Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

In 2011 people got increasingly involved with efforts to combat climate change. President Obama listened to demonstrators and postponed the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline pending further investigation. More businesses than ever assumed a leadership role by engaging environmental sustainability and despite setbacks, renewable energy continued to grow. Even COP 17 exceeded expectations with a binding agreement that represents an important step in the right direction.

GM Collaborating with LG to Develop EVs

Consumer electronics leader LG Group, the second largest South Korean conglomerate, is expanding its collaborating with with automotive giant General Motors (GM), the largest US automaker. The new partnership will see the two companies team up to design and build hybrid and fully electric vehicles.

The Crucial Role of Public Private Partnerships in US Battery Technology

Public private collaborations have played a fundamental role advancing the US position in the development of commercial scale energy storage systems for cell phones, laptops, hybrids and electric vehicles. National laboratories conduct vital research that make it possible for the private sector to achieve commercial scale.

According to Jeff Chamberlain, who currently heads up battery research and development for Argonne National Lab, "In the U.S., businesses tend to invest in research that will pay off in the short term. National laboratories are filling a gap by conducting the essential research that will change the game 10 to 20 years down the road."

Ford Collaboration with Zipcar

Ford and Zipcar are collaborating to deploy hundreds of car-sharing vehicles in college campuses. Car sharing is a more environmentally sustainable approach to transportation than ownership. It is an important way of minimizing traffic and emissions.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Ford and Toyota Collaborating on Hybrid Technology and Telematics

Ford and Toyota announced that they are working together on a new more efficient hybrid system and advanced telematics. Ford has developed an excellent reputation for trucks, and Toyota has owned the hybrid car market for a couple decades. So, it stands to reason that the two should be partnering to develop a hybrid system for light trucks and SUVs.

Fisker Buying Engines from BMW for New Cars

Electric vehicle developer California based Fisker Automotive is collaborating with Germany's BMW to procure the engines for upcoming Fisker mid-sized cars. Since its inception in 2007 Fisker has been working on luxury high-performing extended-range electric cars. The current generation of cars is sold under the name Karma, it has an all-electric drive range of more than 50 miles (51.6 miles or 83 km) and a solar roof. The Karma can go from 0-60 mph in under 6 seconds (5.9 seconds).

GM and BMW are Collaborating on Hydrogen Fuel Cell Development

General Motors and BMW are planning to collaborate on hydrogen fuel-cell technology for passenger cars. GM has invested almost $2 billion in development costs of hydrogen fuel-cell systems. GM focuses its fuel-cell R&D in Germany, which lends itself well to the possible collaboration.

Hybrids Could Substantially Reduce US Fossil Fuel Consumption

Barry Stevens, PhD, is the Managing Director of TBD America, Inc., here is his response to a question about the impact on petroleum usage if all passenger vehicles in the US were as energy efficient as Toyota's Prius.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Global Demand for Hybrid Vehicles

The worldwide market for all vehicles will grow by about four percent per year over the next six years, analysts at Pike Research estimate that the electric vehicle market will grow at a rate of almost 20 percent over the same time frame.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

EV Sales Predictions in the US

Analysts expect the sales of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) to significantly increase in the US over the next several years. The anticipated annual growth rate is expected to be 43 percent between 2011 and 2017. Annual sales will reach approximately 360,000 vehicles by 2017.

Ford's Solar Powered Charging Stations

Ford Motor Company is using SunPower Corp.’s panels for its solar electric vehicle charging system. The charging stations will fuel Ford's new EVs (Focus Electric and C-Max Energi). The system employs rooftop solar panels which feeds power to an electric vehicle charger. Under Ford’s “Drive Green for Life” program customers can get the 2.5-kilowatt solar-powered charging station for under $10,000. The price includes federal tax credits but not state or local rebates. Loans and leases to offset the cost of the solar roof are also available.

GM's Solar Powered Charging Stations

GM Ventures L.L.C., the venture capital arm of General Motors Corporation is investing $7.5 million in Sunlogics P.L.C. a maker of electric vehicle charging stations. As part of the Chevrolet Green Zone program, Sunlogics will construct solar charging stations for GM. These “solar canopies” charge electric cars with low weight photovoltaic panels. The solar charging stations are rated at 20 kilowatts and can take up to 24 electric vehicle spaces.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

GM's Greener Manufacturing of Fuel Efficient Vehicles

Since 1990, GM has decreased its manufacturing emissions by 60 percent. GM produces fuel efficient cars like the Cruze Eco, which gets an EPA-estimated 42 mpg on the highway. GM also produces the well known Chevy Volt which allows up to 50 miles of pure electric driving on a single charge after which a small gasoline engine/generator creates electricity for an additional 300 miles.

