First Take: Google's Robot Car Sprawl, Arsenic-Laced Chicken, and More...

First Take: Google's Robot Car Sprawl, Arsenic-Laced Chicken, and More...

Image - CC license by jenny8lee/Flickr

• Google a Force for Sprawl? Google's self-driving cars have the potential to make commuting more efficient and less stressful, but Fast Company's Greg Lindsay looks at a few way robot cars could contribute to suburban sprawl and more car miles. Namely, if all the driving is left to the car, people won't mind longer commutes because they could work, watch movies, even nap during the ride.

• Tastes Like Poison: Pfizer is pulling a chicken feed ingredient called Roxarsone, which contains arsenic, off the market because the FDA found arsenic can end up in chicken sold to consumers, the Associated Press reports. The FDA says the amount of arsenic that ends up in meat isn't enough to be dangerous, though it was found in its inorganic form, a more toxic version than the naturally occurring organic arsenic

• Germany Wants No Nukes, But More Fossil Fuel? In the wake of Japan's Fukushima nuclear disaster, German chancellor Angela Merkel made the bold move to close all 17 of Germany's nuclear plants by 2022. Today, the WSJ reports that Merkel is now expecting to have to build twice as many fossil fuel-powered plants as previously anticipated to meet energy demands. The move will have a big impact on the company's carbon emissions, with just one nuclear plant swap-out adding 25 million metric tons of CO2e to Germany's footprint; Merkel says she still plans to have the country meet its greenhouse gas reduction commitments.

• Conservative for Conservation: Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is being blasted by conservatives for maintaining his position on global warming: "that he believes the world is getting warmer and that humans are contributing to that pattern," reports the Washington Post. Conservatives from Rush Limbaugh to have blasted Romney, who was also quoted as saying, "it's important for us to reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases that may be significant contributors." Mitt Romney, it should be noted, did not make Grist's list of "brownwashing" Republicans, which we wrote about yesterday.

• Babbitt Lashes Out at Obama: President Barack Obama, meanwhile, received criticism from former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, who said Obama has given into Republican attacks on environmental programs and policies. ""It is imperative that President Obama take up the mantle of land and water conservation - something that he has not yet done in a significant way," Babbitt said, according to the L.A. Times.

• How About That Heat? Expect more small talk about hot weather in coming summers if greenhouse gas levels keep pointing up. Stanford climate scientist say that over the coming decades, summer temperatures will likely increase so much that the coolest summers will be hotter than the hottest days we have now, reports Discovery. "It turns out that when we look back in time using temperature records, we find that this extreme heat emergence is occurring now, and that climate models represent the historical patterns remarkably well," said Noah Diddenbaugh, a Stanford assistant professor of environmental Earth science.