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Manifestantes pertencentes à Assembleia Comunitária de San Dionisio del Mar, no México, forçaram a paralização da construção da maior fazenda eólica da América Latina, alegando que o contrato assinado em 2004 envolveu “mentiras e desinformação”. Entre as queixas está a ampliação do projeto original, que passou de 40 para 132 turbinas.

“A dinâmica dos despejos, abusos e mentiras por parte da companhia Mareña Renováveis está cada vez mais clara”, afirma uma declaração da Assembleia, que representa agricultores e indígenas.

De acordo com fontes ligadas ao projeto, existem dois problemas fundamentais. O primeiro é o conflito entre a comunidade e a prefeitura de San Dionisio sobre o uso dos recursos pagos pelo consórcio que está construindo o empreendimento, e o segundo são as indenizações para os moradores, especialmente com relação às ruas que precisam ser construídas para dar acesso às obras.

A Mareña Renováveis afirma que está tentando dialogar com todas as partes envolvidas e que está comprometida “com uma gestão de projeto sustentável e que leve em conta os interesses de acionistas e da comunidade local”.

Por sua vez, a Vestas, que está fornecendo as 132 turbinas, divulgou uma nota na qual declara “estar trabalhando para que a execução do projeto seja realizada respeitando os aspectos sociais, ambientais e econômicos”.

Ainda não há perspectivas para a solução do impasse.

Imagem: Ilustração de como ficará o projeto quando concluído / Mareña Renováveis

Autor: Fabiano Ávila
Fonte: Instituto CarbonoBrasil/Agências Internacionais
Original: http://bit.ly/IQH7pt


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More than 1.5 million people have petitioned Dilma Rousseff to reject a bill that may lead to further destruction of the Amazon


Protesters raise banners demanding that the Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff, vetoes a forest code approved by the congress last month. Photograph: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty Images

More than 1.5 million people in Europe, the US and elsewhere have petitioned the Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff, to veto a law that critics say could lead to the loss of 220,000 square kilometres of Amazonian rainforest, an area close to the combined size of the UK and France.

The proposed new Brazilian forest code, pushed through parliament by the powerful farming lobby in the face of national opposition, would provide an amnesty for landowners who have illegally cleared forests in the past and will allow deforestation in previously protected areas like mountain tops and beside rivers. According to environment groups, it could allow loggers to chop down more of the Amazon than has been possible in the last 50 years.

The president, who has the right to veto the bill, has been bombarded with emails, petitions and by social media appeals by more than 1.5 million people. This number is expected to rise dramatically in the next few days as Greenpeace, Avaaz and WWF International ask their 22 million supporters to sign up.

“Nearly 80% of Brazilians want this catastrophic bill scrapped, and so far over 1 million people across the world support them. President Rousseff has a choice – sign the Amazon’s death sentence or protect the planet’s lungs and emerge a public hero,” said Ricken Patel, Avaaz director.

“President Dilma Rousseff stands at a defining moment for her presidency,” said Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace International director. “The choice is clear. She can ignore the Brazilian people and side with ‘destruction as usual’ as enshrined in the new forest code or exercise her veto and support the call for a new zero deforestation law. We urge her to take the visionary path of a leader who understands that with power comes responsibility.”

The groups hope that Rousseff, who has until 25 May to exercise her veto, will bow to international pressure to avoid embarrassment when she plays host to the UN’s Rio +20 Earth summit next month. More than 125 heads of state as well as 45,000 delegates are expected to attend the world’s largest environment conference in a generation, pledging to protect forests and develop the “green economy”.

The new forest code allows landowners to count woodland on river margins, hilltops and steep inclines towards a total proportion of forest that must be legally preserved on their land. It also allows for reserve areas in the Amazon to be reduced from 80% to 50%, as long as the state where the reduction is planned maintains 65% of protected areas.

Landowners, who are growing in political importance as Brazil becomes a major exporter of commodity crops, said they were confident that the international pressure would not succeed.

“Brazil is the only country that has the moral authority to discuss [Brazilian] environmental issues,” said Katia Abreu, senator and president of the Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock of Brazil. “I don’t understand why the NGOs oppose the changes. The main NGOs are European but I do not see them asking Europe to revive its forests. Why only in Brazil? We want to bring legal certainty for farmers with this bill. I am convinced [Rousseff] will not veto.” Patrick Cunningham, of the Indigenous People’s Cultural Support Trust, said: “The changes will overturn a law which even Brazil’s military dictatorship didn’t dare to challenge, and will be an abrogation of the country’s laudable and longstanding commitment to protection of the fragile rainforest environment.”

