Skip to content Skip to site navigation

Business & Technology

Comments

As fuel prices rise, airline industry profits plummet

Buckle your seatbelts, because there's turbulence ahead for the airline industry. As fuel prices skyrocket in flight (afternoon delight), Big Air Travel is scrambling to cope. The International Air Transport Association predicted Monday that the world's airlines will lose a combined $6.1 billion this year if oil stays near $135 a barrel. American Airlines will cut domestic capacity by up to 12 percent by the end of the year; United has discontinued its low-fare airline, Ted. Twenty-four small carriers have gone out of business in the last six months, and other carriers have retired less-efficient aircraft, cut services, and introduced …

Comments

Dow, Boeing ordered to pay $926 million for nuke pollution

A federal judge ordered Dow Chemical and Boeing to pay a total of $926 million for nuclear pollution at the now-closed Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant near Denver, following a jury trial that ended in 2006. The class-action suit against the companies began 18 years ago and involves some 12,000 area homeowners seeking compensation for property damages and health risks from plutonium contamination. Dow ran the nuclear weapons facility for the U.S. Energy Department from 1953 to 1975; Rockwell International, which Boeing bought in 1996, took over management from 1975 until 1989 when it closed. The judge in the class-action …

Comments

GM acknowledges that it lost the bet on big vehicles

"At this point, we are considering all options for the Hummer brand. Everything from a complete revamp of the product lineup to partial or complete sale of the brand." -- General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner, responding to the dismal numbers released by GM yesterday

Comments

As GM announces plant closings, Obama touts green jobs

General Motors Corp. announced this morning that it is closing its Janesville, Wis., assembly plant, which produces SUVs and pickup trucks, along with three other North American plants that churn out gas-guzzlers. CEO Rick Wagoner says it's because the company is moving toward more fuel-efficient vehicles, as fewer Americans are buying big automobiles these days. The Janesville plant will be ending production of medium-duty trucks by the end of 2009, and bigger trucks -- the Tahoe, Suburban and Yukon -- in 2010, or possibly sooner, if demand continues to decrease. GM already laid off more than 750 employees in April …

Comments

GM considers selling Hummer brand

General Motors is "undertaking a strategic review" of its iconic Hummer brand, CEO Rick Wagoner said Tuesday, and is "considering all options ... from a complete revamp of the product lineup to partial or complete sale of the brand." As tempting as the sale of a widely vilified symbol of gas-guzzling excess sounds, analysts are skeptical of whether buyers will want to Hummer along. But GM's change of tune isn't temporary, says Wagoner: the company is making a wholesale shift to smaller cars. To further that goal, GM also plans to close four North American truck plants, and is on …

Comments

Listen to NPR today for a conversation about green-collar jobs

The drumbeat of interest in "green-collar jobs" just gets louder. Today at 4 p.m. EDT, I'll be on Wisconsin Public Radio's "Here on Earth" call-in show, along with Keith Schneider from the Apollo Alliance. The show is an hour long, and you can listen live or later here.

Comments

Ten entrepreneurial lessons to get your green biz going

Is it your career ambition to start your own green business or nonprofit endeavor? Join the club, my friends. Among recent college graduates and late-Boomer career-changers, "starting my own enterprise" is high on the list of preferred careers. And why not? When I turn on NPR in the morning, I'm often greeted by an ad (I mean, an "underwriting announcement") for the Kauffman Foundation, celebrating "the entrepreneurs who start businesses and change the world." Such is the power of the entrepreneurial idea. Hard to imagine a foundation buying air time to celebrate "the people who take jobs at the DEP …

Comments

Best Buy tests free e-waste recycling program to ease its eco-impact

Electronics retailer Best Buy announced on Monday that it's testing a free electronic-waste recycling program in 117 of its stores in the Baltimore, Minneapolis, and San Francisco areas, plus a few other select stores in the East and Midwest. Customers can bring in up to two e-waste items per day for free recycling, including TVs, computers, video-game consoles, VCRs, and the like. "We want to take the time to learn if we can handle this before we go any further," said Best Buy spokesperson Kelly Groehler. "We know the need is there and the waste stream is there. We think …

Comments

The WSJ on fertilizer markets so manipulated, they might make a Saudi prince blush

For all the misery it has caused, the global food-price crisis has at least forced people to think more seriously about food production. I can think of few things more taken for granted in modern post-industrial society than fertilizer. Few people know people know what fertilizes the fields that produce the food they eat -- fewer, I'd bet, than know the source of their drinking water or electricity. To modern consumers, all of these things appear as if by magic. But with food prices hovering at elevated levels and hunger protests simmering in the global south, stuff like fertilizer is …

Comments

U.N. report forecasts continued high food prices for the next decade

Food prices worldwide are likely to remain relatively high for at least the next decade, according to an analysis by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. Biofuel demand, high energy costs, and commodity speculation will continue to keep food prices high in the long term, despite periodic dips in price. Climate change is also expected to increase food prices by driving down future crop yields. The FAO forecast that wheat prices could be up to 60 percent higher in 2017 and vegetable oil prices could rise up to 80 percent. "Biofuels are the largest new source of demand for …