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Lithium on my mind

Carmakers hope to head off lithium shortages

According to this article from the BBC, production of hybrid and electric cars may be stifled by a shortage of lithium at some point in the next decade. Mitsubishi's general manager in La Paz, Eichi Maeyama, said: The demand for lithium won't double but increase by five times. There is plenty of lithium out there, but half of the reserves are in the Salar de Uyuni salt flats in Bolivia. This would explain why Mitsubishi has a man on the ground negotiating for lithium supplies. Note that they didn't quote a general manager from an American car company. Here's the …

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Car crash

Who’s to blame for the crisis in the auto industry?

Detroit is in a free fall. Some say it's their own doing by deciding to push big gas guzzlers rather fuel efficient cars. With that choice, the Big Three maximized their short-term profits but conceded the auto market of the future to foreign companies. There is plenty of blame to pass around. Executives made exceedingly poor investment decisions. Union officials were blinded by the good times and failed to protect their members' future. An army of lobbyists was hired to protect the industry from tighter laws. The most recent casualty: Congressman Dingell made one too many concessions to the auto …

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Wal-Mart CEO will resign

Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott, who has presided over the company in its era of greening efforts, announced Friday that he is stepping down. Mike Duke, currently head of Wal-Mart's international operations, takes over Feb. 1. To read up on what was, check out Grist's interview with Scott and our coverage of Wal-Mart.

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Alberta’s tar sands pose messy challenge for investors and ducks alike

  Photo: Stop the Tar Sands What could beat Amazonian deforestation, massive coal plants next to elementary schools, factory farming, mountaintop removal, and giant trash heaps in the middle of the ocean for the title of "the most destructive project on Earth"? [PDF] Cue the tar sands, a vast expanse of the Albertan province opened up to rampant drilling, surface mining, and pipelines through what was once a strikingly beautiful section of the Canadian boreal forest. Canada's Environmental Defense deemed it "the most destructive project on Earth" last February. While this region holds immense ecological and aesthetic value on the …

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Competing offer for U.S. Sugar complicates Everglades restoration plan

Florida's intent buy out a giant sugar operation in a move to restore the Everglades is being complicated by a competing offer from the Lawrence Group, a Tennessee farming company. sources:

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Wal-Mart to purchase a lotta wind power in Texas

Retail behemoth Wal-Mart announced Thursday it will soon purchase up to 226 million kilowatt-hours of wind power each year from a nearly completed wind farm in Notrees, Texas, that will provide about 15 percent of the energy needed to power 360 of its stores and distribution centers in the state.

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Electric-car infrastructure coming to California’s Bay Area

California's Bay Area will enjoy an electric-car infrastructure by 2012, startup Better Place announced Thursday. The mayors of San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose signed on for the plan, which will cover the region with charging and battery-exchange stations at an estimated cost of $1 billion.

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Flexing progressive muscles

New business coalition calls for climate leg. with 100 percent auctions and focus on efficiency

Remember US-CAP, the business association calling for carbon legislation in the U.S.? Except the call is rather vague, and several US-CAP members lobbied to weaken policy proposals? And the whole thing smelled vaguely of concern trolling? Now a new business coalition has come on the scene: Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP), which thus far includes Levi Strauss & Co., Nike, Starbucks, Sun Microsystems, and The Timberland Company. They are calling for tough climate legislation based on the following eight principles: • Set greenhouse gas reduction targets to at least 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and …

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USDA close to approving relatively weak organic standards for fish

The U.S. Department of Agriculture this week inched closer to approving organic rules for fish for the first time that would let "organic" fish eat up to 25 percent of their diet from non-organic sources, a move which has irked organic advocates worried about sullying otherwise relatively strict standards for organic meat products.

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Brita announces recycling program for used water filters

Brita, maker of popular water-purifying pitchers, will launch a recycling program for used water filters beginning in January. The company's announcement comes after months of pressure from citizen activists. Consumers will be able to drop used filters off at selected Whole Foods stores or mail them in; the plastic parts will be turned into recycled toothbrushes and razors, and the activated carbon "will be regenerated for alternative use or converted into energy," according to the company.