ENN rounds up the most important and compelling environmental news stories of the week. In the news June 5th - June 9th: The "greening" of corporate America, paving the Amazon, extracting oil from sand, the shrinking Dead Sea, and much more.
The Week's Top Ten Articles
In the news June 5th - June 9th: The "greening" of corporate America, paving the Amazon, extracting oil from sand, the shrinking Dead Sea, and much more.
1. Is Corporate America Going Green?
Corporate America, which once dismissed fears about global warming as unfounded, appears to be changing its mind, publicly acknowledging its influence on climate change and striving for a greener image.
2. Japan Plans New Pro-Whalers Group to End Hunting Ban
Japan plans a new group for nations that support commercial whaling in a bid to end a 20-year ban on the activity, officials said, reiterating threats to leave the International Whaling Commission if it didn't lift the ban.
3. Bank of America to Offer Incentives to Buy Hybrids
Driving a hybrid car already means free parking at meters in one Connecticut city and reserved parking spots near the front door of a New Hampshire company. Now, some Bank of America Corp. employees will receive $3,000 cash if they buy one of the fuel-efficient vehicles.
4. Brazil OKs Paving Amazon Road on Environment Day
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva gave the green light Monday to paving a controversial road through the Amazon rainforest, benefiting farmers and worrying environmentalists.
5. Construction on World's Largest Solar Power Plant Starts in Southern Portugal
U.S. energy companies GE Energy and PowerLight Corporation, and Portuguese renewable energy company Catavento began building the world's largest solar power plant on Tuesday. The 11-megawatt solar power plant, comprising 52,000 photovoltaic modules, is being built in one of Europe's sunniest areas in Serpa, 200 kilometers (124 miles) southeast of Lisbon.
6. Canada Wrests Oil from Sands, but at What Cost?
Canada's vast oil sands, the biggest source of oil outside Saudi Arabia, don't give up their riches easily. Mining the earth for molasses-like bitumen that can be turned to oil involves clearing vast swaths of land, stripping off layers of soil and digging out lake-sized holes with giant shovels that scoop up to 56 cubic yards of material a swing.
7. U.S. Envoy Urges Hong Kong Businesses to Lead on Pollution
The U.S. envoy to Hong Kong pressed businesses on Tuesday to take urgent action against a worsening air pollution "crisis" in the territory and not wait for governments to come up with a solution.
8. New Generation of 'Green' Activists at U.S. Colleges
The new face of the U.S. environmental movement might well be Thomas Hand, who studied economics and auto repair at Vermont's Middlebury College, the better to refit cars to run on used vegetable oil instead of fossil fuel.
9. Shrinking Dead Sea Faces Fight to Survive
The Dead Sea, the lowest point on the Earth's surface, is shrinking as its salty waters rapidly dry up. Too salty to sustain life, the Sea is a draw for tourists who come to float in its greasy-feeling buoyant brine. Devotees also believe its waters and the mud at the margins are good for the skin.
10. Exxon Pushes Kinder, Gentler Face to Win Hearts
Never one to hog the popularity rankings since the 1989 Valdez oil spill in Alaska, Exxon Mobil Corp., the world's largest public oil company, has for years dealt with a barrage of criticism. But the controversy over gasoline topping $3 a gallon, its $36 billion profit last year and a large pay package for a former CEO has recently turned the normally reclusive company into one pitching a consumer-friendly image.
Photo: A gentle dugong, or Sea Cow, near Okinawa, Japan. Photo © Greenpeace Japan.