Author: John Vidal and Damian Carrington
Source: The Guardian
Original: http://bit.ly/KtlZHO


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Chevrin e o veículo pouco antes da partida, em Nairobi. (Foto: Pnua/AFP)

Um veículo eléctrico partiu nesta sexta-feira numa viagem de 4800 quilómetros, de Nairobi a Joanesburgo, para testar a sua resistência e para promover as energias limpas.

A carrinha Citroën Berlingo, com motor eléctrico, partiu nesta sexta-feira de Nairobi e deverá passar pelo Quénia, Tanzânia, Zâmbia, Zimbabwe, Botswana e África do Sul, para chegar a Joanesburgo no final de Junho. “Queremos acabar com os lugares comuns sobre os veículos eléctricos”, disse o responsável pelo projecto, o francês Xavier Chevrin, em Nairobi, na sede do Programa das Nações Unidas para o Ambiente (Pnua), na quinta-feira.

Peter Gilruth, do Pnua, levantou a bandeira para assinalar a partida do veículo, que arrancou sem barulho, por causa do motor eléctrico.

O veículo está equipado com três baterias – e não apenas uma, como é mais comum -, o que lhe permitirá fazer até 500 quilómetros sem parar para abastecer, chegando a uma velocidade máxima de 110km/hora. As baterias serão carregadas em estações de abastecimento ao longo do percurso.

“A ideia é expor o veículo a condições extremas para provar a sua solidez, a sua robustez e resistência”, disse o Pnua, em comunicado. Uma das maiores dificuldades é a recorrente falta de energia na África rural. Como a carrinha não tem gerador de último recurso, se ficar sem bateria, Chevrin ficará apeado.

A Missão África, no âmbito do Ano Internacional da ONU para a Energia Sustentável para Todos, quer demonstrar que o carro eléctrico é suficientemente resistente para fazer trajectos fora das cidades, acrescentou Chevrin, que, em 2010, fez a mais longa viagem de sempre num veículo eléctrico, viajando de Xangai a Paris (13.400 quilómetros).

Segundo os dados do Pnua, o sistema de transportes baseado nos combustíveis fósseis é responsável por um quarto de todas as emissões de gases com efeito de estufa do planeta.

Autor: Helena Geraldes
Fonte: Ecosfera – Público
Original: http://bit.ly/JjKf1G


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As cities become more crowded and traffic more snarled, commuters and engineers are searching for better ways to get around the world’s urban hubs. E-scooters, once considered an unpromising technology, are making a comeback as major car manufacturers rediscover their utility and sudden popularity.


Smart E-Scooter: This prototype was presented at the 2010 Auto Show in Paris. Now Smart has announced it will build the vehicle as part of its regular production and start selling it in 2014. (Photography: Daimler)

The bigger the city, the smaller a vehicle must be to get around. Whoever has been to Paris, Rome or Beijing knows this has been the case for a long time. This will become a universal principle in the future, as urbanization is on the rise along with people’s need for mobility. Smaller ways to get around are in demand: bicycles, scooters and small cars. And the best option is with an electric motor because it is comfortable, cheap, well-engineered and, of course, eco-friendly.

At the car show in Paris two years ago, it appeared that the car industry understood this. There, brand names like Mini, Peugeot and Smart introduced their e-scooters. At the trade fair in Shanghai, VW followed with its version of an electric scooter. Indeed, a single row of wheels heading toward the electric future seemed to be the big trend.

But it turned out that this narrow-laned mobility revolution was really a PR gag.


Cool cockpit: Smart’s scooter prototype included an iPhone dock that allows the smartphone to serve as a navigator. (Photography: Daimler)

At Mini, the E-Roller, which was once a project, is now described as having a “research character,” according to a company spokesperson. And, at VW headquarters in Wolfsburg, a question about its e-scooter was greeted with mild annoyance and the response that the company is a carmaker and wants things to stay that way.

The only question is whether the ultra-orthodox position is smart.

Coming to the Market in 2014


Trendy exterior: The scooter’s design, as laid out in the prototype, is fresh and lean. Smart said it will work on the exterior design a bit more before the scooter’s launch. (Photography: Daimler)

Those in charge of Daimler’s small car brand Smart think otherwise. At the international dealers’ meeting on Thursday in Davos, Switzerland, Joachim Schmidt, the head of Mercedes’ Sales and Marketing Department, said, “The decision for the e-scooter has been made.” The spiffy scooter with an electric motor that was presented in Paris in 2010 should be developed for serial production and brought to market in 2014, he added.

