Business & Technology

For the Green of the Game

Blowing the green whistle on sports

Sports leagues and teams are beginning to take sustainability issues more seriously.If you watch sports on TV, you may be thinking from your perch on the couch that they are a relatively inexpensive, practically carbon-neutral diversion from life’s occupations. But sport is big business, facing many of the same environmental challenges as the manufacturing, agriculture, and energy sectors. Whether it’s golf, baseball, football, basketball, soccer/futball, hockey, auto racing, rugby, cricket (yes, cricket! — remember, it’s huge in other parts of the world) or countless others, they individually and collectively have an enormous impact on the environment. Grist has decided to …

State of plug-and-play

Hot new clean-tech startups are plug-and-play

You gotta be crazy to start a green-tech company these days, right? Venture funding has fallen off the proverbial cliff since the economy imploded last September, and even established renewable energy companies are struggling to stay afloat until the Obama stimulus cash begins to flow. But it seemed more 1999 than 2009 this week at Microsoft’s Silicon Valley headquarters when a crowd of entrepreneurs showed up to elevator-pitch their startups to a panel of VCs and win $40,000 in services. Competition to just get in the door was fierce, with 400 companies vying for 30 slots at Launch: Silicon Valley, …

Generation Next

Former PepsiCo exec to take helm at Seventh Generation

Entrepreneur Jeffrey Hollender launched a mail-order catalog business 20 years ago and nursed it for more than a decade before it became profitable. That company is now Seventh Generation, and there’s no more catalog, but there certainly is a ton of recycled toilet paper — and all-natural cleaning supplies and non-toxic personal-care products. It’s a product category that has seen massive growth in the last few years as environmental issues have risen to front-page news status. In fact, Seventh Generation saw its biggest numbers recently — posting about 50 percent growth last year. Which is exactly why Hollender has decided …

Brookings: Fears that cap and trade will hurt farmers are baseless

Cross-posted from Wonk Room. A new economic study reveals that concerns a cap on global warming pollution could hurt American agriculture are unfounded. As the Waxman-Markey green economy legislation (H.R. 2454) moves toward passage in the House of Representatives, the farm lobby and rural officials have questioned the bill’s costs to farmers. Last week, Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK), the ranking member of the House Committee on Agriculture, cried that farmers are “a prime target for a national energy tax“: From higher energy costs to lost jobs to higher food prices, cap-and-trade promises to cap our incomes, our livelihoods, and our …

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 …

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