Push to build "green" homes picks up steam
November 1, 2007 12:11 PM - Karen Jacobs, Reuters
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Soaring energy costs and increased concern about the environment are spurring builders to step up building homes that use less energy and water. More than 30 affordable homes being built this week during a Habitat for Humanity project in Los Angeles include materials designed to reduce energy costs and save the new homeowners money. "Green building certainly is becoming more mainstream within the affordable housing community," said Ted Bardacke, senior program associate with Global Green USA, an environmental group that works with housing developers.
Galaxy Warriors toys sold at Family Dollar recalled
October 31, 2007 03:27 PM - Reuters
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - About 380,000 "Galaxy Warriors" toy figures sold by Family Dollar Stores Inc are being recalled because the surface paints contain excessive levels of lead, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said on Wednesday. The Chinese-made toys, space figures about 4.5 inches tall that come accessories, were sold at Family Dollar stores throughout the United States from January 2006 through October 2007 and distributed by Henry Gordy International Inc, the agency said.
Merkel asks India to do more on climate change
October 30, 2007 04:01 PM - Y.P. Rajesh, Reuters
NEW DELHI - German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged India, one of the world's biggest polluters, to do more to combat climate change on Tuesday, saying her country was willing to help New Delhi make progress. Merkel, a former environment minister who has pushed global warming to the top of her international agenda, said rich nations and emerging economies needed to strike a balance over the amount of responsibility they need to shoulder to prevent climate change and not fight over it. "We have to prove that we are willing to strike a balance," Merkel told business leaders in New Delhi during a four-day visit to India. "Multilateral agreements are of the essence."
Honduras finds radioactive material in container
October 29, 2007 11:11 PM -
TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) - Honduras authorities have found strong traces of radioactive material in a Hong Kong-bound shipping container carrying steel debris from an Atlantic coast port, officials said on Monday.
During a security scan on Sunday, officials detected high readings of radioactivity emanating from the container at the Puerto Cortes port, 115 miles north of Honduras' capital, Tegucigalpa.
"We immediately declared an alert and have seized the container for inspection," Edwin Araque, the manager of Honduras' port authority, said on Monday.
New York may join crackdown on plastic bags
October 29, 2007 10:57 PM - Edith Honan, Reuters
NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York City may follow an international trend and crack down on plastic shopping bags, seeking to cut their use with a plan officials hope will be a model for other cities.
A proposal introduced on Monday requires stores larger than 5,000 square feet to set up an in-store recycling program and sell reusable bags.
Some 700 food stores plus large retailers such as Target and Home Depot would have to collect used bags and provide a system for turning them over to a manufacturer or to third-party recycling firms.
U.S. consumer group flags more toys with lead
October 29, 2007 07:23 PM -
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Dishes, toys, jewelry and backpacks that have not yet been recalled all carry "worrisome" levels of lead, the nonprofit Consumers Union said on Monday.
The group's Consumer Reports magazine staff recommended that people immediately stop using some of the products tested.
"Our lab tests detected lead at widely varying levels in samples of dishware, jewelry, glue stick caps, vinyl backpacks, children's ceramic tea sets and other toys and items not on any federal recall list," the group wrote in a magazine report.
German carmakers blast motorway speed limit idea
October 29, 2007 11:27 AM -
HAMBURG, Germany (Reuters) - Imposing a standard speed limit of 130 kph (80 mph) on German motorways would have scant impact on the environment and only hurt domestic carmakers, the country's VDA auto industry group said on Monday.
"Such fixed speed limits would be an ecological zero-sum game and would damage the German auto sector," VDA President Matthias Wissmann said in a statement to Reuters.
Germany is unusual in that stretches of its motorways still have no speed limit, and the country's influential car industry has lobbied hard against any national rules.
U.S. Air Force Turns to Alternative Fuel, Slashing CO2
October 27, 2007 11:44 AM - Jim Wolf, Reuters
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The world's most powerful air force is seeking to wean itself from foreign oil and nearly zero out its carbon dioxide output as part of a sweeping alternative energy drive, a senior Pentagon official said on Friday.
By early 2011, the U.S. Air Force aims to make sure its entire fleet of bombers, fighters, transports and other aircraft can use a domestically produced 50-50 blend of synthetic and petroleum-based fuel.
William Anderson, an assistant Air Force secretary, said the goal was to reduce energy demand, look for cleaner power sources and to reuse captured carbon commercially, for instance to enhance the growth of biofuels or improve oil well production.
"We can get ourselves very close to a zero carbon footprint," said Anderson ahead of talks on the issue with counterparts in Britain and France next month.
"Not today. Not tomorrow. But maybe a decade or so down the road," he told a briefing at the State Department's Foreign Press Center.
Green Savings are in the Bag
October 26, 2007 05:51 PM -
GUILDFORD, England, October 26/PRNewswire/ -- An innovative new range of reusable supermarket shopping bags has been launched to help shoppers reduce their consumption of disposable plastic carrier bags, estimated to be 220 per year for every shopper. The launch comes as London considers a tax or even a complete ban on disposable plastic bags in the capital.
Geccobags.co.uk argue that small lifestyle changes by large numbers of people can have a major impact in reducing waste and the creation of carbon, the main cause of global warming. The Geccobag, which holds the equivalent of three plastic carrier bags, opens out to clip inside a supermarket trolley. This, say the makers, not only cuts the average shopper's consumption of plastic carrier bags, but also reduces customer checkout time by up to 20%, making for a less stressful shopping experience. "The majority of plastic carrier bags go straight to landfill. Although these make up only a small percentage of total plastic waste, tackling the issue will help raise people's awareness of wider issues surrounding our unsustainable 'throw away' society", says Geccobags managing director Georgina Tuson-Little.
Dutch car wins Australia's outback solar race
October 26, 2007 12:44 PM -
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Dutch solar car Nuna4 won the 20th World Solar Challenge, a 3,000 km (1,864 mile) race through the Australian outback, race officials said on Friday.