Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002

Category Archives: Energy

Who owns the space under cities? The attempt to map the earth beneath us

The Guardian: “…In London, a city with 150 years of trenching, digging and boring to its name, the chaos is reaching new depths. According to Newcastle University’s Global Urban Research Unit, more than 4,600 basements have been granted planning permission in the last decade – in just seven of London’s 32 boroughs. The space under London is now getting so busy that the Ordnance Survey, Future Cities Catapult and the British Geological Survey have joined forces to create a new initiative called Project Iceberg, which will attempt to aggregate cities’ subterranean data. In London it will include transport tunnel information, geological records and maps of 1.5m km (0.9m miles) of underground utilities and four million kilometres of telecommunications lines…The Ordnance Survey has suggested that £5.5bn ($7bn) is spent every year on exploratory excavation just to figure out what’s underground, and according to a 2013 Mayor of London report, £150m of damage is done every year to underground utilities because of a lack of information. Underground urban planning of an extension of a tube line, for instance, requires knowledge of where sewer and water systems, electricity and utility tunnels, bunkers, foundations, basements, cellars, vaults, passageways, archaeological remains, data centres, basements, and other transport tunnels are located. Most cities have a “dial before you dig” hotline because there is no central holding place for data about underground space.

Enter Project Iceberg. The goal is to serve as a framework for data on all of these underground elements, from which a comprehensive visualisation can be built. The resulting map would need to be an all-inclusive spatial database, but how volumetric cartography might look is not yet imagined. It could perhaps be something like Bruno Imbrizi’s real-time 3D tube map that went viral in 2013. Or the framework could feed an augmented reality engine, so that aiming a phone camera at the ground would reveal what is underneath…”

Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change

The New York Times Magazine” is dedicated to a single article – Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change – We knew everything we needed to know, and nothing stood in our way. Nothing, that is, except ourselves. A tragedy in two acts…This narrative by Nathaniel Rich is a work of history, addressing… Continue Reading

Meet the brave men and women standing up for their land and our environment in the face of violence and threats

Global Witness: “The food on our plates, the rings on our fingers and the wooden furniture in our homes: all too often there is a violent reality behind household items we use everyday. As agribusiness booms, tropical forests are logged and mining continues to deliver huge revenue to major global corporations, there are increasingly brutal attacks on land… Continue Reading

Trump Moves to Ease Obama Auto-Mileage Rules, California’s Clout

Bloomberg: “The Trump administration, taking aim at one of former President Barack Obama’s signature environmental achievements, is proposing to suspend required increases in vehicle fuel economy after 2020 and unwind California’s authority to limit tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions in the state. The Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration jointly proposed on Thursday… Continue Reading

New Mapping Tool Visualizes 30 Years of Mountaintop Removal

Yale Environment 360 “Coal companies conducted widespread mountaintop removal mining from 1985-2015 at the intersections of Perry, Knot, and Breathitt counties in Kentucky. From 1985 to 2015, coal companies blasted an average of 21,000 acres of Appalachian land every year in search of coal — an area about half the size of Washington, D.C., according… Continue Reading

FOIA request for Interior Department emails and sale of US national heritage sites reveals clear and present danger

Washington Post: “In a quest to shrink national monuments last year, senior Interior Department officials dismissed evidence that these public sites boosted tourism and spurred archaeological discoveries, according to documents the department released this month and retracted a day later. The thousands of pages of email correspondence chart how Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and his… Continue Reading

EPA Report on Flint Water Crisis identifies past and moving forward crisis

On July 19, 2018 the EPA Inspector General released a 74-page report about the Flint Water Crisis (report #18-P-0221)  – Management Weaknesses Delayed Response to Flint Water Crisis – “The EPA should strengthen its oversight of state drinking water programs to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the agency’s response to drinking water contamination emergencies.”… Continue Reading

How Brett Kavanaugh Could Reshape Environmental Law From the Supreme Court

The New York Times: “Long before President Trump nominated him for the Supreme Court on Monday, Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh had already made a name for himself as an influential conservative critic of sweeping environmental regulations. During his 12 years on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, often regarded… Continue Reading

Attempting to Define the Human Right to Water with an Annotated Bibliography & Recommendations for Practitioners

Jootaek Lee and Maraya Best – 10 Georgetown Environmental Law Review Vol 1., Fall 2017. “This Article investigates research issues related to the right to water, attempts to define and narrow the scope of the human right to water, and suggests research methodologies. Specifically, this Article provides a definition of the human right to water and identifies the… Continue Reading

World trending to hit 50% renewables, 11% coal by 2050

Bloomberg New Energy Finance – New Energy Outlook 2018: “…The clean energy analysis firm estimates that in a mere 33 years, the world will generate almost 50 percent of its electricity from renewable energy, and coal will make up just 11 percent of the total electricity mix. Add in hydroelectric power and nuclear energy, and… Continue Reading

Mapping the World’s Coal Capacity

Center for Data Innovation: “Climate news publication Carbon Brief has created several data visualizations mapping the location and capacity of the world’s coal power plants. An interactive timeline map allows users to scroll from 2000-2017 to see where plants are operating, opening, and have closed. The maps illustrate that the world’s coal capacity has nearly… Continue Reading

Alaska Refuge May Be the Most Contested Land in the U.S.

The National Geographic [includes photos and graphics]: Congress voted to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. Here’s what’s at stake for America’s wild frontier. “…the current U.S. administration is eager to proceed with the two lease sales, of at least 400,000 acres each, ordered by the new law. Assuming various regulatory and… Continue Reading