Business & Technology

grow job

The jobs are in the trees

With Congress and the White House considering spending scarce dollars to jump-start employment, they’ll need to get the biggest jobs bang for the buck to give Americans confidence that they’re spending our money wisely. Probably the biggest jobs generator of all, and one of the least recognized, is investing in forest and land restoration and sustainable management, with conservation, watershed projects, and park investment coming close behind. Heidi Garrett-Peltier and Robert Pollin at The Political Economy and Research Institute of the University of Massachusetts report the following numbers for jobs created per dollar of investment. To summarize, reforestation and restoration …

Bottoms up

Large-scale distributed energy is here: Recurrent Energy signs 50MW power purchase agreement

This morning, Recurrent Energy will announce that it has signed a power purchase agreement with Southern California Edison (SCE) for 50MW of solar. This might not seem like a big deal — California utilities seem to sign solar agreements every week these days — but there’s something special about this one. Recurrent’s power will not come from a single large-scale solar power plant out in the desert but from three small-scale solar PV projects, one 6MW and two 22MW installations in Kern and San Bernadino counties, which it will own and operate. In other words, Recurrent is selling distributed solar …

Invested interests

One step ahead of the carbon cops

What was it that Joe Friday in the old radio and TV show “Dragnet” used to say? “Just the facts, ma’am, just the facts.” Facing just the facts last week, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ruled that publicly-held companies must disclose their exposure to potential losses from climate change, including carbon emissions that are the subject of growing regulation in the U.S. (and already highly regulated in Europe). Reaction has been both partisan and predictable, but make no mistake — the carbon cops are coming and the SEC is simply pointing out how to stay one step ahead of …

Sushi Savior

A Seattle chef proves that traditional sushi and healthy oceans go hand-in-chopstick

Scallop and dungeness crab salad wrapped in prosciutto topped with lumpfish caviar and avocado: A Hajime creation. Photo by Phu Son Nguyen of sushiday.comGrowing up in small-town Montana, two things just made no sense: vegetarians and sushi. Why eat tofu, or raw fish, when you could just as easily have a big juicy steak? Coming from generations of cattle rancher stock, I read Jonathan Safran Foer’s ringing defense of vegetarianism, Eating Animals, with trepidation. But the only beef I ended up having with Foer was that he ruined my ability to enjoy the raw and the rolled — right after …

iMeter

Smart meters save energy, water, and dollars

Flickr via Pink Sherbet PhotographyThe other day I came home to find a colorful flyer on my front door proclaiming, “Your meter just got smarter.” While I was out and about in Berkeley, a worker from my utility, PG&E, slipped in the side gate and gave my old gas and electric meter a digital upgrade. So-called smart meters allow the two-way transmission of electricity data and will eventually let me monitor and alter my energy consumption in near real-time. I’ll be able to fire up an app on my iPhone and see, for instance, a spike in watts because my …

disclosed call

In 3-2 vote, SEC requires companies to disclose climate risks to investors

Cross-posted from The Wonk Room. In a 3-to-2 vote, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission determined today that companies “must consider the effects of global warming and efforts to curb climate change when disclosing business risks to investors.” Guidelines approved today require companies to weigh the impact of climate-change laws and regulations when assessing what information to disclose, the commission said. The SEC is responding to investors who said companies aren’t providing enough data on the potential risks to their profits and operations from environmental- protection laws. In the 3-to-2 vote, the commission said companies in the U.S. should also …

How 'bout them Apples?

Apple’s new iPad is deep green, but a planet saver? Nope.

The iPad.Photo: Apple This post is reprinted courtesy of GreenerComputing.com. The day that gadget-lovers have been waiting for with bated breath for months if not years has finally arrived. On Wednesday, just after 10 a.m., Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad — something along the lines of a blown-up version of the iPhone. Weighing 1.5 pounds, just half an inch thick, and 11 inches tall, the iPad aims to be the Next Huge Thing for technology, making it possible to play music, watch movies, read books, and run all the other tens of thousands of apps available in the Apple’s application …

Hell no, CEO!

The future of farming and food at the Eco Farm Conference

Last week I went to California for the 2010 Eco Farm Conference — a three-day organic farming extravaganza featuring big names (and big influences of the organic agriculture movement) such as Wes Jackson, Frances Moore Lappé, Deputy Security of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan, and a ton of folks who are part of an ever-growing and expanding movement for healthy food and a sustainable planet. But make no mistake about it — this wasn’t no utopian hippy fest (at least not all of it.) I came to Eco Farm looking for some inspiration, but also as a skeptic. As both an editor …

Keep up the PACE

How innovative financing is changing energy in America

Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE, has taken off like wildfire since the concept was first introduced in Berkeley, Calif. in October ’07. PACE allows private property owners to pay for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects through an addition to their property tax bill, overcoming the high upfront costs that prevent most property owners from investing in such retrofits. PACE financing has the capacity to be transformative: property owners realize immediate savings on their utility bills with minimal money down; local green jobs are created through increased demand for retrofitting goods and services; and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are …

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