April 5th: Global News Highlights from an Environmentalist

Editor’s Note: This is the first of a new series of environmental current event reviews from our new contributor Anders Hellum-Alexander.

  • Koch is a large, mostly unheard of US company that is one of the main funders of the climate denial movement. MotherJones shines a spotlight on them.
  • The Environmental Defense Fund explains the US Climate Change bill now in congress in hope that more understanding will bring more support. Their main foci are environmental protection, the economy, encouraging other nations to act, and dependence on foreign oil and national security.
  • The UN meeting about Climate Change in Copenhagen passed with an expected disappointment for many. World Resources Institute explains the aftermath and what it means for a country to be “associated” with the Copenhagen Accord.
  • France’s Preisdent Sarkozy has dropped his support for a carbon tax that would tax consumers and small businesses while leaving big industry exempt. It may be seen as a victory since the effort would seemingly not impact big industry much. But the tax would have changed consumer behavior which would have impacted industry. Companies would find people buying their products less and would be forced to make different products or change how they make their existing products. It would be painful for consumers at first because of higher prices, but in the long term all would benefit through improved products (increased durability, increased recyclability, etc.), a cleaner environment and the emergence of a new environmentally focused economy that would create many new jobs. Or, so the theory goes.
  • Obama is trying to open up areas for offshore drilling in the US while increasing fuel efficiency standards for cars and small trucks along with Canada. Increasing the floor for MPG on new vehicles is way overdue when you look at other developed countries, and it is important for America to lead as we look to steer ourselves away from being so dependent on hydrocarbons. The Week supplies some quotes about opinions on Obama’s offshore drilling decision and gives a link to an article by The Economist.
  • A fully solar powered boat is being tested as it gets ready for its maiden voyage around the world to pave the waterway for more renewable energy to be used in our waters. The Guardian reports.
  • A Chinese coal freighter crashed into the Great Barrier Reef. Australian officials are trying to figure out what to do amongst predictions that the ship could break into pieces and spill the 1,000 tons of bunker fuel aboard.
  • Nanotechnology may play a large part in the future of environmentalism. Batteries could be much improved through the use of carbon nanotubes, but first scientists are trying to find out how serious the human health risk is of introducing so many nanoparticles to our environment and our bodies.

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