Friday, March 28, 2008

Daily Grist: Gore group to launch climate marketing campaign, green group files lawsuit to protect 681 species, and more


Only You Can Prevent Climate Change
Gore group will launch climate marketing campaign

Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection plans to spend more than $300 million over the next three years on a marketing campaign aimed at getting Americans to address climate change. With ads developed by the Martin Agency (the folks behind the Geico cavemen and chatty gecko) and partnerships with grassroots groups, the campaign focus will be on the how-to aspect of cutting greenhouse gases. "Right now, we have incredible numbers of people in the U.S. who say global warming is an important problem that needs to be fixed," says Mike Hughes of the Martin Agency. "But most people think there's nothing they can do about it -- or that someone should do something about it, but that someone isn't them." Yep, that sounds like most of the people we know. The alliance also hopes to persuade consumer-product manufacturers to use packaging and advertising to "amplify the message" about curbing global warming. Says Alliance CEO Cathy Zoi, "We have to mainstream this. It has to become easy and normal."

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sources: USA Today, Plenty Magazine

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Law & Order: Species Victims Unit
Green group files lawsuit to protect 681 species

Environmentalists filed suit last week against the U.S. Interior Department, seeking to force the agency to review and issue findings on the status of 681 species vulnerable to extinction. WildEarth Guardians, which filed the suit, contends that the Bush administration has deliberately stalled Endangered Species Act listing decisions to appease developers and other interests; the group wants to compel the agency to tackle its species-listing backlog. A recent Washington Post investigation shows just how much Interior has been stalling on the species front. Over the past seven years, the Bush administration has listed only 59 species total under the ESA; in contrast, Clinton listed an average of 62 each year, and Bush's father listed about 58 each year. More important, the Bush administration has made it much more difficult for imperiled species to get protection in the first place. At various times, it's disregarded scientific advisers, narrowed a species' protected range to areas where it is currently found instead of its historic range, and barred the use of information from agency files to support new listings, among other tactics.

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sources: Associated Press, The Guardian, The Washington Post

Keep on Truckin'
Truckers slowing down to increase fuel efficiency

You think filling up your car is a pain in the wallet? Try being a trucker. Most big rigs get less than 10 miles to the gallon, and diesel fuel is hovering near $4 a gallon in many places. "For every one-penny increase in the price of diesel, it costs our industry $391 million," says a trucking industry spokesperson. In response, many trucking companies are instructing their drivers to ease off the throttle. Slowing from 75 miles per hour to 65 mph can increase fuel efficiency by more than a mile per gallon. And along with burning less fuel, slowed-down trucks make highways safer for the rest of us.

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sources: Associated Press, Dayton Daily News, The Kansas City Star
see also, in Grist: Electrified truck stops let tired drivers turn off their diesel engines

Wary Indiana
Plans for Indiana BioTown face obstacles, but sputter on

In 2005, Reynolds, Ind., was deemed the world's first "BioTown," as agricultural officials unveiled a plan to power the 550-person burg entirely with corn, hog waste, sewage, and other energy sources in ready local supply. Three years and many obstacles later, the ambitious proposal is far off track. A significant private investor dropped out; construction on a planned ethanol plant was suspended; work has not yet begun on a planned anaerobic digester. Officials have downgraded their ambition, but say the project will sputter on.

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source: Associated Press

The Pricing Is Right
New York's new governor supports congestion pricing

Brand-spankin'-new New York Gov. David Paterson (D) has announced his support for a controversial congestion pricing plan. The proposal, put forward by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) and supported by former Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D), would charge $8 to drivers entering Manhattan's central business district during peak hours. Said Paterson in a written statement, "Congestion pricing addresses two urgent concerns of the residents of New York City and its suburbs: the need to reduce congestion on our streets and roads, and thereby reduce pollution and global warming; and the need to raise significant revenue for mass transit improvements." Hear, hear.

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source: Newsday
see also, in Gristmill: A quick history of N.Y.'s incoming governor David Paterson and his environmental record

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I Don't Want No Scrub
A test of eight green bathroom-cleaning products

Say what you will about our Sarah van Schagen, the girl keeps her bathroom impeccably clean. Which is why she had to seek out a fellow Grist staffer's grime to test out the effectiveness of green bathroom-cleaning products. Which scrubbers cut through the muck, and what surprisingly basic product left a gleam on the shower tile matched only by the gleam in Sarah's eye? Find out in today's Bottom Line.

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new in Grist: A test of eight green bathroom-cleaning products

Coming Wednesday: Advice columnist Umbra Fisk on trash bags

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