The Daily Dose: Your Guide to the World Today – 20 August 09

Authorities in China have closed a second metal smelter, near Wugang in Hunan province, after more than 1,300 children fell sick with lead poisoning. It follows the closure of a smelter in northern Shaanxi province, where more than 600 children were found to have lead poisoning. In both cases, the smelters were closed after angry parents confronted authorities over their children's illnesses.

Germany plans to put one million electric cars on its roads by 2020. So far 500m euros ($704m) has been earmarked for research and development.

Plastics decompose with surprising speed in the oceans, releasing contaminants such as bisphenol A (BPA) and PS oligomers into the water. The huge amount of plastic waste in our seas has previously been regarded as a long-lasting pollutant that does not break down easily, but new research suggests otherwise.

Australia has passed a law requiring 20 percent of the country's electricity to come from renewable sources by 2020, matching European standards and up from about 8 percent now. However it comes as part of a deal which will increase government assistance to industries that are heavy users of electricity and create safeguards for existing investment in the coal mining industry.

The Nimby factor – not in my back yard – is being blamed for the closure of the Vestas wind turbine plant on the Isle of Wight, which came even as the British government was announcing a new vision for renewable energy. A company vice-president blamed “faceless Nimbys” for stopping planned wind farms in prime locations.

Supersonic shock-wave technology may be an answer for compressing CO2 quickly and efficiently, saving on power, machinery, and time, according to research in applying jet engine operation to gas compression.

Claims by western banks and supermarkets to be taking a tough line (since 2004) on landowners who trash Asia's rainforests for palm oil plantations are little more than "greenwash", and there is an urgent need for legal and political reform to ensure palm oil is made sustainable, a new report says.

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  • Posted on Aug. 20, 2009. Listed in:

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