Resources are all the rage. With the world population headed toward 9 billion people by 2050, from 7 billion today, companies and governments are eager to ensure they have access to strategic and industrial materials, now and for all time. The problem is that resources are becoming more expensive as the global middle class expands and is able to buy more stuff. The Goldman Sachs Commodities Index (now the Standard & Poor's GSCI) has risen by about 3.5 times between early 1991, when it launched, and today (It closed at 670.51 on Friday). Greater competition for fewer resources doesn't mean that everything is at risk of running out next week, or even "peaking." If these trends continue, it does mean that prices are likely to continue their ascent in the long term.
Global companies find themselves increasingly in dialog with civil-society organizations focused on the resource race. The World Resources Institute (WRI), a research organization based in Washington, DC, this year observes its 30th anniversary. And last week, it installed its third president, Andrew Steer, a U.K. economist who joins WRI after serving as Special Envoy for Climate Change at the World Bank. We spoke by phone last week about resource scarcity and climate change.Read more »
Tropical Storm Isaac, currently blowing northwest through the Caribbean Sea, is forecast to pass Florida’s western coast on Monday and Tuesday – just as delegates, public officials, media and observers open the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa.
Thousands of people are traveling to the region this weekend. They might be asking themselves, how do facility builders and owners know if the convention center and hotels can hold?Read more »
Every year, Americans discard about 300 million tires. That’s about a third of the 1 billion thrown out worldwide. About half of those are burned for fuel, which is just slightly better than landfilling. The rest end up in playgrounds, mulch for gardens or in berms along highways.
Lehigh Technologies wants America’s scrap rubber. The nine-year-old company has raised more than $50 million for processors that collect it, freeze it and shatter it into bits. ``Think of it as a jet engine with teeth,'' said Chief Executive Officer Alan Barton, who holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from Harvard University.Read more »
The buttery porterhouse that Peter Luger steakhouse has served up since 1887 may be the next victim of the U.S. drought.
Steer that would normally be fattened and aged to produce the highest-grade steaks are instead being killed young and thin.Read more »
During the fireworks and record heat of Independence Week, Duke Energy closed its $26 billion merger with rival Progress Energy, creating the nation’s largest electric utility. Progress CEO William D. Johnson was to lead the expanded company—but just hours after the deal closed, the Board hastily installed Duke chairman and CEO James E. Rogers as chief executive of the merged company.
Jim Rogers is no stranger to headlines and he has made a lot of them since he emerged several years ago as the unlikeliest of species: CEO of a coal-generated power company who sought a U.S. climate policy.Read more »
Power is restored in India, which experienced the worst blackouts in the history of human-generated electricity. An estimated 360 million people lost power on July 30. The next day, over 600 million people were blacked out. With the lights back on, now it’s time to restore the credibility of the sector and the country.
Scores of recommendations have been put forward to prevent this catastrophe in the future. Thermal power producers prescribe ramping up coal-fired power. Clean energy advocates suggest using distributed renewable sources, because coal-generated power causes greenhouse gas emissions and uses a lot of water, which is in short supply. Industry analysts and financial institutions recommend raising electricity prices in line with the underlying fuel costs. Demand to privatize the financially distraught state-owned power distribution companies -- called “discoms” -- is back in the newspaper editorials as well.Read more »
Short words make thoughts clearer. Most people prefer them.
The word "sustainability," as previously reported, is six syllables long, like each of the first two sentences of this post. In the age of Twitter, you don’t get much more than six syllables to communicate an entire thought. When NASA’s Curiosity rover safely landed on Mars early this morning, the agency tweeted “Touchdown confirmed.” After six syllables of “sustainability” you’re left only with glazed-over interlocutors.Read more »
Maggie Koerth-Baker, science editor at BoingBoing.net, says she was motivated to write her latest book, ``Before the Lights Go Out,'' after listening to her husband, an energy efficiency analyst, come home and talk shop.
He would describe all the things that experts understand but that people actually making decisions about energy -- the building owners, politicians, consumers -- "don't really get,'' Koerth-Baker said in an interview.Read more »