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Why bother filing an EIS for a biodiversity-destroying project?

Ag giant Cargill was forced to close a soy export terminal in the Brazilian Amazon this weekend, marking a major victory for greens, who have argued for years that the plant was built illegally and became a significant cause of rainforest depletion. The terminal spurred a major leap in soy production -- millions of acres of rainforest were turned over to soy bean fields -- which is used principally to supply European livestock farms. Ironically, it was closed not because of the destruction, but because they never submitted an EIS. Mmm, soy.

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Fuel Me Twice

Bush, Big Auto agree that ethanol is the way of the future ... again Detroit's Big Three automakers cruised to the White House yesterday to plead their case for improving biofuels access and to remind the president that they're not so keen on that whole "improving fuel economy" idea. Bush played along by plugging a power cord into a Ford hydrogen concept car for the cameras and praising the companies' technological innovations. Addressing the wonders of flex-fuel vehicles, he even wrapped a new eco-talking point into his always-smooth patter: "If you want to reduce gasoline usage like I believe we …

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Proposed coal company merger will draw green opposition

This is from a press release that just crossed the transom: The expected March 29, 2007 merger of Dynegy and LS Power will create a combined company with the most pending dirty coal-fired power plants in the United States. This plan contrasts sharply with the recent TXU decision to back away from such heavily polluting plants and also heightens concerns about growing risks to shareholders, according to a major new report prepared for the National Environmental Trust (NET) by Innovest Strategic Value Advisors, a leading investment research firm. If this merger goes through, it will create a company that will …

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What gets measured gets fixed, as they say

The following is a guest post from Deborah Shimberg. Deborah lives in northern Vermont, where she started and continues to run Verve, Inc., which makes all-natural Glee chewing gum. ----- We denizens of the earth know we are living beyond our means. But it's hard to know by how much, and when we may reach the tipping point. That's where the numbers come in. This week, the Skoll Foundation awarded a 3-year grant of $1,015,000 to the Global Footprint Network, which uses and promotes a number tool called the Ecological Footprint. As the only measurement tool that calculates the total …

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Why are environmental activists so clueless at marketing climate change solutions?

Virgin Blue, the Australian extension of Richard Branson's airline empire, recently launched a program to allow passengers to purchase carbon offsets when they book a flight. That's nice. But what struck me was this quote from Greenpeace's energy campaigner, Ben Pearson: Virgin should not be criticized out of hand for this scheme, but it promotes the idea that dealing with climate change is easy and cheap rather than being about the difficult task of changing consumer behavior, government policy and investment. Let's take the Pepsi Challenge. Pretend I just told you that I have a problem that I'd like your …

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Dirty money

And Rainforest Action Network has the soap.  Get scrubbing.

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Goldman Sachs and other financial powerhouses get into the Texas wind biz

What is Goldman Sachs doing in rural Texas? Probably some of its bankers have wondered that themselves, when they find they're three hours from the nearest latte. A Texas turbine. Photo: NREL / Cielo Wind Power One of Goldman's subsidiaries, Houston-based Horizon Wind Energy, is constructing a $600 million, 400-megawatt wind farm in the boonies west of Dallas. Financiers of other wind-power projects and explorations, spread across central and west Texas, include Wells Fargo; JPMorgan Chase; Macquarie, Australia's largest investment bank; and John Deere's credit division, which already has close ties to rural America. To some extent, the lure of …

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Pep Raleigh

Google gives out bikes to 2,000 employees across the pond We have a vague recollection that there was life before Google, but it must have been a sad, empty sort of life. Anyone recall? While you're casting your memory back there, lord, we'll update you on the latest from the altruistic search engine: they're giving free bikes (and helmets) to 2,000 employees in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. "We think that these amazing bikes will help Googlers keep fit and healthy, get to know their city better, and reduce the environmental impact of their journey to work," says Liane …

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If organic food is so popular, why are so few farms transitioning their land?

On a recent trip to Austin, I visited the flagship Whole Foods -- a vast space where people gather en masse to render financial sacrifice to that new god, organic food. From the depths of the parking lot, as you make your way up to the store, you're urged again and again by a sign that simply says, "Love where you shop." From the doe-eyed look of the supplicants making their way up, and the glazed-eyed look of those carrying their treasure down, most clearly do. A puzzle to the core. While few Whole Foods stores have the buzz of …

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Among bad deals, TerraPass’s methane offset project?

In the new issue of BusinessWeek: "Another Inconvenient Truth?" It warns: Done carefully, offsets can have a positive effect and raise ecological awareness. But a close look at several transactions -- including those involving the Oscar presenters, Vail Resorts, and the Seattle power company -- reveals that some deals amount to little more than feel-good hype. When traced to their source, these dubious offsets often encourage climate protection that would have happened regardless of the buying and selling of paper certificates. One danger of largely symbolic deals is that they may divert attention and resources from more expensive and effective …