Plugged In: The End of the Oil Age

Shannon Arvizu | Thursday May 29th, 2008 | 1 Comment

pluggedin.jpg The greening of the transportation sector is rife with conflict. Frequent debates occur over the benefits and disadvantages of several emerging technologies. Which has better energy-efficiency? Hydrogen or battery electric? Which is more feasible in the short-run? Plug-in hybrids or biodiesel? Which is more eco-friendly? Hybrids or compressed natural gas? The answers to these questions depend on who one asks. Interest groups, auto and oil giants, entrepreneurs, and consumer-activists all offer varying opinions on how we can best meet the climate challenge through the adoption of new vehicle technologies.
A new book, Plugged In: The End of the Oil Age, provides what I have found to be the most comprehensive, well-researched, succinct, and up-to-date source yet on the topic. Published by the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) and authored by Dr. Gary Kendall, a former petroleum industry scientist, the book is available for free and downloadable from this site.

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Exxon Squares Off With Rockefellers, Shareholders

| Thursday May 29th, 2008 | 7 Comments

exxon-rextillerson.JPG Last week, 3P reported that a “shareholder revolt” was fomenting against the leadership of ExxonMobil, and yesterday marked the showdown between the two groups at the annual meeting in Dallas. Characterized as “bruised, but victorious” by the Guardian.co.uk, Exxon’s chairman and CEO, Rex Tillerson, emerged from the meeting with his leadership intact as the revolt failed to capture full support from shareholders. Tillerson, though is viewed as being more progressive than his predecessor, Lee Raymond (who in 2005, dismissed alternative fuels as “inconsequential“), is nonetheless perceived as being resistant to investing in alternative energy. And despite the support of over 70 descendants of the Rockefeller dynasty, including great-great-grandson, Peter O’Neill, and great-granddaughter, Neve Rockefeller Goodwin, the resolution to divide Tillerson’s power only received 39.5% of the shareholder vote.

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ALC-EU Summit, Peru 2008

| Thursday May 29th, 2008 | 0 Comments

logocumbre_2.jpg On May 14th, as the French coastal city of Cannes swelled with celebrities, with heavyweights such as Spielberg, Polanski, and the like littering the streets for the famous annual film festival, the streets of Lima experienced an equally similar and momentous influx of its own. On the same day, heads of state from Latin American, Caribbean, and European Union countries met in Peru for the ALC-EU Summit, the fifth meeting of its kind, to discuss bi-regional development. And the big names there took the form of Merkel, Lula, and Calderon, to name a few.
The summit, which was first held in Rio in 1999, was formed with the intent to create a forum to discuss issues of poverty, equality, and social justice in Latin American countries. This year’s summit, however, had a slightly different slant and beyond poverty, focused on the environment, specifically sustainable development, climate change, and energy policy.

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How Equity Analysts Valuate Global Warming Impact On Companies

| Thursday May 29th, 2008 | 0 Comments

verdantix.gifEquity analysts divide into three distinct groups based on their climate change perspective, according to a report from independent research firm Verdantix. The survey, entitled Equity Analysts Link Climate Change And Company Valuation shows that there are virtually equally sized groups of believers, sceptics and cynics.

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Triple Pundit Readers Get Free Tickets to Dwell on Design LA

Shannon Arvizu | Wednesday May 28th, 2008 | 0 Comments

dwell.gifIf you’ve ever wanted to green your home or workplace, then you’ll want to be at Dwell on Design LA on June 5-8, 2008. Dwell is hosting a conference and exhibition that brings together everyone who is anyone in the sustainable design field. Here is your chance to talk with architects, designers, and other trade professionals to get step-by-step advice on how to create an eco-friendly home or building. The public will also have the opportunity to tour 16 nearby homes that embody the “living lightly” aesthetic.
Triple Pundit readers get a free access pass to the exhibition floor which includes 200 exhibitors and “an entire neighborhood of full-scale pre-fab structures completely landscaped and furnished by Dwell.” To register, click here. For your free ticket, enter code: BDODEC. For a discounted conference ticket ($50 off), enter code: GRP22SP.

