Announcing: Companies for Safer Chemicals

chemicals

There’s now new, positive momentum to control toxic chemicals! A group of the country’s leading consumer brands, including members of Green America’s Green Business Network, have announced the formation of a new coalition to urge Congress to modernize the nation’s out-of-date and ineffective chemical safety laws. The new coalition, Companies for Safer Chemicals, will make a business argument for strong […]

Read More →

What Do Your Credit Card Charges Support?

Cash or credit? In 2012, purchase volume in the United States from credit card companies Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover totaled close to $2.1 trillion. Of these $2.1 trillion worth of transactions, cardholders’ issuing banks collect 1-3% in the form of an interchange fee. While 1-3% of the cost of a sandwich at Subway for lunch may seem negligible to you, consider all of the other people in the same restaurant using their credit cards, multiplied by the number of locations across the country, multiplied by the number of lunches each person purchases each year, and so on. If we crunch the numbers, we can deduce that credit-issuing megabanks collect between $20.5 billion and $61.4 billion each year on credit card transactions. The majority of that money goes to the 10 largest credit card issuing banks in the U.S. It’s difficult to believe that just a few institutions get to divvy up such large sums of money amongst themselves, especially when the individual charges to an everyday person’s credit card go largely unnoticed. As you might guess, those billions of dollars pay for high salaries and bonuses, and finance lending to fossil fuel polluters and other destructive industries around the globe. Let’s think for a minute about just how much money large banks amass from the collective totals of millions of miniscule charges, and how that money could be used to fund projects that could add real benefit to […]

Read More →

JP Morgan Chase — Accountability Needed!

Banking giant JP Morgan Chase is in the midst of finalizing a settlement with the Justice Department, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and the New York State District Attorney regarding its involvement in the 2008 financial crisis. While the exact number remains the subject of much debate, the bank could pay out as much as $13 billion for defrauding investors regarding securities it issued years ago. Based on its acquisition of Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual in 2008, JP Morgan is currently the subject of a massive investigation by the federal government into its mortgage lending practices. The two acquired companies were among the largest mortgage lenders in the nation, and they had reached that point largely by offering home loans to individuals with low income, bad or no credit history, or subprime borrowers.  To further complicate the matter, subprime mortgages were then “packaged” into securities and sold to investors at large scales. With hands off regulation from the government, paired with a highly competitive sales culture amongst the issuers of mortgage-backed securities, the subprime industry became too big and fast-paced to control. As we all learned, the bubble was unsustainable; when the bottom dropped out, financial institutions and insurers teetered toward collapse, and the US economy spiraled downward. If Bear Stearns or Washington Mutual had declared bankruptcy in 2008,the economy would have taken an even greater hit than it did. The federal government realized this, and asked JP Morgan […]

Read More →

Production Tax Credit for Wind Set to Expire, Extension Could Support Renewable Energy’s Transition to Substantial Growth

PTC-Graph UCSUSA

The federal renewable energy production tax credit (PTC) offers tax relief on a per-kilowatt-hour basis to producers of electricity generated by qualified renewable sources. It was introduced as a part of the Energy Policy Act of 1992 in an effort to foster growth in clean energy markets. The credit has been largely utilized by the wind industry, resulting in substantial […]

Read More →

Can Crowd Funding Kickstart Clean Energy?

Solar Power

Crowd funding refers to the collective contributions of many individuals to fund a larger effort by other people or organizations. Internet platforms like Kickstarter are the most common vehicles for collecting donations for projects, but recent legislation may begin a shift to a new method of actual financing, where investors can potentially see a return on investment. The JOBS Act […]

Read More →

New Report on Global Climate Change, A Rallying Cry for Action

www.freefoto.com, Ian Britton, 2006.

Scientists on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released their fifth assessment report on global climate change dynamics this month. In addition to reaffirming the assertions of the panel’s four previous assessments with greater statistical accuracy, the new report formally embraces a global upper limit for greenhouse gas emissions, past which the earth would experience irreversible changes to its […]

Read More →

New Standards Proposed for Carbon Pollution from New Power Plants

www.freefoto.com

On Friday September 20, 2013, the EPA released a new set of standards regarding carbon emissions from newly constructed power plants. Power plants account for about 40 percent of the United States’ carbon emissions, the largest portion of our nation’s carbon footprint. The standards state that no new large natural gas-fired plant may exceed emissions of 1000 lbs CO2 per […]

Read More →

Shareholder Support for Social & Environmental Issues Grows

Frans graphic

Good news on the shareholder education and action front! As reported in August, shareholder votes in favor of social and environmental resolutions in the 2013 proxy season marked a ten-year high, receiving 21% support on average. These resolutions constituted a third of all the resolutions filed; the remaining two-thirds addressed corporate governance issues. The 21% support for social and environmental resolutions, […]

Read More →

Keystone XL Decision – in 2014? Or, the President Could Just Say No Now. New Report Reaffirms KXL Fails the Climate Test

Fail

Looks like there will be further delay when it comes to the White House’s determination whether or not to reject the Keystone XL pipeline. Conflicts of interest have come to light that call into question the validity of the latest environmental impact statement on the pipeline. The Office of the Inspector General is investigating concerns that Environmental Resources Management, the […]

Read More →