This blog will cover some news items related to Sustainability: Corporate Social Responsibility, Stewardship, Environmental management, etc.


Few companies collect emissions information from suppliers

Interesting (anecdotal) stats:

Do you include supplier GHG emissions in your own carbon footprint calculation?

Yes, we require the data from our largest suppliers
Yes, whenever the data is available
No, but we collect data from suppliers
No and we don't collect the data from suppliers

What percentage of your suppliers share their GHG emissions data with you?

Less than 10%
More than 75%

----- Forwarded by Jean-Francois Barsoum/Markham/IBM on 2007-11-15 15:17 -----

 Issue 6                                                                                                                                                                  November 15, 2007
What's New- A Conversation with Dave Kepler Weekly Snap Poll


If you missed the Oct. 31st teleconference with Dave Kepler, Chief Sustainability Officer at The Dow Chemical Company, on the topic of the Green Supply Chain, click here to download a summary document of Dave's responses to participants' questions. Dave discussed the emergence of environmentally preferable purchasing, conversations with suppliers on the topic of sustainability, as well as lessons learned from pursuing to meet Dow's aggressive sustainability goals over the last 10 years.

New Question from Peer Group Member

Sustainability Standards Question:

From a US Consumer Products Company:

For those companies who sign on to or endorse global labor principles such as ILO, OEDC or Sullivan Principles, how are you demonstrating compliance with these standards?
Through policies, auditing, code of conducts, etc?

Responses will be aggregated and shared with the peer group next week. Your name and the name of your company will not be shared or associated with your response.

Peer Group Questions and Answers

   To submit a new question, please click on the button below.

To access past questions and answers, please click on the button below.

Are the following sustainability activities primarily centralized or decentralized within your organization?

Strategy Development



Supplier Compliance

Identification of cost savings and/or new revenue opportunities

Save Changes

Results from Last Week's Poll

Do you include supplier GHG emissions in your own carbon footprint calculation?

Yes, we require the data from our largest suppliers
Yes, whenever the data is available
No, but we collect data from suppliers
No and we don't collect the data from suppliers

What percentage of your suppliers share their GHG emissions data with you?

Less than 10%
More than 75%


Click here to see past poll results

Did You Know?
On average, the following percentage of materials are sourced through green purchasing policies at a company:

of Direct Materials
of Packaging Materials
of Transportation
of Indirect Materials
 9% of Finished Products
7% of Other Materials                                                        

Source: eyefortransport

If you prefer not to receive the Sustainability Forum e-mail,
please click
here to unsubscribe


AXA Insurance and British Retail Consortium join Tesco, IBM and BT to debate climate strategies


I just wanted to update you on recently announced Ethical Corporation's Climate Change Summit 2008.

The agenda for this summit, to be held on the 12th -13th February, in London, is really shaping up.  Some of the new developments include –

o  Kim Clemo, Climate Change Director, AXA Insurance will join representatives from ABN AMRO and Royal & SunAlliance to discuss climate change risk management strategies
o  Jane Milne, newly appointed Director of Business Environment, The British Retail Consortium and former  Climate Change Leader, Association of British Insurers, will speak about the most effective carbon footprint measurement strategies across the retails sector

For the full programme and the latest speaker line up go to:

The list of speakers already includes senior executives from

British Gas, ASDA, Vodafone, Cadbury Schweppes, The Gold Standard, Walkers, Timberland, European Climate Exchange, IBM, The Co-operative Group and many more.

Our two previous climate change events were both sell-outs. This one will be no exception.

To book your place now, take three easy steps at the secure registration page

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me on +44 (0)20 7375 7226; mailto:

Hope to see you there,

Ekaterina Kvasova
Project Director
Ethical Corporation Conferences Conferences

PS: Book before the 7th of December to save £300!


Unsubscribe options: You are receiving this email as an opt-in subscriber to the Ethical Corporation website and / or have requested information on the above conferences. If you wish to unsubscribe to this event please reply with the subject 'Unsubscribe Climate Change'. If you wish to unsubscribe to receiving any information from Ethical Corporation, reply to this email with "remove completely" in the subject line. Those unsubscribing completely should note that if they wish to read articles on, they will need to re-subscribe, for free, at a later date. Sender: Ethical Corporation magazine, 7-9 Fashion Street, London, E1 6PX, United Kingdom

GreenSigma: Evidence of Carbon-based SCO at IBM? The product is presently in use internally and in alpha release in the U.K. on an external basis, so you will probably be hearing more about IBM's GreenSigma sooner than later.

GreenSigma: Evidence of Carbon-based SCO at IBM?

Big Green's Gary Rancourt announces alpha testing of GreenSigma, a new climate-conscious software application.

By Brad Kenney Sept. 27, 2007 -- With the raft of carbon management and mitigation software tools and consultancies flooding the market of late, the absence of IBM's footprint in this increasingly well-trodden space has been becoming more and more noticeable. Therefore, hearing Gary Rancourt, a business development exec at IBM's Big Green Innovations department, announce an IT-enabled decision support system for carbon management called GreenSigma was less than surprising.

And with a "say no more" name like GreenSigma, it isn't hard to figure out the program's purpose in life. "Looking at those two words together, it kind of becomes intuitively obvious what it is," Rancourt admits, but says that IBM will give the carbon assessment market a new way to optimize the cost/carbon equation.

Speaking at the Corporate Climate Response conference in Chicago on Tuesday, Rancourt said, "We're going to try to set the carbon assessment bar significantly higher with respect to dashboards and analytics. GreenSigma looks at the intimate and interrelated connectedness between what affects cost, both operationally and in the supply chain, and looks at carbon hot spots, and reconciles reducing cost and reducing carbon."

The product is presently in use internally and in alpha release in the U.K. on an external basis, so you will probably be hearing more about IBM's GreenSigma sooner than later.


