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Business & Technology


New year, new career

Green job planning for 2008

It's a whole new year! A fresh canvas to paint on. The first page of the brilliant adventure story that will be your green career in 2008. An endless progression of dreary days with that pathetic guy in the next cubicle who spends half his time complaining and the other half in loud personal conversations for which the phrase "too much information" was invented. And that boss of yours? One shudders. But fear not. You need a plan for the new year, and your Grist green career guide is here to help with eight career planning basics for '08. I …


Ford Motor Co. unveils greener engine

Ford Motor Co. has unveiled a new engine technology with the unsubtle name of EcoBoost. Ford folks say the engine, which comes in both four-cylinder and six-cylinder, will deliver up to 20 percent better fuel economy, reduce CO2 emissions by 15 percent, pay for itself in fuel savings in less than three years, and, of course, not compromise driving performance. The company hopes to have EcoBoost engines in 500,000 vehicles a year by 2013 -- and it wouldn't mind regaining that No. 2 automaker spot by that time either.


Consumer electronics event showcases green products

The annual Consumer Electronics Show kicked off in Las Vegas last night with tech products both glitzy and green. Laptop cases made from corn instead of petroleum products are on display, as well as devices that help electronics only suck electricity when being used, universal chargers, easily recyclable batteries, and solar-powered cell phone speakers. Sessions include "Evolving Environmental Strategies," "Issues Related to Lead-Free Rework," and "Going Green -- the Eco-Technology Opportunity," and organizers plan to offset the event's emissions. Unrelated to the greenness but impossible to avoid mentioning: Bill Gates kicking off the festivities with a series of sketches about …


Gnashing my teeth over globalization

Can economic democracy make the global economy more sustainable?

Worried about more coal plants, carbon emissions from transportation, and a crumbling infrastructure? Evidence provided by several recent reports point to one of the least explored causes of these problems: globalization, that is, the transfer of manufacturing capacity from developed to developing countries, particularly China. The mechanisms differ. The U.S. and Europe, which could manufacture using environmentally benign techniques, instead use old, polluting technologies that wreck China's environment and increase global carbon emissions. The 70,000 cargo ships that ply the seas moving all of the globalized goods emit more than twice as much carbon as all airline traffic. And because …


Gary Hirshberg

Yogurt CEO blazes green path

Check out Joel Makower on Gary Hirshberg, founder and head of Stonyfield Yogurt. Stonyfield was bought by French food conglomerate Danone last year, at which I point my kneejerk dirty hippie-ism kicked in and I assumed they'd sold out. Apparently not, though: All of which further empowered Hirshberg to pursue, and align, his dual missions of commerce and environmental sustainability. His $300 million-a-year company — built with almost no traditional advertising — has been carbon neutral since 1996, the first company to do so, long before it became corporate chic. And it's not just by writing a check to offset …


Super Bowl to plant trees and make other greenish efforts

Photo: iStockphoto The National Football League has announced that it will plant trees and take other measures to offset some of the environmental impacts of the most hyped sporting event of the year. This year's Super Bowl will be held in Phoenix, Ariz., on Feb. 3. As part of the greening effort, the organizers have said they're planting 9,000 trees in the state, though only 3,500 of them are actually expected to survive. The Super Bowl stadium and the adjacent NFL theme park will be powered with clean energy on the big day and an expected 65,000 pounds of leftover …


Analysts predict slow auto sales in 2008

The U.S. saw a December slump in vehicle sales, and analysts predict that 2008 may be the weakest year for auto sales in the U.S. in at least a decade. (Will it correspond with a boost in public-transportation ridership? Probably not, but we can dream.) Sales of pickups, generally a sure bet in the U.S. market, hit the wall last year; the pickup slump helped bump Ford Motors down to the No. 3 highest-selling automaker in the U.S., while Toyota moved up into No. 2.


For reals?

Toshiba said to have developed mini nuclear reactor

Says Next Energy News: Toshiba has developed a new class of micro size Nuclear Reactors that is designed to power individual apartment buildings or city blocks. The new reactor, which is only 20 feet by 6 feet, could change everything for small remote communities, small businesses or even a group of neighbors who are fed up with the power companies and want more control over their energy needs. The 200 kilowatt Toshiba designed reactor is engineered to be fail-safe and totally automatic and will not overheat. Unlike traditional nuclear reactors the new micro reactor uses no control rods to initiate …


Monsanto counts its cash

Seed-and-chemical giant sees its profit triple

In a gold rush, the firms that supply the gold diggers with tools -- not the gold diggers themselves -- make the highest and steadiest profits. That's a platitude, but it's also usually true. And it's now playing out in the boom in corn-based ethanol. Don't waste much time envying corn farmers. Sure, they've seen the price of their product double over the past year and a half or so. But they've also seen their costs inch up. Fertilizer, land rents (much of the farmland in the midwest is rented), pesticides, and seeds -- all have risen since the corn …


IBM sued for dumping chemicals in upstate New York

A group of 94 plaintiffs has filed suit against IBM in New York's state Supreme Court seeking damages for the company's role in dumping toxic chemicals near a former factory that allegedly contributed to residents developing cancers, heart defects, and other problems. According to attorneys, the main pollutant is trichloroethylene, which was first found drifting into homes and other businesses in the area in 2003. IBM operated the Endicott, N.Y., plant from 1924 until it was sold in 2002; the company has since moved to clean up or mitigate at least some of the pollution. The suit filed yesterday seeks …