This will fill the gap for Daimler between its E-Bike, which has been available since the end of April at a cost of just under €2,900 ($3,200), and the city car E-Smart, which will be made available beginning in June at a cost of €19,000. That price includes a 10-year guaranty for the lithium-ion battery, which Smart retains the ownership rights to but can be leased for €60 a month. Whoever really wants to own the battery can buy the two-seater E-Smart with the battery package for about €24,000.


Smart e-bike: This model is a so-called pedelec, which means the electric motor in the rear hub doesn’t engage until a cyclist pedals the bike. (Photography: Daimler)

The Right Size for the Place

Whatever model you choose, what is decisive is that Smart is placing electric mobility right where it is most sensible: in small, short-distance vehicles to be used in heavily populated areas. In doing so, Smart is following a principle laid down by Greenpeace transportation expert Wolfgang Lohbeck, who has argued for some time that “electric cars as an extension of conventional vehicles with other means don’t solve a single problem. They are too expensive, don’t do anything to relieve traffic and are only of marginal use to improve the CO2 situation.”

The idea of plopping electric motors and batteries in classic luxury sedans, compact cars or SUVs appears to be headed toward a dead end. Big cars need big batteries in order to provide them with sufficient range. In a vicious circle, this makes the cars not only heavier, but also more expensive.


Always in the picture: The lithium-ion battery level can be seen on this small display. It can also be adjusted so that the electric motor kicks in at a certain level. (Photography: Daimler)

Customers have reacted accordingly. In China, which committed itself to e-mobility a few years ago through state regulations, there are now only a few thousand electric cars on the streets — but more than 120 million e-scooters, according to some expert estimates.

The French automaker Renault has recognized how useful an electric motor can be for an urban mobility concept. The company builds electric cars in a classic style but also cars with names like Twizy. The 500-kilo car has four wheels, two seats — one behind the other — a simple body and an electric motor.


Smart ED: In the coming weeks, the third generation of the Smart Fortwo with an electric motor will be offered. It’s the first version that is readily availalbe at dealers. The electric Smart comes with a 74-horsepower engine and a driving range of “more than 140 kilometers” (87 miles). (Photography: Daimler)

Practical and Hip

Whoever finds such a vehicle sufficient for everyday travel is unconcerned with the driving range. Nobody would come up with the idea of taking a 300 kilometer trip with such a car — or even with an electric bicycle or scooter. Models like the E-Smart, Renault’s Twizy and, of course, the various e-scooters reach a 150 kilometer radius with small, light and accordingly cheaper batteries.


Renault Twizy: This two-seater with an electric motor relies on its small size. It is short, thin, extremely practical and predestined for urban use.

Some of the current e-scooters even have batteries that are so handy that they can be taken into the house or office via a built-in handle and plugged into a power outlet.
This new form of electric mobility is not only practical; it’s also hip. Schwalbe, the cult scooter from the former German Democratic Republic, is expected to make a comeback at the end of this year as an electric scooter.

If this continues, maybe some of the car manufacturers will dig their old e-scooter plans out from their desk drawers.


Mini scooter e-concept: This is how the electric scooter from BMW’s Mini brand looked when it was presented at the 2010 car show in Paris. Today, this project has only a “research character,” according to the Munich-based company.

Author: Jürgen Pander
Source: Spiegel Online International
Original: http://bit.ly/K2NYu1


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São Paulo – Com design futurista, o tênis “InStep Nanopower” é capaz de aproveitar a energia mecânica do movimento dos pés e gerar uma corrente elétrica para abastecer pequenos aparelhos eletrônicos. Toda a mágia acontece graças à presença de nanopartículas de metal líquido contido no interior de pequenas bolsas no solado do tênis. A energia gerada é então armazenada em uma bateria conectada a um cabo USB. Segundo o site oficial do produto, que foi desenvolvido por pesquisadores da Universidade de Wisconsin, testes recentes indicam que cada passada pode gerar até 20 watts. Uma caminhada intensa ou corrida poderia então gerar energia suficiente para estender a duração da bateria de um celular ou iPod.

Autor: Vanessa Barbosa
Fonte: Exame
Original: http://bit.ly/J4l6We


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WHEN AUSTRALIA SUFFERED through the drought of the last decade, there were fears we’d run out of water. As year after year registered below average rainfall, people began to talk seriously about recycling our sewage to use as drinking water.


