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This week is Earth Day and we may have found Earth 2:
The artist's concept depicts Kepler-186f , the first validated Earth-size planet to orbit a distant star in the habitable zone. Image: NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech
The diagram compares the planets of our inner solar system to Kepler-186, a five-planet star system about 500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. The five planets of Kepler-186 orbit an M dwarf, a star that is half the size and mass of the sun. Image: NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech
"The discovery of Kepler-186f is a significant step toward finding worlds like our planet Earth," said Paul Hertz, NASA's Astrophysics Division director at the agency's headquarters. Kepler-186f resides in the Kepler-186 system, about 500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. The system is also home to four companion planets, which orbit a star half the size and mass of our sun.Kepler-186f orbits its star once every 130-days and receives one-third the energy from its star that Earth gets from the sun, placing it nearer the outer edge of the habitable zone. On the surface of Kepler-186f, the brightness of its star at high noon is only as bright as our sun appears to us about an hour before sunset.
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The number of electrically powered automobiles worldwide climbed to just over 400,000 in early 2014. This figure was determined in an analysis conducted by the Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW). The vehicle count doubled over the twelve months of last year, increasing by an impressive 200,000 units. The Ulm-based researchers found that demand is greatest in the USA, Japan and China, which are currently the globally leading markets. Germany is just seventh in the ranking, trailing France, the Netherlands and Norway. The most telling statistic is that countries with incentive programs have taken the lead in electric mobility, a market with a bright future. The top-selling cars are made by Japanese and American automotive companies; batteries are sourced mainly from Asia.
Clean Energy Pipeline released its preliminary analysis of venture capital, private equity, project finance, mergers and acquisitions and public markets activity during 1Q14.
New investment in the global clean energy sector totaled $61 billion in 1Q14, representing a 14% increase on the $53.4 billion invested in the corresponding period in 2013.
“New clean energy investment was encouraging in 1Q14, marking a welcome change from recent press releases where we have been reporting year-on-year declines,” commented Douglas Lloyd, CEO of Clean Energy Pipeline. “The continued strength of the public markets is also giving the sector a more positive feel."
Following the Inter-Governmental Agreement to facilitate Green Energy Export from the Midlands within the EU’s 2020 timeframe, the U.K. and Irish Governments failed to reach a satisfactory agreement. This leaves the Midlands offshore wind project stranding.
Irish Minister Rabbitte commented, “I regret that it has not been possible at this time to conclude an agreement as envisaged. However I believe that in the context of a European Internal Market and greater integration, greater trade in energy between Britain and Ireland is inevitable in the post 2020 scenario.
In dissenting, Judge Brett Kavanaugh commented, “EPA argued, and the majority on the D.C. Circuit Court agreed, that EPA bears no responsibility to take costs into account when it decided whether to impose the Utility MACT. Kavanaugh believes otherwise. EPA’s position now is that EPA may reasonably exclude consideration of costs in determining whether it is “appropriate” to regulate electric utilities under the [Utility] MACT program. The majority opinion upholds EPA’s interpretation.
“…It is entirely unreasonable for EPA to exclude consideration of costs in determining whether it is “appropriate” to regulate electric utilities under the [Utility] MACT program."
This week, EPA released its final strategic plan outlining the agency’s priorities for the next four years, including enforcement and compliance assurance. When the draft plan was released back in November, it received thousands of public comments that stressed the importance of a robust enforcement program that holds polluters accountable and deters violations of environmental laws, said Cynthia Giles of the EPA.
Now that it has a clearer understanding of its budget, it has made some adjustments to the numbers outlined in the plan. While they are projections – and actual results are often higher than projected – greater budget certainty has allowed EPA to increase some of the targets. The final strategic plan reflects EPA’s commitment to vigorous enforcement for the cases that have the highest impact on protecting public health and the environment.
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