Business & Technology

Fortune Brainstorm Green

I flew down to Pasadena today for the Fortune Brainstorm: Green conference. There’s tons of interesting stuff on the agenda — a mix of corporate types and NGO types, technology and policy topics. I’m moderating a panel on Monday night called "Meet the Rabble Rousers," an informal discussion wherein activists answer questions about the rabble they’ve roused. It stars Mike Brune of the Rainforest Action Network, Sister Patricia A. Daly of the Tri-State Coalition for Responsible Investment, John Passacantando of Greenpeace USA, and musician/activist/author Chuck Leavell. The panel starts at 9:30pm, after an entire day of presentations, a performance from …

Nalgene, Wal-Mart back away from BPA

Bottle manufacturer Nalgene will stop using plastic containing bisphenol A in response to concerns from the National Toxicology Program and the Canadian health department that the chemical probably shouldn’t be sucked on by kids. Nalgene says it still believes its clear, hard plastic bottles “are safe for their intended use” but says it’s responding to customers who “indicated they preferred BPA-free alternatives.” Wal-Mart also announced it would pull all baby bottles made with BPA from its shelves by early next year.

Meeting of major economies ends with little progress

A U.S.-led gathering of major economies in Paris this week concluded, as previous meetings have done, with little progress. The 17 countries bashed President Bush’s climate speech for a while, then argued about whether to set a goal of halving global greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050. (Guess who’s against it?) French president Nicolas Sarkozy made himself quoteworthy, saying that climate change would make Darfur “just one crisis among dozens of others” and urging international private investors to “massively redirect financial flows toward [a] new low-carbon economy.” After vaguely agreeing that future deals should include sharing clean technologies and setting emissions goals …

Who's cashing in on the high price of food?

With food riots raging, let’s open the books on the finances of Big Ag

When we talk about the crisis in food prices, we should scrape below the surface to explore who's actually benefiting from the crisis. Unless you've had your head stuck in the freezer at Dean & Deluca, you've heard about the food crisis across the planet. A recent Financial Times displayed this staggering map of the globe: Black dots marked each of the countries were food riots have been sparked in outrage against the rising prices of food. Thirty dots in all. A recent CNN report noted that "Riots, instability spread as food prices skyrocket." These surging costs, warns World Bank President Robert Zoellick, "could mean 'seven lost years' in the fight against worldwide poverty." With the food crisis as front page news, I couldn't help but notice which agribusiness company has just reported an 86 percent jump in its quarterly earnings.

Google checks out Earth Day

Google Checkout maps the spread of donations and Earth Day lovin’

I think Google has a crush on the planet. First, they announced a goal of achieving carbon neutrality for 2007 and beyond. Then, they unleashed their RE<C campaign (Renewable Energy Cheaper Than Coal), aimed at producing one gigawatt of clean electricity more cheaply than coal. Next, you may have noticed their blacked-out search page on March 29, in support of Earth Hour, the global awareness movement to turn out the lights and turn up action on climate change. And now, in anticipation and celebration of Earth Day (April 22), Google is winking flirtatiously at the neglected planet once more. This …

ABEC is dead, but long live coal

Americans for Balanced Energy Choices gets new name, t-shirts

ABEC has re-branded themselves the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity. See here for an interview with President Stephen Miller, who does an admirably media-savvy job of laying out their talking points and PR strategy. His key points: "If we push too hard, too fast, we will force fuel switching away from coal." "The president and the congress have a role to play to make sure the public sector invests in coal-fired power." We've spent a lot of money on t-shirts, trucks, and advertising to affect the primary campaign, and it's working. In other words: We need to burn more coal. We need taxpayers to pay for the cost of that coal. And we've got enough money to make sure it happens. Here's the creepy new 60-second ad they're running nationwide:

Coke: 'it' with the foodies?

Yes, according to a new ‘artisanal’ restaurant in Atlanta

A press release heralding a new restaurant in Atlanta crossed my email inbox recently. Everything seemed pretty standard at first: Holeman and Finch Public House, opening April 14, intends to serve “food and drink … with unrivaled quality and care.” The chef evidently revels in “whole-animal preparations” and plans to make his own “charcuterie such as coppa, bresaola, and tom thumbs.” Photo: Samuel Wong Sounds good to me. I applaud nose-to-tail cookery, as well as the move toward small-scale artisanal sausage making. All very trendy, and not a bad thing at all — as long as the meat is sourced …

Poll: Rising food prices

Are you spending more money on food?

Food prices are soaring around the globe. Have you felt the pinch? Take our poll and tell us. You can vote below the fold. And read recent Grist content on the topic: • Why Michael Pollan and Alice Waters should quit celebrating food-price hikes• How expensive is food, really?• Higher food prices mean crappier cafeteria fare for kids

Coal victory in West Virginia

Virginia’s State Corporation Commission today rejected American Electric Power’s request to build a massive ($2.23b) new dirty coal plant in West Virginia. Why, you ask? The commission said the plant’s estimated price, which dates back to November 2006, isn’t credible. It also said AEP has no plans to provide a detailed, updated estimate until it gets full regulatory approval. So picky!

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