US midwest to launch regional cap-and-trade scheme: the midwest will become “the Saudi Arabia of renewable energy”... “If the midwest were its own country, it would be the fifth largest emitter in the world,”

Thanks to Peter for forwarding on

14.11.07  US midwest to launch regional cap-and-trade scheme: governor

Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle said today that the US midwestern states will set up a cap-and-trade scheme for greenhouse gas emissions.

Speaking at the Midwest Governors' Association energy summit in Milwaukee, Doyle said midwestern states and neighbouring Canadian provinces "will enact a regional energy strategy that will bolster our economies and reduce dependence on foreign oil," while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Doyle said a regional energy security and climate change platform would be set up for US midwestern states and neighbouring Canadian provinces, which will feature a cap-and-trade system and an expansion of renewable energy and infrastructure and clean carbon technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Doyle, joined by other regional governors including Minnesota's Tim Pawlenty and South Dakota's Mike Rounds, will outline details of the regional carbon market tomorrow.

Governors and Canadian premiers are slated to sign a "Midwestern Energy Security and Climate Stewardship Platform" on Thursday. The platform includes Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin and the Canadian province of Manitoba.

Linking energy security to the threat of climate change, Doyle said the midwest has an important role to play for the US.

"The midwest is more dependent on traditional combustible and coal plants than any other part of the country," Doyle told the audience, noting that the US must reduce its dependence on oil and coal imports from overseas.

"I believe our nation should depend more on the midwest than it should on the mideast for energy," he added.

Doyle said he envisioned the region as an important hub for renewable energy as well as carbon capture and storage. He said that the challenge of carbon constraints will present the region with "an incredible opportunity," and that the midwest will become "the Saudi Arabia of renewable energy."

Within 10 years, Doyle said the midwest would become the country's "economic powerhouse in a low carbon economy." He outlined goals to cut regional energy demand by 2 per cent by 2015 and by 2 per cent every year thereafter, to require all coal plants to have carbon capture and storage technology by 2020, and to require that 20 per cent of all energy demand be met by renewable power by 2020.

"We have got to invent and innovate our way to a clean energy future," he said.

A report released yesterday by the World Resources Institute showed that eight of the 12 midwestern states – Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin – emitted a total of 1.5 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2003.

The region's other four states are Nebraska, North Dakota, Kansas and South Dakota.

"The eight midwest states examined in this report account for nearly 25 per cent of US emissions and 5 per cent of world emissions," the WRI report said.

"If the midwest were its own country, it would be the fifth largest emitter in the world," it said, pointing out that "the average person living in the midwest emits 13 per cent more annually than the national per capita average and nearly four times the global average."


IBM speaking at a Green UN Event

Thanks to Eric for forwading this


Please forward the attached invitation  to your customers who would be interested in this unique opportunity to visit the United Nations and hear about from executives on what they can do now and in the future to affect climate change.  This unique event at the United Nations is hosted by the Nations Global Alliance for Information and Communications Technology and Development & the Association of Information Technologies.  IBM will have two speakers at the event including  Wayne Balta, IBM, Innovation & Technology, VP, Corporate Environment Affairs and Product Safety and Rich Lechner, IBM, VP, Optimize IT
The event is free to IBM customers, but they would need to cover the cost of their own travel.  

Tutorials will cover these and other important topics:

  • Environmental Leadership and Climate Stewardship
  • The 800lb Gorilla in Your Office:  Paper, paper everywhere
  • Data Storage: Critical for the Green Corporation
  • Technology's Role in Expanding Environmental Information for Global Users
  • The Business of Environmental Responsibility
  • Powering the Knowledge Economy - ICT's Role in Environmental Sustainability
  • Life Cycle Approach to Environmental Leadership

Who should attend?

Business, Government, and Academic Executives who need to know the latest developments on how ICT can Positively Impact the Environment and Climate Change

What will you learn?

Presenters will address numerous points of view, launch new ideas, and explain alternative solutions. See how IT can affect climate change, and how you can help! The Conference includes over 40 Powerful Presenters that most people would Never get the opportunity to hear, see, or maybe even speak with, other than at this UN ICT Green Event. The UN-GAID & AIT Global forums are truly unique. No other events bring together such remarkable talent, experience, and international leadership under one roof.

For More Information Regarding this event:

'Indian elite emit most CO2': the highest income group in India, constituting merely 1% of the population emits four-and-a-half times as much CO2 as the lowest income group consisting 38% of the population

Thanks to Colin for forwarding

'Indian elite emit most CO2'
13 Nov 2007, 1819 hrs IST

SMS NEWS to 58888 for latest updates

NEW DELHI: Greenpeace on Tuesday released a survey based report named "hiding behind the poor" which reveals that the highest income group in India, constituting merely 1% of the population emits four-and-a-half times as much CO2 as the lowest income group consisting 38% of the population. It demands that common but differentiated responsibility for CO2 emissions reduction, which the government is justifiably advocating at a global level be implemented in India. With less than a month to go for the United Nations Climate Change Council conference in Bali, the report challenges the Indian government's hard line of not committing to GHG gases reduction on grounds of development and makes an argument about why India must de-carbonize its development.

According to the proposed national strategy on climate change India will not abide by any international commitment to mandatory reduction of greenhouse gas emission. India 's approach of measuring world GHG emissions is per capita emission rather than country-wise emissions which is the approach of the developed nations. Although India is the sixth largest carbon emitter in the world, it has one of the lowest per capita emission rates.

G Ananthapadmanabhan, Executive Director, Greenpeace India said "While the government continues to point at low average per capita emissions to justify non reduction of India 's CO2 emissions, over 150 Million Indians are emitting above the sustainable limit which needs to be maintained to restrict global temperature rise below 2 degree centigrade. India 's low average per capita emissions is due to the over 800 million poor population whose emissions are negligible and the difference in emissions between the highest and the lowest income groups in India is almost as glaring as the difference in the average per capita emissions between the EU and India ."

