1 – Google’s acquisition of Nest will speed along smart grids
Google is buying Nest, the maker of a smart thermostat for homes, for $3.2 billion in cash. According to the Quartz website, the detailed data that the company collects about power consumption, when backed by the ambitious tech company, could accelerate development of a more efficient “smart grid” that’s responsive to actual demand for electricity. Google has already invested more than $300 million in distributed solar companies.
2 – Peru ignores UN calls to abandon Amazon drilling
The Peruvian government is pushing ahead with plans to expand gas operations in a supposedly protected reserve in the Amazon despite calls by the United Nations to suspend them. According to the Guardian, energy company Pluspetrol’s plans include drilling 18 wells and conducting seismic tests in an “intangible” reserve for indigenous peoples living in “voluntary isolation”.
3 – Global warming forces plants up mountains
Swiss researchers taking a close look at the effect of global warming say that plants, birds and butterflies sprinted uphill by anywhere from eight to 42 meters between 2003 and 2010 — a significant shift in a very short time, according to the study published in Plos One. Summit County Voice reports that, on top of this, European bird and butterfly communities have moved on average 37 and 114 kilometers to the north, respectively.
4 – Saharan oil drilling threatens to stir up political conflict
Oil firms stepping up plans to drill off the coast of disputed Western Sahara could be diving into murky legal waters and risk exacerbating one of Africa’s oldest territorial disputes, says the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Morocco has issued exploration licenses for blocks in the Atlantic waters off Western Sahara, a desert tract that it mostly controls but that is also claimed by an Algerian-backed independence movement that deems those contracts illegal.
5 – South Korea cuts use of nuclear power
South Korea has revised down its future reliance on nuclear power, although growing energy demand and the shutdown of aging reactors mean it is still likely to need more nuclear-fired plants over the coming two decades, reports Reuters. The energy ministry said on Tuesday it has changed its energy policy to reduce the country’s reliance on nuclear power to 29% of total power supply by 2035, down from a planned 41% by 2030 and in line with a draft proposal.