Business & Technology

we're in deep

What would happen if we admitted to the high risk of deepwater drilling?

Was the Obama administration “arbitrary and capricious” in imposing a six-month moratorium on deepwater oil drilling? U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman thought so. His June 22 order reversed the moratorium, citing the “immeasurable harm” to “the local economy, the Gulf region, and the critical present-day aspect of the availability of domestic energy in this country.” By immeasurable harm to the Gulf region, he meant the loss of oil industry jobs, not the loss of oil-free water and beaches. How could anyone be opposed to a time-out to figure out what went wrong in the Gulf of Mexico? Others close to …

Where the Smart Money Goes Next

As thousands of young scholars bid farewell to familiar homes and high schools to enter college in the fall, it made me wonder where the smart money will be going (other than the contents of my son’s 529 account, which I know is headed to Penn) as it leaves the old economy behind and moves into the 21st Century. Ernst & Young may have the answer. A new survey from the Big Four accounting firm shows that more than two thirds of major corporations globally plan to spend up to 5% of their revenues on carbon cutting initiatives over the …

A walk through the week's climate news

The Climate Post: Who wants to be a climate scientist?!

First things first: Tuesday night Rolling Stone magazine unveiled to a limited audience its new article called “The Runaway General.” But when something “goes viral” in the Internet age, there’s no such thing as a limited audience. In the piece, General Stanley McChrystal, commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, derides and criticizes the president, vice president, and other key senior members of the administration. It caused a media-wide storm and led to McChrystal’s resignation within about 12 hours. President Barack Obama replaced him with General David Petraeus, head of the U.S. Central Command. The story has little …

Charged Up

San Diego utility charges ahead with electric-car plan

A Nissan Leaf being charged.Photo: NissanWith the first mass-market electric cars set to hit California roads later this year, the state’s utilities have been working to ensure that early adopters — who tend to be clustered in places like Berkeley and Santa Monica — don’t overload neighborhood transformers and trigger local blackouts. One way to do that is to encourage drivers not to plug in all at the same time — say, when they arrive home from work and also crank up the air conditioning — by setting variable electricity rates that reward those who postpone charging until demand falls …


MMS gets a makeover, smell lingers

Newly appointed Bureau of Ocean Energy Director Michael Bromwich and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar testify before the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee regarding reforms to strengthen offshore oil and gas oversight and enforcement.Photo and caption: U.S. Department of the InteriorIt’s a classic Washington paint job: new name, new leader, new promises about tossing bad apples. And so Minerals Management Services, the Interior Department agency that’s become the poster child of government corruption and ineptitude has been disappeared. We now have the Bureau of Ocean Energy (BOE), with a fresh director — Michael Bromwich, a former inspector general in the …

BP: Bad PR

BP’s most ironic ads ever [SLIDESHOW]

Sometimes you can only fully appreciate something if you look at it many years later. Pictures of celebrities before they were famous, for example. BP’s case, however, is less “Wow! Look at how cute and awkward they were” and more “Wow! Look at how they tried to sucker us!” If you go back far enough, you’ll find they’ve been positioning themselves as a shiny, happy company for decades — even before their 2000 brand shift when they merged with Amoco, took over Arco, and famously changed their tagline to “Beyond Petroleum.” That’s also when the company embraced the sun/star happy …

greenwash it down with a glass of milk

How green was my organic milk? A podcast with author Heather Rogers

Heather RogersThink you’re saving the environment by buying organic or fueling your car with corn oil? Heather Rogers, author of Green Gone Wrong: How Our Economy Is Undermining the Environmental Revolution, says that “green” products aren’t always as environmentally responsible as they appear. In this PBS interview with Need to Know host Alison Stewart, she discusses the truth about organic foods and biofuels, among other things.

Berry cool

New Agtivist: Shakirah Simley wants to preserve justice

Shakira Simley at the San Francisco Underground Market.(Photo by Monica Jensen/SF Public Press via Flickr) In our New Agtivist interview series, we talk to people who are working to change this country’s f’ed-up food system in inspiring ways. Shakirah Simley is a food justice activist with an unusual weapon: pectin. She’s the founder and creative force behind Slow Jams, a socially conscious artisanal jam company in Oakland, Calif. She also works full-time for the public health organization Prevention Institute, a not-for-profit dedicated to addressing health disparities and food and recreational inequities. Born in the South Bronx, Simley grew up in …

The Lowe's down

Home improvement giant invests in energy retrofit startup

Photo: aka Kath via FlickrI usually don’t write about companies’ funding announcements, unless the amount of money raised is particularly eye-popping. But when Recurve announced Wednesday that it had scored $8 million in its latest round of fund-raising, what caught my attention was who decided to invest in the San Francisco energy retrofit startup. Along with the venture capital firms re-upping their investments — RockPort Capital Partners and Shasta Ventures — was a new investor, Lowe’s. That the home improvement giant — $47 billion in sales, 1,700 stores — would invest in a relatively small “green energy remodeling” outfit is …

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