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World’s Largest Carbon Market Facilitates Pollution

| Wednesday May 28th, 2008 | 8 Comments

carbontrading.jpgAn article in the Guardian newspaper reveals that billions worth of ‘clean’ investment on the world’s largest carbon offsets market ends up polluting the environment. The article cites researchers who’ve reviewed the participating companies in the Kyoto Protocol Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). They issued a report which seriously undermines the credibility of the CDM.

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21st Century Grid: Smart Buildings Bring Demand Side Management into the Picture, Part One

| Wednesday May 28th, 2008 | 0 Comments

sky-pylon_small.jpg Forecasted growth in electricity demand, efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the steep rise in fossil fuel prices continues to shake up and transform electric utilities and power producers in the U.S. and Europe.
Much attention is being paid to the pressing need for power generation and infrastructure investment as industry members and government agencies try to map out a pathway that leads towards a smarter, 21st century grid.
With buildings accounting for an estimated 39% of total energy demand building smarter, “energy-aware” buildings – and even more importantly retrofitting existing structures – can, and is increasingly playing a major role in the transition
Demand side management – a new wrinkle brought about with the rise of distributed power generation options, integrated, real-time facility control and networking systems, automated metering systems and feed-in tariffs for homeowners generating surplus electricity and feeding it back into the grid – has become another focal point.
Trade associations such as Lonmark International are playing a formative and pivotal role in the process, working actively, and worldwide, to foster and facilitate the transition by establishing open industry standards, such as ANSI/EIA 709 and IEEE-1473-L, and certfied electrical power management and distribution software systems, products and services. Lonmark’s executive director Ron Bernstein took time out last week to speak with Triple Pundit.

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3P SoundBite: Tim O’Shea of CleanFish

| Wednesday May 28th, 2008 | 0 Comments

3P 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.
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Inspired by the initiatives taken by Niman Ranch where small family farms did not have to sell out their farms, in 2004, Tim O’Shea of CleanFish started intensive conversations with a seafood distributor to initiate a grassroots, guerilla marketing approach to change the fishing industry’s mass producing attitude towards fish. While the news continued to broadcast the problems with farm salmon and wild fisheries. Tim felt that both the media and environmental groups were sending out the wrong message of “Farm bad, wild good.”
His curiosity about the food chain and human detachment from getting the animal to your dinner plate led him on a quest to understand what was happening. As he tells it, after looking around for someone else to solve this huge problem, Tim finally decided that had to just “be a man” and take charge of this initiative.
Read on to learn more about food detachment, Click to continue reading »

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US Hemp Lobby Grows Stronger, Books Successes

| Wednesday May 28th, 2008 | 2 Comments

hemp.jpgA Canadian company called Ruth’s Hemp Foods last Monday became the first to introduce a hemp based cereal product on the US market. Hemp, a variety of the cannabis plant, is somewhat controversial in the US, but the lobby to get the plant legalized has booked several successes recently. Not least because hemp is believed to be a godsent in the battle against global warming.

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Tesla? Ha, who needs it! Here comes AMP!

| Wednesday May 28th, 2008 | 8 Comments

AMP%20electric%20car%20no%20oil%20needed.pngTesla has long dominated news of electric cars, with its sexy Ferrari-like styling, famous customers, and tabloid worthy behind the scenes politics. But what if you don’t have in excess of $109,000 for the base model? What if you don’t want to wait a year? What if you don’t want to settle for a close cousin of the golf cart? What if you’d like to travel further than your commute?
Up until now, your options were pretty well non existent. Now comes the AMP, which looks suspiciously like a Saturn Sky. That’s because it is, converted to be a plug in electric, with a 150 mile range, 0-60 in under 6 seconds, at a total pre-tax cost including the car of around $50,000. That’s $10,000 less then the deposit alone for a Tesla!

