The Washington Post on the anti-nuclear zeitgeist "Following the scary but ultimately non-catastrophic Fukushima nuclear crisis, every country with a reactor had reason to review the safety of its existing facilities and the integrity of its regulatory systems," writes The Washington Post's editorial board. "But prudence demanded then and now that they not abandon the power source precipitously." The audience for The Post's editorial is Germany and Japan, which are both trying to rid their grids of the energy source and reduce their carbon emissions simultaneously. Claiming that new technologies are making nuclear safer, the board says that the anti-nuclear factions of Germany and Japan are overly optimistic about temperamental renewable energy sources, mainly wind and solar, sufficiently meeting clean energy demand.
The New York Times on a California water war San Diego, stuck between a desert and a salty ocean, faces "end-of-pipeline paranoia," forever worried how the nearby municipalities that provide its water and the pipes it runs through will nickel-and-dime the well-to-do city. We're in the throes of the latest iteration of this water war, The New York Times' Adam Nagourney and Felicity Barringer report, as that group of municipalities "two weeks ago imposed two back-to-back 5 percent annual water rate increases on San Diego." And while the battle over the rates will actually be decided in a San Francisco court, that's not stopping the city's water agency from waging a propaganda campaign labeling the consortium of municipalities a "secret society" -- being carried out on the Internet, of course.
Mother Jones on what makes motorbikes bad Reporting from Hanoi, Kate Sheppard tries pinning down what makes the Vietnamese capital one of the most polluted cities in the world. "It's from all the motorbikes and mopeds, which number at least 1.8 million in Hanoi," she reasons. There is good behind the two-wheeled technology, as "[t]hey do get much better miles-per-gallon of gasoline and thus emit less climate-changing carbon emissions. However: "they produce more of the nasty stuff like carbon monoxide and smog-forming pollutants," making the warning that one never sees the sun in Hanoi only a small exaggeration.
Bloomberg View on antibiotics for farm animals The antibiotics that show up on our dinner plates, at least for meat eaters, are a real risk to human health as they make microbes more drug resistent. And that problem isn't being addressed, according to a Bloomberg View editorial, because farmers -- wanting fatten cows, pigs, and chickens -- and drug makers -- wanting a market for their antibiotics -- have little financial incentive to curb antibiotics use. Thankfully, "[t]his month the FDA finally said it would issue rules for drugmakers and farmers to voluntarily stop putting antibiotics in animal feed and water to help them grow," but the regulation has major loopholes, such as merely getting a veterinarian’s approval to put animals back on antibiotics. The editorial board's solution? Congress needs to pass legislation against antibiotics use in factory farms that has some teeth.
The Associated Press on China's electric car woes China's up-and-coming electric car industry, backed by an array of government subsidies, is running out of gas. Or, umm, is on low battery life. "In 2009, they announced bold plans to cash in on demand for clean vehicles by making China a global power in electric car manufacturing," reports the Associated Press's Joe McDonald. "They pledged billions of dollars for research and called for annual sales of 500,000 cars by 2015." How's that come by 2012? Not so good. Manufacturers "will be lucky to sell 2,000 cars this year," due to both supply- and demand-side sluggishness: technology hasn't developed fast enough to produce cheap electrics, and consumers are less keen on buying plug-in cars than originally projected.