If you’re like me, the title of this post alone got your blood at least a degree closer to the boiling point. Unfortunately, the story only gets worse. The ambiguously titled “American Energy Alliance,” one of numerous anti-energy reform groups cropping up lately, is the brainchild of ex-Enron speechwriter Robert Bradley. I guess there is life after Enron…. Yet I hope, for the well-being of the sustainable business movement, that Bradley’s newfound hobby is short-lived, or at least unsuccessful.Click to continue reading »
TriplePundit: Reporting on the Triple Bottom Line
A recent Los Angeles Times headline could easily appear in the News of the Weird: “U.S. Chamber of Commerce Seeks Trial on Global Warming.” Absurd? Yes. A business-environment intersection we’d rather not see? Yes. True? Yes: in hopes of preventing potentially sweeping limits on emissions, the Chamber is pushing the EPA to try the scientific evidence for man-made climate change.Click to continue reading »
As the international Saharan solar initiative Desertec moves forward, a fleet of critics have appeared, who were apparently not invited to the heavily covered inaugural press conference July 13th.
In terms of progress, Desertec can report that some Saharan governments have already expressed interest in the project. Said Mouline, head of Morocco’s renewable energy agency, said his country has identified sites for the network of solar thermal plants that would generate electrical power to be shared between Africa and Europe, according to a Reuters article.
Morocco imports 96% of its energy, a heavy burden on the developing nation. “We would be generating enough power for us, and for export, for the next 100 years,” said Mouline.Click to continue reading »
Last week, I presented at a Sustainability Summit for the Food Marketing Institute, an industry trade group representing 3/4 all the food sold in the United States.
Joel Makower, founder of GreenBiz.com, delivered the keynote address with a bold call to action: We have just 5,000 days to prevent irreversible global catastrophe. (Actually, since his first article about the topic, we are down to 4,844 days.)
After the conference, I am optimistically concerned. I am concerned that we have big environmental and social challenges to confront. And I am optimistic we can do it.Click to continue reading »
Last week non-biodegradable plastic shopping bags were officially banned in Mexico City, making it the second largest metropolitan area in the Western Hemisphere to ban plastic bags. In March, Mexico City’s local assembly passed a law requiring stores in the world’s 11th largest city to provide biodegradable bags. There is a one-year grace period before authorities will impose sanctions. The grace period gives merchants time to come up with alternatives and for plastic bag producers to convert their factories.
“The challenge as always is how the law is applied,” said Beatriz Bugeda, the head of Citizen Observers of Environmental Vigilance. “You go to the markets and they put every fruit in a plastic bag. You can leave with 20 or 30 bags. More than waiting for penalties, I think the challenge is convincing citizens to change their habits. We have to go back to our grandmothers’ habits.”Click to continue reading »
Prolific writer and environmentalist Bill McKibben is heading a group of advocates that are rallying around an aggressive goal of capping the amount of carbon in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million–based on findings of (civilly disobedient) climatologist James Hansen. The group, 350.org, is gearing up for an international “Day of Climate Action” on October 24, aimed at spreading the message that if humans aren’t able to bring the carbon level down to 350 ppm (from its current 390) then, well, we’re screwed. And now the 350 movement has received an important, personal endorsement from Rajendra Pachauri, the U.N’s top climate scientist.
In an interview with Agence France Presse reporter Marlowe Hood, Pachauri said his chairmanship with the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) precludes him from making an official endorsement of the 350 ppm goal. However, he did say “as a human being I am fully supportive of that goal. What is happening, and what is likely to happen, convinces me that the world must be really ambitious and very determined at moving toward a 350 target.”Click to continue reading »
Many of the industries that have been hardest hit by the economic crisis are male dominated. Construction and manufacturing are two prime examples.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 247,000 jobs were lost in the US during July, including 76,000 construction and 52,000 manufacturing jobs.
The male unemployment rate is now 9.8%, while the female rate is 7.5% in the US. This trend is also seen in parts of Europe, including the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, and Denmark.
