Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 8, 2013 08:02 PM
Athletes expend a whole lot of energy all over the world. In a world that is desperate for ways to find new sources of sustainable energy, it seems like a no-brainer to try and capture some of that expenditure of energy and use it for good, such as the more than 350 UK gyms that are built to generate their own energy for lighting or the bike energy that helped power the laptops of Occupy Wall Street.
The Paris Marathon has now gotten into the act. More than 40,000 runners made their way through the City of Lights Sunday and every last one of them bounced across an 82-foot stretch of flexible tiles made of recycled truck tires on the Champs-Élysées that used high technology to store the energy generated by all that foot power into a few batteries. The tile maker, Pavegen Systems Ltd., says that “each footstep generates as much as 8 watts of kinetic energy, which is fed back to batteries that can charge display screens and electronic signs along the route,” according to RenewEconomy.com.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on March 28, 2013 05:29 PM
The stagnation of the U.S. market for all-electric vehicles has automakers thinking more creatively about how to address American consumers' desire for maximum fuel economy without attempting fruitlessly to guilt them into buying EVs.
The evidence of this trend has been abundant this week during the media previews at the New York International Auto Show, and news that the Obama administration is planning to get tougher on car emission standards, with "sweeping rules" expected from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requiring cleaner gasoline and cars.
"I think green has gone mainstream" as automakers employ fuel-efficient technologies across their lineups, not just in electrified vehicles, Consumer Reports director of auto testing Jake Fisher told WWJ-TV in Detroit. "It doesn't matter what you get, you can get green in your car, whether or not it's a sports car or an SUV."
That's why, for example, Dodge is able to claim that the new 8-speed transmission in its 2014 Durango SUV qualifies as a "green" advance: It helps boost fuel economy of the nameplate by close to 10 percent, Reid Bigland, Dodge brand CEO, told the TV station.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 16, 2012 02:12 PM
It's understandable that the record-breaking sum that BP will be paying out — $4.5 billion in fines and other payments — as a result of the Department of Justice settlement over the 2012 Deepwater Horizon accident, oil spill and response raised eyebrows. While two employees are being charged wth manslaughter, the company also pled guilty to 14 criminal charges in connection with the cataclysmic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico two years ago, and admitted to criminal conduct and deliberately misreporting the impact of the spill.
It's a record-breaking sum, but as a reader noted on our story, it's "a drop in the barrel" for the oil and gas giant. Even the fact that the DOJ investigation is ongoing, and BP will be subject to additional including federal civil claims and claims for damages to natural resources and fines under the Clean Water Act, with potential fines of up to $21 billion, the brand is more than prepared to absorb the financial hit.
The bigger question is how much, if at all, things have changed in the corporate culture that led to the accident, and led to harsh criticism over its handling of the accident. As Tom Zara, Interbrand's global Corporate Citizenship practice leader, comments, the DOJ penalty is directed at the "ethical bone structure" that led to the disaster, and the loss of 11 lives. "Notoriety of criminality isn’t the death knell of a brand, but corruption of culture will kill the brand."
The Justice Department press release detailing BP's guilty plea doesn't mince words on that front:Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on November 15, 2012 10:07 AM
The Associated Press is reporting that "BP has agreed to pay the largest criminal penalty in U.S. history, totaling billions of dollars, for the April 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico" that killed 11 workers in 2010. Bloomberg also reports: "The company will plead guilty to obstruction of justice for lying to Congress. Two of the company’s employees face manslaughter charges over deaths in the explosion of the oil well, said the person, who requested anonymity to discuss the deal which has not been made public. The amount wasn’t disclosed." The BBC is putting the figure at between $3 billion and $5 billion, and hears that up to four BP staff may be arrested.
