Shell

The Scientology advertorial that ran on Atlantic.com was embarrassing and sloppy, but was it unethical?

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It’s always an exciting opportunity when the federal government can raise revenue and protect the environment while simultaneously increasing profits at private businesses. That’s why a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on waste from the energy production processes is encouraging, even if it’s irritating. When energy companies like Shell, BP and the hordes of other, smaller firms drill for oil and natural gas, some gas inevitably bubbles to the surface or seeps out through leaky pipes and ineffective storage systems. The companies burn off some of the bubbles.

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On the main site today, Steve LeVine has a good piece about how BP's handling of the Gulf spill has the entire oil industry panicked: Executives, not just at BP, but throughout the oil industry, are concerned that the disaster will have the effect of restricting or closing off their continued ability to drill in the Gulf, one of the few remaining places on the planet where oil producers are permitted a relatively free hand.

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Tanking Hard

Early on Monday, BP’s boyish CEO, Tony Hayward, sat in an open-collared white dress shirt and, rocking back and forth in a studio chair, submitted to a series of four network interviews about his company’s catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The questions from NBC, CBS, ABC, and the BBC differed slightly, but to all the anchors, Hayward delivered a similar line: “This is not our accident.” In other words, it's not BP's fault.

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Could climate policy end up getting thrashed out in the courts? That would be an ugly turn of events, but it could happen. The New York Times has a long piece today about the rise of "nuisance" suits that are being filed against major carbon-dioxide emitters. The Alaskan town of Kivalina, for instance, has sued two dozen fuel and utility companies, including Shell and ExxonMobil, accusing them of contributing to global warming and helping erode the town's shoreline.

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To confront Iran, the United States must first confront Europe--and more specifically, the continent's powerful business lobby. This confrontation will come into focus in the next months. As Iran refuses Barack Obama's open-handed offer of engagement, the administration will turn towards sanctioning the Islamic Republic. And while there are surely ways in which the United States can tighten the economic screws on the Mullahs, it is Europe that has a much livelier trading relationship with Iran.

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Warming Up

Gregg Easterbrook: The real way we know the earth is warming.

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