Monday, July 21, 2008

Bush should follow green pope to eco-sainthood

July 20, 2008, 11:25PM
Bush should follow green pope to eco-sainthood
President has admirable model in the Vatican

Pope Benedict XVI, like many world leaders, has spoken passionately about the urgent need to protect the planet from climate catastrophe. But unlike his fellow heads of state, the pontiff has actually created a carbon-neutral economy — and done it inexpensively and quickly.

The Vatican announced last year that it would restore 37 acres of forest in Hungary that had been cut down in the Middle Ages. Those growing trees will absorb enough carbon dioxide to offset all the pollution from the fossil fuels used to power Vatican City.

The reason this "Vatican model" succeeded while other countries struggle to achieve even modest emissions reductions is because of the unique qualities of forest conservation and restoration. Compared with other methods of reducing climate-changing pollution, such as switching to wind, solar or geothermal power, it's fast and relatively inexpensive. That's true on a small, Vatican City scale as well as a massive American scale.

It's particularly true when it comes to the carbon-rich tropical forests that act as the Earth's lungs, breathing in carbon dioxide and breathing out oxygen. These forests are being logged and burned at a terrifying pace by big agricultural, biofuels and mining companies. Between August 2007 and April 2008, for instance, big ag and its cohorts destroyed a whopping 2,300 square miles of the Amazon, releasing 300 million tons of CO2 into the air in the process. Compounding that disaster, the treeless land generally loses its capacity to absorb the greenhouse gases produced by the world's fossil fuel consumption.

The good news is that stopping that destruction — by purchasing the land outright or paying landowners and others to conserve it — is a bargain. Because of the low cost of tropical land, protecting these forests can cost as little as $1 per ton of CO2 saved and almost never more than $10 a ton. (For comparison, cleanups based primarily on energy trade for more than $40 a ton on European markets.)

As a result, the World Bank and others estimate that global deforestation could be completely halted for the relatively tiny sum of $11 billion to $15 billion a year. That one move alone would eliminate 20 percent of total global warming pollution.

Despite the urgency of the problem — and the ease of the solution — forest conservation, until recently, has been the forgotten stepchild of climate legislation. For many years, policymakers (particularly in Europe) were nervous that polluters would abuse the system by using low-cost overseas forest conservation projects as an excuse to avoid cleaning up industrial pollution at home.

But forest conservation needn't be an end. It should be a beginning. Again, we can look to the Vatican as a model. The pope didn't stop with his Hungarian forest. This year, he's planning to unveil an array of solar panels atop the huge Paul VI Audience Hall, which will provide enough electricity to light, heat and cool the building year-round.

The pontiff is using forest conservation the right way: not as a method to avoid a clean-energy revolution but as a way to achieve immediate gains while other progress is under way, including the greening of Catholic Church operations around the world.

That should be the model for the United States (and other industrialized nations, too). Although comprehensive climate change legislation is considered dead for this year, it's likely that Congress and President Bush could cobble together a consensus to authorize the $11 billion necessary to halt worldwide deforestation for 2009. That would keep 6 billion tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere — equivalent to the United States' entire annual emissions — and save 30 million acres of forest from destruction for the foreseeable future. It would send a clear signal to American voters (and the world) that although the details still have to be figured out, the federal government can deliver real action on climate change.

This isn't as pie-in-the-sky as it might seem. Bush has approved several significant tropical forest conservation projects in Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama and elsewhere. With this deal, Bush could legitimately claim that he'd done far more, far sooner, for far less money to stop global warming than either the Kyoto Protocol or the failed congressional climate bill would have.

By following the pope's example, even Bush might qualify for a bit of eco-sainthood.

