Environment Forum

Tire incineration is not renewable energy


– Brian Schwartz and Cindy Parker are both physicians and faculty in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland. They are also both Fellows of the Post Carbon Institute. The opinions expressed are solely their own. –

How do you solve a problem like David Miller?

According to the Chicago Tribune, he is the Illinois representative who last month, with little fanfare and notice at the time, attempted to modify legislation to include tire burning in the state’s definition of renewable energy.

The bill failed to pass initially but it isn’t dead yet – supporters may attempt to add it to another bill before the General Assembly adjourns.

The amendment was mainly done to allow a company called Geneva Energy to obtain green energy credits for its incinerator in Ford Heights, a village in Cook County approximately 25 miles south of downtown Chicago.

In 2000, the village was 96 percent African-American and had a per capita income less than $9,000, making it one of the poorest suburbs in the United States.

Caveat investor: Wind may let you down


John Laforet is president of Wind Concerns Ontario, a coalition of 42 grassroots organizations aiming to curtail development of wind farms in the central Canadian province of Ontario.  He is also running for municipal public office.

Governments around the world are actively seeking private development of renewable energy projects by offering generous feed-in tariffs that often see developers paid many times the market rate for the power they produce.

This has encouraged a surge of applications, but the volume of applications and other challenges associated with these projects present potential risks to prospective investors.

Retailers reject oil sands — a good move?


Two big U.S. retail chains have turned their back on Canada’s oil sands, a move that was both hailed and derided, split as you might expect along environmental lines.

Whole Foods and Bed Bath and Beyond this week said they were boycotting the Canadian oil sands and they would actively seek alternatives to oil sands fuel for their delivery trucks to reduce their carbon footprints.

The oil sands are the largest source of oil outside of Saudi Arabia, and most of the 1.2 million barrels a day of oil sands-derived crude gets shipped to the United States.

Apple plugs iPod into the sun


Apple apparently has applied for a patent that would allow its megapopular iPods to run on solar power.

The patent drawings suggest the entire surface of the iPod would be covered in solar paneling, save the display screen and click wheel, Geeksmack.net and GreenBeat report.

And before you point out how annoying it would be to have to pull out your iPod for some sunbathing, it doesn’t need direct rays — the technology enables it to function even when covered by your hand. (The jury is still out on if it works when it’s buried in the inside pocket of your windbreaker or backpack, but whatever.)

Youth groups bending the ear of business at COP15

There are numerous youth groups at the Copenhagen Climate Conference (they are known as ‘Youngos’, short for young non-governmental organisations) and they have all come here to make sure their collective voice is heard as delegates negotiate an agreement on how to tackle climate change.

Youngos represent a significant portion of the 34,000 people who have registered to attend the conference, and some have even managed to gain access to politicans and business leaders to put pressure on them on ethical business strategies.

One of these unfailingly vocal groups is the United Kingdom Youth Climate Coalition (UKYCC), which has travelled to Copenhagen to lobby businesses, investors and world leaders to adopt practices which would safeguard the environment for future generations.

The answer could be blowing in the wind


Well into the first week of the U.N. Conference on Climate Change, the haves and have nots of the world are still divided over who should pay for the cleanup of the planet. Poor countries want rich countries to cough up more ambitious goals for emissions cuts and developing technologies.

From emerging wind and solar industries to geothermal advances, the technologies being tested for adaptability in the fight against climate change are still quite new and in some cases revolutionary.

To kick off today’s discussion, we posed the question to our panel of climate experts:  What technology could be the most successful solution to global warming?

Blue business washes in

Adam Werbach poses at the University Club of Toronto, November 11, 2009. REUTERS/Jillian Kitchener

Adam Werbach poses at the University Club of Toronto, November 11, 2009. REUTERS/Jillian Kitchener

Green is good and blue is better.

Keeping a business sustainable – or blue – goes beyond philanthropic nods to the environment. It needs to be a core business goal, says Adam Werbach, creator of Wal-Mart’s sustainability program and chief executive of Saatchi & Saatchi S, the sustainability wing of the marketing and consultancy company.

Blue innovation embraces the social, cultural, and economic aspects of business along with green issues like protecting our last wild places and reducing carbon emissions.

Introducing the Reuters Global Green Portfolio

As part of Reuters new Green Business section, we have chosen a diverse group of companies to serve as a proxy for the emerging green technology sector. Over the coming months we’ll be discussing each of them at length, and rebalancing our portfolio to reflect trends in the industry.

Click here to see our portfolio in action. You can track our performance against benchmarks, comment on our choices, and create a portfolio of your own.


Comverge, Inc is one of the leading demand-response companies, known for their role in limiting electricity use during peak demand, employing technology to manage large companies’ power usage and control their costs. Their software can automatically adjust an air conditioner’s temperature or turn off a swimming pool pump when power supplies are tight, reducing prices for suppliers and end users by lowering end user demand at peak times.