Business & Technology

Honda, unplugged

Chrysler, Mazda, Hyundai, and Nissan announce plug-in hybrids — but not Honda

The number of companies planning plug-in hybrids is growing steadily. Some recent announcements can be found here. Calcars maintains an excellent update on “How carmakers are responding to the plug-in hybrid opportunity.” As for Honda, last year, The Wall Street Journal reported: Honda Motor Co. Chief Executive Takeo Fukui said so-called plug-in hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles [PHEVs] offered too few environmental benefits for his company to pursue, and noted that an advanced hybrid vehicle called the Chevrolet Volt that General Motors Corp. is aiming to launch in a few years made little sense. But while pretty much every other major automaker …

Dethroning finance

Production and ecosystems are more important than the financial sector

Over the past eight years or so, the so-called “masters of the universe” in the financial sector seem to have swallowed their own hype. Arguing that money equals wealth and the freer the market the better, they have led the charge to offshore our manufacturing base while hopping on the biggest bubble in history, the real estate market of the ’00s. This philosophy of “finance first” (never mind country) has its origins in the Reagan revolution, which we now see coming full circle as its current descendant, George W. Bush, effectively tells the financial industry that “I’m from the government …

Volt reality check

Chevy Volt not so revolutionary

For those of you who missed it, GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz hit the talk show circuit last week to talk up the latest incarnation of the Chevy Volt (more on his boneheaded climate change comments here and here). The marketing goal is to create the public perception that the Volt is an electric car (get it, volt?), to differentiate it from competitors like the Prius, which are mere hybrids. It may work, and I’m OK with that as long as it sells low-emission cars. Look at how successful the car industry was at getting us to covet station wagons …

Enviros weigh in on financial bailout

Friends of the Earth says anti-regulation approach causes environmental destruction

Friends of the Earth issued a statement today arguing against the Bush administration’s proposed $700 billion bailout of the troubled U.S. financial system. “This financial crisis has exposed the right wing’s anti-regulation philosophy as an abject failure,” said Friends of the Earth President Brent Blackwelder. “This hands-off approach to managing the economy has resulted in greedy corporate titans getting rich on the backs of working people. This same philosophy is causing irreparable harm to the planet. And now we face a trillion-dollar taxpayer-funded bailout. Enough is enough.” Rather than a bailout, the financial system needs “fundamental reform,” Blackwelder said, including …

Failing to address climate change could hurt industry, report finds

Failing to address climate change could significantly hurt many industries in the world economy that are together worth around $7 trillion, according to a report by the United Kingdom’s Carbon Trust. The report examined six different sectors of the world economy — aluminum, automotive, building materials, consumer electronics, oil and gas, and, uh … brewing — and found that businesses from every sector that don’t prepare for the low-carbon economy of the future stand to lose value or put their company’s value at risk. However, the report found, forward-thinking, early-acting companies stand to increase in value by up to 80 …

Huffing posts

GM flack jumps into Huffington Post fray to defend exec’s climate-change skepticism

We posted last week about GM Vice Chair Bob Lutz expressing a little climate-change skepticism on The Colbert Report. Josh Nelson wrote about it as well over on Huffington Post, and thus began an online conversation with GM’s director of news relations, Tom Wilkinson, who defended both Lutz and the company’s environmental policies. “There is no reason a three-dimensional human being (like Bob Lutz) can’t be skeptical about global warming orthodoxy and still be wildly passionate about more efficient vehicles,” wrote Wilkinson. “Which he is, by the way.” Nelson followed up today with more, where Wilkinson again weighed in. The …

Crises

Is the financial crisis more dire than the climate crisis?

Not even close. If there’s no action before 2012, that’s too late. What we do in the next two to three years will determine our future. This is the defining moment. So warned IPCC head Rajendra Pachauri last fall when the IPCC released its major multi-year report synthesizing our understanding of climate science. And remember, Pachauri was handpicked by the Bush administration to replace the “alarmist” Bob Watson. It’s the facts that make scientists alarmists, not their politics (see “Desperate times, desperate scientists“). What happens if we fail to act in time to avert the climate catastrophe? We cross carbon-cycle …

750 billion

Ramblings on the financial crisis

Based on my own extensive analysis of the ongoing financial crisis, I’ve come to the following conclusions: Nobody clearly understands how we got in this situation. Nobody clearly understands what situation we are in. Nobody clearly understands what’s going to happen next. Despite all this, every single human being with access to a keyboard and a website is willing to make a mockery of the profession of journalism by making confident pronouncements. Not me. I’m just a blogger, so I’m happily willing to admit my comparative cluelessness. I’ll just throw a few things out there for discussion. Oil spiked up …

One trillion for billionares and pennies for solar?

I was going to post on the money we are pouring into this bailout compared to what we get for green investment. But John McGrath said it for me: …The very first things Barack Obama should do when inaugurated is 1) propose legislation to the U.S. Congress creating single-payer healthcare in America, and 2) initiate a massive program to get America off coal, oil, and natural gas. Expensive, you say? Big government, you say? Bite me. If the U.S. taxpayer can be put on the hook for billions to no purpose at all, while the arsonists responsible for this mess …

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