Hurowitz writes about the environment at He is the author of the book "Fear and Courage in the Democratic Party." This article originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

Glenn Hurowitz: Bush should follow green pope to eco-sainthood | - Houston Chronicle

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MEET "THE PRIESTS" Signed to SONTBMG for 1MIL Pounds - MarketWatch

-- In Catholic Parishes of Ireland
Debut Album, Produced by Mike Hedges, Is Coming November 18th On RCA Victor
A vocal trio of three Roman Catholic priests from Ireland is on the brink of creating an international musical sensation as The Priests.
In an April ceremony on the steps of London's historic Westminster Cathedral, the group -- comprised of two brothers, Father Eugene O' Hagan and Father Martin O' Hagan, and Father David Delargy -- was signed by Sony BMG (UK). Their Priests' debut album is set for US release on RCA Victor Records on November 18, 2008.
The Priests commenced recording May 23 in Dublin and will continue in Belfast and The Vatican in Rome. Their album will include performances in Latin, Spanish, German, Italian, and English of such enduring classics of faith as "Ave Maria," "Panis Angelicus," "Abide With Me," and "O Holy Night." The Priests are working with legendary producer Mike Hedges, well known for his work with U2, The Cure, and -- in a foreshadowing of his current assignment -- the Manic Street Preachers. The Priests will be accompanied by the Vatican Choir on the recording, arranged and conducted by Pablo Colino the Emeritus Director of Music at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, Rome. A major television special is in the works, as well as an international launch event scheduled for September at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Northern Ireland.
The extraordinary combined talents of Father Eugene O' Hagan (48), his brother, Father Martin O' Hagan (45), and Father David Delargy (44) first were recognized while they attended Queen's University in Belfast and while training for the priesthood at the Irish College in Rome. During the latter period, the three singers were invited personally by the Papal Master of Ceremonies, Monsignor Magee, to sing for the Pope in the sacred liturgy.
Upon their return to Ireland, each of the Priests will continue to tend to the spiritual needs of his parishioners and to the official duties of his church. The Priests' global recording contract exempts each member from undertaking any promotional or recording duties in the event, for instance, of officiating at a wedding or christening of a parishioner. Additionally, the trio has stipulated that a percentage of the proceeds from their record sales will be donated to a charity of their choice.
"We have been inundated with good wishes from our brother priests, from parishioners, and from many friends in the music world," reports Father Eugene O' Hagan in a blog entry at
"It was our intention to make a record for posterity...but imagine what we felt like when Sony BMG popped up out of nowhere and expressed an interest. Fantastic --- unbelievable!"
SOURCE RCA Victor Records
Signed to SonyBMG for `1 million pounds!

In the studio:

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Pre-Market Trading Most Active Stocks - NASDAQ Premarket

NASDAQ - Pre-Market Ten Most Advanced

Active Share Volume Declined


Company Name

Last Sale (Pre-Market) % Change


$8.96 $10 11.61% 4,000

Ceragon Networks Ltd.
$7.69 $8.30 7.93% 12,002, Inc.
$20.87 $21.90 4.94% 3,235

Melco Crown Entertainment Limited
$6.65 $6.95 4.51% 12,328

Fifth Third Bancorp
$13.53 $14.09 4.14% 8,596

Whole Foods Market, Inc.
$21.38 $22.24 4.02% 6,723

Zions Bancorporation
$25.32 $26.32 3.95% 67,100

LM Ericsson Telephone Company
$12.01 $12.48 3.91% 37,800

E*TRADE Financial Corporation
$3.66 $3.80 3.83% 95,025

XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc.
$8.54 $8.85 3.63% 18,850

As of 7/21/2008 8:37:29 AM

NASDAQ - Pre-Market Ten Most Declined

Active Share Volume Advanced


Company Name

Last Sale (Pre-Market) % Change


ArthroCare Corporation
$40.03 $30 25.06% 3,650

Shire Limited
$45.75 $44.35 3.06% 19,500

UAL Corporation
$5.45 $5.29 2.94% 30,760

Pacific Ethanol, Inc.
$2.21 $2.18 1.36% 23,850

Evergreen Solar, Inc.
$9.13 $9.04 0.99% 47,876

Yahoo! Inc.
$22.45 $22.25 0.89% 767,625

Infosys Technologies Limited
$38.42 $38.30 0.31% 76,700

Google Inc.
$481.32 $479.93 0.29% 16,105

As of 7/21/2008 8:37:22 AM

Pre-Market Most Active Stocks - NASDAQ Premarket

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