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Cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is good for the economy, according to a report released last week by California air regulators. The report stated that cutting GHG emissions over the next 12 years will benefit the state’s economy and save Californians money. The state’s economy will grow faster if it cuts emissions than if it did nothing.
The report estimates that emissions cuts will boost CA’s economic production by $27 billion in 2020, an increase of less than one percent of what it would be without emissions regulations. The report also estimated that 100,000 jobs will be created, many of them for low-skilled workers. The average California household will save $400 per year by driving fuel efficient vehicles and energy efficient homes. Businesses complying with regulations will also save money because they will become more efficient and use less electricity.
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Green tech might thrive on clever solutions to reduce energy usage but real innovation has more to do with making production processes of tangible materials green. This is where nano technology comes into play. Estimates of the National Science Foundation reveal that by 2015 nanotechnology will be worth $1 trillion in the global economy. Over 2 million people will be working in this sector by then.
For the time being, nano-engineered products are the subject of both intense speculation and distrust. Consumers are aware of the technology’s potential, but because production processes are so intricate they display doubts about safety. Another criticism the industry suffers from is that the production of advanced materials often leads to the creation of hazardous waste that ordinary technology doesn’t know how to dispose of.
The few nano products that actually are green at the core tend to receive tons of publicity. Take the environmentally friendly gold particles for example. It’s one of the first products to hit the (manufacturing) market place and the product has great potential. GreenNano, a new nano tech company has started to commercialize the creation of gold nano particles from purely biological materials. The environmentally benign particle was invented by Kattesh Katti, a renowned professor of radiology and physics attached to MU’s School of Medicine and College of Arts and Science.
Gold particles are much in need for industrial use ranging from cancer treatment to automobile sensors to cell phones and hydrogen gas production. The method used by Katti’s company eliminates the use of synthetic chemicals involved in the production of gold nano particles.
Ben&Jerry’s struck up a deal with the Environmental Protection Agency to bring out the US’ very first eco friendly deepfreezers. If all goes to plan, ordinary citizens soon will be able to buy the machines as well.
The aptly named Greenfreeze runs on virtually zero hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and was inaugurated in Ben&Jerry’s Georgetown parlor hours ago by the owners of the shop. Ben&Jerry’s is testing out 2,000 Greenfreezers across the US.
The rise of new green jobs –in renewable energy, buildings and construction, transportation,basic industries, agriculture and forestry– is the first tangible result of efforts to tackle climate change. But that’s just about all we can say for certain. A recent UNEP report, entitled Green Jobs: Towards Decent work in a Sustainable, Low-Carbon World, sets out the real (future) green jobs scenario in a few brush strokes. Two buzz terms are ‘adaptation to climate change’ and ‘efforts to reduce carbon emissions’.
These two factors are going to be two continuous themes in the future green jobs sector, which yes, will see the creation of millions of new green jobs but which will also witness effects of climate change on existing jobs that are going to be rather negative.
In wake of yesterday’s disapproval of the financial rescue package, ClimatePULSE will take a look at the status of the carbon market and how it is affected by the financial services sector. Although carbon and stock trading do not occur side-by-side, they certainly interact and influence one another through various connections. In many ways, the carbon market relies heavily on the financial status of both the country and individual companies. A sliding financial market may affect the allocation of money and credit and slow the development of the national carbon market. Recent and future milestones in the carbon industry, however, are more than capable of powering the carbon market to a very successful future.Click to continue reading »
Reusable packaging companies have been around for while, but with more and more companies concerned about climate change, reusable packaging appeal is growing throughout the U.S. Reusable plastic containers are now used at companies like Pepsi, Walmart, Safeway, Ghirardelli Chocolates and John Deere to protect and transport everything from tractors to fresh vegetables with great success.