'hiding behind the poor' is based on face-to-face surveys of 819 households from the seven different income classes across the four metros, medium and small towns and rural areas for energy consumption patters. According to the report, the average CO2 emissions of an individual from the highest income group of above Rs 30,000 (1494 KG) is 4.5 times that of one from the lowest income group of below Rs 3000 per month (335 Kg).

Ananth further added "Electricity production in India is already extremely carbon intensive, emitting more then twice as much CO2 per kilowatt-hour than in the EU. The government's objective, as in the 11th five year plan to base India's future power generation on a massive expansion of coal power plants will further enhance climate instability and expose the most vulnerable poor population to increasing impacts of climate change. While rightfully demanding that developed nations reduce Co2 emissions and provide developing nations the carbon space to grow, the Indian government must not hide India 's emissions behind the vast poor population. The principle of climate justice must be included in the national development plan."

The poor population, while contributing the least to global warming, is highly exposed to and has the lowest capacity to adapt to the impacts of climate change. The report recommends that funds be created by mechanisms like carbon credits and carbon tax to be used for mitigation and adaptation projects to protect the poor from climate change impacts.


Assessing the impact of societal issues: A McKinsey Global Survey -- Executives place the environment and climate change in a class of their own when evaluating the impact of societal issues on shareholder value. They also indicate that companies are getting a little better at managing sociopolitical issues and understanding what the public wants.

Assessing the impact of societal issues: A McKinsey Global Survey

Executives place the environment and climate change in a class of their own when evaluating the impact of societal issues on shareholder value. They also indicate that companies are getting a little better at managing sociopolitical issues and understanding what the public wants.

November 2007

Table of Contents

Environmental issues, including climate change, have soared to the top of the sociopolitical agenda in executive suites around the world, according to a new McKinsey Quarterly global survey on business and society.1 Executives expect that the environment will attract more public and political attention and affect shareholder value far more than any other societal issue; almost nine out of ten respondents say that they themselves worry about global warming. By contrast, in a survey conducted in December 2005,2 executives said that the most important sociopolitical issue was job losses from offshoring, with the environment and climate change in third place.

The respondents' views about the ideal contract between business and society are remarkably stable. Eighty-four percent still agree that making broader contributions to the public good should accompany generating high returns to investors; only 16 percent believe that high returns to investors should be a corporation's sole focus. A notable development: 88 percent of the executives based in China now endorse the "public-good" dimension, compared with 75 percent in the previous poll.

As for how companies deal with the sociopolitical issues they face, this survey suggests that they are getting a bit better at it. In 2005 we found a large gap between the tactics respondents said large corporations rely on the most, such as public relations and lobbying, and those they believed to be most effective, such as implementing policies on corporate-responsibility issues. In the current survey, respondents say that their companies are making greater use of the more effective tactics. Yet executives continue to see most sociopolitical issues as risks rather than opportunities, and only 14 percent say that companies in their industries do an "adequate" or "good" job of anticipating social pressures.


1The McKinsey Quarterly conducted the survey in September 2007 and received responses from 2,687 executives around the world—36 percent of them CEOs or other C-level executives. The data are weighted to reflect the proportional representation of segments in the total population.

2"The McKinsey Global Survey of Business Executives: Business and Society,", Web exclusive, January 2006.

Table of Contents

In the public eye

More than half of this survey's respondents pick the environment, including climate change, as one of three issues that will attract the most public and political attention during the next five years, compared with 31 percent in the previous survey (Exhibit 1). Only a third of the respondents picked the next most frequently chosen issue.

The rise to greater prominence of environmental issues probably reflects the increasingly intense global debate about greenhouse gases. When asked for personal feelings about global warming and climate change, 87 percent of the executives say they are somewhat or very worried about these issues. (Only 10 percent report that they are not at all worried about global warming, and just 3 percent say they do not believe that it is happening.) Who should be responsible for tackling climate change? A large majority (81 percent) see a role for government—which suggests that they expect more regulation to curb carbon dioxide emissions—as well as for business (67 percent) and consumers (64 percent).

Our executives' growing concern about the environment also significantly narrows a gap between their and consumers' views on important public issues. In a 2006 McKinsey Global Survey of consumers,3 almost half chose the environment as one of the top three issues. On many sociopolitical questions, however, views still diverge. For executives the other most important issues are privacy and data security, as well as job losses from offshoring. Consumers saw retirement and health care benefits as more important.


3Sheila M. J. Bonini, Kerrin McKillop, and Lenny T. Mendonca, "The trust gap between consumers and corporations," The McKinsey Quarterly, 2007 Number 2, 7–10; and Sheila M. J. Bonini, Kerrin McKillop, and Lenny T. Mendonca, "What consumers expect from companies," The McKinsey Quarterly, 2007 Number 2, 11–7.

Table of Contents

How social issues affect companies

When executives choose the three issues they expect to have the most impact, for better or worse, on shareholder value for companies in their industries, the environment remains at the top, selected by almost half of the respondents, up by 20 points from the previous survey (Exhibit 2). Also high on the agenda, picked by a quarter of the respondents, are corporate political influence and involvement, health care and other employee benefits, and job losses from offshoring—this last issue down by 17 points from 2005. Although executives believe that privacy and data security will be the second most prominent issue in the public and political debate, they rate it as significantly less important for shareholder value.

Executives see most sociopolitical issues more as risks than opportunities, and the environment, including climate change, is no exception. But on this issue, they are more optimistic than they were in the previous survey, even as global concern mounts. The share of respondents viewing the environment mainly as an opportunity has risen from 18 percent in 2005 to 25 percent in 2007, while the proportion seeing it mainly as a risk has dropped to 32 percent, from 41 (Exhibit 3).

There are also significant regional differences in the way executives assess sociopolitical issues (Exhibit 4). These variations show that corporations must adapt their strategies to the geographies where they operate.

Executives in Europe, for example, choose the environment (including climate change) more frequently than the global average, both for prominence in the public debate and for impact on shareholder value. Twenty-eight percent of the executives there see the issue mainly as an opportunity.

