Business & Technology

Myth: Pricing carbon will destroy the economy

Legislators from dirty-energy producing states, energy-intensive business lobbies, and conservative think tanks struggle to outdo one another with apocalyptic predictions about the effects of mandatory greenhouse gas emission reductions. See, for example, the Chamber of Commerce’s video showing children shivering in the cold (really). As climate legislation evolves this year, the rhetoric is ramping up again, led by the Wall Street Journal editorial page and doomsayers-for-hire at the Heritage Institute and the Chamber of Commerce. The mainstream media passes along this kind of Chicken Littleism in gutless he-said she-said fashion, so the public rarely hears the truth: mainstream economists pretty …

We Cement to Do That

Does carbon-eating cement deserve the hype?

I am trying to identify the plausible CO2-mitigation strategies that are scalable — that can comprise at least a half a wedge (see “How the world can stabilize at 350 to 450 ppm: The full global warming solution). So when a new process gets this much hype — as in Scientific American’s, “Cement from CO2: A Concrete Cure for Global Warming?” — it deserves scrutiny. Wired magazine’s “The Top 10 Green-Tech Breakthroughs of 2008,” provides both a good summary of the process and more evidence of the hype: 1. CALERA’S GREEN CEMENT DEMO PLANT OPENS Cement? With all the whiz …

Stop the auction permits before they kill again

Waxman bill threatens children and elderly, says very concerned power industry

Reactions to the Waxman energy legislation are going to be pouring in over the coming days and weeks. On an early read, environmentalists are enthusiastic. But who is looking out for society’s most vulnerable? Power companies, of course! Says Scott Segal, chairman of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council: … the bill’s silence on a method for allocating credits leaves open the option of an auctioning system that could double up the impact on energy consumers. Those living at or near the poverty level or on fixed incomes, and institutions like schools and hospitals are likely to be particularly hard hit. …

It's not easy being, um, corporate

‘Getting Green Done’ speaks hard truths about sustainable business

Corporate sustainability guru Auden Schendler lays out the problem with corporate sustainability gurus in his recent Getting Green Done: Hard Truths from the Front Lines of the Sustainability Revolution. In doing so, he pretty much dares the nation’s copy editors to title their reviews with the decade’s most played-out headline: “It’s Not Easy Being Green.” Can they resist? The book argues that environmental overhauls of corporations are not easy, nor are they necessarily profitable. And environmentalists who want corporations to green-up anyway would do well to talk straight with them about the difficulties. Schendler finds that sort of honesty lacking …

Get 'er done

Corporate sustainability guru visits Seattle

Corporate sustainability guru Auden Schendler lays out the problem with corporate sustainability gurus in his recent book "Getting Green Done."

Closing the door on building new coal-fired power plants in America

This post was originally published at —– Community opposition, legal challenges, and financial uncertainty over future carbon costs are prompting companies to rethink their plans for coal. Since the beginning of 2007, 95 proposed coal-fired power plants have been canceled or postponed in the United States — 59 in 2007, 24 in 2008, and at least 12 in the first three months of 2009. This covers nearly half of the 200 or so U.S. coal-fired power plants that have been proposed for construction since 2000. The vast majority of the remaining proposals are essentially on hold, awaiting word on …

Furadan shame

U.S. corporation poisoning Africa’s lions

60 Minutes had an extraordinary piece by Bob Simon this weekend on how U.S. poison manufacturer FMC is exporting Furadan (banned in Europe and strictly controlled in the United States) to Kenya, where it’s being used to poison lions, leading to an 85 percent drop in their population: Call FMC at 215-299-6000 to let the company know what you think about how it continues to manufacture such a dangerous poison, or email them here.


Pepsi makes good choices, or at least good PR hires

Dudes, what’s up with Pepsi? In the last few weeks the company has released at least three splashy sustainability stories touting its: testing of green vending machines in D.C. (30 out of 4-5 million, but hey) introduction of Eco-Fina, an Aquafina bottle that uses 50 percent less plastic (still plastic and still bottled water, but … hey) marketing of limited-time Throwback versions of Pepsi and Mountain Dew that contain real sugar instead of the dreaded high-fructose corn syrup (still rots your teeth and gut, but … hey?). The efforts are apparently part of PepsiCo’s “Performance with Purpose” sustainability initiative — …

Friedman: MSM's climate Cassandra

NYT’s Tom Friedman updates the global warming threat and spells out the solution

The NYT columnist Tom Friedman has another terrific global warming piece this past weekend, “Mother Nature’s Dow.” He is the only major national columnist or reporter consistently warning the public of what science now tells us is likely result of continuing on our current greenhouse gas emissions path — unmitigated unconscionable catastrophe. And he is the only one laying out the solution in detail. In this post I will endeavor to annotate his column for new and old readers who want more. Friedman begins by noting, “I’m convinced that our current financial crisis is the product of both The Market …

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