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Report: Taxpayers Pick Up $7 Billion Tab for Underpaid Fast Food Workers

A report just out by the UC Berkeley Labor Center says that low-paying fast food jobs cost taxpayers $7 billion a year in benefit programs designed to support low-income families. Programs like Medicaid, SSI and food stamps are lifelines for workers who aren’t being paid enough to feed and clothe their families.

Credit: Greenpeace

Asian Energy Expansion Means We’re Probably Too Late to Avert Climate Change Disruption

Home to some of the world’s fastest growing economies and populations, an energy forecast for Southeast Asia bode ill for efforts to curtail fossil fuel emissions. Coal-fired power generation is projected to account from nearly 60% of new power generation among ASEAN countries while dependence on imported oil will double as the regional economy triples and population grows 25% to 2035, according to an IEA rep.

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All Bets are Off for Brazil’s Future

Social unrest and greater scrutiny of former President Lula’s legacy mean all bets are off as far as the future of Brazil in concerned, says Jonathon Porritt, Founder-Director of Forum for the Future.

Photo Credit: Flickr eGuide Travel

Top Execs Receive $24 Billion From Federal Contracts Each Year

New research from think tank Demos has found that the current contracting practices from the federal government pays top corporate executives nearly $24 billion per year. The organization postulates that if these contracting policies were reformed to limit the taxpayer contribution to executive pay at the salary of the U.S. Vice President ($230,700), then full-time workers could potentially receive an annual pay increase of nearly $14,000, with no additional cost to taxpayers.

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Do Rooftop Solar Panels Really Hinder Firefighters?

The recent Delanco, NJ fire in which a deli company’s warehouse burned to the ground because firefighters said that its rooftop solar panels prevented them from accessing the roof and saving the building has raised a lot of questions about the safety of solar panels on roofs.

image courtesy www.sxc.hu

SPECIAL SERIES: EOS Climate: The Refrigerant Revolution

Refreshing Look: Supermarkets Keeping it Climate Cool

This week’s post takes a behind-the-scenes look at exemplary refrigerant management among supermarkets, examining drivers for innovation and highlighting best practices and change. We will profile one leading company, and highlight other innovations in the form of engineering solutions, reconfiguration of refrigerant loops, refrigerant management and use of substitutes with no or very low global warming potential. Cool and refreshing, indeed.

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EPA Proposes Carbon Emissions Limits on New U.S. Power Plants

Following through on the President’s historic National Climate Change Action Plan, the EPA proposed precedent-setting new rules limiting carbon emissions for new power plants. The EPA isn’t stopping there: work on proposed new rules for existing power plants is already under way.

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SPECIAL SERIES: The Business Of Biking

Why Cities are Supporting Bike Sharing Programs

It’s a quiet revolution. More than 400 communities across the globe have endorsed bike sharing programs, and the numbers are continuing to climb. Cyclists can attest to the personal benefits of using a shared biking program, which are numerous. But what’s the appeal for cities? According to two experts we spoke to in Seattle, there is lots.

Trust the process and don't fear the unknown.

Women and Sustainability in Politics: Embrace Crisis and Reframe Shame

The Women’s Network for a Sustainable Future recently hosted a powerful discussion on women and sustainability in politics. Moderated by Darcy Winslow, Managing Partner at Academy for Systemic Change, the panel included Cylvia Hayes, Oregon’s First Lady and Kendall Clawson, Oregon’s Director of Executive Appointments. Two important themes developed during the conversation that should be fueling further and broader discussion in sustainability circles: #1 Crisis equals opportunity, #2 Reframe shame and inspire action.