Green-News: Monday 8.18.08
- Our oceans are dying. Build-ups of nitrogen and phosphorus are creating “dead zones.” Burning fossil fuels and agriculture are to blame. Anne Minard of National Geographic News reports:
Dead zones occur when excess nutrients—usually nitrogen and phosphorus—from agriculture or the burning of fossil fuels seep into the water system and fertilize blooms of algae along the coast.
As the microscopic plants die and sink to the ocean floor, they feed bacteria, which consume dissolved oxygen from surrounding waters. This limits oxygen availability for bottom-dwelling organisms and the fish that eat them…
…The second largest dead zone surrounds the mouth of the Mississippi River in the Gulf of Mexico. Despite decades of efforts to clean up U.S. rivers and lakes, high nitrogen levels are currently combining with strong water flow to make that dead zone larger than it has ever been.
- This I like. China has raised taxes on big cars and lowered taxes on small cars. America is big car berserk. Maybe we’ll follow China’s lead. Via by Michael Graham Richard of TreeHugger:
Trying to Fight Air Pollution
Only 4 months ago, we wrote about how big cars were the stars at the Beijing Auto Show. But now that air pollution is in the news more than ever because of the olympics, it seems like the Chinese government has had second thoughts: It decided to reduce taxes on small cars, and increase them on big vehicles. And they're not taking half-measures. The tax on some big vehicles can be as high as 40%.
China's Tax Scale is Based on Engine Size
Starting on September 1st, passenger vehicles with engines bigger than 4 liters will see their tax doubled to 40% from 20%. Engines with displacement from 2 liters to 4 liters will be taxed 25%, up from the current 15%, and cars with engines at or smaller than 1 liter would drop to 1% from the current 3%.
- Residents of Flint Michigan are more than grumpy about genetically modified sugar beets that snuck into the food supply—they’re fighting back! ENN pass it along:
They're participating in a nationwide consumer boycott of Kellogg's Co. instigated by the Organic Consumers Association. By boycotting the world's largest cereal company, they hope to pressure Kellogg's into rejecting the use of sugar from genetically engineered (GE) sugar beets and to spark widespread market rejection in products ranging from cereal to baby food to candy.
As you may know, Roundup Ready sugar beets are genetically altered to resist Monsanto's toxic weed killer, Roundup, and its active ingredient, glyphosate. But here's the scary truth about these beets:
When the USDA first approved GE sugar beets for commercial planting in 1998, the EPA also increased the maximum allowable residues of glyphosate on sugar beet roots from just .02 parts per million to 10ppm. That's a staggering 5,000 percent increase of allowable toxins on beet roots. And, it's little surprise that EPA made this policy change at the request of Monsanto.