GE hopes to cut mercury in "green" light bulbs
October 24, 2007 05:22 PM - Timothy Gardner,
NISKAYUNA, New York (Reuters) - General Electric Co is working to cut the amount of mercury in energy-saving fluorescent lightbulbs which have soared in popularity.
Residents and businesses are buying up compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) because they reduce power bills as well as emissions of carbon dioxide, the main gas blamed for global warming. CFLs use only one-fourth to one-fifth the energy of incandescent bulbs producing the same light and can last 10 years.
The corkscrew-shaped devices are made by many companies and on average contain about 5 milligrams of mercury, a toxic metallic element, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Five milligrams is tiny amount, about the size of the tip of a ballpoint pen, and much less than the amount that was held in old thermometers. But with sales of CFLs hitting 150 million units last year, and more expected this year, some scientists and environmentalists are worried that most of the bulbs are ending up in landfills instead of being recycled.
Conoco unit pleads guilty to hiding Alaska spill
October 24, 2007 04:48 PM -
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - A shipping company owned by ConocoPhillips' pleaded guilty to concealing a 2004 oil spill in the ocean off Alaska and was ordered to pay $2.5 million for the offense, officials said.
Polar Tankers Inc. entered its guilty plea in U.S. District Court on Tuesday and was ordered to pay a $500,000 fine and a $2 million community-service payment to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the U.S. Attorney's office said.
Australian farmers face bankruptcy from drought
October 24, 2007 04:41 PM - Michael Byrnes
WEST WYALONG, Australia (Reuters) - Farmer John Ridley won't be harvesting so much as a bag of wheat this season from fields that stretch to the horizon as Australia's worst drought in 100 years takes its toll on the country's grain belt.
Beneath a cloudless sky, 60-year-old Ridley, a descendant of one of Australia's pioneering farming families, pulls a clump of brittle stubble from the dusty earth.
"It should be this high, waving green in the breeze," he says. "Farmers are in a stunned state at the moment. In a state of disbelief, shock, helplessness."
Ridley's farm is in the epicenter of devastation from the drought, about 500 kilometers (310 miles) west of Sydney. Prime wheat growing territory, the district normally grows much of the wheat that makes Australia the world's second-biggest exporter. Yet this year the district will produce almost nothing.
Fires create electricity 'island' in San Diego
October 24, 2007 04:01 PM - Bernie Woodall
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - California wildfires created an electricity "island" of San Diego County on Wednesday as one major power transmission link to the U.S. West grid was shut and the other flickering on and off, said San Diego Gas & Electric Co.
This makes the San Diego area susceptible to major blackouts unless customers conserve power, said Michael Niggli, chief operating officer of SDG&E.
San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders implored residents to cut power use.
"You've got to conserve today. You have no choice," Sanders said.
About 20,000 homes and businesses were without power late Wednesday morning, down from 33,000 on Tuesday, SDG&E spokeswoman Rachel Laing said.
2000 Year Old California Redwood's Fate In Mediators Hands
October 24, 2007 10:05 AM - Erwin Seba, Reuters
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (Reuters) - A U.S. bankruptcy judge in Texas said on Tuesday he would appoint a mediator to try to hammer out a deal on the fate of 29,000 acres of giant, 2,000-year-old California redwood trees, which environmentalists and loggers battled over in the 1990s.
U.S. Judge Richard Schmidt expressed frustration at the slow pace Maxxam Inc. subsidiary Pacific Lumber Co. was moving since filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January.
Schmidt issued his decision on Tuesday night in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for Southern District of Texas at Corpus Christi after a daylong hearing.
"I'm going to put this on short-fuse mediation," Schmidt said.
New Ocean Threats Underline Need for Urgent Action to Protect the High Seas
October 24, 2007 09:04 AM - ICUN
Marine policy experts today warned that a crisis situation is developing in oceans that will require urgent measures and stronger international law to avoid catastrophic declines in ocean productivity
IUCN Partners Work to Change the Climate Outlook
October 24, 2007 08:49 AM - ICUN
Representatives of overseas development agencies, foundations, multilateral environmental agreements, and corporations all pooled their expertise and ideas yesterday, over how IUCN can be most effective in the battle against climate change. They gathered at IUCN’s headquarters for the annual conference of partners. This is a valuable opportunity for partner organizations to learn more about the work of IUCN, progress made, challenges ahead, and to guide its work programme.
Development Projects Threaten Bulgarianâ€™s Largest National Park
October 24, 2007 08:05 AM - WWF
California wildfires burn through the night
October 23, 2007 08:19 AM - Dana Ford -Reuters
Wildfires burned unchecked on Tuesday in Southern California from Santa Barbara to the Mexican border, with hundreds of thousands of people forced to evacuate, at least 700 homes destroyed, and little hope for relief from the hot desert winds fanning the flames.
The National Weather Service said "strong and damaging winds" will continue near Los Angeles through mid-afternoon, and high wind warnings may be issued for some areas Tuesday night. In San Diego, the hot, dry winds fanning the flames were expected through Wednesday.
California wildfires force 250,000 to evacuate
October 22, 2007 04:14 PM - Dan Whitcomb, Reuters
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Fast-moving wildfires raged across Southern California on Monday, forcing at least 250,000 people to flee their homes and destroying hundreds of buildings as desperate fire officials called for help from other states.
More than a dozen separate fires, driven by dry, gale-force Santa Ana winds, burned out of control across the drought-stricken southern half of the state, charring an estimated 200,000 acres, killing at least one person and injuring a number of others.
"It's a tragic time for California," said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who declared a state of emergency in seven California counties.
The fires also forced closures of major state highways, schools and businesses and sent plumes of thick black smoke drifting across much of the state, blotting out the sun.