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Archive for December, 2007

FOR CASH STRAPPED AMERICANS, THE HITS JUST KEEP ON COMING

Posted in Corporate Greed, News Brief on December 30th, 2007

‘08 FORECASTS: FOOD AT LEAST 3% HIGHER; GAS UP 10.7%

2007-07-25-debt.jpgFor cash-strapped consumers already beset by higher gasoline prices and escalating mortgage rates, the hits just keep on coming. This time, it’s food.

The sharp rise in food prices seen in 2007 is expected to be followed by another higher-than-normal jump next year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said last week. And 2008’s punch will be to the breadbasket.

Items made with wheat (breads and crackers) and soybean oil (cooking oil and fried foods) are expected to rise so much next year that they’ll boost the cost of cooking at home by up to 4.5 percent — half a percentage point more than predicted just a month ago.

So pinched consumers thinking they can cut back by eating at home more will find little relief there. Home cooking remains less expensive than eating out, but the gap is closing.

READ MORE…

Source: The Dallas Morning News

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FRUSTRATED BY STATE AND FEDERAL INACTIVITY, US TOWNS AND CITIES OFFER INCENTIVES TO GO GREEN

Posted in Alternative Energy, Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Conscious Actions, Eco -Chic, News Brief, Renewable Energy on December 30th, 2007

INCENTIVES INCLUDE FREE HYBRID-CAR PARKING. CASH REBATES FOR INSTALLING SOLAR PANELS. LOW-INTEREST LOANS FOR ENERGY-SAVING HOME RENOVATIONS. MONEY TO TEAR UP DESERT LAWNS AND REPLACE THEM WITH DROUGHT-RESISTANT LANDSCAPING

pluginhybrid.jpgFrustrated by what they see as insufficient action by state and federal government, municipalities around the country are offering financial incentives to get people to go green.

“A lot of localities recognize they’re going to get a lot more done using carrots and incentives rather than regulatory means,” said Jason Hartke, director of advocacy for the U.S. Green Building Council.

In Parkland, Florida, where the motto is “Environmentally Proud,” the city plans next year to begin dispensing cash rebates to its 25,000 residents for being more environmentally friendly.

“We will literally issue them a check,” said Vice Mayor Jared Moskowitz. “We’re sick of waiting for the federal government to do something, so we’ve got to do what we can.”

Residents who install low-flow toilets or shower heads will get $150. Replacing an old air conditioner with a more energy-efficient one brings $100. Buying a hybrid car? An additional $200 cash back. And the list goes on.

READ MORE…

Source: The Associated Press

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TOYOTA UNVEILS HOT NEW HYBRID PICKUP TRUCK

Posted in Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Clean Energy, Conscious Actions, Cool Products, News Brief on December 30th, 2007

THE FUEL-EFFICIENT VEHICLE FEATURES 4-FOOT BED, NAVIGATION UNIT AND WI-FI

toyotahybridpickup.jpgToyota Motor Corp. plans to introduce a concept hybrid pickup truck featuring improved fuel economy and lower emissions at the 2008 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the automaker said Friday.

The A-BAT concept vehicle is equipped with Hybrid Synergy Drive, Toyota’s third-generation gas-electric hybrid powertrain technology, according to the company. Its trapezoidal profile was borrowed from the Prius, another hybrid Toyota vehicle.

The four-passenger pickup features a 4-foot bed, while a translucent roof panel slides open to allow for tall cargo inside the cab. The bed can be extended by 2 feet by folding down the pass through midgate into the cab and by another 2 feet by opening the tailgate

READ MORE…

Source: The Associated Press/ MSNBC

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EPA SAYS NO TO CALIFORNIA’S BID FOR HIGHER TAILPIPE EMISSION STANDARDS. CONGRESS WANTS TO KNOW WHY.

Posted in Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Clean Energy, Corporate Greed, Corporate Polluters, News Brief on December 30th, 2007

IN A BREAK WITH BUSH ADMINISTRATION TRADITION, EPA AGREES TO TURN OVER THE REQUESTED MATERIALS RATHER THAN FACE LOOSING IN A COURT OF LAW

image1414171g.jpgIn a significant blow to the auto industry and their pollution loving buddys in the Bush administration, the US Environmental Protection Agency has decided to comply with requests from congressional investigators for all data relevant to the recent decision to deny California’s request to institute more stringent tailpipe emission standards that are provided for in the recently enacted energy bill.

