Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Energy’

Becoming more energy efficient, which has long been one of the keys to a sustainable future, may have just gotten a little easier. TopTen USA, a new non-profit group, just launched a new website that ranks electronics based on energy efficiency. The website contains information on virtually every electronics product category.  It has an attractive easy-to-use interface that makes it very easy to find what you are looking for.

The World Wildlife Foundation, which is a partner in the project, wrote on its blog yesterday:

Since energy efficiency is one of the quickest, cheapest and easiest routes to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, one of TopTen’s goals is to generate greater demand for efficient products, helping to catalyze a market shift toward more climate-friendly products.

One problem with TopTenUSA is that it only ranks based on energy usage. It appears that the environmental impact of the manufacturing process is not considered. Nor does the website have any information on recyclability of products. Hopefully, as it develops, TopTenUSA will add information about those factors as well.

TopTenUSA  has exciting potential and  will hopefully prove an invaluable resource to consumers.

Read Full Post »

In an effort to hold BP accountable for the damage done to wildlife as a result of the oil disaster in the Gulf, three environmental groups have sued the company.

The three groups, Defenders of Wildlife, Gulf Restoration Network and the Save the Manatee Club, say the spill has caused and will continue to cause the taking of endangered and threatened species,” including whales, manatees, birds and sea turtles that “show no avoidance response to oil slicks.”

While BP has already agreed to pay $ 500 million for restoration efforts, the groups are concerned it’s not enough because the effects of the disaster will continue for a long time.

This is welcome news for anyone still appalled by the ambivalence displayed by Congress’ lack of legislation in response to the spill. A new plan released from the Obama administration would invest billions of dollars of BP fines into recovery efforts in the Gulf.  But that’s mopping up the damage. What about going forward?

Lawmakers have yet to vote on sensible legislation designed to address the core causes of the disaster and the inadequate response to it— issues that apply to the oil industry as a whole. It’s been six months since the Deepwater Horizon explosion, and we still have nothing. Congress needs to act.

Read Full Post »

There is a battle going on in California that has a direct impact on the future of our planet. I’m speaking, of course, about Proposition 23. Proposition 23 is a ballot initiative that would effectively repeal many of California’s revolutionary clean energy policies. There are many special interests taking advantage of the opportunities Proposition 23 presents to them.

Oil interests are especially invested in whether Proposition 23 succeeds. Heading up the movement to support Proposition 23 is Koch Industries. Koch Industries is the group that, along with Rupert Murdoch, Karl Rove, and others, essentially funds the Tea Party movement. Businessman David Koch has thus gained immense power.

ClimateProgress published an article today about Koch’s attempts to use this power to support Proposition 23. In the article, ClimateProgress quotes environmental activist Van Jones on the subject of Koch Industries and Proposition 23:

Koch Industries has promoted awful environmental policies. They’ve been literally poisoning rivers, poisoning streams, and making money off of that. They’ve promoted now this awful economic idea that if you grow new industries in California you somehow hurt the economy. That’s nuts. And now they’re promoting bad politics by backing I think extreme movements in the United States. Here you have a bad actor, three strikes and you’re out. They’re bad on the environment in terms of their practices, they’re bad in terms of their economic philosophy they’re trying to shove down the throats of California, and they’re bad in their politics in terms of their supporting extreme political ideas in America. I think if you start connecting those dots, California voters are very sophisticated, and I don’t think any of them think the people who run Koch Industries wake up in the morning thinking how can Californians have better jobs? […]

Koch Industries is a very dangerous group (more…)

Read Full Post »

Time magazine is running a good article about how the Recovery and Reinvestment Act is improving America by investing in green technology. The article provides tons of interesting facts about how much money has been invested, is being invested, or will be invested in improving energy efficiency. This bit caught my eye:

The idea [behind the stimulus investments] is as old as land-grant colleges: to use tax dollars as an engine of innovation. It rejects free-market purism but also the old industrial-policy approach of dumping cash into a few favored firms.

Notice those last few words? This money will not simply be going to GE or AT&T or the usual suspects. Instead, it will be funding small businesses and start-ups.

Instead, the Recovery Act floods the zone, targeting a variety of energy problems and providing seed money for firms with a variety of potential solutions. The winners must attract private capital to match public dollars…and after competing for grants, they still must compete in the marketplace.

So instead of blindly funding mainly the big corporations, we are actually funding the companies who are newer or smaller. These companies do not have as much of a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. On the contrary, many of them would benefit from a greener, more technologically savvy United States of America. This is a welcome change indeed.

But the powerful Washington interests remain and we cannot be sure that the money will be invested as well as Vice President Biden (who oversees stimulus spending) says. With Citizens United and an increasing wealth gap, corporate interest groups are more powerful than ever. Help us fight them: http://fightwashingtoncorruption.com/?rc=homepage

Read Full Post »

America’s Finest News Source, The Onion, reports on a new “environmental catastrophe”:

PORT FOURCHON, LA—In what may be the greatest environmental disaster in the nation’s history, the supertanker TI Oceania docked without incident at the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port Monday and successfully unloaded 3.1 million barrels of dangerous crude oil into the United States.

and later in the article:

Experts are saying the oil tanker safely reaching port could lead to dire ecological consequences on multiple levels, including rising temperatures, disappearing shorelines, the eradication of countless species, extreme weather events, complete economic collapse, droughts that surpass the Dust Bowl, disease, wildfires, widespread human starvation, and endless, bloody wars fought over increasingly scarce resources.

It is scary to think that a satirical article could be so incredibly accurate. As people such as Jon Stewart remind us almost every night, sometimes humor can be the best illuminator of the the truth. (more…)

Read Full Post »

The Washington Post reports that BP is claiming a $10 billion tax credit because of damages suffered due to the oil spill. How can this happen? That’s American tax code for ya.

Under current law, companies can take a tax credit on up to 35% of their losses. It explains why a company such as GE paid no U.S. income tax in 2009 after reporting $408M in losses.

If BP gets this tax credit, the company will receive from the government half of the money it has promised to set aside in an escrow fund.

Let’s examine the reasons for such a counter-intuitive tax law. According to the Washington Post:

Policymakers crafted the tax code this way so that companies can spread their profits and losses over more than just a calendar year. Let’s say a company earns $100 billion one year and pays the U.S. corporate tax rate of 35 percent, or $35 billion. The next year, the economy goes south, and the company loses $100 billion. Over those two years, the company earned zero dollars, but it still paid $35 billion in taxes.

Here’s a better (and likely more accurate) explanation: Congress wrote the tax code this way because (more…)

Read Full Post »

Public Citizen Energy Director Tyson Slocum will be speaking today at a “Green Scissors” event hosted by Friends of the Earth (foe.org). The Green Scissors campaign was launched fifteen years ago. Its goal is to identify wasteful government programs that harm the environment. The annual Green Scissors report came out today. It targets four major areas for budget cuts: energy, agriculture and biofuels, infrastructure, and public lands.

Previewing what he will speak about today, Slocum said,

Powerful corporations and other special interests have too much influence in Washington. We need to reform a system that allows corporations to charge their pollution to taxpayers’ credit cards.

The report can be seen online here.

Public Citizen’s efforts to stem the harmful effects of Climate Change and our work dealing with the powerful energy companies  are described on our website.

To receive (not too many) updates about these efforts, click here.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »