29 December 2010

Joshua Brown's 3 Biggest Investment Fads Of 2011

Joshua Brown, one of our StockTwits favorites aka @reformedbroker, was on CNBC last night and offered three investment fads for 2011, including social networking IPOs, muni defaults, and commodities like agriculture.

Of special interest to Green Skeptic readers, Josh suggests avoiding anything tied too closely to the Chinese infrastructure build-out and he doesn't think natural gas is quite ready, but suggests "keeping an eye on it" and "maybe even start to nibble," especially if oil goes over $100, which several sources are fully expecting in 2011.

Enhanced by Zemanta

27 December 2010

Volatility Alert: Crude Is Rising, But Not Because Of Demand

Business Insider had an interesting post yesterday: "Just in time for Christmas, On Wednesday, Dec. 22, U.S. gasoline prices hit an average $3 a gallon for the first time in more than two years, according to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report. Meanwhile, U.S. stocks and oil also climbed to the highest levels since 2008."

In the piece, Dian Chu speculates that "if the stars are aligned, that is, global economy [is] really picking up steam with two consecutive months of good U.S. jobs numbers, inflation concerns and QE could form a perfect storm for crude to hit $110 to $115 a barrel late March or April next year, after a few retracements, and if it breaks above $100. At that level, gasoline at the pump could hit $3.70-$3.80 a gallon range."

Read it here:

Enhanced by Zemanta

24 December 2010

Green Skeptic Friday LinkFest - 12/24/10: 2011 Cleantech Predictions Edition

A Steaming Bowl of Chinese Food
This is a special edition of the Friday LinkFest on Christmas Eve.

Here are links to a variety of cleantech predictions for 2011:

Venture Beat


Kachan & Co

GigaOm's Katie Fehrenbacher and Jeff St. John

Rob Day/CleantechVC

Lightspeed Venture Partners 

and, finally,

Earth2tech’s Top 10 Cleantech IPOs Picks for 2011

Have a great holiday if you celebrate it -- and enjoy your Chinese food, if you don't celebrate!

Enhanced by Zemanta

23 December 2010

Santa's Email to Climate Skeptics: An Annual Green SkepticTradition

A few Christmases ago, I published this email from Santa, which arrived on the night before the night before Christmas. Readers had so much fun with it, it's become an annual tradition. Enjoy!

And have a Happy Holiday.

Scott, aka The Green Skeptic


TO: Global Warming Skeptics
FROM: Santa Claus
DATE: A few nights before Xmas
SUBJECT: My Christmas List

This is Santa, writing from the North Pole. Soon I'll be gathering all the toys for all the good little girls and boys and packing them in my sleigh to begin our journey, our night of nights.

The reindeer, however, are starting to complain about hoof-rot. Apparently, they've been standing around in too much slush. This has put me in a decidedly prickly mood this Christmas.

You know me; I'm not a single-issue guy. I believe that as long as you are good, and I mean good for goodness' sake, you deserve some slack on the other stuff. I'm an equal opportunity distributor. I know whether you've been bad or good or just plain evil. You also know I'm not one to discriminate against one group of people or another, believers or non-believers.

But this year is different. This year, I'm making a few changes to my list. I'm checking it twice and have decided that the naughty include any one of you out there who do not believe in global warming. All you climate change skeptics out there, you are on the naughty list this year.

Oh, you know who you are. And I've got one special gift for you: Nothing but COAL. You like the stuff so much -- and it's such a big part of what's leading to climate change -- you might as well have bags and bags of it and nothing more.

Make no mistake. Global warming is happening. You don't have to show me any scientific reports, although some nifty ones have shown up in my email box lately, sent to me from the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

No, you don't have to convince me; I'm a believer. All I have to do is look out my window to my back yard, what's left of it! It's a soupy mess out there.

We usually have a good bit of ice up here at the North Pole -- and early. That's important, too; you see, every year the elves and I construct a temporary workshop up here where we make the toys and assemble the other goodies. The earlier the ice, the sooner we get started.

Although I have figured out a way to deliver the entire shipment of gifts on my list in one night, I still haven't perfected the manufacturing process. I can't speed it up. (Some of that I blame on the unions.) We need all the ice we can get up here for there is no solid ground.

But this year, the ice cover was the lowest it's been in almost 30 years. And at least one of those science groups studying this stuff tells me that, according to their models, by 2040, we'll have mostly open water up here. (They sent me this short animation clip, which sends chills up my spine: Arctic Ice Melt.)

Mrs. Claus has even started looking for Houseboats on Craig's List!

