Archive for December, 2008

Google announced  that it will be investing  millions of R&D dollars through its philanthropic arm, Google.org, to develop clean energy technologies that are cheaper than coal.

Google co-founder Larry Page lays emphasis on solar thermal and wind energy . Google is already working with, an Idealab company, and Makani Power, a high-altitude wind-energy company. Google has also worked with another Idealab company, Energy Innovations, which installed the solar panels on the roof of its campus buildings. 

Among other particulars, Page mentioned that “With talented technologists, great partners and significant investments, we hope to rapidly push forward. Our goal is to produce one gigawatt of renewable energy capacity that is cheaper than coal.  We are optimistic this can be done in years, not decades.” (One gigawatt can power a city the size of San Francisco.) 

“Cheap renewable energy is not only critical for the environment but also vital for economic development in many places where there is limited affordable energy of any kind,” added Sergey Brin, Google Co-founder and President of Technology.

For those who don’t know much about Google.org : The two founders of Google, the company that defined the standard for Internet search engines, have set up a for-profit philanthropy called Google.org, starting it off with a billion dollars in seed money and an ambitious mission to fight poverty, disease and global warming. 

One of the first projects of Google.org is a hybrid car that will run on any combination of ethanol, gasoline and electricity and go more than 100 miles on a gallon of gas. 

Because it is a for-profit organization, Google.org could start a company to sell the cars, form partnerships with venture capitalists to finance the company, and even lobby lawmakers to offer tax incentives to people who buy the cars. Google.org will also have to pay taxes. 

Google also announced that it and many other computer and Internet heavyweights have joined together in the global Climate Savers computing initiative launched by the World Wildlife Federation.Participating companies and organizations include Yahoo, Dell, Lenovo, Microsoft, the EPA, IBM, HP and various universities including the University of California and Stanford, in addition to Google and Intel. At the press conference, the claim was made that if targets are reached it will save in excess of $5.5 billion in annual energy costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 54 million tons per year.

This is what the official google blog post regarding climate savers computing had to say :

Believe it or not, a typical desktop PC wastes over half the power delivered to it — and, when turned on, most desktops waste power — even when they’re not in use. Through some very simple measures, there is an opportunity to save 70-80% of the power currently consumed by desktop computers. With a more efficient power supply, more efficient DC-to-DC converters, and power-management features turned on, that same desktop PC would save as much as 80% of the energy currently consumed! That energy savings means dollars, of course; it also prevents emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants.

All of these sorts of programs, and more, are what’s needed. As ecologist Rachel Carson put it, “Only within the moment of time represented by the present century has one species — man — acquired significant power to alter the nature of his world.” Let’s work together now to alter things for the good of the planet.

Google apart, the impacts of Global Warming is also causing unrest in countries like India where the human population, and so the amount of emissions,  is so significant that actions need to be taken quite fast.

There is growing evidence that human activities are responsible for the climate change and this affects the health of children, says H.Paramesh, Director and paediatric pulmonologist, Lakeside Medical Centre and Hospital.

Delivering a talk on “Global warming and its effect on children,” at the Continuing Medical Education (CME) programme organised by the Lakeside Education Trust, Bangalore to commemorate its silver jubilee, Dr. Paramesh said the impact of global warming on children’s health were because of direct effects from temperature extremes, causing heat stroke, diarrhoeal diseases, dehydration, weather disasters such as cyclones and tsunami, drowning and resultant psychological trauma.

“The indirect effects are scarcity of food, malnutrition, growth failure, delay in development, increase in water-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, chikungunya, Kyasanur Forest Disease, leptospirosis, typhoid and hepatitis. Increase in allergic diseases such as allergic rhinitis, asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis are due to increased stress hormone produced in the trees from global warming and pollens,” Dr. Paramesh said.


Read Full Post »