Nick Engelfried

Nick Engelfried

Posts by This Writer

8 years 8 months ago

According to a Purdue University study, no-till farming not only helps prevent erosion and retain soil nutrients, but may also combat climate change. Purdue researchers say they’ve found that fields which were not plowed in between plantings released 57% less nitrogen oxide than fields farmed using conventional plowing methods. Though much less important than the carbon dioxide released from burning fossil fuels, nitrogen oxide is a significant greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. The gas is far less abundant than carbon dioxide, but traps 310 times as...


8 years 8 months ago

While the United States has so far failed to pass a national renewable energy portfolio standard, countries in Europe are demonstrating just how effective such policies can be at encouraging sustainable business. The 27-member European Union has a goal of deriving 20% of its energy, including electricity as well as fuel used for heat and transportation, from clean sources by 2020. According to the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), the EU is on track to not only meet that target but exceed it. Fifteen countries are expected to surpass their nation-specific renewable energy goals, while only two will fall short.

A statement released yesterday by the...


8 years 8 months ago

Last week India took another step forward for sustainable business, with the inauguration of a 500 megawatt solar park in the western state of Gujarat. The state government is investing 105 billion rupees, equivalent to US $2.3 billion, in this precedent-setting project that seems likely to be the first of its size in Asia. When complete the solar park will be capable of producing about as much electricity as a mid-size coal plant. Construction and maintenance of the solar arrays will also provide jobs and economic benefits for nearby communities.

The...


8 years 8 months ago

This week the US Senate has the chance to take a big step forward for the climate, even though it will not be voting on any bill directly related to climate change. If this seems paradoxical, it isn’t really. This Wednesday may be the Senate’s best chance to fix the filibuster—a procedural tool that over the last two years was used by conservatives to prevent climate change legislation ever making it into law.

According to the textbook definition of a filibuster, it’s a procedural maneuver that allows a minority of senators to block a vote on a particular piece of legislation they believe is especially harmful. If one or more senator decides to launch a...


8 years 8 months ago

Future historians may well remember 2010 as the year the tide turned in the most important climate change fight in the US: the growing movement to eliminate existing coal plants and prevent new ones being built. Though Congress failed to pass a comprehensive climate change law, a less glamorous but possibly more important battle unfolded largely in courtrooms, Environmental Protection Agency offices, and public hearings convened by regional regulatory bodies few Americans have even heard of. 2010 was the year when those who care about doing business better wielded every weapon at their disposal to move the US toward a future without coal.

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8 years 8 months ago

Jan. 10th Update: Though the Washington Department of Ecology has joined the lawsuit against the coal export terminal in Longview, it remains unclear whether Governor Gregoire will eventually take a stance against the project.  In fact Governor Gregoire recently made some disappointing statements to the media in which she downplayed the contribution of exporting coal to climate change.  It's time Governor Gregoire joined her own Department of Ecology and hundreds of Washington residents in loudly opposing any new coal export projects in Washington.

About a month ago I argued on Justmeans that the State of Washington...


8 years 9 months ago

Consistent with a growing trend in which banks are acknowledging the impacts of their investments on environmental health, social welfare, and climate change, Royal Bank of Canada has created a new “Policy on Environmental and Social Risk Management for Capital Markets,” which could have major implications for the bank’s involvement in dirty energy projects. According to the Rainforest Action Network (RAN), one of the most reliable watchdog groups keeping track of the...


8 years 9 months ago

In the United States, California’s requirement that utilities generate 33% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2033 is often hailed as an ambitious sustainable business goal for others to replicate. However even this goal pales when compared to the renewable energy targets of many nations in Western Europe. Countries like Scotland have not only set goals meant to rapidly transition them to a renewable energy future—they appear on-track to hit or exceed those goals while creating thousands of jobs. This week’s news that Scotland increased it renewable power generation by a...


8 years 9 months ago

From wind turbines to solar photovoltaic cells, sustainable business ventures have produced a plethora of well-tested methods for converting renewable energy into electricity. Though much remains to be done when it comes to actually replacing coal and other fossil fuel-based electricity with a clean energy grid, there is little doubt that the technology to do so exists. A far greater challenge has been finding a truly renewable and sustainable energy source capable of replacing the petroleum-based liquid fuels used to power motor vehicles and aircraft. But...


8 years 9 months ago

With Congress unlikely to pass major climate change legislation any time soon, the job of reducing pollution from carbon energy and emissions has been left up to the existing Clean Air Act, which is enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Fortunately the Clean Air Act has already proved itself an effective tool for reducing pollution, suggesting it could be used successfully to curb climate change as well. A report released this week by the EPA shows how...


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