Japan’s trade deficit quadruples in March

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Japan’s trade deficit quadrupled in March as export growth slowed and energy imports continued to rise. A weak Japanese currency, which pushed up the cost of imports, also contributed to the widening gap. The deficit rose to 1.45 trillion yen ($14bn; £8.4bn), up from 356.9bn yen during the same month a year ago. Japan’s energy imports have been rising after ... Read More »

Cumbrian nuclear dump ‘virtually certain’ to be eroded by rising sea levels

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One million cubic metres of waste near Sellafield are housed at a site that was a mistake, admits Environment Agency – Jump to comments (480) Britain’s nuclear dump is virtually certain to be eroded by rising sea levels and to contaminate the Cumbrian coast with large amounts of radioactive waste, according to an internal document released by the Environment Agency ... Read More »

Chlorine: From toxic chemical to household cleaner


Few chemicals are as familiar as table salt. The white crystals are the most common food seasoning in the world and an essential part of the human diet. Sodium chloride is chemically very stable – but split it into its constituent elements and you release the chemical equivalent of demons. The process is brutal. Vast amounts of electricity are used ... Read More »

The ‘Zero-Emission’ Engine Is Almost Ready for Prime Time


 STUTTGART, Germany — At the Mercedes-Benz headquarters here, a showroom display illustrates the rapid evolution of the iconic luxury brand’s hydrogen-fueled cars. In a 1992 prototype, the fuel cell takes up the entire cargo area of a delivery van. Across the room, today’s model — now merely the size of an average television set — is displayed in front of ... Read More »

Do Politicians Give A Shit About Climate Change Now?


The tales of impending doom about manmade climate change are coming down so fast and furious these days that it can be tough to keep up. But the latest terrifying missive (courtesy of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC) is, mercifully, served with a bit of soothing chaser: Apparently, the political will to actually do something about reducing carbon emissions is starting to emerge ... Read More »

UN urges huge increase in green energy to avert climate disaster

UN urges huge increase in green energy to avert climate disaster

‘Triple or quadruple renewables’, say experts, as pressure grows for UK to deliver on eco priorities – Jump to comments David Cameron‘s commitment to the green agenda will come under the fiercest scrutiny yet this week when top climate-change experts will warn that only greater use of renewable energy – including windfarms – can prevent a global catastrophe. A report ... Read More »

Reality Check: Central Europe’s Vulnerabilities Toward Russia

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Before Russia’s annexation of Crimea, debates about sanctioning Russia were mostly reserved for foreign policy experts with a penchant for science fiction. Now, those debates have become a reality—and tougher sanctions are on the cards. Nowhere in the EU is the potential effect of these measures more actively discussed than in Central Europe, where the Ukraine crisis has brought to ... Read More »

Glow-in-the-dark roads make debut in Netherlands


Light-absorbing glow-in-the-dark road markings have replaced streetlights on a 500m stretch of highway in the Netherlands. Studio Roosegaarde promised us the design back in 2012, and after cutting through rather a lot of government red tape we can finally see the finished product. One Netherlands  news report said, ”It looks like you are driving through a fairytale,” which pretty much sums ... Read More »

As in the Cold War, Russia Is Vulnerable on Energy

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Vladimir Putin loves to talk nostalgically about the might of the former Soviet Union—and in annexing Crimea, he has taken a dramatic step toward re-creating it. But Russia’s strongman hasn’t read his history: In truth, the might of the Brezhnev-era USSR was built on high oil and gas prices. When those prices began to fall in the 1980s—with more than ... Read More »