Senate Blocks Proposal to Keep Bush-Era Offshore Drilling Policy

| Friday September 25th, 2009 | 0 Comments

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The issue of whether or not to drill for oil and gas along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts has come to a head again, this time in a Senate’s vote Wednesday against keeping the Bush-era offshore drilling policy in place. Could it be that, by shooting down this policy, Senators opened the door for a new, greener Obama-era offshore drilling policy?

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Results from the 2009 Net Impact Challenge: MBAs and Professionals Take Action

Net Impact | Friday September 25th, 2009 | 1 Comment

net-impact-logo-120MBAs and professionals stepped up to the network-wide Net Impact Challenge this year, highlighting impact projects ranging from corporate sustainable commuting programs to university composting initiatives.

As the third annual competition, Net Impact’s Executive Director Liz Maw said, “This year’s teams have raised the bar to a new level. The entries we received highlight the incredible work Net Impact members are doing in their offices, campuses, and communities. We are proud to support them through our network.”

For Net Impact’s nearly 250 student and professional chapters around the world, the annual Net Impact Challenge is a chance to receive recognition for their efforts to make a more sustainable world using the power of business. “Our chapter really wanted to find a way to put the ‘Magnify Your Impact’ motto into action,” said Matthew Holtry, a Net Impact Challenge project leader from the Penn State Smeal College of Business who developed a campus supplier sustainability scorecard. “For us, the project was a win-win-win. We got to add sustainable value to our campus while expanding the MBA curriculum and getting more exposure for our Net Impact chapter on campus.”

So here’s what all the hype is about:

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A123 Systems’ IPO: Will Clean Tech Pave the Way for the Next Stock Market Bubble?

| Friday September 25th, 2009 | 1 Comment

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A123-017 A promising start-up that’s posted nothing but ever larger losses since inception, but with a high-tech “blue chip” pedigree and a promising product decides it’s time to go public. On the first day of secondary market trading its shares soar 50%. Sound familiar? In what may turn out to be the latest variation on an economic theme that has brought about some of the greatest stock market booms, busts and scandals in financial history, the shares of lithium-ion battery manufacturer A123 Systems did just that yesterday.

Founded in 2001 on the back of pioneering advances in nanoscale materials development at MIT, A123 is riding the still building wave of investor enthusiasm for lithium-ion battery manufacture. The technology of choice for storing power in electric vehicles, and with potential markets in both small-scale distributed and larger scale utility power storage as well, A123 has leveraged this R&D to land well over half a billion dollars of capital in the form of alternative vehicle technology grants from the federal government, Michigan state grants and refundable renewable energy tax credits, private equity investments from the likes of GE, and deals to supply lithium ion batteries to Chrysler and Shanghai Motors.

A123’s IPO may be the type of spark that helps reignite and propel the clean tech/renewable energy and broader financial markets to new heights and the US economy to a “low-carbon” future? Or could it be a sign that the US economy is embarking on yet another spectacular, liquidity and credit-driven cycle of boom and bust?

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REALLY, MEG? Suspending Climate-Change Legislation AB32 is Backwards Thinking

| Thursday September 24th, 2009 | 3 Comments

Editor’s note: The following was published earlier on CleanTechnica by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom in response to Meg Whitman’s Op-Ed suggesting that California Governor Schwarzenegger put “a moratorium on most AB32-related rules. And if he does not, [she] will issue that order on [her] first day as governor.” CleanTechnica is doing its best to rally a debate between the two candidates vying for Schwarzenegger’s job in 2010.

AB32Meg Whitman penned an op-ed last week stating she’d suspend California’s landmark climate-change legislation, AB32, on her first day if elected governor. This is backwards thinking, and I disagree.

Experts estimate that the four largest clean-energy industries (solar, wind, biofuels, and fuel-cell) will have combined annual revenues of $255 billion by the middle of the next decade. The question isn’t whether the world will move towards cleaner living – the question is how soon this trend will take hold.

There is no better, more fertile place in the United States for green technology and green-collar jobs to take shape than California.

California’s challenge is competitiveness, grasping as much of the share of these markets as possible by being the industry leader in greenhouse gas abatement technology. To date, we’ve done a great job – California captured $6.6 billion in green capital between 2006-2008. And all these start-ups need workers; so green jobs have the potential to be for California what the defense industry was in 1980s.