As some male dominated industries lose jobs, some female dominated industries have gained jobs. In the health care industry, 81% of the workers are female. During July, 20,000 jobs were gained in this industry.Click to continue reading »
Triple Pundit recently reported on a series of letters sent to Congressman Tom Perriello of Virginia. The letters were purportedly from constituent community groups urging a no vote on the Waxman-Markey climate and energy bill that was then pending before the house. Fact is, they weren’t from constituents at all but from D.C. “grassroots” lobbying firm Bonner & Associates – and completely forged, lock, stock, and barrel.
It turns out those first letters sent to Perriello are but the tip of the iceberg. Earlier this month, when the count had risen to 12 forgeries sent to three House Democrats, Ed Markey called for an investigation into the fraud, expressing his dismay about the chilling effect such action has on the legislative process. “This fraud on Congress distorts the legislative process and disserves the American people. It represents a serious breach that needs to be fully understood as to the extent and scope of these wrongful acts,” Markey wrote in a letter to the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), a lobby group for the coal industry.
And the distortion grows. With 5 more fake letters recently uncovered by Markey’s investigation, the total comes to at least 17 forged letters sent and potentially 45 more yet to be verified as legitimate.Click to continue reading »
Coca-Cola and Pepsi recently vowed to clean up their water use practices in China. Thing is, the vows weren’t exactly voluntary. Only after a Beijing economic council released a scathing report on the firms’ water practices did the soft drink firms swear to change. Moving forward, Beijing will monitor the firms, and 25 other companies, for environmental infractions, Environmental Leader reports. (Coke and Pepsi pledged complete cooperation with the plan.) Meanwhile, other sources indicate that Coke and Pepsi do not deserve environmental blacklisting. What does all of this mean for sustainable business?Click to continue reading »
This December could be a make-or-break month in terms of, well, saving the world. “Decisions that we will make – or not make – [during the UN Climate Change Conference in December] will have profound impacts [on] the next five thousand generations. Will we, this year, establish the architecture that can rewire the entire planet with clean energy… help lift billions of people out of poverty, and stabilize the global climate?” Good points, posed by the National Climate Seminar on its website. The Seminar will attempt to improve public awareness – a crucial component of the Conference’s success – by hosting a bi-weekly phone series on climate change. The Seminar is expected to engage educators, scientists, politicians, and everyday Americans in the issues.Click to continue reading »
Yes, that’s recycle, not reuse, which is where my mind initially jumped.
According to the Recycle my Sex Toy site: “Finally, there’s an environmentally friendly way to dispose of used or broken vibrators, dildos, plugs, or any other sex toy you may have. Our Sex Toy Recycling program offers you a way to recycle sex toys that you no longer want or use.”Click to continue reading »
A few weeks ago, construction began on the first of seven 10-gigawatt wind power bases in China.
I initially wrote about these wind power bases last month, when the vice president of the Chinese Wind Association announced the project— which is to be completed by 2020. Certainly this is a major part of China’s wind power goal of 100 gigawatts by 2020.
But as I’ve said time and time again, this is a global trend. And while new government support in China and the United States is providing fertile ground for growth and opportunity, wind energy momentum is not constrained by borders.Click to continue reading »
Last week, a lede in the Guardian UK’s environment blog read: “Greenpeace’s sea ice ‘mistake’ delights climate change sceptics (sic).” Apparently, in a recent interview on BBC, a Greenpeace expert went on air and said that the Arctic is looking at ice free summers as early as 2030. He, in fact, meant to say sea ice-free summers, citing research inspired by NASA focused on Greenland.
Gerd Leipold, the executive director of the environmental organization, then went on to say, “As a pressure group, we have to emotionalise issues and we’re not ashamed of emotionalising issues.” Despite what is seemingly a small omission, the Guardian reported that Leipold’s slip-up gave ammo to the many climate change detractors out there. The environmental advocacy group was quick to issue a defense, claiming that the context in which Leipold was speaking was obvious that he was referring to sea ice and not the land-based ice sheet of the Arctic, and the phrasing he used was in line with terminology used in the initial NASA study.
It appears, however, that what most critics have latched onto is not the specific data regarding Arctic ice melts, but the underlying ethos by which Greenpeace operates. “Admitting you don’t mind emotionalising issues,” writes the Guardian blogger, “gives ammunition to critics that will then use to say you are prone to exaggerating the facts.” One blog claimed Leipold’s comment highlights the fact that Greenpeace is “doing more harm than good by overselling alarmism.”Click to continue reading »