Water pours from a floodgate at Wivenhoe Dam

Ironically, it is the massive floods that we experienced after the drought that could be the strongest argument yet for using recycled water. In fact, if Brisbane had not backed away from a scheme to drink its recycled sewage, we may not have seen the rising waters that devastated our third largest city in January 2011.

There are two kinds of recycled water. ‘Indirect potable reuse’ or IPR uses advanced water treatment processes such as reverse osmosis and advanced oxidation, before discharging the recycled water back into a river, reservoir, or underground prior to re-harvesting it, retreating it and reusing it.

Much less talked about is ‘direct potable reuse’. DPR would do away with the return to the environment and the water would be pumped directly back into the city’s water supply system.

By the worst stages of the drought around 2007, it had become clear that some of Australia’s largest cities would need to adopt varying approaches to IPR in order to make full use of available water supplies. Major IPR schemes have since been partially developed in Queensland and Western Australia.

The Western Corridor Recycled Water Project (WCRWP) was developed during 2007-2010 partially as a means to supplement drinking water supplies in Lake Wivenhoe, South East Queensland. This is the primary source of drinking water supply for Brisbane and much of the surrounding area. The WCRWP uses effluent from six wastewater treatment plants, which is then subjected to advanced water treatment at three new plants at Bundamba, Luggage Point and Gibson Island.

Some of this advanced-treated water is now used for industrial purposes, but the idea of drinking it has been postponed until storage supplies drop to below 40 per cent of capacity.

Topping up Lake Wivenhoe with highly treated recycled water seemed (at least to some, myself included) to be a great idea. But the plan to drink the recycled water has not yet gone ahead because of one word: “yuck!”

That powerful psychological response to the idea of drinking treated effluent is one of the main reasons why you don’t hear any politicians advocating DPR. They don’t believe that they can successfully sell the idea. And of course, the yuck factor is normal, so politicians, engineers and scientists all experience it too.

But the disastrous flooding of Wivenhoe Dam may change all that. Now, finding some additional spare capacity in the reservoir to hold back such enormous flood surges seems an even more important priority. Fortunately, DPR offers a solution that can achieve both outcomes at once.

Like many reservoirs, Lake Wivenhoe has two conflicting roles. On one hand, it must provide security of drinking water supply by storing as much water as possible. One the other, it must protect Brisbane from otherwise inevitable regular flooding by maintaining as much empty space as possible. To achieve this somewhat schizophrenic expectation, the reservoir is divided into two distinct components. The bottom 1,165 billion litres is kept as full as possible for drinking water supply and the top 1,450 billion litres is maintained empty for flood control.

When operating at full capacity, the WCRWP can produce around 35 per cent of the total water consumption of Brisbane and surrounding areas.

If this water was used directly as part of Brisbane’s water supply, Lake Wivenhoe could be relied upon for 35 per cent less water supply. This means that the same security of water supply could be maintained while dropping the full supply capacity of Wivenhoe by 35 per cent and thereby freeing additional space for flood mitigation. The flood mitigation capacity would be increased by around 425 billion litres, which is an increase of around 30 per cent.

In terms of water storage capacity, this new-found 425 billion litres of flood mitigation space is the same as immediately constructing a new equivalent sized reservoir, without the cost of construction and without having to relocate a single home or farm. In addition to completely avoiding the environmental impacts of new dams, it would enable less water to be captured by the dam enhancing natural flow regimes in the Brisbane River.

To put this extra storage capacity into some context, a new 425 billion litre reservoir would be the fourth largest reservoir to supply drinking water to a major city in Australia (after Warragamba in Sydney, Wivenhoe in Brisbane and Thompson in Melbourne). It would be more than 70 per cent of the total water storage capacity of Perth and twice the total storage capacity of Adelaide.

Using the existing infrastructure of the WCRWP, water would be available immediately and there would be negligible construction costs. But most importantly, the freed-up storage space will also be immediately available to help capture and control major flooding events when they occur.

With careful management, this additional storage capacity would have been sufficient to capture and contain the entire peak flow into Wivenhoe Dam that occurred between 9th and 13th January 2011. There would have been no flood in Brisbane.

With all of this in perspective, the yuck factor is starting to seem like an emotional response that we would do well to live without.