North American executives choose health care and other employee benefits as one of the three issues that will most affect shareholder value; 45 percent (almost two times the global average) took that position. Two-thirds see this issue as a risk—higher than the global average. The environment, at 41 percent, comes second for this region's executives. What's more, a significantly smaller share of North American (20 percent) than European executives see it as an opportunity.

In India the issue of privacy and data security, at 34 percent, edges out the environment by one percentage point for impact on shareholder value. That finding may be influenced by the importance of IT outsourcing and offshoring to the country's economy. Among executives based in China, 34 percent of the respondents (nine points more than the global average) chose corporate political influence, which holds second place, and the demand for healthier or safer products comes third, at 27 percent, compared with a global average of 20 percent. These results in China may well reflect the current global debate on the health, safety, and regulation of its products.

Table of Contents

Doing good and doing harm

In 2005 almost seven out of ten of all respondents said that corporations have a positive impact on society, a proportion that increases to almost eight out of ten in the 2007 survey. When asked which three industries make the greatest positive contribution to the public good, almost half of all respondents still select health care, and an unchanged three in ten pick pharmaceuticals. Interestingly, IT replaces agriculture for third place in the latest survey.

Executives seem well aware that action on the environment will be important for many companies if they are to earn the public's trust.4 When asked about the three most important ways, if any, in which large corporations harm the public good, 65 percent name polluting and damaging the environment. Almost four in ten choose putting profits ahead of the people's well-being; three in ten, exerting improper influence on governments.

Nevertheless, executives stress that corporations contribute to the public good in the regular course of business by creating jobs, making scientific and technological breakthroughs, producing necessary products and services, and paying taxes (Exhibit 5). Those are real benefits, but our research indicates that consumers, particularly in developed countries, clearly see them as the minimum contribution and expect to get them without side effects such as pollution.


4In the 2006 McKinsey Global Survey of consumers, only 33 percent of European and 40 percent of US consumers said they believed that large global companies act in the best interest of society at least some of the time.

Table of Contents

Narrowing the tactics gap

Companies appear to be closing a gap, identified in the 2005 survey, between the tactics their executives say they rely on most frequently to manage sociopolitical issues and those the executives regard as most effective. Twenty-nine percent of the respondents, compared with 20 percent in the previous survey, say that one of the three most frequently used tactics is the development and implementation of policies on corporate-responsibility issues such as the environment (Exhibit 6). Companies still use this tactic less frequently than executives think they should, but the gap has narrowed from 15 points in 2005 to 6 points. Executives also report that companies are putting less effort into media and public relations and into lobbying regulators and governments. However, those two tactics, which continue to be the most common, are used much more than their perceived effectiveness warrants.

Our survey results still offer no sign that executives are applying the most underused tactics, increasing transparency about the risks of products or processes, more frequently. This finding is particularly odd given the response to a separate question about the single action most effective for large corporations in the respondents' industries to improve a company's overall reputation—38 percent, by far the highest percentage, opt for making business practices more transparent in a broad sense. Seventeen percent of the respondents chose the second-place tactic: acting to become more environmentally friendly.

About the Contributors

The contributors to the development and analysis of this survey include Sheila Bonini, a consultant in McKinsey's Silicon Valley office; Jieh Greeney, a consultant in the New York office; and Lenny Mendonca, a director in the San Francisco office.

Surprise! The first hybrid car is a 100-year-old Porsche! The car had in-wheel electric motors and an onboard gas engine to recharge the batteries.

Thanks Peter

Surprise! The first hybrid car is a 100-year-old Porsche!

The car had in-wheel electric motors and an onboard gas engine to recharge the batteries. This makes the car a serial hybrid (only one engine drives the wheels) like the Volt, instead of a paralell hybrid (both engines drive the wheels) like the Prius.

And the car, on the whole, was quite a breakthrough at the time.

The in-wheel electric motors were an absolute stroke of genius as they significantly increased the vehicle's efficiency by removing all mechanical parts.

Unlike the Volt, the 1901 Porsche hybrid could only be charged by its onboard engine. Unlike its all-electric predecessors, it didn't have a plug.

Unfortunately, Porsche didn't see any reason to continue development of these hybrid vehicles, as gasoline became exceptionally cheap, and the extra electric motors were prohibitively expensive.

And now, 100 years later, the last thing Porsche is concerned with is efficiency.

Porsche will have one of their antique electric cars on display at this week's Los Angeles Auto Show. They're using it to promote their new green initiative. Unfortunately, there's no real story there, as Porsche seems to be more interested in luxury SUVs than plug-in hybrids.

But GM has picked up the torch and brightened it with some innovations of their own. The Chevy Volt will soon become the first serial hybrid produced by a major auto company in more than 100 years.

Via CNNMoney

Copyright © 2007 Yahoo! All rights reserved. Copyright/IP Policy | Terms of Service | Help

Notice: We collect personal information on this site. To learn more about how we use this information, see our Privacy Policy



Peter Williams
Chief Technology Officer, Big Green Innovations
(925) 648 7975, cell (415) 215 2112


Rising Global Demand for Oil Provoking New Energy Crisis: “Oil will stop rising when we see demand destruction. We haven’t seen that yet.”

November 9, 2007
Rising Global Demand for Oil Provoking New Energy Crisis

With oil prices approaching the symbolic threshold of $100 a barrel, the world is headed toward its third energy shock in a generation. But today's surge is fundamentally different from the previous oil crises, with broad and longer-lasting global implications.

Just as in the energy crises of the 1970s and '80s, today's high prices are causing anxiety and pain for consumers, and igniting wider fears about the impact on the economy.

Unlike past oil shocks, which were caused by sudden interruptions in exports from the Middle East, this time prices have been rising steadily as demand for gasoline grows in developed countries, as hundreds of millions of Chinese and Indians climb out of poverty and as other developing economies grow at a sizzling pace.

