This year was a big year for the environment, with conservation and renewable energy finally enjoying the spotlight in the mainstream media. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest stories of the year, and what the future might hold for 2014.
January was a victory for renewable energy. Japan announced plans to start work on the biggest wind farm in the world. The wind farm will feature 143 wind turbines, and will be located 16KM off the cost of Fukushima, the site of the nuclear reactor that was severely damaged during the Tsunami of 2011.
February marked the introduction of the Climate Protection Act o 2013, an act that imposes prices for carbon and methane emissions on the biggest fossil fuel produces, and spells the end of fossil fuel subsidies. The act also promises to boost investment in energy efficiency and renewable fuel sources.
March saw some disturbing news, as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said they were concerned that the Arctic ice cap could melt completely during the summer months at some point before 2050. Some projections put the complete melting occurring before 2040. Dr James Overland, one of the scientists involved in the study, says that the melting ice caps are the most visible indicator of the climate change that is happening around the world.
Mayor Bloomberg of New York City unveiled a $20 billion dollar plan that aims to protect the city from the effects of climate change. The plan involves the introduction of removal floodwalls around New York City, and in particular the Manhattan area. In addition to those walls, there would also be significant investment in floodproofing nursing homes, hospitals and other buildings. The plan also describes the expansion of beaches and marshes, which I is hoped would help to absorb floodwater.
Siberia was hit by an unprecedented heatwave. Temperatures in the area hit 89.6 degrees F, a huge increase over the average of 56.5F. The heatwave made the area more susceptible to wildfires, and 900 specialists were sent to the area to fight fires. These fires took place just one month after forest fires ripped through the Black Forest in Colorado Springs, and were just one more set of fires in what proved to be a year full of serious blazes.
Titan Aerospace announced the production of a solar powered plane that they believe could be used for scientific research, ocean surveys, weather monitoring, and even long-term use as a satellite to provide Internet access to remote areas. What makes the plane special is that it can stay up for several years without needing fuel (it is completely solar powered), and it is capable of landing and being relaunched, unlike other “launch and forget” satellites.
December saw several parts of England and Scotland hit by heavy winds, rain and floods. Rail operations were suspended across the country, and tidal surges hit coastal villages. Damage was limited, compared to the floods that took place last year, but this was only the case because most towns had advance warning of the extreme weather, and the country as a whole was better prepared.
As the year draws to a close, there are predictions that the UK will see the coldest winter in decades this year. Whether those predictions are accurate or not remains to be seen, but one thing is clear; we cannot afford to become complacent about the environment. As more and more countries are hit by severe storms and erratic weather conditions, the importance of taking care of nature is becoming more apparent.
This post was put together by the team at Juice Electrical Supplies - suppliers of security systems, energy saving products and other electrical goods. Juice have recently mad an infographic about the real costs of how expensive it can be to run your favourite games consoles.