MoJo Author Feeds: Matthew McDermott of TreeHugger | Mother Jones Mother Jones logo en News From TreeHugger: DC Bag Tax Shows Impressive Results <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><em>Editor's Note: </em><em>A weekly roundup from our friends over at <a target="_blank" href="">TreeHugger</a>. Enjoy!</em></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="">Wisconsin Bans Phosphorus in Lawn Fertilizer to Protect Drinking Water and Tourism Industry</a></p> <p>Recognizing the need to protect Wisconsin's lakes and rivers, which support a large and economically important tourism industry, and which provide drinking water for a large portion of Wisconsin's residents, the State no longer allows sale of phosphorus-containing lawn products intended for maintenance (recurring) application. There are exemptions for starting up a new lawn, gardening, and so on, but the bottom line is that retailers and producers are going need to stock no-phosphorus lawn care products.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="">Plastic Bag Use in DC Drops From 22 Million to 3 Million a Month</a></p> <p>Washington DC's 5 cent tax on plastic bags, instated just this past January, has already proven to have a phenomenal impact: the number of plastic bags handed out by supermarkets and other establishments dropped from the 2009 monthly average of 22.5 million to just 3 million in January. While significantly reducing plastic waste, the tax simultaneously generated $150,000 in revenue, which will be used to clean up the Anacostia River.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="">San Francisco is the First City in the US to Count Its Parking Spaces</a></p> <p>t might come as a surprise to some, but pretty much all cities in the U.S. (and the world) have only a vaguest idea of how much parking spaces (public and private) they have. Almost all of them, but now there's a sizeable exception: San Francisco spent the past 18 months counting parking spaces. Total: 441,541 spaces. Over 280,000 on streets, 25,000 of which are metered. Now that this is know, decisions about removing or adding parkings can be informed, and be part of a bigger-picture plan.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="">Peruvian Farmers Happy to Offset West's Carbon</a></p> <p>Peruvian farmers are about to get a windfall--and it's all thanks to the burgeoning carbon offsetting market. Recently, one particular section of Peru was selected to be the site of a massive reforesting operation to offset CO2 emissions of Nestle Waters France over 6 thousand miles away. But, in age where the appearance of environmental responsibility often supersedes actual responsibility, the bottled water company has enlisted the help of France's most well-known environmentalist to head the tree planting project to show that all is on the level--and he insists that Peruvians won't be the only ones to benefit from it.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="">The US May Finally Get a Bigger Gas Tax, But Would It Work?</a></p> <p>The US has long had among the most minuscule taxes of transportation fuels in the developed world--blame it on our deeply ingrained car culture or the plethora of wide open spaces that make transit via automobile seem more like a need than a privilege. Either way, we may finally see a significant bump in the amount consumers pay at the pump&mdash;one of the anticipated provisions in the soon-to-be-released Kerry-Graham-Lieberman energy reform bill is a proposed spike in the national gas tax. But would such a tax accomplish its intended goal of curbing carbon emissions and deterring Americans from relying so heavily on automobiles?</p></body></html> Blue Marble Thu, 01 Apr 2010 16:10:32 +0000 Matthew McDermott of TreeHugger 52111 at News From TreeHugger: Yemeni Capital Out of H20? <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><em>A weekly roundup from our friends over at <a href="" target="_blank">TreeHugger</a>. Enjoy!</em></p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">When It Comes to Green, We Are Hypocrites</a></p> <p>A new study conducted by Yale University and George Mason University shows not only is there a big gap between what Americans believe is the green thing to do and whether they then actually do it, but also that we're going backwards. When asked, "In the coming year do you intend to do this less often, the same, or more often?" in most cases where there is a comparison to 2008, the answer is that fewer people care.