Chevrolet is Investing 40 Million to Offset its Car's Emissions

Chevrolet has announced that it is investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy. Its goal is to reduce 8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions over next few years. The company plans to invest $40 million on efforts that reduce environmental impacts. The initiative is focused on projects that promote energy savings, renewable energy, responsible use of natural resources and conservation in communities across the U.S.

State of the Climate Global Analysis Nov 2011

Anyone who remains unconvinced of the veracity of climate change need only review the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) State of the Climate Global Analysis for November 2011.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Canada’s White Christmas Isn’t So White Anymore

Enjoying a white Christmas is an honored tradition for many all over the world, and nowhere more than for those in Canada’s Great White North. But for most Canadians, the tradition of a white Christmas is becoming more a dream than a reality.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays from The Green Market

Happy Holidays and a special thank you to readers of The Green Market. In the spirit of the season we wish you a safe, happy and healthy holiday and a prosperous 2012.

Together we are making the world a greener more sustainable place.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

Related Posts
Environmentally Friendly Alternatives to Traditional Christmas Lighting
Environmentally Friendly Alternatives to the Traditional Chrismas Tree
Global Warming and the Shortage of Mistletoe

Friday, December 23, 2011

Environmentally Friendly Alternatives to Traditional Christmas Lighting

Millions of lights are used to decorate and illuminate the Christmas season, but traditional light bulbs are a huge drain on energy. Thankfully there are more environmentally friendly alternatives to the traditional Christmas light bulb. LED Christmas lighting uses significantly less electricity and lasts much longer than traditional bulbs. A large number of retailers are offering LED Christmas lighting this holiday season.

Environmentally Friendly Alternatives to the Traditional Christmas Tree

There are over two billion Christians in the world and many in North America and Europe are following the time honoured tradition of decorating a Christmas tree. This Christmas millions of Christmas trees have been bought around the world. The question is what type of tree is best for the environment? Here is a review of some of the options available today.

Global Warming and the Shortage of Mistletoe

The effects of climate change are ubiquitous, and this year it is even impacting the availability of mistletoe. Droughts, one of the corollaries of global warming, is behind the shortage. The small parasitic plant grows on trees in humid climates in Europe and the US. Because of dry conditions in the southern US, and Texas in particular, most of this years crop comes from Europe.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Koch Brother’s Ties to GOP Presidential Candidates

Oil billionaires David and Charles Koch use their oil wealth to misinform Americans and influence the GOP. The Koch brothers have spent $55 million to fund climate denial front groups, their agenda includes efforts to undermine the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Koch Industries has given generously to conservative politicians throughout the country at both the federal and state level and many Republicans including GOP presidential candidates are known to have ties to the brothers.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Republicans are Playing Scrooge this Christmas

Republicans in the House are looking more and more like Ebenezer Scrooge. The GOP is well known for its anti-environmental ambitions and now through their refusal to support the payroll tax cut extension, they are launching an assault on average Americans. Although many in the GOP signed a pledge refusing to increase taxes, it would appear this only applies to the tax increases for the wealthy.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

DIY Machines With Minimal Environmental Impact

In many ways machines are the defining feature of our species and a new DIY movement illustrates the ways that machines can benefit humanity while minimizing their environmental impact. It ultimately depends on how the machine is made, what the machine does and who has access to it. It is increasingly obvious that we need to develop new machines that serve humanity without destroying the environment. Some of the most interesting machine manufacturing projects are being created in the "do it yourself" (DIY) movement.

10 Green Businesses that Made It Big

Decades ago, many people didn’t care about environmentally-friendly businesses and what they had to offer. Promises of natural ingredients, sustainable practices, and social responsibility were not a priority for the average shopper. But the times have changed and people have turned a new leaf to the idea of going green and are using more natural, sustainable products. Check out these 10 green businesses that made it big.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Republicans Use Blackmail to Gain Support for the Keystone XL Pipeline

Republicans appear oblivious to both environmental issues and the economic difficulties of Americans. On Friday December 16, Republicans in Congress decided to play a game of chicken with America by linking the passage of the social security payroll tax-cut extension and employment benefits to the Keystone XL pipeline.

