ENN Weekly: February 12th - 16th

ENN rounds up the most important and compelling environmental news stories of the week. In the news February 12th - 16th: Rising seas and poverty, the wildlife black market, tracking sea creatures, toxic Valentines, and much more.

Top Ten Articles of the Week

In the news February 12th - 16th: Rising seas and poverty, the wildlife black market, tracking sea creatures, toxic Valentines, and much more.

1. Cut-Flower Industry Relies on Heavy Pesticide Use
It's probably the last thing most people think about when buying roses. But by the time the velvety, vibrant-colored flowers reach a Valentine's Day buyer, they will have been sprayed, rinsed and dipped in a battery of potentially lethal chemicals.

2. Green Buildings Need More Incentives in U.S.
When it opens next year, the 54-story Bank of America Tower in New York will be the most environmentally friendly office building in the United States. The building is the latest in a trend toward office buildings that use less energy and cause less global warming. But developers say that trend is being held back by insufficient government support.

3. Gore Announces Star-Studded Concerts on Climate Change
Al Gore announced on Thursday a series of worldwide concerts to focus on the threat of climate change, with a powerhouse lineup from the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Snoop Dogg to Bon Jovi. The 24-hour event on July 7 is part of a campaign, Save Our Selves -- The Campaign for a Climate in Crisis, that promoters hope will trigger a broad movement to address what the former vice president calls a global climate crisis.

4. Alaska Bears, Walruses Harmed by Oil Work, Lawsuit Claims
A lawsuit filed by a pair of environmental groups claims the federal government has failed to properly protect polar bears and walruses from oil development as it expands on Alaska's North Slope. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, through regulations that allow oilfield work that disturbs bears and walruses, is violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act, said the suit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.

5. Sea Level Rise Could Hit Poor Countries Hard, Study Finds
Even a small rise in the world's sea levels, predicted as a result of global warming, could make environmental refugees of some 56 million people in developing countries, a World Bank economist said Tuesday. If seas rise as little as 39 inches this century, as forecast in some scientific models, one-fourth of the heavily populated Nile Delta in Egypt would be underwater.

6. U.S. Urges Tougher Policing of Wildlife Black Market
A senior U.S. official called on Saturday for better consumer education and tougher policing to combat a multi-billion dollar global black market in wildlife. The illegal trade in animals and plants has grown to more than $10 billion a year, experts say, making it the world's third biggest source of criminal income after drugs and guns.

7. Big Oil Warns Biofuels Will Not Meet U.S. Energy Needs
Top executives in the U.S. oil and electricity industries warned U.S. lawmakers this week against relying solely on biofuels for energy security, calling instead for more domestic drilling, streamlined regulation, and access to foreign reserves.

8. Asian Cities to Generate 1.8 Million Tons of Waste Per Day by 2025
Rapid development, rising personal consumption and inefficient use of resources are producing unprecedented levels of waste in Asia, where cities will generate an estimated 1.8 million tons of garbage per day by 2025, the Asian Development Bank said Thursday.

9. Whaling Activists in Ship Clash, Japan Hosts Meeting
A Japanese whaling ship and protest vessels have collided in the Southern Ocean, with the protesters saying they will next ram a Japanese factory ship, despite Australian calls for them to back off before someone is killed. Japan, which is hosting a meeting of pro-whaling nations on Tuesday to seek changes to the International Whaling Commission, dubbed the anti-whaling protesters as terrorists after the clash late on Monday.

10. Sea Creatures to Be Tracked Electronically
In a modern update of "fish and chips," researchers are planning a worldwide effort to track the movement of sea creatures tagged with tiny electronic devices. Following pilot testing in the north Pacific, the Ocean Tracking Network will expand to the Atlantic, Arctic, Mediterranean and Gulf of Mexico.

Photo: A Zanzibari boatman surveys the early morning waters. A tourist trade based on dolphins has arisen in the southern portion of the Tanzanian island. Reported to be teeming with dolphins, eager tourists travel to the southern waters to hop on early morning boats for a chance to see dolphins in the wild. Photo credit: Jessica Enman, Courtesy of Photoshare.

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