The material in question includes all scientific, legal and technical analysis, whether pro or con. as well as all communications between the White House and senior EPA management relevant to the decision.

The EPA rejected California’s request after stonewalling the state for over two years. Should California prevail in instituting the more stringent standards, as many as sixteen additional states are expected to follow the California model.

This would require the financially beleaguered automobile industry to, in essence, produce two seperate sets of cars, those capable of complying with the federal model, and those able to pass muster in the nation’s largest market for new cars.

Now if the domestic automobile industry would spend more time developing the products of the future, and less trying to hold onto the ways of the past, perhaps they would not be on such shaky financial ground.

Keep tuned to libsearthwatch.com for more on this issue.

- LIB

Related Story: LA Times: EPA prepares to provide records

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NATURAL CATASTROPHES ON THE RISE

Posted in Global Warming, News Brief on December 29th, 2007

CLIMATE CHANGE BLAMED FOR THE INCREASE

kyrilstorm.jpg Natural catastrophes in 2007 were more frequent and costlier than a year earlier and climate change will make them more expensive still, the world’s second-biggest re-insurer, Munich Re, said Thursday.

There were 950 natural catastrophes in 2007 compared with 850 in 2006, the highest number since the group started compiling its closely watched annual report in 1974.

The total cost of disasters in 2007 was 75 billion dollars (51.5 billion euros), while the bill for 2006 was 50 billion dollars.

The 2007 figure was however far below the record figure of 220 billion dollars in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina and a earthquake in Pakistan caused devastation.

READ MORE…

Source: AFP / Raw Story

Related Story: Read More about the Kyrill Storm

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BURGER KING LEADS THE FAST FOOD SECTOR IN TRANS FATS

Posted in Health Watch, News Brief on December 22nd, 2007

CHAIN HAS THE DUBIOUS DISTINCTION OF HAVING THE HIGHEST LEVELS OF ARTERY-CLOGGING, OBESITY-INDUCING TRANS FATS IN ITS FRENCH FRIES, CHICKEN NUGGETS AND OTHER MEALS

burgerking.jpgThe detailed, groundbreaking figures come from Health Canada’s testing of leading-brand prepackaged foods such as cookies and frozen potatoes, as well as favorite treats from selected restaurants.

“Burger King seems to have been crowned in this data as the king of trans fats,” said Sally Brown, CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.

“Not all companies are reducing them in all products, but Burger King isn’t reducing them in any products.”

Low-cost trans fats provide taste and texture in a wide range of foods and are used for frying, but they are also maligned for increasing levels of bad cholesterol and lowering those of good cholesterol.

More….

Source: Globe and Mail

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NYPD GOES GREEN WITH ELECTRIC SCOOTERS

Posted in Alternative Energy, Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Clean Energy, Eco -Chic, News Brief, Renewable Energy on December 22nd, 2007

POLICE WORKING TO KEEP THE CITY SAFER WILL BE TRYING TO KEEP IT GREENER TOO

nypdpatch.jpg Four plug-in Vectrix scooters will be road tested starting early next month as the New York Police Department tries to become more environmentally friendly and reduce gasoline use in its massive motor fleet.

The nation’s largest police department already uses a handful of hybrid cars and so-called flex-fuel vehicles, which can run on both gasoline and ethanol.

MORE…

Source: Associated Press / Raw Story

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HOW BAD DO YOU EAT?

Posted in Health Watch on December 19th, 2007

FOODIES BEWARE: MENS HEALTH MAGAZINE HAS ISSUED A LIST OF THE WORST FOODS IN AMERICA AND MANY OF OUR MOST POPULAR FOODS ARE ON IT

spagetti2.jpgAt this time of the year, crammed somewhere between the holiday celebrations, endless eggnog, and too frequent trips to the mall, many of us, myself included, begin to obsess about, of all things, our New Year’s resolutions.

For me, the resolution is always the same – to eat better. Specifically, to substitute fresh, healthier, organic foods for the easy to prepare prepackaged entres so much a part of my everyday life.

