Business & Technology

Politico on green jobs

Political press takes on green jobs with less than stellar results

I’m of two minds about this Politico piece on green jobs. On one hand, it’s nice to see the notion getting into the political bloodstream. On the other hand, it does a woefully bad job of distinguishing the candidates and contains one horrific and fundamental error of fact. First, the error. Witness: The American Physical Society, an organization of physicists, issued a report last month concluding that energy efficiency “offers the cheapest, fastest way to wean ourselves off foreign oil and reduce global warming.” … The downside to that, of course, is that a candidate can’t boast about jobs and, …

Another one bites the dust

Tesla ousts second CEO in two years and plans to cut staff

CNET reported on Wed. that Tesla chairman Elon Musk bumped CEO Ze’ev Drori from the top slot and will take over his position while continuing to focus on product development. Drori didn’t last long in the limelight, as he came to the company in late 2007 after Musk ousted the other former CEO and Tesla co-founder, Martin Eberhard. The roadster manufacturer also plans “modest” layoffs to make the “cash flow-positive in the next six to nine months,” and will shut down its Detroit office.

Chicken not-so-little

The hyper-consolidated poultry industry might consolidate even more

Just four companies — Pilgrim’s Pride, Tyson, Perdue, and Sanderson Farms — slaughter and pack nearly 60 percent of the meat-chickens raised in the United States, reported [PDF] the researcher team Mary Hendrickson and William Heffernan.  That dominance gives these corporate giants what economists call monopsony power — the leverage to dictate to their suppliers (farmers) how chicken is grown and at what price. For a luminous explanation of how monopsony works, see Barry Lynn’s essay on Wal-Mart in the June 2006 Harper’s. Hendrickson and  Heffernan report that the share of the poultry market controlled by the top four players …

New energy economy emerging in the United States

Wind, solar thermal, and geothermal development outpaces expectations

As fossil fuel prices rise, as oil insecurity deepens, and as concerns about climate change cast a shadow over the future of coal, a new energy economy is emerging in the United States. The old energy economy, fueled by oil, coal, and natural gas, is being replaced by one powered by wind, solar, and geothermal energy. The transition is moving at a pace and on a scale that we could not have imagined even a year ago. Consider Texas. Long the leading oil-producing state, it is now also the leading generator of electricity from wind, having overtaken California two years …

Starbucks addresses water wastage following tabloid indictment

As John Edwards always said, never underestimate the power of a tabloid. Following the revelation in British rag-mag The Sun that constantly running dipper wells waste a humongous amount of water, a Starbucks spokesperson confirms, “Stores will be instructed to switch off the dipper well tap and will wash spoons after use.” And the plot thickens: According to PRWeek.com, a senior-level source at an unnamed PR agency claims, “We warned [Starbucks] several years ago that their usage of water was not good for their environmental credentials and could be a potential problem for them. They listened, but they didn’t do …

Soros on green as the motor of the economy

In an interview with Bill Moyers (via Green Inc.), financier George Soros has some things to say about how green investments can pull us out of the current financial crisis (a subject I’ve been hitting repeatedly these last few days): Here’s the transcript: BILL MOYERS: So let’s think about those people down at Neely’s Barbecue going home tonight having heard you. What they’ve heard you say is the system is really dysfunctioning right now. It’s out of control. Nobody’s in charge. They’ve heard you express your own worry that in the next three months it could get much, much worse. …

New Apple laptop is ‘greenest MacBook ever’

The new Apple laptop that your geeky officemate is swooning over is “the greenest MacBook ever,” according to the company. (But remember, kids: Hanging on to your current laptop is even greener.) Instead of being cobbled together from various pieces, the new MacBook’s main frame is cut out of a single piece of aluminum, and the discarded metal is recycled. It arrives to stores in 41 percent less packaging than the previous generation, and can be returned to Apple for recycling at the end of its life. Like other Apple offerings, the newbie boasts arsenic-free glass, is backlit with energy-efficient …

Biz aims to offset habitat impact by boosting biodiversity elsewhere

A giant natural-gas operation that Shell Oil is building in Qatar will disrupt birds and rare desert truffles — but the company plans to make amends by protecting antelopes, turtles, and sea cows elsewhere in the emirate. Such “biodiversity offset” schemes are up-and-coming, as companies seeking to burnish their eco-reputations come together with conservation groups increasingly willing to work within market-style systems. Mining company Rio Tinto is making efforts to attract flora and fauna to land it’s no longer using, creating “a biodiversity buffer” that, according to CEO Tom Albanese, “also could be used to create the next generation of …

Three states appeal directly to companies to avoid BPA in products

The attorneys general of Connecticut, Delaware, and New Jersey urged 11 U.S. baby-bottle and baby-formula companies to stop using the chemical bisphenol A in their products and packaging in order to protect kids from the chemical’s damaging effects. BPA has been found in the urine of 93 percent of Americans, and recent studies have linked the chemical to cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Other studies have concluded that BPA can act as an endocrine disruptor and can leach into food via food containers. “I am alarmed by recent studies confirming that BPA leaches from [baby] products into the foods they …

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