Update: The settlement for the DOJ's Deepwater Horizon oil spill fraud case levies $4.5 billion in penalties against the company, including $1.26 billion for 14 criminal charges, and eliminates any further criminal and Securities and Exchange Commission (but not civil) charges against the company. As part of the deal, BP "has agreed to plead guilty to 11 felony counts of Misconduct or Neglect of Ships Officers relating to the loss of 11 lives; one misdemeanor count under the Clean Water Act; one misdemeanor count under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act; and one felony count of obstruction of Congress." It's also agreeing to pay $525 million in civil penalties through 2015 to settle claims by the SEC over the company's reporting on the oil flow rate into the Gulf of Mexico in the days following the accident. The deal is still subject to US federal court approval.
The Justice Department press release confirms that BP's two highest-ranking supervisors are being charged with manslaughter while a former senior executive is being charged with obstruction of Congress:Continue reading...
in the spotlight
Posted by Shirley Brady on October 29, 2012 10:06 AM
A snapshot of how Hurricane Sandy is impacting the U.S. today, as states shut down transit systems and schools, and many businesses are closed or letting employees work from home as the northeast is in lockdown mode:
Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 4, 2012 02:02 PM
BP suffered a major PR disaster and image hit back in 2010 when its Deepwater oil well dumped nearly five million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico and wreaked havoc on the ecosystem.
While the birds and fish and other living things in the ecosystem that were killed and affected in all sorts of negative ways don’t have lawyers, many of the humans impacted do, such as a number of BP fuel dealers who claimed that the spill hurt their brand and business in general, aren’t winning the love of one particular judge.
According to the Las Vegas Sun, a U.S. District judge ruled Tuesday that the dealers don’t have a case against the oil giant. The same judge also ruled that Gulf Coast homeowners “who claim the spill hurt their property values even though no oil physically touched their property and they haven't sold their homes” don’t have a case, either, the Sun reports.
Another group that doesn’t want BP’s money but would rather use any fines paid by the British company to help rebuild and protect the Gulf ecosystem are sportsmen and women, the Sun Herald reports. In a poll by Chesapeake Beach Consulting, 81 percent of the sportsmen and women living in the region interviewed “believe BP should be held accountable and fined the maximum amount allowed for the 2010 Gulf oil disaster and that those funds should be used exclusively to restore the fish and wildlife habitat of the Gulf of Mexico and its hunting and fishing heritage,” the paper notes.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on September 27, 2012 01:34 PM
There was an interesting reaction to the recent report that organic food holds nary a nutritional edge over regular fare: It did little to dent the enthusiasm of organic mavens because most of them don't buy the stuff for that reason but, rather, because it carries fewer pesticides and because organic farmers raise their crops sustainably.
In a similar way, the subtext of a new report on "green" spending by U.S. consumers may be more interesting than its headline's conclusion: "Organic Buying, Other Behaviors Have Gone Mainstream – But Green Purchasing Still Faces Price Barriers."
The consumers surveyed said they're less willing to pay more for the most environmentally benign products in their categories, according to new findings by GfK Roper in its latest Green Gauge report. Just 42 percent say they are willing to pay more for a "green" car, for instance, down from 62 percent in 2008. And only 60 percent say they'd be willing to pay more for energy-efficient light bulbs, down from 70 percent.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on September 25, 2012 06:03 PM
The revolution in discovery and exploitation of shale oil and gas in the American heartland, starting with North Dakota, is turning global energy economics and, potentially, politics upside-down. It's also prompting major shifts in strategy for the big brands on the energy map in the United States and the world.
ExxonMobil became the latest iconic energy brand to boost its stake in the Bakken Shale formation when last week it agreed to buy assets of Denbury Resources there for $1.6 billion in cash and interests in two oil fields. The move increased Exxon's acreage in the formation, centered under North Dakota, which has helped make the state the second-largest oil-producing state in America, after Texas.
Royal Dutch Shell also has invested more in such "unconventional" oil assets lately, recently buying $2 billion worth of such properties from Chesapeake Energy. And in efforts to exploit the growing potential of shale reserves worldwide, Chevron is helping the Chinese company Sinopec.Continue reading...