Nick Engelfried

Nick Engelfried

Posts by This Writer

9 years 1 week ago

What if energy companies stopped engaging in destructive practices like mountaintop removal coal mining—not because of new government regulations, but simply because they couldn’t find a bank to finance such projects? That’s what the Rainforest Action Network and other groups hope might happen as they pressure banking giants to sever ties with dirty energy and emissions-causing activity. In the last couple years, banks have taken heat for financing everything from the destruction of Indonesia’s rainforests to Canadian tar sands development. But one...


9 years 1 week ago

A report commissioned by two US-based small business advocacy groups, Small Business Majority and the Main Street Alliance, suggests the Clean Air Act isn’t just an effective tool for protecting the environment—it has also created millions of jobs and spurred innovation in sustainable business. By improving public health, generating demand for pollution control equipment, and creating incentives to develop more sustainable business models, the Clean Air Act has produced economic benefits that outweigh any costs to the economy several times over.

The report, which is titled...


9 years 1 week ago

As activists in industrialized countries work tirelessly to eliminate coal plants and other major contributors to climate change, they risk seeing their work undone by new fossil fuel projects in the developing world. The temptation for developing nations to turn to cheap coal and oil for fuel makes it all the more important for countries like the US to lead by example and replace their own dirty power plants with clean energy—but projects in the developing world like the...


9 years 1 week ago

If there’s one US state that has come to symbolize dependence on dirty energy, and the emissions and other side effects of fossil fuels, that state would probably be West Virginia. Located in the heart of Appalachia, West Virginia is ground zero in the debate over mountaintop removal coal mining—a practice that involves literally blasting away mountaintops to get at buried coal seams. Almost all West Virginia’s electricity comes from coal-fired power plants, of which there are more than forty in the state. Few other regions can claim such a close and...


9 years 2 weeks ago

President Obama may have failed to pass a climate change bill this year, but that won’t prevent the presidential family from powering the most visible building in the United States with renewable energy. This morning at the GreenGov Symposium—a national conference focused on greening the federal government—the Obama administration announced its decision to put solar photovoltaic cells and a solar water heater on the White House roof by the end of this spring. Probably not coincidentally, the announcement comes not long after the grassroots climate group 350.org...


9 years 2 weeks ago

From the United States to China, one issue more than any other has emerged as the defining energy and emissions question of our time. Namely, can the world figure out how to do without coal-fired power plants? Because coal is so dirty and so abundant, the way major economies choose to use it—or not to use it—will have more impact on the climate and on public health than probably any other energy and emissions issue. In the United States fights are already raging over how soon the dirtiest coal plants in the nation should be retired.

But while countries like the US...


9 years 2 weeks ago

In several posts I’ve mentioned Oregon’s Boardman Coal Plant as an example of an aging coal-fired power plant contributing to climate change and air pollution. With state agencies poised to make major decisions about the plant later this year, it’s now time to explain exactly why closing this plant within five years is so important. You see it’s not just about Oregon: we’ll be watching more and more coal plant fights pop up in the US as environmental and health groups work to reduce the causes of climate change. What happens to this coal plant in...


9 years 2 weeks ago

In the United States, even the most basic programs for encouraging renewable energy and sustainable business have a hard time making it through Congress. On the other side of the Atlantic, however, western European countries are lining up to demonstrate that how industrialized nations can build up their economies with renewable power. Justmeans has already covered some of the major sustainable business innovations in countries like Portugal, Italy...


9 years 3 weeks ago

It’s a vicious cycle: as global warming results in hotter summers in many parts of the world, more and more people will be turning up the air conditioning. But air conditioning units have a notoriously large carbon footprint, adding to consumption of fossil fuel energy and emissions of carbon dioxide that further contribute to climate change. In the United States, as much as 20% of a home’s energy and emissions footprint may be traced back to air conditioning, meaning that cooling a home or building adds more to global warming than almost anything else inside the home.

That could all change—if a solar powered air conditioning unit developed in China...


9 years 3 weeks ago

Though the US Senate has abandoned efforts to pass comprehensive climate legislation this year, a bipartisan group of senators has taken up the challenge of attempting to pass at least some type of sweeping bill to encourage renewable energy and sustainable business. And—somewhat unexpectedly—it’s beginning to look as if this less ambitious bill might actually stand a chance of becoming law. If it does, the Renewable Electricity Promotion Act could serve as a stepping stone to broader climate policy later on.

The...


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