The Science of Sustainability

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Cashing in on Carbon

Cashing in on Carbon

This month, the Federal Trade Commission is looking at carbon offsets. Demand is booming for these green credits, where customers cancel out their greenhouse gases emissions by paying companies to preserve forests or subsidize renewable energy. Critics wonder, however, if consumers are really getting what they are paying for.

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An Asteroid's Close Call

An Asteroid's Close Call

This has been a month of dashed hopes for astronomers around the world. Last month it seemed possible that an asteroid the size of a Boeing 737 jet was due to collide with Mars on January 30. Today that seems far less likely, but, as Amy Standen reports, astronomers consider it a wake up call.

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Super Laser

Super Laser

QUEST visits the National Ignition Facility in Livermore, where scientists will soon aim the world's largest laser at a target the size of a pencil eraser. The goal? Nuclear fusion — and, they say, the answer to the world's clean energy needs.

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The New Clean Tech

The New Clean Tech

If investment is any guide, California's renewable energy companies are leaping into the new year. Investors poured billions of dollars into clean tech firms in 2007 to catapult green technologies to market. Lauren Sommer followed the trail to several Bay Area companies to see what breakthroughs lie ahead.

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Cutting Tailpipe Emissions: What Next?

Cutting Tailpipe Emissions: What Next?

California is making headlines around the world this week after federal environmental officials denied the state's request to slash greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks. Amy Standen went looking for answers about what other options the state can pursue.

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Paper or Plastic?

Paper or Plastic?

Last November, San Francisco became the first city in the country to outlaw plastic check out bags at large supermarkets, arguing that the bags are dangerous to marine life and hard to recycle. But some studies say paper bags can be just as harmful for the environment. So why target plastic?

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Rising Seas

Rising Seas

What will global warming mean to the San Francisco Bay? QUEST explores how sea level rise could affect Bay Area wetlands, following researchers who are taking sediment cores from local marshes to discover climate history and to get a glimpse of the bay's future.

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The Traffic Tax

The Traffic Tax

San Francisco is studying a London-style plan to charge drivers a fee when they travel to high-traffic areas, like downtown San Francisco, or Doyle Drive during peak commute hours. But is congestion pricing a boon for public transportation? Or the death of downtown?

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Nature Deficit Disorder (radio)

Nature Deficit Disorder (radio)

A growing number of parents, children's advocates and political leaders are worried that our culture's disconnection from nature is harming kids. Concerns about long-term health consequences like obesity have spawned a movement to "leave no child inside."

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Cleaning Up Oil in the Bay

Cleaning Up Oil in the Bay

It has been nine days since a Chinese freighter hit the Bay Bridge spilling 58-thousand gallons of bunker fuel into the Bay. After a massive effort only 25 percent of the oil has been cleaned up. And experts say they may not be able to recover much more. Amy Standen reports.

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To the Moon

To the Moon

NASA has announced a new effort to send humans back to the moon, possibly to build an outpost by 2020. Mountain View's NASA Ames Research Center identifies scientific investigations that could be performed there on everything from geology to global warming. But some critics question the space agency's priorities.

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Robot Car Race

Robot Car Race

It's one of the most unusual car races in the world. In the DARPA Grand Challenge, the cars drive themselves – no remote controls needed. And the contest is not a game. It could change the way all of us drive.

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The Return of the Canal

The Return of the Canal

Is California's most controversial water proposal making a comeback? QUEST reports on the fervent politics behind the Peripheral Canal – a $5 billion plan to build a pipeline around the delta, sending Sierra water directly to the state water project.

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One Fish, Two Fish: The Science of Protecting Sea Life

One Fish, Two Fish: The Science of Protecting Sea Life

This fall, fishing was banned or sharply limited in 18 percent of California's ocean waters from Half Moon Bay to Santa Barbara under a landmark state plan. But that was only the first part. Now, scientists need to see how fast sea life recovers. QUEST finds out: how do you count the fish in the sea?

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Geothermal Heats Up

Geothermal Heats Up

When it comes to alternative energy, most people think of solar or wind. But the hills just north of Sonoma wine country are a world leader in another kind of clean power, and under an ambitious new project, they are about to produce even more.

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What's for Lunch

What's for Lunch

We've all heard the latest health advice: avoid transfats. Eat more fruits and vegetables. But for many school children, their cafeteria lunch menus haven't caught up. This year, an effort to get healthy foods to the school lunch table is tied up in a much larger debate– national farm policy.

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Oysters on the Outs

Oysters on the Outs

QUEST radio takes a trip to Point Reyes, where a tug of war is underway over the management of an estuary. What is most ecologically healthy for the estuary– the preservation of pristine wilderness, or the sustainable stewardship of land and water through farming?

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Perilous Diesel (radio)

Perilous Diesel (radio)

Your tennis shoes. That radio you're listening to. If it wasn't made in the U.S., chances are it passed through the Port of Oakland, the fourth busiest Port in the country. But there's a downside to that convenience and those affordable prices, as Amy Standen reports.

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Greening Man

Greening Man

Burning Man is going green. QUEST heads out to the Nevada desert to see how clean tech CEOs are tapping into this counter-culture art festival.

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Sharks of the San Francisco Bay

Sharks of the San Francisco Bay

Great white sharks outside the Golden Gate Bridge may get all the attention, but a new tagging program seeks to unlock the secrets of the considerable shark population inside the bay.

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