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Washington State Eco-Terrorist Bill Could Make Writing for TreeHugger a Criminal Act</a></p> <p>A new bill introduced into the Washington State Senate with the ostensible purpose of "prohibiting terrorists acts against animal and natural resource facilities" is so broadly worded that producing some of the content on TreeHugger could be deemed illegal. Introduced by Senator Val Stevens, with text nearly lifted straight from the American Legislative Exchange Council, the bill would prohibit materials used "in whole or in part to encourage...publicize, promote, or aid" an act of "animal or ecological terrorism.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Sanaa, Yemen to Become World's First Capital City to Run Out of Water</a></p> <p>A Yemeni water trader explains that even though his well is 1,300 ft deep, he's hardly extracting any water at all. The same goes for wells that are 2,000 and even 3,000 ft deep&mdash;in Yemen's mountainous capital city Sanaa, more water is being consumed than produced. Families have reported going without getting access to water for weeks. Sanaa is home to 2 million people, and is growing fast&mdash;but experts say that if trends continue, it could be a ghost town in 20 years. To make matters worse, much of the shortage can be blamed on a nationwide drug habit.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Globally Flared Gas Could Meet One Quarter of US Needs</a></p> <p>Not only is the annually wasted gas worth an estimated $30.6 billion (depending on current market prices) but it is also responsible for 0.5% of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. Natural gas, or methane is a greenhouse gas itself, and a far more potent one at that. Methane's ability to trap heat in the earth's atmosphere is said to be twenty-one times as high as CO2 so simply stopping the practice of flaring and instead releasing the gas into the atmosphere is not the answer.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">The Pros (and Cons) of the Non-CO2 Case for Sustainability</a></p> <p>We need to be careful not to focus entirely on carbon emissions. We must make the case for sustainability as an opportunity to rethink every aspect of our 20th Century infrastructure. Even if someone believes that climate "gate" (anyone else sick of "gates"?) really did expose the biggest and most implausibly intricate conspiracy ever conceived of, it is hard to argue against the fact that America would be better off if it was less dependent on foreign oil, and wasn't reliant on blowing up its mountain tops to create electricity. At the heart of it, sustainability is nothing more than solid, strategic common sense.</p></body></html> Blue Marble Thu, 18 Feb 2010 12:00:00 +0000 Matthew McDermott of TreeHugger 45751 at News From TreeHugger: EPA Slaps Coal Plant With Big Fine, Brazil's Lula Tells Rich World to Clean Up, Texas Gets a New Load of Mercury Waste <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><em>Editor's Note: </em><em>A weekly roundup from our friends over at <a target="_blank" href="">TreeHugger</a>. Enjoy!</em></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="">Kansas Utility Agrees to 500 Million Dollar Penalty for Coal-Fired Power Plant Emission Violations</a></p> <p>The corporate owner of a Kansas coal-fired electricity generation plant has agreed to a half-billion dollar settlement for Clean Air Act non-compliance. Per the EPA news release: Westar Energy to Spend Approximately $500 Million to Settle Clean Air Act Violations. Emissions to be cut by more than 75,000 tons annually. That's roughly 6.7 million dollars per ton of excess pollutants emitted since they first modified their coal-fired plant without proper permit approvals. With the Cheney protectorate gone, they, and many other coal-fireds, have to do what the law long required.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="">US Official Tells Wind-Powered World Bank to Stop Funding Coal Power Plants</a></p> <p>There's all sorts of pot and kettle talk going on in this one. The Times of India reports that US Executive Director at the World Bank Group Whitney Debevoise has written a letter saying the World Bank and other multilateral development banks should stop funding building coal power plants in developing nations; they instead should "remove barriers to and build demand for no or low carbon resources."</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="">World Solar Forum: "Rich Nations, Clean Up Your Mess!"</a></p> <p>Although the venues of the World Social Forum were scattered throughout the city of Porto Alegre, Brazil and the issues ranged from economic injustice to looming environmental catastrophes, the antagonist at each was shared: Capitalism. The highlight of the second day of the Forum was a visit from Brazil's President Lula, who delivered a rousing speech articulating much of what was discussed earlier in the day, vowing that Brazil is prepared to take the lead on Green reform&mdash;and that other nations, particularly the world's biggest polluters, need to make up for the harm they've caused.