Deere & Co. dropped out of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) in May, which has supported a cap-and-trade program for reducing carbon-dioxide emissions, reports The Wall Street Journal.
Deere did not make an announcement in May that it was leaving the coalition. Ken Golden, a spokesman for the manufacturer of farm machinery, said Deere left USCAP because the group’s legislative strategy “no longer served as a foundation for moving forward” with climate change regulation, according to the article.
The company joins a handful of others that have left the partnership in recent months, including ConocoPhilips, which decided against renewing its membership to ensure “fair and equitable treatment of the transportation sector.”
BP America and Caterpillar also left USCAP following ConocoPhilips’ announcement that it would not renew its membership.
About two dozen companies remain in the group, including General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, Siemens and Alcoa. The group also has picked up four new members in the past year, including Honeywell and Weyerhaeuser.
The coalition, which was founded in 2007, has been a lightning rod for groups that have opposed a cap-and-trade scheme since it recommended a phased-in cap-and-trade system for U.S. producers of carbon dioxide in 2009, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Most recently, two conservative policy groups — FreedomWorks and the National Center for Public Policy Research’s Free Enterprise Project– ran television commercials that said cap-and-trade legislation would put Deere’s U.S. employees at risk of losing their jobs if the company moves to lower cost manufacturing sites overseas, reports the newspaper. The ads also accused Deere of supporting “back-room deals” by members of Congress to get votes to pass carbon regulation.
FreedomWorks also confronted Deere’s chairman and CEO at the company’s annual shareholder’s meeting in February about its membership.
Deere is a member of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Leaders program and participates in the Business Environmental Leadership Council.
More U.S. coal-waste disposal sites have contaminated drinking or surface water with arsenic and other heavy metals, according to a study by Earthjustice, the Environmental Integrity Project and the Sierra Club, reports The Wall Street Journal.
The report, “In Harm’s Way: Lack Of Federal Coal Ash Regulations Endangers Americans And Their Environment” (PDF), based on data available through state agencies, reveals that contaminants at 39 coal-waste sites across 21 states have leached into the groundwater. This is in addition to 67 cases already identified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
A February 2010 EIP/Earthjustice report documented 31 coal-ash dump sites in 14 states. The 39 additional sites in this report, along with the 67 already identified by the EPA, brings the total number of known toxic contamination sites from coal ash pollution to 137 in 34 states, according to the researchers.
Of the 39 problem sites, 35 had groundwater-monitoring data available, which showed that wells located at or near the coal-waste disposal sites contained pollutants such as arsenic, selenium, lead and chromium, according to the article. The four other sites involved surface water discharges and spills.
But there could be a bigger problem, according to the report. The study indicates that large coal ash-generating states like Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico and Tennessee, require no monitoring by law at coal ash ponds, at least while they are still in operation.
The coalition says the survey indicates that the EPA needs to regulate the waste produced by coal-fired power plants instead of leaving oversight to the states, according to the article.
The report is intended to influence the EPA as the agency begins public hearings next week on whether to regulate coal ash as a hazardous waste, put enforcement into the hands of federal and state officials, or institute new restrictions under which enforcement would come through lawsuits by states and individuals, reports the newspaper.
Depending on how those regulations are crafted, coal ash could be regulated like a hazardous waste, a move that has raised concerns among small and large businesses alike. Utilities have already begun lobbying the White House on the potential effect of the EPA’s proposed rules.
And some recyclers have said that a hazardous waste classification carries a stigma and would raise liability fears, making it difficult to use coal ash in building materials.
More than 40 percent of coal waste is recycled, added to products such as cement and drywall, a practice known as “beneficial reuse,” while the remainder is disposed of in landfills or retention ponds, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The EPA’s proposed rules support beneficial reuse or recycling of coal ash in the manufacture of materials such as cement, concrete and asphalt.
So you’ve got a situation where you’ve got little or no running water. You’ve got a no-toilet sort of place, and that place is also in a community that’s either poor or completely broke. What do you do? You look for a way to get rid that waste, but not only that, a way to turn that waste into energy. What Noa Lerner’s got here is a way to do that, by rolling a barrel full of poop down the road, trading it in for boombox time!
