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Exx the Foul

ExxonMobil's greenhouse-gas emissions continue to rise ExxonMobil, the world's biggest oil company, supported President Bush's decision to keep the U.S. from ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. In a wacky coincidence, the company's greenhouse-gas emissions have been increasing, last year rising 2 percent to almost 150 million tons -- more than twice the emissions of the entire country of Norway. Exxon is addressing the problem by ... oh, wait, they're not addressing the problem. While the company claims it is "taking steps" to reduce gases, it has set no actual targets, according to a spokesflack. By comparison, BP, the world's second largest …

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Fat Accompli

Overweight passengers lead to higher airplane CO2 emissions Everybody knows the U.S. is in the grips of an obesity epidemic. And many folks know that airplanes are major sources of atmospheric carbon dioxide, which exacerbates global warming. But did you know that the former is contributing in a significant way to the latter? Neither did we -- until now. Americans' average weight rose by 10 pounds during the 1990s, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that caused airlines to burn 350 million more gallons of fuel in 2000, costing them $275 million and producing an estimated …

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Ray Anderson, sustainable biz pioneer, answers questions

What work do you do? I am founder and chair of Interface, Inc. How does it relate to the environment? I used to think that my job didn't have anything to do with the environment. Then I realized that my job, as well as everyone else's job, impacts the environment in some way. And now advocating for sustainability has become my No. 1 responsibility. What do you really do, on a day-to-day basis? Simply put, I tell my story. But in order to do that, I travel all over the world, making speeches to groups both large and small. Sometimes …

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Love Hurts

Worries over ecotourism on the rise Ecotourism and its more profit-centric cousin nature tourism make up about 20 percent of international tourist travel. These two sectors are growing by 10 to 30 percent a year, and generate hundreds of billions of dollars -- money that often helps the ecosystems being toured, not to mention local economies. Still, some folks are raising red flags, saying that the flood of putatively fauna-friendly gawkers is doing damage to said fauna. Whale-watching boats strike whales; dolphin tours keep dolphins from getting enough rest; tundra vehicles put polar bears on alarm, preventing them from storing …

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Mad Props, Yo

California approves measure to block citizen lawsuits against businesses By a significant margin, California voters on Tuesday approved Proposition 64, which curtails the right of private citizens and public-interest groups to bring legal action against companies under the state's Unfair Business Competition Law -- a move that could hamper efforts to protect the state's environment. The statute has been used by private groups to go after companies that pollute and violate the law in other ways. Now, citizens will have to show that they've been financially harmed by a business's action in order to file suit. Supporters of 64 say …

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Thank Your Lucky Starbucks

Starbucks chief pushes for fair-trade, eco-friendly coffee Starbucks has served as a convenient target for the anti-globalization crowd, especially given that you can't throw a brick in some neighborhoods without breaking a Starbucks window. But CEO Orin Smith is fighting back against the company's bad reputation. He recently announced that, by 2007, Starbucks would attempt to procure 60 percent of its coffee from farmers following a strict set of environmental and labor rules under the Coffee and Farmer Equity (CAFE) Practices Program. Smith also announced that when he retires next March, he will head a $1 billion fundraising effort for …

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Dole-ing Out Favors

A lobbying success story, from the maker of atrazine The manufacturer of atrazine, an herbicide connected by studies to frog deformities and increased risk of prostate cancer in humans, spent $260,000 lobbying the U.S. EPA and other government bodies on behalf of the chemical. Not only that, but Syngenta Crop Protection enlisted the formidable lobbying talents of Viagra emissary and ex-senator Bob Dole, who met at least once with White House Deputy Chief of Staff Joe Hagin to discuss the issue. After reports began emerging about atrazine's ill effects -- biologist Tyrone Hayes testified to Congress that low levels of …

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A green financial expert dishes up election-related investment tips

Matt Patsky knows his green. As the election looms, green-investing guru Matt Patsky has joined the political fray, making the radio talk show rounds to tell investors and voters why another Bush presidency will not only be bad news for the environment but also a disaster for the market. Patsky is the portfolio manager for the Winslow Management Co., a pioneer in environmentally responsible investing. Winslow was founded in 1984 by Jackson Robinson, who believed -- in opposition to much of the investment world -- that companies which benefit the environment also benefit shareholders. In this exclusive interview, Patsky dishes …

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The Price Is Finally Right

High oil prices raise interest in renewables, and this time it may stick Whenever the price of oil spikes, interest in renewable energy spikes along with it -- but despite the perpetual hopes of advocates, interest recedes as prices go back down. This time, though, as oil tops $55 a barrel, it may be different. Really. For one thing, although most analysts agree that the current spike is temporary, the long-term trend is clear: Global supplies of oil and natural gas are dwindling, demand is rising, and prices will trend upward. In addition, renewables are finally more than a novelty. …

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It’s All About the Benjamins

Neglect of clean energy hurts economy as well as environment The lack of aggressive clean-energy policies at the federal level is taking its toll on the U.S. economy. As recently as a decade ago, U.S. companies claimed 50 percent of the market for solar photovoltaic panels, but now that number is down to 10 percent, with Japan and Europe dominating the world market. Likewise, Germany passed the U.S. as the primary source of wind-power technology a few years ago. Tax breaks and subsidies for wind and solar in the U.S. are extended a year at a time, leading some companies …