The 2008 “Choose Reusables!” Education Forum sponsored by Reusable Packaging Association (RPA) and StopWaste.org highlighted these success stories this past week. The forum covered many aspects of reusables such as the EPA’s support of reusables, a life cycle analysis of boxes vs. plastic containers, and the challenges encountered by customers implementing reusable packaging.
Last week, the Sustainable Endowments Institute released its 2009 Green Report Card. As GreenBiz reports, it compiles the green and not-so-green aspects of 300 colleges and universities through the United States and Canada. The Report Card was designed to identify those schools that are leading by example through their commitment to sustainability initiatives on campus.
Schools were graded across categories including administration engagement, green building, food and recycling programs, transportation, and climate change policy. While no school earned an outright 4.0, there were many with A- grades that received the distinction of Campus Sustainability Leader by excelling in at least three of the categories listed above.
New employer? New college? As you commit to new things in your life it’s worth finding out if your new place has an incentive scheme in place encouraging you to cycle in. More and more companies and universities are offering deals.
Ripon College in Wisconsin offers freshmen a brand-new Trek 820 mountain bike plus accessories (including a hyper expensive lock) for free if they won’t bring their car to college. Students who signed up for the deal, a phenomenal 60% of all freshmen this year, did so because they saved on petrol and they help save the environment. That’s besides getting the free wheels of course. The college itself wants to reduce its carbon footprint, save on parking spaces and encourage healthy lifestyles.
Thousands of home-owners and business-owners swarmed the convention center floor at West Coast Green this past weekend, fawning over the energy-efficient windows, lighting, textiles, and home performance specialists that would help them save money through energy efficiency in their homes, offices, and warehouses. The vendors there knew that they were not just delivering a trendy product or service. They were positioning themselves at the forefront of a fundamental market shift that is being created by a wave of green building policies soon to be sweeping the nation.
I sat down with Michelle Moore, Vice President of Policy at the U.S. Green Building Council, to discuss the policies that will create an increasingly large market for green building products and services. In the past few years, substantial legislation has been introduced at the federal, state, and local levels to support green building practices.
Last Friday, Triple Pundit was invited to attend a unique event in the green car field. Consumer Reports brought together major automakers, entrepreneurial companies, and other electric vehicle innovators to display their latest clean technology vehicles to both print and online journalists. I had the opportunity to test some of these future cars on the Consumer Reports test track in Connecticut, including two fuel cell vehicles – the Chevy Equinox and the Honda FCX Clarity. We also engaged in a two-hour q&a discussion with automakers to discuss feasibility, projections, and tech specifics of the vehicles on hand. My favorite part of the event, however, was the opportunity to discuss the emergence of the Myers Motors NmG, a personal electric vehicle that is a resurrection of Lee Iacocca’s Sparrow.Click to continue reading »
Looking to restore a healthier, more sustainable balance and a stronger, more direct connection between agriculture, society, economics and environmental conservation, George Whitten and Julie Sullivan are among the growing number of ranchers and farmers striving to work out and put into practice their own custom tailored brand of sustainable agriculture.
A husband and wife team, Whitten and Sullivan drive, graze and manage a growing herd of grass-fed, organic-certified cattle with a head count that now numbers close to 450 across a nearly 14,500-acre mix of private and public lands high up in Colorado’s San Luis Valley.
Motivated by an infectious natural inquisitiveness, a love of nature and an inclination to educate themselves as well as participate in effecting broad, positive, progressive societal change– as well by ecological and economic necessity– Whitten and Sullivan are proponents of their own still evolving formulation of sustainable agricultural principles and practices, one that is rooted in their own long and varied experiences and the influences of a broad and varied range of researcher-practitioners that not only believe that there is a better, more sustainable way to develop and manage agricultural resources, but that doing so has become a socio-economic and environmental imperative.
Admittedly, it’s a bit obscene to talk of a new bull market now that Wall Street is heavily sick and in need of a trillion dollar bailout. But perhaps it makes sense to do it anyway because it’s very likely that the next bull’s going to be colored brightly green.
