Business & Technology

Big names will discuss climate at World Economic Forum

Business and political leaders are descending on Davos, Switzerland, for the annual World Economic Forum, which kicks off tomorrow. The forum will offer various climate-related sessions, including one led by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change …

Whole Foods to stop giving out plastic grocery bags by Earth Day

Natural foods retailer Whole Foods has announced it will stop giving out plastic grocery bags by Earth Day due to the bags’ ubiquity and associated environmental problems. The company is opting instead for bagging customers’ …

If you build it, they will come

Growing solar industry depends on key tax credit that will expire this year

Advocates talk a lot about how renewable energy is not just good for the environment, but good for the economy as well. And here is some real-world proof: New Mexico, with strong leadership by Gov. Richardson, PRC Commissioners Lujan and Marks, and many others, has done more than most to establish the full suite of policies necessary to build a solar market. And the reward? Schott AG is investing $100 million in a new manufacturing facility outside of Albuquerque. It will initially employ 350 people, which could grow to 1,500. Good stuff, and congrats to New Mexico. But lookie here at what Schott has to say about what it will take to get to the higher end of the projected jobs numbers:

Clean-tech and wind power both soaring

Investment in clean-tech companies rose 44 percent from 2005 to 2006, and jumped an additional 44 percent from 2006 to 2007, soaring to $5.18 billion, according to the Cleantech Group LLC. Last year in clean-tech, …

Absolut greenwashing?

Vodka maker launches global cooling campaign

In a partnership with Live Earth (yes, they’re still doing stuff), Absolut Vodka has launched a Global Cooling campaign that "encourages consumers to reduce the effects of global warming by offering simple steps they can …

Can the environmental economy dodge a recession?

As economic indicators trend downward, the clean-tech sector is still looking up

As one key economic engine after another -- housing, finance, autos, retail -- sputters and stalls out, the fledgling eco-economy is purring right along, fueled in no small part by venture capital firms hungry for new opportunities in industries that promise outsized returns on their investments. In the first three quarters of 2007, VCs poured $2.6 billion into alternative energy and clean-tech firms, more money than they invested for the whole of 2006. The new year promises to be another record breaker. And it's not only the Silicon Valley sharpies that are on the prowl: GE is promising to plow $6 billion into renewable energies by 2010, double what they were projecting only last year; Germany's Schott Solar is plunking down $100 million to build a plant in New Mexico, and predicts its investment will grow to $500 million when the facility is completed; and as 2007 drew to a close, Morgan Stanley made a $190 million investment in a clean-tech venture. Morgan, by the way, estimates the global renewable energy industry has a market cap in the neighborhood of $170 billion. Certainly not all is rosy in the clean-tech patch. Tesla Motors and Imperium Renewables, once considered high fliers, have been dealt setbacks -- and as a result, have trimmed employee rolls. And alternative energy stocks are starting to look positively bubble-ish to some on Wall Street (the subject of a future post). Recessions don't play favorites, for the most part. When U.S. consumers snap their pocketbooks shut, it creates a drag on the overall economy and everyone -- including governments that depend on tax receipts -- feels the pinch. The eco-economy probably won't be immune. But with the hundreds of millions of dollars streaming through the doors almost weekly, it's not a bad place -- and better than most -- to ride out the storm.

Google announces expansion of philanthropic goals beyond alternative energy

Google has announced it’s expanding the goals of its philanthropic arm, Google.org, beyond alternative energy to include fighting disease, averting pandemics and other mass crises, and alleviating poverty in the developing world. Along with the …

Coal is the enemy of the human race: Goliath, meet David edition

Google invests in solar thermal company eSolar

Today, Google announced it’s investing $10 million in eSolar, a solar thermal company, as part of its RE<C project. (Speaking of the latter, we’ve got an excellent interview on it coming up soon.) Here’s what …

The Fleiss is right

Former Hollywood madam to open wind-powered brothel

Heidi Fleiss. Ten things I didn’t know about former Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss until I read this awesome Elle story: She’s a vegetarian. She calls herself a tree hugger. She owns 24 parrots. She runs …

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