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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (links below): U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and Cate Blanchett ask world business leaders to lead the way in Copenhagen; A solar roof for a Taiwan stadium; How the French deal with the nuclear waste problem; "Veggie Day" once a week for Belgian town ... See below for more!
Info/links on stuff we talked about on today's episode, plus MORE green news, all follows below...
- Grist.org: Obama Supreme Court pick has small but solid record on environmental rulings [emphasis added]:
“This is the best Supreme Court nomination in many years,” EarthJustice President Tripp Van Noppen gushed to Grist. “She’s got more judicial experience than any nominee in 70 years, more federal judicial experience than any nominee in 100 years ... She’s very strong in terms of experience.”
“She’s ruled both ways on environmental cases, so it’s not like she’s ideologically committed one way or another, and that’s not what we look for in a judge,” said Van Noppen. “We look for a willingness to be fair in applying the law.”
- How Green is Obama Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor?
- SCOTUSBLOG: Judge Sotomayor’s Appellate Opinions in Civil Cases
- U.S. Gov't: Carbon pollution to grow by 40 per cent
- China ready to cooperate with US on climate change: report
- Harvard study backs bottle concern, Says plastic used leaches BPA:
BPA is used in hundreds of everyday products. It is used to make reusable, hard plastic bottles more durable and to help prevent corrosion in canned goods such as soup and infant formula.
"If you heat those bottles, as is the case with baby bottles, we would expect the levels to be considerably higher," said Karin B. Michels, senior author of the report and associate professor at the School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School. "This would be of concern since infants may be particularly susceptible to BPA's endocrine-disrupting potential," she said.
- FDA relied heavily on BPA lobby --- Regulators actively reached out to industry, e-mails show:
As federal regulators hold fast to their claim that a chemical in baby bottles is safe, e-mails obtained by the Journal Sentinel show that they relied on chemical industry lobbyists to examine bisphenol A's risks, track legislation to ban it and even monitor press coverage.
In one instance, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's deputy director sought information from the BPA industry's chief lobbyist to discredit a Japanese study that found it caused miscarriages in workers who were exposed to it. This was before government scientists even had a chance to review the study.
- Chemical Fallout: A Journal Sentinel Watchdog Report
- Chicago Bans Baby Bottles With BPA Plastic:
Some animal studies have found that BPA apparently accelerates puberty and poses a cancer risk, and, while the issue’s focus has been on the safety of children, the chemical has also been tied to an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes in adults. But in a draft risk assessment last year, the Food and Drug Administration said that at levels found in products on the American market, it appeared to be safe.
- Minnesota and Chicago ban BPA
- Consumer Reports: How to Reduce Your Family's Exposure to BPA
- Obama's climate guru: Paint your roof white!
- Steven Chu: White Roofs to Fight Global Warming:
The thing is, secretary Chu actually understated the potential benefits of global whitewashing. The Lawrence research he refers to (which we wrote about last fall) says that white roofs and pavements could mean a one-time reduction of 44 billion tons of carbon dioxide. That, Art Rosenfeld said, translates to removing all the cars in the world for 18 years.
Proponents of the idea tout other advantages—reflective surfaces also reduce temperatures in urban “heat islands,” and reduce the need for air-conditioning, which in turn reduces the demand for electricity, which generates its own greenhouse-gas emissions.
- Bust Out The White Paint!:
But Chu's totally right! The science on this is clear: Replacing black asphalt on roofs, parking lots, and sidewalks with brighter material would reflect more of the sun's rays and do quite a bit to cool the planet.
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA': More green news not covered in today's audio report... See below!
- Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's address at the World Business Summit:
We may never get a better opportunity. And if the world’s scientists are right, we may not get a second chance...
What the fence sitters and the skeptics fail to understand is that climate change fundamentally changes the 21st century balance sheet. Sooner or later there will be a higher price on carbon - imposed either by policy or by market forces. Any multinational business that doesn’‘t have a strategy in place to deal with climate change will end up on the losing side of history. That is not where you plan to be.
Investing now in green solutions is cheaper - and ultimately more profitable - than spending more, later, in a catch-up race for global competitiveness. Polluting industries have successfully cleaned up their act in the past. That is part of the dynamic tradition of private-sector innovation. There are good examples today of industries in the developing and developed worlds cutting emissions.
- In Copenhagen, it’s the same old business:
If Al Gore and Ban Ki-moon weren’t able to get the job done, you might have thought Cate Blanchett would saved the day. But even an impassioned and remarkably erudite speech by the Oscar-winning actress failed this week to persuade world business leaders to go beyond mere rhetoric in pushing for action on climate change.
- Stadium in Taiwan Almost Completely Covered in Solar Panels:
8,844 solar panels on a surface area of 14,155m2 are integrated into the roof construction of the sports facility. The unique solar roof, which emulates the form of a flowing river, can, depending on the strength of the sunshine, cover 75% of the energy needs of the stadium which can hold 55,000 spectators. On days when no competitions are taking place, the electricity generated is fed into the grid.
- Is the solution to the U.S. nuclear waste problem in France?
Spokesmen for Areva --- the name of France's majority state-owned complex of nuclear companies --- regard this plant as the "crown jewel" of its technology. "Old fuel in, new fuel out. A pretty elegant solution," said Mike McMahon, one of a number of Americans being trained at French facilities to learn the ropes so that they can bring the knowledge back to similar Areva facilities planned for the United States. The United States has the biggest nuclear power market on the planet, and Areva has laid ambitious plans to participate in its "nuclear renaissance."
- Where's the Beef? Ghent Goes Vegetarian
"We wanted our goal to be easily achievable — it's not hard to skip meat one day a week," he says. "And we wanted it to be something the population could rally behind. If you give people the correct information about meat, it becomes an easy ethical decision."
According to the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization, meat production accounts for 18% of annual greenhouse-gas emissions — more than transportation, which accounts for roughly 14%. Each year, millions of acres of rain forest are cleared for cattle ranchers and suppliers of animal feed, further accelerating climate change. Then there are the urgent human-health issues: the world feeds much of its grain to cattle and other animals even as millions of people starve. Those wealthy enough to consume fatty animal products are themselves at higher risk of certain health problems, including heart disease and some cancers.
He points out that there are historical antecedents for meat-free days, and that it is only recently that people have come to expect meat to be a daily ritual. For centuries in Catholic Europe, for example, citizens forsook meat on Fridays, fast days and Lent.