By Inimai M. Chettiar
We don’t yet know who will win the White House on November 4th. But what we do know is that the next administration will need to deal with a triplet of crises in the economy, environment, and energy. We’re watching the upward tick of the cost of a gallon of gas, the downward spiral of our economy, and the steady march towards 390 parts per million of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. Any one of these issues could make for a disaster. But as the three fronts converge, what we have is the perfect storm.
Our next President will have to guide us through these waters – and in order to do so, he’ll need some powerful tools. These problems will not be solved by nibbling around the edges with piecemeal policies. We’ll need to look to cross-cutting, innovative and holistic approaches – and that will probably mean government regulation.
If we can learn one thing from the collapse on Wall Street, it’s that sometimes we need regulation . . . and sometimes too little oversight is as dangerous as too much. The key for the new administration in taking on this trifecta of economic, environmental, and energy crises will be finding the balance. We will need to institute new regulations that address all three in a way that minimizes the negative effects on each one..
TriplePundit: Reporting on the Triple Bottom Line & Sustainable Business News
By Inimai M. Chettiar
- Motoring Advice: Saving Money and the Environment When Buying a Car
- Press release: #RBS is back – Embed sustainable innovation into your business model
- Wellness Travel: Meeting Consumer Demand & Serving Public Good
- New Sustain:Green MasterCard Brings Carbon Reduction Rewards and Sustainability to Everyday Purchases
This is a guest post by John Simonetta, owner of Proforma Green, an eco-friendly promotional items consultancy. John’s blogs are designed to keep us up to date on the “greening” of his industry.
A funny thing happened on the way to this post.
I wanted to write about the new line of e.c.o fleece items from Ash City – they use a fabric that is 75% recycled polyester/25% polyester.
These items are great for any eco-tourism or resort operating in a cold weather area, for eco-friendly landscaping work crews, maybe even as a resell item for a farmers market come the holiday season.
Energy efficiency measures adopted over the last 35 years have enabled California households to save $45 billion on their electricity bills and redirect spending toward other goods and services resulting in the creation of some 1.5 million jobs with a total payroll of $45 billion, according to “Energy Efficiency, Innovation and Job Creation in California,” a research study released today authored by David Roland-Holst of the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Energy, Resources and Economic Sustainability, or CERES.
De-coupling from a national trend, California’s adoption of landmark energy efficiency policies between 1972 and 2006 has led to per capita electrical power requirements 40% below the national average. Representing more than 70% of gross state product (GSP), household consumption is the most powerful of the Golden State’s economic drivers, Roland-Holst notes, while household expenditures are the primary determinant of state energy use.
Looking ahead towards building upon and amplifying these gains, Roland-Holst finds that by factoring in innovation, the package of policies proposed in the state’s climate change/global warming action Draft Scoping Plan, due up for final review by the California Air Resources Board in December, achieves 100 percent of the greenhouse gas emission targets mandated by AB 32 while increasing Gross State Product by some $76 billion. Real household incomes would increase by as much as $48 billion and as many as 403,000 new energy efficiency and climate action related jobs would be created.
Released in June 2006, the California Air Resources Board’s Draft Scoping Plan is a policy roadmap crafted to meet the emissions reduction targets of AB 32, which calls for reducing greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2020. That translates to eliminating 169 million metric tons of carbon equivalent by 2020 and stabilizing at 427 mmtCO2 overall.
For the full report follow this link.
This week in ClimatePULSE we take a look at the top 10 green states. But more specifically, those states that have recently taken the lead in accommodating small-scale renewable energy projects. So, what U.S. states are taking that extra step to help individuals and small businesses that want to “go green”? This article will tackle that question with uninhibited enthusiasm and a touch of objectivity. And although this is by no means a general assessment of the environmental policies and practices of each U.S. state, it should help us better understand this year’s “Freeing the Grid” report and particularly which states have the best net metering and interconnection policies – those that allow customers to easily sell power back to the grid.Click to continue reading »
The Solar Power International 2008 exhibit hall has a tradition of showcasing new product launches and the latest in solar technology, and this year was no exception. The hardware represented this year, as well as conversations in the halls and conference sessions, highlighted one notable theme absent from past solar industry conference tradeshows I’ve attended in the US: the PV industry is facing a shortage of qualified installers.
With increasing focus on clean, domestic energy generation and federal ITC support now in place, a lack of qualified technicians and installers presents a potentially serious bottleneck to industry growth. In California alone, if the state is to reach its 1 million solar roofs initiative in 10 years, it will require more than 10,000 additional certified installers. This year’s innovative products on the floor attempted to address the problem by reducing the time and complexity of the installation process.
Product Innovation Focuses on Installation
The expo floor showcased a new breed of simplified panel technologies, including wiring, grounding, and mounting elements incorporated into the module framing systems themselves, and simplified wiring harnesses. Developers of microinverters module-integrated inverter systems also demonstrated powerline communications that promise to virtually eliminate all DC and communications wiring, reducing system design and installation requirements to an absolute minimum.
