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Why the U.S. Debt Crisis is Just the Tip of the Melting Iceberg

Boyd Cohen, Climate Strategist As many of this column’s readers know, I am from the U.S. and have lived in Europe and most recently Canada for the 10 years since getting my Ph.D. at the University of Colorado.  While I am no economist (my Ph.D. is in business), I believe that the recent U.S. debt … Continued

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“Last Stand” Against Brazil’s Belo Monte Dam Raises “True Cost” Questions

Opponents of the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam system in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon are mounting a “last stand” attempt to halt development in the wake of the government awarding the contract to Norte Energia and the start of construction. Opposition groups say building what would be the world’s third-largest hydroelectric system would be a “folly” of epic proportions on economic, technical and environmental grounds.

SUNPATH, a new program of the SunShot initiative, to manufacture solar panels in U.S.

SunShot: $50 Million Closer to Cheap Solar Power and Green Jobs, Too

The Obama administration has been focusing on federal solar energy policies that create new green jobs, and the new SunShot initiative could turn out to be a major twofer for U.S. businesses. First, the program is designed to advance solar technology research that will make clean solar energy as cheap as, or cheaper than, fossil … Continued

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New CAFE Standards: Is 54.5 MPG by 2025 Really Enough?

Last week, the Obama administration made a dramatic announcement that unfortunately got lost in all the hoopla over the debt ceiling and the political maneuverings thereof. They announced a new set of ambitious fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks that will make a significant dent in our dependence on oil and our carbon … Continued

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Renewable Energy 2010: 16% of Global Energy; Nearly 11% in the US

REN21’s “Renewables 2011″ Global Status Report is a remarkable one, particularly in light of the lasting effects of the “Great Recession” and all that took place in 2010. The REN21 report shows that renewable energy growth was strong last year. Renewable resources wound up supplying 16% of global final energy consumption and showed strong growth … Continued

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Trade War Looms Over Airlines’ Refusal to Comply with EU Cap-And-Trade Law

In June, I wrote about whether the US was right to seek an exemption from the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) for US airlines. The cap-and-trade scheme, designed to curb CO2 emissions, is being vigorously opposed by the American Air Transport Association, and a month on, it seems things are no less fractious, … Continued

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How will Citizens Ever Afford 54.5 MPG?

Remember the old days when the auto manufacturers would line up in lockstep opposition to any fuel economy (CAFE) standards? Even the unions would oppose it, concerned about job losses. And lord knows…there was probably a gushing river of oil industry money flowing through the halls of congress to prevent America from moving in sustainable … Continued

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The Surprising Economic Value of Food Stamps

While the fight in Washington over the debt ceiling seems to be over, it is not clear yet what cuts will be made in the food stamps program. Although food stamps would be exempt from the automatic cuts, they still might be subject to cuts coming from the special bipartisan committee that would be established … Continued

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Is Raising the Debt Ceiling Economically Sustainable?

Yesterday, an agreement was made between the President and Congress to raise the debt ceiling. It is expected to pass both Houses and get the President’s signature.  The question remains, is it really sustainable to raise the debt ceiling? If we hold true to the definition of sustainability as to “meet the needs of the present … Continued

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Johnson Controls Strides from Green Buildings to Clean Vehicles

Johnson Controls recently made headlines with an energy efficiency upgrade of the iconic Empire State Building, and it has just announced an equally ambitious foray into the field of electric vehicles. The company has opened the largest advanced energy storage research and development center in North America. The new project, funded partly by a $299 … Continued

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Help Stop the “Mother of All Anti-Environmental Bills”

Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is well known for market-based environmentalism and its cooperative engagements with business. Through its relationships with companies like McDonald’s and Walmart, as well as its innovative Climate Corps program, the NGO has become a leader in proactive collaborations between the for-profit and the not-for-profit sectors. Certainly, such forward-thinking engagements are vital … Continued

Courtesy of Ian Freimuth

Detroit: Stakeholder Power at Work

The reporting on Detroit seems to be shifting away from the narrative of the once great American City disintegrating into a burned out warzone-like state as citizens flee to greener, safer, more vibrant locales.

The Solar Scheme: Banks Overvalue Solar Projects for Financial Gain

First, there were solar systems with a hefty up-front price that not many households and companies could afford. Then came the solar power purchase agreements (PPAs) and solar leasing that transformed solar systems from a product into an affordable service. One of the cornerstones of the new model is a 30 percent federal tax credit … Continued

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Enterprise Holdings Rolls Out Largest Electric Vehicle Rental Fleet

Last week, the National Summit on Energy Security took place in Washington DC. Government, military and business leaders gathered to address America’s reliance on foreign oil. Part of the proceedings involved a war-game like simulation called the “Oil shockWave.” First run in 2005, the simulation serves to generate a number of destabilizing geo-political scenarios, forcing … Continued