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Tyson Foods chief nets $10 million — oops, no, $24 million

Update [2007-12-28 10:14:4 by Tom Philpott]:According to AP, Tyson CEO Richard Bond made total compensation of $24 million in 2007, not $9.88 million, as reported by Bloomberg. Here's how industrial meat production works: you stuff animals into pens, feed them genetically modified, nutritionally suspect corn and soy (along with growth hormones), and force them to wallow in their own waste while keeping them alive with regular lashings of antibiotics. Then you haul them to vast death factories, where de-skilled, low-paid workers, under immense time pressure, dismember them and pack their flesh into little shrink-wrapped styrofoam packages. There's plenty to be …

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Chicago will levy bottled-water tax, Big Bottle plans to sue

Beginning Jan. 1, Chicago will levy a 5-cent tax on bottled water; shortly after it goes into effect, an alliance of food and beverage retailer associations plans to sue.

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Mining CEO loves gold, hates fish

Having trouble finding a Grinch this Christmas season? Try Cynthia Carroll, CEO of Anglo-American Mining Company. Carroll's company has teamed up with Northern Dynasty (like the television show Dynasty, only eviler) to build the world's biggest dam in Alaska so she can mine piles of gold, which will have the unfortunate impact of destroying the world's largest salmon fishery. Not only will the dam prevent the salmon from reaching their spawning grounds, the cyanide Carroll uses to extract gold from rock will likely seep into the river, ruining the salmon's sense of smell, which is vital to them finding their …

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A plead for utility leadership on climate change

What I want most for 2008 is serious action on climate change -- not just in terms of policy, but in terms of action. Mathematically, this mandates serious and constructive engagement from the electric sector, which has thus far been not only absent, but hostile to any serious discussion of GHG reduction. Given their relevance (42% of US GHG emissions) and tremendous inefficiency, they are a source of much of my personal quixotic quest. But ultimately, they must engage -- and so far, they have not even come close. So in case we have any utility executives in the Gristiverse, …

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Plan to regulate airline emissions moves forward in E.U.

A proposed law that would regulate emissions from airlines taking off from or landing in the European Union has been approved by environment ministers. The bill to include airlines in the E.U.'s carbon-trading scheme was scaled back from the version passed by the E.U. Parliament last month, aiming to start in 2012 instead of 2011 and making airlines buy only 10 percent of their carbon permits, with the rest distributed free, instead of the original 25 percent. The amended proposal also caps emissions at 100 percent of average emissions from 2004 to 2006, instead of 90 percent. The plan still …

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The GM seed giants lumber into the veggie patch

In 2005, Monsanto bought Seminis, the world's largest vegetable-seed company. At the time, Monsanto -- which enjoys a dominant position in the global market for GM soy, corn, and cotton traits -- claimed it had no imminent plans to subject veggies to genetic modification. Now I learn from the excellent new blog SeedStory, by Matthew Dillon of the Organic Seed Alliance, that Monsanto is working on RoundUp Ready lettuce. And the few other transnational giants that dominate the global GM seed industry are also upping their position in vegetables. Bayer-Crop Science, Dillon reports, has snapped up Paragon, the world's biggest …

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BP joins ‘biggest global warming crime ever seen’

The tar sands are rightly called one of the world's greatest environmental crimes, as I've written. No company that invests in the Canadian tar sands can legitimately call itself green. Yet BP, the oil company that lavished millions on advertising its move "Beyond Petroleum," announced this month it's putting $3 billion into this dirtiest of dirty fuels! BP is buying a half-share of the ironically named Sunrise field: "BP's move into oil sands is an opportunity to build a strategic, material position and the huge potential of Sunrise is the ideal entry point for BP into Canadian oil sands," said …

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Utility PG&E agrees to buy electricity from future wave-power farm

The utility Pacific Gas & Electric this week became the first power company in the United States to sign a deal agreeing to purchase electricity generated by wave power. The wave-power farm that would generate said electricity is still years from completion -- not to mention government approval -- but securing a power buyer is seen as an important step. In the first phase of the project, slated for completion by 2012, eight specially equipped buoys located two and a half miles off the coast of Northern California will together generate up to two megawatts of power. If all goes …

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Hybrid Technologies converts gas-powered cars to electric

Obsessed with MINI Coopers but also like the idea of zero-emission electric vehicles? Have your car and drive it too: a company called Hybrid Technologies guts cars such as the MINI, smart fortwo, and PT Cruiser, and replaces their gas tanks with an electric motor and a stack of lithium batteries. Convinced? Starting in 2008, you'll be able to buy your electric MINI at Wal-Mart -- for a mere $65,000.

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REI chief Sally Jewell on sustainability, shoes, and sedentary schoolkids

Sally Jewell. The statuesque athlete sitting across the table has just handed me her shoe. As I examine it, she begins to point out the various fibers used in its construction and tells me about the manufacturer's sustainable practices. Clearly, this is a woman who is well aware of her footprint. Dressed in casual pants and a blue fleece jacket, Sally Jewell doesn't necessarily look the part of high-powered CEO. And during the course of our hour-long conversation, it becomes clear that she's as down-to-earth about the effect a major company can have on the planet as she is about …