Green Ink: You First

Green Ink: You First, by Keith Johnson - 26th February 2008
(Credit: The Wall Street Journal)
Environmental Capital

Virgin’s maiden flight with biofuels highlights some of the problems facing the aviation sector if it moves toward kerosene replacements, reports the WSJ: Biofuels don’t burn much cleaner than regular jet fuel, and they require new infrastructure. That’s also bedeviled biofuel for cars, of course. The L.A. Times reports on California’s efforts to open more than three ethanol filling stations. Diving into the food-versus-fuel debate, the FT urges any government subsidizing biofuels to also underwrite food for the world’s poor. Maybe plug-in hybrids are the answer? Not when the juice they use comes from dirty coal plants, reports USA Today.

The U.S. took a big step toward fighting climate change by agreeing to binding limits on emissions, reports the FT. But read the fine print: The U.S. will play ball if every other big economy does the same, notes the BBC. Like China, which has found a new carrot to coax companies into environmental compliance, reports the WSJ: Regulators are blocking stock-market listings of dirty companies.

Australia, for one, is grappling with its own emissions fight in the wake of a new report urging deeper GHG cuts, notes The Economist. Australia has ruled out nuclear, but not out of supply concerns: high uranium prices won’t hobble nuclear’s revival, notes Beyond the Barrel. One way to go is big solar: Australia will build the world’s second-biggest solar thermal plant, though it will only provide 0.1% of its electricity, reports the FT. Meanwhile, Grist takes aim at last week’s Berkeley report questioning the economics of solar power, and finds the study full of holes.

Big wind may become more viable. EcoGeek reports on new deep-water turbines that could make offshore wind more palatable. The problem for most wind power, even onshore, is the same: getting the juice into the grid. USA Today notes the lack of transmission lines threatens to stunt wind power’s growth. Still, you have to start somewhere: Gaz de France rushes into the green-energy game with the acquisition of a tiny wind-farm operator and says it will create a clean-energy subsidiary like many of its peers, reports Reuters.

Finally, fed up with employees commuting in gas-guzzling cars? The WSJ reports on companies that underwrite a greener lifestyle for workers, from paying for smaller cars to letting them purchase carbon offsets.

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Richard Branson and Virgin Enterprises Limited are making an effort, and
that’s why I prefer to do business with Virgin when possible. Sure, he’s
also a showman and self promoter, but there’s a ton more substance than show
and hype. Richard Branson will continue to make history as a switched on businessman, environmentalist and humanitarian, and something else…not all of his good deeds go reported, and I’m close enough to know this.
Greg Tingle
Comment by Greg Tingle - February 28, 2008 at 10:26 pm

Nice WSJ story about companies doing good, reducing operating costs, and cutting employee costs so their wages go further.

Of course, telecommuting would be a lot cheaper and make many service companies much more profitable and competitive if they could stop renting a building, or sell their building to some rich shiek.
Comment by Anonymous - March 1, 2008 at 7:46 pm

Greg, care to share some of the unreported good deeds?

Meanwhile, Mr Branson should cash in the airline (before the British economy suffers) and invest in something cleaner with a brighter future.
Comment by Anonymous - March 1, 2008 at 7:49 pm



Richard Branson

Environmentalists and the environment