Crippled Cruise Ship, Costa Concordia, Haunts Italians of Giglio

Sergio Ortelli, the mayor of the tiny, idyllic island of Giglio, about 12 miles off Italy’s Tuscany coast, has become a maritime salvage expert since the massive Costa Concordia cruiseliner crashed onto his island’s shores the night of January 13, 2012. The island’s permanent population is just under 900, and when the Concordia capsized with 4,229 passengers and crew on board, the wave of humanity that poured onto the island sent the residents into a state of shock they have not yet recovered from.

Since then, more than 500 salvage workers have taken over the place, in an 18-month scramble to reinforce the damaged hulk, free it from the underwater rocks it is snagged on and float it away. They are scheduled to pull the ship free in the next few weeks. If the operation goes well it will be the greatest success in the history of maritime salvage. But if a single thing goes wrong, the boat will tear apart or sink whole, causing an environmental disaster (see “Refloating the Wrecked Costa Concordia Cruise Ship Could Ruin Marine Sanctuary” ). Either way, the island and its people will never be the same, because the bloody night of the accident and the occupation since then have left an indelible mark. “How can we forget the survivors who looked to us for help, or the families who came to get the bodies of their loved ones?” Ortelli asks.

Written by Barbie Latza Nadeau. To read the full article, click here.

Renewable energy is clean, cheap and here – what’s stopping us?

The report from the Committee on Climate Change arguing that investing in renewable energy would eventually save consumers a lot of money is spot on.

We are regularly told by conventional utility companies, many politicians and commentators that energies such as solar and wind are hopelessly expensive and reliant on enormous subsidy.

But this is simply wrong. Renewables have seen such dramatic price falls in the past few years that they are threatening to upset the world as we know it and usher in an almost unprecedented boom in the spread of cheap, clean, home-produced energy.

Solar will be the cheapest form of power in many countries within just a few years. In places such as California and Italy it has already reached so-called “grid parity”. Onshore wind, on a piece of land not constrained by years of planning delays, is already the cheapest form of energy on earth. These are not wild claims – those are figures from General Electric, Citibank and others.

Written by Ashley Seager. To read the full article, click here