Posted by pfairley on December 28, 2012
The Arctic is melting faster than predicted. Is now the time to shut down the low-carbon nuclear power plants in France — the 20th Century’s staunchest proponent of nuclear energy? Is natural gas produced via hydraulic fracturing or ‘fracking’ a gift that is buying time for a transition to renewable energy or a curse that reinforces fossil fuel dependence? Will carbon belching heavyweights such as the U.S. and China ever get serious about cleaning up their energy systems?
Such questions are top order in France, whose President kicked off a Grand Débat on energy this month. The national debate launched by François Hollande, the Socialist who put Nicolas Sarkozy out of work six months ago, could well set France on a path to put nuclear power out to pasture. It could also lift France’s current moratorium on fracking.
No surprise then that France 24‘s English network dedicated one of its year-end debates to Energy in 2013. Your editor was honored to be at the table, along with:
Part One focuses on the what, why and why nots of fracking to produce shale gas and shale oil. Part Two backs out to consider the fate of nuclear and renewable energy in a ‘fracked’ world awash in cheap oil and gas.
Posted in Climate Change, Climate Science, Climate skeptics, Energy Economics & Policy, Energy Efficiency, Energy politics, Energy vision, Environmental Journalism, Media, Natural gas, Nuclear Power, Nuclear safety, Renewable Energy, Shale gas, Solar energy, Wind power | Tagged: fracking, france, France 24, Francois Hollande, hydraulic fracturing, Natural gas, nuclear energy | Leave a Comment »
Posted by pfairley on January 13, 2009
Journalism is in the grips of a financial crisis, and that should worry us all. Cutbacks in reporting staff, such as CNN’s elimination of its science/environment/technology unit, will deplete the capacity for learning and intelligent decision making that our society so badly needs at this critical energy juncture. Online distribution of news could help by reducing printing costs, but this potential new direction for journalism is currently undermined by several faults: online news tends to fracture readership because readers go only to those stories they know in advance will interest them, and free access to articles combined with slim advertising revenue makes it a poor mechanism for financing quality news gathering.
What if there was a means of reading magazines and newspapers online, in a semblance of their current form, providing the information richness of dozens of pages of varied content (plus the advertising to pay for it)? There are several experiments of this sort underway by major newspapers. I just signed up for a free trial of the New York Times Electronic Edition, which is a digital replica of the printed paper.
There are tech tools available to turn digital newspapers into the portable reading experience we’re accustomed to, and they keep getting better. The NYTimes got excited this fall about a largescreen reader to be released in trial volumes later this year by the U.K.’s Plastic Logic:
The device, which is unnamed, uses the same technology as the Sony eReader and Amazon.com‘s Kindle, a highly legible black-and-white display developed by the E Ink Corporation. While both of those devices are intended primarily as book readers, Plastic Logic’s device… has a screen more than twice as large. The size of a piece of copier paper, it can be continually updated via a wireless link, and can store and display hundreds of pages of newspapers, books and documents.
Richard Archuleta, the chief executive of Plastic Logic, said the display was big enough to provide a newspaperlike layout. “Even though we have positioned this for business documents, newspapers is what everyone asks for,” Mr. Archuleta said.
Software is also improving the online reading experience, such as the Scribd iPaper document reader, which the NYTimes and other news sources use to present primary sources in web stories (thanks to Jim Bruggers for the tip). The January edition of one of the magazines I write for, IEEE Spectrum, is available in Scribd’s iPaper format, complete with full-text indexing (see embedded reader below).
As a preliminary test why not flip to an article in January’s Spectrum that should interest Carbon-Nation readers: my story on the repowering of Europe’s first-generation wind farms — an energy upgrade that could dominate the next decade’s worth of wind installations in pioneering wind-energy states such as Denmark and Germany.
Search for “Europe Replaces Old Wind Farms” and the iPaper reader will take you to the story on page 15 before you’re done typing. Then click this post’s comments link to reply and let us know what you think of the virtual reading experience. Could electronic tools like this save journalism and, in turn, democracy?
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Posted in Environmental Journalism, Wind power | Tagged: iPaper, New York Times Electronic Edition, online news, Plastic Logic, repowering, Scribd, wind power | Leave a Comment »