The United States has a long tradition of sheltering those in need of political asylum; especially when such individuals possess coveted skills. Will we mirror such generosity if and when it comes time to harbor those displaced by a changing climate?
In the most recent edition of Nature, Byravan and Rajan ascertain it is the duty of those nations most responsible for climate change to house a proportionate number of refugess. With the U.S. pumping out 25% of all greenhouse emissions, and projections of the displaced running as high as 200 million by 2080, thats a lot of homes. (more on Worldchanging)
Often times, banks are fearful of extending loans to home builders whose designs are “out of the ordinary.” Green building is often deemed a part of this category. Yet times are changing…..The UK’s Ecology Building Society is offering home loans for those looking to redesign their homes along sustainable principles. (Via Treehugger)
There are many concerned environmentalists who feel it was wise for the U.S. to reject the Kyoto Protocol. Their reasoning is that, given its rapid rise in GDP since 1990, the U.S. would be unfairly impacted. The protocol mandates each member state lower their CO2 emissions to 1990 levels. Traditionally, increased pollution accompanies an expanding economy. It is such “capitalist environmentalist” sentiment that is the driving force behind the creation of TerraPass, a company which employs Kyoto-like methods to cutting carbon emissions. The difference: TerraPass offsets carbon emissions on an individual level, not a federally mandated one.
The Chicago Board of Trade, in collaboration with the ethanol industry, has developed a corn-based Ethanol futures contract, further indicating America is eager to lessen its fossil-fuel dependance.
CBOT is a natural fit for Ethanol futures, as the exchange has, for more than 125 years, offered the world’s largest market for corn futures. As products like E85 (85% ethanol and 15% gasoline) continue to proliferate,the Board’s function as the provider of the international benchmark for corn pricing may increasingly liquify.
It has long been recongnized that the food provided by America’s schools lacks basic nutritional requirements. With child obesity on the rise, parents, administrators, and students alike are demanding dietary change. Stonyfield Farm’s Healthy Vending Machine Program is looking to satisfy this growing demand. Currently, more than 800 schools are on the waiting list.
Puget Sound Energy (PSE) is donating one million kilowatt hours of power to “help needy households pay their energy bills.” The donation comes in the form of renewables, by purchasing green tags from the Bonneville Environmental Foundation to subsidize the non-renewable energy they are giving away. The free power comes in honor of their one-millionth customer. Serving half of all Washington households, PSE has found a way to celebrate this significant milestone in a manner most companies find quite elusive: By combining corporate social responsibility with green business.
In a country where the demand for oil is outpacing rises in its price, China may become the next hub of the hybrid. With 200,000 alternative fuel vehicles currently in service, China is already among the world’s leaders in non-petrloeum powered vehicles. Combine a 76% rise in the Chinese auto market with an economy that may one day allocate as much as 15% of its total GDP to pollution-based illness, and one must wonder how China can afford NOT to go hybrid.
South Africa has launched its first ever sustainable solar community. The development was one of fifteen projects chosen for the Global Warming Conference in Kyoto, Japan to exemplify how nations can grow and prosper while minimizing emissions of greenhouse gases at no additional cost. With the Kyoto Protocol placing increased global attention on sustainability, sun rich areas such as Africa and the Middle East may see a proliferation of such projects. Clean Edge dot com (sited in the previous posting) projects a nearly six fold increase in the solar industry over the next ten years.
Albeit with a twist of irony, Canada has succesfully struck a voluntary agreement with the “Big Three” U.S. auto manufacturers to reduce emissions by 25% from 1995 levels by the year 2010. The irony: This is essentially a carbon copy of the California emissions reduction law passed last year, which is now so mired by industry lawsuits it may never see the light of day. On Canada:
No other government in North America has ever gotten the car industry to come forward with a voluntary agreement that forces them to do technical changes they weren’t already planning to do.
said John Bennett of the Sierra Club. What enables Canadians to succesfully negotiate what Californians can’t?
Leaving the big boys behind, numerous small independant car rental companies are sprining up to take advatnage of the growing demand for “green” cars, like the Toyota Prius. Bio-Beetle of Maui is one example recentely highlighted in the NY Times.
High gas prices are another reason why renting green is an attractive option. These days, alternative rental car companies like Bio-Beetle Rental Cars, which opened branches in Maui and Oahu in 2003, are seeing a rise in business
Classic economic theory is being seen as increasingly incompatible with sustainability. Ideas integral to it, such as Increased individual happiness being directly correlated with increased consumption, are subject to ever increasing scrutiny. Cognitive economics sees the processes of individual and collective fiscal reasoning as a far less linear process, and incorporates a myriad of methods into its framework. Some of the various disciplines from which cognitive economics derives these methods include neuroscience, social psychology, and behavioral economics, to name just a few.
While the number of newly graduated MBA students finding succesful employment is on an upward trajectory for the first time in four years, the academic ccurriculum is facing increased scrutiny. The credibilty of American business programs is under attack, largely due to the number of scandals that have arisen in recent years.
“Students have been freed from any sense of moral responsibility,” says Sumatra Ghoshal, himself such an academic at the London Business School, in a Feb. 17th article in the Economist.
Yet while Enron, the King Daddy of the moraless list, hosted an environment rich in business school educated executives, the crime scenes of many similar scandals did not. Richard Schrush, former boss of Health South, had no such credentials, yet his trial on 58 different charges of fraud amounted to billions of dollars. At his trial, the jury heard the following taped conversation:
“I’m gonna talk, talk to y’all just real. This conversation did not take place. OK?” followed by: “They ain’t got nothing. They didn’t ask me nothing about the numbers.” Business school might have assisted Mr. Schrush in employing sounder strategies.
Suffice it to say, there are two sides to this coin. While an MBA is clearly not a prerequisite for number bending behavior, it may at times help hone the art of it.
Although government officials in Africa have expressed a keen interest in solar technology, the high costs associated with this technology remain an obstacle to sustainable energy in Africa.
Africa has a number of advantages over other regions with regards to this renewable energy source. The most obvious of these is its abundance of sun. From World Changing: “solar has the potential to be a life-saver, providing clean energy in the remotest of locations.”