23 December 2011

An Email from Santa 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

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22 December 2011

Wind Industry Just Hot Air? The Green Skeptic on FOX Business

On Tuesday I sat down with Stuart Varney & Company on FOX Business to talk about wind power and the relative merits of distributed generation versus big wind farms, including the need for transmission and grid infrastructure improvements to make big wind viable.

Here's the video:

And here's a link in case the player doesn't work in your browser: Green Skeptic on FOX Business

21 December 2011

What Energy Efficient Light Bulb Regulations Mean: The Green Skeptic on WSJ.com

GE Lighting Institute's Mary Beth Gotti and The Green Skeptic's Scott Edward Anderson join Wendy Bounds on WSJ.com's LunchBreak to discuss new energy efficient federal light bulb regulations that take effect on January 1, 2012.

Here's a link to the original: LunchBreak

15 December 2011

The Energy Collective Podcast: Cleantech, the Venture Capital Climate, and Policy

We had a lively and informative discussion about Cleantech Investing on The Energy Collective a couple of weeks ago, with Will Coleman of Mohr Davidow, Dan Shugar of SunPower and Solaria, and yours truly, moderated by Jess Jenkins, director of energy and climate policy at the Breakthrough Institute.

Here's how Amelia Timbers described it on The Energy Collective blog:
Will began with "cleantech investing 101", and explained how the macro economic situation and IPO backlog is affecting the venture capital world. He points to the patterns in cleantech venture capital as it matures as an industry of its own. He also points to the importance of large organizations getting involved in cleantech startups. Coleman discussed the complexity of technology risk and financing when startups are scaling from demonstration scale to commercialization.
Scott gave an example of corporate partnerships as a means of acheiving scale, and details the sophisticated 'balancing act' required by management teams in these situations. Scott also offers his insight on operating in China. 
Dan Shugar explains his experience in solar, from Sunpower to Solaria, and who remains a strong advocate of renewables. Dan emphasizes the need for growing companies to operate leanly and to operate on as much a cash basis as possible. 
And here are the slides and audio recording (about 1 1/2 hours long). You can also download the Podcast here: "How to Save the Planet on a Budget, Part 3"

How to Save a Planet - On a Budget: Cleantech, the Venture Capital Climate, and Policy
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And here is a video of the slides with audio recording:

Let me know what you think about our conversation.

13 December 2011

My Interview with Ingrid Vanderveldt, Dell's Entrepreneur-in-Residence

While speaking at SXSW ECO back in early October, I was interviewed by Ingrid Vanderveldt, Dell's Entreprenuer-in-Residence. We talked about being a skeptic in a green-enthusiast world and about looking for the killer apps in cleantech that are here today rather than waiting for the game-changing platforms of tomorrow.

Here is the interview:

And here is a link to the interview on YouTube, in case the player doesn't work in your browser: Green Skeptic on EIR at DELL

12 December 2011

A Data Tonic for Impact Investors: GIIN's New Metrics

The quest for common language and metrics may not be the Holy Grail, but for impact investors it's pretty close.

Now, the folks at the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) have provided, if not the grail, at least a tonic for the growing community of impact investors.

Broadly defined, impact investors deliberately set out to invest for social and environmental impact. (Yes, really.) Until now, it's been difficult for such investors to fully evaluate their investments by financial performance data alone.

The new report is called Impact Reporting and Investment Standards (IRIS) and it supplies the first holistic performance analysis for the impact investing industry.

A number of organizations have tried to develop their own metrics for social and environmental performance -- at Ashoka we long had one set of impact metrics in development -- but typically these have been inconsistent, inefficient and don't allow for comparisons across the board.

The new report coming out of GIIN's IRIS initiative presents early findings from nearly 2,400 organizations, ranging from microfinance institutions to mission-driven organizations. There is still a long way to go, but the hope is adoption of the IRIS methodology by a wider audience of companies, organizations, and funds will strengthen the market intelligence of this growing asset class.

And more and better data with proper comparative analysis should lead to better informed investments across the impact investing community and make for a more efficient and effective use of capital. Now that sounds like good gin to me.

You can download the report here (PDF): Data Driven: A Performance Analysis for the Impact Investing Industry