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Superweeds on the march

In Arkansas, state ag officials turn to Syngenta to solve problems caused by Monsanto

In the late 1990s, farmers in the Southeast began planting Roundup Ready cotton -- genetically engineered by Monsanto to withstand heavy doses of Roundup, the seed giant's own blockbuster herbicide. As a result, use of Roundup exploded -- and the farmers enjoyed "clean" (i.e., weedless) fields of monocropped cotton. But after a point, something funny happened -- certain weeds began to survive the Roundup dousings. These "superweeds" had somehow gained Roundup resistance themselves, much to the vexation of the farmers. Things have gotten so grim that the Arkansas Agricultural Extension Service called in a scientist from the U.K. to study …

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An interview with the founders of Method green home-care products

After spending a few minutes with Adam Lowry and Eric Ryan, I began to wonder if they weren't part of a modern-day adaptation of The Odd Couple. The 30-something founders of the Method line of home-care products, friends since high school, are about as different as two business partners could be. Eric Ryan and Adam Lowry. Lowry (Method's "chief greens keeper") is tall and lanky, with dark brown hair. The day we met, he was wearing a classic slacks-and-button-down number and a serious look on his face. He's a chemical engineer with an environmental degree and has worked as a …

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EPA announces tough air-pollution standards for shipping industry

The U.S. EPA Friday announced tough new diesel pollution standards for the shipping industry (perhaps to distract us from Wednesday's announcement of not-so-tough ozone standards.) The new standards for diesel trains and ships will begin to be phased in in 2015; when in full effect, they'll require a 90 percent reduction in soot emissions and an 80 percent reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions. Says Frank O'Donnell of Clean Air Watch, "This is a rare case of the Bush administration doing something positive on air pollution." That's high praise.

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ECO:nomics: Overload

Good lord. Today was overwhelming. There were about 10 sessions, every one thought-provoking. I interviewed Jim Rogers, CEO of Duke Energy. I saw energy advisers from all three presidential campaigns offer substantive comparisons of the candidates' climate positions. I saw in-depth discussions of carbon trading, green automobiles, shareholder resolutions, and the structure of cap-and-trade systems. I talked to journalists, people working on water and carbon trading, the guy who runs the X-Prize foundation, heads of NGOs, and representatives from Wal-Mart and Exxon. It's friggin' wonk heaven. I'm half-drunk and I've lost my voice from talking so much. Over the next …

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Green dream reborn

National convergence April 4-6 for green-collar jobs

Hundreds of activists, youths, and dreamers from communities of color around the nation are about to come together for The Dream Reborn in Memphis, and the green-job market is a big reason why. The conference is hosted by Green For All and marks the anniversary of MLK Jr.'s assassination by seeking to deepen relationships and skills in the arena of climate justice and building opportunity for poor communities in the new green economy. Van Jones, Majora Carter, Winona LaDuke, and others are going to lead the conversation, and it's going to be rich. You probably knew that already. But did …

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CEO settles the debate over whether Wal-Mart is green

Is Wal-Mart an eco-angel or an eco-devil? CEO Lee Scott himself settles the debate, declaring at a Wall Street Journal conference: "We are not green."

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Killing the electric car, again: Part I

Is CARB up to its old tricks?

The following post is by Earl Killian, guest blogger at Climate Progress. ----- If you've seen the movie Who Killed the Electric Car? (which is ranked No. 8 on Netflix in documentary rentals), then you know the EV story up to 2003. What you might not know is that it looks like one of the players in the movie, the California Air Resources Board, is up to no good again. In killing Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) the first time, they put off progress on this front for a decade. Now they are preparing, at their March 27 meeting, to kill …

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ECO:nomics: Quick observations

The programs today are stacked up, one after another, 30 min. apiece. As a result, there's not much opportunity to blog about them -- I'm struggling just to take notes. Two quick observations: I expected, coming to this, that it would be an opportunity for CEOs to robotically repeat talking points programmed into their heads by their PR departments. This has, thus far at least, not been true. Immelt, Scott Jr., Liveris, Rogers -- they've all been relaxed and surprisingly frank. It's clear they feel comfortable here and are sharing what they really think. Their business models and practices are …

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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 …