Dr Stuart Khan is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of New South Wales

Author: Stuart Khan
Source: ABC Environment
Original: http://bit.ly/J1rZKF


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Imagem do Unabomber em anúncio está a alimentar polémica

Utilizar a imagem de um terrorista numa campanha publicitária está a sair caro a uma das mais importantes organizações norte-americanas que contestam a tese das alterações climáticas.

A campanha durou apenas um dia e trazia, num outdoor numa via rápida perto de Chicago, a foto do norte-americano Ted Kaczynski – o Unabomber, que matou três pessoas e feriu 23 com bombas enviadas pelo correio entre 1978 e 1995 – e uma única frase: “Eu ainda acredito nas alterações climáticas. E você?”. Resultado: várias empresas decidiram retirar o apoio financeiro que davam ao Instituto Heartland – o promotor da campanha – e alguns oradores de uma conferência da organização agendada para este mês cancelaram a sua participação.

O instituto – um “think tank” liberal, que tem sido particularmente activo contra as evidências de que a Terra está a aquecer por culpa humana – foi além da imagem do Unabomber. Um comunicado divulgado no dia em que a campanha foi lançada, a 3 de Maio, dizia que, entre os principais defensores do aquecimento global, estavam também o assassino Charles Manson, Fidel Castro (“um tirano”), Osama bin Laden e o militante ambientalista James J.Lee, que em Setembro de 2010 barricou-se com reféns na sede do canal Discovey, em Washington, e foi morto pela polícia.

“Os líderes do movimento do aquecimento global têm uma coisa em comum: estão dispostos a usar a força e a fraude para levar adiante a sua teoria marginal”, disse o presidente do Instituto Heartland, Joseph Bast, citado no comunicado.

A mensagem não foi, porém, bem aceite pelos próprios apoiantes do instituto e, logo no dia seguinte, a campanha foi cancelada. Num segundo comunicado, a organização disse que se tratara de “uma experiência”, que conseguiu resultados: atrair a atenção das pessoas. Mostrou-se ainda surpresa pelas reacções ao anúncio, “mais veementes do que quando grandes alarmistas comparam os realistas climáticos [como se intitulam os chamados “cépticos” das alterações climáticas] com os nazis ou declaram que estão a impor uma sentença de morte em massa às nossas crianças”, disse Joseph Bast.

Bast reconheceu que o outdoor não agradou a apoiantes do instituto, mas defendeu-o. “Não pedimos desculpas pelo anúncio, e vamos continuar a experimentar formas de comunicar a mensagem ‘realista’ sobre o clima”, afirmou.

Não foi, porém, o suficiente. Na última semana, várias empresas anunciaram publicamente que deixarão de financiar o instituto, incluindo grandes seguradoras, como a State Farm e a United Servises Automobile Association, e o mega-grupo internacional de bebidas Diageo.

O PÚBLICO questionou o Instituto Heartland sobre a dimensão do corte nos apoios, mas não obteve ainda resposta. Segundo o jornal britânico Guardian, as empresas que cancelaram apoios representaram 15% do orçamento do instituto no ano passado.

A campanha também terá algum impacto na sétima conferência sobre alterações climáticas que o Instituto Heartland realiza a 21 a 23 de Maio, em Chicago. O evento costuma reunir as principais vozes contra e teoria científica dominante sobre o aquecimento global, mas alguns oradores – como o economista Ross McKitrick e a blogger Donna Laframboise .

O Presidente checo Václav Klaus – também um crítico da tese do aquecimento global – mantém-se como orador principal da conferência, mas demarcou-se de campanhas “não sérias, agressivas e provocativas” como a do Instituto Heartland, segundo um porta-voz citado pelo Guardian.

Em Fevereiro passado, o instituto esteve também em foco devido a documentos internos divulgados na Internet, que revelavam detalhes da sua estratégia – incluindo um plano para introduzir, nas escolas, visões alternativas sobre as alterações climáticas – e uma lista detalhada dos seus financiadores. A divulgação dos documentos teve origem num reconhecido cientista climático, Peter Gleick, que os recebera de uma fonte anónima e se fizera passar por membro do Instituto Heartland para confirmar a sua autenticidade. Acabou, dessa forma, por receber outros documentos do instituto e os divulgou a alguns jornalistas e bloggers. Gleick posteriormente pediu desculpas e afastou-se temporariamente do Instituto Pacífico, o centro de investigação de que era co-fundador e director.

Autor: Ricardo Garcia
Fonte: Ecosfera – Público
Original: http://bit.ly/JjDKvU


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