Is California's cleantech boom headed for a bust?
These are very good times to be in the cleantech business in California. Companies in the state now get 40 percent of the world’s cleantech venture capital money. Ah, but the glory days could be ending soon.
Clean break: Recent studies point to two big threats. The most obvious, of course, is Proposition 23. The ballot initiative would deep-six the state’s landmark greenhouse gases law which requires California to get a third of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. If Prop 23 passes, billions of investment dollars — and thousands of jobs — would go up in smoke. The other big threat to the cleantech boom — and one that will pick up more speed if Prop 23 is approved — is intense competition from other countries, particularly China. The Los Angeles Times has more ugly details.
Good jeans: California’s cleantech businesses are lining up — and ponying up — against the oil companies that have spent more than $5 million to push Prop 23. And they’re not alone in the fight. Take Levi Strauss. Here’s what one of its SVPs, Amy Leonard, had to say:
Proposition 23 would eliminate critical tools recently put in place to promote energy efficiency. It would discourage energy and climate innovation by making it more expensive for businesses to invest in necessary research and development. It would turn back the clock by removing incentives intended to move us ahead.
And in other green news:
They probably just checked for typos: Turns out BP’s team of lawyers helped prepare what was billed as the company’s “impartial” report on the Deepwater Horizon explosion. [Wall Street Journal]
Another reason to be sick and tired: Seems like almost everything you eat can help cause diabetes. Now so can the air you breathe. [Science News]
That clean car smell: Honda is the greenest carmaker in the world … again. So says the Union of Concerned Scientists. Close on its tail are Toyota and Hyundai. [Union of Concerned Scientists]
He can’t have it both ways: Kendrick Meek, Florida’s Democratic candidate for the Senate, wasn’t so upset that the Sierra Club endorsed him. What frosted him is that it also threw its support behind one of his opponents, Gov. Charlie Crist, a former Republican turned Independent. [Politico]
Deep heat: A Google-funded project has discovered a large geothermal resource under West Virginia, one that could generate twice as much the energy as the coal the state now depends on. [BusinessGreen.com]
And remember, it’s good to get coal in your stocking: But to make sure people don’t start getting any crazy ideas, a clean coal “mobile classroom” is traveling around West Virginia — and Kentucky and Indiana — reminding people that coal somehow is getting cleaner. It’s the brainchild of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, the same outfit that last Christmas passed out coloring books featuring lumps of coal getting cleaner in the shower. [Mother Jones]