Sunday, July 31, 2011

Canadian Federal Provincial Energy Conference on Resource Exploitation

In the middle of July Canada's energy ministers met in Kananaskis, Alberta to discuss creating a national energy strategy and opportunities in the mining sector. The annual conference between federal, provincial and territorial officials was held between July 16th and 19th.

Predictably, Conservative Federal Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver said it was "in the interest of all Canadians, from coast to coast, to exploit the enormous natural resources we have."

For pro-oil Conservatives, now is the time to push ahead with an environmentally hazardous resource exploitation policy. After the Conservative election victory earlier this year, many companies associated with the old energy economy are counting on a regulatory environment that expedites the exploitation of Canada's natural resources.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Chu Video: The Worst Anti-Environmental Bill of her Career



Rep. Judy Chu spoke out today in strong opposition to H.R. 2584, the Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2012. This Bill represents the greatest threat to the environment and public health in decades, and undermines jobs and economic development in growing clean energy industries at a time when Americans are struggling to overcome economic crisis. H.R. 2584 is being considered in the House of Representatives this week. Congresswoman Chu received a lifetime rating of 100% from the League of Conservation Voters for her outstanding environmental voting record.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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Gerry Connolly Video: Climate Disasters And GOP Denial



7/25/11: Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) railed against the efforts by the Republican majority to prevent action on climate pollution with their FY 2012 Interior and Environment appropriations bill, HR 2584. Connolly observed that the extreme weather disasters around the United States are the "symptoms of global warming," but Republicans are putting animals, ecosystems, infrastructure, and public health at risk with their denial.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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Blumenauer Video: 'The Jihad Against Climate Change Continues'



7/25/11: "The jihad against climate change continues for my friends on the Republican side of the aisle," Rep. Earl Blumenaur (D-OR) said on the House floor this afternoon, criticizing the anti-climate provisions of the FY 2012 Interior and Environmental Agencies Appropriations Act (HR 2584) now under debate. "And it's ironic. when people can barely walk outside in Washington, DC., where we're dealing with drought, flood, wildfires, extreme weather events across the country. And the scientists tell us that it's related to human activity. This budget reduces our ability to deal with climate change and extreme weather events."

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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Friday, July 29, 2011

Republican Obstructionism on the Debt Ceiling Risks Global Environmental Collapse

If Republicans do not compromise on a new debt ceiling, it will undermine the American economy which will surely undermine efforts to address climate change. If Democrats accept the Republican's plans to cut spending (including the bill known as H.R. 2584), it will significantly cut the budgets of environmentally oriented government organizations and agencies.

If a deal cannot be reached by the August 2nd deadline, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s have threatened to downgrade America's credit rating. This would undermine the credit system, raise interest rates and put pressure on an already fragile recovery.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

EDF Campaign Opposing US Anti-Environment Bill

An EDF campaign is working to kill the Republican's anti-environment crusade. Under a bill known as H.R. 2584 Republicans are seeking to drastically cut funding to the EPA and other environment oriented government organizations and agencies.

The EDF campaign asks Americans to "Help Stop Mother of All Anti-Environmental Bills!" In an open plea to America, the EDF says:

If you care about the water you drink, the air you breathe, and America's natural heritage, we need you to stand with us right now against the mother of all anti-environmental bills.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Republican Assault on the Environment

Under the cover of America's preoccupation with the debt ceiling the Republicans are launching an all out offensive against the Environment. This is the latest attempt by Republicans to slash funding to the EPA and undermine environmental regulations. Cutting funding on environmental issues like air quality and pesticides will prove harmful to Americans and their environment. It will also eliminate jobs and undermine the economy.

"This is the most anti-environmental House in history," House Energy and Commerce Committee ranking member Henry Waxman told the House. "The new Republican majority seems intent on restoring the robber-baron era where there were no controls on pollution from power plants and oil refineries and factories."

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Resistance to Cuts at Environment Canada

On July 5, nearly 50 civil society organizations sent a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper decrying the cuts to Environment Canada and outlining serious concerns about the impacts of the cuts.

