new battle: forest v solar panel

by Vivian Diep in February 10th, 2023
low angle photography of green trees

France’s Future Holds Solar Parking Lots and Forests

Tue Feb 7

While energy prices in France are lower than last summer’s shocking highs, it’s still a lot higher than it was just a few years ago. Many have called for both a return to regulation of the energy market and more energy independence. This week, France passed the Renewables Energy Acceleration Bill which addresses at least one of those concerns.

One exciting part of the bill is that parking lots and new buildings will now be required to be covered with solar panels.This could add as much as 8% to current electrical capacity (or 10 nuclear plants worth) . The bill includes even more to get renewable projects up and running faster, but some are saying the bill is causing a slow down instead:

  • The ban on any solar projects that require sizable deforestation is causing projects to slow or stop, but this might not be all bad. Studies show that half of the carbon stored in a forest is stored in the largest 1% diameter trees.
  • Local mayors were given the responsibility to select preferential sites for renewable projects. Critics say this exposes them to pressure from both developers and local residents, and it will cause delays. Others consider this a key achievement, especially to garner public support.

Other critics say the bill lacks implementation and financing details, but many are celebrating this step in the right direction, especially as France failed to meet their 2020 target on renewables. Further, the consequences of the bill are worth watching as everyone grapples with questions of land use. With more than half of all countries committed to protecting at least 30% of land and oceans by 2030 to support biodiversity, they’ll soon need to also answer where and which type of land to protect and whether they can do it if the land is needed for energy or food production.


Pharmaceutical Ads Show Mostly Low Benefit Drugs

Drug companies spend more advertising drugs with a low added benefit than those with a high added benefit. In fact, two-thirds of the U.S’s top-selling prescription drugs were rated as low added benefit to patients by agencies in France and Canada (the US does not have an agency that does comparisons of drug effectiveness). This result suggests that companies are advertising directly to consumers to drive patient demand for drugs unlikely to be otherwise prescribed by clinicians. Notably, only the U.S and New Zealand allow for direct to consumer marketing from drug makers. Other countries ban it.

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Lead and Cadmium Levels In Dark Chocolate

If you’ve been to the grocery store, you’ll have been tempted by the vast array of chocolates but here’s your reminder to eat them in moderation. In case you haven’t heard or you’ve forgotten, a Consumer Reports article back in December showed that an ounce of dark chocolate a day could be putting you over safe limits of lead and cadmium. While they ran tests using the most protective limitations in the country (California’s Proposition 65), it could still be concerning to overindulge. Again, moderation is key. After all, significant lead and cadmium exposure could cause cancer, birth defects, slow development in children, and more.

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🎬 Action of the Week

There’s no way we’re giving up our dark chocolate without a fight so while we’re choosing brands with lower lead and cadmium levels, we’re also eating our leafy greens. Turns out, our parents were right to tell us we couldn’t have dessert if we didn’t finish our veggies. A good diet with sufficient calcium and iron will help prevent absorption of some lead and cadmium, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine toxicologist Andrew Stolbach.


  • Bloomberg: France’s Controversial Renewables Law 2 minutes long | 3 days ago
  • Euractiv: Renewables Law Passed Senate 4 minutes long | 2 days ago
  • The Washington Post: France’s Future Solar Parking Lots 4 minutes long | 4 days ago
  • The New York Times: Europe Wants Deregulation 6 minutes long | 5 months ago
  • Grist: Protect Trees Over Planting New 12 minutes long | 3 years ago
  • PHYS.ORG: Biodiversity Protection Tradeoffs 3 minutes long | 1 day ago
  • Investopedia: Europe In Crisis As Russia Cuts Gas 4 minutes long | 5 months ago
  • Trading Economics: Cost of Electricity In France 1 minute long | 1 day ago



Will you be my valentine?

Only if you promise to help me slow down on the chocolates you’re about to give me.

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