IBM’s offers software to green IT.

| Thursday May 22nd, 2008 | 1 Comment

You might think updating hardware would be the best option for reducing energy consumption when it comes to computers, but software can play a large part as well. At IBM’s PULSE 08 conference, the company said it was pushing IT clients to adopt their energy-saving software. IBM’s Tivoli software, a systems management tool, is reported to manage power better and by extension lower carbon emissions and lower costs for the client. IBM’s WebSphere software is also reported to lower energy costs by using virtual applications. IBM also offers Rational Team Concert, software that enables collaboration on multi-site development.
Virtual collaboration should reduce the need for excessive travel. IBM is also offering “self-assessment tools” which would allow clients to set goals and monitor success. IBM says that reducing people’s need to travel, making software more efficient, and making applications virtual are the three main components to reducing the environmental impact of the IT world. With multitudes of servers using so much energy, the IT world is probably looking for software solutions.

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Creative Citizen Launches the Action-Based Green Wiki

| Thursday May 22nd, 2008 | 2 Comments

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Creative Citizen recently launched their public beta after being in private beta since September 2007. The two founders, Argam DerHartunian and Scott Badenoch, believe that their service is a key piece to what has been missing in the environmental movement. The two created a wiki-platform to embrace and harness the fact that sustainability is amorphous at best and is truly comprised of endless moving targets. At the same time, they’ve given quantifiable metrics to “going green” that should work to shift people from confusion to action.
When you see that something like turning the water off while you brush your teeth can save thousands of gallons of water a year, you’re more likely to start turning that water off. The site works as a place to tabulate and compile the world’s environmental information by housing it in the form of Creative Solutions, or actions you can take to become green. Solutions can be either habits, products or services and Creative Citizen encourages all companies selling things that claim to be green to post a solution about their product or service. Argam says that this is particularly valuable for green companies looking to exhibit their products and services. “The technology we’ve developed optimizes each solution for high search engine rankings and allows green companies to gain the visibility they need across the web.” Signing up and posting solutions is completely free for anyone.

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3P SoundBite: Kandy Kidd of Real Estate Brokerage, Studley, Inc.

| Thursday May 22nd, 2008 | 0 Comments

studley.jpg3P SoundBite emerged from our desire to show that entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs in sustainability come from all different walks of life…they could be people you know, or they could even be you! Every Thursday, we bring you a new profile and a new perspective.
This week, we went to Green Drinks in Palo Alto, Calif. to find out what’s new with people in sustainability.
The concept of the “integrated triple bottom line” means that businesses need to change their approach and influence stakeholders, no matter which industry.
Kandy Kidd is a relative newcomer to the sustainability approach: she is now one of three real estate brokers for Studley, Inc. that holds a LEED Professional Accreditation status as of this year.

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Google Earth Now Allows You Look Into The Future And See The Planet Sink

| Thursday May 22nd, 2008 | 0 Comments

brownzeit.jpg If you hadn’t cottoned on to the idea that the planet might be in trouble, you now can see for yourself on Google Earth. If you click on the link, you’ll land on a project by Google and the British government aimed at showing you and millions of internet users what the planet will look like if future predictions about melting ice caps come true.

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Radical Solution to Climate Change: Global Dimming through Sulphur

| Thursday May 22nd, 2008 | 7 Comments

dimming.jpgTim Flannery, author of The Weather Makers and Australia’s best-known global warming expert, yesterday released a new climate forecast. Since his last major forecast in 2005, he has projected a direr outcome and in turn suggests consideration of radical solutions to the global warming phenomenon, including ‚Äòdimming’ through sulphur.
Professor Flannery spoke at a business and sustainability conference at Parliament House in Australia on Monday. He has brought to national media attention new science results that show how the world is more susceptible to and affected by greenhouse gas emissions; more so than has ever been considered previously. For Flannery, greenhouse gases that are present in the atmosphere today are already having too great an impact, regardless of changes made to emission levels in the future.

“The current burden of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere is in fact more than sufficient to cause catastrophic climate change”

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Conscious Capitalism: From Social Responsibility to the “Experience Economy”

| Wednesday May 21st, 2008 | 0 Comments

Consious capitalism and the meaning based economy“We’re now hip deep, if not drowning, in the ‘experience economy’.”

