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Misleading cotton ads banned in U.K.

Poster and magazine ads by the U.S. cotton industry have been banned in Britain. The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority can put the kibosh on advertising deemed to be greenwashing, and regulators took issue with the cotton ads' claim that the crop is "soft, sensual, and sustainable." The ad authority pointed out that cotton is a "pesticide- and insecticide-intensive crop" and can "seriously deplete" groundwater supplies. The cotton industry protested the ban, to no avail.

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ECO:nomics: Immelt miscellania

Here are some bits and pieces from the Immelt keynote that didn't fit into my other post: --- GE CEO Jeff Immelt, center, flanked by Kimberly Strassel and Alan Murray of The Wall Street Journal. Photos: Genesis Photos After Immelt's session, I randomly overheard Jim Rogers, CEO of Duke Energy, say, "that's as unplugged as I've ever seen Jeff!" This is the kind of conference where you randomly overhear world famous CEOs saying things. --- The session was co-hosted by Alan Murray and Kimberly Strassel, he from the WSJ news pages, she from the editorial board. Murray introduced the session …

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ECO:nomics: Immelt vs. the ideologues

GE CEO explains practical realities to free marketeers

The Wall Street Journal's ECO:nomics conference is taking place at the Bacara Resort, a gorgeous old Spanish-style complex perched on the edge of the Pacific Ocean. Just outside, the cherry-red sun is setting as a warm breeze blows and waves quietly lap at the sand. Inside, however, things have gotten a little stormy. Jeffrey Immelt. Photo: Genesis Photos "I came because I was invited," says the man on stage heatedly, squaring off his shoulders to the packed crowd. "I don't need to be lectured by anybody in this room about how to compete!" From another speaker it might sound defensive, …

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Organic milk: survival of the biggest?

Thoughts on the NODPA/Stonyfield debate over organic dairy

About four years ago, I attended a workshop by Jonathan White, the maverick New York State cheese maker/baker/dairy farmer of Bobolink Dairy. Photo: iStockphoto Like a Southern Baptist preacher thundering from the pulpit -- only with a Northeastern accent and lots of good humor -- White had a message to deliver. He exhorted conventional dairy farmers to sell half of their herds, invest the proceeds in cheese-making equipment, and turn their remaining cows out to pasture. Don't give your money away to feed, seed, or fertilizer suppliers, and don't give your milk away for pennies to the big processors, he …

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ECO:nomics

Influential CEOs gather to discuss sustainability, by which I mean plot total global domination

Today I'm heading down to sunny Santa Barbara for "a CEO-level view of the rapidly developing relationship between the environment and the bottom line." The list of speakers is daunting, a veritable gaggle (murder?) of CEOs: Jeff Immelt of GE, H. Lee Scott, Jr. of Wal-Mart, Jim Rogers of Duke Energy, Patricia Woertz of ADM, and that's just the first four on a very long list. The program is action-packed: Krupp v. Smith Jr.! Lubber v. Milloy! Yergin v. de Margerie! Obama proxy v. Clinton proxy v. McCain proxy! Sparks will fly! Or so one hopes. And by "one" I …

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Company agrees to pay record $250 million in Superfund cleanup costs

W.R. Grace & Co. agreed to pay $250 million to reimburse the U.S. EPA for ongoing cleanup of the asbestos-ridden mining town of Libby, Mont. A mine owned by Grace that operated from 1963 until 1990 contaminated much of the town with asbestos-tainted vermiculite. Over 200 area residents have died from related cancers, and over 1,200 more show signs of lung abnormalities. The company is facing criminal charges, including conspiring to hide the dangers of asbestos, in a trial to begin later this year. Cleanup of the town and surrounding areas began in 2000; so far, costs have totaled about …

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Climate justice: yes. Carbon trading: no.

Carbon offsetting is not the best way for the global north to subsidize the global south

Okay, my last post summarized Tom Athanasiou and Paul Baers' arguments in favor of drastic cuts in emissions. They place responsibility on the rich and to some extent the middle class rather than the poor. As you might expect, I agree with both these points. I disagree with their arguments that carbon trading and even offsets are the best way for the global north to subsidize the global south. Tom and Paul's argument: the rich countries are responsible for cuts exceeding 100 percent. The only way to meet that obligation is by paying for cuts in the poor nations; Tom …

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Separating rate theory from rate fact

How will the auction vs. allocation debate affect power prices?

Last January, Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) convened hearings on the ways allocation of CO2 permits under a cap-and-trade system will impact power prices and utility profit margins. The short version, drawn from the evidence of Kyoto and other systems that have given credits away for free, is that while free allocations lower power prices in theory, in reality prices rise just as much as they would otherwise -- but they increase margins for exempt generators (i.e., coal plants). Indeed, one of the great criticisms of the Kyoto Protocol has been that it has directly led to increased profits for Europe's …

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Maybe this is why the fossil fuel lobby acts like Big Tobacco

How cars are like cigarettes

Check out this five-star excellent post on the many similarities between tobacco and cars by Michael O'Hare. He makes the point that once-unquestioned social conventions can change quickly once activists refuse to accept "that's just the way it is" and start highlighting the costs these conventions impose.

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Grist takes a gander as green-job gang gathers

Send your questions for the National Green Jobs Conference

A big collection of policy makers, activists, job-training types, and labor union honchos are getting together later this week in Pittsburgh for "Good Jobs, Green Jobs: A National Green Jobs Conference," and it's my job to be there to watch it all go down. It'll be a good opportunity to find out what's hope and what's hype about the emerging green jobs movement -- not to mention exploring Pittsburgh's better bars and restaurants on Grist's dime! Uh, just kidding there. Haha! Nothing but crackers and tap water for me. Anyway, I'd love to bring questions from Grist readers about green …