Business & Technology


Dynegy out of the new coal business

This is the weekly post from Bruce Nilles, director of Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign. Three years ago Dynegy launched plans to partner with LS Power and become the largest new developer of coal-fired power plants.  Yesterday Dynegy officially terminated those plans, including selling its shares in a coal-fired power plant currently under construction Coal is again proving to be a bad investment.  Dynegy announced yesterday that the company is essentially going to lose $100 million as it sells its portion of the Texas Sandy Creek coal plant back to LS Power.  But they decided a $100 million loss was …

Bipartisan feebate bill introduced to Senate

Like Cash for Clunkers? You’ll love feebates!

Photo: ThreatedThoughtsIt’s now fairly widely understood that Cash for Clunkers has worked great as a stimulus program but is negligible as an emissions-reduction program. That’s fine — it did what it was supposed to do. Now that we know how well people respond to cash incentives, though, it’s time to do some deeper thinking about how to drive a large-scale shift to more fuel-efficient vehicles. Conservatives are always complaining that CAFE standards force automakers to make more fuel-efficient cars, but don’t give consumers any incentive to buy them. That’s a valid complaint. The usual response is to propose raising the …

But is it working?

Surprisingly popular Cash for Clunkers program raises hopes–and questions

This post was written by ProPublica’s Marcus Stern and Jake Bernstein. To supporters, the “cash for clunkers” program miraculously jolted the moribund car market back to life, engendering hopes that it might help revive the broader U.S. economy. Skeptics saw it differently: The automotive industry had hijacked an environmental bill and turned it into a bailout for itself with the help of the Obama administration and a Congress besotted with wishful thinking and a hair-trigger for stimulus spending. Both views may turn out to be correct. But one thing is certain. The sight of car buyers back in showrooms these …

Define 'clunker'

Cash for … other things!

So Congress approved and President Obama signed an extension of the hugely popular (and not-really-so-green) cash-for-clunkers program. Woohoo! We can think of some better “Cash for …” programs the government should be funding … Cash for computers—Think of the power savings. Not to mention the peace of a Twitter-free life. Cash for cookies—Your sweet tooth is fueling a corn overload that will topple American agriculture. Oh, and it’s making you fat. Cash for shutting up climate change deniers—Eliminate noxious hot-air emissions. Just kidding! Mostly. Cash for your ‘stache—Stop shaving. Razors and shaving cream must have some carbon impact, right? Cash …

Clarifying my position on lithium ion batteries

The limits of today’s electric car technology

Recently, there has been some blog chatter about my comments on the future of lithium ion batteries — my goal here is to clarify my stance. I do believe that these batteries have been over-hyped in terms of technology available today. However, little focus was given to my statement that Khosla Ventures is backing the technology because the “lithium-ion markets are here today. We’re investing because there are great markets.” So what kinds of technology are we investing in? I think the traditional approach to lithium ion battery making, such as A123, is going to be competing in an overheated, …

And George Will should stick to writing about baseball or whatever it is he knows something--anything--about

Yes, green jobs do exist and are good for the economy

Remember that transparently hackjob Spanish report titled “Green jobs are like negative jobs, only worse” (or something) that made the rounds of the fossil lobby (in and out of Congress) earlier in the year?  The one that George Will thought worthy of bringing to the nation’s attention the same week the House voted on Waxman-Markey? Well, in case the fact the George Will found it fascinating isn’t enough proof of its wrongness, the American Wind Energy Association just posted a great round-up of debunking.

Don't get burned

JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon: Time to walk the talk on coal

This post is co-written by Mark Kresowik, Corporate Responsibility Representative for the Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon professes profound concern for our future.  He has made numerous statements about how his company supports strong action on global warming. He waxes eloquent about how JP Morgan Chase is committed to investments in clean energy and he wants policy makers to provide leadership on curbing emissions of global warming.    But Sierra Club’s diligent researchers have pulled back the curtain and uncovered that his rhetoric doesn’t match his company’s action.  JPMorgan Chase is pouring billions of dollars into …

Block party

Obama admin teams with grassroots groups to ‘Green the Block’

Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., president of the Hip Hop Caucus, discusses the Green the Block partnership. In the background (L-R) are Dept. of Energy Undersecretary Kristina Johnson, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan. Kate Sheppard / GristEnsuring that low-income communities and minority youth benefit from green jobs programs is the goal of a new partnership between the White House and two grassroots organizations — Hip Hop Caucus and Green For All. Two Cabinet members and leaders of the grassroots groups unveiled the Green the Block initiative Tuesday at a White House press …

Signed. Sealed. Will they deliver?

ForestEthics mails Fortune 500 companies to kick off tar-sands campaign

A tar-sands facility: oil doesn’t get any dirtier than this.At ForestEthics, persuading the world’s largest corporations to treat the Earth ethically is our bread and butter. And it often starts with a letter. Last week, we mailed letters to more than 100 Fortune 500 companies, warning that their continued consumption of fuels from Canada’s tar sands—the world’s dirtiest oil—puts their brands at risk. As ForestEthics Executive Director Todd Paglia documented in a vivid slideshow for Grist last year, the tar sands manage to combine multiple local and global environmental hazards into a single industrial project—in fact, the largest industrial project …

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