The Science of Sustainability

Environment

Top KQED Science & QUEST Stories from 2012

Top KQED Science & QUEST Stories from 2012

From the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to killer whales, bicycles to cheese — it's been another year of diverse storytelling from the KQED Science and Environment team. Here's a round-up of the top 10 stories shared on our website (based on page views) that you've enjoyed in 2012.

Continue Reading

With Large Oil Reserve, California Faces Fracking Debate

With Large Oil Reserve, California Faces Fracking Debate

The new oil-and-gas boom that’s sweeping the country may be coming to California. With it comes the controversy over the drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing – or fracking.

Continue Reading

Growing Pains for California's Electric Car Charging Network

Growing Pains for California's Electric Car Charging Network

KQED Science explores the growing pains of building an electric car charging network and the fledgling new industry rising up to meet the challenge.

Continue Reading

Flame Retardants, Redux: From Toxic Couches to Buildings

Flame Retardants, Redux: From Toxic Couches to Buildings

Last June, Gov. Jerry Brown directed state agencies to change California's flammability standard to ensure fire safety without dousing furniture and other foam products with toxic chemicals. Now activists are focusing on an even bigger market for flame retardants: foam insulation in buildings.

Continue Reading

Science on the SPOT: Shadows and Spiders– A Secret Cave in California

Science on the SPOT: Shadows and Spiders– A Secret Cave in California

The rural foothills along the Santa Cruz County Coast hold an ancient secret. Deep below the redwoods, White Moon Cave extends for nearly a mile — making it one of the longest caves in California. But few people have ever been in it. Join the KQED Science team as we squeeze through the narrow clandestine entrance, and meet the uncanny cave inhabitants to bring new light to this hidden realm.

Continue Reading

So How Much Does Carbon Cost?

So How Much Does Carbon Cost?

Now we have a first glimpse of how California's experiment in carbon trading is working out. The state's first auction of industrial permits for greenhouse gases actually happened last week–but results were released on Monday.

Continue Reading

Solar Powers China's March Toward Sustainability

Solar Powers China's March Toward Sustainability

China has vaulted out front in the solar power game. That's been good for consumers but perplexing to its California competitors.

Continue Reading

What Are Richmond Residents Breathing?

What Are Richmond Residents Breathing?

Chevron's Aug. 6 fire re-ignited questions many Richmond residents have asked for years. What does it mean to live next to the largest refinery on the West Coast? What are people living in the city breathing?

Continue Reading

Trophy Hunting: For the Love of Blood and Money

Trophy Hunting: For the Love of Blood and Money

Trophy hunters routinely pay thousands of dollars for the chance to kill big game like caribou, moose, black bear and especially grizzly bear. Trophy hunting narratives boast a love of nature. But some sociologists find a different story.

Continue Reading

Cap-and-Trade 101: How California's Carbon Market Works

Cap-and-Trade 101: How California's Carbon Market Works

This week, California rolls out the heavy artillery in its attack on climate change with a program called “cap-and-trade.” It’s like a stock exchange for carbon emissions, where the state’s biggest polluters have to buy the right to emit greenhouse gases. It’s the most ambitious climate change policy in the country, but not everyone is happy with it.

Continue Reading

Cap-and-Trade: The Glossary

Cap-and-Trade: The Glossary

You can’t navigate the new world of carbon trading unless you know the lingo. Here are some key terms.

Continue Reading

Q & A – How Will the Solar Industry Shake Out?

Q & A – How Will the Solar Industry Shake Out?

Plummeting prices, trade war, record growth – it’s been a busy year for the solar industry. Reporter Lauren Sommer talks to a solar analyst about how California is doing in the rapidly changing global market.

Continue Reading

Looming Trade War Shakes Up U.S. Solar Industry

Looming Trade War Shakes Up U.S. Solar Industry

Federal officials have put trade tariffs on Chinese solar panels. American solar companies are split on whether it will be good or bad for the industry.

Continue Reading

Crowdsourcing San Francisco Bay

Crowdsourcing San Francisco Bay

The 1891-built Alma schooner once hauled goods around San Francisco Bay. Now it's part of a new crowdsourcing history project.

Continue Reading

Playing Whack-a-Mole with Flame Retardants

Playing Whack-a-Mole with Flame Retardants

Countless consumer products sold in California contain a flame retardant flagged as a possible carcinogen nearly 35 years ago. As of this week, finally, they must carry a warning that the chemical causes cancer. But is it enough when manufacturers simply replace one toxic chemical with another?

Continue Reading

Owls Around Us

Owls Around Us

Many species of owls share our neighborhoods and parks. Learn more about them on a virtual walk through Redwood Regional Park.

Continue Reading

China Tries Greening from the Ground Up

China Tries Greening from the Ground Up

Green building and sustainable design are a trend in California, but nowhere is the urgency greater than in China, where hundreds of millions of people are moving to cities in pursuit of a better life.

Continue Reading

Saving Bighorn Sheep, One Mural At a Time

Saving Bighorn Sheep, One Mural At a Time

Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep are animals worth seeing. With their bright white rumps and the rams' remarkable headgear, they bound and leap over seemingly impassable alpine terrain. But you may have a tricky time spotting one–there are only about four hundred in existence.

Continue Reading

Ford's C-MAX Takes On The Toyota Prius

Ford's C-MAX Takes On The Toyota Prius

Ford issues a hybrid throw down to Toyota. The company is trying to best the Prius with a faster, cheaper, more fuel efficient model.

Continue Reading

Century-Old Battle Over Yosemite's 'Second Valley' Heats Up

Century-Old Battle Over Yosemite's 'Second Valley' Heats Up

One of California's oldest environmental battles is on the San Francisco ballot. Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park holds most of San Francisco's water supply. But some environmental groups want to turn back the clock.

Continue Reading