Politics

'Oh, crap ...' says the industrial agrodiesel investor

Small protest may be start of agrodiesel’s biggest nightmare

A link to John Cook's Venture Blog in the Seattle P-I via a post by Glenn Hurowitz brought my attention to a guy named Duff Badgley (not to be confused with Duffman or Ed Begley). Duff is an old-school, grassroots, car-free, long-haired, bleeding-heart, dirty hippie environmentalist. His protests may very well turn out to be Imperium's worst nightmare. From an article about the filing of Imperium Renewables' IPO (initial public offering) where they must, by law, warn potential investors of known potential risks: In its filing, the company said that palm oil is the cheapest feedstock available and noted that shifting public opinion about the use of palm oil could hurt its business. "Unfavorable public opinions concerning the use of palm oil, soybeans and other feedstock, or negative publicity arising from such use, could reduce the global supply of such feedstock, increase our production costs and reduce the global demand for biodiesel, any of which could harm our business and adversely affect our financial condition," the company wrote. An all-important goal in any power struggle is to gain and then hold the moral high ground.

Catching up

Experts to Utah: Climate change is real

If this happened any place else but Utah, it might not be worth noting, but in that state I believe it’s progress: A state blue ribbon task force on climate change stated emphatically Monday that humans are to blame for global warming and offered a slate of recommendations on ways Utah can fight the changes. Glad that’s settled! This is somewhat surprising: But one much-discussed option, developing nuclear power, was only on the B list of recommendations by the Blue Ribbon Advisory Council on Climate Change. Dirty hippies! Here are some highlights from the "high-priority" options to fight climate change: …

Emission Accomplished

Indiana regulators give BP a pass on meeting federal soot regulations Last week, oil company BP backed off of a plan to dump lots more ammonia and sludge into Lake Michigan; this week, Indiana regulators granted the same refinery an exemption to a federal rule that would have required it to halve its soot emissions. Because we certainly wouldn’t want it polluting too little! The Indiana Department of Environmental Management suggested that meeting federal soot regulations would pose “an extreme hardship” to poor BP.

Green movements or green paint

China’s central government faces a choice between democracy and eco-collapse

"Choking on Growth" is the apt title of the new New York Times series on the "human toll, global impact and political challenge of China's epic pollution crisis." Epic, indeed. The first installment shows how "As China Roars, Pollution Reaches Deadly Extremes." The statistics are daunting:

Sustainable math in East Asia

East Asian countries could save money shifting to renewables, but aren’t gonna

According to Greenpeace International, East Asian countries can save about $2 trillion in fuel costs over the next 23 years by shifting to renewable energy (abandoning plans for both coal and nuclear plants). Said dazzlingly monickered Greenpeace campaign coordinator Athena Ballasteros … … investment costs for new power plants in East Asia projected by the International Energy Agency (IEA) would total 490 billion dollars between 2004 and 2030. Under Greepeace’s scenario, investment costs on renewable energy would amount to 556 billion dollars over the same time frame. However, fuel costs in the IEA projections would cost 6.3 trillion dollars over …

Nothing to fear ...

Fear of death leads to authoritarianism, not sustainability

It’s tempting to think that if you scare the shit out of people — really convince them, down to their bones, that hurricanes, diseases, and starving refugees are hiding just around the corner — that mass mobilization against global warming will at long last ensue. There’s good reason to doubt it. Fear causes fairly predictable reactions, which do not include international cooperation, equitable distribution of resources, cost-benefit analysis on a multidecadal scale, and short-term sacrifice in the service of long-term problem-solving. They do include increased xenophobia, reactionary moralism, and susceptibility to demagogues. That is to say, the language of fear …

Welcome to the new Grist. Tell us what you think, or if it's your first time learn about us. Grist is celebrating 15 years. ×