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Enjoy simulations and war games? Interested in politics and how national energy policy is formulated and how it is affected by our dependence on foreign oil? Care to get a sense of what the challenges and complexities of life are like in the corridors of power? Well, then you’ll probably get an education and enjoyment out of Oil ShockWave, a free energy crisis simulation and curriculum box set put together by Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) in collaboration with the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
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Tropical shrimp. Netherlands. Sustainable. What do these words have to do with each other? They describe what and where the Happy Shrimp company is. In a recent video on the Enviu Lab blog, a new sustainable innovation lab to be opened in late 2008, they showcased a number of ecopreneurists out of the Rotterdam area. Of particular interest was the Happy Shrimp company, the first tropical shrimp farm in Europe.
What makes them so sustainable? On a basic level, being a producer of products that might otherwise need to be shipped from at least Madrid, more likely Asia and South America, is in itself going to have a big impact, both in transport, and the energy to keep it frozen.
But it goes much further then that. Companies, take note!
“How can we make the world a better place? One electric car at a time.”
That’s the driving force (if you’ll excuse the pun) behind a partnership between a Danish energy company and Silicon Valley startup Project Better Place, announcing their plan to establish an electric car network in Denmark powered through 20,000 wind powered recharging stations. The cars will be recharged at night, when wind turbines are spinning but demand on the grid is low. DONG Energy will work with Project Better Place in the project, set to start in 2011 at a cost of $42.3 million. CEO of DONG Energy Anders Eldrup said, “With this project, we hope to contribute substantially to reducing CO2 emissions from Danish cars.”
The cars will be manufactured by Renault-Nissan using advanced lithium-ion battery packs produced in a joint venture by Nissan and NEC in Japan.
Project Better Place is the brainchild Israeli-American entrepreneur Shai Agassi, whose first project in Israel was announced last January.
Writing in his blog, Agassi likens the concept to a virtual oil field, “one that will never run dry, and will not kill us in the process…”
Project Better Place has secured $200 million in its first round of funding and plans on focusing on developing a repeatable model of establishing a grid of recharging stations powered by local operating companies. The company is currently talking with several governments in hopes of creating more pilot projects.
One electric car at at time.
Rainforest Alliance’s SmartWood certification guarantees that the hardwoods provided were harvested responsibly. Accordingly, the certified producers of these hardwoods are also making moves to maximize the habitat and watershed preservation. Synthetic pesticides are also slated to be reduced, however, not eliminated altogether.
For example, one fine and legendary use for this SmartWood has been implemented by Les Paul. He has designed a mahogany and muirapiranga electric guitar using only certified SmartWood. And by the way Les Paul can still rip it at the ripe old age of 92. Not half bad…
The Alliance has a mission, and that is, simply put, to encourage a stronger on-the-ground forestry practice that rewards businesses, governments and communities for meeting the required standards for sustainability. Local community support and biodiversity practices are a critical aspect to the program. Since the founding in 1989, the SmartWood council has certified some 2,300 operations and 43,000,000 million hectares in over 60 countries up to the code of FSC standards.
I’ve read in more than one place that 100 square miles of solar panels in the U.S. would meet all our energy needs. Wondering if you thought this was accurate and, if so, achievable?
Wouldn’t it be great if we could completely switch from being a carbon-based economy to being a solar-based economy? The answer shouldn’t be too hard to find but the conclusions might surprise you.
Solar photovoltaic modules or panels convert beams of energy from the sun — photons — into electrons, which we can then use as electricity. According to Dan Berger, senior project designer at SPG Solar, we receive about 6.5 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per square meter of solar energy per day, or 2,373 kWh per square meter per year. At 12 percent efficiency, the solar panels generate 285 kWh per year. The average American used 12,000 kWh in 2003, so each person would need around 42 square meters of solar panels (about 450 square feet).
Continue reading at: http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/2008/04/07/ask_pablo_solar/index.html
Water shortages are on the rise, from Mexico to the Andes, northern China to southern India, and Spain to Pakistan. Drought, soaring populations and population densities, changing diets, and increasing living standards are all factors. Is this an issue that technology can fix?
Judging by investors’ responses, technology can at least mitigate the problem. FourWinds will invest up to $4.7 billion in water treatment and desalinization and companies that make meters, pumps, and pipes.
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With the launch and ongoing development of its Emissions Trading Scheme, the European Union stepped forward and has been the prime mover when it comes to trying to cap carbon dioxide emissions, both within its growing borders and internationally – by establishing market-driven mechanisms that put a price on them, thereby enabling industry, private investors and government agencies to factor them into resource allocation and investment decisions. But have carbon dioxide emissions declined or leveled off as a result? Yes, according to “The European Carbon Market in Action: Lessons from the First Trading Period,” an interim report from an international team of contributors prepared by the Mission Climat of Caisse des Depots.
In addition to establishing the world’s first, and by far the largest, market for emissions allowances, the ETS’s three-year Phase I trial period has been successful in a number of significant ways, the authors maintain. The Phase I trial period has established a basis of price, market mechanics and emissions data that is benefiting market participants, industry and commerce, researchers and policy makers, paving the way for its expansion and more widespread and substantial progress in ETS Phase II, which began this year and runs through 2012. Moreover, it has been a boon and catalyst for the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism and Joint Initiative.
