ENN rounds up the most important and compelling environmental news stories of the week. In the news July 30th - August 3rd: Solar power, pigeons on the pill, a sailboat odyssey, leopards in peril, and much more.
Top Ten Articles of the Week
In the news July 30th - August 3rd: Solar power, pigeons on the pill, a sailboat odyssey, leopards in peril, and much more.
1. Senators Line Up Behind Economy-Wide Approach to Slow Global Warming
Senators are lining up behind a carbon trading plan to slow global warming, with the aim of cutting 70 percent of U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by 2050. The approach draws on the United Nations' Kyoto Protocol, the controversial system begun in 2005 but rejected by President Bush. That accord has produced little overall reduction in greenhouse gases but has enriched some traders with huge profits.
2. The Double Standard on Trading Contaminated Chinese and U.S. Consumer Products
The dangers of cheap Chinese exports of contaminated consumer products has received extensive media coverage, besides the formation of a Cabinet-level Product Safety Panel. These exports include personal care products, such as toothpaste contaminated with the anti-freeze diethylene glycol, honey contaminated with dangerous antibiotics, and food contaminated with banned drugs, pesticides and carcinogens. In contrast, Congress and the media remain silent on the export of dangerous U.S. consumer products, besides their decades-old domestic sale.
3. Cloudy Germany Unlikely Hotspot for Solar Power
It rains year round in Germany. Clouds cover the skies for about two-thirds of all daylight hours. Yet the country has managed to become the world's leading solar power generator. Even though millions of Germans flee their damp, dark homeland for holidays in the Mediterranean sun, 55 percent of the world's photovoltaic (PV) power is generated on solar panels set up between the Baltic Sea and the Black Forest.
4. Hollywood Pigeons to Be Put on the Pill
Hollywood residents believe they've found a humane way to reduce their pigeon population and the messes the birds make: the pill. Over the next few months a birth control product called OvoControl P, which interferes with egg development, will be placed in bird food in new rooftop feeders.
5. Sailboat Island Odyssey Has Grim Message for Earth
Alarmed at climate change and environmental destruction, photographer Jeff Barbee set out to sail half way across the Atlantic and chronicle the slow death of species on some of the most remote islands on Earth. Despite having barely sailed before, Barbee got himself a berth on a racing yacht from Cape Town to St Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean, posting blogs, pictures and video on his Website www.jeffbarbee.com via satellite phone along the way.
6. Poaching, Encroachment Threaten India's Leopards
India's leopards are under threat, with increasing numbers of the wild cats being poached for their body parts and villagers killing them for straying into human settlements, experts said. With tiger populations dwindling in recent years as a result of poaching, wildlife officials say hunters have increasingly set their sights on leopards, killing them for their skins as well as bones, claws and penises for use in traditional Asian medicines.
7. Scientists Use Satellites to Track Endangered Macaws
Scarlet macaws threatened by illegal poachers and land invaders who slash and burn their jungle habitat in Guatemala now have scientists watching out for them from space. Researchers recently fit two of the red, yellow and blue-plumed parrots with satellite collars that send to computers information about their movements through the thick canopy of trees in northern Guatemala and southern Mexico.
8. New Material Can Soak up Pollutants, Study Shows
A new porous material can soak up heavy metals from liquids like a sponge, U.S. researchers say, offering a host of potential uses including removing pollutants such as mercury or lead from water. The material is an aerogel, a type of rigid foam made from a gel in which most of the liquid has been replaced by gas.
9. White House Threatens Veto of $20 Billion Water Projects Bill, Says It's Too Costly
President Bush will veto a $20 billion water projects bill unless lawmakers remove the billions added for new plants and new costs shifted onto the federal government, the White House said Wednesday. "Indeed, it seems a $14 billion Senate bill went into a conference with the House's $15 billion bill and somehow a bill emerged costing approximately $20 billion," complained Rob Portman, the White House budget director, and John Paul Woodley Jr., the Army's assistant secretary of civil works.
10. Paris Woos Cyclists as Free Bike Scheme Takes Off
This year's Tour de France may have been ruined by doping scandals but a new city bike scheme has ensured two-wheeled transport has rarely been more popular on the streets of the French capital. The "Velib" -- short for "free bike" -- programme launched in Paris this month has been a runaway success for Mayor Bertrand Delanoe, allowing thousands of Parisians and visitors to leave their cars at home to pedal to work or to the shops.