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Medical device case could impact global warming debate

In last week's negotiations over the energy bill, one of the most significant victories for proponents of getting serious about global warming came when Speaker Nancy Pelosi stood up to yet another attempt to short-circuit efforts by over a dozen states to demand cleaner cars. The issue on which Pelosi convinced Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) and other auto industry allies to back down, known in legal circles as "preemption," has emerged as a lightning rod in global warming politics. The focus on preemption has only intensified in the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling this April in Mass v. EPA, …

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How to structure a cap-and-trade program

From an awesomely meaty article on cap-and-trade from The San Francisco Chronicle comes this pearl of wisdom (in bold at the bottom of the quote): [T]he lesson of the acid rain program is to keep the plan simple and easy for all parties to understand. "If it starts to employ a lot of special provisions to take care of every party's special needs ... and if it starts to look like the Chicago phone book, then throw it out," [RFF economist Dallas Burtraw] said. "A poorly designed market is worse than no market at all." I'm not sure I'd go …

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Bold announcement by climate partnership outed as a hoax

Various news outlets breathlessly reported yesterday that the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, a consortium of 33 businesses and environmental groups, was calling on the U.S. to slash emissions 90 percent by 2050 and to cease building coal-fired power plants. Ah, if only 'twere true -- but the announcement was an elaborate hoax. Says Matt Leonard of Rising Tide, the loosely knit volunteer-run group that took responsibility for the fakeout: "We wanted to draw attention to the undue influence the biggest polluters, many of which are members of USCAP, have on climate policy. They are focused on their own bottom lines …

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Job market sees growing demand for sustainability managers

Way back before the turn of the century (when we partied like it was 1999), I could count the number of real "sustainability managers" on my fingers and toes and still have a couple of digits left over. What a difference a decade makes. Today, I see new job postings every week for sustainability directors, managers, coordinators, and related staff people. Who's hiring? Any institution that has a large number of people and a physical infrastructure that includes buildings, grounds, food service, a vehicle fleet, water/wastewater facilities, intensive use of energy (possibly from their own utility), lots of equipment and …

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WTO may slash tariffs on green goods

The United States and European Union have proposed that the 151 members of the World Trade Organization agree to slash tariffs on at least 43 "green" goods -- solar panels, wind turbines, and the like -- to boost their global use. A recent World Bank study suggested that removing such barriers to trade of clean-energy technologies could increase trade by up to 14 percent annually.

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Xerox substantially reduces emissions, pledges to do more

In 2002, Xerox Corp. pledged to reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions 10 percent by 2012. With four years to go, the company has in fact reduced emissions by 18 percent, and has boosted its goal to 25 percent by 2012. Xerox says it saved $18 million last year through practices like increasing manufacturing efficiency and reducing employees' job-related driving. Seems like a plan worth ... wait for it ... copying.

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Apparel companies hire climatologists to predict consumer trends

In the good old days, the only constant that the fickle fashion industry could rely on was the changing of the seasons -- now, it can't even rely on that anymore. A run of unseasonably warm winters has led some apparel companies to hire staff climatologists who help predict when consumers will be in the market for cold-weather clothes. Because, darling, buying a winter-anticipating coat in August is so five years ago.

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Businesses urge policy for cutting greenhouse-gas emissions

More than 150 international companies have signed on to a petition begging diplomats meeting in Bali next week to come up with policy aimed at cutting global greenhouse-gas emissions at least in half by 2050. The companies -- Shell, Coca-Cola, Dupont, British Airways, Rolls Royce, and many, many, more -- "urge world leaders to seize this opportunity" with "strong, early action on climate change." The petition also stated that a push to reduce emissions would "create significant business opportunities" and a legally binding agreement "will provide business with the certainty it needs to scale up global investment in low-carbon technologies." …

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If you lost money in beans.com, these are for you

If you want to invest in the stock market but have better things to do than read SEC 10Qs, what to do? Invest in mutual funds. If you want to invest in top quality environmental or energy advocacy and want to maximize return while minimizing risk, what to do? The New Progressive Coalition has a new idea: nonprofit mutual funds. Check out their Energy Independence and Environment offering. Blue chip all the way.

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Over 150 companies worldwide sign climate petition in advance of Bali

More than 150 companies worldwide, representing some $4 trillion in market valuation, have signed the Bali Communiqué: As business leaders, it is our belief that the benefits of strong, early action on climate change outweigh the costs of not acting: • The economic and geopolitical costs of unabated climate change could be very severe and globally disruptive. All countries and economies will be affected, but it will be the poorest countries that will suffer earliest and the most • The costs of action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change are manageable, …