1. Articles in category: Fossil Fuel

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    1. Innovation Economics Can Fight Global Warming

      Innovation Economics Can Fight Global Warming
      The U.S. House of Representatives may be on the verge of passing the most significant environmental measure since 1990. The bill, named for its sponsors, representatives Howard A. Waxman (D-Calif.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), would for the first time impose caps on carbon dioxide emissions, which contribute to global warming. It also would allow companies to buy credits from each other, permitting them to exceed their greenhouse gas limits. While the so-called cap-and-trade mechanism (or some kind of carbon pricing) is needed, it isn't enough. To really avert climate change, the government needs to adopt an explicitly green innovation policy. Unfortunately, green innovation is getting short shrift in this bill and in Washington generally.
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    2. Is smart grid the next green-tech bubble?

      WASHINGTON--Here at a conference on the utility of the future, the starring players are Google, IBM, Cisco Systems, Intel, and smart grid start-ups. The reason? Data. Modernizing the grid isn't just about installing more transmissions lines and smart meters. It's a giant information challenge as well, said attendees of consulting firm Kema's Utility of the Future conference here on Thursday. The heavyweight IT companies are seeking to capitalize on initiatives around the world to upgrade the power infrastructure. The U.S. Department of Energy is expected to soon announce how billions of dollars in stimulus money for smart grid will be allocated. Smart grid has also become one of clean-tech venture capitalists' favorite areas, spawning dozens of start-ups with ways to make the grid run more efficiently and integrate more solar and wind power. Altogether, it's a combination that could end up creating a bubble, said ...
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      Mentions: Intel Google Cisco
    3. Conoco Phillips CEO on Oil, Cap-and-Trade

      Conoco Phillips CEO on Oil, Cap-and-Trade
      With oil prices holding steady around $70 I sat down with Conoco Phillips CEO James Mulva to discuss commodities and what needs to be included in any cap-and-trade legislation. Mulva says the increase in crude prices are based on expectations of the economy stabilizing soon.”There are some indications, not only in our own country, but in the world that we are starting to work toward and that’s good, that gives confidence.” The company had to cut workers and put projects on hold in the face of the downturn, but he said they are in a long-term business and are prepared to get through economic cycles. “We continue to invest in the long-term, but it doesn’t really change our long term strategy.” We also hit on the proposed cap-and-trade legislation and the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act. Mulva said the Waxman bill favors some industries over ...
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    4. House may vote on climate change bill next week

      House may vote on climate change bill next week
      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Legislation to drastically reduce carbon dioxide pollution blamed for global warming could be voted on by the U.S. House of Representatives as early as next week, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said on Tuesday, as the Senate focused on the plan's tax implications for companies. Hoyer, speaking to reporters, said he expects the House to wrap up action on the climate change bill, which is a high priority of the Obama administration, either next week or the week of July 6, following a holiday recess. The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved the bill in May and Hoyer said committee chairman Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, was ready to get it moving again.
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    5. What's the carbon footprint of your handwash?

      What's the carbon footprint of your handwash?
      Start-up Planet Metrics is developing software that could give consumers a better read on the embedded energy of everyday products. The San Francisco-based company on Tuesday released the beta test version of its hosted application, which it calls Rapid Carbon Modeling. It also said Method, which makes eco-friendly home-cleaning products, is a customer. There are a number of companies writing software for calculating how much energy is linked to a business' operations and managing carbon emissions. Planet Metrics' software is geared at manufacturers and makers of consumer packaged goods. Using Planet Metrics' software, a person could, for example, see how much energy consumption is associated with procuring the components that make up a cell phone. With that information, a company can then look for ways to cut energy consumption, such as reducing waste or finding another supplier. The carbon footprint picture is built by combining a company's internal data ...
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      Mentions: InfoWorld CNET News
    6. Oil, Utility, Train Executives Want Comprehensive US Energy Policy

      "You have to have a either cap and trade (system) or else a carbon tax," John Rowe , chief executive officer of electricity and natural gas giant Exelon Corp. (EXC), told the Detroit, Michigan conference. "It's just basic economics that unless you ...
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      Mentions: Europe Barack Obama
    7. Nation's power grid is aging, ITC Holdings Corp. CEO says

