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Green pay day

Green-collar jobs are real

There's lots of buzz about green-collar jobs these days (sort of like blue-collar jobs, but with a sustainable edge) -- whether you're listening to Obama, McCain, or Clinton; Gregoire, Kulongoski, or Schwarzenegger. You hear this kind of thing a lot: A study conducted by the RAND Corporation and the University of Tennessee found that producing 25 percent of all American energy fuel and electricity from renewables by the year 2025 would produce the following: "$700 billion of new economic activity, carbon emission reduction by 1 billion tons, and 5 million new jobs." Fine and dandy, but, some might ask "where …

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Driven to change

March small car sales up; SUV, truck sales down

Is $3.25 to $3.50 a gallon the long-awaited for inflexion point for driving a shift in U.S. car-buying habits? Obviously we can't know for sure, but the Detroit News reported that "cars outsold light trucks" in March. (One auto industry insider told me yesterday that this was only the second time that has ever happened in some two decades.) Yes, the recession no doubt had an impact on the sales of big, expensive vehicles. But since gasoline prices are going to mostly be going up over the next decade or two, possibly to well above $4 or even $5 a …

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Fly on the Wall Street

Finance, energy, and the environment: markets and opportunities

Last night, I went to a panel at the Museum of American Finance on Wall Street (no, really!) on what's financially hot or soon will be in non-coal, non-oil energy technologies. I love these kinds of events; typically, what comes of them is reality-based information, dealing with who has the money, where it's going (or ought to go), and what will get it there, in order to transform our energy system. I come away from these things more hopeful than from any number of political rallies, because these are people who are walking their talk instead of posing in their …

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Say goodbye to 'cides

Home Depot announces an end to traditional pesticide sales in Canada

For consumers concerned about pervasive toxics in the environment, this has been a very good Earth Week.  Especially if you live in Canada. Home Depot announced this week that it would stop selling "traditional" lawn and garden pesticides in all its Canadian stores. The reason? Consumers don't want them anymore. People in Canada seem to have discovered that you don't need to spread poisons around your yard in order to garden. Amazing! A huge part of that awakening is happening because of committed advocates, particularly from the public health community, that have helped lead hundreds of local by-laws in communities …

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Market force of nature

Social concerns complicate an issue that, for scientists, is a no-brainer

A couple of months ago, I wrote a piece, now posted at Seed, about a financial mechanism for reducing deforestation and degradation (REDD) and vaster territory it will likely prime for pricing ecosystem services. It's fun to watch the story evolve, as now we're seeing the U.K.-based Canopy Capital sign an agreement to protect a 371,000 hectare chunk of tropical forest in Guyana -- in advance even of a market infrastructure to value all the services provided by this land. For the most part, I see action in this direction as a good thing. Certainly the climate scientists, conservationists, and …

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Fortune Brainstorm Green

Michael Dell offers a glimpse of an unannounced product

Michael Dell is on stage now, going over the importance of IT for sustainability and the many worth initiatives Dell has undertaken -- all of which you can read about on Dell's site. The one newsworthy bit was the presentation of what he calls, with a distinct lack of poetry, "the unannounced product." It is a tiny small-form-factor computer in a bamboo case -- it looks about the size and shape of an external hard drive. Pretty sweet. Wish I had a picture. Update: Earth2tech has pictures:

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Environmental management careers

College grads hit the green job market — here’s what they’ll find

Photo: fluffbreat Another Earth Day has come around, and that means college graduations are just a few weeks away. Soon-to-be alumni throughout the nation are dusting off résumés, poring over job listings, and then moving back into their old bedrooms at home "for a little while." I predict a progression of messages from dear old Dad. (Welcome back. Clean the garage. Don't get too comfortable. Get a job already.) With so many aspiring eco-job-seekers entering the world of gainful employment, it seems like a good time to take the temperature of the environmental-management job market. To find out what's going …

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Walt Disney Co. gets into nature

The Walt Disney Company has announced a new film division that will focus on nature documentaries. The creatively named Disneynature will aim to produce two films every year starting in 2009, hoping to catch the interest of some of the viewers who flocked to Warner Bros.' March of the Penguins and the Discovery Channel/BBC series "Planet Earth." Keep your eyes out for the Disney-produced Earth in 2009, Oceans in 2010, and Chimpanzees in 2012, as well as features on flamingos, flowers, and big cats. Disney envisions the documentaries spinning off "beautiful books," DVDs, and theme-park attractions. Ah, the sweet smell …

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Feds set fuel-economy benchmarks for automakers

Federal regulators will propose benchmarks Tuesday for automakers to hit on their way to reaching a fuel-economy requirement of 35 miles per gallon by 2020. Auto fleets will have to average 27.8 mpg by 2011 and 31.6 mpg by 2015 -- a more aggressive timetable than was required by Congress. That's 35.7 mpg for passenger cars in 2015 (new cars averaged 31.3 mpg last year) and 28.6 mpg for light trucks (new trucks averaged 23.1 mpg last year). The proposal manages to gain acceptance from both automakers and enviros. Alliance for Automobile Manufacturers spokesfolks said the numbers will "stretch the …

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All-electric car coming to the U.S. next year

Reasonably priced, all-electric cars are coming soon to a California near you. (And then to the rest of the U.S. before too long.) Think Global, which was sold by Ford Motor Co. to Norwegian investors in 2003, will partner with two venture capital firms to mass-produce the battery-powered Think City in the U.S., starting next year. About the size of a Mini Cooper, the Think City is a two-seater but has room for two more seats for children. It can drive up to 110 miles on a single charge and has a top speed of around 65 miles per hour. …