At the recent Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in Salt Lake City, Utah (Jan 28-Feb 1) a new tradeshow concept called Green Steps was introduced- designed to raise awareness on sustainability and showcase outdoor companies that support a healthy environment. Operating under the premise that retailers are increasingly interested in building relationships with exhibitors that support green business practices, it received high marks from both retailers and exhibitors and plans to implement “Green Steps” into future tradeshows is in the works. So remember to follow those green steps while at your next convention!
The Duke Energy Corporation has decided to take the lead in addressing the global warming problem by lobbying for a tax on carbon dioxide emissions that would reduce fossil fuel consumption.
Duke Energy CEO Paul Anderson says he personally feels, “the time has come to act – to take steps as a nation to reduce the carbon intensity of our economy.” Read more in Forbes.com.
As 2005 corporate shareholder meetings begin, investors and other stakeholders are demanding that companies exhibit more environmentally responsible behavior. Investors concerned about environmental degradation and its long-term impact on corporate profits are seeking to improve “green” performance. Read the story at Yahoo News
An organization called “Natural Connections” has come out with a fabulous map of greater Chicago that charts the remaining “green infrastructure” of the region. That is, greenways, forests & wetlands, so that trails, flood control, stormwater issues, etc.. can be better understood.
Also significant, the map ignores political boundaries such as city limits and state borders, whereas previously one had to gather data from a multitude of dis-unified sources. It’s also really cool to look at.
[Download the map here. Warning - it's a massive 8meg PDF]
Rocky Mountain Institute has some great new reading. Winning the Oil End Game, sponsored in part by the Pentagon, is a 300 page roadmap for weening the US “completely, attractively, and profitably off oil”. The stragegy starts with efficiency, then moves to biofuels and hydrogen, all while promoting jobs and business. Too good to be true? The whole book is available as a free PDF, so curl up with your laptop this weekend and have a gander.
As if 300+ days of sunshine were not incentive enough, Arizonans now have extra reason to go solar. Thanks to two new legislative bills, tax credits for residential solar projects will now cover 15% of the cost, up to $3,000. The legislation also lays down additional benefits for purchasing more efficient appliances. (via The Future is Green)
This month ClimateBiz.com is kicking off its brand-new Ask the Climate Expert column. Every other Monday, expert-in-residence Dr. Mark C. Trexler will answer readers’ questions on emissions reduction, climate risk management, and other hot topics. Read about Mark’s professional background and start getting your climate questions answered today!
The first online marketplace tracking site for trade in ecosystem services has been launched, with backing from giants ABN, AMRO and Citigroup, reports the WBCSD. The Ecosystem Marketplace will keep an eye on the quickly growing markets for carbon emissions, water, and even biodiversity.
QuadGraphics is one of Wisconsin’s most respected and successful companies. Faced with rising employee healthcare costs the company chose an innovative path – bringing most healthcare in house. Twenty six onsite doctors treat everything but the most serious cases, spending more time with fewer patients (who pay only $5 a visit) than in an ordinary health care setting. The company invests almost twice what other local companies do on primary care, but with such preventative measures in place, has seen overall healthcare costs drop 30% below average.
(more details in the Wall Street Journal, via Gil Friend)
Kurt Cobb points us to an article on Energy Bulletin that suggests ethanol is not everything it’s cracked up to be. By some measurements, it may take as many as 6 units of energy input to yeild one unit of ethanol output, and ironically, most of that input is fossil fuel-based fertilizer. Even if you were to grow corn organically, the amount of land used to produce ethanol would be tremendous and impractical, it is suggested. Energy Bulletin says investments in efficiency would have a far greater payoff in both environmental and financial terms.
The Department of Energy has come to an agreement with GM and DaimlerChrysler to develop hydrogen powered vehicles. The 4-state deal says that over the next five years, consumers will report back on the vehicle’s performance. In conjunction with the agreement, the DOE will provide $44 million for the project. One thing I can say for certain: If the Department of Energy offered me $44 million to develop fuel cells, I’d agree to it as well.
Commons Blog points today to a paper by UC Berkeley law professor Peter Menell illustrating the successes of ‘variable-rate pricing’ for solid waste disposal – basically paying fees based on weight or some other measurable factor. The results show that such plans are workable and do indeed reduce waste while increasing recycling. (full PDF here)
Suburban sprawl, the strip malls and car-oriented subdivisions that have come to characterize most American development, is regarded simultaneously as a pestilence and as a natural free-market phenomenon. So which is it? The trendy “smart growth” movement claims to have some answers, but all too often tries to fight sprawl with ever more draconian regulation. A Better Earth has a pretty well balanced look: (article here) Among the ironies – sprawl development is not as free-market as one might think, with developers rarely paying the true cost of infrastructure.
If the government quit subsidizing developments either way, then the market would really be free to determine whether or not large, sprawling suburbs are the best way to grow. And that’s the kind of growth that might actually be smart.
Defunct oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico may soon see another use as Fish Farms, according to CNN. Despite the widely publicised health and environmental problems associated with certain fish farms (BBC), the project has potential as a major boon to business and diet. If poorly managed, however, it could be just another filthy feed-lot.
Partially funded by the Canadian government, Drake Landing Development is building a 52-home solar powered community in freezing Alberta of all places. The solar system will harvest the sun’s rays in summer and use them to heat homes in winter. “This system significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions and demonstrates the importance of using clean, renewable energy sources,” Tommy Banks, a Canadian parliamentarian. Read more in Reuters