Worldwatch in the News

Selected news clips from around the world with mentions of the Worldwatch Institute.

Act Now on Global Warming - Top US Companies

IPS News
The chief executives of 160 largest United States companies released a new policy statement on climate change here, Tuesday, warning that "the consequences of global warming for society and ecosystems are potentially serious and far-reaching" and asserting that "the time for action is now."

Just the Thing to Carry Your Conscience In

The New York Times

If you are reading this anytime after dawn on Wednesday, you are probably too late to make a fashion statement and simultaneously keep the world safe from plastic bags.

China Overtakes Germany as World's No 3 Carmaker

The Guardian
China has overtaken Germany as the world's third-largest automaker and is closing in on Japan, the global number two, a new study has found.

Figures from the Worldwatch Institute in Washington DC show that China, whose economy grew by 11.9% in the second quarter, increased its vehicle output by 30% last year to more than 7m, overtaking Germany's 5.8m.

This caused consternation in Germany, already reeling from the strong euro and EU plans to impose binding emissions limits on its fleet.

World's Most Endangered Destinations

Forbes

Drop that pencil--it may be time to throw away your travel wish list. That's because the spots you plan to visit may not be there by the time you get around to booking your flight.

Solar Power Heads Mainstream As Costs Drop - Report

Reuters
Solar power should become a mainstream energy choice in three or four years as companies raise output of a key ingredient used in solar panels and as China emerges as a producer of them, according to a report by an environmental research group.

The World is Urban

Ventura County Star

It was big news last year when the population of the United States passed 300 million, or so it would seem from the amount of ink and air time devoted to stories about the symbolic threshold. In truth, the number meant little, for it is not necessarily how many people reside in a given area that matters but how those people live; how much land, energy and other vital resources they consume; and how equitably they distribute wealth and meet their social obligations.

Sometime this year, the world will reach a much more significant milestone: For the first time in the history of humanity, there will be more people living in cities than in rural areas. Unlike a simple numerical count of warm bodies inside national borders, that figure reflects something important about the way people live and the burden their presence places on the increasingly stressed systems that sustain them.

Expense of Bottled Water

NBC4.com

Bottled water is pricey, in more ways than one. Liz Crenshaw reports why critics call bottled water an environmental loser. Liz also reports on toys made in China and how dangerous they may be to American children. And pesky airline fees--how they raise the price without raising the fare.

Capitalize on Disasters to Make Peace, Say Researchers

OneWorld

A globally minded think tank is calling on governments and disaster relief organizations to work for peace when disaster strikes in conflict zones.

"If traditional diplomacy is unable to end a conflict then we have to look at different ways," said Michael Renner, a senior researcher at the Washington, DC-based Worldwatch Institute, which this week issued a 57-page report titled "Beyond Disasters: Creating Opportunities for Peace."

As Glaciers Melt and Rivers Dry Up, Coal-Fired Power Stations Multiply

The Guardian

On a bad day - which can be hundreds in a year - the ancient city of Linfen in the northern province of Shanxi is environmental hell. Named by the World Bank last year as having the worst air quality on Earth, its 3.5 million people more often than not choke on coal dust; its soil and its rivers are covered with soot, and its Buddhas are blackened and shrouded in a toxic mist. The cause is Linfen's 196 iron foundries, its 153 coking plants, its unregulated coalmines, tar factories, steelworks and domestic homes, all of which burn cheap, easily accessible brown coal. Shanxi is the centre of China's vast and growing coal industry, which was pinpointed yesterday by Dutch government scientists as the major culprit, along with the cement industry, in the country's sudden surge to the top of the world's league of greenhouse gas emitters.

Biofuels: Promise or Peril?

In These Times
In the near future, tropical biofuels from sugar cane and oil palm have a price advantage, and big agribusiness operators are slashing rainforests for plantations that deplete soils, reduce biodiversity and eliminate wildlife habitat. In 2006, the Worldwatch Institute reported, “If biofuels are produced from low-yielding crops, are grown on previously wild grasslands or forests, and/or are produced with heavy inputs of fossil energy, they have the potential to generate as much or more GHG emissions than petroleum fuels do.” In Indonesia and Malaysia, for example, the burning of forests and peat bogs to clear land for palm oil plantations has unleashed vast quantities of carbon dioxide, overwhelming any modest GHG gains from biodiesel.
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