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America Losing Competitive Edge in Green Industry

Recently, a Wall Street Journal Editorial authored by Joh Doerr, partner in venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and Jeff Immelt, Chariman & CEO of General Electric, proposed a big question to policy makers, business people and American's in general. Can the United States become the world leader in green energy? The answer given to this question is no. Of course, there is a caveat but still the answer is no.

According to the authors, whom I do trust, China is becoming the leader in this department. This new leadership role for China is because of direct result of sound policies and a need to wean itself off outside control of the economy through energy. The exact same things the authors say that can work in America.

Chinese Renewable Energy Giant... read more

Confusion over US Cash for Clunkers Program

The United States is currently spearheading an effort to lower carbon emissions and boost the flailing auto industry with a government sponsored cash for clunkers program. The program, officially titled, Cars Allowance Rebate System, seeks to provide up to $4,500 towards a purchase of a new car if an older, less gas efficient model is taken off the street. Sounds simple, well as they say the devil is in the details.

US Cash for Clunkers Program The standards originally announced for the program have been changed. As Business Week reported, this altered whether 164 vehicles would be covered by the program. Of these 78 will no longer qualify while another 86 vehicles will. Confused? Well, don't feel alone.... read more

Green Healthcare

Healthcare reform is at the forefront of the political sphere in the U.S. right now.  While most of the discussion focuses on reform of the insurance industry, greening the healthcare industry is equally important.  Also called sustainable medicine, green practices reduce environmental toxins, lead to overall healthy living, and can decrease total healthcare costs.

Green Health Care... read more

Funding for Homeowners to go Solar: AB811

California bill AB811 was passed a year ago.  It allows cities and counties to make low interest loans to homeowners for the purpose of installing permanently attached energy efficiency and solar electric systems.

Renewable Funding

What makes the idea different is that homeowners would pay the loans back though assessments on property tax bills.  The liens transfer to any subsequent owner if the property is transferred.

It should be easier for cities to raise bond money to finance these programs because the loans are secured by liens.  With property values lower, and more people out of work, perhaps many homeowners will get a better rate for funds if they get it through this new type of program compared to a traditional second mortgage.

Now cities need to step up to the plate and implement the program for their residents.... read more

Great Green Articles on International Emission Standards, Wal-mart and Popular Science's Green Guide

Welcome back to another week of green news from across traditional media.  Once again, the mainstream media is reporting on a number of developing stories.  Some focus on international and national issues, while others highlight small developments in sustainability. I found all the articles interesting and highlighting worthwhile topics.  Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Wal-Mart using its clout to go green: The Boston Globe published a small editorial comment on Wal-Mart's new eco-labeling initiative and the possible ramifications. A great explanation of why many company's will change habits merely because they have to now release embarrassing information, but I find the author to be a little condescending. He writes, "Wal-Mart's total annual purchases emanate from China, where it is high time environmental standards are raised." Really? Yes, China needs to raise envrionmental standards definitely in the industrial sector, but this sentence makes it seem like it is a free for all in China with no regulation. I wonder if the author knows that China has higher fuel efficiency standards for automobiles than the US?

India unable to accept any legally binding cut in greenhouse gas emissions: The Hindu, India's National Newspaper, is reporting that India will not accept any legally binding agreement for reduction of carbon emission.  This is a huge blow for the Obama administration that sought some kind of agreement from India for reducing its carbon footprint.  Though both nations plan to work together to reduce global warming, most believe that no real action will be taken without legally binding treaties to force individuals and industries to curb their output of carbon.

popular Science Green Home GuidePopular Science helps you green your home: The Miami Herald did a quick piece on Popular Science's new online "Green Home Guide." The guide is in a magazine format and chock full of great information. Click on the title to be take directly to the guide.

"Green" radio emits from Palm Beach Gardens: South Florida now has its first all green envrionmental radio show.  The show, "Radio Green Earth," will provide a variety of interviews with policymakers, activists and entrepreneurs in the green sector.  Ed Begely,Jr. is already on the interview schedule.U.S. Green Building Council's new headquarters earns LEED Platinum:  Sometimes the government gets it right.  Building, Design and Construction reports that the U.S. Green Building Council recently announced Platinum certification of its new Washington, D.C. headquarters.  This makes the 75,000 sq. ft. building the it the first project to receive certification under the latest version of the LEED green building rating system.  Read the article to find out what makes this building so green.

SF Mayor Newsom at Sustainable Foodshed Summit, Oakland CA, July 8, 2009

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom talks about his new Executive Directive on Healthy Sustainable Food for San Francisco which he publicly announced on July 11, 2009. The plan aims to ensure that all regional residents have access to healthy food, and will have far reaching impact throughout Northern California by increasing support for area farms.
"Unless we get to the core of what we eat, and how we eat, and where we procure what we eat, we aren't going to address the issue of healthcare reform in any substantive and meaningful way. We aren't going to substantively address the issue of the environment in any meaningful way. The ability for us to address the issue of poverty in all its forms and manifestations at the core has issues associated with health and nutrition."  A great idea that I hope catches on across the bay area and nation.
... read more

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Hip Green American Hostels, Van Jones and Green Jobs

Welcome back to a another edition of Wednesday Quick Hits, where we at KeenforGreen search the internet for some of the best bits of blogging the world has to offer. As I scan articles a great realization dawns on me, some of the most interesting articles that I found are in blogs. I think in blogs, even corporate ones, you find a great deal of experimenting with topics. This gives you the feeling of ideas, but maybe not fully formed articles as you would find in traditional media outlets. I love a good article because it is well researched but sometimes an idea is simply more raw and fascinating. Just a few quick thoughts and you can agree or disagree if you like. Now on to the show...