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="">States Step Up to Defend Endangerment Finding</a></p> <p>Last year, the EPA issued a long awaited set of guidelines on regulating large, stationary sources of CO2. The rules, known as the "Endangerment Finding," used the authority granted to the agency through a Supreme Court ruling that found CO2 to be a pollutant that the EPA could regulate. While environmentalists, especially those skeptical of Congress' ability to regulate CO2, rejoiced, some industry groups protested, filing a lawsuit. Today, 16 states and New York City joined the lawsuit on behalf of the government.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="">Tons of Unwanted Mercury Will Make 40-Year Visit to Texas</a></p> <p>The USDOE prepared a full Environmental Impact Statement as the basis for selecting a site to store tons of mercury which no longer can be legally exported. Now we know what happens to all those old mercury thermometers - off to Texas, where they will be interred at a new facility managed by Waste Control Specialists, LLC, near Andrews.</p></body></html> Blue Marble Thu, 28 Jan 2010 13:00:00 +0000 Matthew McDermott of TreeHugger 41866 at News From TreeHugger: Appalachian Coal's Decline, Easy Nuclear Winter, and Rising Utility Rates <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><em>Editor's Note: </em><em>A weekly roundup from our friends over at <a target="_blank" href="">TreeHugger</a>. Enjoy!</em></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="">Appalachian Coal Set for Big Decline, Protests &amp; High Profile Debates or Not</a></p> <p>Regardless of the outcome of high profile public debate&mdash;viz Waterkeeper Bobby Kennedy Jr v. Dirty Coal Don Blankenship smackdown tomorrow night at the University of Charleston&mdash;or vehement protest from the likes of youth activists to seasoned scientists, Appalachian coal is set for big declines in the coming decades due to market and legislative forces. That's the word from Downstream Strategies' latest report. The solution? Diversify now.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="">Nuclear Winter: Now Easier to Trigger Than Ever (In Short: We'd Be F#%^ed)</a></p> <p>Nuclear weapons are the gift that keeps on giving. We knew they were horrible from the very start, but over the following decades we kept discovering new reasons why they are bad: In the early 1980s, more and more studies showed that a nuclear winter was probable, and this probably helped cool down the cold war. More recently, a study showed that even a small regional nuclear war could create the mother of all ozone holes. But now we learn that even a small regional nuclear war could create our worst nightmare, a nuclear winter lasting about 10 years (!).</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="">Let the Electric Bill Outrage Begin: As a Two-Month Cold Snap Overlaps Disappearing Utility Rate Cap</a></p> <p>Electricity bills are rising steeply all over the USA. In some of the most coal-dependent states, increases are in the 7% to 100% range, and signs of consumer outrage are surfacing. This is before any Cap &amp; Trade for climate protection. A major contributing factor is deregulation of the power industry, initiated by Congress in the free-market fervor of the mid-90's, which called for post-dated phase out of electricity 'rate caps' a.k.a. removal of price controls.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="">How 40 Endangered Sea Eagles Bring in $3 Million a Year to a Small Scottish Island</a></p> <p>Endangered sea eagles have been making a slow but distinct recovery in recent years. The awe-inspiring bird has been successfully breeding in the wild after 25 years of aid from conservationists. While this is certainly good news for the imperiled species, it's also proved to be quite a boon to the Scottish island of Mull, which is home to nearly half of Scotland's sea eagle population--thanks to interest in the eagles and the birds' recovery, Mull is raking in over $3 million annually in a flourishing tourist industry. This is an encouraging figure, because it provides an ideal model of conservation and tourism coexisting happily, and one where there's a distinct monetary benefit for successful conservation.</p></body></html> Blue Marble Thu, 21 Jan 2010 13:00:00 +0000 Matthew McDermott of TreeHugger 39946 at News From TreeHugger: Habeas Corpus in Zoos, Climate Change & Venezuela's Electricity, Trash Picking at Urban Outfitters <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><em>Editor's Note: </em><em>A weekly roundup from our friends over at <a target="_blank" href="">TreeHugger</a>. Enjoy!