As reported in rabble.ca, the letter was endorsed by labour, environmental, social justice, women's and First Nations organizations, including the Council of Canadians, Canadian Union of Public Employees, Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources, International Institute of Concern for Public Health, Keepers of the Athabasca Watershed Council, Métis Women's Circle, Mining Watch Canada, National Council of Women of Canada, National Network on Environments and Women's Health, Polaris Institute, Public Service Alliance of Canada, and Sierra Club Canada.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Conservatives Cut Budgets and Slash Jobs at Environment Canada

In addition to cuts at the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and the NRC the Conservatives are also taking the axe to Environment Canada. Over $200 million is being cut from Environment Canada's budget which is resulting in the loss of services and jobs. Amongst the people being let go are those involved in climate change research and those responsible for contaminated sites. These cuts will result in the elimination of 1211 jobs (full-time equivalents) over the next three years. The 50 employees cut in June, include people working in the areas of water and atmospheric science.

Environment Canada is the leading organization related to the country's environmental agenda. They are charged with  a number of responsibilities including environmental protection and natural heritage conservation. They also provide meteorological information and science that informs the nation's regulations and legislation.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Canadian Conservatives Slash Environmental Assessment

Recently, in the speech from the throne, the Canadian Conservative government affirmed its commitment to improving environmental assessment, now it is gutting those institutions responsible for environmental oversight.

The Conservative government of Canada is cutting jobs and funding to the environmental agency that evaluates policies and projects. These cutbacks ensure that Canadians will have less information about proposed resource projects.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Canadian Conservatives Slash NRC Budget

The Canadian Conservatives have cut almost $200 million from the budget of the National Research Council of Canada. The Harper governments cuts eliminate more than 20 percent of the NRC's budget.

The National Research Council promotes leading-edge technological research and is the Government of Canada's premier organization for research and development. For almost 100 years the NRC has been contributing to more informed decision making. This year, the NRC named sustainable energy as one of its three national priority areas.

Even the Axis of Evil is Investing in Renewables

Every nation on earth is exploring green energy alternatives even pariah states. To prove the point, even North Korea and Iran, members of what former President Bush called the Axis of Evil are Developing Renewable Energy.

North Korea wants to increase their production of renewable energy. China has agreed to collaborate with North Korea in the sector of renewable energy. North Korean officials recently visited China to learn from China’s experience in the geothermal sector.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

US Protests Against the Keystone XL Tar Sands Oil Pipeline

Canada wants to build a pipeline to transport tar sands oil from the province of Alberta all the way down to refineries in Texas. Earth friendly groups see the 1,700-mile long pipeline, known as the Keystone XL, as a disaster for the environment. According to Dr. Hansen who is one of America’s top climate scientists, the full exploitation of Canada’s tar sands would constitute a “game over” scenario for efforts to solve climate change.

Now that it has Canadian approval, the fate of the Keystone XL Pipeline is in the hands of President Obama. The President will decide on the fate of the pipeline as early as September. This decision will have dire implications for renewable energy production. The more access the US has to tar sands oil, the less it will turn to renewable sources of energy.

Canada on Track to be a Dirty Energy Superpower

At the federal provincial energy conference in July, Canada's energy ministers agreed on the broad strokes of a plan to make Canada a dirty energy superpower. The plan is to squeeze as many petrodollars as they can out of the tar sands which some have described as the most environmentally destructive project on earth.

Normal oil is very harmful to the environment but tar sands oil emits even more heat-trapping and toxic air pollution when it’s produced and refined. Dr. Hansen – America’s top climate scientist – has said that full exploitation of Canada’s tar sands would constitute a “game over” scenario for efforts to solve climate change.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ontario's Green Energy Investments in Sault Ste. Marie

Ontario’s Green Energy Act is providing jobs and benefiting the environment in places like Sault Ste. Marie. According to a news release from MPP David Orazietti, Green energy has already created over 900 construction jobs and 110 permanent jobs in the Sault and Algoma region.

“The Ontario Green Energy Act is the most visionary program for renewable power generation in North America and Heliene Inc. is proud to have made the solar modules that are on top of the local Water Treatment Plant,” said Martin Pochtaruk, President of Heliene Inc. “We need this alternative energy program to remain in place for years to come in order to replace old coal-power generation with modern green technologies and, more importantly, we need this framework to stay in place to provide our youth with a sustainable future, clean air and value added manufacturing jobs.”

