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February 2008 Archives

February 7, 2008

Peak oil? Wanna bet?

André Angelantoni of Inspiring Green Leadership spotted this item on PR Newswire:

HOUSTON, Feb. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- A group of businessmen and energy experts who believe that global oil production will soon peak, plateau and decline has issued a $100,000 wager to Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA), a prominent oil forecasting think tank. Members of the challenger group also renewed an invitation to hold a public debate on the issue of peak oil with CERA. The group is betting against CERA's June 2007 forecast that world oil production capacity will reach 112 million barrels per day (mmb/d) by 2017, which extrapolates to 107 mmb/d of actual production, up from about 87 million barrels today. CERA will hold its annual conference in Houston next week.

"CERA is forecasting an addition of 20 million barrels within a decade," said Steve Andrews, co-founder of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil-USA (ASPO-USA). "That's a vision in search of reality. Anything is possible on paper, but we are betting you can't do that with the drill bit."

More at André's own Peak Oil Primer.

February 10, 2008

Insane Superhuman French People

"Four Hour Work Week" author Tim Ferriss spotted this one. What's it got to do with sustainable business? Beats me! But it sure is cool!

The land of frog legs and baguettes has produced, in recent years and unbeknowst to most, some of the worlds most mind-numbing acrobats. I found the above video last night and had to share it. Two questions:

What the hell are kids eating in France?

February 11, 2008

ESE Employee Study

Natural Logic and our friends at Re:Vision Conscious Brands (not to be confused with our friends at Urban ReVision ;-) are conducting a survey on the ways employees -- at all sorts of companies -- are addressing new pressures concerning environmental, social and economic impacts of business.

Our intention: that the shared learnings from the ESE Employee Study (ESE: Economic, Social and Environmental Impacts) will spark further innovation in the business community.

If you work for a company, please take the survey, and feel free to pass it along to your colleagues. (We'll treat individual responses as confidential, and will reveal only aggregated data. Watch this space for the results.)

Continue reading "ESE Employee Study" »

Another survey: Choose Your Future

Here are the latest poll results from Focus The Nation's Choose Your Future poll -- which closes Feb 12:

1. Invest in the Clean Energy Revolution 13%
2. Cleaner Cars, California-Style12%
3. Create Green Jobs, Save Energy 12%
4. Build Green: Carbon Neutral by 2030 12%
5. Get Efficient — Cut Energy, Save Money 11%
6. Support Stronger Forests 11%
7. Tax Global Warming Pollution 9%
8. No New Coal Plants without "Capture and Sequestration" 7%
9. Cap CO2 Emissions, Share the Auction Revenues 7%
10. Jumpstart Low Polluting Biofuel 6%

(So there's still time to vote!)

February 13, 2008

Memewatch: Getting the prices right

The wise and ever perspicacious Jamais Cascio has spotted this cool custom news index tool from Daylife Labs

I've long (35 years) been interested in the question of how we can "get the prices right" -- how can we internalize the externalities, eliminate market distorting subsidies to things like coal and nuclear, and get market prices to somehow reflect full system costs. If we can figure out how to do that, we have a chance of shifting people's default behavior into saner directions. (If the price of gasoline at the pump were something close to from Amory Lovins' $9-$15 full cost estimate -- including environmental, health and military costs -- would anybody buy an SUV?) If we don't figure that out, we're doomed to the Sysiphisian task of trying to push the regulatory rock uphill forever.

So now if got this neat little widget to track the flow of these memes! Today's report shows "getting the prices right up 213% over last week -- rising even faster than "cap and trade" and "carbon tax"! That's good, right?

Off you go now: build your own!

February 17, 2008

No Pristine Oceans Left

National Geographic reports on a new global map that shows:

No areas of the world's oceans remain completely untouched by humanity's influence, according to a new study.

Bummer, dude!

February 18, 2008

Eureka! (I'm speaking there next week)

I'll be giving a series of presentations on sustainability strategies at Humboldt State in Eureka CA next week. (One of many gigs on the horizon. Here's my upcoming speaking schedule.)

If you're in the area, c'mon down! Whether you are or not, catch my interview -- streaming or broadcast on KHSU, 90.5FM -- at 1:15pm PST tomorrow (Feb 19),

Your brains will fall out

Michael Stusser of Green Spa Network says "Friends, you gotta see this. (Amazing 3d sidewalk chalk drawings) Your brains will fall out."

And he's right!


Quote of the day

In other words, the Constitution was standing in the way of protecting the Constitution.

Thank you, Jon Carroll.

Alltop: Green (and other) megafeeds

TidBITS spotted Guy Kawasaki's latest site, http://www.alltop.com/ Alltop, which aggregates "all the top headlines" on a stack of subjects from Mac to green, from moms to politics.

Nicely done. (Except they're not grabbing our feed. Yet.)

Quote of the Day: Goals & Courage

Quote of the Day (from a posting a few weeks ago, but I just found it) goes to Rand Waddoups, Sustainability Director at Wal-Mart:

Even though we don’t know exactly how we will meet these goals, we still set them.

