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New certification in the works for green hotels

Saw a passing reference in a piece on travel trends about a new certification scheme for green hotels. Supposed to be developed in the next 90 days, says Joe McInerney, president of the American Hotel & Lodging Association. AHLA's site, meanwhile, has a list of hot green hotel progress, ranging from Motel 6 using sensors to turn off heat and AC in unoccupied rooms to the MGM Mirage in Las Vegas pursuing LEED certification in part by building a monorail to the Bellagio. Oh, if only Joey Bishop had lived to see it.

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Countdown to the 2008 Farm Bill: Part II

A livestock title for fair and competitive markets

This is the second in a series of five farm bill fact sheets from the Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. Want more details on all of the sustainable agriculture provisions in the next Farm Bill? Go here (PDF) for a matrix that shows the status of provisions in the House and Senate versions. A shrinking number of companies dominate the nation's food supply, exerting market power over the entire supply chain from farm gate to dinner plate. In the livestock sector, the increasingly concentrated market has left farmers and ranchers in a position to negotiate with corporations that have far greater bargaining …

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Major advance in plug-in hybrid design

Watch CBS this Saturday for breaking electric-car news

I was just interviewed by CBS for a possible story on plug-in hybrids on Monday. You should tune in to CBS evening news Saturday for the first coverage of what I believe is a major advance in plug-ins -- a car I test drove a few weeks back and will be free to write about here Monday. The New York Times will probably be doing a print story on the car Sunday, which I'll link to. Then CBS may do another story, which is where I would come in. This hybrid technology will be rolled out in a retrofitted car …

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World’s largest banks ranked on their climate commitment

The world's banks are starting to recognize the threat of climate change, but could certainly do more, says a new report from Ceres, a coalition of investors and green groups pushing corporate sustainability. The group ranked 40 of the world's largest publicly traded banks on their green (the climate kind, not the money kind). Some results were encouraging -- 28 banks have calculated their greenhouse-gas emissions, 24 have set goals to reduce said emissions, and 29 are supporting alternative energy projects. But there is, of course, room for improvement: The median score on Ceres' ranking out of 100 was 42, …

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Miracle grow

Cargill’s well-connected fertilizer unit wows Wall Street, dumps on Florida

As I wrote last week, the real winners in the ethanol boom aren't corn growers or even ethanol makers (though the latter will do just fine). Rather, it's the companies that make the inputs needed for growing vast quantities of corn. Photo: iStockphoto Monsanto, the world's dominant producer of genetically modified seed traits as well as the No. 1 herbicide maker, demonstrated that principle with its quarterly profit report last week. It harvested quarterly profits fully three times higher than it did a year earlier. Mosaic, the No. 1 U.S. fertilizer maker, put that performance to shame. Mosaic is a …

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Investors see opportunity in efficiency and wind

Energy stocks are looking attractive

The following essay is a guest post by Kari Manlove, fellows assistant at the Center for American Progress. ----- CNNmoney.com just released a summary outlook on the solar, wind, biofuel (mainly ethanol), and efficiency industry financial sectors. The two looking most optimistic are wind and efficiency, and thus both sectors are overflowing with opportunity. According to one investment portfolio manager, efficiency investments are reliable and essentially fundamental. In his words, investing in efficiency is like putting your money on the arms dealer in a war or conflict -- no matter which side wins (or which sector), the arms dealer simply …

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Tata Motors unveils world’s cheapest car in India

Photo: TaTa Motors The world's cheapest car was unveiled in India today by Tata Motors, which hopes that its new $2,500 subcompact will help make car ownership a reality for tens of millions of people. The Tata Nano gets respectable gas mileage, up to 58.8 miles per gallon, and meets India's emissions standards, but its introduction was met by protests from greens fearful that more-accessible autos will have a negative effect on the country's pollution and greenhouse-gas emissions. The auto industry, however, lauds the small five-seater -- which has one windshield wiper and no radio, passenger-side mirror, central locking, power …

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But what about the less attractive countries?

Swedish company to warm buildings using body heat

The legendary hotness of Swedes is now useful for more than getting dates. Calls to the French Embassy about plans for using the famous Gallic "icy superciliousness" for air conditioning were not returned by press time.

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Newest Air Jordan shoe will be made to sustainable standards, says Nike

The 23rd version of Nike's iconic Air Jordan basketball shoe was designed with sustainability in mind, says the company. The Air Jordan XX3 will be manufactured with some recyclable materials and without solvent-based glues, while still meeting the performance standards demanded by pro-ball endorsers such as Chris Paul and Ray Allen. The shoe is still manufactured in Asia, and critics say the changes are no reach for the stars: "A shoe made without glue, in the face of all the other things that contribute to global warming ... it's a pretty small thing," says Jim Van Dine of startup footwear …

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Make electric cars, not ads

GM CEO sows doubt about Volt debut date

The following is a guest post by Marc Geller, who blogs at Plugs and Cars, serves on the board of directors of the Electric Auto Association, cofounded Plug In America and DontCrush.com, and appeared in Who Killed The Electric Car. ----- CNNMoney.com reports on an online chat with GM CEO Rick Waggoner. General Motors might not be able to hit its target to have its breakthrough electric-powered car the Chevrolet Volt in production by 2010 ... GM has already started to build advertising campaigns around the Volt, even though in the best-case scenario it is years away from production. It …