17 February 2010

Can nuclear $ buy climate action? And other company, supply chain and industry information

Top Stories

Obama steps up nuclear investment for climate fight.reliability high.
"President Barack Obama announced $8.3 billion in loan guarantees on Tuesday to build the first U.S. nuclear power plant in nearly three decades, a move designed to help advance climate legislation in Congress. . . . By reaching out to Republicans on the nuclear issue -- a top priority for key opposition lawmakers such as former presidential candidate John McCain -- the Obama administration hopes support for the stalled climate bill will grow. . . .  'We're not going to achieve a big boost in nuclear capacity unless we also create a system of incentives to make clean energy profitable,' Obama said. 'As long as producing carbon pollution carries no cost, traditional plants that use fossil fuels will be more cost-effective than plants that use nuclear fuel.'" More in Reuters story.

Toyota and the Future of Green Marketing.reliability medium.
"What does Toyota's travails mean to green marketing? . . . Toyota seemed to have done it the right way: with products that weren't just greener, but better -- in this case, high-aesthetic, high-performance, affordable cars." But now we have "a massive global regulatory undertaking, media-fanned anxiety on the part of Toyota vehicle owners — and more than a little handwringing on the part of environmentalists, who aren't sure what to think of a company that had come to be seen as a corporate hero." Asks whether "The recalls will severely damage Toyota's credibility", "Toyota's brand leadership and reputation for quality and environmental leadership will survive intact",  "Toyota's plight will be a setback for green products in general and green vehicles in particular", or "The Prius recall will prove that greener cars are just like any other". Read more of Joel Makower's post at GreenBiz blog. [Another possibility: Toyota's temporary setback will ease the way for Nissan and others who are introducing greener cars later this year, thus expanding the market for low-carbon vehicles.]

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

Slow Trip Across Sea Aids Profit and Environment.reliability high.
"By halving its top cruising speed over the last two years, Maersk cut fuel consumption on major routes by as much as 30 percent, greatly reducing costs" and greenhouse gas emissions. " 'The previous focus has been on "What will it cost?" and "Get it to me as fast as possible," ' said Soren Stig Nielsen, Maersk's director of environmental sustainability, who noted that the practice began in 2008, when oil prices jumped to $145 a barrel. 'But now there is a third dimension,' he said. ' "What’s the CO2 footprint?" ' " More about "slow steaming". See New York Times story.

Wal-Mart Canada Improves Distribution Center Efficiency 60%.reliability high.
Wal-Mart Canada says "a new refrigerated distribution hub being opened in Alberta in late 2010 will be 60% more energy efficient than their traditional distribution centers. The new center will utilize energy efficiency measures across all operational areas, including hydrogen fuel cell powered forklifts that will replace lead battery powered machines. Low energy LED lighting installed throughout the facility will use significantly less energy and have a longer life span than compact fluorescents and 16 photovoltaic panels installed on the roof will be used to meet the facilities hot water needs.  A 225 kilowatt on-site wind turbine will also be utilized to help meet the facilities energy needs." Story at Sustainable Life Media.

Nike and Starbucks Among Large Companies Trying to Build Climate Bill Momentum.reliability high.
"A group of companies and nonprofits that includes Nike, Starbucks and Ceres launched a virtual coast-to-coast race Tuesday in a bid to create momentum for passing U.S. climate change legislation." "The race is sponsored by "We Can Lead," a campaign launched by the Clean Economy Network and Ceres' Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP), whose members include Nike, Levi Strauss & Co., Starbucks, Sun Microsystems, The Timberland Company, Aspen Skiing Company, Clif Bar & Company, eBay, Gap Inc., Jones Lang LaSalle, The North Face, Seventh Generation, Ben and Jerry's, Eileen Fisher, Stonyfield Farm Inc., and Symantec." More on race here. See story at GreenBiz.

But on the other hand: Oil firms drop group lobbying for U.S. climate bill.reliability high.
"BP and ConocoPhillips will drop out of a group lobbying for the U.S. climate bill as proposed legislation would hurt the motor fuel and natural gas industries, the companies said on Tuesday. . . . BP said it still supports the blueprint which called for a cap-and-trade market on emissions blamed for warming the planet, but that the current legislation is plagued with problems that would penalize the petroleum industry." More at Reuters.

6 Nuclear Power Startups To Watch.reliability medium.
Lists some entrepreneurial companies trying to ride the renewed interest in nuclear or fusion technologies: NuScale Power, Helion Energy, Hyperion Power Generation, TerraPower, General Fusion, and Tri-Alpha Energy. Brief profiles of each. Read more at earth2tech.

Green Building trends.reliability medium.
Summary of several initiatives in green building materials from members of the chemicals industry. Also "other green building links that I came across the past few weeks". More at Green Chemicals.

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