May 16th, 2013
According to Raw Story:
American diplomats lobbied aggressively overseas to promote genetically modified (GM) food crops such as soy beans, an analysis of official cable traffic revealed on Tuesday.
The review of more than 900 diplomatic cables by the campaign group Food and Water Watch showed a carefully crafted campaign to break down resistance to GM products in Europe and other countries, and so help promote the bottom line of big American agricultural businesses.
The report offers a further glimpse of the power of the agricultural and biotech industries in America, after the supreme court came down on the side of Monsanto in its effort to enforce its patented GM soybeans.
This is yet another example of taxpayer-funded corporate welfare run amok. Couldn’t Monsanto - which recently announced quarterly profits of $1.48 billion – have spoken for itself in Europe? On a related note, didn’t our public servants have something better to do with their time – and our money – than to promote the interests of this super-wealthy corporation? Inquiring minds would love to know, but we suspect we know the answer: just as with the fossil fuel industry, these powerful corporations generally get what they want from the government, while the rest of us pay the price for it.
May 16th, 2013
Here are five recommended reads for today (5/16/13).
- Bloomberg New Energy Finance reports, “Japan Asia Group Ltd., a developer of clean energy projects, said plans to develop 500 megawatts of solar projects in Japan are moving ahead while it considers trimming European operations.”
- At Grist, David Roberts has a superb piece entitled, “Utilities vs. rooftop solar: What the fight is about.”
- Climate Progress reports, “Major news outlets often mislead readers by failing to report the fossil fuel funding of the conservative think tanks they cite and quote, according to a new study from the Union of Concerned Scientists.”
- Mother Jones has video of a conversation with climate scientist Michael Mann, who says “If you look at who actually stands to profit [from denying climate science], it’s the fossil fuel industry.”
- Greentech Media lists “3 Reasons PG&E Is Reaching Its California Solar Initiative Targets” (“And they’re all factors outside of the CSI, according to SunCentric CEO Glenn Harris.”).
May 15th, 2013
A new report by the Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy (“a national, non-partisan clean energy network and information hub for local chambers of commerce”) highlights several clean energy success stories across the country.
As you will see in this pioneering report, local chambers throughout America are becoming unprecedented clean energy and innovation leaders. Some chambers have tackled enormous hurdles, such as leading the charge to modernize Chicago’s outdated electricity grid. Some have focused on increasing energy efficiency on a company-by-company basis, providing consulting to small businesses in places like Cleveland, Ohio, and Bartlett, Tennessee. Still others have sought to attract investment in renewable energy infrastructure and in the manufacture of new clean energy technologies.
A few specific examples of success stories include:
- “Modernizing Chicago’s Electric Grid: Chicagoland Chamber pushes for improved reliability for businesses with 21st-century smart grid”
- “Reaping the Wind in South Carolina: North Myrtle Beach Chamber ushers in the state’s first grid-connected wind turbine”
- “Building a National Clean-Tech Hub in Oil Country: Austin Chamber partners with utility and university to recruit clean energy talent and investment”
- “Fuel Savings and Cleaner Air in Salt Lake City: Salt Lake Chamber helps businesses save millions and improve air quality with clean energy program”
There are several more cleantech success stories described in the report, but the general concept is simple: “Local chamber executives know that American businesses can and should win the global clean energy race,” and are working to make that happen. With that objective in mind, the report “provides a guide for chambers in all U.S. regions looking for ways to help their member companies and communities engage in economic development opportunities associated with renewable energy, smart grids, electric vehicles, high-speed rail, energy efficiency, and shipping efficiency.” Good stuff.
May 15th, 2013
Here are five recommended reads for today (5/15/13).
- Renewable Energy World reports: “The hot and humid summer is approaching in Japan. Some of the nation’s utilities have just raised electricity rates and many of them will request that consumers limit and/or shift electricity consumption from peak to off-peak to control raising fossil fuel cost caused by the shutdown of nuclear power plants. With PV + battery systems, homeowners are moving to take energy matters into their own hands in defense against rolling blackouts and rising electricity bills.”
- According to Greentech Media: “On Monday, Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicted that U.S. water utilities will spend $2 billion on smart meters between now and 2020, nearly matching the industry’s current investment of $2.4 billion into the technology. But the industry will have to wait awhile on that investment — BNEF also predicts a decline in sales through 2015, until rising water prices and first-generation smart water meter replacement cycles start to kick in.”
- Reuters reports, “Glencore Xstrata is stopping work on a planned 35 million tonnes per annum Australian coal export terminal as a result of poor market conditions, making it likely it will also scrap an associated coal mine.”
- Michael Grunwald of Time Magazine writes: “The [Fisker] Karma will become a collector’s item, a 21st century DeLorean, a reminder that even sexy products can stumble in the marketplace. But that’s not a scandal. That’s just a bump on the road to a green future.”
- In The Atlantic, Amory Lovins argues, “Like whale oil in the 1860s, oil today has become uncompetitive — even at low prices — and that will only become truer with time.”
May 14th, 2013
We wanted to highlight an excellent editorial by the Sioux City Journal on why wind power is “good for Iowa, good for America.” The editorial follows last Wednesday’s announcement of “plans for the largest economic development investment in state history: A $1.9 billion wind-energy project involving the addition of 656 new wind turbines.”
According to leaders, the project will generate as much as 1,050 megawatts of power in the state by 2015, create 48 permanent jobs and 460 construction jobs over two years, provide $360 million in additional property tax revenue over the next 30 years, produce $3.2 million in annual payments to landowners and reduce future electricity rates for MidAmerican customers by up to $10 million per year by 2017.
Because wind is in inexhaustible supply and some 75 percent of Iowa is considered suitable for wind-energy development with an estimated total resource of 570,000 megawatts of electricity, we haven’t scratched the surface of the potential for this industry in our state.
That’s not just true for Iowa, of course, but for broad swaths of this country (in the Great Plains, off the coasts, and elsewhere) that are highly suitable for wind power development. And developing those domestic, clean energy resources, as the Sioux City Journal correctly points out, would be good not just for Iowa but for America as a whole. Let’s do it.