- People blame China’s booming economy for increased greenhouse gas emissions, but those countries importing from China are equally to blame. Catherine Brahic of NewScientist explains:
Economists now say that one-third of China's carbon dioxide emissions are pumped into the atmosphere in order to manufacture exported goods – many of them "advanced" electronics goods destined for developed countries.
"Export goods emissions" account for 1.7 billion tonnes of China's carbon dioxide. That represents 6% of total global emissions – the equivalent of Germany, France and the UK's combined emissions.
Discussing the scale of China's emissions has been a hot topic since it was forecast that they could surpass US emissions as the world's leader in 2007. Some say that has now happened.
A large share of these emissions – up to 25% – has been blamed on China's ever-growing export market, but this has not been quantified until now.
Tax breaks for the oil and gas industry included in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 increase from around $1.3 billion in 2000 to some $3.6 billion in 2008, and they’re set to grow further, to some $3.8 billion by 2010, according to the Joint Committee on "Taxation Estimates of Federal Tax Expenditures for Fiscal Years 2007-2011," FoE points out in its analysis (pdf). The list of oil and gas industry tax breaks is a long one. At an estimated cost of $5.9 billion over five years, the oil and gas depletion allowance allows oil companies to deduct 15% of their sales revenues to reflect the declining value of their investment. The problem is that the accounting methodology does not accurately reflect companies’ assets actual loss in value over time, and they often wind up deducting more than the value of their original investment, according to the report’s authors. Congress has passed H.R. 4520, the "American Jobs Creation Act of 2004," which included provisions added that changed the classification of oil and natural gas production to that of a manufactured good.
"This enabled them to claim billions of dollars in new tax deductions, effectively lowering their tax rate," according to the report.
Initial estimates by the Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that it would cost the federal government some $3.5 billion over the next five years. On the other hand, efforts to change this, as was included in "The Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2008," could raise more than $5.1 billion in revenue. Deductions for intangible drilling costs — cost of wages, supplies and site preparation, royalty payments, foreign royalty, and income tax payments will add another $6.5 billion to the lost government revenue total over the next five years.
One reason for the rampant waste is that many people aren't sure how long they can safely keep fruits and vegetables. If your fruit has gone bad, however, you'll generally know -- if not from telltale dark spots, then by smelling or squeezing it.
Knowing how to pick and store your produce can help extend shelf life so it doesn't get to the point where you have to throw it out. The best methods vary depending on the fruit or vegetable, but a few rules of thumb generally apply across the board.
The first step is to immediately inspect your goods once you get home and pluck out any spoiled specimens.
"It really is true that one bad apple can make the entire bunch go bad," said James Parker, who's in charge of buying produce for Whole Foods Markets.
That's especially true for soft fruits such as peaches and nectarines. And the higher the sugar content, the more likely a fruit is to spoil faster.
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