Business & Technology

Trailer Thrash

Reinventing the trailer park

Trailer parks get a bad rap, especially in the post-Katrina days when we’ve come to see them as North American refugee camps slowly poisoning their displaced inhabitants with formaldehyde fumes. But the trailer park, done …

A Prudent aqcuisition

VRB Power accquired by Chinese Prudent Energy

Back in early January, I mentioned it was bad news that VRB, the makers of large-scale, long-lasting vanadium flow batteries for storing electricity, was going out of business. Well their assets have been acquired by …

Gold that's put to use begets more gold

How cap-and-rebate brings about carbon reductions

David Roberts asks: Who, in this scenario [carbon revenue rebated to consumers], has any new incentive to shift to low-carbon electricity or efficiency? Short answer: everyone. Let’s say I’m your utility, and I raise your …

U.S. left in the solar dust

Solar PV market doubled to 6 Gigawatts in 2008

After growing 19 percent in 2006 and 62 percent in 2007, world solar photovoltaic (PV) market installations exploded by 110 percent last year to a staggering 5.95 GW, according to Solarbuzz’s Annual Report, Marketbuzz 2009: …

Is the global economy a Ponzi scheme? Part 4

Former GE Chief Jack Welch says obsession with short-term profits was ‘Dumb Idea’

File this one under “now they tell us” or maybe “the former drug kingpin says crack is not healthy for you.” The Financial Times reports the shocking not-quite-deathbed conversion: Jack Welch, who is regarded as …

Big Coal on the ropes

Knock out calls for anti-mountaintop removal bills

Ain’t no mountain high enough: King Coal is on the ropes. Across the nation, anti-mountaintop removal bills are quickly being moved across Capitol Hill and numerous legislatures this week to stop one of the most …

Tab dump

Product service systems, Microsoft, blackouts, Kentucky’s Clean Energy Corps, and cool maps

Grist has comments turned off as we transition to a new website. If you have feedback on this post or anything else, let me know: droberts at grist dot org. • One of my favorite …

Tab dump three

Economics malpractice, climate and poverty, oil sands nightmares, and more WSJ dipshittery

• Max Schulz demonstrates how economics is typically used in the energy debate: "There's an unavoidable problem with renewable-energy technologies: From an economic standpoint, they're big losers." As though the "economic standpoint" is some static, univocal thing. Douchebag. • A nice report from Brookings on a woefully under discussed topic: Double Jeopardy: What the Climate Crisis Means for the Poor. • National Geographic has an in-depth examination of the horror that is Alberta's oil sands program. Excellent journalism, albeit the stuff of nightmares. • Shockingly, the oil and gas industry opposes the Obama administration plan to eliminate some taxpayers subsidies for the oil and gas industry. • A while back, Holman Jenkins, a Wall Street Journal columnist and member of the editorial board, characterized Obama's concern over climate change as a "soppy indulgence," and said of climate science: "We don't really have the slightest idea how an increase in the atmosphere's component of CO2 is impacting our climate, though the most plausible indication is that the impact is too small to untangle from natural variability." Stuart Gaffin, an actual climate scientist at Columbia University, responded in a blog post, pointing to actual science. In turn, Jenkins retrenched in a blog post of his own, with a bunch of absurd harumphing and misdirection. Gaffin responded again, decimating the smoldering remains of Jenkins argument with a torrent of scientific citations. This is typical of many other exchanges between ideologues and scientists about climate. The galling thing, with this one as with most of them, is that the scientists are correct, by any reasonable assessment, and yet the ideologues can just go on saying whatever they want, in widely read editorials. There simply is no winning here. It's really hard to see what the scientists should do.

Radiant Cities: Living in your car

New breed of houses makes use of carbage

Guess what will save the economy and the environment? Buying a new car! Cadillac ranch? OK, maybe not save — but according to the folks at Oregon-based Miranda Homes, it can help. The automobile industry …

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