Green investing is set to become easier as new markets are emerging and platforms dedicated to the general grey economy’s pollution problems begin to take off in earnest. “A whole new multibillion-dollar green economy will rise–and with it the kind of massive financial opportunity that could get not only America but also Wall Street back on its feet”, writes to Glenn Hurowitz in a report entitled “The Next Bull Market” in The Nation.
West Coast Green: Former California Governor Jerry Brown and VP Al Gore Remain Optimistic on the Financial Crisis on Wall Street
Even as the US is at the cusp of a $700 bn bailout of Wall Street and stock prices are fluctuating like crazy, both closing keynote speakers former California Governor Jerry Brown and Vice President Al Gore remain optimistic about the state of the US economy.
The danger we are facing is quite grave, but the opportunity is right front of us.”
The past thirty years and and rapid climate change reflects the recklessness of the US government and a general disregard for the laws of basic economics. “Everything has a limit–our bodies have a limit, the earth’s resources have a limit,” Jerry Brown said.
“Ecology and economics are closely tied together”
Vice President Al Gore echoed these sentiments by stating, “We need to stop bailing out the financial crisis and bail in green energy. Green revolution is the solution to the financial crisis.”
SubPrime and the Short Term View
Gore pointed to the subprime mortgage, which the finance world assumed that a greater volume of subprime mortgages backed up by securities would handle the risk, and that assumption was wrong.
It is particularly not sustainable for solar companies who have included renewable tax credits in their business plans when government has allowed renewable tax credits to expire at least 17 times. This causes investors to turn over 80% of their portfolios, because they are driven mainly be short-term quarterly earnings.
To be sustainable, businesses have to look at the long term view and recognize the limits of natural resources.
Where does innovation take us now that words like green, organic, recyclable, locally-sourced are flying around? Is it enough for businesses to simply cut costs to improve efficiency?
IDEO says it’s not enough and companies need to look at how to improve demand for innovative products by looking at individuals to understand their needs better and to tell stories that help consumers understand what it is that they are buying.
Transforming Green Hype into Sustainable Demand
IDEO is a creative design firm headquartered in Palo Alto that looks at opportunities to change products, services, and other offerings. Yesterday, IDEO hosted a workshop called “The Demand Side of Sustainability” to answer questions about how to get consumers attracted to sustainable products. With all the hype around “green” and some companies claiming they are green, more eco-conscious customers are more likely to be dubious about how sustainable a product really is.
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California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger took the stage today in San Francisco at a Commonwealth Club event to celebrate the state’s success in its global warming fighting leadership. If it wasn’t obvious that the bodybuilder-turned-superstar actor-turned-governor wasn’t the typical politician, it was as he was received with a standing ovation as a Republican in one of the most progressive cities in the world, during a particularly heated election season.
In his usual self-deprecating style, Schwarzenegger compared cutting the state’s carbon footprint to the approach one might take to losing a few pounds through dieting–something the former Mr. Universe and 7-time Mr. Olympia might know a thing about–by stepping on the scale, setting a goal, and making changes in one’s lifestyle. The California (pronounced Cal-ee-for-KNEE-a, since Schwarzenegger took office in 2003) legislation that he signed into law 2 years ago commits the state to cutting emissions to 1990 levels, a 25% reduction, by 2020, and to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050, sidestepping Washington’s rejection of Kyoto.
Global Warming and Man on the Moon
While the implementation of such dramatic cuts in carbon emissions is easier talked about than done, Schwarzenegger drew parallels to Kennedy’s commitment to transport man to the moon, leading with vision, inspiration, and support, rather than R&D that should have been left to NASA. Kennedy was leading a movement and Arnold has clearly demonstrated his interest in playing a leading role in fighting global warming. He also appealed to the typical Californian who can cut her footprint by 25% immediately by making small changes in her life that add up, such as driving less, washing clothes in cold water, considering solar power, turning lights off, etc.