Drinking rainwater from banana leaf, Nigeria. (c) I. Uwanaka/UNEP peopleandplanet.net
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Drinking rainwater from banana leaf, Nigeria. (c) I. Uwanaka/UNEP
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renewable energy > features

Cars are grabbing world's grain supply
by Lester R. Brown

Cars, not people, will claim most of the increase in world grain consumption this year. The US Department of Agriculture projects that world grain use will grow by 20 million tons in 2006. Of this, 14 million tons will be used to produce fuel for cars in the United States, leaving only 6 million tons to satisfy the world's growing food needs. ... more

Meeting the challenge of Peak Oil
Peak oil is described as the point where oil production stops rising and begins its inevitable long-term decline. No one knows when that will be, but many experts believe we have already reached the peak. Others say it will occur within the next few years. But what will happen after Peak Oil? Here, Lester Brown, President of the Earth Policy Institute, outlines his own vision of the challenge - and the necessary response. ... more

Low-cost lamps could brighten the future
Powered by solar energy, lights using LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes), have the potential to light up rural villages and replace costly and polluting kerosene lamps. This report from the Christian Science Monitor tells the story. ... more

Developing a hydrogen economy in the South
Given the right support, there could be 5-10 million fuel cell vehicles globally by 2020. The time horizon for the Hydrogen Economy is long - it is at least 20 years away for developed countries. But long term change requires short term change. ... more

Coconut oil takes off as a biofuel in the Pacific
by Jeremy Hamand

Almost unnoticed, coconut oil is taking off among the Pacific islands as an alternative to imported, costly and polluting, diesel oil. Jeremy Hamand reports here on the spread of this latest biofuel, drawing in part on internet exchanges among islanders linked to the Small Islands Voice website. ... more

Making solar townships viable in Malaysia
Solar cells are notoriously costly. But this will soon change with the launch of a project aimed at making them affordable for Malaysians, reports Tan Cheng Li. ... more

Sweden goes for green energy
Twenty years after Sweden alerted the world to the meltdown at Chernobyl, it aims to phase out nuclear power and end dependency on fossil fuels, putting the country in the vanguard of green energy policy. ... more

Biofuels can power cars of the future

by Danielle Murray

At the fuel pumps in S�o Paulo, customers have a choice: gas or alcohol? Since the mid-1970s, Brazil has worked to replace imported gasoline with ethanol, an alcohol distilled from locally grown sugarcane. Today ethanol accounts for 40 per cent of the fuel sold in Brazil. Danielle Murray reports on the potential of this new form of green energy. ... more

Short path to oil independence
by Lester R. Brown

With the price of oil above $50 a barrel, with political instability in the Middle East on the rise, and with little slack in the world oil economy, oil guzzling economies such as the United States are in urgent need of a new energy strategy. Fortunately, says Lester Brown, the outline of a new strategy is emerging with two new technologies. ... more

Creating the climate for change
by Klaus Toepfer

As the world meets in Bonn this week to discuss the future of renewable energy, Klaus Toepfer, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), calls on the world to look beyond the oil crisis to two more fundamental threats. ... more

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