That's courage, imho. Gotta love it! (In contrast to some companies that will only set goals they are certain they can achieve. Where's the creative challenge in that?)

February 19, 2008

Strange SeedBedFellows: Local Success in a Global Marketplace

Winrock International reports:

In a joint funding venture between the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Wallace Center at Winrock International, in partnership with the Training & Development Corporation (TDC), has launched a $400,000 project showcasing locally-owned food enterprises from around the globe.

Leading the effort to document successful strategies for small- and medium-scale community-based enterprises are John Fisk, director of the Wallace Center, and Michael Shuman, author and vice president for enterprise development at TDC.

The project, Community Food Enterprise: Local Success in a Global Marketplace, builds on evidence worldwide that local ownership is a fundamental building block for long-term prosperity—and that market shifts in favor of local food offer small farmers and other entrepreneurs a promising new path to economic security.

Michael's a wise old friend, going back to our Institute for Global Communications days, a committed economic developer, a key player in BALLE, an author worth reading. I'm thrilled to see this come together.

February 20, 2008

Color Rules - Making BI make sense

Stephen Few of Perceptual Edge (the author of Information Dashboard Design) offers nine Practical Rules for Using Color in Charts [464kb PDF] as the latest of the rich offerings in his library of articles on "visual business intelligence."

Rule #1 If you want different objects of the same color in a table or graph to look the same, make sure that the background—the color that surrounds them—is consistent.

Rule #2 If you want objects in a table or graph to be easily seen, use a background color that contrasts sufficiently with the object.

Rule #3 Use color only when needed to serve a particular communication goal.

Rule #4 Use different colors only when they correspond to differences of meaning in the data.

Rule #5 Use soft, natural colors to display most information and bright and/or dark colors to highlight information that requires greater attention.

Rule #6 When using color to encode a sequential range of quantitative values, stick with a single hue (or a small set of closely related hues) and vary intensity from pale colors for low values to increasingly darker and brighter colors for high values.

Rule #7 Non-data components of tables and graphs should be displayed just visibly enough to perform their role, but no more so, for excessive salience could cause them to distract attention from the data.

Rule #8 To guarantee that most people who are colorblind can distinguish groups of data that are color coded, avoid using a combination of red and green in the same display.

Rule #9 Avoid using visual effects in graphs.

Sound advice, all too often neglected.

February 21, 2008

Eco Calculator Compendium

Natural Logic has been gathering and annotating a comprehensive list of carbon calculators, ecological footprint calculators and the like.

Our first collection - our carbon calculator compendium - is now live on Squidoo.

(It's a work in progress, like everything in the sustainability and climate change realm, since it's all moving so fast!)

Check it out, tell your friends, and watch for ecological footprint, energy and water calculators, coming soon

February 25, 2008

GM's environmental positioning may need a bit of work

Two stories from Environmental Leader this morning, offered without comment.

GM’s Bob Lutz: Global Warming Is A ‘Crock Of Shit’

boblutz2.jpgDuring a closed-door session with reporters in January, Bob Lutz, General Motors’ vice chairman, said that global warming is a “total crock of shit,” dmagazine.com reports (via BusinessGreen). Then he added: “I’m a skeptic, not a denier.”

GM PR executive Dee Allen was on hand. Unfortunately, we don’t know what might have gone through her mind at that moment. Allen later said that Lutz’s comment was a personal opinion, rather than a reflection of GM’s values.

Lutz also said that hybrid cars like those made by Toyota “make no economic sense,” because their price will never come down, and diesel autos like those touted by Chrysler are also uneconomic.

Lutz has overseen an increased focus on the development of low carbon vehicles at GM, BusinessGreen reports.

Yesterday, on GM’s Fast Lane blog, Lutz responded to the criticism his words have raised in a blog post titled “Talk About a Crock…”

“An offhand comment I made recently about the concept of global warming seems to have a lot of people heated, and it’s spreading through the Internet like ragweed,” Lutz wrote. “But I think that the people making big deal out of it are missing the real point. My beliefs are mine and I have a right to them, just as you have a right to yours. But among my strongest beliefs is that my job is to do what makes the most business sense for GM. Never mind what I said, or the context in which I said it. My thoughts on what has or hasn’t been the cause of climate change have nothing to do with the decisions I make to advance the cause of General Motors. ”

Lutz might be focusing on the wrong part of the story. What’s most interesting here is his seeming surprise that when GM’s vice chairman tells a group of reporters that global warming is a crock of shit, people are going to talk about it.

And then this:

Auto Industry Spent $62 Million On Lobbying In 2007

capital2.jpgMajor U.S. automakers and industry trade associations spent $62.6 million on lobbying in 2007, compared with $50.3 million in 2006, according to a Free Press analysis of federal disclosure forms. The energy bills and the Bush administration’s efforts to craft new fuel rules dominated their spending.

GM’s total, its highest ever, likely places it among the top 10 spenders for 2007. Of the six top U.S. automakers, five spent more in 2007 than 2006. Ford’s spending declined from $9.1 million in 2006 to $7.1 million in 2007.

Discuss among yourselves.

About February 2008

This page contains all entries posted to Gil Friend in February 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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