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GM prepares to roll out Cadillac Escalade Hybrid

We've all been there: You want to go green, but you also want to keep rollin' the streets in the biggest, blingiest vehicle possible. What's an eco-minded luxury-SUV driver to do? Well, stress no more: The 2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid, billed as the first luxury hybrid SUV, will hit showrooms later this month. The hybrid version of the Escalade gets 50 percent better fuel economy in city driving than its non-hybrid counterpart, bringing it up to a whoppingly unimpressive 20 miles per gallon. It'll put you back a bling-tastic $71,685 -- about $3,600 more than the regular Escalade and $18,390 …

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Not a sweet proposition

As GMO sugar beets sneak into the food supply, citizens fight back

"Never underestimate the power of a few committed people to change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." -- Anthropologist Margaret Mead Even if you've heard the above quote many times before, the sentiment expressed is so powerful that I think it's worth repeating. All around the world, small groups of people are organizing public support for improved food safety and successfully challenging large corporations to change their behavior. That's exactly what Flint Michigan residents Kathleen Kirby and Mark Fisher are banking on: their power to influence change. They're participating in a nationwide consumer boycott of …

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Fannie, Freddie, and Mobile-Sierra

Government-guaranteed, for-profit businesses are inherently risky

Q: What do the banking crisis and the energy crisis have in common? A: They have both been created in no small part by government policies that have expressly incentivized risky behavior. For the banking perspective, pick up any recent issue of The Economist. They have lately been running a series of rather insightful critiques of the recent federal bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. (Here's one of many.) Their criticism is essentially that a competitive market is like a pregnancy -- there's no such thing as half. Either nationalize these banks or let them fail, but don't maintain …

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IKEA invests in cleantech, may soon stock solar panels

Heading to IKEA for some meatballs and easy-to-assemble furniture? You may soon be able to pick up solar panels as well. The Swedish manufacturer plans to invest some $75 million in a handful of cleantech startups, focusing on the areas of solar energy, lighting, sustainable materials, energy efficiency, and water conservation. Ultimately, IKEA has a goal of stocking its shelves with products like ABBA smart meters and Ace of Base solar panels (OK, we made up the names). Any cleantech products offered by IKEA, which hosts half a billion shoppers in its 270 stores in 35 countries each year, will …

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Poll: Green jobs

What green careers do you want to learn more about?

Last week, I answered a reader question about wind power jobs. I'm interested to know what other careers you'd like me to investigate. Take this handy poll (below the fold) to help pick my future column topics!

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Crow Tribe strikes $7 billion deal for coal-to-liquids plant on reservation

The Crow Tribe on Thursday agreed to host a massive new $7 billion coal-to-liquids plant on its reservation land in Montana. The plant would produce about 50,000 barrels a day of diesel fuel when it opens, and eventually up to 125,000 barrels a day. Coal for the plant would come from a yet-to-be-developed mine on nearby Crow land with an estimated 9 billion tons of recoverable, largely untapped coal reserves. The project is still many years from even the construction phase, but the deal could eventually become a major economic engine for the tribe's 12,000 members since, like most reservations …

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Battered auto markets

Light truck sales drop 25 percent, Toyota screws up

Green Car Congress reports: US sales of light-duty vehicles continued their decline in July, dropping to a total 1.136 million units, a 13.2% reduction in volume compared to July 2007, according to Autodata ... The year-on-year decrease came, in general, out of the light-duty truck segment. Sales of cars in July 2008 slightly increased 0.3% on a volume basis (not on a day-sales rate) to 620,213 units, according to Autodata. Light truck sales, however, dropped 25.2% by volume from the year before to 515,963 units. The car-truck ratio for the month was 55:45, the fifth consecutive month cars have held …

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The solar billionaires' club

First recorded solar billionaire in China, U.S. billionaires persue wind

This post is by ClimateProgress guest blogger Bill Becker, executive director of the Presidential Climate Action Project. ----- Hunter Lovins is one of the country's premier prophets of the prosperity we can achieve if we move quickly to establish a post-carbon economy. Vast new markets and investment opportunities are opening worldwide for clean technologies. "Those who recognize this opportunity will be the first to the future and the billionaires of tomorrow," Hunter says. The good news: The race already has begun. It's producing some new billionaires and attracting some old ones. The first recorded solar billionaire was identified by The …

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An agricultural Waterloo

Globalization failed, cheap oil is gone, local production is the only way forward

Bigger is always better, isn't it? Big cars, big houses, big businesses, big farms. If you were big, you made more money. Clearly, that is the way of the world. When Europeans colonized the Americas, they wanted more land -- not some of it; all of it. Napoleon wanted more land. Nothing stopped him until Waterloo. So, do you think that the human race, has reached its Waterloo? Have we finally hit the wall with our never-ending desire for "bigness"? I decided years ago that I didn't want my farming operation to get bigger. I liked milking 45 cows, raising …

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Wal-Mart urges Federal Trade Commission not to define ‘carbon offsets’

In comments to the Federal Trade Commission earlier this year, Wal-Mart asked the agency not to define the terms "carbon offsets" or "renewable energy certificates" in order to keep the terms flexible and to retain their "less tangible nature." The Federal Trade Commission has been in the process of updating its green-marketing guidelines and asked Wal-Mart and others to weigh in. Consumer advocates like Consumers Union have been advocating for clear, specific definitions to avoid misleading green claims. "Claims are already being made on products that are confusing, misleading, and potentially deceptive," the group said in its comments to the …