There’s an inherent flaw in solar cells: the metal wiring that’s quintessential to harnessing the electrons reflects the incoming light, acting like a mirror. Now, must people would brush off this issue and leave it like that. It’s a necessary trade off. But a team at Stanford University devised an elegant chemical technique that basically hides the wiring with silicon, away from the light while preserving energy harnessing. Metal wires cover 5 to 10 percent of a solar cell’s surface. Now, in the same area more light can be absorbed, hence more electricity generated which jumps the efficiency. Of course, this also means cheaper solar panels — if only the chemical technique is covered by the recurring costs of increased efficiency.
The Climate Summit in Paris may or may not create a binding agreement for countries to limit their greenhouse gas emissions, but either way, the real work will begin after the talks. “When the meetings in Paris are done, the real business of decarbonization must begin,” write climate-policy experts David Victor and James Leape in a Comment piece in this
Agriculture is a big driver of climate change, with the meat industry standing out among the rest as a source of CO2 emissions and environmental damage; lowering demand for meat or ensuring that farms have as little environmental impact is possible, but costly. Would you be willing to eat less, if it was for the good of the planet? Pay more for your meat? A new study suggests that the idea isn’t as controversial as you may believe on first glance.
Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have never been higher: the average global CO2 levels have reached the 400 parts per million (ppm) milestone in the spring of 2015, The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced in the first week of November. Secretary-General Michel Jarraud warns that it won’t be long before even higher levels of the gas become a “permanent reality.”
While in South Carolina last weekend, Democrat Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders reiterated a burn he’s been feeling for decades: the vested interests of the fossil fuel industry. He told the crowd climate change “is already causing devastating problems all over this world,” and the fossil fuel industry, Koch brothers specifically, are doing everything they can do keep this out of the public’s attention. At one point he directly called out Republican candidates to basically man up, grow a backbone and stop lying.
Ever wonder how animals see? This is your chance!
Philipp Pattberg, a professor of transnational environmental governance and policy at VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands, focuses on the study of global environmental politics, with a focus on climate change governance and biodiversity. Here, he gives a talk about more than 20 years of international climate change diplomacy, from the successful negotiation of the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
The Danish capital of Copenhagen is known for its bike friendly culture but this time they’re taking it to the next level. Work is set to start on the new bike lane which will join two skyscrapers, 213 feet in the air (65 meters). The design was the winner of a competition to reinvigorate the city’s skyline; the two towers
An University of Queensland study of mantis shrimp discovered a new form of light communication employed by the animals, the findings having potential applications in satellite remote sensing, biomedical imaging, cancer detection, and computer data storage.
Also known as the water bear, the tardigrade has a lot to be proud of — this tiny organism is nigh-indestructible, known to have survived in extreme temperatures ( -272C to +151C / -457.6F to 303.8F) and to be the only animal that can brave the vacuum of space unprotected and live to tell the tale.