Noteworthy News

Prop. 37: Another example of the perils of the initiative process
Love it or hate it, the one thing you can say for sure about California's ballot initiative process is that it's the absolute worst way to craft policy dealing with complex scientific issues. That doesn't stop advocates on one side or another from constantly trying, with the result that the public's understanding of the
Fossil Fuel Industry Ads Dominate TV Campaign
WASHINGTON — When Barack Obama first ran for president, being green was so popular that oil companies like Chevron were boasting about their commitment to renewable energy, and his Republican opponent, John McCain, supported action on global warming. As Mr. Obama seeks re-election, that world is a distant memory. Some of
Harvesting a Climate Disaster
FARMERS went to Washington yesterday. Members of a coalition representing more than 80 agricultural organizations rallied on Capitol Hill to demand passage of a new farm bill that has been stalled in Congress. The Democratic-led Senate has already passed its version of the bill; the Republican-controlled House is
Plasma Gasification Raises Hopes of Clean Energy From Garbage
David Robau tours the country promoting a system that sounds too good to be true: It devours municipal garbage, recycles metals, blasts toxic contaminants and produces electricity and usable byproducts — all with drastic reductions in emissions. Mr. Robau, an environmental scientist for the Air Force, has been promoting a
New York Is Lagging as Seas and Risks Rise, Critics Warn
With a 520-mile-long coast lined largely by teeming roads and fragile infrastructure, New York City is gingerly facing up to the intertwined threats posed by rising seas and ever-more-severe storm flooding. So far, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has commissioned exhaustive research on the challenge of climate change. His
For Electric Car Batteries, The Race for a Rapid Charge
If stopping for gas took five or six hours, would you rethink that road trip? How about an hour? When it comes to electric vehicles, topping up the “tank” does indeed take a long time, one of the primary barriers to more widespread adoption of EVs. So it is no surprise that there is an aggressive push to improve batteries
More Choice, and More Confusion, in Quest for Healthy Eating
ATLANTA — Lisa Todd’s grocery cart reflects the ambivalence of many American shoppers. Ms. Todd, 31, prowled the aisles of a busy Kroger store here last week. Her cart was a tumble of contradictions: organic cabbage and jar of Skippy peanut butter. A bag of kale and a four-pack of inexpensive white wine. Pineapples for
A Chinese City Moves to Limit New Cars
GUANGZHOU, China — It is as startling as if Detroit or Los Angeles restricted car ownership. The municipal government of Guangzhou, a sprawling metropolis that is one of China’s biggest auto manufacturing centers, introduced license plate auctions and lotteries last week that will roughly halve the number of new cars on
Is the Energy Boom a Mirage?
THE United States is experiencing a boom in oil and natural gas production — one that many people, including Mitt Romney, see as a game-changing, tectonic shift in our energy picture. But while the boom is real, the benefits are less than meet the eye. The United States produces 1.6 million more barrels of oil each day now
Critics Say California Law Hurts Effort to Add Jobs
LOS ANGELES — Environmentalists in this greenest of places call the California Environmental Quality Act the state’s most powerful environmental protection, a model for the nation credited with preserving lush wetlands and keeping condominiums off the slopes of the Sierra Nevada. But the landmark law passed in 1970 has