So, dear boys and girls, you better not pout or cry or whine or deny climate change any longer. And I'm telling you why: because climate change is coming to town. Time's a wasting. We need to do something about this now, before it's too late. Or before I have to move all of my operations to the South Pole!

Here's wishing a carbon-neutral Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

S. Claus, North Pole

Enhanced by Zemanta

21 December 2010

Cape Wind's Search for Buyers: The Green Skeptic on FOX Business

This morning I spoke with Stuart Varney and Company about the Cape Wind project.

Cape Wind is proposing America's first offshore wind farm on Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound. Miles from the nearest shore, 130 wind turbines will harness the wind to produce up to 420 megawatts of clean, renewable energy.

The developer has sealed a deal with the utility National Grid for half its power, but is still seeking a buyer for the other half.

Here is the video:

If the player doesn't work in your browser, here is a link to the video:

GS on FOX Biz

Enhanced by Zemanta

20 December 2010

On Energy Transition, US Military Leads

Photo Credit: US Army
As Tom Friedman points out in his column yesterday, "the U.S. military loses one person, killed or wounded, for every 24 fuel convoys it runs in Afghanistan."

Soldiers and others are put in harm's way as part of convoys, hundreds and hundreds of them, needed to transport fuel to run air conditioners and diesel generators in remote bases all over that country.

But what if the "U.S. Navy and Marines could replace those generators with renewable power and more energy efficient buildings, and run its ships on nuclear energy, biofuels and hybrid engines, and fly its jets with bio-fuels"?  One out-come, Friedman argues, would be to "out-green the Taliban."

The military is making a strategic move to alternative energy and energy efficiency, in part because it recognizes the national security issues associated with dependence on fossil fuel energy and the potential impacts of climate change. 

In its 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review Report, the Department of Defense (DoD) found that climate change "may act as an accelerant of instability or conflict, placing a burden to respond on civilian institutions and militaries around the world.”

This threat, coupled with an energy budget of $20 billion, has led the DoD to take steps to reduce is dependence on fossil fuels, strive for energy efficiency, and reduce its carbon emissions by developing and deploying clean tech innovations.

They have also recognized the potential threats from so-called "peak oil," warning last spring "that surplus oil production capacity could disappear within two years and there could be serious shortages by 2015 with a significant economic and political impact," according to a report from the US Joint Forces Command.

The US military has long been a leader in biodiversity conservation as well, with partnerships with organizations such as the Nature Conservancy, NatureServe, and others around the US.  The DoD even has a special "Conservation Conveyance," which allows closed military bases to be transferred into permanent conservation status.

It should come as no surprise that the US military is becoming a leader in green tech innovation.  Defense led much of the global technological innovation of the last half of the 20th Century after the creation of the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) in 1958. 

ARPA, or DARPA, as it is known today, developed the weapons that transformed warfeare in the last century, but also led to the electronic computer, robotics, the Global Positioning System (GPS), and the Internet.

The new green economy may in fact be led by a green revolution in the military, giving new meaning to DoD's mission of deterring war and protecting the security of the US.

As Friedman points out, the green innovations being fostered by the military "could save lives, money and the planet, and might even help us win — or avoid — the next war."

Enhanced by Zemanta

17 December 2010

Green Skeptic Friday LinkFest - 12/17/10

Festivus Pole Lot, Milwaukee, WI
Time for Friday LinkFestivus!

First, Nissan delivered its first LEAF electric vehicles this week. Here is a video of the press conference in San Francisco: LEAF Lands

And in case you missed Nissan's polar bear commercial for LEAF, which has its fans and detractors (we think it's all in good fun): Polar Bear Hug

Speaking of polar bear habitat, if global warming is melting the Arctic, will Santa Claus go out of business?

There's been a lot of discussion about the a new, more realistic conversation starting to happen around energy:

Here's Andy Revkin on An Energy Menu for That Works for the Long Haul. The comments are worthy reading too.

And my take from earlier this week: It's About Time

The New York Times reported on the US Energy Department's prediction that the price of natural gas and electricity will be low over the next quarter-century, and crude oil will become more expensive but not radically so, contradicting some widely held notions: The Energy Future Ain't What It Used To Be

The myth of China’s switch to so-called clean energy has been "blown right out of the water," according to research by HSBC Bank: China's Coal Rush

One of our favorite green bloggers, Shari Shapiro, sheds light on the green impact of the stimulus: It's the Economy, Stupid

VantagePoint Venture Partners reportedly is raising a $1.5 billion fund to bridge the manufacturing gap of cleantech startups: VantagePoint. VantagePoint has been an investor in Tesla, China's Goldwind, BetterPlace, and MiaSolé, among other cleantech companies.

