Business & Technology

GoodGuide scanner makes healthy food shopping point and click

Last year, a colleague suggested I check out a startup with the intriguing, and so-very-California, name of Tao It. Founded by Berkeley professor Dara O’Rourke, Tao It aimed to tap a multiplicity of databases to rank consumer products according to their health and environmental attributes. The idea: If people could instantly learn online whether there are bad chemicals in their food and other goods, they would start buying green, putting pressure on companies to make more environmentally friendly and healthier products. When Tao It emerged from stealth mode, it was rebranded with the blander but apparently more marketable moniker GoodGuide. …

A Penny Saved Is…

California is at it again. State regulators just set energy efficiency standards for new TVs, mostly the big flat panel models that gulp kilowatts. As a result, consumers will save about $8 billion in the next decade in the form of lower electricity bills and carbon pollution will drop equal to removing 100,000 cars from the road. As my dad used to say, “a penny saved is a penny earned” – – so why doesn’t the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) want you to get your share of that saved carbon or those 800,000,000,000 pennies? The CEA fears that TV makers …

The U.S. Chamber needs to get its story straight

The U.S. Chamber seems to be going to great lengths these days persuade Congress that it really wants to help pass climate legislation. But a very different message is coming through its blogs, tweets, and unscripted comments. We think everyone should know what else the U.S. Chamber is saying, so we have updated our “WhoDoestheUSChamberRepresent.org” website with our latest Politico ad, which is running today. The ad focuses on the Chamber’s recent contradictory and confusing statements about climate legislation: 8/25/09: U.S. Chamber senior staff tells the LA Times it seeks a “Scopes Monkey Trial” to question whether global warming poses a …

Tortoise and the hare -- a clean energy tale

Winning the clean energy race: a new strategy for American leadership

By Teryn Norris & Devon Swezey You know the world is changing when the president’s first trip to Asia is defined by a new U.S. foreign policy dubbed “strategic reassurance” – convincing China that the United States has no intention of containing its growing power or endangering its foreign investments. As the New York Times put it, “When President Obama visits China for the first time on Sunday, he will, in many ways, be assuming the role of profligate spender coming to pay respects to his banker.” You also know times are changing when China, the world’s greatest polluter, and …

Up on the roof

Solar’s rapid evolution makes energy planners rethink the grid

Photo courtesy OZinOH via Flickr California’s ambitious goal of obtaining a third of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020 has spawned a green energy boom with thousands of megawatts of solar, wind, and biomass power plants planned for … the middle of nowhere. And therein lies the elephant in the green room: transmission. Connecting solar farms and geothermal plants in the Mojave Desert and wind farms in the Tehachapis to coastal metropolises means building a massive new transmission system. The cost for 13 major new power lines would top $15.7 billion, according to a report released in August by …

Would You Like Carbon Insurance With That Latte?

You might not hear that exact question any time soon, but don’t be surprised if companies start shifting carbon risk from their balance sheets to someone else’s, using the time-honored marketplace tool of insurance. And when that happens, expect the price of products to reflect the new reality. China, India, and other emerging economies argue that we became prosperous using up the atmosphere and must now bear a disproportionate share of the burden to fix the problem, at least in the first few years of any new global deal. One proposal floating around before the global climate talks in Copenhagen …

Listen and learn

How carbon markets work in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

With all the hand-wringing over the alleged risk of market manipulation in cap-and-trade, you’d almost forget that the United States already has a carbon cap-and-trade program up and running. But it does. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a regional program among 10 Northeast states, has been auctioning permits, allowing trading on a secondary market, and even, in a way, encouraging trading in derivatives. And guess what’s happened so far? … we find no evidence of anticompetitive conduct. Participation by a large number of firms is an encouraging sign of competitiveness and efficiency in the secondary market. That’s according to a May 2009 report …

Outdoor Industry CEOs Weigh in on Climate

The North Face, Aspen, and climate policy

When North Faces start melting, and Aspens start dying, it gets the attention of two CEOs from namesake companies. Today, the CEOs of The North Face and Aspen Skiing Company weigh in on the urgency of climate policy action. Here’s a piece of the essay, followed by a link to the full text on High Country News: As CEOs of two of the most widely known consumer brands in the outdoor recreation market — Aspen Skiing Company and The North Face — it gets our attention when our companies’ namesakes start to vanish before our eyes. Although we operate different …

‘Subprime carbon': Risk or hype?

On the announcement that the Clean Energy Jobs (CEJ) bill cleared a key Senate committee last week, Friends of the Earth complained: The bill’s backbone is a poorly regulated carbon trading scheme that entrusts the Wall Street bankers who brought us the current economic crisis with the responsibility to solve global warming. Sheesh. Of course, this isn’t true. It’s not even sort of true. It’s just an attempt to torpedo a bill by sowing confusion about an important and sensitive issue. (There are some legitimate critiques of the bill — and Friends of the Earth (FoE) makes some of them …

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. ×