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Plan to combat warming by seeding ocean with iron runs out of funds

Planktos, the company that proposed fending off global warming by seeding the ocean with iron dust, has failed to get enough funding to go forward with planned tests. Under the Planktos business plan, iron fertilization would encourage phytoplankton blooms, which would suck up extra CO2, allowing the company to sell carbon offsets. But it was not to be: According to the Planktos website, "A highly effective disinformation campaign waged by anti-offset crusaders has provoked widespread opposition to plankton restoration in the environmental world." We can just see 'em, shaking their iron fists at us.


Engineer plans to sell compressed-air car in India within a year

Could folks in India be driving a car that runs on compressed air within a year? French engineer Guy Negre says it will be so. Tata Motors has backed his invention: a five-seater called the OneCAT, which would produce no emissions and cost around $5,000. "The first buyers [of the car] will be people who care about the environment," says Negre, who hopes that investors around the world will set up factories to build the car using local materials, cutting down on shipping emissions. "I really hope he succeeds," says Terry Spall from the U.K. Institution of Mechanical Engineers. "It …


The subsidy tease, part I

Congress needs to stop flirting with the renewable energy industry

This post is by ClimateProgress guest blogger Bill Becker, executive director of the Presidential Climate Action Project. ----- When it comes to relationships, Congress is a big tease. Or so it must seem to the energy efficiency and renewable energy industries. Just when they think they're about to go to the altar with the federal government, Congress becomes the runaway bride. Everyone who's anyone acknowledges that energy efficiency and renewable energy are indispensable to America's future. They promise greater energy independence, clean air, steady prices, infinite supplies, a lower trade deficit, and a way to begin minimizing the suffering that …


Biofuels: good for agrochemical/GMO biz

GMO giant Monsanto wows Wall Street, consolidates its grip on South America

While debate rages on Gristmill and elsewhere about whether biofuels are worth a damn ecologically, investors in agribusiness firms are quietly counting their cash. As corn and soy prices approach all-time highs, driven up by government biofuel mandates, farmers are scrambling to plant as much as they can -- and lashing the earth with chemicals to maximize yields. At a Wall Street meeting on Tuesday, genetically modified seed/herbicide giant Monsanto promised investors even-higher-than-expected profits in fiscal year 2008. The company expects to rake in $1.3-$1.4 billion in gross profit from its Roundup herbicide alone (Monsanto had been previously expecting to …


Jewelers join campaign against proposed gold mine in Alaska

Psst -- Valentine's Day is coming up. If you're now rushing out the door in a panic to buy your sweetie a trinket, keep this in mind: A group of prominent jewelers has joined a campaign against the Pebble Gold Mine, an environmental monstrosity that would be sited in Alaska's Bristol Bay, at the headwaters of the world's largest sockeye salmon run. Of 28 jewelers signed onto an enviro-sponsored No Dirty Gold campaign, five -- Tiffany, Ben Bridge, Fortunoff, Helzberg, and Leber -- have pledged not to source gold from the Pebble Mine. "There are places where mining does not …


Safeway agrees to animal-welfare standards for some products

One of the largest grocery store chains in the United States, Safeway, has agreed to increase animal-welfare standards for some of the animal-derived products sold at its stores. Chickens and pigs were the focus of the most recent efforts pressuring the chain to adopt humane standards. Safeway has pledged to purchase more pork from suppliers that have started phasing out the most restrictive kind of crates that don't even allow pigs to turn around; the chain has also promised to buy more eggs from suppliers that don't use the most-cramped kind of chicken cages. Safeway also said it will source …


U.K. ethical funds investing in pseudo-green companies, says report

Idealistic views of socially responsible investment funds are misplaced, according to a new report from British independent financial adviser Holden & Partners. An assessment of all SRI funds open to private investors in the U.K. found that while such funds do screen out companies with highly objectionable policies, many still end up offering stock in mainstream companies "which are far from cutting edge in terms of providing climate change solutions." Says the IFA's Peter Holden, "The report shows that SRI and ethical funds have not kept pace with the public's appetite for environmental solutions."


Bush will sign economic stimulus bill sans green incentives

President Bush will sign an economic stimulus bill Wednesday, meaning you may have a check winging your way after tax time. Not included in the bill: funding for clean-energy credits and green jobs, which were dropped from the Senate version after narrowly failing to get enough votes. Undeterred, Democrats in the House of Representatives may introduce separate legislation this week that would extend clean-energy tax credits and slap taxes on big energy companies.


Staples cuts off contracts with paper supplier over eco-concerns

This is spiffy, so allow us to Post-it: Office supply giant Staples has cut off all contracts with gigantic Asia Pulp & Paper, citing concern that APP feeds Indonesian and Chinese rainforest into its pulp mills. In recent years, other businesses including Office Depot have quit dealings with APP over environmental concerns, but Staples had stuck with 'em. Now, though, Staples' Vice President for Environmental Issues Mark Buckley says that staying with APP would be "at great peril to our brand." Kudos to all you office suppliers who talked up rainforest destruction while purchasing your label makers.


An interview with Google’s green energy czar, Bill Weihl

The phrase "to Google" has become synonymous with "to search." But soon it may connote something altogether different: "to green." That is, if the internet titan can successfully pull off its latest world-changing endeavor. Bill Weihl. In late 2007, the dot-com giant announced its intention to make renewable energy cheaper than coal. The RE<C program aims to produce one gigawatt of electricity generating capacity -- enough to power the city of San Francisco -- from clean, green sources "within years, not decades." The man responsible for making it happen, and for making the company carbon neutral, is Bill Weihl, Google's …