Nick Engelfried

Nick Engelfried

Posts by This Writer

11 years 5 months ago

It seems likely that the next market player in the long line of companies abandoning environmentally destructive palm oil products will be General Mills. Since early this year, nonprofits like the Rainforest Action Network have been urging General Mills to end its use of palm oil grown unsustainably in countries like Indonesia, where palm oil plantations are displacing rainforests and contributing to climate change and...


11 years 5 months ago

Construction of a 300 megawatt coal plantin Malaysia, which would increase the Southeast Asian country’s contribution to climate change while threatening fragile ecosystems, just ran into a major hurtle. According to news from AFP, the environment minister for the Malaysian state of Sabah has rejected the plan for the coal plant, citing worries that environmental impacts would be too great. This victory comes after months of work on the part of Malaysian environmental groups and international climate organizations attempting to stop the coal plant’s...


11 years 5 months ago

In conversations about energy and emissions it’s easy to quickly get, for want of a better word, “wonky.” From the complex science of clean energy generation to the finer points of energy and emissions policy, it’s not hard for those of us with a strong interest in the topic to become absorbed in a world of technical jargon and obscure language utterly baffling to the uninitiated.

I myself have often been guilty of “severe energy jargon syndrome,” and paid for it in bemused expressions and blank looks. Recently I’ve found when unwieldy terms and acronyms make holding a conversation about energy difficult, the...


11 years 5 months ago

It’s an encouraging sign for sustainable business when the four largest banks in the US discontinue support for one of the world’s most destructive mining practices, in a shift to more environmentally friendly projects. As of last month Citi, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo—the big four of US banking—have designed policies to reduce their financing of highly destructive mountaintop removal coal mining. Two other banks, Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse, have joined the big four in adopting similar policies. It appears a genuine industry-wide...


11 years 5 months ago

Up until this summer, if there was one country that might be forgiven for feeling a little blasé about climate change, it would probably be Russia. A nation transected by the Arctic Circle and famous for its cold winter temperatures, this enormous country and sizable producer of carbon emissions might reasonably have expected to even enjoy a few benefits from global warming—balmier summers and a longer growing season, perhaps.

Not anymore.

Ironically in these last few months, Russia may have felt the effects of climate change in a more direct way than any other large economy has to date. This...


11 years 5 months ago

Almost everyone who works in the energy world has heard the conventional wisdom that renewable energy simply can’t compete on the basis of cost with coal and other fossil fuels. Sure renewables are nice, this thinking goes, but if you really want to cut carbon emissions you’ve got to invest in something else— like nuclear power. Indeed, one of the nuclear industry’s favorite refrains is that nuclear power plants are the only source of energy capable of replacing fossil fuels cost effectively and on a truly large scale.

It sounds convincing, except that...


11 years 5 months ago

An agreement between the government of Ecuador, the United Nations, and industrialized countries concerned about the causes of climate change could protect one of the world’s most biodiverse tracts of rainforest while keeping 846 million barrels of oil safe in the ground. Though the idea has been years in the works, Ecuador recently moved a step closer to finalizing a deal that could set a precedent for developing countries around the world. If all goes according to plan, industrialized countries like Germany and Spain will be paying Ecuador to leave a fifth of its sizable oil reserves undeveloped, preventing carbon emissions and protecting a wealth of plant and...


11 years 5 months ago

Frustrated by the US Senate’s failure to pass climate change and clean energy legislation this year? You should be. But it isn’t time to give up on strong federal action to reduce climate just yet. As outlined in a report released this month by the foundation-funded Presidential Climate Action Project, there exists potential for the executive branch of the federal government to cooperate with state legislatures and other government bodies to put the United States on-track...


11 years 5 months ago

Talk about next generation transportation. If all goes according to plan, China’s streets could soon be populated by vehicles that resemble a cross between a light rail system and a giant bus, and are capable of passing over moving cars to avoid traffic jams. Meet the “straddling bus,” an attempt to combine the best features of multiple parts of the public transit world.

According to Shenzhen Hashi Future Parking Equipment Company, which came up with the idea, a straddling bus would carry twelve to fourteen hundred passengers at a time, in an upper level that sits high above the road. Meanwhile cars less than two meters tall could pass under the bus as...


11 years 5 months ago

Change, for major industries that have spent decades doing things in pretty much the same way, is inconvenient. This is at the heart of why big business in the US has been so reluctant to embrace a transition to fuels with lower carbon emissions, even as other nations show clean energy can be an economic lifeline during recession. Thus the largest US auto companies, heavily invested in SUVs, spent years trying to ignore how consumer preferences were changing. With rising gas prices and increased concern over carbon emissions, more and more people no longer wanted to drive the...


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