Skip to content Skip to site navigation

Business & Technology

Comments

New Mattel line lets you wear Barbie’s discards

We are not making this up: Mattel is planning a new line of accessories made from "excess fabric and trimmings from other Barbie doll fashions and products which would otherwise be discarded." The "playful and on-trend" Barbie BCause collection -- including handbags, hats, pillows, and diaries "each featuring its own unique variations and kitschy patchwork details" -- will be sold exclusively at Toys"R"Us. Says a Mattel marketing person, "Barbie BCause is for eco-conscious girls who believe that being environmentally friendly is the right thing to do, and we are thrilled to give extra meaning and extra style to what was …

Comments

European biodiesel industry being bankrupted by loophole

They call them U-boats because they pull into a port just long enough to do a U-turn and head off to Europe. They stop just long enough to blend a touch of fuel into the tank so they can claim the government subsidy. Let's say you have a million gallons on board from, say, a palm oil plantation in Indonesia, or a soybean operation in South America. An hour or two after your arrival, your pockets are bulging with just short of a million U.S. taxpayer dollars. From the Guardian: ... the European Biodiesel Board, has uncovered the trade as …

Comments

U.S. auto sales take a nosedive

Chrysler and General Motors sold 19 percent less automobiles in the U.S. this March than they did last March, according to new sales figures. Ford reported a sales drop of 14 percent in March 2008 compared to March 2007, and even Toyota, which has reported steady sales through other hard times, reported that sales dropped 10 percent. As has been the case for a while, sales of big ol' gas guzzlers (relied upon by American companies) decreased, while sales of smaller, daintier-sipping vehicles were steadier. High gas prices, a weak economy, and the credit crunch are taking their toll, and …

Comments

Activists worldwide target coal plants and banks

Rainforest Action Network's Matt Leonard provides this roundup of Fossil Fools Day actions targeting coal plants, coal minings, and the banks funding it all. Rising Tide (North America, U.K., and International units) spearheaded these efforts and others. Cliffside: 8 Arrested as North Carolina residents shut down construction at Cliffside coal plant At 6:30 a.m., North Carolina residents locked themselves to bulldozers to stop the construction of Duke Energy's massive Cliffside coal-fired power plant being built 50 miles west of Charlotte, N.C. "In the face of catastrophic climate change, building a new coal plant is tantamount to signing a death sentence …

Comments

Subsidies contribute to muddying of biodiesel instead of boosting the industry

The WSJ reports today: The U.S. taxpayer forks over a $1 subsidy for every gallon of biodiesel that is blended in the U.S. for export later. The idea was to give a nudge to the U.S. biofuel industry. But it is boomeranging, as the Guardian reports today in the latest installment on biodiesel "splash-and-dash." ... Increasingly, traders ship biodiesel from Asia or Europe to U.S. ports, where it is blended with a "splash" of regular diesel, the paper reports. That qualifies the shipment for U.S. export subsidies. Then it is shipped back to Europe where it is also subsidized. European …

Comments

When additionality always matters

Sean Casten and Adam Stein have been discussing when it is important that a carbon savings be additional -- that is, when it is important that we not pay for a saving that would have happened anyway. You guys are making this way more complicated than it needs to be. Iron-clad additionality is critical when you're selling a permission for someone else to pollute. If you are reducing emissions, generating a financial instrument from that fact, and then selling it to someone else to use as a substitute for reducing their own emissions, your reduction had damn well better be …

Comments

Thoughts on the newly announced ‘we’ campaign

So Al Gore announced a $300 million 3-year effort "aimed at mobilizing Americans to push for aggressive reductions in greenhouse gas emissions." My question is, wouldn't it be better to spend that money on building grassroots organizations pushing for climate change legislation instead of spending it mostly, I presume, on advertising? If $100 million was spent each year on grassroots organizations in 30 major cities, that would work out to $3 million per each major metropolitan area, enough for a decent-sized effort to organize citizens to push their legislators. Or how about setting up some think tanks and media outlets, …

Comments

Farmworker Awareness Week is a chance to recognize the people whose labor means we can eat

This is Farmworker Awareness Week, a time to support the millions of farmworkers whose labor puts food on every American table, and who work and live in some of the worst environmental conditions in our nation. It's estimated that 2 to 3 million farmworkers plant, tend, and harvest American crops every year. Many farmworkers in the U.S. are migrants who move from place to place following the harvest. Where I live, in North Carolina, migrant farmworkers are the majority. The average annual income for a farmworker in the United States is about $11,000, or about $16,000 for a farmworking family …

Comments

Measuring additionality has clear benefits — and also some obvious costs

The second in a series of posts on additionality. In his post criticizing the design of carbon markets, Sean correctly notes that additionality is a pain to measure -- an ever more expensive pain, as the industry matures and quality controls become more stringent. To take an example I know well, at TerraPass, we spend tens of thousands of dollars per project helping dairy farmers validate their methane digesters under the Voluntary Carbon Standard. It's a complex process, requiring a fair amount of domain expertise, outside consultants, site visits, and ongoing monitoring. The process is meant to ensure additionality, but …

Comments

Spots vs. strips

This is the fourth post in five-part series on the details required to get carbon policy right. See also parts one, two, and three. We now get into an issue that will seem a bit arcane, because no one's talking about it, at least not explicitly. But it's a real choice, and in many conversations about carbon policy we are implicitly getting it wrong. Should we price carbon in spots, or strips? Or, to take it out of financial jargon, should we: set up markets such that people who are selling or buying emissions credits have to go to the …