First, watch the video in this post to see what I mean by boombox time. It’s super awesome, made with stop-motion, showing the simple process the person whose pooped needs to go through in order to trade their toilet waste into energy. Very simple, very well made, very easy to understand.
A bit more in detail: Each of these toilet barrels is sealed and nano-coated in a way that allows them to be used for a week at a time without emptying or cleaning. Once it’s time to empty, the barrel is brought by an individual or a multi-barrel servce to the local Biogas Plant. Once there, waste is traded for energy in the form of cooking gas, warm water for showers, or electricity. All of these forms of energy are generated by processing the human waste at the Biogas Plant.
You know what this reminds me of? The science fiction post-apocalyptic movie “Mad Max : Beyond Thunderdome”, a movie which features a town run on methane, a gas that comes from pig waste. It’s made to seem absurd but totally possible in that movie. Welcome to the future of energy!
This project is being specifically developed for the Indian Subcontinent, where basic amenities like a toilet in a house are missing…even in urban, developed areas.
Designer: Noa Lerner
Noa at Ted Talks
Green car enthusiasts rejoice! At last a car has been unveiled that marries the fuel efficiency of a diesel and the lower emissions of a hybrid. As we predicted, Peugeot has beat other automakers to the punch and has introduced the world's first production diesel-hybrid vehicle.
The Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4 is outfitted with a 163bhp 2.0-liter turbo diesel unit that powers the front wheels and an electric motor powered by NiMH batteries that drives the rear axle with a total system output of 200 horsepower. As is standard with hybrids and EVs, the car also features regenerative braking.
The car achieves impressive fuel efficiency with a rating of 61.9 MPG. Performance-wise, the car has a max speed of 130 mph and can hit 62 mph in 8.8 seconds.
The car can be driven in front-drive only, rear-drive only or all-wheel drive modes and the car also offers four different operating modes: Auto mode, where the change between diesel engine and electric motor is handled by the car's electronics, ZEV mode, where the car uses the electric motor only for a maximum of 2.8 miles, 4WD mode has both power trains operating together, and Sport mode puts power ahead of efficiency.
The 3008 Hybrid4 should hit car lots in Europe early next year.
Scientists at the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters have designed a new fuel cell inspired by the brochial structure of the lungs. The new design requires less of the expensive platinum catalyst while also boosting efficiency.
The fuel cell features channels modeled after brochial tubes that supply hydrogen and oxygen to their respective electrodes. This system spreads the gases more uniformly across the electrodes, which boosts the cell's efficiency and creates greater surface area so that less platinum is required.
Hydrogen fuel cells are still too cost prohibitive (among other things) for mass production and a lot of that has to do with the platinum catalyst. This design is pretty exciting because it would lower the cost of the fuel cell while also boosting output. That's a win-win.
Here at EcoGeek we've been long-time supporters of e-book readers. The publishing industry (including books, newspapers and magazines) is a serious environmental threat with a huge carbon footprint and raw materials that result in the harvesting of some 125 million tress per year.
So we were excited. But as the realities of ebooks set in, and they actually began to explode in popularity (with Amazon.com now selling more Kindle books than hard-covers) we got apprehensive. Would this new trend really be good for the environment? The answer...thankfully, is a resounding "Yes."
The Kindle device itself, of course, has a carbon footrprint caused by manufacturing and shipping all of its parts around. And it does use electricity (though, really, a very small amount compared with devices like laptops or even some cell phones.) But while I still love real books for a lot of reasons, I've got to give it to the Kindle. Authors are getting paid more, consumers are paying less, and (according to a study from The Cleantech Group) as long as the devices replace the purchase of more than 22.5 NEW (not used) books in the lifetime of the device, it will be a positive force for the environment. This seems to be roughly one year's use of the Kindle. Of course, if you're replacing newspapers and magazines with your Kindle chances are you'll go carbon negative faster than that.
But if you're thinking about getting a Kindle for green reasons, make sure you know you'll be replacing more than 20 new books on the thing before you upgrade, otherwise you're not just wasting your money, you're hurting the environment.