Finland makes plans to be coal-free – first European country to do so

Finland is a Nordic country in the far north of Europe. It borders Russia and Sweden and is the most sparsely populated country in Europe. It has no natural coal resources, some hydropower capabilities, and a lot of forest. One-third of its energy comes from renewable sources (wood, hydropower), 18% from nuclear power, and the remaining 50% comes from imported fossil fuels.

And it wants to be the first country in Europe to become coal-free. The plan is to phase out several large coal plants by 2025 and begin investing in renewable energy. There were also discussions of subsidies and tax breaks in government documents.

Right now the country imports 5 million metric tons of coal every year, mostly from Poland and Russia. In some years that can cost $388 million, a real hit to the country’s GDP of $266 billion. Keeping that money at home with renewable energy offers significant benefits for the country – energy independence, new jobs, improved trade balance, and cutting emissions.

The country is a strong supporter of the Kyoto Protocol and has worked very hard to meet emission reductions. As of 2008, it was 1% below the target reduction.

Being coal-free is a smart financial and ecological move for the country, and maybe one other’s in Europe could follow.

Continue reading Finland makes plans to be coal-free – first European country to do so

The United States continues to go green – CO2 emissions near 1990 levels

CO2 emissions in US drop to 20-year low

In a surprising turnaround, the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere in the U.S. has fallen dramatically to its lowest level in 20 years, and government officials say the biggest reason is that cheap and plentiful natural gas has led many power plant operators to switch from dirtier-burning coal.

Isn’t that great news?

I think we need some uplifting climate change news with all the “doom and gloom” stories out there. Let’s keep it going.

The United States has cut its CO2 output more than any other country in recent years, with our output dropping since 2007.  We are now close to 1990 levels and may be able to fit in with the Kyoto Protocols.

Of the fossil fuels, natural gas releases the least amount of air pollution and CO2. It is a homegrown source which improves our energy independence and stability, as well as keeping our money at home.

Coal has gone from producing half our energy to only one-third.

Good news!

 

** Fracking for natural gas – it is unknown how destructive this new, hugely popular process is. 

 

Continue reading The United States continues to go green – CO2 emissions near 1990 levels

40 of the most powerful photographs ever taken

BuzzFeed has pulled together 40 of the most powerful photos ever taken. Here are four of them:

Retired Philadelphia Police Captain Ray Lewis is arrested for participating in the Occupy Wall Street protests in 2011. (source: johnnymilano.com)

Continue reading 40 of the most powerful photographs ever taken

Despite the posh and circumstance, Sundance is still committed to independent films

Sundance Institute founder and president Robert Redford made it clear during the Sundance Film Festival’s opening press conference Thursday afternoon that Park City and Sundance are two different places.

“Sundance is not Park City,” Robert Redford said to a group of international journalists at the Egyptian Theatre. “It’s a place where this all started back in the 1980s when I started up the labs.”

The labs, Redford referred to, take place at the Sundance Resort, some 40 miles away from Park City, where filmmakers develop and create their films.

“The festival is a part of (the Sundance Institute), but in my mind, the stronger part, the more meaningful part, is the development part where our labs are,” he said.

The year-round filmmakers labs have expanded over the years because of the film festival’s success.

“We are able to include documentary labs, short-film labs, producer labs, all those elements that have to do with storytelling,” Redford said.

Still, with its expansion and success, the institute’s mission hasn’t changed since it was founded 28 years ago.

“Our mission is pretty simple,” he said. “It is creating a platform for independent artists to show their work.

“This is the only festival that I know is truly independent in the world, and it’s the only festival that has a year-round workshop attached to it.”

Redford’s annual “state-of-the-festival’ speech was followed by comments from Keri Putnam, executive director of the Sundance Institute, and John Cooper, director of the Sundance Film Festival, which runs through Sunday, Jan. 29.

“It’s no secret the times are dark and grim and in addition to that, we’re suffering from a government that is in paralysis,” Redford said. “The happy thing is here, for this week, we’re going to see works of artists, although they may reflect these hard times, there is no paralysis here.”

via The Park Record

photo credit – Rasdourian