"This is the world's first demand-led energy shock," said Lawrence Goldstein, an economist at the Energy Policy Research Foundation of Washington.

Forecasts of future oil prices range widely. Some analysts see them falling next year to $75, or even lower, while a few project $120 oil. Virtually no one foresees a return to the $20 oil of a decade ago, meaning consumers should brace for an era of significantly higher fuel costs.

At the root of the stunning rise in the price of oil, up 56 percent this year and 365 percent in a decade, is a positive development: an unprecedented boom in the world economy.

Demand from China and India alone is expected to double in the next two decades as their economies continue to expand, with people there buying more cars and moving to cities to seek a way of life long taken for granted in the West.

But as prices rise, the global economy is entering uncharted territory. The increase so far does not appear to be hurting economic growth, but many economists wonder how long that will last. "These prices are too high and will end up hurting everybody, producers and consumers alike," said Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency.

Oil futures closed at $95.46 on the New York Mercantile Exchange yesterday, down nearly 1 percent from the day before. But the price has become volatile, and many analysts expect the psychologically important $100-a-barrel threshold to be breached sometime in the next few weeks.

"Today's markets feel like the crowds standing up in the final minutes of a football game shouting: 'Go! Go! Go!,'" said Daniel Yergin, an oil historian and the chairman of Cambridge Energy Research Associates, a consulting firm. "People seem almost more relaxed about $100 than they were about $60 or $70 oil."

Oil is not far from its historic inflation-adjusted high, reached in April 1980 in the aftermath of the Iranian revolution. At the time, oil jumped to the equivalent of $101.70 a barrel in today's money.

For most of the 20th century, as it transformed the modern world, oil was cheap and abundant. Throughout the 1990s, for example, oil prices averaged $20 a barrel. Even at today's highs, oil is cheaper than imported bottled water, which would cost $180 a barrel, or milk, at $150 a barrel.

"The concern today is over how will the energy sector meet the anticipated growth in demand over the longer term," said Linda Z. Cook, a board member of Royal Dutch Shell, the big oil company. "Energy demand is increasing at a rate we've not seen before. On the supply side, we're seeing it is struggling to keep up. That's the energy challenge."

More than any other country, China represents the scope of that challenge. As it turned into a global economic behemoth over the last decade, China also became a major energy user. Its economy has grown at a furious pace of about 10 percent a year since the 1990s, lifting nearly 300 million people out of poverty. But rapid industrialization has come at a price: oil demand has more than tripled since 1980, turning a country that was once self-sufficient into a net oil importer.

India and China are home to about a third of humanity. People there are demanding access to electricity, cars, and consumer goods and can increasingly afford to compete with the West for access to resources. In doing so, the two Asian giants are profoundly transforming the world's energy balance.

Today, China consumes only a third as much oil as the United States, which burns a quarter of the world's oil each day. By 2030, India and China together will import as much oil as the United States and Japan do today.

While demand is growing fastest abroad, Americans' appetite for big cars and large houses has pushed up oil demand steadily in this country, too. Europe has managed to rein in oil consumption through a combination of high gasoline taxes, small cars and efficient public transportation, but Americans have not. Oil consumption in the United States, where gasoline is far cheaper than in Europe, has jumped to 21 million barrels a day this year, from about 17 million barrels in the early 1990s.

If the Chinese and Indians consumed as much oil for each person as Americans do, the world's oil consumption would be more than 200 million barrels a day, instead of the 85 million barrels it is today. No expert regards that level of production as conceivable.

More realistically, global demand is expected to rise to about 115 million barrels a day by 2030, a level that is likely to tax the world's ability to pump more oil out of the ground. Already, the world is running on a limited cushion of spare capacity; any interruption in supplies, whether from hurricanes or armed conflict, causes prices to spike.

"We don't have any shock absorbers," Mr. Goldstein said.

For oil companies, high prices have set off a frenzied search for new sources around the world. After a long lull in investments through most of the 1990s because of low prices, major oil companies have invested billions of dollars to bring in more supplies.

The trouble is that these big new developments take a long time, and companies have been hobbled by higher costs. The cost of drilling rigs, for example, the basic tool of the trade, has doubled in recent years. Analysts say it will take time, but new supplies will eventually work their way to market.

Supplies have also been hampered by political tension in the Persian Gulf, the war in Iraq, devastating hurricanes in the oil-producing Gulf of Mexico, production difficulties in Venezuela and violence in Nigeria's oil-rich province. Many of these geopolitical factors have contributed to a political risk premium variously estimated at $25 to $50 a barrel. Recently, in just nine weeks, oil jumped from $75 to $95 a barrel for little apparent reason.

"Fifty-dollar-a-barrel oil seems so far away at this point," said Thomas Bentz, a senior energy analyst at BNP Paribas in New York, citing a figure that seemed an impossibly high price for oil only a few years ago. "Oil will stop rising when we see demand destruction. We haven't seen that yet."

When will it happen? Veterans of the oil business, having lived through booms and busts, say no one should count on oil rising forever. Economic slowdowns in China or the United States — or especially, in both — would probably send prices tumbling.

It happened a mere decade ago, after the Asian financial crisis sent economies there into a tailspin. Global oil prices fell by half, from $20 a barrel to $10, in months.

"It would be a big mistake to think the laws of supply and demand have been abolished," Mr. Yergin said.

California utilities split over cap and trade design

thanks to Colin

The battles begin.  Regards, colin

Sustainability score sheet

Thanks to Susan for forwarding this on

here is a sustainability score sheet from Roberts University. I think their approach is actually pretty good:

Thin-Film Solar Production to Leap Forward

Thanks to Peter

Thin-Film Solar Production to Leap Forward

First Solar, Sharp and XSunX are among the companies that have announced plans to greatly expand their production of thin films in the next few years. With the technologies moving closer to the mainstream, some wonder if there's still room for new entrants.
by: Jennifer Kho
Bullet ArrowNovember 6, 2007
Shares of thin-film solar manufacturer First Solar (NSDQ: FSLR) jumped a whopping 13 percent Tuesday after the company announced plans to expand production.

