Copenhagen Summit severely limits NGO participation

World on Fire 2With the eyes of the world on Copenhagen and the U.N. Climate Change Conference, it seems that organizers will be limiting who can get inside during the last most critical decision-making sessions. While 45,000 people are registered, today and tomorrow only 7,000 civilian observers will be allowed entrance, with those numbers reduced to 1,000 on Thursday and a mere 90 allowed in the conference center by Friday, the day of final negotiations. Continue reading

A bit of creative whimsy

creative whimsyHere’s a little something different to enjoy. It features some of the most creative, whimsical and sometimes absurd items I’ve seen.

Take a look and imagine what having any of these in your life would be like. Fascinating!

Solar's too complicated and expensive? I think not, Mr. O'Reilly

The following is a guest post by Mr. Tom Rooney of SPG Solar. It’s also a follow-up to a story I did recently on a soon-to-be implemented solar program in Irvine, California.
Last night (Wed.) on the O’Reilly Factor, Bill said solar power was too expensive and too complicated for him.

His unusual comments came just hours after a school district in Orange County voted to build a solar power system at no cost to the district — and which will save the district $17 million over the life of the project.


FarNiente Winery's Floatovoltaics by SPG

FarNiente Winery's "Floatovoltaics" by SPG Solar

My company, SPG Solar, is building that system — and there is nothing complicated or expensive about it.


You want complicated? Go to one of our solar installations in Napa Valley where we built a solar energy array on top of a pond of water — the panels actually float.

You want complicated?  How about building an acre of solar panels in one of the most desolate places on earth: A hotel in the middle of Death Valley.

We did those, and more, including movie theatres, farms, and yes, plain old office buildings.

The owners do not operate these systems any more than they operate their oil or gas or electric heat.

Between the tax credits and rebates, and the cost cutting in the price of installing and buying solar panels, solar energy is a simple decision that thousands of people are making every day.


Guest blogger Tom Rooney

Guest blogger Tom Rooney

Nothing expensive or complicated about it. Just good business (and) sound economics.

—-  Tom Rooney
          President and CEO
          SPG Solar
         Novato, California
         415 883-7657

Cisco cuts net 40% greenhouse gas emissions

CiscoIn several previous posts I’ve poked at corporations that boasted cuts in their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions when they’ve been only around 2 to 5 percent. This time, however, one company has cuts that are substantial.

Cisco Systems has succeeded in cutting their net emissions by 40 percent, compared against 2007. These figures include  what’s termed Scope 1 direct emissions from Cisco-owned or controlled sources), Scope 2 (emissions from Cisco’s energy purchases) and Scope 3 (emissions from Cisco’s  business air travel ( both corporate wide and worldwide).

According to Darrel Stickler of Cisco’s Sustainable Business Practices, few companies include Scope 3 of any type in an absolute reduction goal. 


Cisco's sustainability practices have produced a 40% GHG reduction

Cisco's sustainability practices have produced a 40% GHG reduction

This success comes as part of Cisco’s overall sustainability practices, as reported in their fifth annual corporate social responsibility report. To achieve this reduction, Cisco focused on implementing energy efficiency programs, reducing air travel and various efforts that include their purchase and use of renewable energy.

Cisco continues to work on further reductions. These include:

  • eliminating harmful chemicals from their products
  • developing a closed-loop reverse supply chain where they recover, reuse or recycle over n 99 percent of their  returned electronic equipment in major markets worldwide
  • reducing water consumption

Cisco has also launched two programs to help businesses reduce their GHG emissions – their Smart Grid business unit that helps  utility companies optimize power supply and demand, and their Energy Wise program that helps customers monitor and control their IP-enabled equipment to reduce energy costs and their carbon footprint.

Way to go Cisco! Now let’s see who wants to play “i can do better than you” on this one!

One child's voice speaks out to Copenhagen

A 12-year old addresses the world

A 12-year old addresses the world

As delegates from 192 nations around the world begin meetings in Copenhagen today, they would do well to remember the words of a child.In 1992, then 12-year old Severen Suzuki of the Environmental Organization (ECO) of Canada addressed the delegates of the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro.


In a passionate speech, she presented an indictment and plea to the assembled delegates to remember why they were there.

Suzuki reminded them that in school, their children learned  to share, to clean up their messes, to work with others. She asked them why these were things they weren’t doing themselves. She painted a picture of a world where she was afraid of breathing the air, of drinking the water, of fishing with her father because the fish now had cancers.  


Ms. Suzuki today

Ms. Suzuki today

This young girl was eloquent and spoke in a way that left no room for misunderstanding. Delegates must act NOW. 


That was  17 years ago. Since then, more species have grown extinct while others are severely threatened. CO2 emissions have grown while Arctic ice shelves are crumbling and glaciers are rapidly disappearing.

With so many reports that the Copenhagen Summit won’t reach a binding agreement, the voice of this child – now a young woman – needs to be raised again in hopes that world leaders this time will pay attention, set aside agendas and biases, and ACT.

School district in southern California to go solar

Irvine schoolThe Irvine (California) Unified School District (ISUD) has partnered with SunEdison and SPG Solar to install solar energy at each of its twenty-one campuses.

Purported to be the largest solar deployment for a public school system in California, and possibly the United States, the project will reduce Irvine’s school power bill  by 20 percent – a savings of $17 million over twenty years.

SunEdison will own, operate and maintain the solar photovoltaic systems, with IUSD purchasing energy at a discounted  rate. The solar companies  will act as utilities, building and financing the system with no money from the district .

Solar schoolThis agreement could generate more than 6.6 million kilowatt hours of solar energy in just the first year. Over 20 years, the solar installation is expected to offset 127 million pounds of CO2, the equivalent of removing more than 12,000 cars from the road for one year.

An added component to this exciting venture is taking solar into the classroom. Using an internet-based monitoring system, students can track each solar site in real time while participating in lessons on how solar panels work and how weather impacts energy production. The school will also introduce a complement of courses to educate students about the use and benefits of photovoltaics.

This progressive step is one other school districts will want to check into,

Giving to others is just a click away

givingThink gift giving will be a little tougher this year because of the economy? There are a couple of websites that can help. Shopping over the net isn’t new, but helping others while you do it is fast becoming popular.

Earlier this year i did a story about two websites that give to others every time you click.

GoodSearch and GoodShop are great ways to find what you need – be it a web search or gift search – and help your favorite charity or school. Every click, every search donates a small amount to whatever non-profit you designate. It’s simple, easy and makes a difference.

GoodSearch is a Yahoo-powered search engine. GoodShop – an online shopping mall – offers thousands of money saving coupons and free shipping deals. More than 85,000 organizations are currently earning money from these sites.

Check them out for the holidays. It’ll be the easiest gift giving you’ve ever done.