Republicans are also pressuring the President to make a decision about the pipeline in just 60 days. However, the State Department has indicated that 60 days is not enough time to explore the issues involved and make a responsible decision.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Floods in the Philipines Underscore the Deadly Toll from Climate Change

The deadly floods and landslides in the Philippines are but the latest example of the catastrophic impacts of extreme weather from climate change. There are almost one thousand people missing after flash floods and landslides swept houses into rivers and out to sea, killing more than 650 people in the southern Mindanao region on Friday December 16 and Saturday December 17.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Video: Journey of Sustainable Business

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

Video: Sustainability - The Movement of Our Time

The Sustainable Business Network has partnered with film and campaign management company, Borderless Productions to produce a short film that celebrates the growing success of the sustainability movement in New Zealand. The five minute video entitled, Sustainability The Movement of Our Time opened the NZI National Sustainable Business Network Awards, bringing together a line up of sustainability entrepreneurs who shed light on the journey of sustainability over the past two decades.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Canada is Increasingly One of the World's Worst GHG Emitters

Although Canada has a population of only 30 million people, it is one of the world's worst greenhouse gas emitters. Sadly, under the leadership of Stephen Harper's Conservative government this trend is only getting worse.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Quebec's Electric Vehicle Incentive Program

Quebec has launched a new program that is designed to increase the use of its renewable energy resources to power ground transportation. Quebec gets almost all of its electricity from hydro power which is a renewable resource. Quebec is the fourth largest hydroelectric producer in the world making electric vehicles a natural fit. Quebec already has the electricity to power at least one million elelctric cars. The province's Electric Vehicles Action Plan will make transportation electrification a centerpiece of Quebec's efforts to develop a new sustainable mobility system.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Ontario Electric Vehicles Incentive Program

As of July 1, 2010, Ontario consumers were eligible for an incentive ranging from $5,000 to $8,500 towards the purchase or lease of a new plug-in hybrid electric or battery electric vehicle. The Ontario EV program also offers non-monetary incentives. These include access to high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes – even if only one person is in the car – and access to public recharging infrastructure at Ontario government parking lots (such as GO bus and train stations around the Greater Toronto Area).

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Canada Officially Withdraws from the Kyoto Protocol

Although it was widely expected, one day after the conclusion of COP 17 in Durban, Stephen Harper's Conservatives formally withdrew from the world's only climate change combating global treaty. December 12,2011 will be remebered as the day Canada withdrew from the Kyoto Accord. Environment Minister Peter Kent made the announcement that Canada would be the first nation to withdraw from the Accord.

Will the Agreement Reached at COP 17/CMP 7 Contain Climate Change?

The Durban Platform is a plan to negotiate a new global agreement by 2015, which will be implemented by 2020. In the meantime scientists at the Climate Action Tracker, "stated that the world continues on a pathway of over 3°C warming with likely extremely severe impacts."

Monday, December 12, 2011

Details of the Deal Reached at COP 17

The participants at the U.N. climate change talks in Durban, South Africa, managed to come to an agreement on a package of measures early on Sunday that would eventually force all the world's polluters to take legally binding action. A new body known as the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action was also established to negotiate a global agreement.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Highlights of the Opportunity Green Conference 2011

Opportunity Green is an annual business conference in Los Angeles and according to organizers, the November 2011 edition was the best conference yet. It was the "gathering place" for individuals and companies committed to building profitable and sustainable enterprises while solving some of the world's toughest problems. The conference reviewed new trends, critical knowledge and winning partnerships for a world where profits, people and the environment are truly interconnected.

Extended COP 17 Negotiations Yield Agreement

After two weeks of negotiations in Durban, South Africa, a deal was reached that makes progress towards a binding treaty to address climate change. Talks were supposed to wrap up Friday but continued through the night, and then into Saturday night, before negotiators could come to an agreement. The two most prominent elements of the deal concern a replacement for the soon to expire Kyoto Protocol, and general terms for the green climate fund.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Video: Special Envoy Stern Discusses COP-17

Todd Stern, Special Envoy for Climate Change, discusses COP 16 and COP 17 at the Foreign Press Center in Washington, D.C. on November 22, 2011. Stern reviews the agreement reached at COP 16 and the fate of the Kyoto Protocol.

Video: One South African Asks Why Canada is Silent on Climate Change

In this video, a women from South Africa discusses how the climate has changed effecting agriculture in South Africa. She also asks questions about Canada's conspicuous silence on the issue of climate change and the importance of reaching a binding international agreement.

Video: COP 17 & CMOP 7 Opening Remarks

The opening remarks at COP 17 focus on the soon to expire Kyoto Protocol and operationalizing the agreements at COP 16 including the Green Carbon Fund. This speaker emphasizes the urgency of acting now.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Who is to Blame for Difficulties at COP 17?

As COP 17 comes to a close, European Union Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard blamed China and India for resisting the EU-designed “road map” designed to succeed the Kyoto Protocol which is set to expire in 2012.

Hope Remains Despite Expectations of a Dissapointing Outcome at COP 17

The COP 17 climate negotiations wrap up today in Durban, South Africa. Although there are very low expectations, some optimism remains. However unlikely, it is not impossible for developed and developing countries to compromise and reach an agreement on equitable and enforceable targets to reduce CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions.

