The Future Of Coal

Future Of Coal

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), coal demand is growing everywhere but the United States. Coal demand in the United States grew 4.3% (304 million tons (mt)), compared to Chinese demand growth of 233 mt. The amount is misleading though, because despite the demand growth, it is less than the growth in previous years. Unfortunately, from an environmental advocacy perspective, the decrease in coal usage is a result of the increase of shale gas production and usage, specifically in the United States. Additionally, a decrease in domestic usage of coal will have negative impacts on employment in the coal… read more

Solar Job Census

Solar Energy

On November 14th, 2012, The Solar Foundation released its third annual National Solar Jobs Census report. This found that the U.S. solar industry currently employs 119,016 Americans. This figure represents the addition of 13,872 new solar workers and a 13.2 percent employment growth rate over the past 12 months. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the overall economy grew at a rate of 2.3 percent during the same period, signifying that 1 in 230 jobs created nationally over the last year were created in the solar industry. The report, produced by The Solar Foundation and in partnership with BW Research and Cornell University, was released… read more

Combating Greenwashing

Corporate dishonesty

In an era where corporations find themselves under immense pressure to conform to environmental expectations, dishonesty and manipulation are bound to appeal to unscrupulous manufacturers. Greenwashing is one deceptive practice that some corporations have resorted to. Greenwashing is a term used to describe corporate dishonesty where the corporation concerned attempts to conceal the negative impact their products have on the environment by making what can be described as misleading claims pertaining to the environmental benefits of the product or service it offers. Greenwashing is more a claim geared at deceiving than it is a marketing strategy. Thus for instance, a… read more

Toxic Goals

US tax credits

As the end of the year approaches, the time for the federal government to take action on the wind tax credit is dwindling. Of course, there are vested interests and special interest groups lobbying for each side—extending or letting the credits expire—and some groups are more powerful than others. Fossil fuel groups have been increasing their mobilization to defeat the credit, and their agendas and intentions are becoming less discreet. The American Energy Alliance, which has ties to far-right Koch Industries, stated this week it aims to make the wind tax credit a toxic issue for House Republicans; Benjamin Cole,… read more

Solar Energy Zones

Renewable energy development zones

The Western United States is the site of an innovative solution to avoiding the bureaucratic red-tape which frequently surrounds renewable energy development, along with escalating the installation of renewable energy systems. Seventeen solar-energy zones, which cover about 285,000 acres of public lands in six western states, have been set aside as “priority areas” for commercial-scale solar development. These zones will allow approval of solar development without the current case-by-case analysis, and provide already-installed energy transmission lines to connect the solar cells to the energy grid. Additionally, 19 million acres will be available as “variance” areas where the federal government would… read more

Keeping Arts & Crafts Alive

Swaziland's arts and crafts

Arts and crafts constitute the most popular tourist attraction in Swaziland. Tourists from lands near and far are a regular sighting at the many market places shopping for Swazi culture inspired souvenirs to take back home after their holiday is done. The traditional arts community relies heavily on the natural environment to create their art pieces. Many of these art pieces are made from raw materials found in nature such as trees, clay soil, animal hide, different types of grass, and varying types of stone. Like all manufacturers and producers that rely heavily on nature for their products, the art… read more

California Cap and Trade

Cap and trade to reduce carbon emissions

On January 1st, 2013, California will become the first state in the United States to implement a cap and trade program on carbon emissions for companies in the state. Similar to other cap and trade programs, California will set an overall ceiling on carbon emissions and assign allowable emission amounts for individual polluters, and charge for excessive emissions. Portions of the allowances will be allocated to utilities, manufacturers and others, and the remainder will be auctioned off. An interesting component of this cap and trade program is the number of allowances issued by the state will be reduced over time,… read more

Lessons from Niger Delta

Niger Delta, Africa

The Niger Delta is an oil-rich part of Nigeria. Oil prospecting and extraction operations have been undertaken by multinational companies such as Royal Dutch Shell, which was part of the controversial case The Social and Economic Rights Action Centre and another v Nigeria (“SERAC case”) which was heard by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. In a nutshell, the SERAC case was a lawsuit where the plaintiffs argued that the government of Nigeria was directly involved in oil production through the state owned Nigerian National Petroleum Company in a joint venture with Shell Petroleum Development Corporation, and that… read more

Social Media Society

Social Media Society

The impact of social media on society’s development hasn’t fully been measured just yet, but we can see that its impression has spread worldwide and in places one wouldn’t expect. Recently, social networks such as Twitter and Facebook have become the mediums through which revolutions rise and fall, the final say in political elections, and the grapevine for all of the world’s gossip to flow. This behavioral trend would explain why nearly 1 billion users spend their time on Facebook, how Twitter has nearly 200 million followers, and how social media is replacing traditional media in some instances as the… read more

Corporations and Climate Change

Corporations and Climate Change

The environment appears to have found an ally from an unlikely source. Due to the inaction and delays in Congress pertaining to environmental policy, and the lack of attention paid to the environment in the current presidential campaign, corporations have taken action to combat climate change and aid the environment. The interesting part is the clear, identified and admitted ulterior motives corporations have for implementing responsible energy policies. It is a wise fiscal decision to commit to a large initial expenditure with the guarantee of not only a return, but also a profit, whether it is selling energy back to… read more