Towards this end, the following list compiled by Men’s Health Magazine of the worst foods in America is a mixed blessing. Now I won’t go in to which of the foods on this list are particular favorites of mine as that would be too painful. Suffice it to say that after perusing the list, I see that, achievements aside, I still have a long way to go to before I am successfully eating healthy.

Particularly upsetting for me was the nomination for the worst pasta, the Spaghetti and Meatballs with Meat Sauce from Macaroni Grill. For the record, I love the Macaroni Gill with its light Northern Italian influenced fare. More importantly, I love the very basic Spaghetti and Meatballs with Meat Sauce. But no more. Particularly now that I know that this tasty concoction comes in heavy with a whopping 2,430 calories, 128 g fat, 207 g carbs, and unbelievable 5,290 mg sodium. I didn’t know that it was possible to have this much salt in such a bland, simple entrée.

Less distressing to me is the list’s nominee for the overall worst food in America, the distinction of which goes to the Outback Steakhouse’s Aussie Cheese Fries with Ranch Dressing. A favorite of my daughters, this concoction comes in at a stunning 2,900 calories, 182 g fat, and g carbs. But that’s ok as she seems to be able to eat pretty much anything and never gain an ounce. I, however, am not so blessed.

Come to think of it, I have had all that I can handle discussing food at this point in time. Those so inclined can follow the link below and find chapter and verse of all things bad and yummy. Me, I am going to go to lunch.

MORE….

Source: Mens Health

-LIB

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SAN FRANCISCO TO FUND LOCAL GREEN ACTIVITIES

Posted in Clean Energy, Conscious Actions, Eco Warriors, News Brief, Renewable Energy on December 18th, 2007

UNDER THE PROGRAM, CITY OFFICIALS WOULD CALCULATE THE CARBON COST OF THEIR TRAVELS AND CONTRIBUTE TO ONE OF SEVERAL CITY PROGRAMS AIMED AT REDUCING GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS — OR FOREGO THE TRAVEL ALTOGETHER

2007-09-28-money1.jpg“What we are trying to do by this is to set high standards to show carbon offset programs that work,” Gavin Newsom told Reuters, adding he was wary of offsets with little accountability that promise action in distant lands.

For official travel, that means a round-trip flight from San Francisco to New York would cost an additional $80 to $90, officials say, to be paid into the city’s offset programs such as converting restaurant grease into fuel, installing solar energy devices or investing in energy conservation.

The program will not cost additional funds, which means city departments would cut out some travel to pay for other trips with carbon offsets, Newsom said. A second phase of the program would also allow residents to buy offsets.

With growing worldwide focus on the climate change impact of carbon emissions, entities from companies such as Google and Yahoo to organizations including the United Nations and countries such as Costa Rica, Norway and New Zealand are implementing carbon offset programs with the ultimate goal of becoming carbon neutral.

MORE….

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SURVEY: MANY AMERICANS AIM TO GO “GREEN” IN THE NEW YEAR.

Posted in Clean Energy, Conscious Actions, Eco -Chic, News Brief on December 18th, 2007

REDUCING HOUSEHOLD CHEMICALS, USING LESS ENERGY, AND SWITCHING TO REUSABLE LAUNDRY BAGS ARE JUST A FEW OF THE WAYS CITED

250px-compact-flourescent-bulb2.jpg This is good news for all Americans. Whatsmore, here at Libsearthwatch we aim to help. Look for our simple, easy to use energy audit in the early days of the New Year. This easy to use tool will offer many practical tips and suggestions on how to reduce your carbon footprint. Best of all, many of these will be achievable without a great deal of sacrifice. Afterall, who likes sacrifice.

-Lib

Three-quarters of Americans, the world’s largest polluters, plan to be more environmentally responsible in 2008 by reducing household energy or recycling more, a survey showed on Monday.

Half of those polled said they would make a “green” New Year’s resolution, according to the survey by GfK Roper and commissioned by marketing consultancy Tiller LLC.

Two-thirds of Americans plan to cut their use of household chemicals, while 42 percent said they would take reusable fabric bags to the supermarket to reduce the use of plastic bags.

“When it comes to life choices, green is clearly a primary color. Americans are viewing the environmental impact of their actions with increased responsibility and deliberation,” said Rob Densen, chief executive of Tiller.

MORE….

Source: Reuters

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