past the great leap in technology and population of the last century?

by |September 8, 2014
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For a Wind-Powered City, Heat Pumps Are Key

Replacing conventional building boilers with electric heat pumps in New York City buildings could substantially increase the viability of renewable energy use in the city, according to a recent study from researchers from the Earth Institute’s Sustainable Engineering Lab.

by |June 27, 2014
co2 sources & sinks

EPA’s Upcoming Carbon Rules: A Primer

On Monday, June 2, President Obama will announce proposed federal rules aimed at curbing carbon emissions from existing U.S. power plants–possibly a landmark in U.S. climate policy. It is uncertain how far the rule will go, and the announcement is being closely watched around the world.

by |May 30, 2014
artificial trees, carbon capture

From Theory to Reality: Closing the Carbon Loop

Carbon capture, storage and reuse has the potential to help us reduce CO2 emissions and combat global warming. The Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy is bringing together experts from an array of fields to assess the state of the technology April 14-16.

by |April 8, 2014
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AGU 2013: Key Events From the Earth Institute

Scientists from Columbia University’s Earth Institute will present important research results and special events at the Dec. 9-13 San Francisco meeting of the American Geophysical Union, the world’s largest gathering of earth and space scientists. Here is a guide in rough chronological order.

by |December 6, 2013
An average of one life per city is saved each year by urban trees.

Urban Trees Fight CO2 Emissions

Trees play a vital role in cleaning air and absorbing carbon dioxide.

by |July 12, 2013
Diagram of Shared Solar Microgrid. Source: Millennium Villages

The Microgrid Solution

Last October, Superstorm Sandy provoked widespread frustration and fear after it left more than 7.5 million people in the New York Metro area without power. In the hardest hit areas, outages lasted two weeks or more. These failures led many observers to wonder if America’s aging electrical grid was up to dealing with emerging climate and other challenges.

by |May 15, 2013

Closing the Loop: Technology and Sustainability Event

Where are materials for all tech gadgets coming from? Where is e-waste going? What policies are associated with these issues and are they working? Find out at a panel discussion and screening of Terra Blight.

by |April 17, 2013