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When the benevolent seed giant declares it’s going to save the world, why be skeptical?

Do you worry about where your food comes from? Are you concerned that farmers might use too many toxic chemicals, or that health and safety agencies of the U.S. government might not be looking out for your best interests? Well then, you suffer from too much skepticism. You probably need to learn to trust what you are told more often. Maybe you should consider some pharmacological support for your worry problem. I know. My name is Claire and I'm a skeptic. I thought all you other skeptics out there might like to know that the latest word on our problem …

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Are the CGE models useful for predicting the effects of climate policy?

Photo: StuSeeger via Flickr. My pal Peter Dorman is looking for answers: Does the class of economic forecasting tools known as "computable general equilibrium models" (aka CGE models) have any documented track record of success? This may seem like an arcane point, but it's quite relevant to climate policy. Government agencies throughout North America are using CGE models to forecast the economic impacts of various cap-and-trade proposals. But many academic economists -- Dorman among them -- think that the CGE models are built on sand. Says Dorman: I think these models are so dubious theoretically and unreliable in practice that …

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Two resources to get you started

Hello, future green enterprise owners. Following my column on being a green entrepreneur, some of you have emailed me for more advice on getting a green biz going. There are so many great websites with resources. Here are a couple you might want to check out: I like Green VC quite a bit. It's updated all the time and generally has helpful content. Spend some time there over a few days and you'll feel like part of the community. Over at Bootstrapper, there's a list of 100 green entrepreneur resources. As always, I'd love to hear your stories, questions, and …

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Sierra Club and Clorox celebrate their partnership

This year, Earth Day was bigger than ever, which prompted some hand-wringing over whether too many people were jumping on the green bandwagon. Wait a minute: Earth Day, too big? Didn't we want everyone on this bandwagon? Sustainability is a challenge we all face; our response to it could well define the 21st century. If we are going to succeed, it will take more than a "business as usual" approach. In fact, we believe the whole definition of "business as usual" needs to be upended. Business can no longer afford to ignore environmental warnings; environmentalists can no longer demonize business. …

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Report: Strong climate policy would protect 14 million American jobs

Originally posted at the Wonk Room. A new report from the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, finds that strong climate policy is a driver for a healthy economy. A policy that prioritizes energy efficiency and renewable energy -- such as cap-and-trade legislation that limits carbon emissions -- will drive investment into those sectors. From day one, the millions of Americans working in such jobs will enjoy greater job security. Strong Climate Action Directly Benefits Over 14 Million American Workers. "What is clear from this report is that millions of U.S. workers -- across a wide …

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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 …

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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 …

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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

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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 …

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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 …