Business & Technology

Indian car company to sell world’s cheapest car

India-based Tata Motors plans to launch what it’s billing as the world’s cheapest car later this year, a five-seater selling for about $2,500. The roughly 58-miles-per-gallon “People’s Car” hopes to lure less affluent folks in …

Fisking Vinod's comment

Keeping power broker’s hands out of the cookie jar

[[editor's note, by David Roberts] In addition to the updates below, I wanted to make it clear that this post does not meet Grist's standards. Had I been around (I'm on vacation), I would not have published it. I've sent Khosla a personal apology, which he has graciously accepted.] [UPDATE: Dave has requested that I update this post, which I have done below with some clarifications and added links.] Vinod Khosla recently posted this comment titled: "Numbers Matter Here: Support your statements" over on Joseph Romm's post. There is nothing wrong with an individual investing in a product that he or she believes in. The problem arises when perversely wealthy individuals try to further line their pockets by putting their paws in our pockets, using our tax dollars to fund their get richer schemes. Get your hands out of our pockets and keep them out, you money-grubbing rascals. When Vinod Khosla takes E-85 fueled car trips with the likes of Sen. Tom Daschle, he is quite obviously lobbying for support of ethanol. Our government process has become seriously compromised thanks to wealthy special interest seekers buttonholing politicians to line their own pockets. It is a two-way street of course, with the senator hoping to receive campaign donations from those who want his support of ethanol. There are almost 35,000 registred lobbyists in Washington. How many of those lobbyists get to ride in a car with a Senator? Vinod, that may be how business has been done in India but that may also explain a lot of India's past problems. We need to fix the problem here before we end up like India (the country you bailed from). [UPDATE: The above comment has been taken by some to be xenophobic (and therefore racist). I am referring only to the Indian government's low CPI score (corruption perception index). I should have been more clear that it is this political corruption that Khosla has left behind. Commenter pangolin read my intent correctly here: The OP points out that the rise of ethanol as a motor vehicle fuel is the product of rampant political corruption and crony capitalism in the US Federal government. He vaugely mentions the well documented rampant political corruption and crony capitalism that has been widely acknowledged to be preventing India from solving it's many problems. All bloggers eventually get into hot water when what they write is misinterpreted or flat out wrong, as many of my fellow contributors can attest. It comes with the territory. And yes this is a harsh critique. Market distortions by special interests are wreaking havoc on the the environment. My apologies to anyone offended.] As a self-professed life-long Republican, you helped put the most anti-intellectual, anti-environmental, ham-fisted president in the history of this country into office who for the first time in our history took us to preemptive war and on erroneous data at that, essentially by accident. We may never recover from his legacy. Based on that decision alone I would not trust your judgment any further than I could throw you. Now let's talk about your numbers and especially about the assumptions made to get them.

Brit's Eye View: A shift in business attitudes?

Six insights on the business trend toward sustainability

Peter Madden, chief executive of Forum for the Future, writes a monthly column for Gristmill on sustainability in the U.K. and Europe. Forum for the Future recently asked a selection of top business and branding folk to give us the lowdown on the recent trend toward sustainable business. The gurus included Rita Clifton of Interbrand, Stuart Hart of Cornell University, William Kramer of the World Resources Institute, and Jonathon Porritt of Forum for the Future. I have distilled their wisdom into six insights. 1. A real sea change is underway. Looking at the current trends and recent announcements, there are signs of real progress and positive signals of change. In an arena that was once confined to the Body Shop and hippies, we're now seeing a major shift in more mainstream businesses. In the U.K., Tesco, Marks & Spencer and Topshop are all in on the act. 2. Progress is partial. Despite the advances, the size of the challenges we face in building a sustainable future means there is still a long way to go. Even the more progressive strategies, such as General Electric's "Ecomagination," do not fully acknowledge -- or live up to -- the scale of change required. Fundamental questions regarding unsustainable business models need to be addressed before strategies can be fully credible. 3. Business is in the driving seat, not consumers. Although consumer interest is increasing, it's not yet strong enough to drive these trends on its own or make up the entire business case. Business strategy can't completely rely on consumer insight or market research. Bold action and leadership is needed from business to drive this change through to the consumer.

Energy efficiency a tough sell to small businesses in India

India’s 4.5 million small or medium businesses produce 70 percent of the country’s industrial pollution, according to a World Bank study. But most of those small-scale entrepreneurs can’t afford the upfront cost of energy-efficient equipment …

Feedlot meat production: nothing if not profitable

Tyson Foods chief nets $10 million — oops, no, $24 million

Update [2007-12-28 10:14:4 by Tom Philpott]:According to AP, Tyson CEO Richard Bond made total compensation of $24 million in 2007, not $9.88 million, as reported by Bloomberg. Here’s how industrial meat production works: you stuff …

Chicago will levy bottled-water tax, Big Bottle plans to sue

Beginning Jan. 1, Chicago will levy a 5-cent tax on bottled water; shortly after it goes into effect, an alliance of food and beverage retailer associations plans to sue.

Cyanide Cynthia, world's biggest Scrooge

Mining CEO loves gold, hates fish

Having trouble finding a Grinch this Christmas season? Try Cynthia Carroll, CEO of Anglo-American Mining Company. Carroll's company has teamed up with Northern Dynasty (like the television show Dynasty, only eviler) to build the world's biggest dam in Alaska so she can mine piles of gold, which will have the unfortunate impact of destroying the world's largest salmon fishery. Not only will the dam prevent the salmon from reaching their spawning grounds, the cyanide Carroll uses to extract gold from rock will likely seep into the river, ruining the salmon's sense of smell, which is vital to them finding their way, if it doesn't just kill them outright. In fairness, Carroll apparently needs something with which to re-gild her toilet. Unfortunately, Carroll's need for a soft, shiny, yellow resting area for her derriere has a price: the elimination of the world's largest sockeye salmon fishery might keep rappers rolling in bling and allow central bankers to keep using words like "bullion," but it's also going to imperil grizzly bears, bald eagles and the many other creatures that rely on the salmon, not to mention the Native people who traditionally rely on the salmon fishery for food. Oh, and it will threaten to put many of Alaska's commercial salmon fishermen out of business, which will mean the end of the world's only major supplier of sustainably caught, non-toxic wild salmon. On the other hand, Carroll would look totally powerful with that sceptered orb she's been craving.

What I want for 2008

A plead for utility leadership on climate change

What I want most for 2008 is serious action on climate change -- not just in terms of policy, but in terms of action. Mathematically, this mandates serious and constructive engagement from the electric sector, which has thus far been not only absent, but hostile to any serious discussion of GHG reduction. Given their relevance (42% of US GHG emissions) and tremendous inefficiency, they are a source of much of my personal quixotic quest. But ultimately, they must engage -- and so far, they have not even come close. So in case we have any utility executives in the Gristiverse, here is the speech I'd like to hear from one of you in 2008:

Plan to regulate airline emissions moves forward in E.U.

A proposed law that would regulate emissions from airlines taking off from or landing in the European Union has been approved by environment ministers. The bill to include airlines in the E.U.’s carbon-trading scheme was …

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