Is China finally waking up to its pollution crisis?

Expect the global warming issue to blow up again as the Obama Administration gears up to issue new EPA regulations. Conservatives have argued for years now that anything the US does is moot given China’s massive pollution problem. But as Jonathan Cohen points out, China is finally starting to move on these issues, as even hard-core dictators can be affected by choking pollution:

In recent years, the Chinese have imposed fuel mileage and appliance efficiency standards, similar in many respects to those in the U.S. Just this week, officials in Beijing announced that the government would be taking another 5 million aging cars off the nation’s road. China has also set up pilot versions of tradable pollution permits—in other words, “cap-and-trade” schemes—for various industries. Officials say they hope to make these nationwide soon. And one reason the Chinese government was so eager to sign that massive new deal with Russia, allowing the import of natural gas, was because it’s desperate to find alternatives to coal. “For a long time, opponents [of new regulations] said we’ll get hoodwinked, because China won’t do anything,” says David Doniger, director of the Climate and Clean Air Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “That’s just not true.”

This is a positive development, and hopefully it continues. If China gets more serious about this, then it can give political cover to those around the world trying to put a lid on carbon emissions.

Cohen points out that any new EPA regulations can put further pressure on China to act.

Expect to hear plenty of noise about this over the coming months.

Battle over environmental rules

There’s political stalemate in Washington between Democrats and Republicans on what to do about global warming. But now the issue of global warming and environmental regulations is also splitting some Democrats, as many on the left are being critical of the Obama administration for slow-walking new rules relating to things like appliances.

Debate over Keystone Pipeline

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There are all sorts of opinions on the Keystone Pipeline. Many environmentalists are very much opposed, while many people concerned with weaning ourselves off of Mid East oil are in favor of it, even with all the new oil American is producing through fracking. The Arkansas oil spill complicates the issue of course.

Here’s T. Boone Pickens discussing natural gas, oil and the pipeline.

Air-Powered Cars

Here’s a new kind of hybrid car that might just start another revolution in car design.

If you’re looking for a hybrid with superior mileage per gallon, then compressed air may be your thing. PSA Peugeot Citroen says its new C3 VTi 82 hatchback–which it unveils at a motor show next month–will go 81 miles, in optimum conditions. That’s compared to the Toyota Prius’s roughly 45 mile performance. And there’s no need for expensive, and heavy, lithium batteries. The compressed air system provides power as well as storage: as with other hybrids, it recovers energy from a gasoline engine when you brake or slow down.

From the video, you can see that the Air Hybrid system works in three modes, depending on the neighborhood. Above 43 miles per hour, it uses a conventional engine. Around town, it goes on air alone. And then there’s a combined mode when you need more power at lower speeds. An electronic management unit switches modes automatically.

The idea of powering a car using compressed air isn’t particularly new–several companies have explored the technology. But PSA Peugeot Citroen is the first major one to go big on it, developing a drive-train it hopes to use across several models, including light commercial vans. The company hasn’t released prices yet, saying only that the vehicles will be “competitive both in European and international markets,” but that is likely to be a major draw. Lithium batteries remain uncompetitively expensive.

Hybrids and plug-in hybrids offer incredible potential, and we’re seeing progress with hydrogen fuel cells as well. But with compressed air you have a novel approach that produces ZERO emissions when in that mode. That’s pretty impressive. Expect to hear much more about this, as it’s also much more practical than things like the AIRpod, which relies totally on compressed air but doesn’t have the size and range of this hybrid.

Building a Good Online Reputation


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Before the technological age of online forums, social media, and mobile texting, maintaining one’s reputation involved keeping that nose clean and being a decent person in society. Today, however, no matter how kindhearted or generous you may be in real life, your reputation can be ruined online from the smallest, thoughtless action.

According to the CEO of Reputation.com Michael Fertik, search engines can highlight a variety of misleading or inaccurate information about you, your family, or a colleague. Indecent photos could crop up in a Google of your name, or a prank video you were once involved in could go viral, soliciting negative comments or even attacks from complete strangers.

The best thing you can do in order to maintain a good reputation online is to actively establish a positive presence. Search results show all kinds of material related to the search terms, even if the negative material brought up is about someone else who merely shares the same name. When Google practically serves as a character reference in modern society, it’s important to ensure your online presence is impressive.

Google Yourself

You will likely never know that you have a poor online reputation if you never Google yourself. If you have a business, search the business name on major search engines and social networks to see what people are saying about it, since customers are more likely to give honest reviews, especially negative ones, online. If necessary, enlist the help of a free monitoring service like Reputation.com that sends out alerts when your name appears in new content.

Fight Negative Search Results

Reputation.com was established, in part, to help clients combat search results that take a hit at their character. Since most people will Google a term and only review the top two results, it’s important to push down those negative results, preferably on a second or third result page, so they become practically invisible to the average user.

Establish Your Image

This step involves developing a positive reputation on major websites like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. You can even create a professional blog using your name or business name in the URL or blog title. This makes it more difficult for someone to impersonate you. Establishing your own positive image is the best way to counteract any negative misinformation, but be sure to avoid online confrontations or arguments, since this will only add to a damaged reputation.
Creating and maintaining a good online reputation takes a little legwork, but is worth the extra steps to ensure you and your business are being represented honestly in the virtual world.

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