I recently attended Part 2 of the Commonwealth Club’s panel discussion Conscious Capitalism (part 1 of the discussion was held last January and is available online at Fora.TV – Part 2 should be available there soon).

Panel members included:

Conscious capitalists all… 

Uh huh, and what does that mean?

Exactly!

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Landfill Gas: A Valuable Resource?

Sarah Lozanova | Wednesday May 21st, 2008 | 3 Comments

wm.jpgLandfill gas, comprised mostly of carbon dioxide and methane gas, is a byproduct of trash as it breaks down. Methane is a particularly menacing greenhouse gas, which has 20 times the global warming effect of carbon dioxide. Unfortunately landfills are abundant in our society, which continue to emit landfill gas for decades after a landfill is closed. With all the bad news surrounding methane and landfills, one wouldn’t expect to hear about an innovative source of energy.
When tapped, landfill gas can be a valuable source of energy that mitigates the effects that such gas has on climate change. This energy can be used to produce electricity, heat buildings, or fuel trucks.

Fuel from Trash Will Power California Garbage Trucks

300 garbage collection trucks in California will soon be fueled by the same trash that they haul. Landfill gas will be purified and liquefied, producing up to 13,000 gallons of liquefied natural gas (LNG) daily.

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UK Restaurant Study Reveals Dining Out Produces 100 Times More CO2 Compared To Eating In

| Wednesday May 21st, 2008 | 0 Comments

tomoto.jpgEver thought about how a visit to a restaurant impacts your carbon footprint? Recent research shows that food served in over 40 London restaurants is not just slightly CO2 intensive, but that in many cases restaurant food produces over 100 times more CO2 than locally bought ingredients.

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High Tech with Heart: Intel & Grameen Bank Seek to Bridge the Digital Divide

| Wednesday May 21st, 2008 | 0 Comments


Intel Corp. Chairman Craig Barrett on May 19 announced that Intel Capital and Grameen Trust, the micro-finance-community development pioneer founded by Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, will create a business venture dedicated to social and economic development in poor communities throughout the developing world.
The initiative, which will be launched in Bangladesh, aims to bridge the digital divide that excludes many of the world’s most wanting from taking part in and reaping the benefits of the information and computing technology advances that have so quickly become a keystone in the functioning of modern economies and societies.
During his opening day keynote at the World Congress on Information Technology 2008 in Kuala Lumpur, Barrett also announced a collaborative effort with NetHope and demonstrated for the first time the new Aid Station device designed to support NGOs in their health care, disaster relief and economic relief efforts.

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Carrot Mob: Flipping Consumer Activism On Its Head

| Wednesday May 21st, 2008 | 6 Comments

carrot%20mob.png While it seems the Exxon needs the force of the Rockefeller family led investor revolt to get it to budge on directing more energy towards renewable energy and taking climate change seriously, is that always the case? Do companies need to be compelled forcibly by threat of boycott, protest, regulation or other forms of financial punishment to effect change? Carrot Mob has a different idea, turning group activism on its head to an entirely more positive model.
It’s often said that you vote with your dollars, and what you buy sends signals to companies. But what if, rather then as individuals supporting businesses we like, or boycotting them en masse, we as a crowd were harnessed to financially reward companies that make the most change, as compared to other companies competing for the honor? What if we dropped the stick, and put out a carrot, that carrot being that you will have a “Carrot Mob” descend on your store and make a point of buying from you on a specified date, and perhaps even ongoing? That, I imagine, would be quite the motivation for a business to extend itself to make the effort to change or improve how they do business, generating immediate financial returns, positive press, and longer term goodwill from consumers.
In a video on the Carrot Mob site, exactly this is demonstrated.

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Mechanical Fin Power: Oceanic Power Generation

| Wednesday May 21st, 2008 | 2 Comments

biopower.jpgTim Finnigan, a professor of ocean engineering at the University of Sydney in Australia designed a radical oceanic energy collector inspired by the design of shark tails. Mimicking the successful evolutionary design of the fish species, he constructed a device that seizes the power of the sea. “I realized the systems that function the best are the ones that already exist there,” said Finnigan.
The BioStream design is modeled after the most efficient tailfins the sea offers, that of tuna and sharks. The fins are crescent-shaped and stiff and effectively generate a powerful and seamless thrust. The device works rather simply; it is anchored into place in the sea bed with 32-foot rock-bolt anchors. Utilizing a smart and effective cable and pulley system, the BioStream device is tugged toward the sea floor and latched into place via an autonomic latching mechanism. The installation process from start to finish takes less than three days to complete.

