The Morning Briefing: 12/4
PORK GIVES ATMOSPHERE GAS: Red-meat consumption is rising around the world, meaning animals' direct methane emissions -- which make up 18 percent of greenhouse gases released, more than cars, buses or planes -- are becoming more of a problem, especially since they're much less regulated than other pollutants. (Source: The New York Times)
STAYING HYDRATED: The DOE, USGS and oil company BP will join forces in late 2009 to begin drilling in the Alaskan permafrost for methane gas hydrates, an abundant but hard-to-reach hydrocarbon that's the final frontier for fossil fuels. (Source: The Christian Science Monitor)
NO VROOM: Advocates for children, the blind and disabled are raising concerns that electric cars are too quiet, since those demographics often use traditional cars' noisy approaches to gauge when it's safe to cross the street. (Source: The Guardian)
HAWAII TO BECOME BETTER PLACE: Econtrepreneur Shai Agassi has gotten the go-ahead from Hawaii to start working on bringing Better Place, his company that designs and builds recharging infrastructure for electric vehicles, to the Aloha state. Hawaii makes sense not only because its small size negates EVs' shorter range, but also because its remoteness makes fossil fuels all the more costly there. (Sources: CNET News, Wired)
MISSING THE FORESTS FOR THE TREE: After declining to hang a donated ornament that called for her husband's impeachment, Laura Bush has now announced the family is cutting costs by "recycling" Christmas ornaments from last year. (Apparently they usually buy all new ornaments every year?) Surely this eco-friendly sacrifice will balance out the president's distaste for old-growth forests in Oregon and Appalachian streams. (Sources: Wonkette, NPR, AP, NYT)
WATER ≠ CARBON: Fred Pearce writes in The Guardian of Coca-Cola's plan to become "water neutral," partially by using "water offsets." The problem is, Pearce writes, that while carbon emissions all go to the same atmosphere -- meaning carbon offsets can theoretically offset anyone's emissions -- water is local. Taking it from one place and returning it somewhere else doesn't do any good. (Source: The Guardian)
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