Kleiner Perkins debunks rumors that they are getting out of the greentech investing business. Greentech Media reports the firm made an investment in home energy efficiency player OPower as part of a $50 million round (along with Accel and NEA), and has joined Google Ventures investing in solar SaaS firm Clean Power Finance.

Finally, Heidi Moore, our favorite self-professed "handmaiden to capitalism," pointed us to this hilarious Xtranormal video about the plight of reporters faced with PR agents from hell:

Have a great weekend!

Enhanced by Zemanta

16 December 2010

It's About Time for a New Conversation About Energy Innovation

There's a new conversation happening around energy and it's about time.

Readers of The Green Skeptic know I am very interested in the question of how we can use good, old-fashioned American ingenuity to build an economy based on energy innovation, efficiency and manufacturing -- a new green economy.

Yesterday, a group of leading policy think tanks, including the American Enterprise Institute, Breakthrough Institute, Brookings, along with the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation hosted a day-long conference on how to spur energy innovation.

Much of what was discussed there echoes what we've been saying here on The Green Skeptic: we need to focus on stimulating innovation. I also believe that such innovation can't just be focused on future, wish-list technologies, but the practical, real-world solutions of today.

This means an inclusive approach that identifies ways to use fossil fuels more efficiently and in a less environmentally damaging way, as well as increasing the efficiency of alternative energy technologies, the smart grid, storage, and demand management.

While I couldn't attend the event, there has been much written about it by several of the participants and organizers:

Here's Rob Atkinson, Ted Nordhaus, and Michael Shellenberger of Breakthrough Institute writing in advance of the event: Breakthrough

Marc Gunther of Fortune and The Energy Collective: Gunther

And Andy Revkin of the New York Times: Dot Earth

When it gets down to it, the critical question is how can we meet the predicted ten-fold increase in global energy demand in a way that is environmentally benign or even regenerative, while recognizing that fossil fuels will be with us for some time to come?

I'm encouraged that this conversation is starting. We can't afford to wait any longer.

Enhanced by Zemanta

14 December 2010

The Perils of Carbon Offsets: ‘Perverse’ CO2 Payments

Writing in Yale Environment 360, Mark Schapiro reports on European companies that have been overpaying China to offset their own carbon emissions by incinerating a powerful greenhouse gas known as hfc 23.

If that's not all, those very payments have spurred manufacturing of an ozone-depleting refrigerant, hcfc 22, that is being smuggled into the U.S. and used illegally.

As Schapiro puts it,
That black market completes a global circuit unique to the era of climate change: From China’s industrial zones, the credits for the greenhouse gases — bought and sold as commodities on the global carbon markets — flow to European companies that need them to continue polluting at home, while the underlying ozone-depleting gas responsible for creating those credits flows to American companies seeking discounted refrigerants.
This speaks to the perils of carbon offset programs and potential abuses, but also that safeguards such as the NGOs set up to monitor offset programs do play a valuable role.  According to Schapiro, "Two European nonprofits, the Germany-based CDM Watch and the London-based Environmental Investigations Agency, kicked off the controversy when they asserted last summer that European companies were paying dramatically inflated prices for the emissions credits."

Read the full article at ‘Perverse’ CO2 Payments Send Flood of Money to China

Enhanced by Zemanta

13 December 2010

Metrodome Roof Collapse Tied to Global Cooling?

Remarkable footage of the roof at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota, collapsing under the weight of heavy snow.

Some climate skeptics are claiming the collapse is a clear sign of global cooling. Others blame friends of Brett Favre, who wanted to see his consecutive game streak continue.  Here's the footage:

Enhanced by Zemanta

10 December 2010

EPA Delays Enforcement of CO2 Emissions Regulations: The Green Skeptic on FOX Business

This morning I sat down with Stuart Varney & Co on FOX Business to talk about the EPA's decision to delay enforcement of CO2 emissions.  Here's the video:

If the player doesn't work in your browser, here is a link: Green Skeptic on FOX

Green Skeptic Friday LinkFest - 12/10/10

Watercolor of John Lennon by SEA
First up, an interesting debate on whether Moore's Law makes sense in cleantech. Here's Convergence of Prevailing Laws — Haitz + Moore — Enables Intelligent Lighting by Brian Chemel, which points to a post from earlier in the year by Martin LaMonica of CNET: Can green tech operate under Moore's Law?

Have a look at this promotional video of Solyndra's highly automated solar plant. Now that's high-tech manufacturing!

