Business & Technology

Big-biz coalition will pressure suppliers to report emissions

At least six of the world’s largest companies have banded together to urge their suppliers to report and mitigate greenhouse-gas emissions. Joining together as the Supply Chain Leadership Coalition and partnering with the Carbon Disclosure Project — which is also working with Wal-Mart — companies including Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Tesco, Nestlé, Imperial Tobacco, and Cadbury Schweppes will pressure thousands of vendors and factories to be up front about their emissions.

Me and Dan Kalafatas

What should I ask a carbon offset expert?

Sorry for the late notice, but tomorrow at 1pm (Pacific) I’m interviewing Dan Kalafatas, president and COO of 3 Degrees, a new outfit that delivers "customized, global climate change solutions to U.S. businesses, utilities and institutions." In English, that means they sell offsets and RECs to businesses, work with utilities to establish green power pricing programs, and help businesses market their sustainability for maximum advantage. "Another offset provider," you yawn. Hold on, though. The reason I’m interviewing Kalfatas is that I’m quite taken with 3 Degrees’ "Reduce, Renew, Balance" approach. That means when they work with businesses, they recommend first …

File under: Duh, No

The U.S. Dept. of Energy’s voluntary emission reduction reporting program worthless

Some disturbing findings on the U.S. DOE’s voluntary climate registry program, at least as regards electric utilities: A new study by Lyon and U-M doctoral student Eun-Hee Kim shows that about 60 percent of companies that voluntarily participate in the Department of Energy program show increases in greenhouse gas emissions rather than decreases. Surprisingly, the researchers found that nonparticipating companies tend to have decreased emissions over time, relative to a 1995 baseline. The study compares eight years of data reported voluntarily to the Department of Energy registry by the electric utilities industry — the sector that emits the greatest amount …

The meaning of global warming, part one

Stabilizing the climate requires technology, public investment, and global economic development

The following is a guest essay by Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, the latest in the ongoing conversation about their new book Break Through: From the Death of Environmentalism to the Politics of Possibility. —– Thank you to everyone here who has participated in this discussion. We are grateful to Grist to making the space for this debate, and to everyone who has chimed in. Through agreement and disagreement alike, it is inspiring to find this many people joining a conversation about how to achieve a common goal. It is the argument of Break Through that we need to replace …

More toys recalled due to lead, including Boy Scout badges

Over 1.5 million more children’s toys and accessories were recalled in the U.S. on Thursday due to high lead levels. We had put our money on toy cars being among the next items recalled, but we stand corrected. Whoever said blocks, squeeze lights, wagons, Frankenstein cups, key chains, journals, water bottles, or lead-painted Boy Scout badges wins. All the parents and kids who bought and played with the products, however, lose.

Discover Brilliant Q&A: Bill Williams of Zenn Motors

A chat with Zenn about NEVs and EEstor

I talked to a few people at Discover Brilliant. I’ll be getting Q&As up over the coming weeks. Bill Williams is the California sales director for Zenn Motor Co., maker of neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs). In addition to selling one of the most full-featured NEVs, Zenn has an exclusive contract with a tight-lipped and somewhat mysterious company called EEstor. EEstor claims it’s making an ultracapacitor that will so far outperform previous capacitors that it will effectively replace the electrochemical battery in all applications — most notably cars. It could revolutionize the auto industry, and Zenn alone will have rights to …

The growth of renewable energy markets

In which I come to the defense of Shellenberger and Nordhaus — sort of, anyway

I was planning on sitting out the Nordhaus/Shellenberger debate. But then I thought: Adam, you are not the top-rated Gristmill blogger (see list at left) for nothing. People want to hear from you. So, here's my take: The first place Nordhaus and Shellenberger go wrong is their predilection for publicity photos that resemble '80s album covers. After that, they get it mostly right. Carbon legislation is good and helpful, sure, but it's about 30 percent thought-through, enormously complicated, and anything that has a hope of actually getting signed is unlikely in the extreme to be sufficient to the task. Look at the list of companies that have signed up to the much-ballyhooed Climate Action Partnership. Do you think they are calling for "the federal government to quickly enact strong national legislation to require significant reductions of greenhouse gas emissions" because they think doing so will put them in any danger of having to fundamentally change the way they do business? Their "consensus principles and recommendations" have more wiggle room than Studio 54.

The 'Exxon of corn' licks its chops

Archer Daniels Midland sees glut as opportunity to consolidate the ethanol market

Over the past year, ethanol production has exploded — surpassing even the dramatically higher "alternative fuel requirement" in last year’s energy bill. And now we have a glut of ethanol on the market, which has pushed prices down dramatically and caused many ethanol plants — particularly independent farmer-owned ones — to struggle. But Archer Daniels Midland, hailed on Wall Street as the Exxon of corn, is seeing the downturn in ethanol prices as an opportunity to consolidate the ethanol market. It already produces a quarter of U.S. ethanol. Now it wants more. From Dow Jones newswire: Archer Daniels Midland Co. …

On the Ball: Let the Eagles soar

Philly Eagles are green not just in uniform, and more

There’s an interesting interview in the NYT with Jeffrey Swartz, CEO of Timberland (not to be confused with Timbaland — he’s his own CEO, bee-yotch). Swartz is frustrated that Big Outdoor Wear worked to address child labor but hasn’t managed a concerted effort to significantly reduce its impact on the earth from making, transporting, and selling gear, despite sporadic individual efforts. Photo: Hunter Martin/WireImage And in other news, an ABC News reporter who is obviously a reader of my illustrious column has expansively profiled the green efforts of the Philadelphia Eagles. And the crowd goes wild: What a crock. And …