In recent trading, the stock was worth $167.40 per share, up from a closing price of $148.10 per share Monday.
According to a company announcement released Monday evening, Phoenix-based First Solar signed $1 billion worth of agreements to sell its cadmium-telluride solar panels to investment firm Babcock & Brown and renewable-energy distributor Ecostream Switzerland.
The agreements call for the purchase of 557 megawatts of panels between 2008 and 2012. First Solar, which is expected to post earnings Wednesday, plans to build a new factory with four additional production lines in Malaysia to help meet its end of the bargain.
The company already is building three four-line factories in the country, with an expected annual capacity of 360 megawatts, and currently has the capacity to make up to 210 megawatts of panels per year at its plants in the United States and Germany.
The news is the latest in a series of announcements that show thin-film solar technologies, which use little or no silicon, are gaining traction during a worldwide shortage of solar-grade silicon.
Last week, Sharp Corp., the world's largest solar-cell manufacturer, also said it plans to expand its thin-film production. According to Nikkei, a Japanese business newspaper, the company plans to start mass production in Japan with a capacity of 200 megawatts per year in 2008.
German solar-cell manufacturer Q-Cells said it bought thin-film company Solar Fields, based in Toledo, Ohio, for $5 million plus stock. The company merged Solar Fields, which develops cadmium-telluride films, with its cadmium-telluride subsidiary, Calyxo.
Then there's all the money.
Last month, Austin, Texas-based HelioVolt, which is developing thin films based on cadmium-indium-gallium-selenide technology, closed a Series-B round worth a cool $101 million for a new factory (see HelioVolt Gets More Cash for Thin Solar).
XsunX on Monday announced it had raised $21 million from Fusion Capital Fund to build a plant with the capacity to churn out up to 100 megawatts of amorphous-silicon thin-film panels per year by 2010.
And on Tuesday, Pittsburgh-based Plextronics announced it had received a strategic investment from Applied Ventures, the venture-capital arm of semiconductor and thin-film-solar equipment manufacturer Applied Materials (NSDQ:AMAT), as an addition to its Series-B round.
While the company didn't disclose the funding amount, the announcement said the investment brought its total funding to $41 million. In August, when Plextronics closed $20.6 million for the Series-B round, it said it had raised a total of $37 million. So the Applied Ventures funding apparently was $4 million, unless the sum included additional unannounced investments.
Plextronics, which is developing thin-film solar as well as flexible displays and other products, also made Greentech Media's list of Top 10 Startups in September.
Huge Potential, Big Challenges
The investor interest is not surprising given the huge potential that some analysts expect thin films to fulfill.
According to a report by Greentech Media Research and the Prometheus Institute, thin-film solar grew from 5.8 to 7.5 percent of worldwide solar-electric equipment production in 2006 and is expected to grow to about 20 percent of the market share by 2010.
But all the interest puts thin-film solar companies under pressure to show the technologies are viable at larger volumes.
While advocates say thin-film technologies hold the potential to drastically cut the cost of making solar cells -- and open the door to new applications, such as textiles and building materials -- the technologies went nowhere for years.
Thin films have historically proven difficult and expensive to manufacture at large scales, analysts say, and so far, only a few thin-film companies have been able to grow beyond demonstration plants.
They also convert sunlight into electricity less efficiently than conventional solar panels (see Does Going Organic Require Exaggeration?).
But Jesse Pichel, a senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray, said low efficiency might not be a barrier if the cost per watt is low.
He pointed to First Solar, which he said has a bigger backlog than any other solar manufacturer, as an example.
"The stock can be overvalued at periods and undervalued at periods, but if you're taking a long-term approach, First Solar is the game-changing technology leader at this point," he said.
Piper Jaffray was an underwriter for First Solar's initial public offering and said the company also is an investment banking client.
Finding a Competitive Edge
Pichel said thin films could have a competitive edge if the price of solar panels falls, which he expects to happen in 2010.
But he indicated brand-new thin-film startups would face challenges catching up to First Solar.
"Nobody's even close," he said, referring to the company's production capacity and cost per watt. "We feel they have a year's advantage over anybody."
At the California Clean Tech Open last week (see California Clean Tech Open Winners Score Cash, Services), Nth Power Managing Director Tim Woodward also suggested newbies might have a harder time.
"Maybe we don't need another thin-film play," he said. "We've got 16 or 18 of those, so we're probably OK."
Woodward added that doesn't mean there's not an opportunity in thin-film, but said unless entrepreneurs have business plans that can deliver solar power at 50 cents per watt or less, "you're not going to get much interest."

Daimler, Ford Buy Ballard's Auto Business

Daimler, Ford Buy Ballard's Auto Business

Analysts say the decision shows confidence the technology will provide a competitive edge one day. Meanwhile, Hydrogenics plans to shut down its fuel-cell testing business.
by: Jennifer Kho
Bullet ArrowNovember 8, 2007
Ballard Power Systems will sell its automobile fuel-cell business to Daimler and Ford Motor Co. for between $95 million and $105 million, the company said Wednesday night.