In addition, problems relating to supply-demand conditions, free vs. auctioned allowances and windfall profits, and regarding emissions data collection and forecasting methods and models were identified and factored into European Commission and individual national government policies, national allocation and market development plans.
For that strange little cross section of environmentalist and videophile, there is a high definition TV out there for you. I’m talking about the recently launched, CES award-winning Philips 42PFL5603D Flat TV 42″, better known as the Eco TV. The problem is that you may never hear about it.
The set is RoHS compliant, meaning it is virtually free of the six major heavy metals including lead, mercury and cadmium that are a danger to your health and the environment. It also uses less energy by dimming in response to ambient light and using a mere 0.15W on standby. The packaging and manuals use recycled material for a nice touch. The set runs in full 1080p and uses Philips Pixel Plus HD technology to remove artifacts so you’ll always get a nice image. And at $1399.99, the set is comparably priced.
Sounds great, right?
Welcome to “ClimatePULSE with ClimateCHECK”, a weekly blog on Triple Pundit covering the world of GHG management and GHG markets in North America. ClimateCHECK is a top tier provider of credible, practical and innovative greenhouse gas (GHG) management for carbon commodities and clean technology solutions. We guide our clients through risk management and compliance issues and into innovative GHG management solutions that create value by improving environmental and economic returns; something we like to call the “double dividend” approach.Click to continue reading »
Despite the amount of time we spend in homes and offices, most of us are not aware of the indoor air pollution in our personal and work environments. In fact, most Americans spend a minimum of 90 percent of their lives indoors. Considering this staggering statistic, it’s a wonder why more people are not at least as concerned about the quality of air inside, as they are about the air outside.
The every day products we purchase and use as consumers in our homes or indoor environments release harmful chemicals into the air we breathe and re-breathe day in and day out. From TVs to shampoos, draperies and air fresheners: all can contribute to toxic environments.
It was announced yesterday that Dell Computer’s 2.1 million-square-foot headquarters in Round Rock, Texas is now powered entirely with renewable energy. 60% of the energy is supplied by wind power generated by Energy Future Holdings Corp.’s TXU Energy and the remaining 40% from Waste Management’s landfill gas-to-energy plant.
Dell, a participant in Austin Energy’s GreenChoice® power program, also announced it is increasing it’s renewable energy at its Austin Parmer Campus from 8 to 17%.
In Twin Falls, Idaho, Dell powers a call center with all renewable energy, 97% from wind and 3% from solar.
All this is in step with Dell’s goal, announced last fall, of going carbon neutral in 2008.
President Paul Bell challenged other technology firms to follow suit and take the lead in helping create a new energy future,
“It’s time for our industry to take a lead role in creating a clean energy future. Today, we are challenging every technology company to work with their suppliers and partners in integrating green power and energy-efficient strategies into their operations.”
Oh, and it’s saving the company money as well: Says Bell, “We’re using green technology to drive operating expense down.”
“Sustainability is the Opportunity”
-Jeff Mendelsohn, Founder and President of New Leaf Paper
Last evening Triple Pundit founder Nick Aster and I attended one of the series of “Business Conversations” presented by the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and SF Works in partnership with Net Impact, Sustainable Industries, the Social Venture Network, and Pacific Community Ventures.
The program focused on “building a socially responsible brand for the conscious consumer”.
The panel included Matthew and Terces Engelhart of Cafe Gratitude, Lori Ann Thrupp, manager of sustainability and organic development for Fetzer Vineyards, and Jeff Mendelsohn, founder of New Leaf Paper. Kim Davis, currently a managing partner with BBMG and whose resume as a marketer and consultant in socially conscious branding is too long to list here, moderated the discussion.
50% of American consumers purchase from socially conscious businesses. According to CO-OP America’s Green Business Network and Conscious Media and Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS), “green” consumers put $230 billion dollars into the economy, and the number is on the rise.
The panel discussed issues and challenges of creating and maintaining a socially conscious business, from Fetzer’s sourcing of grapes to Cafe Gratitude’s lawsuit with a vendor who refused to provide bleach-free napkins, but throughout the discussion the message to me was one of aligning business with values.
As Cafe Gratitude’s Matthew Engelhart said, there is a growing feeling in America that business as usual “just isn’t working”. Greenwashing is inevitable as the “green” marketplace grows into the mainstream and the buzz words surrounding it are bandied about with increasing frequency, creating a challenge not only for consumers but for socially and environmentally minded businesses as well.
Through the clutter, those entrepreneurs, managers, and owners that align their own values with their business practices will ultimately reach their market and thrive. Not from a nifty sounding tagline or a highly-produced ad campaign, but from their own expression of value and values brought to the marketplace. The market is, after all, about people and what they value.
This isn’t to say there aren’t challenges in creating a socially responsible and sustainable brand. But as Jeff Mendelsohn simply and eloquently said, therein lies the opportunity.
Friday is a good day to watch a little Steven Colbert. The other day, Van Jones guest starred and rolled with Steven’s punches to give a pretty good depiction of the idea of a green economy and the potential for millions of associated jobs. Enjoy: