Business & Technology

Visions of the Green Future

California students take Refract House to Solar Decathlon

The Refract team recycled used billboards to create waterproof walls for the home.Courtesy Santa Clara University Adjacent to a three-story parking garage on the Silicon Valley campus of Santa Clara University, workers are busy building a contemporary wood-clad home that wouldn’t look out of place in the pages of Dwell or another shelter magazine for the po-mo, Tesla-driving, little-square-eyeglasses-wearing set. Which is exactly the idea. The home is California’s entry into the U.S. Department of Energy’s biannual Solar Decathlon and is a collaboration between undergraduates at Santa Clara University and the California College of the Arts in San Francisco. Twenty …

time to change "friends and family" selections

Verizon sponsors climate-change-denying mountaintop-removal rally?

UPDATE, Sept. 2: The folks over at Credo Action are encouraging Verizon customers to communicate their displeasure with the company’s sponsorship — via Twitter, Facebook and Email. – Verizon Wireless needs to reconsider its “Friends and Family” feature–or, more pointedly, withdraw its support for Massey Energy’s outrageously bogus “Friends of America” rally on Labor Day weekend. Do 87 million Verizon Wireless customers, stockholders, and its Public Policy Development and Corporate Responsibility Department know that their company is a cosponsor of next week’s climate change–denying, union-busting, pro–mountaintop removal rally organized by Massey Energy in Logan, W.Va.? (And what about Greenebaum Doll …

Money talks

Buy green, forget Congress — or not

Need or want?Courtesy soundfromwayout via flickrAmericans concerned about climate change are far more likely to shop green than to call or write a lawmaker, according to a new poll from Yale and George Mason University. Of those who say they are “alarmed” by global warming, 75 percent say they have rewarded and punished companies based on their environmental performance, but most had not called or written their Congresspersons, according to survey director Ed Maibach. Maibach leads the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason, which conducted the poll with Yale’s Project on Climate Change. He gives the following interpretation …

Back to 10th-grade history

US Chamber of Commerce calls for ‘Scopes Monkey Trial’ on climate change

Cross-posted from Wonk Room. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce — the 97-year-old organization that bills itself as the “voice of business” — wants to put climate science on trial. As the Environmental Protection Agency nears a final ruling that manmade global warming endangers the public health and welfare, “the chamber will tell the EPA in a filing today that a trial-style public hearing” on the science of climate change is needed to “make a fully informed, transparent decision with scientific integrity based on the actual record of the science.” William Kovacs, the chamber’s senior vice president for environment, technology and …

Snow jobs

The nefarious net-effect argument: Recent conservative studies on clean energy jobs miss the mark

Proponents of clean energy have long argued that investment in solar, wind, and other renewable sources creates domestic jobs. In the past few years, however, critics of renewable energy have responded — with considerable success — by arguing that the net effect is actually negative. The concept of “netting” the effect of investments (including government subsidies) on the job market is legitimate when used correctly; when not used correctly, it is disingenuous. Take the case of the F-22 fighter plane. You may have heard the current debate over the decision to discontinue production of this aircraft. One argument against the …

Green Colleges Make Green

Colleges without rocking enviro programs are failed businesses

Every time Sierra Magazine comes out with its top green colleges list I get pissed off that my alma mater, Bowdoin College, doesn’t make the cut.  And the reason I’m pissed is that it seems to me that even if you didn’t care one little tiny bit about climate or environment–if all you cared about was endowment, physical plant, and US News ranking–as an undergraduate institution you’d create a killer Enviornmental Studies program with a climate focus simply to recruit students and make money as a business. Why? Because people are banging down the doors, almost literally, to study the …

The bank job

If progressives want a Clean Energy Bank, they need better economics

One of the most excellent pieces of the climate bill now awaiting defenestration at the hands Senate Blue Dogs is its creation of a Clean Energy Bank that would help finance nascent clean energy projects. More specifically, it is “an autonomous Clean Energy Deployment Administration (CEDA) within the Energy Department” that would “provide a suite of financing options, including direct loans, letters of credit, loan guarantees, insurance products and others” for “energy production, transmission, storage and other areas that could reduce greenhouse gases, diversify energy supplies and save energy.” For a clear take on why this is needed, read John …

A new approach to sustainable business

Take the environment out of sustainability, argues former Sierra Club chief

Adam WerbachAdam Werbach’s career is something of a lodestar for the trajectory of the 21st century American environmental movement. A student activist tutored at the knee of the Archdruid himself, the legendary David Brower, Werbach was elected the youngest president of the Sierra Club in 1996 at age 23.  Then business beckoned and he launched a startup, Act Now Productions, to advise companies like Wal-Mart on going green. Global advertising and marketing goliath Saatchi & Saatchi acquired Act Now last year, rebranding it as Saatchi & Saatchi S (for sustainability) and installing Werbach as the CEO. Now he has written …

General Musings

GM: Innovators or crackheads?

Some assembly required.GM.comAt one of our news meetings last week, I mentioned a story I had seen. “GM says the Chevy Volt will get 230 miles per gallon,” I told my fellow editors. The number struck me funny because it was ludicrously far beyond any current mpg rating, and because GM acknowledged that the Volt, due in late 2010, would be difficult to recharge given current infrastructure. It’s as if you had a pony that delivered lollipops door to door, except it didn’t have anywhere to buy them. But to a couple of staffers, it was funny for a whole …

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