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ontario's Green Energy Act is Leading the Green Economy

Ontario is leading North America with an energy vision focused on renewable energy and conservation. The province's vision is spurring the economy and creating green jobs. Ontario’s Green Energy Act (GEA) became law on May 14, 2009. Regulations to fully implement the legislation were introduced in September 2009.

Since 2003, Ontario has brought more than 1,200 megawatts of new renewable energy on-line. New renewable energy projects already in place or under construction in Ontario since 2003 represent a total investment of over $4.6 billion.

The GEA builds on the Ontario government’s earlier initiatives, including plans to eliminate coal from the power supply. Coal-fired generation is the single largest source of air pollution in Ontario and eliminating it from the supply mix will be the largest climate change initiative in Canada.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Ontario Urged to Stay with Green Energy Act

Ontario’s Green Energy Act is “good for consumers, good for business and good for workers,” says the ex-chief of staff for former president Bill Clinton. He also warned Canadians about the fear and misinformation campaigns from entrenched interests in the old energy economy.

On Tuesday June 13, John Podesta who now heads the Center for American Progress, told a Toronto audience at the MaRS centre that fossil fuels are increasingly expensive, dangerous to health and bad for the climate. Nuclear power, which supplies about half of Ontario’s electricity is “a really expensive option,” he said.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Federal Provincial Energy Conference Sponsored by Big Oil

Earlier this week a coalition of environmental groups revealed that the Canadian Federal Provincial Energy Conference is being sponsored by several energy companies.

Eleven companies and associations are spending an unprecedented $180,000 to pay for nearly a third of the $600,000 price tag. The sponsorship is an attempt by the petroleum industry to influence people who will be making crucial decisions about Canada's energy future. The sponsors have access to key individuals and they are given a high profile on the website for the conference.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Video: Volkswagen's Dark Side


Volkswagen has made the strategic decision to produce and market vehicles that are more price competitive than they are fuel efficient.

All the major automotive brands are making radical fuel efficiency improvements to help reign in carbon. It is obvious to all but the willfully misinformed that climate change is a serious threat to all life on the planet, and anthropogenic carbon is the leading cause.

Friday, July 15, 2011

TOA Technologies' ETAdirect Mobile Workforce Efficiency Software

TOA Technologies offers ETAdirect mobile workforce management software that lowers fuel expenditures and improves productivity.

ETAdirect is a routing and scheduling solution which manages more than 50 million appointments annually around the globe. The software cuts drive times for mobile workers, helps reduce expenditures on fuel, improves productivity and reduces paper usage. Companies save an average of $18,000 per mobile employee annually using TOA's ETAdirect.

This complete mobile workforce management solution suite accomodates the uniqueness of each business and industry. ETAdirect modules are designed to be configurable to individual needs. TOA's customer appointment management system is flexible, expandable, and infinitely scalable. And because the platform is web-based, implementation is fast and painless.

TOA's complete mobile workforce management solution includes:

Predictive Planning and Scheduling
Mobile Workforce Management and Reporting
Predictive Customer Communications
Integration and Web Services

Click Here To Download theWhite Paper: Next Generation Strategies For Managing The Mobile Workforce And Enhancing The Customer Experience.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Trucking Companies Need to do More than Reduce Emissions on the Road

A recent report found that trucking companies should not rely solely on the SmartWay Transport Partnership Program, which calculates emissions of a company’s on-road vehicle fleet. The study by the American Transportation Research Institute said that significant sources of trucking company emissions also include on-site equipment, office space, air-conditioning and refrigeration systems.

According to a report by Fleet Owner, there are variables that must be factored including things like GHG emissions from purchased electricity which can vary significantly throughout the country.

The study suggests that there is need for standardization of carbon accounting. Standardized carbon accounting is an important part of measuring and reducing emissions.
© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

Cardinal Health and the EPA's SmartWay Transport Partnership Program Agency

The DOE's National Clean Fleets Partnership initiative complements the EPA’s SmartWay Transport partnership program, which is a program designed to reduce emissions in the freight industry.

As reported in Environmental Leader, the partnership brings together major freight shippers, trucking companies, distribution firms and trade associations in an effort to reduce emissions. The partnership aims to save 1.5 billion gallons of fuel, $3.6 billion in fuel costs, 14.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, 215,000 tons of nitrogen oxides and 8,000 tons of particulate matter.

