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Me in Fast Company

I don't think I've mentioned it here, but I've got a monthly column on green business in the print edition of Fast Company. I wasn't sure whether they put it up for free online, but it appears they do: my column from the November edition is right here. It is a piece of craven corporatist capitulating to The Man, by which I mean it's a qualified defense of carbon offsets. Give 'er a read.

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U.S. investors make a killing off of Chinese coal

China's vast coal industry: Where would we be without it? Cheap Chinese coal keeps consumer-goods prices low, allowing us to consume like mad even as crude-oil prices skyrocket. It's also returning handsome profits to U.S. investors. Take it away, Associated Press: As China's appetite for coal is booming, American investors and businesses are cashing in. American pension and mutual fund money is being invested in the Chinese coal industry, which is lucrative but in general has a poor record for pollution and worker safety. <br The biggest Chinese coal company is China Shenhua Energy Co. of Beijing, which produces about …

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WSJ produces special environment report

The Wall Street Journal has a special environment report today, leading with an overview of the business end of the current rush to go green. With additional articles covering home energy-efficiency audits, hybrid economics, green building, and more, the whole package is worth a look.

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Automakers debate skipping directly to full-electric cars

Ah, finally! The argument surfacing among auto-industry leaders gathering for the Tokyo Motor Show this week is over whether it is time to skip past partial electrification of cars -- represented by gasoline-electric hybrids such as the Toyota Prius -- and push instead to revive the idea of an all-electric car. On one side are Toyota Motor Corp. and General Motors Corp. Both have played down all-electric cars in favor of developing gasoline-electric hybrids, though they disagree on the best technology and how quickly it can be implemented. On the other side are two allied car makers, France's Renault SA …

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California air regulators adopt emissions-tackling rules

As part of its groundbreaking plan to tackle air-polluting, climate-warming emissions, the California Air Resources Board has adopted six new rules for manufacturers, shippers, and truckers. Starting in 2010, vehicles that go in for a tune up or oil change will be required to fully inflate their tires; trucks and trailers must be fitted with fuel-saving devices; cargo ships will be disallowed from idling at ports; the chemical sulfur hexafluoride will be banned; and both the greenhouse gas perfluorocarbon and propellants in spray cans will be more strictly regulated. The board also adopted standards for using California's forests to offset …

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Green car dealerships sell alternative vehicles

Want to buy a green car (and we're not talkin' paint color)? Get thee to one of at least 16 car dealerships in the U.S. that sell only alternative vehicles. Says one green dealer in Montana: "This is exciting, this is innovating ... and you can make money doing this. What can be more American?"

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FTC files appeal of Whole Foods’ Wild Oats buyout

In an unusual move, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is pursuing an appeal of a district-court ruling that allowed natural-foods giant Whole Foods to acquire its former competitor Wild Oats in August. The $565 million deal has already been completed, but the agency hopes the long-shot appeal will reverse it.

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Printers emit hazardous particles, says study

You thought the office was a safe refuge for your lungs, a place to escape from the smoggy outdoors? You were wrong. Beware the polluting printer, says a new study. No one is safe!

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Don’t believe the power company hype about coal’s low price

This just in from Restructuring Today ($ub req'd): Sunflower Electric, of the recent Kansas decision not to allow an electric permit because of CO2 concerns, has argued that the decision was a bad idea because it will drive up power prices. But their math is wrong. Here's a partial excerpt from the RT story: A decision by the Kansas Department of Health & Environment to deny a coal power plant permit would mean higher power bills for some. That's "an absolute certainty," Sunflower Electric Power told us Friday. How much higher? At today's prices the firm could pay 1.5¢ for …

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Envisioning possible green futures helps create a greener future

Peter Madden, chief executive of Forum for the Future, writes a monthly column for Gristmill on sustainability in the U.K. and Europe. There has been much discussion lately of the need to turn the green agenda from a negative to a positive one. I think that an important part of this is developing some more positive visions of what living in a sustainable future might be like. My organization, Forum for the Future, has set itself this task. Partly because we think the green movement needs more credible and aspirational stories of the future if we are to take people …