01 April 2010

Offshore drilling carrot, Ford picks Microsoft, VC bounces back, and other company, government, and related news

Top Stories

Obama opens new oil drilling offshore in climate drive.reliability high.
"President Barack Obama unveiled plans on Wednesday for a limited expansion of U.S. offshore oil and gas drilling in an effort to win Republican support for new proposals to fight climate change. Opening up parts of the U.S. Atlantic coast, Alaska and possibly offshore Florida to exploration is Obama's latest effort to woo legislators needed to pass a climate bill before mid-term elections in November." See Reuters story.

Transportation, Energy Efficiency Dominate Cleantech Venture Funding.reliability medium.
"Venture capital investment in clean technology reached $1.9 billion in the first quarter, climbing 83 percent from last year, according to a report by the Cleantech Group and Deloitte. Startups in North America raised the greatest share among 180 companies around the world, a three-year peak for the area with $1.5 billion, or 81 percent of all investments." Transportation and energy efficiency plays led. See CleanTechies blog.

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

Plastic v cardboard: which is greener?.reliability medium.
"Riverford Organics, one of the largest vegetable box schemes in the UK, has suggested it may move away from cardboard packaging and towards plastic. In this week's note to customers, Guy Watson at Riverford says that plastic boxes could reduce the carbon footprint of the company's packaging by 70%. He strongly hints that the company wants to move to plastic immediately but is frightened of the reaction of customers. ... It is the customer who is stopping Guy Watson and his colleagues using long-lasting plastic for any form of packaging, not economics or carbon accounting. Watson despairs of getting householders to understand the true environmental cost of paper goods and one can only sympathise as he demands government action to force suppliers to recognize and account for the full cost of packaging." More about the carbon footprint of packaging alternatives for this company. See The Guardian from Carbon Commentary.

Ford taps Microsoft Hohm for electric-car charging.reliability high.
"Ford Motor and Microsoft are collaborating on software for consumers to manage how and when to charge electric vehicles. Executives from both companies at the New York Auto Show on Wednesday announced that drivers of Ford's electric cars will use Microsoft Hohm, a Web-based home energy management application. The 2011 electric Ford Focus will be the first car to use Hohm, which company executives said will let consumers take advantage of cheaper electricity rates. That will also help utilities manage the added load of electric vehicles which can be substantial if many people in a neighborhood charge up at once." See CNET News.

Pew Center Applauds IBM, Pepsi, Dow's Energy Efficiency.reliability high.
"A new report from the Pew Center on Global Climate Change  aims to lay out what makes some companies highly efficient, and to help laggards get up to speed. "In our view, a paradigm shift is occurring in the way corporations view and manage energy," Eileen Clausen, the president of the Pew Center, said in a press conference today. "Price volatility and climate concerns are forcing companies to think more strategically than ever about energy use." To understand, map and share the techniques that make some companies highly efficient, the Pew Center undertook an ambitious effort to identify those leading firms and find out what makes them tick." Story at GreenBiz. Access report here.

Renault ad taken off air over misleading emissions claim.reliability high.
"A television advert featured a montage of cars and their impact on society with a voiceover saying: "For us, global warming goes beyond the emissions coming out of the exhaust. It's an issue we address before, during and after manufacture. From next year, Renault will launch a range of zero emission vehicles to drive the car forward again." Several viewers challenged Renault's claim because they believed that using electricity to charge the vehicles would produce emissions. They also said the ad was misleading because it did not take the full life-cycle of the cars into account. ... The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld the complaints, saying the ad gave the impression that the entire production, use and disposal of the vehicles would not produce any emissions or have a detrimental effect on the environment." At The Guardian from Press Association.

Government and Regulation

UK to invest £30m in Nigerian public transport system.reliability high.
"Britain is hoping to bring some order to the city of legendary traffic jams and road rage by trying to rationalise its public transport system. Over the next few years it will invest more than £30m increasing the number of bus routes, bringing in bigger buses and helping to build two new train lines to go through some of the most densely populated areas of Lagos. ... The switch to investing in the urban environment rather than rural areas marks a significant shift in approach to combating poverty." Story at The Guardian.

Science and Economics

Advanced Diesel Engines May Cut Truck Fuel Use 20% by 2020.reliability high.
"Using advanced diesel engines in tractor-trailers could lower their fuel consumption by up to 20 percent by 2020, and improved aerodynamics could deliver an 11 percent reduction in fuel use, according to a report from the National Research Council. Truck makers such as Peterbilt and Kenworth are already rolling out new truck models with aerodynamic packages that are aimed at increasing fuel efficiency. In addition, the trucking industry has several efforts underway to improve fuel efficiency in big rigs." Story in Environmental Leader. NAS press release. Access report here.

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