Off the Wires

Canada should follow its own carbon policy, says Michael Porter

July 29th, 2010  |  Source: Globe-Net

Canada needs to implement its own progressive carbon policy rather than rather thanfollowing the "mindless US path",says Harvard University professor Michael Porter.

The carbon capture-and-trade model that the U.S. "has patched together" is too complicated and blunts incentives that would enhance innovation and competitiveness, said Porter at a symposium organized by the Sustainable Prosperity network.

Clean Energy Ministerial

July 27th, 2010  |  Source: The Climate Group

The first-ever Clean Energy Ministerial meeting, hosted by US Secretary of Energy Dr. Steven Chu, concluded last Tuesday, launching 11 new initiatives to promote the advancement of clean technologies globally.

The new initiatives, which include developing and deploying electric vehicle (EV) technologies, smart grids, carbon capture and storage (CCS), and LED lighting, could eliminate the need to build 500 mid-size power plants over the next 20 years, and include...Read more >

Golden parachutes

July 27th, 2010  |  Source: The Economist

Bosses who walked away with large payouts

BP has announced its chief executive, Tony Hayward, was stepping down after just three years in the job.

He leaves with a year’s salary, $1.6m, and a pension reported to be worth $17.6m, accrued over 28 years of service. On the same day the company revealed a quarterly loss of $27 billion, reflecting the cost of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Mr. Hayward has received criticism over his handling of the Deepwater Horizon spill. For all the opprobrium heaped on him over the last few months, Mr. Hayward's payout is modest compared with those enjoyed by many similarly high-profile bosses.

Boy, are we lucky!  Check out the list on the and see just how bad it could have been if he’d worked for one of those rude, uncouth, unsporting non-British companies.

BP sends Tony Hayward to Russia to appease US

Off to Siberia:

BP is poised to stun the City tomorrow by nominating Tony Hayward to the board of its Russian business as a consolation prize for being axed as chief executive.

Robert Reich: The Great Decoupling of Corporate Profits From Jobs

July 26th, 2010  |  Source: The Huffington Post

Big American companies won't begin to think about hiring until they know American consumers will buy their products. The problem is, American consumers won't start buying against until they know they have reliable paychecks.

Private equity's challenge in the Middle East: how to spend 11 billion dollars?

July 23rd, 2010  |  Source: International Business Times

Private equity players in the Middle East face a major challenge.

With an estimated US$11 billion in un-invested funds raised before the global financial crisis in 2008, PE firms in the region are under mounting pressure to find and make meaningful investments.

At the height of the PE industry in the region between 2005 and 2007, there were about 70 transactions a year, with an average size of US$30 million. Using this yardstick, it would take more than five years to invest these funds.

Goldman's SEC Settlement Is About Two Weeks' Profit.

July 15th, 2010  |  Source: ProPUBLICA

Goldman Sachs has agreed to pay $550 million to settle the SEC's civil fraud lawsuit against it. The SEC is touting the sum as the “largest-ever penalty paid by a Wall Street firm,” but how much does the settlement actually hurt Goldman? We looked a up few numbers to put things into perspective:

It’s about eight times what the head honcho has taken home in a year. 

In 2007, Goldman did the deal at the center of the SEC's suit, CEO Lloyd Blankfein took home $68 million in salary and bonus.

Quality of death

July 14th, 2010  |  Source: The Economist

A ranking of care for the dying by country

CUSTOMER-satisfaction surveys are, alas, unsuitable for rating the quality of death.

So the Economist Intelligence Unit has devised a ranking of end-of-life care.

It rates 40 mostly rich countries by how well they care for the dying.

Huge surprise:  Britain tops the table.

Paul Hawken: The High Cost of Cheap Food (video)

July 12th, 2010  |  Source: Cooking Up a Story

Excerpted from the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s, Cooking For Solutions 2010 media conference, Paul Hawken eloquently explains how the price of food is divorced from its true costs, and what this really means for society, at large.

This is a central theme that runs through much of the sustainable food movement’s core beliefs, and those advocating a profound change to the existing structure of the food system. Michael Pollan, in his 2008 “Open Letter to the Next Farmer In Chief“, writes:

“Food policy is not something American presidents have had to give much thought to, at least since the Nixon administration— the last time high food prices presented a serious political peril. Since then, federal policies to promote maximum production of the commodity crops (corn, soybeans, wheat and rice) from which most of our supermarket foods are derived have succeeded impressively in keeping prices low and food more or less off the national political agenda.”

Indeed, the massive consolidation of agricultural food companies into giant transnational corporations may well trace its origins to Nixon’s Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz, whose prime directive was to develop a plan to keep U.S. food prices at a reliably low level. With the recent decision of the Department of Justice to investigate the mounting evidence of over-consolidation of the food industry, it seems fair to ask whether the pendulum of centralization, maximization of production, monoculture industrial farming, and the existence of mega-farms (technically referred to as CAFO’s), has shifted the pendulum too far.

The high cost of cheap food begs a serious question: who should foot the bill to cover the full external costs of industrial farming—the American people, as has largely been the case—or the corporations who chiefly benefit from the existing structure?

By Cooking Up a Story  CUpS Talks

Rethinking the “third world”

July 11th, 2010  |  Source: The Economist

Seeing the world differently

The poor world has changed fundamentally.  Others are barely coming to grips with the implications:

Cold-war terminology implied that third-world countries had limited room for independent manoeuvre. They aligned themselves with one side, or got ground between millstones. That is changing.

Walter Russell Mead, an American foreign-policy analyst, argues that Brazil and Turkey are both countries once within America’s circle of influence where new leaders have challenged longstanding domestic elites and are trying to shake off their reliance upon America. In both cases their ambitions are global.

Developing countriesare becoming something else, too: engines of the world economy. Since 2008, says the World Bank, they have contributed almost all of what economic growth there has been. In the 1980s they accounted for 33.7% of global income, at purchasing-power parities. This year, the share will be 43.4%.

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