The latest: President Bush called Wednesday for the United States to stop the growth of greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 and challenged other countries to abandon trade barriers on energy-related technology.
Taking the lead: The White House cast the announcement as an ambitious effort by a president determined to lead on the climate change issue, even with just nine months left in office.
Reaction: Critics -- including environmentalists, scientists and legislators -- said the effort was too little, too late. They accused Bush of trying to derail legislation that would curb emissions even further. And because Bush did not offer specifics for how to reach his goal, they dismissed the speech as irrelevant.
Timed to today's conference: The speech was intended to influence an international conference on climate change in Paris today. The talks are the outgrowth of a process Bush initiated last year, when he called together major polluting nations and urged them to come together by the end of 2009 around a common goal for the long-term reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
NEW YORK TIMES
The latest: Safeway, the third-largest supermarket chain in America, has restricted some purchases of farm-raised Chilean salmon over concern about a virus that is killing millions of fish there.
Why it's being done: The chain decided late last month to stop buying from its Chilean supplier, Marine Harvest, because Infectious Salmon Anemia, or the ISA virus, was "impacting the quality of the product," Brian Dowling, a Safeway spokesman, said this week. Dowling said the virus, which does not pose a risk to humans, was nevertheless affecting the size of the salmon, "which impacts the quality and the taste."
The fallout: The decision prompted Torben Petersen, the top executive in Chile for Marine Harvest, to resign.
The back story: Marine Harvest, based in Oslo, is the world's largest producer of farmed salmon and has viewed Chile as a major expansion area. Fourteen of the 19 fish farms in Chile that have been affected by ISA are operated by Marine Harvest, which discovered the virus last July.
The New York Times detailed concerns by biologists and environmentalists about the elevated use of antibiotics in Chile's salmon.
The latest: Air-quality regulators in the San Francisco Bay Area appear set to begin charging hundreds of the region's businesses for their emissions of heat-trapping gases.
What it means: It is believed to be the first time in the country that any government body would charge industries directly for emissions that contribute to climate change. The regional agency that is considering the fee, the nine-county Bay Area Air Quality Management District, would be effectively leapfrogging the continuing debate in Sacramento and Washington over how to control emissions.
The next step: If the fee -- 4.4 cents per ton of carbon dioxide emitted -- is adopted, as expected at a May 21 hearing it would take effect July 1.
Who's affected: The businesses affected range from large petroleum refineries and cement plants to small gasoline stations and industrial bakeries. The nine-county area emits 85.4 million tons of carbon dioxide per year.
Stretching its mandate: The air quality management agency has long had independent authority under state law to regulate businesses that emit conventional pollutants like fine particulates. In establishing a new fee, it would be stretching its mandate to include carbon dioxide, methane and other heat-trapping gases.
Reaction: A representative of local oil refineries said the agency's authority to do this was "questionable" but he would not predict whether there would be a court challenge.
A look at the plan: Regulators on Wednesday indicated the fee could raise $1.1 million annually. Refineries, power plants and cement plants would pay nearly 90 percent of total fees. The largest gas stations might be charged $1 a year; the Safeway bakery that supplies bread to all stores in the Bay Area would pay $85 a year. The biggest emitter, the Shell oil refinery in Martinez, would have to pay $195,355, based on 2005 emissions of 4.4 million metric tons.
Why fee is being imposed: Regulators said the fee was designed to recoup costs associated with developing carbon dioxide controls. The 850 facilities that would be affected pay other fees to obtain operating permits.