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

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The Great American Suburban Ponzi Scheme

Suburbs are a uniquely American and relatively recent phenomenon; an experiment, if you will, that came about as the result of the simultaneous surge in prosperity with the emergence of the automobile and the availability of relatively cheap land surrounding our cities. Given the enormous growth that this suburban lifestyle has experienced, it has truly become equated with the American Way of Life.
But a number of people are beginning to question the wisdom of this outward migration, leaving many cities on the brink of collapse after having drained the rural landscape of its inhabitants. Are the suburbs sustainable?

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UN Shipping Group Moves on Vessel Emission Reductions

An International Maritime Organization panel adopted what it calls mandatory design and operational measures to reduce greenhouse gases from international shipping. According to the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee, which has met 62 times on this issue, this month’s action is the “first ever mandatory greenhouse gas reduction regime for an international industry sector.” It … Continued

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Solar Crowdsourcing: ‘One Nation Off the Grid’

In partnership with 175 solar power systems installers, One Block Off the Grid has launched its nationwide”One Nation Off the Grid” project, which includes offering group buying solar power systems deals at the county level across 34 US states, as well as a public US Solar Map detailing state renewable energy policies and potential job creation should stronger policies be enacted.

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EPA, SEC Take the Lead on U.S. Environmental Progress

Businesses beg for definitive rulings on issues such as carbon pricing and environmental social governance (ESG) reporting requirements, meanwhile the legislature clamors (successfully) “drill baby drill” and accuses environmentalists of favoring spotted owls over jobs. Our leaders’ attitude seems to be climate change has to wait until the economy has turned around.

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New Australian Carbon Tax Offers Comprehensive Model for All

Last Sunday the Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, announced a new a plan to tax carbon emissions from the country’s 500 worst polluters. Starting next year, these companies will pay for each ton of carbon dioxide emitted, first through a fixed carbon tax and from 2015 via a carbon trading scheme. This plan came to … Continued

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Southern California Edison’s Journey Towards the Smart Grid

The smart grid is getting more and more attention these days.  With all this talk, a few questions lingers in the mind.  What exactly is the smart grid?  When will we actually get the smart grid in place?  How smart can the grid really be? Recently, Southern California Edison (SCE) held a smart grid roundtable … Continued

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Fare Trade: Lifetime Bus Pass for Your Car

For some a lifetime trolley-bus pass might sound like the third-place prize in a contest where $1 million goes to the first-place winner. Or maybe the wrong choice of doors in a Let’s Make a Deal episode. For urban dwellers it might be the economic incentive that gets unnecessary and polluting cars off of crowded … Continued

The Insurance Industry Can’t Afford to Have Their Heads in the Sand on Climate Change

…they only need to look as far as their own checkbooks to see that something very disruptive and damaging is happening. In 2005, in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma, damages reached 173 billion worldwide. Here in the US, damages from catastrophic losses cost the insurance industry $62 billion that year, up by 50% from the 1990’s. Back in the 50’s that number was only $4 billion. The number of reported natural disasters has been climbing steadily from around 70 in 1975, climbing into the two hundred range in the 80’s, to an average of around 400 over the past decade. The awakening of insurance executives to the fact that “something is happening here…” seems to be beginning with the re-insurance firms, those that insure the insurance companies that insure us.

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British PM Announces That All Ministers Have to Fly Coach

One of the perks of working as a high level civil servant is getting to fly first class and stay in fancy hotels. However British Prime Minister, David Cameron has different ideas. It is a well known fact that flying first class comes with a steeper carbon footprint. Last year the British Foreign Office had … Continued