Environment Forum

from DealZone:

Now Musk blogs on his divorce

Following in his estranged wife's footsteps, electric carmaker Tesla's colorful co-founder and Chief Elon Musk is now blogging about his messy divorce. In a lengthy recounting in the Huffington Post, Musk said he wants to "correct the record" on his personal life but would "rather  stick a fork in my hand" than do it.

"Much as one may wish for privacy, in the 21st century it just doesn't exist," he said.

AUTOSHOW/TESLA-DAIMLER

Musk then goes on to counter what he called "awful things...that are simply false" point-by-point in about 1,600 words. Among the main things he addressed were his finances and how he met his girlfriend.

Musk's estranged wife and author of supernatural thrillers, Justine Musk, is seeking 10 percent of her husband's stake in the carmaker in a contentious divorce case that has gone on for two years.  Musk has also said in court documents relating to the divorce that he was out of cash and lived off loans from friends.  The couple have five sons together.

Musk stressed that the report of him being broke was not "some sort of strategy in the divorce" but was a result of his efforts to save the carmaker in 2007.

Are Americans bullying BP?

OIL-SPILL/

With all the comparisons to the Exxon Valdez spill of 1989, there’s at least one arena where BP appears to be head and shoulders above its oil-spill predecessor — suffering public mockery.

They can thank the age of social media.

There’s the fake Twitter account, BPGlobalPR, posing as the public relations mouthpiece for an arrogant powerhouse. Today it tweeted its 184,466 followers: “Attention lazy fishermen! If you won’t clean our mess, we’re taking your money. Fair is fair.” They also produced this fake press conference.

YouTube, not around in 1989, is brimming with satirical videos targeting BP. There’s BP spills coffee, now at more than 9 million views.  Spoof ads are also hot contenders for “viral” status:  Oil is natural and the slickly produced BP Bringing People Together are two of the more popular.

BP, oil and seabirds — Baltic Sea ducks had worse luck

gannetBP’s vast and spreading oil disaster is killing ever more birds and other wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico — but one of the worst spills for birds was a harmless-sounding 5 tonnes of oil in the Baltic Sea in 1976.

That spill from a ship killed more than 60,000 long-tailed ducks wintering in the area after they fatally mistook the slick for an attractive patch of calm water, according to Arne Jernelov, of the Institute for Futures Studies in Stockholm, writing in today’s edition of the journal Nature.

By contrast, he writes that fewer than 1,200 birds have  so far been recorded killed after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig, which has led to a leak of a gigantic 250,000 to 400,000 tonnes of oil in the Gulf of Mexico.  About 60,000 birds were killed off Alaska in 1989 by the accident usually known as the Exxon Valdez spill (…Exxon’s website calls it The Valdez Oil Spill ), previously the biggest spill off the United States at 37,000 tonnes.

The Green Gauge: IBM rides a high

GERMANY/

If there’s any tech company that has been able to constantly transform itself over the past century to actually be sustainable, it’s got to be IBM.

Last week the global IT giant announced its efficiency figures for 2009 and it meant good news for the environment, a bi-weekly analysis of companies in the news by ASSET4 data providers shows.

Selections of companies were made by Christopher Greenwald, director of data content at ASSET4, a Thomson Reuters business that provides investment research on the environmental, social and governance performance of major global corporations. These ratings are not recommendations to buy or sell.

from The Great Debate UK:

Oliver Lowenstein on making Cyclestations work

Bicycle

There's nothing new or unusual about the idea of using bicycles to replace cars to help combat the effects of climate change on the environment. Neither is there anything new or unusual about it taking so long to put the concept into practice.

Oliver Lowenstein has spent several years in pursuit of what he says could become an environmentally sustainable network structured around economically viable "cyclestations" or covered rest points, which would help make long-distance travel more feasible for cyclists.

A touring exhibition titled "Riding on Empty: Designing our travel infrastructure for the end of oil" on show in Bermondsey Square until July 4 as part of the London Festival of Architecture includes models of shelters designed by architects Steven Johnson and Alex de Rijke.

from The Great Debate UK:

Heather Rogers on fixing “Green Gone Wrong”

BRITAIN/

How can human production be transformed and harnessed to save the planet? Can the market economy really help solve the environmental crisis?

Author Heather Rogers argues in a new book that current efforts to green the planet need to be reconsidered.

The growth-based economy can't help but add to the problems the planet faces, Rogers writes in "Green Gone Wrong" published by Verso.

Showcase, don’t shun, economics of climate at G20

G20/PROTEST

– Dr. David Suzuki is a Canadian scientist, broadcaster, author, and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation.  Any views expressed here are his own. –

For the past two years, the global economy has been at the top of peoples’ minds. And so has the environment.

Indeed, most people probably care about both. The fact is these two issues are inextricably linked. As we’ve seen after the economic meltdown, we tend to focus on them as if they are separate.

Fold sustainability into economies, G20 urged

G20/CANADA-PROTESTS

Consensus among sustainability experts at a Toronto conference this week was that world leaders in the Group of  20 nations face a fecund opportunity to make gains integrating environmental concerns with all other levels of economic development.

“Finance ministers are the real environment ministers. Environment ministers have weak, minor voices at the table at which economic decisions are made,” said chair Maurice Strong, President of the Council of the United Nations University for Peace, former Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, and former president of Power Corporation, head of Petro Canada and Ontario Hydro.

“Environmentalists cannot run the economy,” Strong said.

Economist Sylvia Ostry, former Chief Statistician at Statistics Canada and a member of the influential Washington-based financial advisory body the Group of Thirty says the best contribution the G20 could make to sustainable development is to strike a new institution with experts from a variety of backgrounds.

The roof is on fire

FRANCE/Much has been written about how solar power could help to
solve the energy crisis facing mankind. Ideas range from
harnessing the Sahara’s heat through parabolic mirrors to
transmitting solar energy from space to earth.

The Desertec solar project, for example, aims to supply 15
percent of Europe’s energy needs by 2050. Yet according to
Brussels-based EPIA, the world’s biggest solar industry
association, more could be achieved some 30 years earlier.

Technically, Europe’s roofs could meet 40 percent of the
EU’s electricity demand in ten years from now — at least in
theory.

from The Great Debate:

Smart grid skepticism derails Baltimore plan

Maryland Public Service Commission highlighted the political resistance smart-metering advocates must overcome when it shot down proposals for compulsory smart metering submitted by Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE).

Smart grids are essential for the Obama administration's and power industry's plan to meet rising electricity demand while integrating more renewable generation into the grid.

Creating flexibility on the demand side to match increased intermittency in supply is the only way to maintain reliability without having to build enormous amounts of expensive back-up gas-fired generating capacity and disfigure the landscape by installing thousands of miles of transmission lines.

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