The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced the first certification for fuel economy and emissions of a U.S. hydrogen fuel cell zero emission vehicle. This comes shortly after a Presidential commitment to further the progress of hydrogen fuel cells as a way to make the air significantly cleaner, and our country less dependent on foreign sources of energy.
In his State of the Union address, President Bush announced a $1.2 billion Freedom Fuel initiative to reverse America?s growing dependence on foreign oil by developing the technology for commercially viable hydrogen-powered fuel cells to power cars, trucks, homes and businesses with no pollution or greenhouse gases. The Freedom Fuel initiative will include $720 million in new funding over the next five years to develop the technologies and infrastructure to produce, store, and distribute hydrogen for use in fuel cell vehicles and electricity generation. Combined with the FreedomCAR (Cooperative Automotive Research) initiative, President Bush is proposing a total of $1.7 billion over the next five years to develop hydrogen-powered fuel cells, hydrogen infrastructure and advanced automotive technologies.
A new study posits an alternative theory regarding why Antarctica suddenly became glaciated 34 million years ago. The study challenges previous thinking about why the ice sheet formed and holds ramifications for the next several hundred years as greenhouse gases continue to rise. “Scientists have long known that Antarctica was not always covered in a sheet of ice. Rather, the continent was once highly vegetated and populated with dinosaurs, with perhaps just a few Alpine glaciers and small ice caps in the continental interior,” the study’s lead researcher said.
Abrupt climate changes could lead to decade-long droughts and massive sea-level rise, according to a University of Arizona geoscientist who studies the climate of the distant past. Factors that influence the climate system, such as natural changes in the Earth’s orbit or rising carbon dioxide emissions from cars and power plants, can result in dramatic climate shifts, says Jonathan Overpeck, a professor of geosciences and director of the UA Institute for the Study of Planet Earth. Scientists studying natural climate records, such as the variations in tree rings and gas bubbles trapped in the polar ice caps, find ample evidence of these types of rapid changes in the past — sometimes occurring in a decade or less.