</em></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="">Are Zoos Prisons? Habeas Corpus Filed for Chimp</a></p> <p>Jimmy is a 26 year old chimpanzee who has spent several years alone in a cage, where he's on exhibit at a zoo in Niter&oacute;i, Brazil, just outside of Rio de Janeiro. Just last week, animal protection groups filed a motion to have Jimmy released on grounds of Habeas Corpus, arguing that he is being denied his rights to freedom of movement and to a decent life, in Rio's Criminal Court.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="">Digging Into Urban Outfitters' Perfectly Good Trash</a></p> <p>The other night around 9.30 pm, I was walking up 14th st. and 6th Ave. when I passed a bunch of boxes next to the trash outside Urban Outfitters. The boxes were all marked "Broken" or "Broken Glass." With my suspicion that their definition of "broken" was different from mine&mdash;and with the <a href="">H&amp;M and Wal-Mart clothing destroying saga</a> fresh in my mind&mdash;I pried one open. Inside were all manner of your typical Urban Outfitters ephemera&mdash;gag notepads, a disco ball, mugs, hipster tchotchkies, even an iPod speaker system. The stuff wasn't brand new&mdash;some of it, like the mugs, was damaged; most of it was just worn or rough around the edges, and totally usable.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="">Possibility of EPA Regulating CO2 Has Big Ag &amp; Energy Scared</a></p> <p>Since the path has been cleared for the EPA to step into the breech and regulate CO2 as a pollutant, even if Congress doesn't think it a worthwhile thing, the possibility has been hanging out there as a trump card. Well, as recent statements by the American Farm Bureau Federation and recent revelations about who's lobbying for Sen. Murkowski's latest EPA hand-tying move show Big Ag and Dirty Energy don't like that possibility one bit.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="">California Mulls Cap-and-Dividend Program - Families Could Get $1000 Back Per Year</a></p> <p>Alternatives to the ascendant cap and trade method of setting a price on carbon and hopefully reducing greenhouse gas emission are slowly building. The California state Economic and Allocation Advisory Committee is reviewing the best way to allocate funds from a carbon mitigation plan set to begin in 2012 and are considering giving most of it straight back to the people&mdash;a cap-and-dividend program.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="">Climate Shifts Contribute to Serious Elecric Power &amp; Water Shortages for Venezuela</a></p> <p>A changing climate in Venezuela resulting in loss of hydroelectric capacity could mean bad news for Florida&mdash;which has a high level of trade with the South American nation&mdash;as Venezuela may have to burn more of it's own oil production simply to meet its own demand for electricity. Of course, Chavez blames the lack of rain, and the resulting fall off in power output, on 'EL Nino' (none of that climate change talk from a major oil producer); but, the fact remains they are in deep trouble with continuing drought.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="">Chinese-Made Children's Jewelry Found to be Mostly Toxic Cadmium</a></p> <p>Who has not heard of the recall of Chinese-made toys and jewelry containing high levels of lead? Which US importers of Chinese-made charm bracelets and such, having learned a lesson the hard way, were simple minded enough to specify only that "no lead" be used in production instead of specifying "no heavy metals" or "no other highly toxic materials?" Several of them, apparently. The story is all over the news now: kids jewelry actually manufactured mostly out of the extremely toxic, elemental cadmium. Why are Chinese manufacturers doing this?</p></body></html> Blue Marble Thu, 14 Jan 2010 14:05:53 +0000 Matthew McDermott of TreeHugger 38301 at News From TreeHugger: More Mountaintop Coal Mines, COP15 a Game-Changer in Israel, N. Dakota Threatens to Sue Minnesota Over CO2 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><em>Editor's Note: </em><em>A weekly roundup from our friends over at <a target="_blank" href="">TreeHugger</a>. Enjoy!</em></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="">Two Democratic Senators Won't Seek Reelection: Bad News For Climate Bill?</a></p> <p>The headlines have been filled with the news that three prominent Democratic politicians&mdash;two of them senators&mdash;won't be seeking reelection in the midterm elections this year. So how might the decisions of Chris Dodd, the well-known senator from Connecticut, and Byron Dorgan, of North Dakota, affect the still-uncertain future of the climate bill? It actually may be a good thing.