12 January 2010

Islanders take Czechs to court over coal. Also company, market, industry and government news, and Scary Science

Top Stories

Pacific islanders bid to stop Czech coal plant.reliability high.
"Micronesia has filed a plea with the Czech environment ministry using a measure designed originally to settle disputes between near neighbors but which could spur others to do the same when opposing power plants, environmental advocates said. 'This is part of a new phase in environmental law,' said Tim Malloch, a climate and energy lawyer at London-based ClientEarth. Micronesia noted CEZ's coal-fired plant at Prunerov in the north of the republic was the 18th biggest source of greenhouse gases in the European Union, emitting about 40 times more carbon dioxide than the entire Pacific island federation. The Transboundary Environmental Impact Assessment request also argued that Prague has failed to provide and asses all potential impacts and possible alternatives to minimize adverse affects of power plants -- something Micronesia said was required under Czech law." From Reuters. [Coal is killing their countries, and they have decided to fight back (after seeing at Copenhagen that nobody really gives a darn.) How far would you go to protect your homeland?]

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

Energy Equals Strategy at Google.reliability medium.
Best commentary yet on Google's move to get permission to trade wholesale energy. "Many companies still give little more thought to their energy usage than they do to their water bill. But smart companies, especially those in energy-intensive businesses, recognize that energy is a strategic resource, not a commodity." From Environmental Leader.

Recycle Match: The eBay of Recycling?reliability medium.
"Much like eBay has created a global market on the consumer items that previously sat in people’s homes or were thrown away, Recycle Match seeks to match up those who generate either one-time or regular streams of hard-to-recycle materials, with those seeking that material for their own use. The source company gets revenue from that which they previously paid to have taken away, and the recipient finds a resource they need, likely at a lower cost, and definitely with less of an impact on the environment." See triplepundit. More at Recycle Match site.

Wal-Mart Videos Tout Sustainability of Store-Brand Products.reliability high.
Two examples of videos Wal-Mart is using to promote the sustainability of products in its stores. One on sour cream, the other on pizza boxes. See Environmental Leader. [Do consumers care? A) Wal-Mart is not stupid; B) See following item.]

Huge Demand For Carbon Labels Found - Newcastle Business School Survey.reliability high.
"72% of consumers want carbon labels on food products, according to new research among over 400 supermarket shoppers by Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University." More highlights of results. See Newcastle Business School site.

Petrol engines will rule for at least another decade - top GM executive.reliability high.
"Lutz, a top lieutenant to GM's chairman Ed Whitacre, predicted that more than 90% of the automotive industry's sales will continue to be petrol-driven vehicles for at least another decade - because the vast majority of motorists simply will not pay extra for the more expensive technology of eco-friendly cars." "'Other than the 5% of the public who will willingly make a sacrifice to buy green vehicles, the other 95% will ask "what am I getting? What's the deal?"' said Lutz. 'They're not going to spend an extra $5,000 to $6,000 on technology they don't need and don't particularly care about.'" More of Mr. Lutz's comments. From The Guardian.

Report: 16% of NYC new car sales to be EVs by 2015.reliability high.
"Management consulting firm McKinsey & Co. came out with new research today that suggests electric vehicles, including battery-electric and plug-in hybrid electric cars, could make up as much as 16 percent of new car sales in New York City come 2015, or as many as 70,000 cars." More on report and EV news. See Cleantech Group.

Government and Regulation

U.S. Energy Dept. kicks off 2010 with billions for cleantech.reliability high.
Summary, with links to other stories, of some of the U.S. federal subsidies and incentives for green technology announced in recent days. From GreenBeat.

Another $1.5 Billion Cut?!? Transit Once Again Takes It On the Chin.reliability medium.
Tough economic times drive California to an austerity budget with significant cuts in funding for public transportation, just at a time when more people are giving up their cars and becoming more dependent on buses, trains and trams. "Everyone knows the story: California’s state government is in the midst of a fiscal nightmare, and Californians themselves  are facing high unemployment, housing problems and the whole range of everyday troubles that come with living in a deep, deep recession.  Make no mistake: balancing the budget means some serious cuts.  The question is whether the cuts are done wisely.  We should not be undermining the state’s recovery, frustrating the efforts of Californians to pull themselves out of this mess, or forsaking our environmental goals and responsibilities to the planet." See NRDC blog. [For those of us without cars this is sad news.]

Scary Science

Study sees parking lot dust as a cancer risk.reliability high.
"Chemicals in a cancer-causing substance used to seal pavement, parking lots and driveways across the U.S. are showing up at alarming levels in dust in homes, prompting concerns about the potential health effects of long-term exposure, a new study shows." The chemicals are polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, known carcinogens, and coal tar used in some sealants is a major source. "The most dangerous coal tar component — a PAH chemical called benzo[a]pyrene – was found in driveway dust at two suburban single family homes at thousands of times the level that would trigger a cleanup at a toxic-waste site." Other details of report. From MSNBC. Read whole research paper here.

[Crossposted from HaraBara.com courtesy of HaraBara, Inc. Copyright © 2010 HaraBara, Inc.]