Archive for September, 2012
For a long time, critics of carbon cap-and-trade schemes have charged that they are simply another tax gussied up in environmentally conscious dress. The state of California, always at the forefront of green laws, will soon initiate such a scheme as part of the climate-change law AB32, signed in 2006 and described as a “landmark greenhouse gas emissions law” by the Associated Press. Critics of the cap-and-trade program, including oil refiners and manufacturers, say it would impose “enormous costs on businesses at a time when the state’s economy is sputtering.”
Proponents of the program say it will raise $1 billion from about 500 businesses in the state. The program particularly will raise costs for carbon-emission-producing businesses, which will, of course, pass the higher costs on to consumers — as government taxes always are. The California Air Resources Board (it avoids the acronym “CARB,” using “ARB” instead) is in charge of the program. Read the rest of this entry »
The federal government is deploying telecommuting and cloud computing as just two of several ways to achieve various sustainable objectives, according to a new report by the nonpartisan, nonprofit Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES). The report, “Leading by Example: Using Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to Achieve Federal Sustainability Goals,” highlights eight case studies demonstrating government-wide objectives and benefits of greener operations in the workplace. Read the rest of this entry »
Last week, fellow Green & Clean writer David Sims reported on Mitt Romney’s energy white paper, which focused on a goal of American energy independence by 2020.
Romney’s paper proposes speeding up permitting processes for oil wells and solar projects by giving states greater energy regulatory power, and encourages the private sector to lead the way in energy innovation. As well, if the Republican presidential candidate were elected, there would be very little in the way of government subsidies in a hypothetical Romney administration.
So this week, with the presidential election just six weeks away, here is a synopsis at President Barack Obama’s energy and environmental policy and record over the last four years — on issues like energy independence, solar and wind power development, oil drilling and other topics key to understanding Obama’s positions. What would an Obama reelection victory in November mean for the next four years, and what are his plans going forward? Read the rest of this entry »
When it comes to green energy progress in the European Union, few countries have had more challenging paths than that of the UK. But a new report by alternative energy analysts GlobalData found that if renewables continue to grow along its present path in the UK, their combined capacity could meet that of fossil fuel capacity by 2025.
The GlobalData report found that cumulative installed capacity of renewable energy plants is expected to reach 79,000 megawatts (MW) by 2025. This is just 2,000 MW less than the predicted installed fossil-fuel capacity by the same year.
So where are all the renewables coming from? For starters, there is wind energy (which won’t surprise anyone who has ever visited coastal UK). Wind is expected to grow from about 6,000 MW in 2011 to 53,000 MW by 2025. Accelerated growth has resulted in part from government support and investment in offshore wind farms. Read the rest of this entry »
You might think being one of the world’s largest chemical companies presents an obstacle to sustainable business. Truth be told, the Dow Chemical Co. has had its environmental ups and downs over the decades. But like everything else it undertakes, Dow views sustainability as a challenge that can be met by clear goal-setting, fastidious measurement and effective management.
Apparent in its 2011 sustainability report, the company takes a positive view of sustainability challenges, seeing “these economic and ecological imperatives as opportunities” that “should be approached with urgency and ingenuity — but not with negativity.” The situation, Dow asserts, “requires sweeping innovation that reconsiders and reengineers how we source, process, produce and distribute our energy, food, water and all the goods that make life healthy and productive.” The company hopes to apply its capabilities and those of its people to make a positive contribution. Read the rest of this entry »
Presidential candidate Mitt Romney published an energy policy white paper in late August, titled “The Romney Plan For A Stronger Middle Class: Energy Independence,” with a goal of American energy independence by 2020. While focusing on policies that encourage development of America’s hydrocarbon resources and streamline regulations to bring new energy sources online more quickly, the Romney plan does include renewable sources such as solar and wind in the energy mix.
The paper advocates speeding up permitting processes not just for new oil wells but also for solar, wind and other renewable projects. Under a Romney administration, state and local authorities would be given greater energy regulatory power, with the paper noting, “From oil and gas and coal to wind and solar and biofuels, states are far better able to develop, adopt and enforce regulations based on their unique resources, geology and local concerns.” The paper criticizes the Obama administration for overregulation and allowing “permitting delays, endless reviews and senseless litigation” to “interfere with all forms of energy production,” including “the construction of wind farms and solar plants.” Read the rest of this entry »
Nearly half (49 percent) of 250 CFOs polled by a recent Deloitte survey indicated that they find a significant link between sustainability performance and financial performance. Deloitte’s findings are published in “Sustainability: CFOs are coming to the table” and highlight the responses of CFOs in 14 countries and five continents.
Survey responses indicate that more executives are turning to sustainability for a competitive advantage: Most CFOs polled (66 percent) indicated that the investment of cleantech products is “important” to their firms, while 59 percent viewed cleantech acquisitions or sustainability assets as important. Read the rest of this entry »
The Indian Point Energy Center (nuclear power plant), located in Buchanan, N.Y., just north of New York City, has long been a lightning rod of attention.
The current governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, has wanted to close it for a long time. When Cuomo ran for governor back in 2001, he talked about closing Indian Point. He lost that election but in 2010 won and took over the top state job. Almost immediately, he made closing the two nuclear reactors at Indian Point a high priority, in his speeches and media interviews. (Indian Point has two active reactors, with one up for relicensing in 2013 and the other in 2015.)
Cuomo’s major reasoning for wanting to close the plant is his fear of a nuclear spill disaster like the one that occurred in Fukushima, Japan, last year. But the New York governor also feels that Indian Point is a relic — a plant that doesn’t need to exist anymore — and that the state can find a way to replace the energy production that Indian Point currently provides. Read the rest of this entry »
There’s dirty manufacturing, there’s dirtier manufacturing and then there’s vehicle tire production. The manufacturing process releases toxic emissions into the air, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and soot, discharges toxins into water treatment plants and produces large amounts of waste products that contain solvents and other harmful substances. After a tire’s useful life is over, it is sent to a toxic landfill. Used tires produce a landfill blight like few other products. Read the rest of this entry »
Two Corporate Giants Execute Sustainability and Reporting Despite Challenges Inherent in Large Organizations
As with many enterprise endeavors, the management and reporting of sustainability efforts present special challenges for large companies. How can sustainable practices be instituted and data collected and reported across diverse business units and functional departments, especially for large, globally dispersed enterprises?
A recent survey of corporate sustainability leaders by strategic communications firm VOX Global found that executives charged with leading large-company sustainability efforts often work against unique challenges. Read the rest of this entry »