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="">EPA Approves One New Mountaintop Removal Coal Mine, Finds 'Path Forward' for Second</a></p> <p>Six days into 2010 and the battle over mountaintop removal coal mining is set to start up again. Yesterday afternoon the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it had found "a path forward on two coal mining operations in West Virginia." The two operations are both mountaintop mines, one in Lincoln County, one in Logan County. By early evening green groups, from the establishment to grassroots, denounced the EPA decision.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="">A Dangerous Quid Pro Quo? EPA to Give Up CO2 Regulation for a Clime Bill?</a></p> <p>Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) will soon be allowed to offer an amendment to Senate debt legislation to strip the EPA of its ability, given to it under a Supreme Court decision and the Endangered Species Act, to regulate greenhouse gas emissions for one year. Murkowski, who sits on the powerful Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and is fervently against allowing EPA to cut greenhouse gas emissions, has been pushing the amendment for over a year.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="">Failure Yes. But Copenhagen Still a Game Changer</a></p> <p>Last month's climate change summit in Copenhagen, which inspired so much expectation, seems to have pleased no one. Asked to describe their feelings post-Copenhagen in one word, TreeHugger readers responded with words like "disappointed," "cop-out" and "fail." Many people have described COP15 as a resounding failure, and maybe it was - but maybe not...</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="">Study Finds Cross-Border Cooperation Reduces Conservation Costs by 45%</a></p> <p>Most conservation studies focus on biodiversity, but to be successful in a real-world application, they must also consider the cost of research and protection programs. A new study that looked at conservation programs in the Mediterranean region has found that cross-border cooperation can increase program effectiveness while significantly reducing the expense.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="">North Dakota Threatens Suit Against Minnesota, For Even Thinking About Future Carbon Cost</a></p> <p>Two years ago Minnesota made it a rule that electric utilities and power distributors should plan for future capacity expansions and so on by 'taking into account the possibility of a carbon tax.' Minnesota currently imports a great deal of North Dakota coal as well power generated from North Dakota coal. Thought being that coal-juice could suddenly get more expensive in the future, requiring a rate increase that impacts consumers adversely. The legislature's intent was to plan for one plausible future direction, protective of citizen interests. But the ND Attorney General has chosen to intercede on behalf of Big Coal, saying, in effect, that he is considering a law suit to stop Minnesota planning for a future where the true cost of coal burning is taken into account. Interstate Commerce Clause of Constitution....blah blah blah.</p></body></html> Blue Marble Thu, 07 Jan 2010 12:00:00 +0000 Matthew McDermott of TreeHugger 36272 at News From TreeHugger: COP15 Protesters & the Police Who Beat Them, Best States to be an Animal Abuser, REDD Success in Copenhagen? <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><em>Editor's Note: </em><em>A weekly roundup from our friends over at <a target="_blank" href="">TreeHugger</a>. Enjoy!</em></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="">Whose Summit? Our Summit! Bella Center Erupts in Protest (Slideshow)</a></p> <p>NGO access to the Bella Center has been all but cut off. Friends of the Earth and Avaaz had their accreditation revoked. Nnimmo Bassey, head of FOE Intl, was ejected from the venue. The day before Climate Justice Action's Tadzio M&uuml;ller was arrested preemptively on charges of inciting unrest. This morning marches descended on the Bella Center from locations in central Copenhagen. A bit before noon a group inside the venue began marching outside to meet them. They were turned back at the end of police truncheons.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="">Will the Biggest Success of COP15 be an Anti-Deforestation Deal?</a></p> <p>With expectations getting lowered all over the place, the future of any truly productive results uncertain, and peaceful protests rising up with greater force&mdash;and police using force to beat them back&mdash;the legacy of the COP15 climate talks is entirely up in the air. Right now, many feel that the most successful results of the talks may come in the form of a finalized, global anti-deforestation deal.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="">The Five Best States to be an Animal Abuser</a></p> <p>The the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) has just release a new report that looks at the best and worst U.S. states when it comes to the legal protection of animals against abuse and cruelty. The comparative analysis tells us what are the best states, but also, what are the "best states to be an animal abuser" (their words). What are those 5 states?