China an Unlikely Hero at Cop 17

China is often criticized for being the world’s biggest carbon emitter, but at COP 17 the country has emerged as an unlikely hero. China is in the process of reinventing itself and it is looking increasingly towards the green economy to do so. Chinese delegation head Xie Zhenhua said China might be willing to sign a legally binding agreement for reducing emissions.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Costs of Global Warming

The costs of reducing emissions are frequently cited as reasons for inaction, however these assessments fail to factor the much greater costs of unchecked climate change. Already we are seeing massive costs from drought, famine, flooding and extreme weather.  Global warming causing greenhouse gas emissions continue to escalate increasing beyond the worst predictions of the UN’s climate experts. These costs will only increase as global warming worsens.

A Binding Agreement on Climate Change is a Matter of Life and Death

Many of the participants at COP 17 do not appear to acknowledge that a binding agreement on climate change is a matter of life and death. Failure to address climate change will cause mass starvation and completely inundate some island nations.

Canada is a Pariah at COP 17

Canada is being heavily criticized at the UN climate summit in Durban for failing to work on global climate change issues. With next to no delegation at the summit, Canada is rightly being accused of not being serious about efforts to manage climate change.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

US Demands Emissions Reductions from China and India

The United States, the world's second-largest polluter after China, made it clear that as a condition for a binding agreement on emissions reductions, major developing country emitters like China and India must be part of any legally binding agreement.

COP 17 a Premeditated Failure?

In her speech opening COP 17, Christiana Figueres, the Executive Secretary of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, highlighted the importance of industrialized countries committing to cut greenhouse gas emissions, pointing to the devastating effects of climate change in developing countries.

Protests Around the World Call for Climate Justice at COP 17

People are coming together around the world to demand climate justice. Climate change activists continue their protests at COP 17 in Durban, South Africa and some of the protestors at the Occupy movement are also calling for "climate justice." While the occupy protests may lack the focus to auger meaningful change, they represent a mass-movement of people seeking social change.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

UN Chief Warns that the Future of the Planet is at Stake at COP 17

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is warning deadlocked climate talks in Durban about the importance of finding solutions. "It would be difficult to overstate the gravity of this moment," Ban said "Without exaggeration, we can say: the future of our planet is at stake - people's lives, the health of the global economy, the very survival of some nations."

The Costs of Canada's Failure to Act on Climate Change

In addition to degrading the Canadian and global environment, Canada's ruling Conservatives are imposing huge costs on Canadians. Rather than push for a binding global treaty on climate change in Durban South Africa, Canada is expected to withdraw from the Kyoto accord. Climate change will cost Canadians about $5 billion a year by 2020 and according to a new report, those cost could rise to as much as $91 billion a year by the 2050s.

Monday, December 5, 2011

India is Leading Resistance to a Binding Treaty at COP 17

India has emerged as the leading opponent to a binding treaty at the UN Climate Conference in Durban, South Africa (COP 17). India is the world's third largest carbon emitter and the country's C02 emissions are now growing at a rate of more than 9 percent a year. At COP 17, India has made it clear that it is choosing economic growth over efforts to reduce emissions.

Polluters Dominate the Agenda at COP 17 in Durban

At the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP 17), 20,000 negotiators and stakeholders from nearly 200 countries are meeting in Durban, South Africa. Although many countries are taking steps to curb GHG emissions as part of the global fight against climate change, there is little hope of a binding international agreement this year. After COP 15 in Copenhagen, there was considerable well warranted pessimism, and after COP16 in Cancun, heightened expectations appear to have vanished.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Waste Hydrogen Utilization Project (IWHUP) in BC

Treatment of waste hydrogen is being recylced for use in vehicular and stationary power applications in British Columbia, Canada. Captured waste hydrogen gas from places like sodium chlorate plants is being recycled into compressed hydrogen. It is known as the Waste Hydrogen Utilization Project (IWHUP). In the IWHUP project waste hydrogen that is normally burned off is being captured and recycled so that it can be used as fuel. The project in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada where they are building the world’s first small scale liquid hydrogen plant.

The BC Hydrogen Highway

The Canadian province of British Columbia (BC) built a hydrogen highway system for the 2010 Olympics. The BC hydrogen highway runs between the cities of Vancouver and Whistler. It was designed to showcase zero-emissions hydrogen technology.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Video: Putting a Price on Carbon in Australia

This short video reviews the importance of putting a price on carbon. It also reviews how Australia's carbon pricing scheme will work.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

Friday, December 2, 2011

World's First Small-Scale Hydrogen Liquefaction Plant to be Built in BC

British Columbia announced $870,000 in provincial funding for the development of the world's first small-scale hydrogen liquefaction plant. The plant will be built in North Vancouver and it will supply clean hydrogen throughout the Pacific Northwest. It will produce 1200 kg/day of liquid hydrogen which is enough to fuel a fleet of over 1,500 passenger fuel cell vehicles or 50 transit busses.