Random Thoughts

What’s the Matter with Walmart….

Whenever I read something about how great it is that Walmart sells organic food and slapped a few solar panels on some of its stores, so they must be a good force for sustainability, I just want to tear my hair out.  I’m not going to re-invent the wheel.  Just read this series.  Please.

http://grist.org/series/2011-11-07-walmart-greenwash-retail-giant-still-unsustainable/

And watch her TED Talk here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=b6rAgHcuYtE#!

 

HOW SUBSIDIES DISTORT THE MARKET

Here is what Fatih Birol, the IEA’s chief economist told Energy Source recently: (emphasis mine and note it’s non-OECD co’s)

At the world level, eliminating all the fossil energy subsidies in the 20 largest non-OECD countries that we looked, including China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Thailand, Malaysia, Chinese Taipei and Vietnam, would drive down global carbon-dioxide emissions by 13% by 2050. (FT Energy Blog)

CHOICE ARCHITECTURE

The Effectiveness of Feedback on Energy Consumption, April 2006

A Gentle Prod to Go Green, Chicago Tribune, April 6 2008

GREEN CONSUMERISM

Buying into the Green Movement, New York Times July 1, 2007
Eco-friendly shopping may be fashionable, but critics argue it won’t reduce global warming.

Boycotts Minus the Pain, New York Times, October 10, 2009

“The question, at bottom, is this: have we, with our ethical cars and condoms and carrots, found a way to make markets humane? Or have we rather found a way to make politics bearable to us by turning it into shopping?”

REDUCING WASTE

Nudging Recycling from Less Waste to None, New York Times, October 20th, 2009

Why aren’t you composting yet??  “Food waste, which the E.P.A. says accounts for about 13 percent of total trash nationally — and much more when recyclables are factored out of the total — is viewed as the next big frontier.”

CARBON TRADING

Guilt Free Emissions Credits, for a Price, NY Times Feb 20, 2007

Cap-and-trade: more effective than a carbon tax, Grist Feb 12 , 2007

SOCIAL BEHAVIOR

Social Contagion: Are Your Friends Making You Fat, New York Times Sept. 2009

Could the concept of social contagion work as a means of changing consumption behavior?

Social Contagion: How Medical Data Revealed Secret to Health & Happiness, Wired Magazine issue 17.10

NUCLEAR POWER

The staggering cost of new nuclear power
An excellent analysis of the modern economics of nuclear.  Don’t be swayed by people who say renewables are all very well, but they’re too expensive so we will need nuclear too.  The economics just don’t make sense.  Here’s a link to the actual report from Climate Progress that the Grist article is based.

CLEAN COAL (NOT)

Coal is Not the Answer

Hydromethanation, Scientific American March 11, 2009

I’m not sure I’m convinced, but will keep an eye on it.

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