The world continues to warm, green business boost in China and how to avoid food poisoning in New York

Warming world

One of the key overviews of the world environment’s response to global warming, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s 2012 State of the Climate report, has been published, highlighting yet more concerning climatic and weather extremes and records.

In particular, the Arctic environment has experienced “unprecedented change” with sea ice shrinking to its smallest recorded summer minimum, the NOAA says. Almost all of the Greenland ice sheet was recorded as melting during the 2012 summer, far above the 1981-2010 average melt. Depending on the dataset used, 2012 was the eighth or ninth warmest year on record, and global sea level reached a record high, according to the report.

“Our planet as a whole is becoming a warmer place,” says NOAA acting administrator Kathryn Sullivan.

China’s green target

The Chinese government has published a menu of policy measures to implement a 2012 promise to raise, by 2015, the total output value of the country’s green industries to 4.5 trillion yuan (£472 billion). According to the plan, central government will spend more on environmental protection, will establish renewable energy tariffs, and will continue to roll-out pilot emissions trading programmes.

Chinese companies will be encouraged to issue environmental bonds, and to bid for environment-related contracts outside China. Foreign companies, meanwhile, that can provide the environmental products and services that China needs, will be given the same preferential treatment as Chinese firms. To reach the 2015 goal, green business in China will need to grow at 15% per year, double the growth rate of the overall economy in 2012.

Happy birthday, Bayer

German pharmaceuticals, crop science and materials giant Bayer is marking its 150th anniversary during 2013, including a formal celebration with chancellor Angela Merkel. But the firm is whitewashing the darker sides of its history, according a group called the Coalition Against Bayer Dangers. The coalition says that the company “has a long history of giving profits precedence over human rights and a sound environment” and the anniversary party has glossed over issues such as the use of forced labour during the second world war, the testing of products on concentration camp inmates, and involvement in the development of the poisonous Agent Orange defoliant. Bayer should commission an objective study of its history, the coalition says.

Bayer says that since its establishment in August 1863, it has “contributed much to improving people’s and animals’ lives”.

Food for thought

In an interesting demonstration of the application of social media to business profiling, a group of researchers from the University of Rochester, New York, with some help from Google, has used information from 3.8m tweets to compile a map of risky restaurants in New York city.

The researchers say that their system, named nEmesis, “automatically identifies restaurants posing public health risks.” It does this by cross-referencing Twitter messages about food poisoning with location data from the mobile devices from which they were tweeted. The nEmesis results correlate well with official inspection data from the New York food hygiene office. The researchers say nEmesis could be used by hygiene inspectors to identify dubious diners and suspect eateries for further checks.

Bayer  China  Environment  EthicsWatch  Food  global warming  green energy  Human rights  News  reputation  Stephen Gardner 

comments powered by Disqus