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US Climate Bill Bites the Dust

Democrats in the US Senate have now given up their attempts to pass an energy bill that would put a cap on greenhouse gas emissions due to overwhelming Republican resistance and scaremongering. So rather than a comprehensive and effective energy bill advocating a tax on carbon, the likely result will be a more limited bill with a focus on the Gulf oil spill and energy efficiency measures. Yet another lost opportunity to curb global warming while supporting the advancement of clean technologies and the creation of millions of green jobs.

This may not come as a total surprise after the indications we’ve had the last few weeks, but it is very disappointing nevertheless. Especially given that recent polls (Wall Street Journal-NBC Poll ) found that Americans strongly support a comprehensive climate bill. Unfortunately their elected officials are obviously still under the influence of big oil, and have once again failed to represent their true interests and concerns

Obama, what happened to all that can-do spirit? You really need to get it back – and fast!

Climate Solvers Rework the World

I’ve just returned from an unusually inspiring conference (isn’t that an oxymoron nowadays) in a picturesque Dalarna, just 2 hours north of Stockholm. Rework the World gathered 1,700 decision makers and social entrepreneurs from 120 countries for 4 days of workshops and discussions on youth, employment, and sustainability built around 5 central themes: energy, water, land, cities and people.

During the conference WWF hosted a workshop to highlight the need for innovative financing models that support the development and dissemination of sustainable solutions. It is clear that conventional financing models are insufficient for meeting the needs of both entrepreneurs and their customers in developing countries. Brief presentations by Bright Green Energy Foundation, Corporación Inversor in Colombia,UNEPs Seed Capital Assitance Facility and Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) were followed by a lively discussion. Several entrepreneurs took the stage to share their methods and models as well as their challenges. We had the opportunity to hear of both new methods of financing as well as old methods being used in new ways.

From the workshop it was clear that many entrepreneurs have difficulty attaining adequate financing and often don’t know where to turn. They see the need for affordable financing as opposed to traditional venture capital, and the benefit of public funding as a means of attracting further investments by private actors. As far as policy issues are concerned, there is a great need for proactive and harmonized strategies to support social entrepreneurs. It was a plea for more grants and government funding to be allocated for these pursuits.

This was a good first step and we’ll take these outcomes further as we continue to expand Climate Solver in different countries and regions of the world (next up China, India, Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana), and in our interactions with policy makers, business leaders and the financial sector.

Oh, and just one final note…I left Rework with over 70 business cards from people with whom I spoke during my four days in Dalarana.  Some were older, well-known figures from respected and established institutions. Others were young, bright and passionate - busy making things happen on the ground at a truly impressive rate. Kudos to Tällberg Foundations and YES for bringing these magnificent people together – it was a great idea and initiative. Something we all need to consider is a more deliberate integration of the two groups. Youth must be a more integral part of the dialogue and process if we are to succeed in tackling the huge challenges facing our globe.

It tickles to imagine what could be achieved by marrying the wealth of knowledge and experience of one generation with the energy, creativity and passion of the next!

Cleantech – Bright Spark in Financial Crisis

Cleantech companies appear to be a bright spark in the current financial crisis.Despite the panic on global stock markets, interest for sustainable investments remains steady.

Climate Solver Rehact announced a public offering in order to finance a planned expansion of the company last week. The announcement led to over 1500 downloads of their information memorandum in just a few days. “Our interpretation is that more people are looking for investments with high potential in the medium term, given that the turbulence of the stock market is expected to last,” says Svante Bengtsson, CEO of Rehact AB.  

The fact that nearly 40% of all currently produced energy is used for buildings is leading more and more countries to focus on energy efficiency measures.  Energy efficiency is generally much more cost effective than investing in new sources of energy.

One important reason for the increasing interest in the cleantech industry is the huge potential in rapidly developing China and India.  “Since they basically build from scratch- two billion square meters per year in China alone – people in these markets are much more open to new thinking and the so-called technological leap than in Western Europe. We have already had visits from China, and been invited to India to present Rehact Energy Systems,” says Svante Bengtsson. 

Keeping our fingers crossed that many wise investors will find their way to Rehact and other sustainable solutions! 
   

Sweden’s first major vertical-axis wind turbine operational

The new design includes a number of innovatative features.

One unique advantage is that the wind turbine is electrical controlled, unlike other wind farms in the country, which are controlled mechanically.

Press release

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