How to go solar with these two super tools

Years ago when Google Earth was launched, we were all amazed at the levels of details provided. It was just very impressive. Now Google does it again with a most interesting feature: Google Project Sunroof.

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India and China go full speed against climate change

While the United States are wondering what will happen next on climate change mitigation in their country, both India and China have recently unvealed very ambitious targets to fight local air pollution and global climate change.

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How companies can tap into energy efficiency’s vast potential

For the third part of this series on utilities, and after tackling solar and power purchasing agreements (PPAs), I am going to delve into how companies save energy through efficiency.

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Book review : the Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid

I had this book on my reading list for two years as it is at the crossroads of my previous education in international management and my new one in sustainability. So I took the opportunity of my break between quarters to actually read this one.

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Citigroup to invest 100 billion in cleantech

Yes, you read that right, it’s billion, with a B, like a thousand million… Now this is further proof that cleantech and renewables DO make sense financially. Otherwise, why would such a bank invests so much in them ?

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Income inequalities : Oxfam has solutions

yacht-landscape-billion-oxfamLast week I wrote on how to both the United Nations and Oxfam, income inequalities are at an all time high and growing. If the UN shows that some trends are going in the right direction, this could end soon.

Too little people have too much money and vice versa. In the United States, the richest one percent owns 43 percent of the wealth of the country ( ! ). And this isn’t going to change unless we act.

Indeed, to the Seattle Times, ” The top 1 percent took more than one-fifth of the income earned by Americans, one of the highest levels since 1913, when the government instituted an income tax. “

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Fossil fuel subsidies are as high as ever

SubsidiesTo Desmogblog : ” The exact worth of massive global fossil fuel subsidies is incredibly hard to figure. There’s no real consistency in the definitions of subsidies, or how they should be calculated. “

” As a result, estimates of global subsidy support for fossil fuels vary widely. According to a new analysis by the Worldwatch Institute, these estimates range from $523 billion to over $1.9 trillion

I don’t know about you but I believe paying this much to keep on polluting our atmosphere and whole biosphere is just insane.

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Divestment reaches large investors

Money growing on treesAccording to the New York Times and Reuters, more than a dozen large foundations representing more than $2 billion  (around 1.48 billion euros) in assets will stop investing in fossil fuels, just as the World Bank and the United Nations advise.

To Reuters : The Divest-Invest Philanthropy coalition includes foundations, such as the Park Foundation, the John Merck Fund and the Schmidt Family Foundation – co-founded by Google Inc Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt – in the United States “

These foundations believe that the carbon bubble presents both financial and ethical risks and urge others to follow their lead in divesting from unburnable carbon.

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A trillion dollar a year in cleantech is needed

UN Christiana FigueresA thousand billion dollars, this the kind of money we need to invest every year to keep the world from warming more than two degrees Celsius, according to the UN climate chief Christiana Figueres, quoting IEA figures.

In an interview with the Guardian, she stated that investments in clean technologies have to at least triple – from around $300 billion currently –  in the next 15 years to avert a climate catastrophe.

Doing this would require involving the world’s biggest investors such as pension funds, insurance companies, foundations and investment managers, which control about $76tn in assets.

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Cleantech investments decreased again in 2013

Cleantech investmentsI had noted last year that cleantech investments had decreased from their peak of  $317.9 billion in 2011 to reach $286.2 billion in 2012. 2013 was an even worse year as total investments reached only $254 billion. To Bloomberg New Energy Finance :

” The reduced volume of investment in 2013 reflected two influences, a continued sharp reduction in the cost of photovoltaic systems, and the impact on investor confidence of shifts in policy towards renewable power in Europe and the US.”

While investments soared by 55 percent in Japan to counter the decreased reliance on nuclear, Europe slashed its investments by a massive 41 percent. 

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How companies could save money and our climate

WWF US Corporate sector could save money and the climateAccording to a brilliant report published in 2013 by the WWF : ” The US corporate sector, excluding utilities, could capture up to US$190 billion in net savings in 2020 alone by reducing energy related emissions by 3.2 percent each year on average. “

” Between 2010 and 2020, the US corporate sector can unlock up to $1.26 trillion in savings. Unlocking those savings would require capital expenditures of approximately $480 billion, resulting in a savings of up to $780 billion “

You won’t be surprised to read that this would be possible by investing more in increased energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, mainly solar PV.

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Buenos Aires switches to LED lights, saves money

Buenos Aires, ArgentinaThe capital city of Argentina, Buenos Aires, have switched its 125,000 streetlights to LED. This will cut energy consumption by half and will last five times longer. With 13 million inhabitants, it is the second largest city in South America.

To TreeHugger : ” That’s just one city. It’s estimated that if cities around the world made a switch to LED tech like Buenos Aires, savings would add up to €130 billion ($180 billion) in reduced energy costs each year.

” It would also prevent 670 million tons of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere each year. Not bad for streetlamps! ” This just shows that energy efficiency works.

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