Cool Green Morning: Wednesday, July 1

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Published on July 1st, 2009  |  Discuss This Article  

We’re starting off the first of the month with some bright innovations — synthetic trees that actually absorb carbon and robot lasers that can map the ocean floor. What more could you ask for? Oh, just resolution of the Exxon Valdez oil spill (finally) and coastal restoration projects that will create green jobs. Read on for today’s top Cool Green News.

  1. Yesterday NOAA announced project recipients of their $167 million in economic stimulus funding for coastal restoration. The Nature Conservancy has eight projects on the list, including $6 million to restore shorelines in Hawai’i.
  2. Remember the Exxon Valdez? The case against Exxon for damages in their 1989 oil spill has been lingering in the courts — until now. The oil company has decided not to appeal further and will pay out $470 million in interest to Alaska natives, fishermen, business owners and others. (Hat-tip: Environmental Economics.)
  3. Could synthetic trees actually help climate change by soaking up carbon? Doesn’t sound plausible, but a professor from Columbia University has developed a prototype synthetic tree that absorbs 1,000 times the carbon of a natural tree. (Hat-tip: Treehugger.)
  4. The most complete map of Earth’s terrain has been published — the new Global Digital Elevation Map covers 99 percent of the Earth’s surface, with each point mapped at just 30 meters apart. The map will be free to download and use, reports the BBC.
  5. And let’s not forget about mapping the depths of the sea… marine researchers are working on a new system of robot lasers to map the bottom of the ocean floor. The hope is that these new lasers will be able to identify hazardous objects (such as mines) and gather information about threatened coral reef habitats.
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