Verizon Launches Major Sustainability Initiative

Verizon has just announced a comprehensive sustainability program that contains a number of new initiatives, as well as the expansion of existing efforts. The company, which was ranked #27 by Corporate Responsibility Magazine in its list of 100 best companies, continues to emphasize its intention to grow responsibly. The initiatives range from additional greening of its vehicle fleet to new, high-efficiency set top video boxes. Some of the new initiatives for 2010 include: * Adding 1,600 alternative energy vehicles to the company fleet. Verizon is purchasing more than 1,100 alternative energy vehicles including hybrid and compressed natural gas-powered aerial bucket trucks and vans, and hybrid pick-up trucks and sedans. The company will also increase its use of biodiesel and flex-fuel (E85) to power 470 vehicles. New hybrid aerial bucket trucks replace the diesel generators used in conventional trucks of this type with batteries that can be recharged by the vehicle. Video. * Teaming-up with Motorola for a trial eco-friendly set-top boxes for FiOS TV customers in select markets. The new QIP models use significantly less energy than existing models. Packaging for both models will be 100 percent recyclable and made from 75 percent recycled cardboard. * A long-term awareness campaign to educate, encourage and make it easy for Verizon’s 220,000 employees to cut energy use, recycle and reuse at work and home. Recent examples include free electronic recycling days, open to the public, at various company locations. All materials collected during the campaign will be recycled or disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner, Verizon notes.

New climate talks set for 2010 in Cancun, Mexico

About 175 nations agreed a plan Sunday to salvage climate talks after the Copenhagen summit but the U.N.'s top climate official predicted a full new treaty was out of reach for 2010. Delegates at the April 9-11 talks, marred by late-night wrangling between rich and poor nations on how to slow global warming, agreed to hold two extra meetings in the second half of 2010 after the December summit fell short of a binding deal. The extra sessions, of at least a week long each, and a linked plan to prepare new draft U.N. climate texts would help pave the way to the next annual meeting of environment ministers in Cancun, Mexico, November 29-December 10.

Shell gets key Alaska permit

Royal Dutch Shell Plc has been granted a long-awaited federal air-quality permit the oil company needs to conduct exploratory drilling this year in Alaska's Beaufort Sea, government officials said late on Friday. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued the permit to Shell to cover air pollutants emitted from the drill ship and fleet of support vessels that the company plans to mobilize to drill two exploratory wells on leases 16 to 22 miles offshore from Alaska's northern coast.

China, U.S. clash over 2010 U.N. climate talks

The United States and China clashed on Friday about how to revive climate talks in 2010, complicating the first U.N. session since the acrimonious Copenhagen summit fell short of agreeing a treaty. Many delegates at the 175-nation talks in Bonn from April 9-11 urged efforts to restore trust between rich and poor countries but few held out hopes for a breakthrough deal to fight global warming at the next major talks in Cancun, Mexico, in late 2010. In a split between the world's top two emitters of greenhouse gases, Washington said it wanted talks in 2010 to build on a non-binding Copenhagen Accord for limiting global warming reached by more than 110 nations at the December summit.

Toxic release Inventory List Expansion

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to add 16 chemicals to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) list of reportable chemicals, the first expansion of the program in more than a decade. Established as part of the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA), TRI is a publicly available EPA database that contains information on toxic chemical releases and waste management activities reported annually by certain industries as well as federal facilities. The proposal is part of EPA's ongoing efforts to provide communities with more complete information on chemicals.

Exposure to Three Classes of Common Chemicals May Affect Female Development, Study Finds

Researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine have found that exposure to three common chemical classes -- phenols, phthalates and phytoestrogens -- in young girls may disrupt the timing of pubertal development, and put girls at risk for health complications later in life.

Geologist Connects Regular Changes of Earth’s Orbital Cycle to Changes in Climate

In an analysis of the past 1.2 million years, UC Santa Barbara geologist Lorraine Lisiecki discovered a pattern that connects the regular changes of Earth's orbital cycle to changes in Earth's climate. The finding is reported in the scientific journal Nature Geoscience.

Colorful Nature

Some people and animals are color blind. For those who can see the world of colors there is endless wonder. So how do these colors happen in nature? How do you choose to be pink, black or violet? How different creatures in the animal kingdom — from colorful birds and reef fish to butterflies and snakes — make and deploy their artful designs is one of nature's many deep secrets. Now, however, a team of researchers from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has exposed the fine details of how animals make new body ornamentation from scratch. The work, the result of years long and laborious experimentation, was published April 7 in the journal Nature.

U.N. climate talks resume, little chance of 2010 deal

Climate negotiators meet in Bonn on Friday for the first time since the fractious Copenhagen summit but with scant hopes of patching together a new legally binding U.N. deal in 2010. Delegates from 170 nations gathered on Thursday for the April 9-11 meeting that will seek to rebuild trust after the December summit disappointed many by failing to agree a binding U.N. deal at the climax of two years of talks. Bonn will decide a programme for meetings in 2010 and air ideas about the non-binding Copenhagen Accord, backed by more than 110 nations including major emitters China, the United States, Russia and India but opposed by some developing states. The Accord seeks to limit world temperature rises to below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F), but without saying how.

Sun Screen Nano Particles

Scientists are reporting that particle size may affect the toxicity of zinc oxide, a material widely used in sunscreens. Particles smaller than 100 nanometers are reported as slightly more toxic to colon cells than conventional zinc oxide when ingested. Their study is in the ACS Chemical Research in Toxicology, a monthly journal. Zinc Oxide is used in sunscreens as a highly effective agent to reduce and prevent sun burns. Part of its effectiveness is due to its particle size.