Business & Technology

The Good News for 2010

Climate success in 2009 should inspire the new year

Co-written by Doug Kendall, founder and president of the Constitutional Accountability Center. For good reason, many climate activists view 2009 as a disappointing year, filled with bad news coverage and missed opportunities. The Senate seems a long way from passing a clean energy jobs bill, and the long-anticipated U.N. summit in Copenhagen has come and gone, producing only an unambitious, non-binding agreement among world leaders. Moreover, late last year, the climate movement suffered a blow to its image following the “Climategate” hacking scandal and reports that, for the first time in years, a decreasing number of Americans believe in human-made …

driving change?

Ford Fusion Hybrid wins 2010 Car of the Year, no green spin needed

The Ford Fusion Hybrid. Photo courtesy Ford Motor Company via FlickrNo green spin necessary, the Ford Fusion Hybrid sedan was soundly voted the 2010 Car of the Year. While not the first-ever hybrid vehicle to win this award (even for Ford), it is notable that the 2010 North American Car of the Year (NACOTY) was given to a U.S. automaker for a hybrid amidst one of the worst times to be selling any kind of car, much less a hybrid. And yet, the Fusion Hybrid helped Ford set record sales in hybrids in a year when overall industry demand for gas-electric …

From AFB with love: STFU

Industrial farming head just says ‘no’ to call for civility

For those of you wondering if we can have a more civil discourse over food and agriculture in this country, American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman has an answer for you: Fat chance! According to Stallman [MS Word], the top challenge facing farmers isn’t the rising cost of seed, fertilizer, and pesticides. Or the alarming growth of superweeds (a new report says that over 50 percent of fields in Missouri harbor weeds resistant to the herbicide RoundUp, upon which the entire GMO production style is based). Or the threat posed by climate change, which could reduce U.S. grain yields substantially …

better dying through chemistry

Pesticides loom large in animal die-offs

Yale’s Environment 360 has a new must-read report by Sonia Shah linking pesticides to the high-profile die-offs among amphibians, bees, and bats. What makes this news timely isn’t necessarily the toxicity of the pesticides per se, it’s the indirect effects on these animals of chronic, low-dose exposure to chemicals: In the past dozen years, no fewer than three never-before-seen diseases have decimated populations of amphibians, bees, and — most recently — bats. A growing body of evidence indicates that pesticide exposure may be playing an important role in the decline of the first two species, and scientists are investigating whether …

The Story of a Can’t-Do Nation

The melting of America

This was originally published on TomDispatch and is republished here with Tom’s kind permission. Lately, I’ve been studying the climate-change induced melting of glaciers in the Greater Himalaya. Understanding the cascading effects of the slow-motion downsizing of one of the planet’s most magnificent landforms has, to put it politely, left me dispirited. Spending time considering the deleterious downstream effects on the two billion people (from the North China Plain to Afghanistan) who depend on the river systems — the Yellow, Yangtze, Mekong, Salween, Irrawaddy, Brahmaputra, Ganges, Indus, Amu Darya, and Tarim — that arise in these mountains isn’t much of …

Renewable energy is in big demand as states try to cut carbon emissions

Everyone Poops – – and a few spin gold

Thanks to the global effort to cut carbon, we could soon be spinning waste of all kinds -- including poop -- into big bucks.

All roads lead to green?

Transportation bill could produce environmental and job benefits in 2010

As advocates for clean energy and good jobs evaluate opportunities to advance their issues in 2010 — from a jobs bill that could include energy efficiency measures to a federal clean energy and climate bill — there is another oft-overlooked vehicle that advocates would be wise to consider. This year, Congress will likely pass a national transportation bill — legislation that comes up only about once every six years — through which the nation could reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector and significantly curtail petroleum use, thereby reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil. The transportation bill also …

Dispatches From Someone Who Got Lucky

How do I find a green job?

This is the time-honored question, one I get asked so frequently, from very qualified individuals, that I decided to answer it online. It is heartbreaking (and encouraging) how many skilled and interested people are looking for work in the sustainability field. The good news is the sector is growing exponentially. If you ask anyone in the field they’ll probably tell you they got there by luck. That’s certainly true for me. I’m less smart, strong, and fast than other candidates, and much less skilled. But I happened to be in the right place at the right time. That said, there …

fleeting sales

U.S. car fleet shrank by four million in 2009

America’s century-old love affair with the automobile may be coming to an end. The U.S. fleet has apparently peaked and started to decline. In 2009, the 14 million cars scrapped exceeded the 10 million new cars sold, shrinking the U.S. fleet by 4 million, or nearly 2 percent in one year. While this is widely associated with the recession, it is in fact caused by several converging forces.  Future U.S. fleet size will be determined by the relationship between two trends: new car sales and cars scrapped. Cars scrapped exceeded new car sales in 2009 for the first time since …