</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="">Brutal Use of Force on Peaceful Climate Protesters Caught on Tape</a></p> <p>With plenty of coverage focusing on all the protests and demonstrations going on in Copenhagen, it's easy to lose track of the fact that the vast, vast majority of these have been peaceful. But, as this video reveals, the Danish Politti aren't so inclined to take it easy. This pretty brutal use of force was caught on camera, and was employed to push back nonviolent climate protesters.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="">How History's Biggest Climate Change March Almost Got Lost in the Media Smog</a></p> <p>If you were at last Saturday's climate change march&mdash;what's being billed as the biggest rally against climate change in history, you would know like much of the rest of the sideline activity in this cozy city, it was mainly about hope, play and compassionate concern. By the time the march ended&mdash;with a civil candlelight vigil outside the Bella Center&mdash;the greatest violence was registered only in a few broken windows at the foreign ministry. That didn't matter to the mass media, which jumped at the chance to cast the march in tones borrowed from Seattle or Quebec City. That chance came when hundreds of police in full riot gear surrounded hundreds of demonstrators in a pre-emptive strike that resulted in nearly 1,000 arrests of mainly innocent people, only 4 charges, and an untold number of eye-grabbing photos.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="">Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed is an Eco-Rock Star - Brings Down the House in Copenhagen</a></p> <p>"History shows us the power of peaceful protest," Nasheed said. "From the civil rights movement, to Gandhi's Quit India campaign; non-violent protest can create change. Protest worked in the struggle for democracy in the Maldives." Nasheed is the first democratically elected leader of the Maldives. He continued, "My message to you is to continue the protests. Continue after Copenhagen. Continue despite the odds. And eventually, together, we will reach that crucial number: Three - five - oh." Here's the full text of his moving speech.</p></body></html> Blue Marble Thu, 17 Dec 2009 10:36:00 +0000 Matthew McDermott of TreeHugger 33171 at Three Questions: Will the EPA Regulate Greenhouse Gases? Is 100% Renewable Energy by 2030 Possible? Are PETA Really Terrorists?!? <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><span class="inline inline-none"><img width="290" height="60" src="../../../../../../files/images/treehugger_thebestofmotherjones290.png" alt="" title="" class="image image-_original"></span></em> <em>Editor's Note: </em><em>A weekly roundup from our friends over at <a href="" target="_blank">TreeHugger</a>. Enjoy!</em></p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">EPA Petitioned to Regulate CO2 Using Clean Air Act, Cap at 350ppm</a></p> <p>On and off for the past year we've heard statements about how the Environmental Protection Agency could really make an end run around Congressional inaction on climate and set a cap on carbon dioxide emissions though the Clean Air Act. Even Al Gore hinted at it during Climate Week NYC. Well now the Center for Biological Diversity and have petitioned the EPA to do just that.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">USDA Classifies PETA as Terrorist Threat</a></p> <p>PETA is one of the most controversial activist groups operating today. The group's contentious media campaigns, undercover operations, infamous advertising, and high profile demonstrations have made them perhaps the most notorious--and most polarizing--nonprofit organization there is. But are they terrorists? According to the US Department of Agriculture, they are now.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">100% Renewables by 2030: Ambitious Plan or Pipe Dream?</a></p> <p>A recent study by Mark Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University, and Mark Delucchi, a research scientist at the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis, claims that the world could get to 100% renewables by 2030. Considering the immensity of the scale the world's power grids, nobody can't fault these two for lack of vision. But it is realistic, or just something nice to dream about, but without much chances of actually happening?