The two automakers will give up all their current Ballard holdings, 34.3 million shares, which Ballard will then cancel. The shares are worth $168 million, based on a 20-day average preceding the sale.
As part of the deal, Ballard will put $60 million into a new private company that will be majority-owned by Daimler. With that investment, Ballard said it expects to gain an estimated $95 million to $105 million from the deal.
Ballard (NSDQ: BLDP) shares rose 5.95 percent to $5.50 per share on the news.
The Vancouver-based company said Tuesday it was negotiating with the two automakers after a story in the German business journal WirtschaftsWoche -- picked up by Reuters -- claimed that Daimler had agreed to buy the business segment (see Ballard Auto Business For Sale).
Analysts said the purchase is a sign that Daimler and Ford see potential in fuel-cell technology for cars, despite a long history of delays.
"I wouldn't see why large car manufacturers would purchase something like this if [the technology] wasn't going to go anywhere," said Sara Bradford, a senior analyst for the research firm Frost & Sullivan, who thinks fuel cells will make it into the automobile market one day.
It might also be evidence that larger players are needed because it could take fuel cells longer than expected to reach that market.
On Thursday, Hydrogenics Corp., a Toronto-based company that develops hydrogen- and fuel-cell products, said it would shut down the part of its business that designs, develops and manufactures fuel-cell test products. The "orderly windup" of the Burnaby, British Columbia-based business is expected to take two years and cost between $3.5 million and $4 million.
As for the Ballard deal, the company said selling its automotive segment will bring it to profitability more quickly, reduce its shares by about 30 percent and reduce its financing needs. In addition, Ballard will retain the right to use automotive fuel-cell technology in nonautomotive applications and to pursue fuel-cell buses.
In exchange for their shares, Daimler and Ford will get automotive intellectual property, 113 employees that make up 20 percent of Ballard's team today and test equipment and inventory worth $6 million.
The three companies are setting up a new private company to develop automotive fuel-cell technologies.
The company, initially funded by $60 million from Daimler and Ford, along with the $60 million from Ballard, will operate at Ballard's offices. Daimler will own 50.1 percent of the new private company, while Ford will own 30 percent and Ballard â€" which will not have to provide any further funds -- will own 19.9 percent.

WWF, Nokia and Equinox Publishing join forces in Hi-Tech Replantation project

WWF, Nokia and Equinox Publishing join forces in Hi-Tech Replantation project
tagged with:geotagging, google earth, gps, n95, nokia

Last night, I received the following message by email from Mr. Mark Hanusz of Equinox Publishing:

Hi there,

I have been a reader of the N95 blog for several months now and am a big fan. Thought you might be interested in an initiative we have just launched in Indonesia: it's called NEWtrees and it is a reforestation program using geotags, the Nokia N95 and Google Earth. Basically, we are replanting trees in a protected national park (that have been either illegally logged or burned) and applying geotags to them so we know the precise location. We take photos and upload them directly to the internet for the world to see.

The companies involved are WWF, Nokia and my company, Equinox Publishing.

Keep up the great work on the blog.


Mark Hanusz

So I followed the link will use my publishing power (just kiddin') to share the press release and some pictures:

Palangkaraya, 7 November 2007:
In an effort to mitigate the effects of global warming, WWF-Indonesia, in cooperation with Nokia and Equinox Publishing, has launched a tree planting campaign in Sebangau National Park in Central Kalimantan. This initiative, called NEWtrees, gives people an innovative way to help reforest this protected national park and monitor the growth of the trees through geotags (trees labeled with precise latitude and longitude coordinates) viewable via Google Earth and Yahoo Maps.

"This project is the first of its kind anywhere in the world and we are excited to join forces with two great companies like Nokia and Equinox to help the Sebangau conservation," said Nazir Foead, Director of Corporate Engagement at WWF-Indonesia. The site chosen for the initial replanting grid is located near the joint WWF - park authority's Sebangau field office, approximately 45 minutes by boat from the capital of Central Kalimantan, Palangkaraya.

NEWtrees GoogleMapThe first stage of the project will see Nokia support the planting of 100,000 individually-geotagged Jelutung (Dyera costulata) seedlings, a native species of tree that is a favorite of the park's orangutans. Nokia's Environment Manager for the Asia Pacific region, Francis Cheong said, "By collaborating in this initiative with WWF-Indonesia and Equinox Publishing, we hope to not only help towards reducing the annual haze that blankets the region, but also contribute in a small way to protecting and preserving Sebangau as an invaluable national asset in the APAC region The geotagging technology that is capable with the Nokia N95, in combination with Google Earth and Yahoo Maps, will help to monitor the development of the trees."

Photos and locations of the planted trees will be viewable on beginning with the first ceremonial planting on 7 November 2007.

"There are several interesting reforestation initiatives happening in Indonesia at present but what makes NEWtrees unique is that we have the ability to show exactly where the trees are being planted. Contributing individuals and institutions will receive a certificate with the exact coordinates and date that their trees were planted, and will even be able to visit them," said Mark Hanusz of Equinox Publishing.

The park authority sees NEWtrees as an important milestone in which the private sector is contributing directly to conservation. Park Manager, Drasospolino, highlighted this initiative as the catalyst for other corporations to participate, and with the aim of rolling such a program out to other national parks in Indonesia.

I can only applaud this great initiative and think that it is really good that 3 companies in totally different areas of interest join their forces for a very good cause. And, it is good to see yet another way in which Nokia shows how "green" the company is…

Next to that, it is great to see the geotagging technology of the N95 being used for something different than your average holiday picture.

Al Gore's next act: Planet-saving VC: The recovering politician is teaming with a legendary venture capitalist and bigtime moneyman to make over the $6 trillion global energy business. A Fortune exclusive

Al Gore's next act: Planet-saving VC
The recovering politician is teaming with a legendary venture capitalist and bigtime moneyman to make over the $6 trillion global energy business. A Fortune exclusive
By Marc Gunther and Adam Lashinsky, Fortune
November 12 2007: 11:02 AM EST

(Fortune Magazine) -- It's lunchtime on Sand Hill Road, and Al Gore wants answers. "How does the efficiency decline with latitude?" he asks. "What size community could be served by one plant? If a manufacturer like GE wanted to make smaller turbines, would the technology support a smaller scale?"

We're sitting in the giant conference room at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, where the partners hold their weekly meetings. After loading his plate with Chinese food from a buffet, Gore is firing detailed questions at the management team of Ausra, a Kleiner-backed company in Palo Alto whose technology uses mirrors the width of a flatbed truck that focus the sun's energy to generate electricity.