      Nation's power grid is aging, ITC Holdings Corp. CEO says
      The nation’s power grid is in serious trouble and innovation must be encouraged to foster the development of clean technology. That was the message at two of the afternoon sessions at the Detroit Economic Club’s National Summit, which began Monday at the Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center. The power grid is aging, said Joseph Welch, CEO and president of Novi-based ITC Holdings Corp. “This is not a system we can go forward into the 21st century with,” he said. The current electrical system has a waste margin of about 9 percent, Welch said. “Think of all the emissions we produce, all the generation we do just to feed our own inefficiencies,” he said. The U.S. Congress is considering two models of controlling power usage, said John Rowe, chairman and CEO of Chicago-based Exelon Corp., the form known as “cap and trade” or a carbon tax.
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    8. Data Centers In The Desert

      Data Centers In The Desert
      Why some of the largest companies in North America have chosen Arizona for their data centers. Building a data center in the Arizona desert sounds counterintuitive. In summer months, temperatures can soar to more than 120 degrees, which means huge cooling bills during the most expensive part of the day. And there are no cool winds blowing through as there are in the Columbia River Gorge in the Northwest, where Google is building a state-of-the-art facility. But that hasn't stopped most of the major banks and some of the other large corporations in America from situating data centers in the Phoenix area. Forbes caught up with Anthony Wanger, president of i/o Data Centers, to discuss the reasons. Forbes: Why build data centers in the desert? Anthony Wanger: The outside temperature has very little to do with the heat inside the data center. About 99.9% of the heat ...
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      Mentions: Google Forbes
    9. Where's My Carbon Credit, Dude?

      Where's My Carbon Credit, Dude?
      We took a righteous stab this morning at explaining the basics of how a cap-and-trade program like the one being considered in congress might be used to limit global warming and carbon emissions. Or, say, limit the use of the word dude. Internally, there was much debate here about what movie clip to use. Our producer Jacob Ganz emailed : "Dude, you can totally tax a turtle." Our editor Uri Berliner remembered the Bud Light ads (video above, other ads here and here.) And let me point out, it's not just economists debating whether a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade approach would be better. I just got this press release from the dudes at the National Pork Producer's Council, titled "Cap And Trade Preferable To Carbon Tax." A quote: "We are already losing money today for every pig sold, and any additional costs will simply drive us deeper and ...
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    10. Q&A: Randy Zwirn, CEO of Siemens Energy

      Q&A: Randy Zwirn, CEO of Siemens Energy
      How's the debate on energy and climate policy going to shape the green energy sector? Randy Zwirn Randy Zwirn heads Siemens Energy Americas, part of a 19 billion euro revenue business that accounted for 25% of the German conglomerate's revenue in 2008. Siemens Energy's fortunes are intertwined with the development of the global green energy industry, and often hinge on government policy that would support the development of renewable energy. Siemens produces wind turbines, photovoltaics and has developed a new generation of efficient large natural gas-fired turbines, in addition to its coal-fired generation and nuclear businesses. Zwirn spoke with Forbes about the importance of energy and climate policy to the future of the green energy sector, and on what the most likely sources of new electricity generation will be as global environmental concerns grow. Forbes: How important is energy and climate (carbon cap and trade) legislation, currently ...
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      Mentions: Forbes
    11. Chromasun to make solar air conditioner

      Chromasun to make solar air conditioner
      Fledgling company Chromasun plans to put the sun's heat to work cooling commercial buildings. Founder Peter Le Lievre established the company to apply concentrating solar power techniques used in utility-scale power plants on a small scale, he said on Wednesday. The potential of applying this technology in dry, sunny areas, such as the southwest U.S. or southern Europe, to cut peak electricity usage is vast, says Le Lievre. If used widely, solar-powered cooling could cut peak electricity usage by about 15 percent, he said. Le Lievre is scheduled to discuss the solar cooling device, now still in development, at Greentech Media's Green Building Summit on Thursday where he will disclose some initial performance data. Cooling accounts for a huge portion of the peak-time electrical load, representing about half of the peak electrical load in California. Le Lievre projects the Chromasun device can cut that consumption by a ...
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    12. Carbon software company claims broad patent