Hip Green Hostels

12 Hip Green Hostels in North America: Treehugger treats us to another wonderful article showcasing how we can go green in our own life. This time they feature the perfect summer list with hip green hostels across North America. Jennifer Hattam produces a list that shows all the different types of green hostels you can do, urban to desolation, touring to partying, beach to desert. Ms. Hattam lists has a little something for everyone. Check out picture above of the Pigeon Point Lighthouse Hostel which was certified as a Bay Area Green Business Program and includes a hot tub with a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean. Sweet!

Solar Manufacturers: More Solar Robots, Less Green Jobs: Earth2Tech is providing a follow-up piece to their initial thoughts on the Intersolar Conference, which I commented on here. Katie Fehrenbacher writes that the solar industry, a beacon of job growth in the economy, is moving swiftly to automation. Why put robots in jobs for humans? It is all about costs and making solar prices more on parity with traditional energy. Still, I hope this takes a while and a few more people can get work from the solar companies. People need these jobs.

Van Jones - Green Job Guru or Communist

Green Jobs Czar Van Jones Is a Communist and Black Nationalist: Don't say that I favor one side of the political spectrum over the other. The Right Wing News has a blog accusing Van Jones of being a communist. "Jones is a San Francisco extremist who admits to having been "radicalized in jail." There then is an equation o f communism to environmentalism and a reference to Jones as a "evil kook." Isn't that like the pot calling the kettle black?

Sarah Palin's Green Ideas

Palin Slams Obama's Energy Plan: Kate Galbraith of the New York Time's Green Inc. Blog is reporting on comments made by Gov. Sarah Palin regarding President Obama's cap and trade program. In the remarks she states that Obama's program will outsource our energy needs "to China, Russia and Saudi Arabia." Do you think this woman is staying in the headlines for some reason? 2012 is not too far away....

China becoming a big green protectionist machine: Could the biggest market for green technologies be locking out foreign competitors? Well according to Alex Salkever of the Daily Finance this is occurring right now. Most regulations in China currently require 70 percent of the production process for green energy equipment be located in China. The protectionism is so bad that European and American companies are simply not bidding on projects anymore. Hopefully, this is only a temporary situation but with an autocratic government in power this is only a hope.

How Natural and Organic is Your Eyeshadow?: Finally, we move on to Greendaily which asks that serious question - how green is your eye shadow? It is a quick tip based piece with very little substance, but still made me smile. Weird because I don't use eye shadow.... or do I?

 ... read more

New Jersey Green Governor Race, South Korea and Sustainable Tourism

Welcome back to another great week of content and community at KeenforGreen.com. Let's start the week in the usual fashion and find the most exciting, interesting stories affecting the 'green' movement being covered by traditional media outlets. Today is quite the mix, from South Korean CEOs interest in sustainability to the greening of the path to the governor's mansion in New Jersey, which only emphasizes the expanding influence of the environment in society. Enjoy the stories and comment to let us know if you like this feature.

Sustainable Tourism

"Green" Asia resorts take the guilt out of luxury stays: Miral Fahmy of Reuters Life! is reporting that celebutants and one hit wonders no longer need wallow in eco-guilt because of excessive pampering. Well, not if Alila Hotels and Resorts has anything to say about it. This hotel chain with properties in the Maldives, Thailand, Laos and Indonesia is seeking to make luxury resorts sustainable. In all seriousness, this is a change that must occur in a across the globe in nations which rely heavily on tourism as an engine of growth and prosperity.

NJ Governor Race Goes Green

Trail to governor's office turns green: The Philadelphia Inquirer is describing a development in the New Jersey governor's race concerning the politicizing of sustainability. The battle between Democratic Gov. Corzine, Republican nominee Christopher J. Christie and independent Chris Daggett is centering in part on the green credentials of the three men. Though this might be a great issue for an article, it may not move that many votes.  According to a recent poll, only about 2 percent to 4 percent of his respondents named the environment or energy.

White House: Health, green jobs growing quickly: The Associated Press is reporting that the White House's economic advisers are touting job creation in health care and the environment sectors as rays of sunshine in this gloomy economy. According to the White House, these two sectors are growing more quickly than any other type of job. This seems to be part of a new campaign to put the stimulus package and President Obama's handling of the economy in the best light, but really who thought the economy would have turned around in only six months?

South Korea Green

South Korea CEOs interested in green investment: The Seoul office of Reuters is reporting that over 80 percent of 105 South Korean CEOs of major corporations plan to invest in environmental technologies and see them as a major business in the long-term. This could be the first evidence that corporate profits and responsibility may not be as mutually exclusively as long thought. But not everything is rosy in the eyes of these powerful men and women; 73 percent worry about bubbles in green industries due to inconsistent policies and unclear objectives. Sometimes I do wonder if this is becoming another dot-com era.

 

Demand on the rise for green buildings: Oscar Corral of the Miami Herald shows that even if the need for architects is dwindling in Florida, the amount of work in energy efficient, environmentally friendly building is growing. The article points out how LEED certification has exploded in South Florida where in 2005 there were eight commercial projects registered, but a mere three years later over 123 projects were. Great quick read about how LEED is affecting a specific area of the company.... read more

Winners of the Auto Loans

C-Net's Cartech Blog posted the results of some loan awards by the federal government that I thought were note-worthy.  The Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program, a loan program created by the federal government to promote the next fuel efficient cars, were awarded three weeks ago.  The car companies included two household names and one up and coming American car company.

First off, Ford Motors received a $5.9 billion dollar loan to advance new fuel efficiency initiatives.  This should help with the planned launch of an electric vehicle by 2011.

Tesla Sports Sedan

Second, Nissan received $1.6 billion to retrofit a Tennessee plant for production of electric vehicles.  Nissan promises to outshine Ford by releasing their lithium ion powered vehicle in 2010.... read more

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