Cardinal Health is a $99 billion health care services company, it has earned the top score in the SmartWay Carrier Partnership and is in the top five percent of all companies in the Shipper Partnership

“We’re proud to join the SmartWay Transport Partnership and to be recognized by the U.S. EPA for our work in the area of environmental sustainability,” said Frank Macielak, vice president of environment, health and safety for Cardinal Health. “This is an important milestone as we strive to reduce our carbon footprint and improve our overall sustainability efforts.”

As a SmartWay Transport Partner, Cardinal Health has committed to improve its environmental performance by measuring its current environmental performance with the SmartWay Transport FLEET (Fleet Logistics Energy and Environmental Tracking) Performance Model for carriers. They are also creating an action plan for improving the environmental performance of its fleet within three years and reporting to the EPA annually regarding its progress toward achieving its environmental goals.

As an EPA SmartWay Shipper Partner, Cardinal Health has committed to shipping at least 50 percent of its goods using SmartWay Truck Carrier Partners. They are also adopting recommended SmartWay Transport Shipper Strategies, which range from implementing ‘no idling’ policies to incorporating warehouse improvements that reduce emissions.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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PepsiCo's Sustainability Efforts

PepsiCo is committed to protecting the Earth's natural resources through innovation and more efficient use of land, energy, water and packaging. The company's Sustainability Reports detail PepsiCo's governance and economic impacts, as well as achievements in human sustainability, environmental sustainability, and talent sustainability.

Earlier this year, PepsiCo UK produced its second environmental sustainability report. As reported in a MarketingWeek article, the report looked at climate change, agriculture, water use, its products and how the company works with others to drive change within the business.

Since 2005, PepsiCo has also been committed to greening its vehcle fleet. As of 2009, the company had 1,250 hybrid vehicles, which amounted to the second largest non-governmental fleet of hybrid vehicles in the US.

“Our commitment to hybrid company cars is part of our overall commitment to corporate sustainability and reducing our fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions,” said Pete Silva, director fleet procurement, PepsiCo.

The company’s sustainability policy includes steadily improving environmental, social, and economic aspects of the world in which it operates. Topping three EPA lists (The Top 25; Fortune 500 Challenge; and “100 Percent Green Power Purchaser”), PepsiCo will continue to add hybrids to its fleet.

Hybrid fleet models include Toyota Prius and Ford Escape and delivery trucks. Pepsi Co. owned, Frito Lay has electric delivery vans and they use hybrid refrigerated delivery trucks in select divisions.

PepsiCo has also worked with GreenDriver to train sales and delivery drivers on fuel-efficient driving techniques.

In addition to sustainable initiatives in its manufacturing of food and drink the company plans to introduce FSC paper-based packaging to its Quaker and Walkers brands within three years as part of its plan to make all packaging renewable, recyclable or bio-degradable by 2018.

For more information on PepsiCo's sustainability efforts click here.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sustainable Transportation

Sustainable transportation seeks to improve access to goods while simultaneously reducing environmental and social impacts. Research indicates that transporatation is a major cause of climate change.

According to reseach by A. Schafer titled, "The global demand for motorized mobility," transport systems generate approximately one quarter of world energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions.

Air pollution is an unavoidable byproduct of the traditional fossil fuel powered transportation industry. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, greenhouse gas emissions from transport are increasing at a faster rate than any other energy using sector. Road transport is also a major contributor to local air pollution and smog.

Green transportation is defined by its low environmental impact. A truly sustainable transportation system makes a positive contribution to the environmental, social and economic sustainability of the communities they serve.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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The DOE's Public-Private Partnership is Reducing Petroleum Use

Early in July, the DOE announced that six companies have been added to the five charter members involved with the National Clean Fleets Partnership. The initiative is designed to help large companies incorporate electric vehicles, alternative fuels and fuel-saving measures into their fleets. The goal is to reduce US petroleum use by 2.5 billion gallons by 2020.

Collaboration is also part of the Obama administration’s National Clean Fleets Partnership. The public-private partnership promotes a peer-to-peer information exchange, and allows small and large companies to work together to benefit from buying vehicles in bulk.

