The Science of Sustainability

Radio

California Pushes to Get Clean Cars on the Road

California Pushes to Get Clean Cars on the Road

California officials are considering the toughest regulations in the country to promote sales of cars powered by batteries, hydrogen fuel cells or other technology that produces little or no air pollution. These kind of tough mandates have been tried before but they failed. So is this finally the right time for the clean car?

Continue Reading

Six Bay Area Cities Play the Waiting Game

Six Bay Area Cities Play the Waiting Game

This month may be the moment of truth for six Bay Area communities. Each one is vying to be the new home of a high-profile national research center. But when it comes to development in the Bay Area, there are no easy answers.

Continue Reading

A Census for the Birds

A Census for the Birds

Grab your binoculars and checklist! The annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count is under way. During the last two weeks of the year, from dawn to dusk volunteers spread out over 22,000 count areas, including Peru, Haiti, the U.S. and Canada. Their tally is used by scientists to understand changes in bird populations.

Continue Reading

Climate Change Throws a Wrench in Water and Weather Forecasts

Climate Change Throws a Wrench in Water and Weather Forecasts

2011 has been a record-breaking year for extreme weather events. Both the government and insurance companies try to plan for these events by predicting the risk. But as Lauren Sommer reports, climate change is making that tougher.

Continue Reading

Top KQED QUEST Stories of 2011

Top KQED QUEST Stories of 2011

From hackerspaces to banana slugs, flying telescopes to cheese – it's been a quite a diverse year of storytelling here at QUEST. Here's a round-up of the top 10 video and audio stories and blog posts that you've enjoyed from the past year.

Continue Reading

Biofuels Face a Reality Check

Biofuels Face a Reality Check

Despite the buzz around biofuels, the industry been slow to scale up. But Bay Area researchers are making breakthroughs that could move us one step closer to having our cars run on fuels from plants.

Continue Reading

Can PTSD Nightmares Be Cured?

Can PTSD Nightmares Be Cured?

The hallmark of a healthy dream is its weirdness. PTSD dreams, in contrast, are like a broken record, the same, real-life event, played over and over again, in some patients, for decades.

Continue Reading

Porpoises Return to San Francisco Bay

Porpoises Return to San Francisco Bay

Harbor porpoises haven’t been seen in San Francisco Bay for more than 60 years. Now, they’re returning in growing numbers and researchers are working to understand why.

Continue Reading

HIV: Searching For a Cure

HIV: Searching For a Cure

As we approach World AIDS Day, QUEST's Andrea Kissack talks with one of the world's top HIV/AIDS researchers about progress in the search to find a cure.

Continue Reading

From Swords to Test Tubes: The Million Veteran Program

From Swords to Test Tubes: The Million Veteran Program

A massive database like what the VA is building would allow scientists to compare thousands of anonymous medical records with just a few keystrokes, to study conditions such as cancer and PTSD.

Continue Reading

"A Big, Captivating Idea": The Bay Area Ridge Trail

"A Big, Captivating Idea": The Bay Area Ridge Trail

Like the great pyramids of Egypt, the 550-mile Ridge Trail will take generations to complete. Think of it as a local Appalachian Trail for the current crop of two-year olds.

Continue Reading

The Amazing Transformation of San Francisco's "Sludge Puddle"

The Amazing Transformation of San Francisco's "Sludge Puddle"

Dumping garbage into the bay wasn’t only convenient, it served the larger goal of getting rid of the bay entirely.

Continue Reading

In a Sea of Energy Data, Utilities Try to Inspire Conservation

In a Sea of Energy Data, Utilities Try to Inspire Conservation

Smart meters are providing California households with their hourly and daily energy use information for the first time. Consumers use less electricity, studies have shown, when they can see that data. But getting them to pay attention to energy in the first place may be the biggest hurdle.

Continue Reading

Clean Tech Earns Its Stripes

Clean Tech Earns Its Stripes

The largest energy user in the United States is the U.S. Military. Its annual energy bill runs about $15 billion dollars a year, which is why the Department of Defense has developed a keen interest in finding other ways to meet its energy needs, including investing in alternative energy.

Continue Reading

The View from Coal Country in the Age of Green

The View from Coal Country in the Age of Green

Coal produces nearly half the electricity in the U.S., but the mercury, sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide it emits also makes it one of the most controversial energy sources. For many environmental activists, coal represents an old, dirty source of power, but for coal-mining communities around the country, the story is different.

Continue Reading

A Difficult Path for Clean Coal

A Difficult Path for Clean Coal

Coal generates half of all the electricity in the U.S. It’s also the biggest source of global-warming emissions and other air pollution. The coal industry says the answer is not to phase out coal, but instead to produce “clean coal.” Anne Glausser of QUEST Ohio reports on the difficult path for clean coal.

Continue Reading

Mercury Rises on Coal Costs

Mercury Rises on Coal Costs

Half of the airborne mercury pollution in the US comes from coal-fired power plants. After years of study and debate, the Environmental Protection Agency is planning to announce new limits on mercury from coal plants in November. Meanwhile, utilities are scrambling to meet other new federal regulations and industry groups are asking the government to slow down.

Continue Reading

As Renewables Boom, California Struggles to Quit Coal

As Renewables Boom, California Struggles to Quit Coal

California is known for its "green" reputation, so it might be a surprise that residents in Southern California still depend on coal power when they turn on the lights.

Continue Reading

Climate Change Could Mean Cloudy Future for Lake Tahoe

Climate Change Could Mean Cloudy Future for Lake Tahoe

Over the last 15 years, more than a billion dollars has been spent to protect Lake Tahoe's clear waters from runoff and erosion. Now, new threats to lake's clarity are emerging, just as restoration funding is drying up.

Continue Reading

The Lost Lagoon

The Lost Lagoon

Oakland Museum curator Christopher Richard and geologist Janet Sowers function as water detectives, looking for clues of the city’s long-lost aquatic past. Recently, they believe, they solved a mystery that had nagged them for years.

Continue Reading