Good Weather for Coffee: Hot off the Griddle

Good morning, and welcome back to the Griddle, a menu of fortified items for the busy person's media diet. "It was a good year for Brazilian coffee," states the 78-year-old coffee brokerage Escritorio Carvalhaes, in its last 2011 weekly report. Arabica beans, the coffee variety common at Starbucks, finished the year expensive -- 42 percent above the 5-year average. High prices were caused in part by heavy rains last spring in Colombia, influenced by a strong La Nina. Now, coffee addicts are paying the price. Starbucks announced yesterday it would raise prices on some drinks across many of its 10,800 U.S. locations. The outlook for 2012? Carvalhaes: Extreme weather and “market fundamentals will maintain prices in 2012."

And now the news:

Ford Plans to Make Cars Using 30 Percent Less Water (GreenBiz)
China and BYD Launch Largest Battery Energy Storage Station in the World (CleanTechnica)
Patagonia Road Tests New Sustainability Legal Status (Bloomberg)
Raw-Material Costs Rise as Economy Skirts Slump (Bloomberg)
Chilean Engineer’s Designs Help Santiago’s Skyscrapers Endure Earthquakes (Bloomberg)
100 Million Smart Meters Coming to Europe by 2016 (GreenTechMedia)
More Extreme Weather on Australia’s Radar (Adelaide Advertiser)
Booking a Flight to Space, With Travel Insurance (NY Times)
Chinese Airlines ‘Will Not Cooperate’ With EU Emissions Trading (BusinessGreen)
Amid Dark Vents, Something Stirs (NY Times)

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