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Fashionistas, Ad Execs and Environmentalists Descend on NYC

| Thursday September 24th, 2009 | 0 Comments

This time in September marks a convergence of three big New York City events: Fashion Week, Advertising Week and Climate Week NYC.

Three of today’s most influential industries that both support each other and battle each other for public attention. On one hand, consumerism is the opposite of sustainability. Though at the same time, phenomena such as eco-fashion and green advertising are bringing climate change more and more into the public eye.

Climate Week NYC is an event organized by such organizations as The Climate Group, the UN, Tck Tck Tck Campaign, and more. Fashion Week, however, was sponsored by… Mercedes Benz. I guess “eco” wasn’t really the theme this year. Advertising Week, however, has a different focus than years past.

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The Aesthetics of Trust: What It Takes to Break Through the Clutter

3p Contributor | Thursday September 24th, 2009 | 0 Comments

By Mitch Baranowski, co-founder of BBMG. This article originally appeared on Itshowwelive.com

trustmarks_box You would think, with some 400+ trustmarks vying for consumer attention, that most would dedicate a modicum of time and attention to the actual design of the trustmark. You know, so it stands out from the crowd. So it projects trustworthy attributes. So it’s scalable, legible and all those other things prized by designers.

But that hardly seems the case. No points for originality here. With but a few exceptions, the sea of trustmarks is a mess, a pea soup of poorly conceived (and poorly explained) seals and certifications.

Why is that?

Tough to hazard a guess, really, but experience says it’s probably due to (a) not having the expertise at hand, (b) not having the budget at hand or (c) not making it enough of a priority, the certification team arriving somewhat exhausted to the finish line after spending months putting the standards in question together, with little time and patience for the iterative process that great design requires.

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Building an Organizational Culture of Sustainability: Employee Engagement

| Thursday September 24th, 2009 | 8 Comments

These days, we hear more and more that a company’s stance on social and environmental issues plays a significant role in choice of employer. A recent survey found that over 50% of American workers report being inclined to work for “green” companies.  Women and Generation Y in particular want their company’s mission to go beyond profitability, encompassing benefits to the wider community, on social, environmental and economic dimensions (with men and Boomers not that far behind). They are eager to work with companies in which they feel they can make a difference.

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Is China Really Beating the US in Cleantech?

| Thursday September 24th, 2009 | 2 Comments

Grist recently served up a rant post by Terry Tamminen, titled “China’s Rear View Mirror: China is leaving the U.S. in the dust as it surges ahead on clean energy.”

Tamminen, former secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency and now an investment banker, recites a now common plaint that China is rapidly eclipsing the US in clean technology, the technology of the future. Tamminen cites huge domestic demand in China, and aggressive government policies pushing the greening of power. From the post:

Even as China overtakes the U.S. in the dubious category of “world’s leading greenhouse gas producer,” it is also well ahead of the U.S. in developing the technologies and policies to solve the problem—and selling those solutions to us at massive profits which could have been ours.

But with all due respect to Mr. Tamminen, he’s getting ahead of himself.

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Florida’s Progress Energy Seeks Tax Increase – Could Save Energy; Worth the Money?

| Thursday September 24th, 2009 | 0 Comments

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According to a report by the St. Petersburg Times, Florida utility Progress Energy is seeking to increase the base utility tax rate by about 30 percent. It says increasing the tax could save energy and boost local governments’ tax collections next year (for governments that charge utility and franchise taxes). Would taking this measure have enough benefit for the state’s sustainable growth to be worth taxpayers’ money?

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Recession Cuts Emissions: Good News or Bad News?

| Thursday September 24th, 2009 | 1 Comment

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The recession has caused a 2.6 percent drop in carbon dioxide emissions – the biggest drop in 40 years, Environmental Leader reports. Although this sounds like great news for the environment, some analysts worry about what effect it could have on nations’ motivation to further curb emissions. Are these figures good news or bad news?

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Walmart Aims To Use Only Renewable Energy

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Thursday September 24th, 2009 | 0 Comments

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The mother of all big box retailers, Walmart, made it on the EPA’s National Top 50 Green Power Purchasers list. With a long-term goal of having 100 percent of its power supplied by renewable energy, Walmart is installing solar panels on 10 to 20 stores and distribution centers in California by 2011. In April, the company finished installing solar panels on 18 Walmart and Sam’s Club stores in California and Hawaii. Each solar project will create enough energy to power the equivalent of 2,600 homes.

