January 30, 2008

Green Business has a long way to go

Although corporations like Apple, Google and Wal-Mart tout their green virtures on a daily basis, a new report from Greener Media, an environmental-media and business consulting company, found that the results of corporate "greening" efforts have been mixed at best.

The State of Green Business Report 2008 gives a bracingly candid interpretation of businesses' green and greenwashing efforts, noting that only eight of 20 indicators showed progress in 2007. Two of the 20 indicators, e-waste and carbon intensity, actually got worse..

E-Waste - Mountains of unwanted electronics with toxic components


January 28, 2008

Wind Powered Container Ships

Of all the CO2 being pumped into the atmosphere today, 4% comes from ships. That's more than the aviation industry, primarily because 90% of global trade is done by sea.

MS Beluga SkySails believes it has a solution. It has set sail on a mission to turn the oceans green.

Once the ship has reached the open sea, it reveals its brand new weapon in the fight against global warming: a kite.

Cargo Ship Powered by Kite Video

January 26, 2008

Earth Scientists Express Rising Concern about Global Warming

The map shows areas in 2007 that were warmer (reds) and colder (blues) than the mean annual temperature from 1951-1980. (Credit: NASA/GISS)

The American Geophysical Union, the world’s largest organization representing earth and space scientists, put out a fresh statement on the causes and consequences of recent climate change and possible responses. The union’s statement is firmer and has more policy prescriptions than the one from 2003.

"Warming greater than 2°C above 19th century levels is projected to be disruptive, reducing global agricultural productivity, causing widespread loss of biodiversity... If this 2°C warming is to be avoided, then our net annual emissions of CO2 must be reduced by more than 50 percent within this century."

January 25, 2008

Ethanol for $1 a Gallon, without Corn

Coskata, which is backed by General Motors and other investors, uses bacteria to convert almost any organic material, from corn husks (but not the corn itself) to municipal trash, into ethanol. "It's not five years away, it's not 10 years away. It's affordable, and it's now," said Wes Bolsen, the company's vice president of business development.

Coskata uses existing gasification technology to convert almost any organic material into synthesis gas, which is a mix of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. Rather than fermenting that gas or using thermo-chemical catalysts to produce ethanol, Coskata pumps it into a reactor containing bacteria that consume the gas and excrete ethanol. Richard Tobey, Coskata's vice president of engineering, says the process yields 99.7 percent pure ethanol.

May Wu, an environmental scientist at Argonne National Laboratory, says Coskata's ethanol produces 84 percent less greenhouse gas than fossil fuel even after accounting for the energy needed to produce and transport the feedstock. It also generates 7.7 times more energy than is required to produce it. Corn ethanol typically generates 1.3 times more energy than is used producing it.

Ethanol for $1 a Gallon without Corn

January 22, 2008

Tell Congress we want a Green stimulus package!

As Congress works to craft an Economic Stimulus Package, it is time for us to send a clear message to our elected officials: Go Green and Go Equal in the stimulus!

Every dollar invested in a Green stimulus package can help our economy today by reducing the need for imported oil. Investing in renewable energy stimulus package will be like the gift that keeps on giving for the next 20 or 30 years.

By clicking the link above, you'll be able to sign an electronic petition to Congress organized by the One Sky organization.

One Sky. One Climate. One World. One Chance.

January 4, 2008

Green is Profitable

The Boston Globe reports that building green homes is profitable.

"Contrary to a longstanding perception among developers that building green homes is not financially feasible, Carter Scott, [President, Transformations, Inc.], says the subdivision is proof that developers can be environmentally sensitive - and make a profit."

"Transformations introduced a number of environmental features in the five-home subdivision in Tyngsborough. Included in each house are solar panels for electricity, a system that extracts heat from the ground in winter, and rain gardens that naturally recharge water into the soil.

The development garnered the company the 2005 Energy Star Custom Builder of the Year Award from the US Green Building Council, a nonprofit organization that supports sustainable building practices."

"We actually made more money off it," Scott said. "It can come back to you in different ways."

Another developer, Donald Sienkiewicz, " is taking up the cause of the green movement and building 22 ecologically sensitive homes in Wilton, N.H. The homes, now going through the permitting process, will be super insulated, have solar electrical panels, and will feature large south-facing windows, which helps heat the buildings in winter, he said."

Sienkiewcz is convinced that ecologically sensitive housing commands higher prices as they are not only good for the environment, but also substantially cheaper to heat.

Stanford Scientist Links Rising CO2 Emissions and Increased Mortality Options

The study, "On the causal link between carbon dioxide and air pollution mortality", by Mark Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering, shows that as many as 20,000 air-pollution related deaths may occur worldwide each year with each 1 degree Celsius increase.

"A coupled climate-air pollution model was used to show by cause and
effect that increases in fossil-fuel CO2 increase U.S. surface ozone, carcinogens, and particulate matter, thereby increasing death, asthma, hospitalization, and cancer rates."