<em>Time</em> Does Climate Change
I finally took the time to sit down and read the 3 April, 2006 issue of Time magazine with the polar bear on the cover. The cover reads: "Be Worried. Be Very Worried." It didn't worry me too much - although it does answer the question of how long China will take to eclipse the United States in GHG emissions under a business as usual future.
Nothing novel really - India and China are going to be dumping more and more carbon into the atmosphere as they more or less follow the Western model. Time did consistently point out that the bigger problem continues to be the developed countries - specifically the United States.
They profile a number of innovators and movers in the field. Some are trying novel forms of gasification and others encouraging farmers to stop tilling and thereby sequester 3/4 ton carbon per acre.
Jim Rogers is the CEO of Cinergy and is now acting to prepare his company for a future of carbon regulation. He is worried about Cinergy's profits in the future if they don't prepare now.
The most interesting article has to the snippet called "The Greening of Wal-Mart." Apparently, the Wal-Mart in McKinney, Texas is an experimental supercenter looking at sustainability issues and featuring a 120 ft wind turbine.
Importantly, the wind turbine is a very small part of Wal-Mart's focus. CEO Lee Scott is apparently going to cut GHG emissions by 20% over "the next few years" and will be building stores that are considerably more efficient.
Wal-Mart's trucking fleet will apparently double its fuel efficiency by aerodynamics modifications and low friction tires (by 2015). That's 7000 trucks.
Much like they have leaned on suppliers to cut costs in the past, Wal-Mart will now also demand they cut emissions from factories. Similarly, they are rewarding those who use more efficient packaging.
Further, Scott claims the Wal-Mart lobbyists in D.C. will be pushing for policy changes such as "including incentives for utilities to cut greenhouse gases." They even hired Amory Lovins as an advisor!
All of these innovations are expected to save Wal-Mart money - which is the sole existence for Wal-Mart's existence after all.
This all sounds great to me. However, Wal-Mart is now moving into selling organic products. Low cost organic products (such as food and cotton clothes). This seems like a Faustian bargain if ever there was one. Can organic go Wal-Mart without transforming into destructive practices to cut costs?