Business & Technology

Can we get those good cars here?

NYT: Temporarily relax regulations to allow Big Three’s European models in the U.S.

The Big Three make high-quality, fuel-efficient cars. No, really, they do. They just sell them in Europe — Ford Ka, anyone? And now that $15 billion of the the $25 billion designated in the 2007 energy bill to provide funds for fuel-efficiency retooling will likely serve as loan guarantees to keep GM and Chrysler solvent, where will domestic fuel-efficient cars come from? Christian Edstrom at the New York Times blog Wheels suggests the Big Three bring some of those fuel-sipping European models to the U.S., and that the feds make it easy for the auto industry by temporarily green-lighting models …

Dodgy deals

Car dealers offering two for the price of one

It used to be a chicken in every pot. Now it’s two cars in every sale — at least at some Dodge dealers. At a Quebec dealer, buy a Dodge truck and get a Caliber for “free.” In the U.K., a similar deal (bonus: video with fun British accents!). In Miami, buy a four-door pick-up and get a two-door thrown in. This as Chrysler scraps plans to add a wee Chinese car to the Dodge line. Call me crazy, but methinks they’re not going to, er, Dodge the bullet. (Hat tip: my fella)

Auto bailout passed by House requires compliance with state emission standards

The U.S. House on Wednesday approved a $14 billion rescue plan for the domestic auto industry that, among many other things, would force the companies to comply with California’s strict emissions requirements for vehicles. However, House Democrats reportedly dropped a requirement from the bill that would have barred the Big Three from using any of the federal money from the bailout to challenge state greenhouse-gas emission limits in court. The bill has not yet been passed in the Senate, where it faces serious opposition.

They are called nonprofits for a reason ...

Low donations and diminished endowments will hinder green movement

It’s the end of the year, and if your inbox is anything like mine, you’ve received a deluge of end-of-year donation requests from your favorite nonprofits. On behalf of my brethren nonprofit directors, let me share some insight into current nonprofit funding dynamics before you hit the delete button. First, this was an extraordinary election year. Obama, for example, set fundraising records, and while individual donations are not necessarily a zero sum game, let’s take you for an example. Maybe you are thinking — hey, I gave a lot to my favorite political candidate(s), times are tight, and I’m going …

The 25 middle-aged white guys who are frying the earth

You can find their names here.

Mountaintop revival

Bank of America to stop financing mountaintop removal

The energy and climate news is coming way too fast and furious for me to comment at length on every story. So here is everyone’s favorite W.Va. reporter, Ken Ward Jr. on the story: CHARLESTON, W.Va. — One of the world’s largest financial institutions said this week it will phase out lending money to coal operators that use mountaintop removal mining. Charlotte-based Bank of America Corp. said it will stop financing companies that produce more than half of their coal from mountaintop removal. “We feel the practice has a significant impact on the environment and on communities,” said company spokesman …


GM’s Lutz: Wagoner is one of ‘the innocents,’ just ‘the mayor of a city hit by an earthquake’

GM Vice Chair Bob Lutz would be a hard man to like, even if he weren’t a global warming denier (see “GM is full of crocks“). He presumably thinks he and GM Chair Wagoner deserve the credit and the large salaries whenever GM is doing well. But when the company crashes — that is God’s handiwork. The Washington Post reports: Singling out Wagoner “is like blaming the mayor of a city hit by an earthquake,” GM Vice Chairman Robert A. Lutz said in an interview on business cable network CNBC this morning. Noting the global collapse of demand for new …

Coal hard cash

Amid climate talks, World Bank considers $5 billion loan for most carbon-intensive project ever

The race for Most Hypocritical Actor at the climate talks in Poznan, Poland is a crowded one, to be sure, but the World Bank, in one swift move, has taken a commanding lead. Late last week, as World Bankers in Poland were lobbying delegates over pierogies and pate, word leaked out of South Africa that the Bank’s International Finance Corporation has agreed “in principle” to provide up to $5 billion of our tax dollars to support as many as six additional coal plants. If approved, this would be both the largest World Bank Group loan on record and the single …

‘Eco-flation’ could hurt sales of consumer goods

The rising cost of doing business in a climate-changed world — aka, “eco-flation” — could hit some companies quite hard in the next decade if they don’t change their business practices to become more sustainable, according to an analysis by green group World Resources Institute. Companies that make consumer goods could see their earnings plummet up to 48 percent by 2018 if they don’t jump on the sustainability bandwagon soon, the study found.