</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">TreeHugger's Interview with Raul Vazquez, CEO of</a></p> <p>Wal-Mart embodies truths and prejudices that reflect our consumer culture. They are a straw-man for a lot of what is wrong. But, especially in recent years, they are a powerful potential leader in trying to be right. Thanks to some networking by our fearless leader, Graham Hill, TreeHugger had an opportunity to speak at some length with Raul Vazquez, CEO of the growing eCommerce powerhouse We hear from his own mouth how will implement the sustainability index being developed in cooperation with respected Universities and NGOs, whether is out to take Amazon down, and how business on-line is developing for the retail giant.</p> <p>Debunking the Great Global Warming Conspiracy Conspiracy</p> <p>One of the strangest things about the ongoing non-controversy over the hacked climate emails is that it's revealed how irrational much of the thinking behind global warming denial really is. It's always been understood that people have fundamental reasons for resisting the idea that man's behavior is causing the climate to change&mdash;especially if they're deeply comfortable with said behavior. But I hadn't realized how many people actually&mdash;I mean really, truly&mdash;believe that climate change is a nefarious conspiracy concocted by elite liberals to... do what, exactly?</p></body></html> Blue Marble Climate Change Energy Renewable Energy Thu, 03 Dec 2009 12:00:00 +0000 Matthew McDermott of TreeHugger 29616 at News From TreeHugger: Condoms to Stop Climate Change, Land Mines Thwarted by Bacteria & Political Peak Oil <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><em>Editor's Note: </em><em>A weekly roundup from our friends over at <a href="" target="_blank">TreeHugger</a>. Enjoy!</em></p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Let's Give Out Free Condoms to Stop Climate Change... Maybe Not as Daft As It Seems</a></p> <p>The latest UN Population Fund report says that an important component in combatting climate change is limiting population growth. But will reigning in population growth really stop climate change? Quickly, in itself, no. Can it help, yes, though the situation is far more complex that a quick-grabby, twitter friendly headline can ever portray it.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Gangsters Go Green! Mafia Tied to Fraudulent Italian Wind Farms - Madagascar 'Timber Mafia' Thriving</a></p> <p>There have been an increasing number of stories coming to light detailing how organized crime syndicates around the world have been getting their dirty little fingers into the green world. The latest: 1) Italian police have arrested two businessmen on fraud charges, linking them with Mafia in wind farm permit fixing schemes; and 2) The government of Madagascar (such as it is) appears to be tied in with what's being called a 'timber mafia', profiting from illegal wood sales largely sent to China:</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Canada's Heartland - Political Peak Oil's First Refuge</a></p> <p>Not long after Obama returns from his Asian tour, expect a lengthy state visit to Canada, with announcements to follow of nuclear power plant development (needed to extract the oil) and carbon dioxide storage tests in Alberta: at Canadian and US taxpayer expense. Then a repeat of NAFTA vows to ensure that there are no added costs for pumping the Alberta extracted crude across the border. If that doesn't work out, and if oil goes back up over US$100/barrel, it's oil shale or bust.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Photo Safaris Potentially More Damaging Than Hunting</a></p> <p>The binary choice is a false one: Properly administered hunting is not detrimental to wildlife populations and without proper management photo safaris collectively, regardless of the individual 'greenness' of individual operations, can have adverse impacts on wildlife.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">The TH Interview: Frances Beinecke, President of Natural Resources Defense Council</a></p> <p>No matter if you're a climate activist or a firm believer in the political process, there's no getting around that the negotiations leading up to next month's COP15 conference have been tough of late. The need to keep pushing for strong and immediate climate action has never been greater -- something which NRDC President Frances Beinecke's just-released book <em>Clean Energy, Common Sense</em>does compellingly -- so, when over the weekend it was de facto officially announced that Copenhagen will just produce a framework for future binding action it seemed the perfect entr&eacute;e for the latest TreeHugger interview:</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Scientists Create Bacteria That Lights Up Around Landmines</a></p> <p>It seems like something straight out of a science fiction film, but this new bacteria is very real. "Scientists produced the bacteria using a new technique called BioBricking, which manipulates packages of DNA." The bacteria is then mixed into a colorless solution, "which forms green patches when sprayed onto ground where mines are buried." The bacterial stew can also be dropped via airplane in extremely sensitive areas.