China in Transition-Searching for Sustainability

by Dominique Curtis

Coal is 66% of China’s total energy consumption leading China to be one of the largest greenhouse gas emitters in the world. In a recent journal article, Xiaoxia Zhou explains how China’s growing economy, urbanization, and industrialization come at the steep cost of environmental pollution and the exhaustion of China’s natural resources. Researchers, policy makers, scientists, and politics in China are scrambling to find a solution to these problems. They are making progress. China’s energy development plan states that by 2020 their non-fossil energy will rise from it’s current 9.8% to 15% (Guo, 2016). The question up for debate now is how? Outsiders suggest they should just go green and follow in the footsteps of other countries, but I think China is worried about a different kind of green. Continue reading

Boyan Slat’s Ocean Cleanup, Genius or Dutch Disaster?

by Katy Schaefer

Boyan Slat, a 21 year old Dutch inventor, entrepreneur, and wunderkind gained quite a bit of media attention in 2012 when he gave a TEDx talk proposing a radical plan to clean the world’s oceans. He devised a system that he claims could remove 7,250,000,000KG of plastic from the oceans in just five years per gyre. The public responded with hope, joy and donations. However, with the first official open ocean test launch happening in the second quarter of 2016, the marine biologists and oceanographers have begun to cry foul. Continue reading

Sustainable Bioenergy: Evolving Stakeholder Interests

by Christina Whalen

The diversity of stakeholders’ interest and values complicates the decision-making process involved in the future of sustainable bioenergy production. Johnson et al. explores the different stakeholder perspectives and then examines how this diversity affects research on the subject. Biofuel production has been brought to the public’s attention because of the need to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, increase energy security, support farm production, and improve economic growth in rural areas. The recent increase in biofuel consumption has resulted in stakeholders questioning environmental, economic, and social benefits of using agriculture to produce ethanol and biodiesel. As a result, policy makers have passed legislation and modified regulations about renewable fuel production in order to promote the use of alternative biomass feedstocks. The general research community is looking for ways to convert this feedstock to a usable fuel source in vehicles. The expansion of biofuel production coincides with Continue reading