Other international buyers also reacted negatively to the news, with South Korea suspending its tenders to import U.S. wheat and European Union countries being urged to step up genetic testing of American imports. Taiwan said it may seek assurances that all imported wheat from the U.S. is GMO-free, the Wall Street Journal's MarketWatch reports.
Interspecies hanky-panky is a thing, in case you didn't know. Sometimes love, or perhaps a blindly primeval desire to reproduce, can lead one species of animal to breed with another. Think of a liger, for example -- a hybrid of a lion and a tiger. Or a mule, which has a donkey for a father and a horse for a mother. And, every once in a while, an Atlantic salmon will mate with a brown trout.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration appears poised to approve the sale of genetically engineered AquAdvantage® salmon this year, despite significant aversion to the very idea of the frankenfish. If the transgenic Atlantic salmon escapes into the wild, environmentalists worry that the fast-growing fish could breed with wild Atlantic salmon and throw natural populations into unpredictable turmoil. Which got scientists to wondering: What if transgenic Atlantic salmon got loose and bred with wild brown trout? Could AquAdvantage fish sow their freaky oats over a species barrier?
The answer, according to scientists who ran experiments with the fish, is yes. Yes they can. Not only that, but the hybrid offspring can inherit the turbo growth genes and grow at a remarkable pace, outcompeting both natural salmon and transgenic salmon for food.
When Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reached the summit of Mount Everest 60 years ago Wednesday, the mountaineers gazed over a view from the top of the world that had never been seen before.
The view has changed since that historic day. Pollution and rising mountain temperatures are relentlessly shearing away at the Himalayas’ frozen facade. Photographs taken around the time of the 1953 expedition show hulking ridges of ice that have since shrunk or disappeared.
Glaciers and snow are melting throughout the sprawling mountain range, which stretches across India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Nepal, and Tibetan China. The waning glaciers are leaving precarious mountainside lakes of cyan blue water in their wake.
So much of the ice has disappeared that climbers following in Hillary and Norgay's footsteps this spring climbing season, including two octogenarians, are encountering rockier cliff faces that are less stable than the ice that was scaled by the mountain’s first conquerors.
“There is a big change compared to when I first climbed,” says Apa Sherpa, 53, a retired Nepalese mountain guide who scaled Mount Everest a record-setting 21 times from 1990 until 2011. He has lived in Utah since 2006 but still visits Nepal every spring or fall, where he participates in treks and climate campaigns.
He says the landscape changes can be clearly seen from the summit of Everest, which by most measures is the tallest mountain in the world. “It used to be more snow and ice, but now it’s more rock,” Sherpa said. “It’s very dangerous for climbing.”
Temperature increases are greatest in the Himalayas’ higher altitudes, but the most visible changes are occurring at the lower elevations. The mountain range’s white skirt is being hoisted, exposing rocks and hinting at the scale of global glacial losses.
The adage "think global, act local" rings remarkably true in Whatcom County, Wash., a rural area in the northwestern corner of the country.
The seven county council members there will play a big role in deciding how much coal gets dug up in Great Plains states, shipped out of America, and burned by developing countries.
Over the next two years, the council will decide whether to issue two permits needed for the planned $600 million Gateway Pacific Terminal, which would export massive amounts of coal from Wyoming and Montana to Asia. In doing so, these council members will help determine the very future of the world's climate.
So it's a big deal that Whatcom County voters will be electing four council members this November.
A farmer in Oregon found a patch of wheat growing like a weed where it wasn't expected, so the farmer sprayed it with the herbicide Roundup. Surprisingly, some of the wheat survived.
The startled farmer sent samples of the renegade wheat to a laboratory, which confirmed something that should have been impossible: The wheat was a genetically engineered variety that had never been approved to be grown in the U.S., nor anywhere else in the world.
Coal is making a comeback in the U.S., natural gas prices are rising, and Saudis are living like kings off an oil market that is simply heavenly.
Just last year, demand for coal had dropped deeper than a canary lowered down a mine shaft. Prices had been pushed down by the natural gas fracking boom. But The Washington Post reports that demand and prices for coal have rebounded:
According to the latest data from the Energy Information Administration, coal has been reclaiming some — though not all — of its market share in 2013. ...
As the solar sector explodes, some of the solar panels it produces are fizzling out.
The New York Times reports on the problem of faulty panels and says nobody knows how pervasive it is because nobody keeps track. Fingers are being pointed at corner cutting by manufacturing firms in China. From the Times article:
Worldwide, testing labs, developers, financiers and insurers are reporting [quality] problems and say the $77 billion solar industry is facing a quality crisis just as solar panels are on the verge of widespread adoption. ...
The quality concerns have emerged just after a surge in solar construction. In the United States, the Solar Energy Industries Association said that solar panel generating capacity exploded from 83 megawatts in 2003 to 7,266 megawatts in 2012, enough to power more than 1.2 million homes. Nearly half that capacity was installed in 2012 alone, meaning any significant problems may not become apparent for years.
Walmart doesn't just scrimp on employee wages. It also scrimps on employee training, and that led to its workers dumping returned pesticides, bleach, and other hazardous products into the trash or sewer systems.
On Tuesday, Walmart pled guilty to violations of federal environmental laws and agreed to pay $81.6 million in fines and penalties for improper hazardous waste disposal.
[U]ntil January 2006, Wal-Mart did not have a program in place and failed to train its employees on proper hazardous waste management and disposal practices at the store level. As a result, hazardous wastes were either discarded improperly at the store level -- including being put into municipal trash bins or, if a liquid, poured into the local sewer system -- or they were improperly transported without proper safety documentation to one of six product return centers located throughout the United States.
Apple, after getting hit with criticism for using dirty energy at its data centers, has been increasingly drawing on green power -- wind, solar, geothermal, and, now, former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.
Apple CEO Tim Cook announced Tuesday that Jackson, who served as Barack Obama's top environmental official during his first term, will join the company as vice president for environmental initiatives.
Cook, who made the announcement at The Wall Street Journal’s D: All Things Digital D11 conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., said Jackson will be reporting directly to him and is “going to be coordinating a lot of this activity across the company.”