      Carbon software company claims broad patent
      Verisae, a small Minnesota-based company, has received a patent for a system to track and report greenhouse gas emissions with software, a business attracting a growing field of companies. The company on Wednesday said that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a patent to Verisae for a method for calculating a corporation's emissions. The patent, filed in May of 2007, describes a business process for gathering corporate emissions data, generating reports, and managing carbon credits. Verisae is already offering hosted carbon accounting software focused primarily on retail companies, basing its tracking and reporting on the protocols established by the nonprofit Climate Registry, which sets guidelines for emissions reporting. "This is a shot across the bow to others building this stuff," said Verisae product manager Daniel Stouffer. "This is a big story for those venture capital companies which might be spending money with firms that might be building ...
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      Mentions: InfoWorld
    13. A common person’s guide to the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009

      A common person’s guide to the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009
      On May 21, following months of work, the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, a 946-page piece of climate legislation. There have been mixed reactions from environmental and climate groups, but most groups are in agreement that it needs to be strengthened going forward. For some groups the problems they see with the bill have led to their public withdrawal of support. These groups include Greenpeace USA and Friends of the Earth. The Chesapeake Climate Action Network also does not support the bill in current form. Below is a summary analysis of the main features of the bill. -Cap and Trade System: The bill would establish a “cap-and-trade” system which sets mandatory and declining limits on greenhouse gas emissions over the next 40 years. By 2050 it projects reductions of 83% from 2005 levels for the United States. It does this ...
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    14. Calculating The True Cost Of Carbon

      Calculating The True Cost Of Carbon
      U.S. firms produce from $60 billion to $80 billion worth of carbon annually but don't pay for it. What the carbon market could mean to investors. It is light as air, yet it weighs tons. It is vital to life, but it is considered an accelerant in the world's ongoing environmental tragedy. It costs nothing to make, yet paying for it will equal tens of billions of dollars a year. What is it? It is carbon, and its potential expense could one day make us all nostalgic for the halcyon days of subprime loans. Estimated costs for carbon vary, but no matter who does the math they loom large. Anant Sundaram, professor at Dartmouth University's Tuck business school, teaches a course called "Business and Climate Change" and gives a ballpark figure for carbon's financial impact on the Standard & Poor's 500. With an average price ...
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      Mentions: Apple Forbes
    15. Hara: Software for a carbon-constrained economy

      Hara: Software for a carbon-constrained economy
      Start-up Hara Software is betting that businesses need to get smarter about managing natural resources and carbon emissions even before regulations force them into it. The Silicon Valley start-up on Monday is scheduled to come out of stealth mode after 18 months to announce the details of its software service which it designed for what its founder calls a "post-carbon economy era." The 25-person company received $6 million in venture capital from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, where partner Al Gore played a role in getting Hara funded. It's the second software-focused investment after PC power management company Verdiem that KPCB has funded as part of a green tech push first launched in 2006.
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    16. Trilliant buys broadband wireless for smart grid

      Trilliant buys broadband wireless for smart grid
      Trilliant on Thursday said it has acquired SkyPilot Networks to bring broadband wireless networking to utility smart-grid programs. Financial terms weren't disclosed. The acquisition of SkyPilot Networks, which used to sell municipal Wi-Fi systems, will allow Trilliant to offer utilities a way to build a private broadband network, according to company executives. So-called smart meters have a communications link back to utilities, which use that information to getter understanding of changes in demand to run the transmission grid more efficiently. Trilliant supplies radio communications cards that go into meters and software for utilities to run these networks. To carry information from people's home meters back to the utilities' data centers, the route is combination of networks. Trilliant's gear can create a mesh network among different homes where it can then be transferred to an aggregation point such as a substation. Often, utilities rely on digital cellular networks ...
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      Mentions: IBM
    17. Businesses call for shift to low-carbon economy

      Businesses call for shift to low-carbon economy
      A group of business executives on Tuesday issued a call for action on energy policy, arguing the cost of moving to cleaner energy technologies in the next decade will avert costs from climate change. The Copenhagen Climate Council, an organization formed to create awareness for global climate negotiations in December, issued the statement at the conclusion of the World Business Summit, a three-day conference in Copenhagen of businesses and climate experts. "The Copenhagen Call" document is a set of recommendations to policy makers, listing six policy changes required for businesses to make investments that will lead to lower greenhouse gas emissions. To create a stronger incentive to invest in green technologies, the group said there needs to be an international carbon market built around a cap on emissions and the ability to trade permits to emit greenhouse gases. The statement said that policy should be based on the target of ...
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      Mentions: InfoWorld
    18. Intel Cuts Emissions by 27% in 2008

