Archives for December, 2011

If you look closely, that box of Kleenex just got a slight touch of green. Prologis and Southern California Edison recently partnered with Kimberly-Clark, owner of global brands including Kleenex, Scott and Huggies, to install one of the country’s largest single rooftop solar arrays on Kimberly-Clark’s distribution center in Redlands, Calif. The 350,000-square-foot installation expanded…

Prices in Europe’s carbon emissions trading scheme have collapsed this year, in part because there were too many allowances in the system starting off, threatening the future of the whole market. “Without intervention … Europe’s climate policy is over,” one analyst said. Some of Europe’s biggest energy and manufacturing firms also wrote a letter to…

The Solyndra uproar and the recent International Trade Commission decision to investigate Chinese solar panel manufacturers threaten to distract us from what we need most: a proactive, long-term clean and sustainable energy strategy. If you look beyond the partisan politics that have recently engulfed the solar industry, two irrefutable facts stand out. First, the solar…

It’s been what seems a long time in coming, but Ford finally officially pulled the wraps off its brand-new electric vehicle, (EV) the 2012 Focus Electric recently, and also said that production of the sporty, five-seat hatchback has gotten underway at its Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, MI. This is the company’s second EV, following…

In North Korea’s capital city of Pyongyang, pictured above last year on May Day, light radiates from Juche Tower, the monument built to commemorate the 70th birthday of ruler Kim Il Sung in 1982. But that power did not flow to the nation’s people. Among the deprivations that marked the nuclear-armed era of Kim’s son,…

As the COP17 conference concluded in South Africa with what has been called “modest” progress on stemming climate change, a bolder plan in Scotland to reduce emissions and move toward renewable energy faces criticism over costs and lack of planning. A government audit released this month found that Scotland’s plan to reduce emissions by 42…

While the Tesla Roadster is still the sexiest car in the electric vehicle market, companies are piling on the industry this year. Ford released its first electric car, the Focus Electric, along with a partnership with Best Buy to sell home charging stations. Rolls Royce also unveiled its new electric car, the 102EX, for the…

It’s a mystery to us how a light bulb came to symbolize a bright idea, because they’ve produced only dim-bulb thinking in Washington lately. As part of a $1 trillion stopgap spending bill passed by Congress on Friday, the incandescent light bulb has received a reprieve. Originally, under a bipartisan measure signed by President Bush…

In its dealmaking on a $1 trillion budget to avoid a federal government shutdown, the U.S. Congress is poised to commit the nation to spending more on energy waste in the coming year. In the fine print of the 1,200-page bill approved late Thursday in the House, lawmakers voted to prohibit the U.S. Department of…

In Durban, Neither Salvation nor Failure

After two busy weeks, COP17 in Durban was extended by a full day and then went well into a second, with long nights of negotiation along the way. Eventually a deal emerged which has polarized both the media and blogosphere between being the salvation of mankind or the quick route to runaway warming. In reality…

Even before more than 2,000 retailers got together to create Free Shipping Day 2011 on Friday, Dec. 16, there have been so many free shipping offers this holiday shopping season than even Santa’s elves couldn’t keep up with them. With FedEx, UPS and the United States Postal Service (USPS) expecting to deliver millions of packages…

In a surprise turnaround, the United Nations climate talks managed to produce a new deal to eventually curb global emissions moving forward. In a press release announcing the agreement, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) called it a “breakthrough.” The new agreement marks a break from the Kyoto Protocol, which divided the…

Ohio? No disrespect toward the Buckeye State intended, but when it comes to a compiling of green school in the nation — schools with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-registered and certified projects — you’d have to guess California to be the likely winner, based on sheer size alone. But no, according to the…

GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman expressed skepticism about the science on climate change, so now all GOP candidates are on the record as doubting either that the planet is clearly warming, or that people are responsible for most of the warming. Of all the GOP candidates, Huntsman had been the most supportive of action on…

General Motors is on its way to becoming the premier automaker in all technology related to electric vehicle safety and reliability. The recent reporting and follow-up investigation of a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) event involving a Chevy Volt (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) is the ideal catalyst for driving EV technology forward and our…

After reaching an all-time high in 2010, this year the nuclear power capacity—the amount of electricity that all the world’s nuclear power plants can produce—took a dip. (Related: World Electricity Mix Interactive) The earthquake-tsunami disaster at the Fukushima power plants in Japan, which are still being cleaned up, led many to sour on nuclear energy.…

A sign on Paquet Hall boasts that it is “the first and still the finest berthing” at Pearl Harbor. The three-story Bachelor Enlisted Quarters, built in a U-shape to enclose a palm-lined courtyard, survived the December 7 surprise attack 70 years ago to become a cherished part of the base’s history. This year, the 1927…

The Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012, but there seems little chance that the 17th Conference of the Parties in Durban, South Africa, will end with an international plan on the next steps for climate change. The major sticking point remains how to split the responsibility for emission cuts between developed and developing economies.

Somewhere, pigs are flying and hell must be icing up, because Congress has actually spent some time discussing the electrical grid. As usual, however, they’re locked in another partisan squabble, but procrastinating on addressing the more fundamental danger. Over the past week, the Environmental Protection Agency has been defending its new, tighter air quality rules…

President Obama, frustrated by the extreme political infighting in Congress, took action today to promote part of his green technology agenda. He unveiled plans to move forward with nearly $4 billion in combined federal and private sector energy upgrades to buildings over the next two years as part of something called the Better Business Initiative…

There’s some rare good news on the energy pollution front, confirmed by groundbreaking new use of satellite imagery. Emissions of sulfur dioxide, the acid rain precursor that ravages respiratory health, have fallen in half since 2005 over what has been one of the most coal-heavy areas of the eastern United States, reported scientists using the…

In Durban, South Africa, the latest round of United Nations climate negotiations opened with a plea from South Africa’s president, Jacob Zuma, for countries to look beyond national interests. So far, however, the talks have been marked by many of the same divisions that plagued earlier meets. A coalition of environmental groups—including the Natural Resources…

Can Global Emissions Really Be Reduced?

With delegates, energy/environment ministers, business representatives and NGO leaders now in Durban for COP17, attention again turns to the pressing issue of actually reducing global emissions. The current UNFCCC conference comes against the backdrop of two grim statistics of recent weeks — the record year-on-year (2009 to 2010) jump in global emissions just announced by…