The program enables companies to use DOE cost calculators, interactive maps, customizable database searches, and mobile applications to compile and analyze essential data. Each company will work with the DOE to develop a comprehensive strategy to reduce petroleum use in their fleets. DOE will also help connect partners with clean fuel providers and equipment manufacturers where their fleets operate.

The partnership was Introduced in April 2011, and is run by the Department of Energy (DOE), it includes charter members AT&T, FedEx, PepsiCo/Frito-Lay, UPS, and Verizon. The five charter members are planning to deploy over 20,000 advanced technology vehicles, and will displace over 7 million gallons of petroleum a year, according to the DOE.

In 2009, ATT announced it would spend up to $565 million to deploy about 15,000 alternative fuel vehicles over the course of a decade. In 2010 the company has avoided the purchase of over one million gallons of gas and diesel fuel. ATT has indicated that it has deployed more than 3,500 alternative fuel vehicles as of March 2011.

In June, FedEx announced that it was adding 4,000 new fuel efficient trucks and cars to its fleet including hybrid and electric vehicles.

Since 2005, PepsiCo has been working on greening its vehcle fleet. As of 2009, the company had 1,250 hybrid vehicles, which amounted to the second largest non-governmental fleet of hybrid vehicles in the US.

In addition to Coca-Cola, Staples, Enterprise Holdings, General Electric, Osram Sylvania, and Ryder Systems inc., are now part of the National Clean Fleets Partnership. Between them they operate nearly a million commercial vehicles.

Coca-Cola has the largest hybrid delivery fleet in North America. Staples says it has increased the fuel economy of its fleet by more than 20 percent since 2007 through fuel-saving steps and the company is also in the process of testing all-electric delivery trucks in Ohio and California. Enterprise Holdings, offers Chevrolet Volts and Nissan Leafs to consumers for rentals. General Electric has committed to convert half of its global vehicle fleet to alternative fuels and to deploy a total of 25,000 electric vehicles by 2015. Osram Sylvania aims to replace 10-12 percent of its fleet annually with more energy-efficient vehicles. Ryder recently opened its first natural gas vehicle maintenance facility, including two liquefied natural gas (LNG) fueling stations, to support hundreds of heavy-duty LNG trucks.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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Coke and the WWF's CO2 Eating Billboard

The WWF has collaborated with Coca-Cola since 2007, together they have focused on freshwater conservation, including Coke's agricultural supply chain. The two work together on action plans aimed at mitigating risks to some of the world’s most important freshwater basins and watersheds that are threatened by dams, pollution and damaged habitat.

Coca-Cola is also working with the WWF to render its advertising message in an environmentally appropriate medium. On June 23, the World Wildlife Federation and Coca-Cola unveiled a billboard in the Philippines that actually eats CO2.

The 60 x 60 foot living billboard in Manila is made of thousands of Fukien tea plants and was created in conjunction with Coca-Cola Philippines’ Live Positively sustainability program. The billboard is shaped in the iconic outline of a coke bottle and written across it is the statement ‘This billboard absorbs air pollutants.'

“We are proud that we have brought to life the first plant billboard in the country. It is an embodiment of our company’s Live Positively commitment to making a positive difference in the world by incorporating sustainability into everything that we do. With this, we hope to inspire Filipinos to join us in our journey, because we know that together, we can make a positive impact,” stated Guillermo Aponte, president of Coca-Cola Philippines.

The billboard is using pots made from recycled bottles that contain 3,600 trees, which live off a mixture of organic fertilizers. The novel advertising employs an efficient drip irrigation system which saves water and fertilizer. Each of the 3,600 trees on the billboard can absorb up to 13 pounds of CO2 a year. When fully grown, the billboard will absorb a total of 46,800 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Xcel Energy's Planned Emissions Reductions

While some utilities are resistant to the EPA's new clean air rules, others, like Xcel Energy are more supportive and they are already working on reducing emissions.

"From our perspective it's almost a moot point," said Mark Stutz, a spokesman for Xcel Energy. "We support it because we've come up with a plan of action."

In 2010, Colorado passed legislation called the Clean Energy-Clean Jobs Act. Xcel was part of a diverse group that helped to create the measure initiated by former Gov. Bill Ritter. The law calls for Colorado utilities to reduce their emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, mercury and carbon dioxide.

