Global environmental challenges
Global miner Rio Tinto enters the spotlight this week as one of its uranium mines in Australia leaks toxins into a river leading to the wetlands of the Kakadu National Park, a bi-weekly analysis of companies in the news by ASSET4 data providers shows.
Here is a breakdown of the companies that made headlines May 22 to June 4 for winning or losing credibility based on environment-related activity.
Company selections were made by Christopher Greenwald, director of data content at ASSET4, a Thomson Reuters business that provides investment research on the environmental, social and governance performance of major global corporations. These ratings are not recommendations to buy or sell.
Here are the recent hits and misses:
Rio Tinto PLC has recently faced controversies concerning the impacts of two of its subsidiaries on their surrounding communities. Reports have emerged that a uranium mine operated by Energy Resources of Australia, which is owned by Rio Tinto, has been leaking high levels of uranium, sulphate and radium into a river flowing into the world-heritage wetlands of the Kakadu National Park in Northern Australia. Rio Tinto-owned Kennecott Minerals has also recently faced protests against a planned nickel and copper mine in Northern Michigan on Lake Superior, which local Indian tribes as well and the National Wildlife Federation have claimed will lead to sulpheric acid pollution as well as the destruction of a site considered sacred by native Americans.
– David Rockefeller, Jr. is a philanthropist and CEO of Around the Americas and Chairman of Sailors for the Sea. Any views expressed here are his own. –
When the Ocean Watch set sail from Seattle last May at the launch of our Around the Americas expedition, our greatest challenge was to make Americans start thinking about health of oceans. For too long, we have been taking our rich seafood supplies and scenic seascapes for granted.
– John Hofmeister is founder and CEO of Citizens for Affordable Energy, former president of Shell Oil Company and author of Why We Hate the Oil Companies: Straight Talk from an Energy Insider. Any views expressed here are his own. –
How bad, really, was the Minerals Management Service (MMS)?
The quick answer is no one will ever know.
Despite all the accusations of a “cozy” relationship with industry, the recent termination of President Obama’s appointee who served less than a year, as well as the re-organization by the Interior Department suggest that any sleaze has been swept aside by political calculations in the rush to assert that the administration is on top of things in Washington.
– Rona Fried, Ph.D., is CEO of SustainableBusiness.com, a news and networking site for green businesses: including a green jobs service and a green investing newsletter. Any views expressed here are her own. —
Before the catastrophic BP oil drilling failure, polls showed that Americans favored oil drilling as a safe way to increase our energy independence. This was after decades of polls trending in the opposite direction.
Another oil company besides BP is drawing the ire of environmental groups this month. The Norwegian-based Statoil is under fire for development of the oil sands of Alberta Canada, a bi-weekly analysis of companies in the news by ASSET4 data providers shows.
Here is a breakdown of the companies that made headlines May 8 to May 21 for winning or losing credibility based on environment-related activity.
–Jean-Michel Cousteau is an environmentalist, documentary producer, president of Ocean Futures Society and the son of ocean explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau. He has produced over 70 films, including the documentary series Ocean Adventures in 2006. Any views expressed here are his own. –
In the midst of desperate attempts to stem the flow of oil and the agony of waiting to understand its effects, we are left with simple questions like what exactly is happening to the waters of the Gulf of Mexico? And how quickly can we move from dependence on oil to a sustainable, renewable energy policy?
The ongoing struggle in the Gulf of Mexico to contain and remove oil spilling from a ruptured deepwater well is damaging more than the environment, a bi-weekly analysis of companies in the news by ASSET4 data providers shows.
Here is a breakdown of the companies that made headlines Apr. 23 to May 7 for making or losing credibility based on environment-related activity.
East Africa’s Lake Tanganyika might be getting too hot for sardines.
The little fish have been an economic and nutritional mainstay for some 10 million people in neighboring Burundi, Tanzania, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo — four of the poorest countries on Earth. They also depend on Lake Tanganyika for drinking water.
But that could change, according to research published in the online version of the journal Nature Geoscience. Using samples of the lakebed that chart a 1,500-year history of the lake’s surface water temperature, the scientists found the current temperature — 78.8 degrees F (26 degrees C) — is the warmest it’s been in a millennium and a half. And that could play havoc with sardines and other fish the local people depend on.
–Dan Howells is deputy campaigns director for Greenpeace USA. Any views expressed here are his own.–
On repeated trips over the last couple of weeks, Greenpeace found the first traces of oil coming ashore at Port Eads, the southernmost tip of Louisiana.
– Dennis Takahashi-Kelso is executive vice president of Ocean Conservancy and was Alaska Commissioner of Environmental Conservation at the time of the Exxon Valdez spill. Jim Ayers is vice president and senior adviser at Oceana and was executive director of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council. Any views expressed here are their own. –
As we are seeing each day, the Deepwater Horizon oil platform blowout in America’s Gulf coast is a human and environmental tragedy.