Monthly Archives: February 2009

Obama Asks Congress for Cap on Carbon Pollution

The president said:

But to truly transform our economy, protect our security, and save our planet from the ravages of climate change, we need to ultimately make clean, renewable energy the profitable kind of energy.

So I ask this Congress to send me legislation that places a market-based cap on carbon pollution and drives the production of more renewable energy in America.

Posted in Climate Change Legislation, News, Policy / Comments are closed

Three Companies Find Ways to Save Money and Resources

This week, EDF and KKR announced the results of the first year of our green portfolio project.

In just twelve months, the three pilot companies saved:

  • $16 million dollars
  • 25,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions
  • 3,000 tons of paper
  • 650 tons of solid waste

I posted a little more about these numbers on our Innovation Exchange blog:

For the past few weeks we’ve been on phone calls and in meetings with project teams from KKR, US Foodservice, PRIMEDIA, and Sealy to review and refine these numbers for today’s announcement.

Since the underlying premise for this project is “you manage what you measure” we had to get these numbers right. We did and the initial results are really impressive. Especially considering that they are adjusted to reflect only those business and environmental benefits that were achieved through improved efficiency from 2007 to 2008, as opposed to changes in volume or sales due to the current economic downturn.

And Julie Stofer, in our communications department, highlighted some of the blog reactions:

  • The guys over at Triple Pundit must have had a good chat with our friends at KKR — they were the first to report some details that didn’t make it into the press release, such as the inclusion of Sungard in the next round of implementation, and a projection of the number of companies that will be participating in the program by the end of the year (46).
  • The New York Times beat the Wall Street Journal’s Deal Journal blog to the punch,  getting a post featuring a pic of Henry Kravis on both Deal Book and Green, Inc. yesterday.
  • Marc Gunther called us “a bunch of young and likely underpaid environmentalists.” He agreed with our point that sometimes it just takes “looking at company operations through the fresh lens of sustainability” to achieve benefits that are good for the bottom line and the environment.
  • Gwen Ruta, the VP of our partnership program, also chatted with about how this project has just “scratched the surface of the efficiencies that can be achieved.”

I think these results demonstrate clearly the benefits that can be achieved through systematic environmental measurement and management, but it’s just the start. With over 1,000 private equity firms in the U.S. and far more portfolio companies, there’s a tremendous opportunity.

Tom Murray is the managing director responsible for the KKR partnership.

Posted in News / Comments are closed

Quick References: Cap and Trade vs. Carbon Tax

I posted earlier this month about quick reference sheets we’re putting together to cover points that we often discuss with with Hill staff and reporters. We just added some new ones, and I wanted to highlight a couple for you:

Again, I hope you also find these summaries useful, and we appreciate suggestions for additions and updates.

Posted in Policy / Read 3 Responses

“Surprise — Economists Agree!”

If you care about the climate, climate economics, or how economists in general are portrayed in the media, read this piece from Slate: “Surprise—Economists Agree! A consensus is emerging about the costs of containing climate change. So why is no one writing that?”

Enter Eric Pooley: good thing someone is. Here’s a longer blog post about Pooley’s eminently readable academic paper on the same topic.

Originally posted on Environmental Economics. 

Posted in Economics / Comments are closed

Climate Policy Spurs Innovation

EDF has been saying for years that the best way to invent new, greener energy technology is to put a cap on carbon pollution. That approach worked to combat acid rain in the 1990s, and a new study provides the best evidence yet that it’s working for climate policy, too.

The study compared countries that ratified the Kyoto Protocol and ones that didn’t, and guess which group had more new green tech patents?

Chart comparing patents in countries that did and did not ratify the Kyoto Protocal.

I posted an overview of the findings, including a couple more charts and additional analysis I got from the authors, over at Environmental Economics.

Posted in Economics, Policy / Read 4 Responses

Video Contest: Your Choice vs. the “Expert” Choice

Who is right when a national environmental group holds a video competition and the public and the “experts” disagree on who should win?

At the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, the jury of film experts chose Forty Shades of Blue as the best dramatic film.  The Audience Award went to Hustle & Flow.  I don’t know which was a better film, but I do know Hustle & Flow went on to earn $20 million in wide release in the U.S., while Forty Shades of Blue topped out at $75,000.  I’m sure it doesn’t always happen that way, but it goes to show that the experts don’t always know what will succeed in the marketplace of ideas.

We at Environmental Defense Fund just finished something a bit like a film festival — a competition that challenged participants to make a 30 second ad that explains how capping greenhouse gas pollution will help cure our national addition to oil.  This week we announced two winners, one selected by our staff and another chosen by thousands of voters online.  Like at Sundance, the voters and the judges chose different winners…in fact, the video chosen by us “experts” came in dead last in the online voting.

I thought it might be interesting to explain our decision and see what others think. Read More »

Posted in News / Read 12 Responses