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(Brad and I are on the road, so we prepared this report for you before we left! --- Des)
IN TODAY'S AUDIO REPORT: Too late to save the world's fish?; Big trees grow smaller ... PLUS: A jump start for the electric car industry... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (links below): U.S. bats are dropping dead; Recyclers, scientists probe Great Pacific Garbage Patch for profit and planet; Whole Foods Exec Slams Health Care Reform... PLUS: Do Seed Companies Control GM Crop Research?
Info/links on those stories and all the ones we talked about on today's episode follow below...
- Saving Fish is Possible, Unless They’re Past the Tipping Point (Wired) [emphasis added]:
“In most cases, when you reduce fishing pressure enough, the stock rebounds. But there’s a breaking point beyond which the system has changed so much that it may not recover,” said Boris Worm, a marine biologist at Canada’s Dalhousie University. “The longer you wait to fix a situation, the harder it becomes.”
From those perspectives, the new study is hopeful. But looked at another way, the numbers are grim. There are more collapsed fish populations now than any other time in recorded history. Even within those less-pressured regions, many individual species are threatened. Two-thirds of all stocks need to be rebuilt, and half of those are still being overfished.
Some scientists warn that the rebuilding needs to happen now. Pushed too far, some species simply won’t be able to recover, despite our best efforts. They hit a population-level tipping point. It’s hard to know when it will happen, or what the consequences will be.
- Imperiled Fisheries Make A Comeback, Study Shows (NPR)
- So long, and thanks for all the fish: Efforts to ban the international trade in bluefin tuna (The Economist)
- DOWNLOAD YOUR POCKET SEAFOOD GUIDE: Monterrey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Pocket Guides
- Obama Admin Issues 'Down Payment' on Electric Cars, Batteries (Greenwire) [emphasis added]:
A $2.4 billion grant program has renewed hope that a U.S. industry in electric cars and the batteries to propel them won't be hopelessly stuck behind foreign competitors.
Currently, the U.S. industry sources many of its parts from abroad. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, announcing one grant in North Carolina, said Japan produces 99 percent of the batteries for the hybrid cars on U.S. roads.
- Charging Infrastructure in Short Supply (Wall St. Journal)
- Electric car future may power a charging industry (Reuters) [emphasis added]:
As makers from Tesla to Nissan Motor Co jockey to dominate the next generation electric-powered cars, a fight on which companies will control the lucrative market to fuel them is just getting started.
Cars are sexier than gas pumps or charging stations, but as the history of the oil industry shows, fuel is big business. A million electric cars will need a lot of power and a complex system to make sure the grid is not overwhelmed.
- With Plug-In Hybrids, Timing Is Everything (The New Republic)
- Nissan Scores $200 Million for Biggest-Ever Electric Car Grid Project (SolveClimate.org)
- Nissan Adds Its Leaf to the Pile of Next-Gen Electric Cars (Reuters)
- Big Trees Decline in Yosemite (NY Times)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA': More green news not covered in today's audio report... See below!
- Why Sick Bats Are No Joke (The New Republic) [emphasis added]:
It's a real live scientific whodunit: Bats across the Northeast are dropping dead.
- Night Stalker: White-Nose Fungus in Bats: Why It's Our Problem, Too (Scientific American) [emphasis added]:
No end in sight for the bat-killing white-nose syndrome
If WNS spreads to the American South and West, it could also lead to huge losses of crops pollinated by bats. As Turner points out, bats are major pollinators of plantains and avocados and are the sole pollinators of the agave plant; margarita cocktail lovers owe the tequila in their drink to the activities of bats.
- Recyclers, scientists probe Great Pacific Garbage Patch (Greenwire) [emphasis added]:
The venture is no working vacation for environmental advocates. Project Kaisei is at its core a commercial endeavor, funded in part by international recycling companies that see opportunity in a sea of debris thought to be twice the size of Texas.
"The missing link is how can you capture the plastic, since it's spread out over such a large area," Crowley said from the ship's deck here several days before its departure. "The key realization here is that the plastics might have a value, a recycled value, which is a very exciting deal."
- Whole Foods Exec Slams Health Care Reform, Says People Should Just Eat Whole Foods (Talking Points Memo):
[C]onveniently, [the CEO's op-ed] also includes the following advice: "Recent scientific and medical evidence shows that a diet consisting of foods that are plant-based, nutrient dense and low-fat will help prevent and often reverse most degenerative diseases that kill us and are expensive to treat."
Translation: Whole Foods is the solution to all of America's health care woes.
- Do Seed Companies Control GM Crop Research?: Scientists must ask corporations for permission before publishing independent research on genetically modified crops. That restriction must end. (Scientific American) [emphasis added]:
But agritech companies such as Monsanto, Pioneer and Syngenta go further. For a decade their user agreements have explicitly forbidden the use of the seeds for any independent research. Under the threat of litigation, scientists cannot test a seed to explore the different conditions under which it thrives or fails. They cannot compare seeds from one company against those from another company. And perhaps most important, they cannot examine whether the genetically modified crops lead to unintended environmental side effects.