Xcel is expected to close a coal-fired unit at a Boulder plant and three at a plant in Denver. They plan to replace these plants with power from new cleaner natural gas-powered plants. The utility will also install modern emissions controls to cut emissions.

These measures will reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides by about 85 percent and sulfur dioxide and mercury emissions by about 80 percent. These significant emissions reductions come at a very modest cost to consumers. Xcel has indicated that these changes will result in rate increase of roughly 2 percent annually over the next decade.

Xcel will reduce its carbon emissions by 28 percent below a 2005 baseline, which is the goal stipulated in the Clean Energy-Clean Jobs Act.© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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EPA's New Clean Air Rules

A new EPA rule puts 18 aging coal plants on a path to being cleaned up or retired and another EPA rule on haze could affect a total of 300 coal facilities.

The EPA is acting on its Clean Air Act mandate to collaborate with states to reduce haze.

This milestone agreement comes after the Environmental Defense Fund, the National Parks Conservation Association and WildEarth Guardians filed a lawsuit early in 2011 challenging the EPA's failure to act.

According to a June agreement filed in the US District Court in Colorado, the EPA will be required to oversee plans to curb thousands of tons of air pollution in Colorado, Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming beginning next year.

The goal is to restore visibility under natural conditions by 2064. The haze in question is about much more than the visibility of national landmarks, according to WildEarth Guardians, the 18 plants targeted under the agreement collectively release at least 200,000 tons of sulfur dioxide, 150,000 tons of nitrogen oxides and 120 million tons of carbon dioxide..

Colorado, Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming, aren't the only states that will have to reduce emissions that cause haze. The new agreement will demand that close to three dozen more states prepare their own regional haze plans. This may prove to be the first salvo in a nationwide effort to rein in haze-causing pollutants at power plants, pulp mills, refineries and smelters.

Under the Obama administration's tenure, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has transformed CAIR into what is now called the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule. The EPA recently released requirements for that newest standard.

EPA figures put the cost of acting on a nationwide plan to reduce haze in the neighborhood of $1.5 billion annually. But according to the EPA, the health-care savings will total around $8.4 billion a year.

Once the 30-day comment period ends July 15, a federal judge in Colorado is tasked with issuing final approval. The deadline for that agreement is currently being negotiated but details should be announced later this year.

Although it has been a long and slow process, it looks at though efforts to have cleaner skies in America is finally coming to fruition.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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Electric and Hybrid Vehicles: Changing Perceptions

A 2011 study suggests that consumers are changing the way they look at transportation. This is one of the key findings of an Accenture survey tiled Plug-in Electric Vehicles: Changing Perceptions, Hedging Bets.

The Accenture survey also found that:
  • Purchase price is only one deciding factor in buying an electric vehicle. Recharging convenience, range anxiety and even the source of the energy for recharging are all of concern to potential buyers.
  • Today's consumer favors plug-in hybrids over full electric vehicles
  • Utilities will have to invest in infrastructure upgrades to meet consumer preference for where and when they recharge their electric cars.
  • Utilities may face competition for charging services from new providers.
Consumer's views on hybrid and fully electric vehicles are maturing as is the market and infrastructure that supports them.
© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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Googles Green Vehicle Initiative
Video: Google's Greener Vehicle Initiative
Government Investment Fuels Greener Vehicles
Governments and the Growth of EVs
Improving Battery Technology Key to Greener Cars
Electric Vehicle Battery Technology Obstacles and Solutions
Competition in the 2011 Greener Car Market
Competition in the Green Vehicle Market
The Value of Electric Vehicle Subsidies
The US is Positioned to Lead the Global Competition for EV Supremacy
America's New Fuel Efficiency Standards
American Electric Vehicle Strategy
Obama's National Goal of One Million EVs by 2015
The US Government is Investing in Greener Vehicles
China Poised to Challenge Global Auto Giants in the Greener Vehicle
Chinese Government Investment in Electric Vehicles
The Indian Government is Supporting Electric Cars
Germany and the Global Competition for EV Supremacy
ISO Standards and Greener Vehicles

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Indian Government is Supporting the Development of Electric and Hybrid Cars

The government of India is helping its automotive industry to develop greener vehicles by supporting hybrid and electric vehicles (EVs). The government of India's National Electric Mobility Mission will enable companies to develop batteries with lower running cost and maintenance.