A potentially landmark trial (Boweto vs. Chevron) opens up next week in San Francisco involving the Chevron corporation. The trial, in case you’re not familiar with it, alleges Chevron is liable for the shootings of four protesters on an oil facility in Nigeria in 1998. Two protesters were killed and two others badly wounded by Nigerian soldiers allegedly hired by Chevron to carry out an attack on the protesters occupying the Parambe oil platform – claiming they were in fact kidnappers holding the rig hostage. The surviving protesters claim that they had reached a point of desperation in response to the foul environmental conditions caused by drilling that ruined their fishing livelihood and that they occupied the platform to demand attention from Chevron – peacefully.
Chevron claims that the only reason anyone knows about the incident is that they voluntarily reported it as a crime, saying that they had no idea violence would result by calling in the Nigerian military and lending them Chevron helicopters.
We all hear about the benefits that businesses derive from going green – cost savings, increased customer loyalty, great PR – and it seems that it’s the big brands that have embraced the opportunity most emphatically. But in fact, much of the ecological impact that our economy has on the planet occurs at a local level. Not only do global corporations impact the environment at a local level, but the millions of small businesses in the U.S. have a huge collective impact. And so it shouldn’t be surprising that much of the business opportunity can be found at a local level.
More than the global brands, a large percentage of small businesses interact with their clientele (their neighbors) at a local level. These are restaurants, gas stations, electricians, cleaners, and grocers. These are the businesses who consumers interact with the most, and at which they spend the most money. So it’s only a matter of time until consumers begin to understand the ecological footprint of the businesses they patronize and consequently make decisions about where to purchase based on that information.
Ever wanted to experience the emptiness of shopping for real? Visit FLOWmarket – it’s a real shop selling nothing you don’t really need. The concept originates in Denmark. The scarcity goods on offer in the shop all represent imbalances from the three flow dimension between the individual-the collective-the planet. That’s also the bottom line that keeps us busy here at Triple Pundit.Click to continue reading »
In recent days the news poured in from all corners of the earth; many, many countries are going to force their citizens to change their light bulbs. No joke – 27 countries in Europe, Australia, Canada, Cuba and the Philippines are all eliminating incandescent light bulbs as early as 2010 and replacing them by fluorescent bulbs. And the US 2008 energy bill phases out filament light bulbs for traditional use starting 2012 with an official ban effective in 2014.Click to continue reading »
The looming global economic recession won’t stand in the way of company plans to adapt their strategies for the effects of global warming. Instead, 90% of the bosses of the FTSE-100 companies believe action in favor of the environment is an impetus for business. A report just out by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) reveals that corporations are stepping up their efforts to measure and reduce carbon emissions in their supply chains. They also are getting more on target to elimininate carbon emissions linked with product use and disposal.Click to continue reading »
What if zero carbon building became the standard? What would towns look like? Are carbon free homes only for the rich? These questions dominate the news headlines in Great Britain, which is preparing to have all new houses being built to be zero carbon by 2016. The UK government issued the strictest rules in the world on its building industry two years ago and the impact of the new regulations is drastic.Click to continue reading »
Okay, I missed Blog Action Day’s Alleviating Poverty drive this past week, but I figure a little journalistic license is in order given the nature of the cause. Fortuitously, this gives me the opportunity to report on how efforts to alleviate poverty and foster ecologically and economically sustainable agricultural practices can work hand in hand.
The IUCN’s World Initiative on Sustainable Pastoralism is championing a cause, and people, that have traditionally been neglected, and exploited. According to a recently released WISP report, “pastoralism provides direct and indirect benefits to the environment in dryland areas and deserves more recognition of this contribution.”
Working side by side with Save the Children’s “Africa Region Pastoral Initiative” WISP also aims to help realize related United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals by working to alleviate poverty among pastoralists worldwide, particularly children. “Historically marginalized, pastoralists across sub-Saharan Africa are asking for change for their children and themselves,” states the group in its July 2008 “Children on the Move” report.
In this time of economic uncertainty, it’s reassuring to hear that we’re in the right field! Forbes has the hook on the increase in environmental jobs with salaries over $100,000.
They feature the top 10 environmental jobs in this salary range:
1. Chief Sustainability Officer
These are the folks who keep their company in line: making sure government regulations are met and suggesting environmentally friendly initiatives.
2. Environmental Engineer
Environmental Engineers minimize the environmental impact of construction and development projects. The demand for environmental engineers is projected to grow by 25% by 2016.
3. Environmental Lawyer
Environmental lawyers can represent environmental groups or their adversaries. Obviously the green choice is the former – Forbes doesn’t specify which one is the big economic winner, but I’m guessing the oil companies pay more than NRDC.
4. Climatologist/Environmental Meteorologist
Climatologists study the weather. Very important as we all become more interested in what’s happening with global warming.
5. Renewable Energy Manager
Lots of jobs managing all those new renewable portfolio projects for the utilities or the solar, wind, and biofuel companies.