As Beijing prepares for the Summer Olympics, officials claimed the best run of blue-sky days on record between Jan. 21 and Feb. 18, and said that 26 of February’s 29 days met the city’s clean-air standard. International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge lauded Beijing’s pollution-reducing efforts, stating, “I can’t hide the fact that there is today a danger of atmospheric pollution in Beijing, but our Chinese friends are doing tremendous efforts to reduce this.”

The NYT revisits the synthetic turf war: Health advocates say that the ground-up rubber that gives bounce to most synthetic fields contains potentially cancer-causing chemicals. On the flip side, says the city parks commissioner, synthetic fields do not require “weekly mowing, watering with potable water, applying chemical herbicides and fertilizers, seeding, polluting machinery, or time-intensive maintenance tasks.” (Interested in the turf debate? Environmental Health Perspectives has an extremely long and detailed history and analysis.)

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And some news from the car-racing world: Shell is looking into second-generation biofuels to power the Ferrari Formula One team, and green groups successfully sued to halt an auto-racing complex in California’s Merced County until it completes additional environmental-impact studies.

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