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CEO charged with seeking profit

In the course of an off-the-shelf rant about Wal-Mart, Z.P. Heller says this: While Wal-Mart may be working to reduce their carbon footprint, it became clear that to Scott, reducing waste means making money, not fulfilling an environmental promise. The mind boggles.


Good Jobs, Green Jobs: Part 3

One last word from the National Green Jobs Conference

I'll soon be tackling new eco-job and career issues, but I've got one last piece of business related to my time at the Good Jobs, Green Jobs conference last week. I've recounted what happened and who was there, and explained how we might define green jobs. Now, I'll address one final question from Grist readers: "What's the main barrier to the growth of green jobs?" In a word: politics. In the dim past (1970-1999), it was generally agreed that government action was needed to generate environmental protection and conservation. And we learned along the way that creative public policies, regulations, …


Latest hot commodity: coal

As coal prices rise, U.S. coal exports boom

Environmentalists have helped scuttle more than 50 coal-fired power plants in the U.S. in the past year. That's fantastic. But the movement to stop coal won't help the climate unless it can globalize; for the climate, coal burned in China traps just as much warmth as coal burned in Texas. Nor will stopping more U.S. coal-fired power plants help save communities in the mining zones of Appalachia from environmental and economic devastation. That's because U.S. coal companies are merrily exporting excess coal abroad. Check out this New York Times graphic: U.S. coal exports are up from under 40 million tons …


ECO:nomics: More evidence of Exxon’s evil genius

ExxonMobil sent one representative to the conference: a beautiful, smart, well-spoken, wryly funny young woman with long blond hair. Next thing I know, there I am talking to her over cocktails, thinking, yeah, Exxon does spend a lot on energy R&D! They really are leading the search for alternatives to oil! Gol she's purty! Damn you Exxon!


Meyerson on the need for a new New Deal

Harold Meyerson has a lucid, insightful column in the Washington Post today about the recent financial mess: The key lesson Americans need to learn from today's troubles is how to distinguish faux prosperity from the genuine article. Over the past hundred years, we've experienced both. In the three decades after World War II we had the real thing. Led by our manufacturing sector, productivity increased at a rapid clip and median family incomes rose at a virtually identical rate. The value of the American work product grew significantly and that value was shared with American workers. But we've had other …


Industry launches campaign against Lieberman-Warner climate bill

Energy industry and business trade groups have launched a concerted campaign against the Lieberman-Warner climate bill. The bill, which would establish a cap-and-trade system to reduce U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions, is much less stringent than some other climate bills in Congress, but Lieberman-Warner is so far the only one to pass out of committee; it's scheduled for a Senate vote in June. Industry and business groups are sponsoring a 17-state anti-climate-bill tour to head off the legislation. The centerpiece of the roadshow is an industry-funded study stressing huge job losses and energy price hikes due to the bill. Also this week, …


Good Jobs, Green Jobs: Part 2

More from the National Green Jobs Conference

Welcome back to the Grist review of the Good Jobs, Green Jobs conference last week in Pittsburgh. In my last post, I gave it two thumbs up and noted that Van Jones was particularly outstanding in one of the lead roles. Let's continue this conversation with a particularly hot topic these days. Based on your questions and the response to my previous column on defining the green job economy, it's clear that everyone's wondering how the rapidly growing green jobs movement is going to define "green jobs." Here's what folks at the conference had to say about it: Focusing first …


Dealing with gas prices involves healing the economy

On oil and the dollar, Bush and McCain acknowledge their own cluelessness

This post was originally published at the just-launched Think Progress Wonk Room, the new public policy rapid-response blog of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Brad Johnson, the climate specialist for the Wonk Room, was a writer for Hill Heat. Skyrocketing gas prices are crippling the budgets of Americans, as Bush has newly discovered. But he doesn't have a solution. Nor does Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). Bush's every response to energy problems is to drill for more oil and blame China. McCain has a more evolved position: his solution is to drill for more oil and build nuclear power …


All the colors of the wind

Wind farms get sponsored

It seems that if you have enough money, you can slap your name on any ol' thing: stadiums, theaters, sporting events, and now wind farms. When John Deere Wind Energy opens its eight-turbine, 10 megawatt wind farm in Texas this May, it will be setting a precedent by allowing Steelcase, a furniture company out of Grand Rapids, Mich., to purchase the rights to name its little windmills. From The New York Times: [Steelcase] has committed to buying the farm's entire output of renewable energy credits -- the alternative energy version of carbon offsets, usually just called R.E.C.'s -- for its …


Good Jobs, Green Jobs: Part 1

What happened and who was there?

Well, I'm back home from the Good Jobs, Green Jobs national conference last week in Pittsburgh, and I've digested the speeches, the workshops, the press conferences, and the two major reports released at the event: "Green Collar Jobs in America's Cities [PDF]: Building Pathways out of Poverty and Careers in the Clean Energy Economy" and "Greener Pathways [PDF]: Jobs and Workforce Development in the Clean Energy Economy." I'm tempted to say, "Read these fantastic reports," and sign off. They're really good, and the main points will soon be showing up in town halls and governors' offices -- and as unreferenced …