Tag archives for sustainability

Which is more important: Meeting energy demand, lowering carbon emissions, or conserving water? How about all three? The Three Big Challenges Facing the Electric Power Industry The U.S. electric power industry has huge challenges to meet in the coming decades. First and foremost it has to meet growing demand for electricity. By 2050 it is…

Putting more in than it takes out – across the board, that’s a key aspect of the bold sustainability plan the furniture giant IKEA says it will pursue over the next several years. The company on Tuesday vowed that by 2020 it will produce more renewable energy than it consumes in its stores and buildings. But what…

Buildings designed by Frank Gehry tend to function both as city landmarks and tourist attractions, and they certainly don’t come cheap. His works, which have been cited as among the most important works of contemporary architecture by World Architecture Survey, include include the titanium-covered Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, constructed at a cost of $100 million, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, which came in…

Looking for signs that renewable energy is gaining real traction? We present IKEA. Back in the day, every single solar installation from the purveyor of cheap and cheerful home furnishings was news. Now, IKEA solarizing a store is as common as, well, a birch veneer bookshelf. That’s got to be a sign of progress. Already this month, the…

One of the most unusual looking cars at this year’s Shell Eco-marathon Europe was testing out one of the oldest concepts for harnessing energy for motion: the Stirling heat engine. Team Schluckspecht from the University of Applied Sciences, of Offenburg, Germany, designed a vehicle that relied on external heating and cooling to drive pistons. The…

The drive for a new and better way of doing things is built into the car designed by students from Italy’s Italy’s Politecnico di Torino, and entered in Shell Eco-marathon Europe 2012 this week in Rotterdam. Most students in the fuel efficiency competition choose ultra-lightweight material like carbon fiber to shave mileage. But for their…

With political gridlock preventing politicians in Washington, D.C. from reaching agreements on, well, anything, it’s easy to imagine the entire country is suffering from a similar political lockdown. However, municipalities across the country are coming together and moving ahead in America’s clean energy discussion. One way they’re doing it: building a new generation of green…

A major study modeled after goal-setting reports from the Departments of Defense and State, the first Quadrennial Technology Review by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), called for a shift in energy research and development priorities to reduce America’s dependence on oil. “Reliance on oil is the greatest immediate threat to U.S. economic and national…

An important series of meetings on the Climate Investment Funds, hosted by the African Development Bank, began June 20 in Cape Town, South Africa. At one of the first events, discussion focused on how individual households, communities, cities, companies, and nations find and use tools to develop low-carbon, pro-growth, gender-sensitive, pro-access energy solutions. A key factor…

Last month, I blogged about the Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), for which I was a coordinating lead author. In that report we found that by 2050, roughly 80 percent of global energy demand could be met by tapping renewable sources. The IPCC’s…

In Africa, where two-thirds of farmers are women, the potential of biofuels as a low or lower-carbon alternative fuel, with applications at the household energy, community and village level, to a national resource or export commodity, has a critical gender dimension. The key question is: how will increased biofuel production affect women? To look at the…

It is all too easy to see environmental protection and economic development simply as competing philosophies, and nothing more. A range of studies attest to the fact that this is a false dichotomy. In my earlier blog, I described the alternative vision that became a reality in a small Nicaraguan coastal community that chose to invest…

While attending the CITES (Convention on Trade in Endangered Species) biodiversity summit in Nagoya, Japan, late last year, World Bank President Robert Zoellick said that we must foster development and reduce poverty, and at the same time preserve and improve the planet’s biodiversity and ecological resilience. He noted during a speech at the Cancun COP16…

The headlines from the State of the Union said, “Clean Energy.” What I heard was: “we need to do this together.” President Obama laid out an ambitious agenda to spur innovation and remain competitive globally. But he also used that agenda to send an important message in a fractured political time: The time for division…

The RAND Corporation releases a critical report on the state of alternative energy investment in the armed forces. Military commanders, however, remain committed to reducing fossil fuel usage fleetwide.

Business to Governments: You Dance.

Today, climate change and sustainability issues are rising to the top of corporate agendas, and this is good news.  Business will need to be deeply engaged in these issues if the efforts of governments are to be successfully leveraged.  However, there is an important disconnect that needs to be addressed: a decided lack of clarity…