Walmart does not own its solar projects, but has a 10-year power purchase agreement (PPA) to pay for the energy it uses. BP Solar produces, installs, owns and maintains the solar power systems. Larry Sherwood of the Interstate Renewable Energy Council said PPAs make up most of the large commercial solar energy market.

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Obama Talks To GM Workers

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Thursday September 24th, 2009 | 0 Comments

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In February GM announced it would lay off 800 workers at its Lordstown assembly plant complex in Warren, Ohio. Last December GM cut the third shift at the plant, eliminating 900 jobs. The summer of 2008 over 4,000 people worked on three shifts at the plant. President Obama spoke to the plant’s workers on Tuesday.

Obama told the workers, “This plant is about to shift into higher gear. 150 of your coworkers came back to work yesterday. More than 1,000 will be coming back to work in less than three weeks as production of the Cobalt ramps up. And next year, this plant will begin production of the Chevy Cruze, a new car that will get more than 40 miles per gallon.”

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Coming Up: 9th Annual Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) Conference

| Thursday September 24th, 2009 | 0 Comments

LCA-conferenceNext week the 9th annual Life Cycle Analysis Conference will be held in Boston, MA. This year’s conference promises to be the biggest and best one yet. The conference will be packed with incredibly bright industrial ecologists from all over the world. These are the people working on the cutting edge of science to simplify the process of understanding the true impacts our business and consumer decisions have on our planet.

Last year’s LCA conference was a fantastic experience. It completely altered my perception of what I thought was sustainable and revealed interesting hidden impacts of products when you consider them from a life cycle perspective. The results showed that while packaging materials are important, it was far more important to focus on what was INSIDE the packaging. The focus should be reducing impact in that area where possible. (I hear WalMart may be building a new scorecard thanks to this one.)

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Age of Stupid: Environmentalism Is Alive and Well

| Wednesday September 23rd, 2009 | 8 Comments
Director and Producer Franny and Lizzie arrive by boat to the NY premier. Seriously.

Director and Producer Franny and Lizzie arrive by boat at the NY premier of their documentary, the Age of Stupid.

Editor’s Note: This post was published on the Huffington Post earlier today.

On Monday night, I participated in the world’s largest movie premier, for a documentary. The film, called the Age of Stupid has been hailed as the future of film, and criticized by 3p’s own Nick Aster for its depressing take on the state of our planet’s climate. I believe, however, that the film was revolutionary for slightly different reasons. Age of Stupid reveals that environmentalism is alive, well, and going mainstream. Even more, the film shows that our current consumer lifestyles are fundamentally incompatible with the reality of our climate situation. Either we convince our governments to intervene and take control, or prepare for the worst, as we waste time celebrating recycling our plastic water bottles.

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Latisse: The Hilarity of FDA Approved Prescription Eyelash Treatment

Mary Catherine O'Connor | Wednesday September 23rd, 2009 | 12 Comments
Above, the beautiful Brooke Sheilds. Below, the beautiful Brooke Shields (with longer eyelashes).

Above, the beautiful Brooke Sheilds. Below, the beautiful Brooke Shields (with longer eyelashes).

Aging is such a cruel process. Bones become brittle. Memory fades. Energy wanes. Arteries clog. And yes, our once-lush eyelashes fade away to practically nothing. Thank God for calcium supplements, statins and bimatoprost ophthalmic solution.

Oh, that last one is new to you? Spokeswoman Brooke Shields would love to tell you all about this wonder drug, also known as LATISSE® (and she does, in the online diary she keeps on the Latisse website).  It has made her lashes fuller, darker and longer. And you can enjoy the same results by seeking a prescription from your doctor to buy Latisse, which the FDA approved for use in treating “inadequate” eyelashes in December. (We’re thinking–or rather, hoping–you might have trouble getting insurance to cover this pre-existing condition…)

And if you have glaucoma, you’ll be killing two birds with one stone. Turns out Latisse is actually a re-branded version of Lumigan, the anti-glaucoma drug made by Allergan, which sells both products (as well as other aesthetic product offerings included Botox and breast implants).  And, as with Lumigan, using Latisse presents some possible side effects, including irritated or dry eyes, red eyelids and darkening of the skin around the eyes. As well as much more menacing ones.

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