China set record number of patent applications in 2014, topping US and Japan combined

In a numbers- and graphs-rich survey that’s aimed at pinpointing the state of play worldwide in patents and trademarks, as well as more specific areas like industrial design and “plant variety” applications, the Geneva-based body said China’s patents increased by 12.5 percent in 2014 to 928,000. China’s total outstripped the combined total emanating from the U.S. and Japan. Continue reading

Why the California water crisis will lead to a housing collapse, municipal bankruptcies and a mass exodus of climate refugees

(NaturalNews) The only proof you need that many Californians are still living in a water fairy tale is the fact that California real estate prices haven’t yet collapsed. Even as the California Governor has declared a state of emergency — and emergency water rationing is under way — there are still people purchasing commercial and residential real estate in precisely the areas that will be hardest hit by that rationing.

What is the value of a home or business that has no functioning connection to a water system? Essentially ZERO.

How many California homes and businesses are headed for a zero-water future? Many millions. Continue reading

For Drinking Water in Drought, California Looks Warily to Sea

CARLSBAD, Calif. — Every time drought strikes California, the people of this state cannot help noticing the substantial reservoir of untapped water lapping at their shores — 187 quintillion gallons of it, more or less, shimmering so invitingly in the sun.

Now, for the first time, a major California metropolis is on the verge of turning the Pacific Ocean into an everyday source of drinking water. A $1 billion desalination plant to supply booming San Diego County is under construction here and due to open as early as November, providing a major test of whether California cities will be able to resort to the ocean to solve their water woes. Continue reading

Germany Considers Coal Phase Out

In 2011, Germany decided to shut down its nuclear reactors within a decade, a bold response in the aftermath of the Fukushima meltdown. The so-called energiewende – or energy transition – is an audacious plan to rapidly switch from large baseload nuclear power to renewable energy, primarily from solar and wind.

A second energy transition is being considered in Berlin. The German government is negotiating with utilities to close coal-fired power plants in order to slash carbon emissions by 22 million tons by 2020, according to Reuters. That could lead to the closure of 8 gigawatts of coal capacity. Continue reading