Business & Technology

Win A Million Dollars

Seems like every week there’s another big-money prize awarded for low-carbon leadership. If these things actually stimulate innovation, let’s encourage the creation of a few more to spread the wealth and inspire even more low-carbon winners. For example, there’s a $10 million prize for cars that get 100 mpg sponsored by the same X Prize organization that handed out $10 million to Burt Rutan for the first commercial spaceflight demonstration. And the Zayed Future Energy Prize gives $1.5 million annually to low-carbon energy innovators, awarding its inaugural prize to the inventor of the solar lantern. Sponsors can be equally effective …

cloudy thinking

Greenpeace takes on iPads, cloud computing, other click-friendly subjects

Greenpeace has a new report out highlighting the climate impact of cloud computing and devices like the Apple iPad that rely on it to stream video, download music, load Greenpeace.org, etc. The “Make IT Green” report calls on Apple and other tech leaders to tackle the problem, noting that carbon pollution from cloud computing is set to triple in the next decade. Greenpeace wants you to know it’s not “picking on Apple” or “dissing the iPad” by riding their attention wave (the iPad goes on sale this Saturday). In fact, last month it set its sights on Facebook, which plans …

SAVING THE WALES

‘Britain’s Appalachia’ engineers a brighter post-coal future

Can renewable energy turn Wales as clean and shiny as the Cardiff waterfront?Courtesy ttfnrob via FlickrThe sparkling, sanitized waterfront of Cardiff, Wales, reveals barely a hint of the country’s grimy industrial past. Where one of the busiest ports anywhere once shipped Welsh coal out into the world, a complex of upscale shops, pubs, and restaurants now dominates the area. Out are the sailors, brothels, and seedy watering holes. In are tourist-friendly pubs, fusion restaurants with names like ffresh, and a circus carousel. The locally favored Brains brewery (“People who know beer have Brains”) has survived nearby. Even the bay itself …

ISO tall, dark and efficient

ENERGY STAR ranked cities: Find your perfect match [slideshow]

The Environmental Protection Agency just released a report ranking U.S. cities based on their number of ENERGY STAR–labeled buildings. These rankings make us, well, warm all over, so we decided to check out the sexiest top nine ENERGY STAR buildings of the bunch. Are you in search of the perfect match? Look no further than these sassy personal ads. Maybe we’ll all get lucky.    Los Angeles The Watt Plaza: The twin office towers encompass 900,000 sq. feet. L.A. dominated the list, for the second year in a row, with 293 ENERGY STAR–labeled buildings in 2009 and $93.9 million in cost savings. L.A. twins seek …

Cheap chic

H&M’s organic line and the Wal-Mart perspective

Eurochic retailer H&M is launching an earth-friendly spring Garden Collection, H&M shopper Joe Romm reports. No, scratch that, this is from thegreengirls.com. The new line will include recycled polyester, organic cotton, and organic linen. Presumably the expected life of these clothes won’t be any longer than typical H&M items, which aren’t exactly known for their durability. I think you can look at this the same way you look at Wal-Mart’s recent announcement that it was asking suppliers to reduce the carbon impact of their factory-produced tchotchkes. If we’re going to have cheap, mass-produced clothing, furniture, salad-shooters, etc., that aren’t made …

in good taste

New ratings for sustainability in restaurants

The Sustainable Restaurant Association was started by the founder of Leon. Photo: MomondoIt’s not quite a Michelin Star, but it could be soon. The newly formed Sustainable Restaurant Association will rate restaurants according to how green and sustainable they are. Launched with the backing of leading restaurants and seriously important English chefs, participating restaurants will be visited by a green inspector. They had better watch out … The awards are a bronze, silver, or gold status and will be listed in restaurant guides. And they will be judged on very rigorous standards. Get the full story from our friends at …

Old car, new tricks

Leno drives our electric future back from the past [video]

Despite the sexiness of hydrogen options, The Tonight Show host and car aficionado Jay Leno believes electricity is where it’s at for automobile propulsion. Watch as he takes a closer look at the Ford Focus as compared to his own fully electric car—a pretty advanced model, traveling 100 miles on a charge. The kicker? It was built in 1909.

The Nuclear Fig Leaf is Falling

Raise your hand if US taxpayers are responsible to pay for the most expensive mistakes you make in your business. Chances are, the only hands that just went up are attached to nuclear power executives and, if that unfair advantage were removed we would see the end of nuclear power in this country. The five decades old Price-Anderson Act sets a cap on liability by power plants and their insurers for damages arising from nuclear accidents. After $300 million in damages are paid by insurance, the US taxpayer takes over to address catastrophic liabilities, including cleanups, property damage, health care, …

Big money on small ag

Silicon Valley investors place bets on sustainable ag

I attended an agriculture conference this week at the Four Seasons in Palo Alto. There were no pickup trucks in the BMW-packed parking lot, and few farmers with dirt under their fingernails could be found milling about the sleek hotel lobby. But the place was swarming with venture capitalists from some of Silicon Valley’s marquee firms looking to grow profits with investments in sustainable agriculture. Welcome to Agriculture 2.0. That was the name of the conference and represents a growing effort to scale up sustainable agriculture from a hodge-podge of hippies and back-to-the-land types into a viable big business by …

Welcome to the new Grist. Tell us what you think, or if it's your first time learn about us. Grist is celebrating 15 years. ×