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Et tu, publishing?

High-end book printing races to the bottom.

While we're on the topic of shocking revelations regarding high-profile green types, check out what I found out when reviewing two great, sustainable-minded books for Grist. The books, Michael Ableman's Fields of Plenty and Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio's Hungry Planet, are big, beautiful, and lavishly illustrated, with powerful photographs and printed on really, really nice paper (especially Fields). Thus I was stunned at their relatively paltry price tags: $40 for Hungry, $35 for Fields. I found the answer to this riddle inside their dust jackets: One was printed in China, the other in Singapore. The fossil-fuel energy embedded in these books rises even as their retail price tags fall, financed by cheap labor overseas. Ah, the wonders of neoliberal globalization!

Let the good times roll

Bushies restore forest research funding

Man, journalism is hard! America is addicted to oil -- oh wait, no it isn't. Evangelicals aren't fighting global warming -- oh wait, yes they are. (And by the way, hallelujah!) The Bush administration has suspended funding for forest research that contradicts timber policy -- oh wait, no they haven't. A federal agency restored funding Wednesday for a study that has provided evidence for conservationists opposing the Bush administration's policy of logging after wildfires. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management's decision to lift its suspension of the final year of a three-year grant to Oregon State University came a day after a congressman called for an investigation of the funding cutoff. Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., had asked the Interior Department's inspector general to examine whether the bureau was punishing the researchers for their findings. Hey, I'm not complaining. Keep the good news rolling in. I'm still waiting for the front-page headline "Climate Change Not Actually a Problem After All." Maybe tomorrow? Maybe The Day After Tomorrow?

Big oil and the environment

Palm oil, that is

Any environmentalists out there who think biofuels cannot follow the same path as the petrochemical industry are deluding themselves. Biofuels have just as much, possibly more, potential to destroy our ecosytems than today's oil industry. A large percentage of biofuels being produced today are being grown on lands (the Amazon, Africa, Indonesia, Malaysia) that were rainforest carbon sinks just a few decades ago. In contrast, petroleum is pumped out of holes in the ground. The ecological damage caused by oil spills, and of course global warming, are well documented, and finding ways to stop pumping greenhouse gases into the air have to be found, but think a minute. Exactly what is Kyoto trying to do? Is it trying to stop global warming or is it trying to stop ecological devastation? To be precise: It is trying to stop ecological devastation by stopping global warming. So, logically, any scheme to reduce CO2 that causes ecological degradation is self-defeating and should be made illegal. From the Epoch Times: In the dim yet recent past Malaysia and Indonesia joined the Kyoto Protocol buoyed by their massive carbon credits in lieu of rainforest. The special waiver in the deal is that if palm oil forests replace rainforest, their Kyoto obligations remain the same. In other words, it is acceptable under Kyoto to destroy rainforests to grow biofuels.

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