Environment Forum

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.

Parody t-shirts are a dime a dozeon on the Internet, with slogans such as “BP. We’re bringing oil to American shores.” Or the oil-smeared “BP Cares”.

Are Americans being too hard on the company? The spill in the Gulf of Mexico has so far cost the company $3 billion in clean-up costs. On a daily basis, BP repeats its commitment to taking full responsibility and will pay for all legitimate claims.

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.

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.

The Green Gauge: Chevron slides on oil spill news

ECUADOR-CHEVRON-TEXACO TRAIL

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico strikes close to home for Chevron as it faces a $27 billion lawsuit brought on by the indigenous people in the Amazon region of Ecuador for water pollution, and a fresh Chevron oil spill in Utah, a bi-weekly analysis of companies in the news by ASSET4 data providers shows.

Company selections 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.

Here is a breakdown of the companies that made headlines June 5 to June 18 for winning or losing credibility based on environment-related activity.

The Green Gauge: Rio Tinto takes a hit

AUSTRALIA

Global miner Rio Tinto enters the spotlight this week as one of its uranium mines in Australia leaks toxins into a river leading to the wetlands of the Kakadu National Park, a bi-weekly analysis of companies in the news by ASSET4 data providers shows.

Here is a breakdown of the companies that made headlines May 22 to June 4 for winning or losing credibility based on environment-related activity.

Company selections 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.

Who is responsible for cleaning up our oceans?

OIL-RIG/LEAK

– David Rockefeller, Jr. is a philanthropist and CEO of Around the Americas and Chairman of Sailors for the Sea. Any views expressed here are his own. –

When the Ocean Watch set sail from Seattle last May at the launch of our Around the Americas expedition, our greatest challenge was to make Americans start thinking about health of oceans. For too long, we have been taking our rich seafood supplies and scenic seascapes for granted.

One year and 28,000 miles later, and now with the massive BP oil spill, much has changed.

MMS “cozy” with industry? Hardly

JDH 2– John Hofmeister is founder and CEO of Citizens for Affordable Energy, former president of Shell Oil Company and author of Why We Hate the Oil Companies: Straight Talk from an Energy Insider. Any views expressed here are his own. –

How bad, really, was the Minerals Management Service (MMS)?

The quick answer is no one will ever know.

Despite all the accusations of a “cozy” relationship with industry, the recent termination of President Obama’s appointee who served less than a year, as well as the re-organization by the Interior Department suggest that any sleaze has been swept aside by political calculations in the rush to assert that the administration is on top of things in Washington.

I must admit I was surprised to hear of this cozy relationship, since my experience with the MMS was exactly the opposite.

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