In the Trenches for Clean Water
January 16, 2008 09:26 AM - Saul Garlick, Global Policy Innovations Program
Water, our most basic need, is poised to be the most baffling challenge of the 21st century. It is being ignored wantonly at a time when more than 1 million people per year die from its scarcity and contamination. Children under age five account for at least 90 percent of water-related deaths. Meanwhile, economic productivity and educational opportunities are lost to illness, leaving millions more in an impoverished state even if they do survive their first five years of life. Access to water is a human right. Yet that statement makes many people uncomfortable. Most in the developed world can hardly imagine water being anything more than a nominal expense that is easily drawn from a faucet. They think, "Surely it is a commodity to be bought and sold. It hardly costs anything, and it is even reusable, so what's the big deal?"
Air pollution at historic highs in China's Guangdong
January 15, 2008 11:37 PM - Reuters
HONG KONG (Reuters) - Air pollution in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong increased markedly last year, with 27 major cities and counties suffering a record number of hazy days, Xinhua news agency said on Wednesday. China's industrial heartland of Guangdong, which borders Hong Kong, recorded an average of 75.7 days of haze in 2007, the highest level since the Communists came to power in 1949 and a "marked increase" over normal years, according to a new report released by Guangdong's meteorological bureau, Xinhua said.
Is Plastic Making Us Fat?
January 15, 2008 05:54 PM - , Organic Consumers Association
Being fat has long been seen as a personal problem, fixed only by struggling against the proliferation of fast food restaurants, unlucky genes, and a sedentary life. But could something in the environment also be making Americans fat in epidemic numbers?
Greenland suffers from extreme ice melt
January 15, 2008 10:32 AM - University of Sheffield
An international team of scientists, led by Dr Edward Hanna at the University of Sheffield, has demonstrated that recent warm summers have caused the most extreme Greenland ice melting in 50 years. The new research provides further evidence of a key impact of global warming and helps scientists place recent satellite observations of Greenland's shrinking ice mass in a longer-term climatic context.
Auto Companies Need to Work Together on Battery Technology
January 15, 2008 10:29 AM - , Big Green Purse
Plug-in hybrids - PHEVs - could revolutionize the impact cars have on the environment...if only they had the right battery. General Motors, Toyota, and other auto manufacturers hope to put their first plug-ins on sales floors by the year 2010. When they do, all you'll have to do is plug your vehicle into a regular 120-volt electrical socket, charge the car for several hours overnight, and drive away. You won't need a single drop of gasoline! In fact, because electricity is cheaper than gasoline, the fuel cost is expected to be the equivalent of less than $1/gallon of gas.
China’s Plastic Bag Ban Likely to Change Consumer Habits
January 15, 2008 10:04 AM - , Worldwatch Institute
The State Council, China’s cabinet, recently issued a directive banning the production of ultra-thin plastic bags for environmental reasons. The ruling also prohibits shops, supermarkets, and sales outlets nationwide from handing out free plastic bags starting on June 1, according to China News Agency. The imposition of fees on plastic bag usage is likely to influence consumer behavior in China and bring environmental benefits in the coming years.
EU lawmakers seek more time for car CO2 cuts
January 15, 2008 09:24 AM - Reuters
Automakers should be given more time to cut carbon dioxide emissions from their cars under legislation proposed by the European Union's executive arm, EU lawmakers said on Tuesday. In a non-binding report, the European Parliament said manufacturers should reduce the average level of car C02 emitted to 125 grams per km by 2015, rather than to 120 grams by 2012 as proposed by the European Commission last month.
Germans and Spain warn EU on renewables plan
January 15, 2008 08:32 AM - Reuters
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Germany and Spain have warned the European Commission that an ambitious plan to boost the use of renewable energy sources, due to be unveiled next week, could be counter-productive and wreck existing successful schemes.
China warns of faulty dams danger, plans repairs
January 15, 2008 06:23 AM - Reuters
Just under half of China's nearly 90,000 dams are dangerously unstable and need urgent repair, the government said on Tuesday, unveiling a three-year plan to do just that costing 27 billion yuan ($3.7 billion). "Over the last several years, dams have had a very important effect on socio-economic development," Deputy Water Resources Minister Jiao Yong told a meeting carried live on central government Web site www.gov.cn.
Court ruling due in Total French oil spill trial
January 14, 2008 12:50 PM - Reuters
PARIS (Reuters) - A French court is due to deliver a ruling on Wednesday on the 1999 sinking of the tanker Erika, a case in which oil giant Total is accused of responsibility for one of France's worst environmental disasters. Total, which chartered the tanker, has denied responsibility for a spill that poured 20,000 tons of toxic fuel oil into the sea, polluted 400 km (250 miles) of coastline and killed tens of thousands of sea birds.