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Congressional Bills that address Climate Change

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Wednesday May 28th, 2008 | 0 Comments

All over Washington, you can hear the giant scraping sound of officials and legislators frantically back-tracking,” begins the U.S. edition of George Monbiot’s book Heat: How to Stop the Planet from Burning. In 2007 the sound of scraping must have echoed because the U.S. Senate introduced two climate change bills.
The Climate Security Act, also known as the Lieberman-Warner bill, after its two sponsors, Senators Joe Lieberman and John Warner, would establish a cap and trade program. It would require the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) administrator to establish a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions registry, and provides for the exchanging, transferring, submitting, retiring, or borrowing of emission allowances.

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KL M Proposes to Power Planes With Algae

| Wednesday May 28th, 2008 | 5 Comments

KLM.jpgThis has all the risks of being one of those hair-brained ideas thrown together to get attention and then amounting to being less than spectacular: KLM has partnered with a firm called AlgaeLink to produce an aviation fuel derived from Algae.
According to Radio Netherlands:

The Dutch carrier says if all goes according to plan 12 Fokker-50 planes – representing seven percent of KLM’s fleet – will fly on fuel derived from algae by 2010.

Most likely, the planes will be powered by a blend of fuels, though according to AlgaeLink (PDF here), KLM has every intention of running the 12 Fokkers on 100% biofuel.

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Intel Releases 2007 Corporate Responsibility Report

| Tuesday May 27th, 2008 | 2 Comments

Cit_002NTL_020108a.jpgIntel Corp. released its 2007 Corporate Responsibility Report earlier today. Voluntarily reporting in conformance with the Global Reporting Initative’s Sustainability Reporting Guidelines, the report provides insight into Intel’s worldwide operations and facilities for the fiscal year just past, as well as an extended five years’ worth of historical performance data, compiled and reported so as to provide a better perspective of trends.
Assessing the organization’s own performance using the GRI Index, Intel graded itself GRI Application B-plus. According to the company’s CR report, “At Intel, we believe that corporate responsibility is essential to our business. Our approach is motivated by our understanding that the success of our company cannot be separated from the health of the planet or the communities in which we operate. As a global technology and business leader, we believe that we are uniquely positioned to help advance environmental sustainability, improve education, and strengthen communities worldwide – through the innovative application technology and the hands-on commitment and leadership that we can provide.”

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Energy Scavenging: Squeezing Watts from Motion

| Tuesday May 27th, 2008 | 1 Comment

kneebracepower.jpg
Using the same technology that allows hybrid cars to recycle braking energy, Max Donelan invented a gadget that produces power from the human knee – capable of producing 2.5 watts of electricity per leg. The unit is not too practical at the moment, but the technology and potential is sound. Currently the knee power generator weighs in at 3.5 lbs and it looks very awkward to have strapped on. Although 2.5 watts doesn’t seem like too much it is enough to power 5 mobile phones free of charge or resource.
The thought of generating my own power through my own caloric fuel output is intriguing. With the rising costs of energy, creative ways of generating power cheaply is exactly what we need. It would appear that the days of inexpensive power are over so a little energy scavenging coupled with energy efficiency is as good a plan as any. Hardship drives innovation and the growing global energy crisis is spawning brilliant ideas into usable products and systems.

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Build It Well and Smart

| Tuesday May 27th, 2008 | 0 Comments

27seabrook0.190.jpgBuild it well, and smart, and they will come.
That’s a big part of the lesson from Seabrook, Washington, where a young developer named Casey Roloff has brought his New Urbanist approach to the state’s northern coastline. For decades, coastal development has failed in this part of the state, with nothing more than seedy resorts and strip malls to show for it. Meantime, the area’s logging and fishing industries have been on the steep decline for a while, with the unemployment rate currently at 7 percent.
Roloff’s plan was simple: construct quality buildings with good design, including porches and gabled roofs; make the streets walkable and bikable within a compact downtown area; create trails and easy ocean access; throw in a boutique hotel and organic community garden. Just the kind of place most people want to live in, and vacation in. While not perfect by any stretch – all development has costs, in Seabrook’s case the threat of gentrification and environmental impacts on water and sewer systems among them – the shift to an amenity-based economy, with construction jobs, tourism and a commitment to conservation, is a wave Roloff’s intent to ride all the way to bank. And at 36, he’s got plenty of time for surfing.

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