“There are several players in India making different kind of electric vehicles but lack of infrastructure to charge these vehicles and the high-price of hybrid cars has prevented growth,” said Ambuj Sharma, joint-secretary, ministry of Heavy Industries.

In India hybrid vehicles cost twice the price of those powered by a combustion engine alone. The cost of EVs is particularly relevant in India, where higher costs have slowed the widespread adoption of greener cars.

The higher cost of battery technology represents a major obstacle to the growth of electric and hybrid vehicles. By investing in greener cars the government of India is capitalizing on an under-utilized segment and building an infrastructure that will generate economic growth and reduce emissions.
© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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Winners of the 2011 Green Chemistry Awards

For the past 16 years the US EPA has been giving out the awards that recognize the most innovative chemical technologies associated with pollution prevention in the US. The 2011 EPA Presidential Green Chemistry awards went to BioAmber, Genomatica, Kraton Performance Polymers and Sherwin Williams as well as Professor Bruce Lipshutz of University of California, Santa Barbara.

Green chemistry is a field of science that is of major importance in efforts to manage climate change. Scientific research and development in this field focuses on less-hazardous alternatives to existing technologies which reduce or eliminate waste particularly hazardous waste, in industrial production.

According to a recent Pike Research Green Chemistry study, the industry is expected to grow from $2.89bn in 2011 to $98.5bn by 2020.

"Green chemistry markets are currently nascent, with many technologies still at laboratory or pilot scale," says Pike Research president Clint Wheelock, "and many production-scale green chemical plants are not expected to be running at capacity for several more years. However, most green chemical companies are targeting large,existing chemical markets, so adoption of these products are limited less by market development issues than by the ability to feed extant markets at required levels of cost and performance."

Pike Research anticipates dramatic growth rates for green chemicals during the coming decade. The global chemical industry is currently valued at $4 trillion. By 2020, the firm expects that the total chemical industry will expand to $5.3 trillion in annual revenues.

BioAmber was given the Small Business Award for its "Integrated Production and Downstream Applications of Biobased Succinic Acid." BioAmber's technology produces succinic acid at a cost 40% below that of petroleum-based succinic acid and can even compete when oil prices are below $40 per barrel. The technology also sequesters carbon dioxide rather than emitting it.

Succinic acid, commonly referred to as amber acid, is a key building block for a wide range of secondary chemicals used in the chemical, pharmaceutical, food and agricultural industries. BioAmber's biosuccinic acid can also substitute for other chemicals like adipic acid in traditional polymers and serve as the starting material for the production of chemicals such as BDO and tetrahydrofuran (THF).

Genomatica, on the other hand, has been recognized for its production of high volume basic chemicals from renewable feedstocks at lower cost under the "Greener Synthetic Pathways Award." BDO, with a 2.8 billion pound, $3 billion worldwide market, is a high-volume chemical building block used to make many common polymers, such as spandex and in automotive plastics.

Genomatica expects its production expenses for bio-BDO should be 15-30% less than petroleum-based BDO and be competitive at oil prices of $45 per barrel or at natural gas prices of $3.50 per million Btu.

Kraton is already well known in the chemical industry and the company received this year's "Greener Reaction Conditions Award." for its NEXAR™ Polymer Membrane Technology. The technology is a family of halogen-free, high-flow, polymer membranes made using up to 50% less hydrocarbon solvent. The NEXAR™ membranes can purify hundreds of times more water than one using traditional membranes. The EPA noted that Kraton's technology also save 70% in membrane costs, and 50% in energy
costs.

The NEXAR polymers are reportedly made from block copolymers that provide strength toughness and flexibility, and water or ion transport.

The blog is actually very interested in Sherwin-William's water-based acrylic alkyd technology which was given the "Designing Greener Chemicals Award." Sherwin-Williams is said to have developed its water-based paints (sold under ProClassic Waterbased Acrylic Alkyd,ProMar 200 Waterbased Acrylic Alkyd, and ProIndustrial Waterborne Enamel) made from recycled soda plastic bottle (PET), acrylics and soybean oil.

Sherwin-Williams has used 320,000 pounds of soybean oil, 250,000 pounds of recycled PET, and eliminated 1,000 barrels of oil use as well as over 800,000 pounds of VOCs in 2010.

