ENN rounds up the most important and compelling environmental news stories of the week. In the news September 18th - 22nd: Funding the war on warming, food safety revisited, tainted sludge, population and water scarcity, and much more.
Top Ten Articles of the Week
In the news September 18th - 22nd: Funding the war on warming, food safety revisited, tainted sludge, population and water scarcity, and much more.
1. Branson Commits $3 Billion to Fight Global Warming
Billionaire Virgin Group Chairman Richard Branson Thursday committed an estimated $3 billion over the next 10 years, or all of the profits from his airline and rail businesses, to combating global warming. Branson's announcement came one day after the Bush administration said it was committing $3 billion to climate technology research and development.
2. E. Coli Outbreak Mystifies Investigators
U.S. food safety regulators said Thursday they were still mystified by an outbreak of E. coli that has killed one person, sickened 157 and forced all fresh spinach to be pulled from store shelves. The investigation centers on nine farms in three California counties, and the outbreak may signal a need for tighter regulation.
3. California Sues Carmakers over Global Warming
California sued six of the world's largest automakers over global warming Wednesday, charging that greenhouse gases from their vehicles have caused billions of dollars in damages. The lawsuit is the first of its kind to seek to hold manufacturers liable for the damages caused by their vehicles' emissions, state Attorney General Bill Lockyer said.
4. Study Finds Drugs, Chemicals in Sewage Sludge
Promoted as a great way to dispose of treated waste, the sewage sludge sold to homeowners to spray on their lawns and gardens may also be adding drugs, flame retardants and other chemicals to the landscape, according to a study.
5. U.S. Judge Rejects Bush Rule on Logging Roads
In a setback for the Bush administration, a federal judge rejected a rule that allowed logging roads in national forests and reinstated environmental protections put in place by former President Clinton. Environmental groups, including some that were plaintiffs in the case against the U.S. Agriculture Department and Forest Service, hailed the decision.
6. World Water Demand Surging Due to Rising Population
Surging demand for irrigation to grow crops for food and biofuels will add to pressure on water supplies in a world where one in three people already suffer from shortages. The U.N.-backed International Water Management Institute issued an assessment of world water resources in late August based on the work of 700 researchers.
7. Schwarzenegger, Bloomberg Team on Climate Change
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg agreed Thursday to work together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions because the Republicans said they cannot wait for the Bush administration to take action on climate change.
8. Eco-Paradises in Crossfire of Water Scarcity Fight
Delicate wetlands, coasts and wildlife sanctuaries could be ravaged as part of a struggle to stretch the world's water supplies, with the worst damage foreseen in poor countries. Achim Steiner, executive director of the U.N. Environment Programme, said precious ecosystems may be targeted as a fresh water source if scarcity becomes acute.
9. Bumps on the Road for U.S. Ethanol Vehicles
Driving flex-fuel sports utility vehicles on E85 15,000 miles (24,000 km) a year can cost consumers an additional $400 per year, according to the Department of Energy. Experts doubt that E85 will ever develop into more than a niche market, meaning many of the millions of flex fuel vehicles in the United States may rarely run on the corn fuel, if at all.
10. Fish Used to Detect Terror Attacks
A type of fish so common that practically every American kid who ever dropped a fishing line and a bobber into a pond has probably caught one is being enlisted in the fight against terrorism. San Francisco, New York, Washington and other big cities are using bluegills -- also known as sunfish or bream -- as a sort of canary in a coal mine to safeguard their drinking water.
Photo: An aerial view of the Amazon Forest in Brazil. Credit: ©Greenpeace/Daniel Beltra.