Environment Forum

from Reuters Investigates:

Solar energy vs wildlife

Sarah McBride reports on brewing battles between environmentalists in her special report: "With solar power, it's Green vs. Green."

It turns out the perfect place to build a big solar plant is often also the perfect place for a tortoise or a fox to live. This means developers of large-scale solar plants are running into legal challenges from people who one would expect to be natural allies of alternative energy providers.

Here's a map of some of the more contentious projects.

One local resident of the Panoche Valley, Sallie Calhoun, had this to say:

"I am passionate about preserving open space," she says, adding she believes the solar plant achieves that goal. "The idea that we're going to protect every lizard, every drainage, seems counterproductive."

 

It's a tough dilemma for environmentalists. Tell us what you think?

To read the special report in multimedia PDF format, click here.

from Reuters Investigates:

Oil under ice

Still there

Still there

BP's Macondo Gulf spill would be nothing compared to the effect of a drilling accident in the Arctic, Jessica Bachman reports from "the foulest place in all of Russia."  Scientists and Russian officials are just starting to wake up to the fact that "if something happens on the Arctic Barents Sea in November it would be, 'OK, we'll come back for you in March,'" Jessica says.

But quite what Russia would do about that is not at all clear. The Russian government gets more than 50 percent of its revenues from oil and gas and Prime Minister Putin's stated aim is to keep producing more than 10 billion barrels a day through 2020. Environmentalists aren't the only ones who are worried.

A bad week for U.S. coal projects

It was a bad week to be planning a coal-fired power plant in the United States.

The industry suffered its second blow of the week on Friday with the cancellation of a plant in Michigan. The move by power plant developer LS Power marks the ninth such plant to be dropped in the United States so far this year, according to a count by environmental group the Sierra Club.

The company blamed regulatory uncertainty and the weak economy for the cancellation, which environmentalists cheered because coal-fired power plants are responsible for more than 30 percent of the United States’ global warming emissions.

The Michigan plant cancellation wasn’t the first blow to coal this week, either. On Tuesday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency withdrew a permit for a massive coal-fired plant in New Mexico that would have been built on an Indian reservation.

Hollywood’s greenest stars honor U.S. environmental group

Dozens of the world’s top movie, television and music stars showed off their green cred on Saturday night at a Hollywood-style fundraiser honoring the Natural Resource Defense Council‘s 20 years in Southern California.

The event at Beverly Hills’ Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel was a who’s who of Hollywood environmentalists, including actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert Redford, and Laurie David, a global warming activist and producer of the Al Gore movie “An Inconvenient Truth.” All three are trustees of the NRDC’s Southern California office. In 2003, the group even dedicated its new building to Redford.

It’s no secret that the environment and climate change is a hot cause in Hollywood, and it’s hard to imagine another social issue drawing as much star power to one event. The party also raised a hefty $2 million.

On Darwin anniversary: tourist limits to Galapagos, Antarctica?

Should the world celebrate the 200th anniversary today of the birth of English naturalist Charles Darwin by working to limit the number of tourists visiting the Galapagos Islands or Antarctica to protect their spectacular wildlife?

Would that help elephant seals like this one above on the Antarctic Peninsula slumber more peacefully? And would it cause less disruption for marine iguanas, below right, on Santa Cruz island in the Galapagos?

The Galapagos in the Pacific Ocean gave Darwin insights into evolution on his famed voyage around the world aboard The Beagle. Many species — from mockingbirds to tortoises – differ from those on the South American mainland. For a story, click here.

Palin asks Schwarzenegger to terminate shipping fees

palin3.jpgCalifornia environmentalists are in tizzy this week, accusing Republican Vice Presidential candidate and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin of telling their governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, how to do his job.

At issue is a letter Palin sent to Schwarzenegger last month, asking him to veto a bill that would raise shipping container fees to pay for pollution-reduction programs at three major California ports.

The letter, which Palin sent to Schwarzenegger a day before she was announced as John McCain’s running mate, began circling on the Web on Thursday.

What do you serve for lunch at a U.N. food crisis summit?

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon speaks during a U.N. crisis summit on rising food prices at the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Rome June 3, 2008. World leaders opened a conference on the global food crisis on Tuesday with the World Bank and humanitarian agencies demanding action to curb soaring prices that could push up to 100 million people into hunger. REUTERS/Chris Helgren (ITALY)What do you serve world leaders for lunch at a U.N. summit trying to solve a crisis caused by soaring food prices?

You clearly want to impress dozens of heads of state but without laying on opulent meals when up to 1 billion people are threatened by hunger.

U.N. organisers of the June 3-5 food summit in Rome are treading a fine line, putting typically Italian ingredients on the menus, such as mozzarella cheese, pasta, spinach, beans, risotto and parmesan. No pizzas, though.

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