Business & Technology

E.U. agrees on emission rules for cars

The European Union has reportedly struck a deal with the bloc’s automakers, agreeing to rules that would see car manufacturers cut their fleets’ emissions 18 percent by 2015 and 40 percent by 2020. The E.U. had proposed a tougher standard last year, but heavy lobbying from automakers successfully diluted the goals.

Ford planning shift to small cars, company says

Ford Motor Co. is planning a significant product shift that will focus on the manufacture of small, fuel-efficient cars in lieu of its largely failed strategy since the 1990s to churn out mostly large vehicles like trucks and SUVs. Ford’s plan is meant to woo Congress into granting the Big Three U.S. automakers a much-needed $25 billion loan package.

Massive solar installation completed in Southern California

California’s largest solar-panel installation was completed this week atop a warehouse in Southern California; 600,000 square feet of solar panels will produce enough electricity to power some 1,300 homes. The installation is the first in the utility Edison’s ambitious plan to affix solar panels on some two square miles of rooftops in the state.

Take it back!

Electronics TakeBack Coalition runs a Times Square ad entreating Panasonic to take back TVs for recycling — on Panasonic jumbotron:

How to green your office holiday party

  Who brought the lampshade?   They say it’s a “no-frills holiday season” this year — with the economy hitting the skids, many companies are putting the brakes on lavish holiday-party spending, and some are nixing their parties altogether. But just because you have to cancel the fireworks show doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time. If your company is celebrating the holidays this year, consider this a memo on how to plan a lean, green, and still-enough-fun-that-you-regret-it-the-next-day occasion. Here’s where to start. Got more ideas, or examples of stuff your company is doing? Let us know. The Baby …

Mac daddy

Apple continues to tout its ownership of the “greenest family of notebooks” in a new ad:

Reusing big boxes

This is the coolest thing I’ve seen in a while: on Slate, Julia Christensen has a slideshow essay showing how some communities have repurposed abandoned big box retail spaces. My favorite is the one in Austin, Minn., where they renovated an abandoned K-Mart to become a Spam museum. Yes, a Spam museum. And not the email kind either.

GM asking students to help greenwash

How my intern stood up to Big Auto

Even as it begs for a big taxpayer bailout, GM is still spending billions on marketing, peddling its giant gas-guzzlers to Americans who want them less and less. It has even got the cash to try and enlist college students in its efforts to greenwash. My intern, Meg Imholt, is also the president of EcoSense, American University’s environmental group, and happened to be the target of GM’s latest cynical marketing attempt, which she chronicled on Greenpeace’s blog: Usually filled with listserv emails, notes from Mom, and reminders from professors, rarely anything stirring appears in my Inbox. However, Saturday brought …

Panels for Powell's!

Northwest bookstore goes solar, gets compared to candy

Photo: Thomas Hawk Hearing the news that Oregon darling Powell’s Books is getting a crapload of solar panels is akin to learning that Santa recycles or Mother Teresa loved to compost. Yep, Powell’s — especially the block-long location in downtown Portland with color-coded rooms — is that beloved. Construction has already started on a 100-kilowatt PV system topping the warehouse in northwest Portland. And in December, Powell’s will start using the sun’s juice from one of Oregon’s biggest solar panel installations, which will reportedly pay for itself in five years. And for all you Doubting Debbies, sure, the Northwest is …

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