Business & Technology

FRAC Act

Congress introduces twin bills to control drilling and protect drinking water

ProPublica’s Abrahm Lustgarten reports: In a widely expected move that is sure to draw the ire of the oil and gas industry, Democratic members of Congress today introduced twin bills to amend the Safe Drinking Water Act and give the Environmental Protection Agency authority over the controversial drilling process called hydraulic fracturing. The stand-alone bills in both the House (PDF) and the Senate (PDF) for the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act — dubbed the FRAC Act (PDF) — would also require the energy industry to disclose the chemicals it mixes with the water and sand it pumps underground …

tech your children well

Clean technology innovation: reaping the rewards

Business Week has a provocative article this week by Michael Mandel on innovation — or the collapse of it — in America. According to Mandel, many of our current woes stem from a failure to innovate over the last decade since the glory years of the late 1990s. While most Americans still take pride in our innovation, Mandel provides some sobering statistics: the wages of young college graduates — precisely the group that should be succeeding in the information economy — declined 24% between 1998 and 2007. The U.S. trade balance in high tech goods flipped from a $30 billion surplus in 1998 …

Next, In Car Nation

Slideshow: The plug-ins and electric vehicles of 2009

Can’t wait until 2010 for the Chevy Volt (or Coda or Fisker Karma or Chrysler Circuit)? Check out these electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles that are either on the market now or will be by the end of 2009. In slideshow order: Aptera 2e Th!nk City Subaru Stella Toyota Prius extended-range hybrid Mitsubishi i-MiEV smart fortwo electric drive BYD Auto F3DM MINI E Tesla Roadster

A closer look at problems with the sectoral approach to carbon offsets

Last month I went home to Barcelona to attend Carbon Expo, one of the major annual gatherings for professionals involved in the global carbon market. There were many interesting conversations and panel discussions over the course of the three-day conference, but one in particular focused on sectoral mechanisms as a way of sourcing international offsets from emerging economies. In my last post, I argued that a sectoral mechanism can be a powerful instrument to deliver cost-effective offsets — provided it is able to clearly link investment and subsequent returns from a private sector perspective. In relation to this, one of …

Crude Behavior

‘Sweet Crude’ documents oil exploitation in the Niger River Delta

Picture in your mind the Niger River Delta. What do you think of? Water, mangrove trees, fishing boats? Wrong. Try brown sludge-filled waterways flanked by constantly flaring gas stacks. Welcome to Oporoza, Nigeria — the place where 10 percent of U.S. oil imports originates. When filmmaker Sandy Cioffi traveled to Oporoza in 2006 to make a documentary about a community library, she did not expect to return with Sweet Crude, a film that mentions AK-47s more than books. But at the library’s opening ceremony, a student group (read: political activist group) protested, objecting to Chevron’s role in funding the library …

This blows

Renewables industry protests weak RES proposals in Congress

In January, Barack Obama stopped by the Cardinal Fastener & Specialty Co. in Bedford Heights, Ohio, to promote his economic-stimulus plan. The company, which has manufactured parts for bridges and machinery since 1968, began three years ago to make giant nuts and bolts to hold together wind turbines. During his visit, Obama cited the factory as evidence that “a renewable energy economy isn’t some pie-in-the-sky, far-off future,” and touted his plans to double the production of renewable energy in three years and create millions of new jobs in the process. But Cardinal Fastener CEO John Grabner joined other members of …

A Prescription for Leadership?

Big Pharma: The case for corporate climate responsibility

Today, Climate Counts is releasing our review of the pharmaceutical industry, and they’ve made for an interesting case: they are both extraordinarily profitable and have received the highest scores yet of any of the 14 industries on our Climate Counts Company Scorecard. But in spite of good scores on measurement and reporting, they’ve been weak on reducing their emissions and have, for the most part, failed to use their formidable collective lobbying muscle to help pass strong climate legislation. That’s quite a mixed bag–what does it all mean? Profits and climate action are (of course) compatible Fourteen of 16 pharmaceutical …

A walk through the week's climate news

The Climate Post: Waxman-Markey, Bonn, and carbon counting

The U.S. Congress fast-tracks climate legislation, international negotiators hash through the first “negotiating text” for year-end global talks in Germany, and big businesses start counting their carbon. The pile of climate stories this week climbed faster than predicted New England sea levels. The American Clean Energy and Security Act — aka Waxman-Markey, aka ACES, aka H.R. 2454 — may reach the House floor by the July 4th recess, if Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s new legislative push proceeds as she intends. She has charged the eight committees evaluating the legislation to complete their work by June 19, which may be a particular …

The California Coda

Our peak oil future? Electric vehicle startup unveils Chinese-made, $45K ‘economy’ car

Open one of those minimalist black boxes that contain a shiny new iPod and you’re greeted by five words — “Designed by Apple in California.” In much smaller print would be the phrase “Made in China.” Will Americans warm to a Chinese-built car when they can buy a domestic EV like the Chevy Volt for a similar price?Courtesy Coda AutomotiveThat, in a nutshell, describes the strategy of the latest entrant in the electric car sweepstakes: Santa Monica-based Coda Automotive. At a defunct Wilshire Boulevard Jaguar dealership on Wednesday, the startup emerged from stealth mode and CEO Kevin Czinger literally pulled …

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