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Beekeepers Sue EPA Over Pesticide Approvals

Beekeepers, Environmental Groups Sue EPA Over Pesticide Approval

Bloomberg BNA -- A coalition of beekeepers, environmental groups, and consumer groups filed a lawsuit March 21 against the Environmental Protection Agency for approving the registration of pesticides that the groups claim harm honey bees and other pollinators.

The coalition wants EPA to immediately suspend the registrations of the insecticides clothianidin and thiamethoxam. The pesticides have been “repeatedly identified as highly toxic to honey bees, clear causes of major bee kills and significant contributors to the devastating ongoing mortality of bees known as colony collapse disorder,” the groups said.

Clothianidin and its parent compound, thiamethoxam, are in a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids, and have been shown to harm the survival, growth, and health of honey bees and other pollinators and have harmful effects on other animals, including threatened and endangered species, according to the lawsuit. More than two million pounds of the pesticides are used annually on more than 100 million acres in the United States, according to the lawsuit.

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Nike Partners with Swiss Company to Boost Sustainability

Bloomberg BNA -- Nike is partnering with a Swiss company to increase the sustainability of textiles used in its products, which are made in nearly 800 factories worldwide.

Nike will provide its suppliers with screening tools made by the company, called bluesign technologies, that will allow them to select more sustainable dyes, detergents, and chemicals for use in the textile manufacturing process. The partnership was announced March 18.

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Is Harry Potter Really Less Important than Global Warming?

This week’s dumb question was put to J. Bradford DeLong, who is professor of economics at the University of California at Berkeley, a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, a blogger, and a former Clinton administration Treasury official. 

The Grid: Can I ask you a dumb question? 

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Up, Up and Away

Bill Gates assumes we’ll have one. Thomas Friedman made his case for one on Sunday. And the Sunday before that. Four Democratic legislators want to know what you think theirs should look like

What they're all talking about is a tax on carbon pollution, and there are a zillion ways to design it: Cheap or expensive? For energy producers or consumers? Who gets all the money collected? 

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Alfred Hitchcock

I was reminded recently by film critic and Twitter celebrity Roger Ebert that the genius of Alfred Hitchcock extended from drama, suspense and black humor all the way to sustainability.

The word is used by so many people these days, to mean so many different things, that just defining it is like juggling scrambled eggs. That’s more or less the consistency of corporate sustainability rhetoric, too. Real-life example: “Our strong values of togetherness and enthusiasm, a constant desire for renewal and our commitment to make our goals a reality will support us in taking the many steps, both large and small.”

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Whole Foods to Label GMO Foods

Today, The Grid introduces a new blog feature, "Dumb Question," in which we hurl naive, misinformed or otherwise uncomfortable questions at unsuspecting targets. I put the first Dumb Question to Paul Schickler, president of DuPont Pioneer, the seed division of DuPont Co., who met with reporters and editors yesterday at a Bloomberg Government breakfast. 

The Grid: DuPont was founded in 1803, which means it’s been a part of America longer than the state of Ohio has been. It seems that natural, traditional, American seeds were good enough for the founding fathers. So what’s wrong with them now that they need to be ‘improved’ by all sorts of gene tampering?

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Dupont Pioneer Corn Tested in the Greenhouse

The western Canadian prairie, a traditional stronghold for wheat-growers, has become a more hospitable environment for corn and soybean cultivation -- thanks in part to climate change. 

DuPont Pioneer, the seed division of DuPont Co., is following the temperature north. It’s starting to build infrastructure for products that traditionally grow farther south and is teaching farmers how to grow them.

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Sir Ranulph Feinnes

Sir Ranulph Fiennes became the first man, with fellow soldier Charles Burton, to circumnavigate the globe by crossing the Arctic and Antarctic ice caps, from 1979 to 1982. When he climbed Mount Everest in 2009, he became the first person to cross both ice caps and summit the world's highest peak. His various attempts on the Poles, as well as mountaineering and running exploits have spanned more then four decades. Since 1984, he’s used his expeditions to raise more than 16 million pounds ($23.8 million) for charities, becoming one of the U.K.’s top fundraisers. 

Last month, the British adventurer was forced to withdraw from his latest trek -- a winter crossing of Antarctica titled “The Coldest Journey” -- after suffering frostbite during preparations on the southern continent. I spoke to him by satellite phone on Feb. 19, six days before his expedition website announced the injuries that forced him to abandon the journey. Fiennes’s comments nonetheless provide a rare snapshot into the mind and motivations of an adventurer. 

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Hugh Welsh

Royal DSM might be the largest company you’ve never heard of. That’s how Hugh Welsh, the company’s president for North America, introduces people to the Dutch maker of nutrients, advanced materials and chemicals used in everything from agriculture, to furniture, to energy. 

DSM employs about 23,000 people globally, including 2,000 nutrition scientists. It brought in more than $9 billion in 2012 sales. DSM has recently refocused its global business on what Welsh calls “endemic problems,” which include health and wellness, energy and climate change. We spoke by phone last month.

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Australia Desalination Plant

Bloomberg BNA -- Severe drought and climate change have prompted many of Australia's major cities to construct large-scale desalination plants to provide a rainfall-independent source of drinking water.

“The driver for desalination in Australia has been very simple,” Australian Water Association Chief Executive Tom Mollenkopf told BNA March 1. “We have just emerged from 10 to 15 years of incredibly low rainfall—what became known as the ‘millennium drought.’”

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About The Grid

Nations and companies face rising competition for strategic resources — energy, food, water, materials — and the technologies that make best use of them. That's sustainability. It's about the 21st-century race for wealth, health and long-term security, across the global grid.

Analyses or commentary in this blog are the views of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloomberg News.

Eric Roston, Editor

Tom Randall, Deputy Editor

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