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Shareholder Activism Turns to “Revolt” Against Exxon’s Stance on Climate Change

| Tuesday May 20th, 2008 | 3 Comments

Rockefellers lead shareholder revolt against exxonJohn D. Rockefeller founded the core business that is now ExxonMobil, creating a family fortune worth billions of dollars. A report in the Guardian.co.uk yesterday says that family fortune is now leading a “shareholder revolt” against Exxon, calling for a shake-up in leadership at the world’s largest, and some might argue least favorite, oil company (if anyone really has a “favorite” oil company).

At the heart of the growing investor dissatisfaction is Exxon’s intransigence in its position on climate change. While other large oil companies are committing large scale investment in alternative energy Exxon remains committed to the idea that such technology is not economically viable.

The Rockefeller family has sponsored four shareholder resolutions demanding changes in Exxon’s governance. One of the resolutions is for CEO Rex Tillerson to step down from his role as chairman to allow an outsider to sit on the board and bring a fresh perspective – get a real debate going on the board and perhaps bring about a change of direction.

In the UK, the resolution calling for an independent board chairman is backed by F&C Asset Management, Morley Fund Management, the Co-Operative Insurance Society, and the West Midlands Pension Fund.

In the U.S. advisory firms RiskMetrics, Glass Lewis, and Proxy Governance all urge fund managers to back the resolution.

The growing support for the resolution and dissatisfaction from investors may lead to an embarrassing defeat for ExxonMobile at its annual meeting later this month.   

Exxon’s general response to the brewing revolt is that the board knows best. In a written response earlier this month Exxon said that the board has “considerable experience and unique knowledge of the challengers and opportunities the company faces”

Apparently a growing number of investors don’t agree.

Further Reading
GlobalWarmingisReal: Wind Energy Investment Can Provide Jobs and Energy Security for the Cost of Four Months in Iraq
Energy and Capital: The True Cost of Oil
AlterNet: It’s the Obscene Profits, Stupid! Exxon’s Enormous Gains from the U.S. Keep Growing

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ClimatePULSE: Municipalities and Carbon Markets (Part 2)

| Tuesday May 20th, 2008 | 0 Comments

CC_logo_small.jpgLast week, ClimatePULSE looked at some of the complexities specific to municipal climate change mitigation projects and at some of the typical difficulties that municipal project leaders experience in generating credits from their projects. The conclusion was that municipalities and their projects can generate credits in numerous ways, but only if there is clear municipal ownership of the reductions and if those emissions can be accounted for in a very detailed and accurate way. This week, the discussion will focus on how municipalities can put this conclusion into practice to generate credits for the carbon market.
The key to ensuring municipal ownership of the GHG reduction is in understanding the types of sources of municipal GHG emissions. Municipal GHG emissions, like those of any other organization, include numerous sources of direct and indirect emissions from within and beyond the geopolitical boundaries of the municipality. However, unlike the majority of other (especially private sector) organizations, emissions related to actions within the boundaries of the municipality can fall into more than one category: they may be corporate/government or community emissions.

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IBM Invents Super Cheap Solar Technology

| Tuesday May 20th, 2008 | 4 Comments

Solar energy is child’s play. Just use a magnifying glass in the sun and you’re generating energy in a jiffy. It’s what scientists at IBM are doing. They’ve launched what they claim to be breakthrough solar energy which is among the cheapest solar solutions around.

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UPS Stays In the Driver’s Seat With Alternative Fuel Technology

| Monday May 19th, 2008 | 0 Comments

UPS expands its alternative fuel fleetOn May 13th UPS announced the purchase of 200 hybrid-electric and 300 compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles, further adding to what is the largest “green” or alternative fuel commercial fleet in the industry (see my recent post about the UPS Telematics program). The purchase of 500 new alternative-fuel vehicles will grow that fleet 30% from 1,718 to 2,218 low-carbon vehicles.

On Friday I had the opportunity to speak with Robert Hall, Director of Vehicle Engineering for UPS, about this latest expansion and the general philosophy that drives UPS in alternative fuel vehicles.  

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