      Intel Cuts Emissions by 27% in 2008
      Semiconductor giant Intel Corporation has cut its global-warming emissions by 27 percent in 2008, compared to its 2007 baseline, keeping the company on track to meet its goal to reduce its carbon footprint 20 percent by 2012, according to the company’s 2008 Corporate Responsibility Report. The CSR report highlights the ways Intel has applied its technology to address environmental, social and economic challenges, and summarizes new long-term goals to drive continuous improvement. Here are several environmental highlights from the report. Intel, based in Santa Clara, California, reduced its total CO2 emissions from 3.85 million metric tons in 2007 to 2.85 million metric tons in 2008. Specifically, the company reduced its PFC emissions by 59 percent in absolute terms and 80 percent on a per chip basis from its1995 baseline.
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      Mentions: LEED
    19. MIT experts tackle nuclear power waste problem

      MIT experts tackle nuclear power waste problem
      Advocates say a nuclear power "renaissance" can solve global energy problems, but construction of new reactors in the U.S. faces a number of barriers, not the least of which is nuclear waste. Delaware Senator Thomas Carper, who actively supports nuclear power, hosted a panel of experts on Monday to discuss nuclear waste at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. MIT on Monday also updated its 2003 study on how nuclear power can play a role in reducing carbon emissions (click for PDF). The four panelists--executive director of the upcoming MIT Nuclear Fuels Cycle study Charles Forsberg, MIT professor of nuclear science and engineering Andrew Kadak, Harvard University associate professor and proliferation expert Matthew Bunn, and MIT Energy Initiative director Ernest Moniz--all favored more nuclear power. They also agreed that the U.S. should fund more research and development, particularly around long-term solutions to radioactive waste. They said that current methods ...
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      Mentions: Google
    20. Cisco: Smart grid will eclipse size of Internet

      Cisco knows a bit about building networks and it sees a $100 billion market opportunity in the smart grid. The company, whose networking gear is installed in all corners of the Internet, on Monday will announce its intention to make communications equipment for the electricity grid--everything from routers in grid substations to home energy controllers. CEO John Chambers is scheduled to discuss Cisco's smart-grid push Monday morning at a JP Morgan conference in Boston. Cisco's move is a sign that the creaky electricity distribution system is poised for a digital upgrade. Other high-tech companies, including IBM, Intel, and several start-ups, are ramping up smart-grid efforts to capitalize on expected investments from utilities and federal governments. Cisco estimates that the communications portion of that build-out is worth $20 billion a year over the next five years.
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      Mentions: IBM
    21. SAP buys into carbon management

      SAP buys into carbon management
      Having mastered ways to automate manufacturing and dozens of other business processes, SAP is now acquiring expertise in managing carbon emissions. The enterprise software giant said on Monday it has acquired 2-year-old, privately held Clear Standards, a Sterling, Va.-based software company with tools for tracking and reporting a corporation's environmental impact. No financial terms were disclosed. The iPhone client for Clear Standards' CarbonTracker enterprise carbon-management software. (Credit: Clear Standards) Clear Standards' Web-based hosted applications are designed to help a company develop a strategy for managing carbon emissions and reducing its environmental impact. The software can create an inventory of a company's emissions and then give an environmental regulations manager, for example, a way to track efforts to reduce energy and waste.
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      Mentions: InfoWorld
    22. Do Google's carbon offsets add up to much?

      Do Google's carbon offsets add up to much?
      Google, a company that runs power-hungry data centers, employs thousands of people, and operates a corporate jet, said on Wednesday that it was carbon neutral for the past two years. How so? Offsets. The idea of a carbon offset is to compensate for the greenhouse gas emissions of a company or person by investing in a project that reduces emissions from the atmosphere. Google sees offsets as an imperfect method for lowering their total carbon footprint, among other efforts. To detractors, offsets are essentially greenwashing when companies do little more than buy offsets to meet their environmental sustainability goals.
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      Mentions: Google InfoWorld
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