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global briefs Bureaucratic


Bungle Monsanto Still Gaming the System Monsanto, the


company that makes the controversial weed killer Roundup, is setting farmer against farmer and state against state with its newest product, dicamba. Amid claims and counterclaims over


effectiveness and safety of crops and humans, the debate is shedding new light on how new agricultural products are introduced, tested and regulated. One major difference with dicamba is the gaseous vaporization it uses to treat crops, causing the poison to spread onto neighboring plants via wind. Brad Williams, a Missouri farmer, says that leaves on trees were “so deformed you couldn’t even really identify the differences between them.”


The manufacturer claims that proper usage protocols are not being followed. Some farmers agree, while others report crop damage and human health issues. One pivotal point of debate is which federal and state agencies


have jurisdiction and the power to set enforceable guidelines. At stake are millions of acres that have already been sprayed, along with the future of non-GMO farms inadvertently contaminated by the dicamba sprayed on genetically modified crops that need the poison to survive.


Auto Revolution Industry Revs Up for Electric Car Future


China, the world’s largest car market, is planning to stop production and sales of traditional energy vehicles in favor of electric vehicles (EV), and the decision has sped up competitive development by U.S. automakers. General Motors is promising to launch at least 20 new electric vehicles in the next six years. “General Motors believes the future is all-electric,” says Mark Reuss, the company’s head of product development. The falling cost of lithium-ion batteries also brings a tipping point into view, observers say. By 2025 it’s possible that electric drivetrains will have no cost disadvantage compared with internal combustion engines.


Technology is fast resetting the outlook for what cars can do, how consumers use them and how much an EV will cost. Tesla, Ford and Japanese and European companies are also responding to what’s being called both “the age of electricity”, and “the age of personalized transportation”.


14 Central Florida


Renewable Payoff Germany Undergoes


an Energy Renaissance


Last May, Germany’s renewable energy mix of solar, wind, hydropower and biomass generated so much power for a few hours that customers actually got paid for using electricity. The country’s renewable power sources generate 88 percent of total electricity demand, and growing wind power assets alone are expected to make the phenomenon a regular occurrence. When this happens, commercial producers either close power stations to reduce the electricity supply or pay consumers to take it off the grid.


andrea lehmkuhl/Shutterstock.com


st.djura/Shutterstock.com


xujun /Shutterstock.com


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