Environment Forum

Sierra Club grades green schools

Academics? They barely count in this survey of top schools by the Sierra Club. Its grades of U.S. college and university green credentials focus on how the institutions directly affect the environment. Building efficiency, where food is from, waste management; it’s arguably a list of which schools are walking the green walk.

The University of Colorado, Boulder came out on top, despite a miserable 3 out of 10 for energy. It topped the chart in waste management and transportation. Three University of California schools — Santa Cruz, Berkeley and UCLA – were in the top 10. The Ivy League didn’t crack the top 10; Harvard made #11 thanks to a good energy efficiency score.

(Picture: A visitor to the University of Colorado at Boulder’s entry at the Solar Decathlon looks over their team’s solar-powered house entry in Washington, October, 15, 2007. The competition was among 20 college teams from around the world to design, build and operate the most liveable, energy-efficient, completely solar powered house. REUTERS/Jim Young)

A tax by any other name…

Can semantics help save the planet?

A showdown between leaders of Chevron Corp and the Sierra Club on Wednesday night revealed a number of shared beliefs between the two California institutions, particularly about the need for a transparent way of pricing carbon.

The debate at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club on Wednesday night pitted Chevron CEO David O’Reilly against Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club, and both agreed that limiting carbon emissions should involve some sort of levy imposed by the government – if only there was a word for such a thing.

“It would be much cleaner if there was a transparent cost on carbon that one could see,” O’Reilly said.

Coal-promoting ringtones draw Sierra Club’s ire

West Virginians who want to show off their pride in the state’s coal industry can now do so via some catchy, coal-promoting ringtones put together by the West Virginia Coal Association.

Beware, however, that the ringtones have already drawn the ire of environmentalists.

The ringtones are jingles the West Virginia coal group has used for some time to promote the state’s vast coal resources (and presumably to offset the bad rap coal gets for producing about 30 percent of the nation’s greenhouse gases).

A bad week for U.S. coal projects

It was a bad week to be planning a coal-fired power plant in the United States.

The industry suffered its second blow of the week on Friday with the cancellation of a plant in Michigan. The move by power plant developer LS Power marks the ninth such plant to be dropped in the United States so far this year, according to a count by environmental group the Sierra Club.

The company blamed regulatory uncertainty and the weak economy for the cancellation, which environmentalists cheered because coal-fired power plants are responsible for more than 30 percent of the United States’ global warming emissions.

The Michigan plant cancellation wasn’t the first blow to coal this week, either. On Tuesday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency withdrew a permit for a massive coal-fired plant in New Mexico that would have been built on an Indian reservation.