Business & Technology

Action on Solar Investment Tax Credit Delayed

Lack of credit threatens solar industry

Originally posted at the NDN Blog. The failure of the Senate to obtain cloture on the Solar Investment Tax Credit -- coming on the heels of the collapse of climate change legislation last Friday -- should send a wake up call to the environment and clean technology communities that a new more forceful strategy is needed to make progress on climate change and energy independence. At a moment when the U.S. economy is suffering from the effects of a full blown oil shock, when the United States is fighting a hot war in the Middle East in part to protect access to oil in a volatile region, and when much of the domestic news consists of extreme weather reports -- from floods in the Midwest to school closings in the east due to dangerous temperatures though it is not yet summer -- it is hard to fathom the lack of leadership on energy issues coming out of Washington.

Protests erupt worldwide over fuel prices

Skyrocketing fuel prices show no sign of flagging, and no one’s happy about it (except the occasional holier-than-thou environmentalist). Truck drivers and transportation operators have threatened to strike, gone on strike, or are still striking in Britain, France, Hong Kong, India, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Scotland, South Korea, Spain, and Thailand. In some places truckers have quit the roads altogether, while others are driving at a crawl and snarling traffic. In those countries as well as Malaysia and Nepal, protesters have taken to the streets; two protesters in Spain and Portugal have died trying to block traffic. The pushback is …

Airline industry takes small steps to offset high fuel prices

To offset the impact of rising fuel prices, the airline industry is doing the obvious: retiring less-efficient aircraft, flying slightly slower, and plugging into electrical systems when parked at the gate. But even smaller steps, multiplied over a large fleet, can have a significant impact. Various airlines are carrying less water for the facilities and seeking out passenger seats and drink carts made of lighter materials. Delta is considering asking its cockpit officers to share pilot manuals so that one set of books can be left at home; Northwest considered serving soda out of plastic bottles instead of cans (though …

Good big-picture view of the emerging cleantech market

I found this video, from an NDN event called “Understanding the Cleantech Investment Opportunity,” intensely educational (warning: it’s over an hour long):

Entreprenews you can use: eSolar

First deal inked for maker of modular, utility-scale solar thermal power plants

In the transition to a clean, green economy, one milestone promises to be the most symbolically powerful. It’s the one adopted as an official target by Google: renewable energy cheaper than coal, or RE<C. When it announced its campaign, Google also announced the recipients of its initial investments. One was eSolar, a Pasadena, Calif.-based company spun off from business incubator Idealab. “Our view of what it takes to make solar power viable and a widespread technology,” says Robert Rogan, eSolar’s executive VP of corporate development, “is to be able to compete with fossil fuel energy prices in an unsubsidized way.” …

All hail Monsanto!

When the benevolent seed giant declares it’s going to save the world, why be skeptical?

Do you worry about where your food comes from? Are you concerned that farmers might use too many toxic chemicals, or that health and safety agencies of the U.S. government might not be looking out for your best interests? Well then, you suffer from too much skepticism. You probably need to learn to trust what you are told more often. Maybe you should consider some pharmacological support for your worry problem. I know. My name is Claire and I'm a skeptic. I thought all you other skeptics out there might like to know that the latest word on our problem comes from a company who knows a lot about food, farming, and chemicals. This week, the CEO of Monsanto Corporation, Hugh Grant, told Public Radio International's Marketplace that he expects people to be skeptical about what Monsanto says but also, given the food problems the world is facing, "skepticism is a commodity the world can't afford right now."

Calling all economists

Are the CGE models useful for predicting the effects of climate policy?

Photo: StuSeeger via Flickr. My pal Peter Dorman is looking for answers: Does the class of economic forecasting tools known as "computable general equilibrium models" (aka CGE models) have any documented track record of success? This may seem like an arcane point, but it's quite relevant to climate policy. Government agencies throughout North America are using CGE models to forecast the economic impacts of various cap-and-trade proposals. But many academic economists -- Dorman among them -- think that the CGE models are built on sand. Says Dorman:

Stocking the green entrepreneur's toolbox

Two resources to get you started

Hello, future green enterprise owners. Following my column on being a green entrepreneur, some of you have emailed me for more advice on getting a green biz going. There are so many great websites with resources. Here are a couple you might want to check out: I like Green VC quite a bit. It’s updated all the time and generally has helpful content. Spend some time there over a few days and you’ll feel like part of the community. Over at Bootstrapper, there’s a list of 100 green entrepreneur resources. As always, I’d love to hear your stories, questions, and …

Finding common ground in green

Sierra Club and Clorox celebrate their partnership

This year, Earth Day was bigger than ever, which prompted some hand-wringing over whether too many people were jumping on the green bandwagon. Wait a minute: Earth Day, too big? Didn't we want everyone on this bandwagon? Sustainability is a challenge we all face; our response to it could well define the 21st century. If we are going to succeed, it will take more than a "business as usual" approach. In fact, we believe the whole definition of "business as usual" needs to be upended. Business can no longer afford to ignore environmental warnings; environmentalists can no longer demonize business. Sustainability has made us understand, in a way we never would have before, that we all share a common fate. We need to face the reality that -- like it or not -- we're in this together. That's why we -- Sierra Club and The Clorox Company -- decided it was time to bridge the gap and come together as partners. For some, the idea was unthinkable. Had Sierra Club sold out? Was Clorox trying to greenwash? What could "the bleach maker" and the "oldest and largest environmental organization" have in common? The partnership we forged for the launch of the Green Works brand showed just how much.

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