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Can Shareholder Activism Spur Electric Utilities to Shift Away from Coal?

Some of the largest US electric utilities in the use are facing shareholder proxy votes calling on them to enact and report on coal risk mitigation plans. Behind the proxy resolutions is CSR/shareholder advocacy group As You Sow, which asserts that shareholders face significantly increased investment risk as a result of the utilities’ reticence to enact such plans and shift away from coal to other cleaner and renewable energy supply sources.

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European Wind a “Recession-Busting” Industry

Europe’s wind energy industry contributed an additional 33%– 32 billion euros (~$41.6 billion) to EU GDP between 2007 and 2010, growing at double the rate of the EU economy as a whole in 2010, the European Wind Energy announced on the opening day of EWEA 2012 in Copenhagen. The EWEA’s forecasting greater gains ahead, if the EU continues its renewable energy and carbon emissions reduction drives.

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Mexico to Pass Climate Law

On Friday, Mexico’s House of Representatives passed a new piece of climate change legislation, making it only the second country in the world behind the UK and its Climate Change Act to do so, once it is approved by Mexico’s Senate. The law calls for reducing carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2050.

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Clean Coal: Pros and Cons

The people who still support coal, basically have one argument: that it’s a necessary evil, being the only source of energy within reach that is sufficiently abundant to keep up with our enormous and ever-growing appetite for energy. We have so much coal, they reason, and we need lots of energy, so how could we not take advantage of this resource? They could be right, as much as those of us who care about the environment hate to admit it.

California Charges Forward on EVs

As you may have seen, California Governor Jerry Brown announced a $120 million settlement last week, with utility company NRG that will be used to fund a large scale infrastructure effort for electric vehicles. This statewide charging network will include at least 200 fast-charging stations and another 10,000 plug-in units at 1,000 locations across the state. This not only puts California at the forefront of the electric vehicle revolution, it also will encourage these cars to range widely across the state, beyond the limitations of their batteries.

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The Unsustainability of Incarceration

Prisons now fall into the category of big business; many are currently privatized so there is monetary incentive for increased cell occupancy. That’s a whole other kind of prisoner’s dilemma. Here’s why it’s unsustainable in more way than one.

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Ford Focus EV Team Takes Steps to Avoid Chevy Volt’s Pitfalls

Undoubtedly sobered by the plight of the Chevy Volt, which recently idled production for five weeks, furloughing 1300 workers in an effort to draw down excess inventory, the Ford Focus EV team has taken a number of innovative steps to avoid a similar plight.

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Politicians and Bankers Agree: We Need to Change Climate Change Messaging

The chances to be in a discussion on the impact of the OEDC latest report on Washington and Wall-Street and get out of it optimistic are less than the chances to win the lottery. Yet, this is exactly what happened to me last week at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance Summit in New York in a panel that explored some interesting ideas that can actually help avoid the devastating consequences of inaction described in the OECD outlook.

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly in Cleantech

Almost every day you can find on the media news on renewable energy and sometimes it’s so overwhelming that you can’t see the forest for the trees. Therefore I always appreciate the opportunity to stop for a minute and get a better look at the big picture. Such an opportunity was The Wall Street Green Summit that took place in New York. This event provided many interesting perspectives on the present and the future of the cleantech sector, and I’d like to share three main themes from the summit that seemed to be having the greatest influence on the industry. I’ll divide them into the good, the bad and the ugly.

Local Governments Start Recycling, Environmentalists Halt

In a tragic twist of unbridled proportions, Conservatives have started recycling, but Environmentalists have ceased recycling actions. What stimulated this sudden role reversal? What effect does this have on not only the environment, but the economy?

Goldman Sachs Loses Battle with Largest Public Union in U.S.

Realizing the pressure of a recent shareholder resolution, Goldman Sachs was able to get the largest public employee and health care workers’ union in the country, AFSCME, to pull their proposal regarding Lloyd Blankfein’s role as both CEO and chairman of the board. In lieu of yanking the proposal, Goldman will change its board structure and appoint a “lead director” to its board.