Professor Lipshutz received the Academic Award. He developed a novel, second-generation designer surfactant called TPGS-750-M made from inexpensive ingredients. The technology is said to offer opportunities for industrial processes to replace large amounts of organic solvents with very small amounts of a benign surfactant nanodispersed in water only. These reactions can even be run in seawater. Sigma-Aldrich is currently offering TPGS-750-M for sale, making it broadly available to research laboratories.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Video: Koch Brothers Climate Denial Machine



A short animation detailing the efforts of billionaire oil barons Charles and David Koch to undermine belief in climate change and prevent legislation that threatens their profits. By pouring money into pseudo-scientific studies and funding third parties such as think tanks and front groups (posing as everything from Senior's groups to Women's groups) the public is led to believe a genuine scientific debate is raging. In truth, as one climate denier candidly admits, those doubting the science are just a small, if brilliantly coordinated, minority.
© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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Friday, July 8, 2011

China Poised to Challenge Global Auto Giants in the Greener Vehicle Market

Under the government"s long-term science and technology plan China is exploring a variety of greener vehicle technologies. In 2006, the Chines government issued a policy directive to encourage the development of small cars with low fuel consumption and low emissions.

China's Chang’an Auto is already mass producing a hybrid vehicle for about $20,000, which is $10,000 less than the Toyota Prius hybrid. Chang’an produced 50,000 Jiexun-HEV hybrid cars in 2010.

China's efficient low emission vehicles are part of its global strategy aimed at the greener global vehicle market. In addition to the growing domestic market, China is increasing exports to developing nations, as well as to the US and Europe.

Inexpensive compact cars like the Chery QQ, and the Geely Panda are selling well domestically. There is also a resurgence of demand for larger sedans in China. These larger models are important to its export strategy. In 2009, 30,000 of the 190,000 Chinese cars were exported.

Geely plans to increase its overseas sales to 1.3 million vehicles annually by 2015, with assembly plants already operating in Russia, Ukraine and Indonesia, and another one planned in Mexico.

Chery, exported 120,000 vehicles in 2009 and has over 20 overseas plants designed to boost sales in Russia, the Middle East, South America and South Africa. The company also signed an agreement to produce compact cars under the Chrysler brand for US and European markets.

The Chinese are positioning themselves to take on the global giants in global sales of greener vehicles.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Greening of China's Cities, Counties, Towns and Industry

According to China's deputy director of the National Energy Administration, Qian Zhimin, Chinese cities, counties and towns will be increasingly green in the next few years. As reported in China Daily, Qian estimated that by 2015, the country could see as many as 100 cities, 200 counties and 10,000 towns relying on alternative sources of energy like renewables.

“Against the backdrop of combating climate change and pursuing development in a way that saves energy and avoids harming the environment, the notion of a low-carbon town is becoming prevalent, and promising exploration have been conducted by a multitude of…cities,” Qian said. “Priorities should be placed on the development of public and rail transit and the construction of smart grids. We should also make cities more energy efficient”

China's first model town, Tianjin Yujiapu financial district was nominated as the first low-carbon model town project in the Asia-Pacific region at a forum that discussed low carbon model towns. The initial planning for the city was conducted by international design teams from Manhattan, Chicago, London, and Japan.

“In recent years, test projects have begun for regions that will emit relatively little carbon and have been preliminarily tried out in five provinces and eight cities, including Tianjin,” Qian said.

Li Bo, the president of the Tianjin Innovative Finance Investment Ltd., noted that the buildings in the city are being constructed in accordance to green standards. “Last year, we signed cooperative agreements with more than 60 low-carbon enterprises from home and abroad,” Li said. At present, 260 enterprises have invested in the Yujiapu financial district, with a total capital registered for the project at around 60 billion yuan, or $9.27 billion.

Xinhua reports that China’s minister of industry and information technology, Miao Xu, said that the government has plans to green the country’s industrialization strategy. The minister indicated that China will promote energy efficiency and emissions reductions. These measures are significant given the fact that as of 2011, Chinese energy consumption in industrial production accounts for 70 percent of the nation’s total energy consumption.

These efforts are consistent with China’s five-year plan which mandates movement away from fossil fuels, and lowering energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product by 16 percent.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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