An Interview with Gordon Laird, Author of “The Price of a Bargain”

Gordon Laird’s new book, The Price of a Bargain: The Quest for Cheap and the Death of Globalization, looks at the global forces that have given rise to cheap goods. In the process, he identifies a series of instabilities that will very likely bring this phase of cheap consumer goods to a close, while also … Continued

If You’re Feeling the COP15 Burnout, This Is the Satire for You

Don’t get me wrong, I am watching as eagerly as the rest of you. I’m thrilled that COP15 has garnered as much media attention as it has. It’s amazing. I don’t think that the consciousness of the world has ever been so fixated on a single environmental issue in my lifetime. It’s everything that I … Continued


California Small Businesses A-OK Under AB32

The Union of Concerned Scientists released a report today (full disclosure- they pay my rent, which is why I got a jump on writing about this great report) outlining the impact of California’s groundbreaking global warming legislation on small businesses. The long and the short of it? No big changes! The impact to small businesses … Continued

Green Patents Jump to the Front of the Line Under New Government Program

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced this week that pending patent applications for certain “green” technologies will get an accelerated examination by the Office, with the goal of shaving off years from the time the patents are pending. The pilot program, effective immediately, is intended to spur the approval, and thus commercialization, … Continued


New Poll: U.S. Supports Cap & Trade, Would Pay Extra to Reduce CO2

A new poll released today (PDF) demonstrates that over 60 percent of Americans recognize that the earth is getting warmer mostly because of human activity such as burning fossil fuels. The poll, conducted by The McClatchy Company, the third-largest newspaper company in the United States, and Ipsos Public Affairs, found that a slight majority of … Continued

UN Climate Chief Comments on EPA Endangerment Finding

In concert with the opening of the COP15 climate talks here in Copenhagen, the EPA finalized their endangerment finding on Monday that specifies carbon emissions as a threat to human health and well being (see Bill DiBenedetto’s  detailed post from yesterday). At yesterday’s press briefing UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer was asked what influence the … Continued


Why the EPA’s Endangerment Finding Sets the Stage for Action

Showing a fine sense of message and timing, the United States entered the first day of the crucial climate change conference in Copenhagen armed with a potentially game-changing decision from the Environmental Protection Agency:  Greenhouse gases threaten public health and the environment and must be regulated. EPA’s announcement Monday sent a sharp signal to the … Continued

The Dragon in Africa: How Chinese Investment Changes The Game

By David Abraham Al-Jazeera recently posted a video highlighting an investment surge in the tiny central African nation of Equatorial Guinea.  The country is the third largest exporter of petroleum and gas–a fact that is not immediately obvious when looking at the quality of life for its 500,000 citizens.  But with important infrastructure projects funded … Continued

Is there an Impetus for Climate Change Legislation in the Senate?

While speaking to the Bard Center for Environmental Policy’s National Climate Seminar last week, Jeff Sharp, one of Rep. Ed Markey’s (D-MA) staff members, said about climate change legislation, “We expect more things to be moving forward.” Passing cap-and-trade legislation in the Senate “will be a very tough fight,” he added. However, Sharp pointed out that … Continued


B Corps Win Healthy Tax Break in Landmark Law

B Lab, the force behind a new business sector designation—called the B Corporation—which recognizes companies that meet a set of social, environmental and institutional benchmarks for sustainability, is facing a Herculean effort. The work won’t be in convincing people that business can be a positive force for social change—there are already 240 companies in 28 … Continued

The Importance of Being Earnest at COP 15

If it’s all about the money, and it usually is, then the future financial landscape for cleantech development hinges on the outcome of the Copenhagen climate change conference as essentially as the meeting’s long-term impacts on environmental policy. There will be impacts whether or not binding and comprehensive agreements on emission reductions are cobbled in … Continued

Poor Nations’ Emissions Driven by Exports to Rich Nations

“It’s not fair.” That, in two words and a contraction, is the developing world’s argument for why it shouldn’t have to make the same reductions in greenhouse gas emissions as rich developed countries. So what if China is now the world’s biggest emitter of GHGs? It’s the developed countries that emitted most of the world’s … Continued

The Credit Con: Credit Card Companies Get Creative in Circumventing New Legislation

Prior to the crash of the housing bubble and the collapse of financial markets, many different types of companies we involved in creating new and interesting ways to separate Americans (“consumers”) from their hard-earned money, especially those companies involved in consumer finance. From cell phone carriers to banks, high interest rates and hidden fees were … Continued


The Story of Cap & Trade (Discussion Follows)

They’re at it again – the creative team who brought you the wildly popular Story of Stuff are following up with “The Story of Cap and Trade: Why You Can’t Solve a Problem With the Thinking That Created It.” Building on the momentum of The Story of Stuff (over 8 million views to date) Annie … Continued

Shell’s Gamesmanship: Governments Should Intervene in Carbon Markets

Expecting a full-blown global carbon trading market to emerge without the influence, intervention – or perhaps interference – of world governments is probably not possible and Shell’s new CEO is acknowledging this. Peter Voser told The Guardian and its Environment Network, BusinessGreen, that regional markets alone cannot set the price of pollution and that action … Continued