Jean-Christophe André

Save the whales, because the whales can save us.

A team of economists at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) waned to drive home how important whales are, so they put it in terms we could understand: money. A new analysis detailed in Finance & Development puts a price tag on exactly how much whales are worth to us, and why we should care about the world's whale population.

Whales absorb large amounts of carbon in their bodies. During the lifetime of the average whale, which is 60 years, it will sequester 33 tons of CO2. In comparison, a tree absorbs up to 48 pounds of CO2 each year. Whales also promote the growth of phytoplankton. Phytoplankton captures 40% of the world's CO2 and contributes at least 50% of oxygen to the atmosphere. "At a minimum, even a one percent increase in phytoplankton productivity thanks to whale activity would capture hundreds of millions of tons of additional CO2 a year, equivalent to the sudden appearance of two billion mature trees," the study says.

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The Planet

Can Rockstar-Turned-Environmentalist Benjamin Bronfman Make Caring About CO2 Emissions Cool?

At just 32, Bronfman has run an eco-friendly clothing line and even produced some of Kanye’s greatest hits. Now he’s shifting his focus towards the world of carbon capture technology.

Bronfman hopes to appeal to a new generation of eco-entrepreneurs.

Musician and entrepreneur Benjamin Bronfman has packed an enormous amount into his 32 years. By the time he left Emerson College in the early 2000s he was already a part of a successful indie band, The Exit, and had created the groundwork for his musical collective, Teachers, the group that would ultimately produce Kanye West’s smash-hits ‘Monster’ and ‘New Slaves’. Bronfman has also been married once, to controversial multi-genre rapper MIA, with whom he has a child, Ikhyd, and previously ran an eco-friendly record label and clothing line, Green Owl, with his younger sister Hannah. We should also note, as it often is, that Bronfman is the son of Edgar Bronfman, Jr., former CEO of Warner Music Group, heir to the Seagram’s empire, and that he also comes from one of North America’s wealthiest and most influential families. The side of Bronfman that few know, far from the glamour of Page 6 or Rolling Stone, is his humanitarian bent. Since 2007, he has been working behind the scenes at carbon-negative technology start-up Global Thermostat, selected as one of “The World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies of 2015 in Energy” by Fast Company. Bronfman and his team hope to convince brands and organizations, as well as entire governments, to adapt their innovative CO2 filtering technology, which has shown promise for stymieing the devastating effects of global warming.

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Papering Over the Truth: Print Lobby Says Online Billing Not So Green

If 95% of customers print out their online bills, then paper billing could be the greener option. Who does that though?

How many bills come in paper form to your mailbox? Probably very few. You've likely long ago clicked the "go green" option and not looked back. But wait: Start the presses! The paper barons are here to tell you that e-billing may not be the better option for the planet.

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Among the world's biggest electronics companies, who will be the first to go green? It certainly won't be Nintendo, as the Japanese corporation famous for its game consoles came in dead last in Greenpeace's latest Guide to Greener Electronics.
Nintendo scored only 1.8 points out of 10 in the 2010 guide, which rates 18 top manufacturers of personal computers, mobile phones, TVs and game consoles according to their progress on environmental issues like toxic chemicals, recycling and climate change.
This year's score is actually an improvement from last year's, which was just 1.4, but while Nintendo made some positive changes in banning phthalates, selling consoles with PVC-free wiring and monitoring use of other toxic materials, the company's abysmal record in e-waste and CO2 emissions dragged down its score.
“It scores points on energy criteria, for the energy efficiency of its low power AC adaptor for the Nintendo DSi, which meets the requirements for external power supplies in the Energy Star programme,” writes Greenpeace in the guide.
It also retains a point on energy for disclosing carbon dioxide emissions from its own operations. However, it fails to score for its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, due to a second year of increases, despite a commitment to cut CO2 emissions and other greenhouse gases by 2 percent over each previous year.
Greenpeace based the scores upon public information published on each company's websites, seeking proof of improvements on eliminating hazardous substances, responsibly managing product waste and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Lenovo just barely beat Nintendo's score, and while Nokia came out on top, its score was only 7.5 out of 10, leaving plenty of room for improvement. Sony Ericsson got the second-highest score, while companies like Apple, Panasonic, Sony and Motorola trailed behind with scores in the mid-range.
Stephanie Rogers writes about earth matters and green tech for the Mother Nature Network\n
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Photo (cc) by Flickr user compujeramey via Mother Nature Network\n

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This Week in TreeHugger: Arnold's Latest Sequel, The Secrets of Bikeability, Toasting Worldchanging, Bats. vs. Windpower, and How Not to Fry Ourselves

This week over at TreeHugger, we heard Arnold pushing forests at the sequel to the Governors' Global Climate Summit (not as good as the Terminator...

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