Day: March 10, 2016

The big flaw in Warren Buffett’s view of climate change

Read the full story in The Guardian.

In an annual shareholder letter to be discussed next month, the “Sage of Omaha” claims that climate change poses no risks to insurers – but the claim flies in the face of growing scientific evidence.

Corporate investment in renewable energy on the rise in Michigan

Read the full story in Crain’s Detroit Business.

Going green has been a mantra from some companies for decades, but the business case for it is evident in a new wave of large corporate-led investments in Michigan.

While some enable corporations to produce more renewable energy internally, others are aimed at improving overall energy efficiency. That’s as the major utilities and state lawmakers debate the merits and downsides of the next round of state energy legislation regarding renewable energy requirements.

There are noteworthy case studies in the making on the issue.

For the birds: keeping coffee green

Eighty percent of Americans drink coffee, and global consumption is projected to rise by 25 percent in the next five years.  Some is sustainably-grown, some isn’t—and impacts can add up.  In this installment of 89.1 WEMU’s “The Green Room,” Barbara Lucas explores how the price of coffee can affect far more than your wallet.

Webinar: Finding Economic Value in Parks

Tuesday, March 15, 2016 • 4:30 p.m. CDT
Register at https://www.planning.org/tuesdaysatapa/dc/

We have always known that local and regional public parks add significant value and benefits to their communities in terms of Conservation, Health & Wellness and Social Equity. Beyond that, local and regional park agencies are also engines of economic activity in their communities.

America’s local and regional public park agencies generated nearly $140 billion in economic activity and supported almost 1 million jobs from their operations and capital spending alone in 2013.

Join us to discuss the Economic Impact of Parks nationally, and to hear how Arlington County’s Park Commission is using a recent economic impact study to help make the case for Parks and Recreation in our area.

Webinar: Flint and Lead: The Water-Public Health Connection

Wed, Mar 16, 2016, noon CDT
Register at https://cc.readytalk.com/cc/s/registrations/new?cid=oyrw9zho5q8q

The recent reports of elevated blood lead levels in children in Flint, Michigan have placed a national spotlight on the role of drinking water in lead exposure. As the events continue to evolve, important questions are being raised about changes in drinking water chemistry, what can be done to control lead exposure through drinking water, and how local water utilities and the public health community can work together. Join APHA and the American Water Works Association for an interactive discussion about the current state of science related to the health risks posed by lead and the value of engaging the water systems sector.
1 CPH continuing education credit is available for this webinar. You will receive an email from cpd@confex.com  48 hours after the webinar to complete your evaluation.
For information regarding this webinar please contact apha@apha.org

Craft breweries bet on sustainable technology

Read the full story at MiBiz.

As the craft brewing industry matures, many West Michigan producers have started seeking out technology that provides sustainable solutions to common issues.

Brewers’ lean manufacturing experience has positioned them to be more willing to invest in energy- and resource-saving technologies, for everything from energy capture and waste reduction to solar energy and biodigesters, according to industry sources.

The independent family-owned businesses also often take the long view on the investments, worrying less about immediate ROI in favor of finding workable solutions to persistent problems.

That’s led to opportunities for scientists and entrepreneurs working to develop those cutting-edge sustainable technologies.

5 ways to grow the corporate clean energy market

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

RMI’s Business Renewables Center (BRC) has been focusing on renewables growth in large chunks — through corporations’ appetite to contract large amounts of electricity. And its member companies have been doing exactly that, in record numbers.

How energy efficiency helps business prepare for carbon pricing

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

Breakthroughs in renewable energy, energy storage and energy efficiency are inching us toward a low-carbon future, but far too slowly. One of the main drags is that the market prices of coal, oil and gas include almost none of the costs of carbon pollution.

Putting a price on carbon will transform energy investment, re-shape consumption, and sharply reduce the carbon emissions that are driving global warming, according to the Carbon Tax Center. This “upstream” tax would target the carbon contents of fossil fuels, including coal, oil and natural gas, as well as biofuels.

In the United States, Congress has idled on any kind of significant climate change action, and many who oppose it maintain that implementing a national carbon tax would have dire economic consequences.

The business community disagrees. Some 75 percent of the largest organizations — those with revenues between $1 billion and $10 billion — and 82 percent of all others feel they would be better off or unaffected if a mandatory price on carbon were instituted, according to new research from GreenBiz and Ingersoll Rand. The findings generally were consistent across industries with no clear industry segments that would win or lose based upon the implementation of a carbon tax.

The report, “Accountability For Climate Action: How Corporations Are Tackling Climate Change,” surveyed executives and thought leaders in the area of corporate environmental strategy and performance to gauge how corporations are tackling climate change.

Regulation, Not Technology, Will Determine The Future Of Rooftop Solar

Read the full story in Fast Company.

With the cost of solar panels falling all the time and grid electricity prices climbing gradually, you would expect people to turn to solar power. The price of self-generated power is the same or better than utility prices in 20 states—a state of so-called “grid parity—and up to 42 states could be at that level by 2020, according to new analysis from GTM Research.

But here’s the issue: regulation. If regulators decide to change the rules around net metering—the money utilities pay to buy excess power from privately owned solar panels—and add in new service charges, the economics could change dramatically. GTM says just two states could be at grid parity by 2020 under certain scenarios.

It’s Not Just The Bees: 40% Of Food-Pollinating Wildlife Risks Extinction

Read the full story at Fast Company.

Three out of four foods we consume—from coffee and chocolate to apples and almonds—rely on pollinators like bees and butterflies. And 40% of those insect pollinators are now at risk of extinction.

In the first-ever global report on pollinators, researchers from around the world spent two years looking at 3,000 studies on the decline of bees, beetles, butterflies, bats, birds, and others.

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