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Study Shows Investing in Nature More Valuable Than Gold (Literally)</a></p> <p>If 'moral prerogative' isn't reason enough to invest in protecting nature, here's another one: it's just been found to bring up to hundredfold return on capital. Yes, that's a potential 10000% gain--better than an investment in gold. According to a new study called The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB), putting money into protecting wetlands, coral reefs, and forests could be the best financial move one could ever make.</p></body></html> Blue Marble Thu, 19 Nov 2009 11:00:00 +0000 Matthew McDermott of TreeHugger 29258 at News From TreeHugger: White House Food Policy, Climate Fasting & Malaria-Proof Wallpaper <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><em>Editor's Note: </em><em>A weekly roundup from our friends over at <a target="_blank" href="">TreeHugger</a>. Enjoy!</em></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="">7 Highlights (and a Few Lowlights) in Food Since President Obama Was Elected</a></p> <p>Just about one year ago, Barack Obama was elected to be the 44th President of the United States. Proclaiming change across the board, Obama swept in to office on a wave of hope and optimism for millions of people, and his mandate for change created some pretty high expectations for fast, meaningful change. Those passionate about food, food safety, and the politics of safe and sustainable food production were certainly among those counting on the President to put his presidency where his promise had been. A year later, this is where we're at.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="">Will the Climate Bill Grant Obama the Powers of Dictator?</a></p> <p>No, no, it won't. I wish this could be a one-word post, but unfortunately, I think I'll have to do some explaining. You see, in one of the odder charges against the now-bipartisan climate bill, Senator David Vitter (R-LA) has taken to saying that it will arm Obama with the powers of a dictator. This, of course, is not the case, but that never stopped these bizarre mutterings from developing into full-fledged talking points.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="">IEA Whistleblowers Say World Oils Stats Deliberately Inflated to Avoid Financial Panic, Appease the US</a></p> <p>World oil reserves are far lower than officially reported, the situation far more serious than publicly admitted, and we're already past peak oil. That's the word from two anonymous IEA whistleblowers. To add insult to industry, the figures were deliberately massaged, at least in part, to appease the United States. Somehow this all seems painfully expected.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="">Will "Green Religion" Save Us or Sink Us?</a></p> <p>To me environmentalism is anything but a matter of faith, but rather a question of sound scientific understanding that material resources. And since the Earth's ability to support life is limited it's in our own self interest to live within our planetary means. But it proves how much attention I've been paying to headlines as a UK court has determined that belief in global warming is indeed akin to a religious or philosophical conviction. Depending on who you talk to, this could either be good for environmentalism, or very, very bad indeed.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="">Pesticide-Soaked 'Wallpaper' Cuts Malaria Exposure, Safer Than Spraying</a></p> <p>To lower mosquito exposure in malaria-prone places there are two basic pesticide use strategies. The half-century old approach is to spray entire towns, as well as the surrounding countryside, with a pesticide such as DDT or pyrethrin. Now comes news of promising results from field trials of carbamate-impregnated polypropylene, non-woven fabric or "sheeting" as it is being called. We're not talking Ralph Lauren wallpaper over drywall...</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="">Climate Justice Fast Begins - Hunger Strike Continues Through End of COP15 Conference</a></p> <p>Calling it a "moral response to an immoral situation" and drawing inspiration from social justice luminaries like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., the organizers of Climate Justice Fast, and a growing list of 150+ supporters from around the world, have begun a hunger strike to last through the end of the COP15 climate change conference on December 18th. Fasters will subsist on water alone for more than 40 days.</p></body></html> Blue Marble Thu, 12 Nov 2009 13:00:41 +0000 Matthew McDermott of TreeHugger 29079 at