Carbon War Room Rates Efficiency of 60,000 Ships at New Data Hub

An excellent profile of Teddy Roosevelt IV by one of our favorite business writers (and self-professed handmaiden to capitalism, Heidi Moore: Backing a Wind Farm, a Quiet Voice With a Big Stick $$

GigaOm pubbed its Cleantech Blog’s Top 5 Investors (+ 5 Risky Ones)

And in news about Green Skeptic held companies:

The EnerNOC Shopping Spree Continues With Global Energy Partners $ENOC

And Ormat appointed John Hancock for DOE loan guarantee ~US$300m $ORA

Finally, this week marked the 30th anniversary of the death of John Lennon, who would have been 70 on October 9th.  Here's a poem I wrote for the occasion: "John Lennon at 70."
Have a great weekend everyone!

(Disclosure: I hold long positions in ENOC and ORA. This post is for informational purposes only and is neither intended to be investment advice nor an offer, or the solicitation of any offer, to buy or sell any securities.)

Enhanced by Zemanta

06 December 2010

Climate Change Groups Need to Rethink Their Approach

Yesterday morning I awoke to NPR Weekend Edition Sunday's report on how climate groups are retooling their arguments for global warming. It was music to my ears.

(And, yes, once you get over the shock that I've been a loyal NPR listener for 20+ years, you can read on.)

"The number of Americans who believe that global warming is a scientific fact has been dropping, and environmental groups and climate scientists who say the evidence for warming is clear are scratching their heads over this reversal and scrambling to find a new strategy," the reporter Christopher Joyce noted.

He went on to point out that "now climate activists are doing some soul-searching about where they've gone wrong. For one thing, they've been preaching to the choir."

Surprise, surprise. It's something we've been saying here at The Green Skeptic for a long time. Climate change boosters (or "Climate Hawks," as they've tried to rebrand themselves lately; ugh) are preaching to the choir and their message has gotten increasingly strident and alarmist.

They are using fear as a motivator, which only goes so far. Fear breeds inertia.

Yet the fear-mongers continue to beat the fear drum. And by focusing on the most extreme threats and doom-and-gloom scenarios, they are losing credibility.

Another thing we've been saying here for some time was echoed by Alden Meyer, of the Union of Concerned Scientists, who told NPR that "climate activists need to offer solutions, not just problems."

"But old habits are hard to break," says Joyce.

We believe it is time for a pragmatic and practical voice to emerge on the issue – and to take the conversation Beyond Global Warming -- which is what we're trying to provide at The Green Skeptic.

Listen to the story here: NPR

Enhanced by Zemanta

03 December 2010

Green Skeptic Friday LinkFest - 12/03/10

Smoke gets in his eyes on electric cars.
December already? Where did this year go? Oh well, looking forward to 2011.

We're planning some big changes for The Green Skeptic in the New Year, with expanded skeptical coverage to help you make sense of what is hype and what is ripe in the new green economy.

Meanwhile, it's Friday, so here are our links for this week:

The Guardian's environment correspondent, Jonathan Watts, looks at one problem not likely to improve soon: China's dependence on coal: China Coal.

Which may explain why China is starting to get serious about "clean coal": "China Shenhua to begin storing carbon in 2011"

More on China from the Harvard Business Review with an article by Thomas M. Hout and Pankaj Ghemawat on "China vs the World: Whose Technology Is It?"

Ernst & Young released their annual Country Attractiveness Indices report, which ranks 30 global renewable energy markets by scoring investment strategies and resource availability. Guess who comes out on top? Hint: It ain't the good ol' USofA.

In part because ratings-hungry pundits, like my FOX colleague pictured above, are pimping their bias against electric cars. I really don't get it, Rush, it's an American innovation, fercrissakes! "The Patriotic Endeavor Rush Limbaugh Won’t Support: Electric Cars"

and in part because we are falling behind in R&D, according to US Energy Secretary Chu, who calls the Energy Race our new "Sputnik" Moment. (PDF)

Finally, two veterans of the cleantech investing space weigh-in:

First Cleantech VC Rob Day on "How Cleantech VCs are reacting to the broken venture model"

and the renowned Dallas Kachan offers his cleantech predictions for 2011 in Renewable Energy World.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Enhanced by Zemanta

02 December 2010

The EPA @ 40: The Green Skeptic on FOX Business

 I spoke with Charles Payne of Varney & Co. on FOX Business this morning about the 40th Anniversary of the Environmental Protection Agency. 

Here's the video:

If the player doesn't work in your browser, here is a link: EPA

Enhanced by Zemanta