Once Gore is satisfied -- sunlight lags north of South Dakota, an Ausra plant can serve 120,000 homes, and yes, smaller turbines will work fine -- he shifts from inquisitor to fixer. He was chatting with California Senator Barbara Boxer "on the way over," he reports, and he isn't optimistic that Congress will extend the tax credits Ausra has been relying on. On the upside, he offers on the spot to organize a summit highlighting the company's solar thermal technology to educate lawmakers and other policymakers on its potential. He also thinks a powwow at General Electric (Charts, Fortune 500) would be beneficial, even though Ausra is a tiny customer.

"I know Immelt well," he says, referring to GE's CEO. "We ought to set up a meeting."

Gore appears utterly comfortable with this drill, but in fact he's engaging in some on-the-job training. The recovering politician, environmental activist, and Nobel laureate is adding another title to his résumé: venture capitalist. After "a conversation that's gone on for a year and a half," according to Gore, he has decided to join his old pal John Doerr as an active, hands-on partner at Kleiner Perkins, Silicon Valley's preeminent venture firm.

The move is more than another Colin Powell moment (the former Secretary of State signed on as a Kleiner "strategic limited partner" two years ago and has hardly been heard from since). Gore is joining the firm as Kleiner makes a risky move beyond information technology and health-care investing into the fast-growing and increasingly competitive arena of "clean technology."

According to Doerr, by 2009 more than a third of Kleiner's latest fund, which was raised in 2006 and totals $600 million, will be invested in technologies that aim to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide. Already Kleiner has invested more than $270 million from various funds in 26 companies that make everything from microbes that scrub old oil wells to electric cars to noncorn ethanol. Twelve of Kleiner's 22 partners now spend some or all of their time on green investments.

In turn, Doerr, the master networker whose greatest hits include initial investments in Netscape, Amazon (Charts, Fortune 500), and Google (Charts, Fortune 500), will join the exclusive advisory board of Generation Investment Management. That's the $1 billion investment company Gore started three years ago in London with David Blood, the former head of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, to analyze and invest in publicly traded "sustainable" companies. Over the past five weeks Gore, Doerr, and Blood agreed to give Fortune an exclusive look at their new alliance.

Already they've begun to pool information. Generation came across a small company engaged in carbon trading that Kleiner is analyzing, and Kleiner has shared intelligence about which startups could threaten the established companies in Generation's portfolio. In the long term, though, they want to help drive something much larger, "bigger than the Industrial Revolution and significantly faster," as Gore puts it.

They argue that to halt global warming, nothing less will be required than a makeover of the $6 trillion global energy business. Coal plants, gas stations, the internal-combustion engine, petrochemicals, plastic bags, even bottled water will have to give way to clean, green, sustainable technologies. "What we are going to have to put in place is a combination of the Manhattan Project, the Apollo project, and the Marshall Plan, and scale it globally," Gore continues. "It'd be promising too much to say we can do it on our own, but we intend to do our part."

Does that sound grandiose? Sure. Will they be accused of being partisan? Probably. Is there something incongruous about globetrotting rich guys jetting between multiple homes and lecturing the rest of us about climate change? Of course.

But there are good reasons to take Gore and Doerr seriously. Gore, who never seemed fully at ease as a presidential candidate, has demonstrated a real knack for using mass communications to influence public opinion. (He estimates that he's shown his homespun slide show on global warming more than 1,000 times, while the documentary version, An Inconvenient Truth, won him an Oscar.) Doerr, meanwhile, has displayed a real talent for deploying venture capital to create or disrupt whole industries.

In short, the foremost eco-activist and the dean of Sand Hill Road could, together, draw a huge amount of attention and cash to companies that are aiming to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.

There is, however, one thing standing in their way. Five years after Kleiner Perkins made its first green investment, the firm hasn't had one "exit" -- VC-speak for an IPO or a sale of a company that validates the investment thesis. Doerr equates this moment to Internet investing (which he famously called "the greatest legal creation of wealth in the history of the planet") before Kleiner took a certain search engine public in 1995. Now, he wonders, "what's the company that will lead the boom? What's the Netscape of green innovation?"

A bleary-eyed Al Gore needs another cup of coffee, and no wonder. It's a Tuesday morning, and four days earlier he and his wife, Tipper, were up into the wee hours in San Francisco waiting to learn if he'd won the Nobel. (He was cited "for informing the world of the dangers posed by climate change.") They then flew home to Nashville after a stopover in Phoenix, where Gore spoke to an advertising industry convention about Current TV, the youth-oriented cable television network he co-founded in 2002. Over the weekend, Tipper threw him a party with 150 or so of their closest friends. Country singers Kathy Mattea and Kim Richey preformed at the bash, at Nashville's Park Café.

"It was a good weekend," Gore says with a grin.

Now Gore, Doerr, and Blood are gathered on the back patio of Gore's $2.3 million, 10,000-square-foot home in the Belle Meade section of Nashville. That's the mansion -- to Gore's critics it's always a mansion -- that tagged the former Vice President as an energy hog. He's quick to point out that the house generates electricity from more than 30 solar photovoltaic panels on the roof as well as seven 300-foot geothermal wells in the ground, and that it has been certified as an energy-efficient home by the U.S. Green Building Council.

After offering everyone coffee or bottled water (hey, no one's perfect), Gore explains why he's combining his advocacy work with a profit motive. "We want to give a big shout-out, though that's not the corporate term, to every inventor and entrepreneur and idea generator at the micro, macro, systems-integration, and global-thinker level to create with this alliance a clearinghouse for the identification and selection of the most promising ideas on the planet for quickly solving this climate crisis," he says, without pausing to take a breath. Then, clearly catching himself in a moment of speechifying, Gore boils it down: "We all believe that markets must play a central role."

Professionally Gore, Doerr, and Blood have little in common. Once the boy wonder of American politics, Gore turns 60 in March. In addition to his roles at Kleiner, Generation, and Current, he's an advisor to Google and a director at Apple (Charts, Fortune 500). He also founded an advocacy organization in Palo Alto called the Alliance for Climate Protection.

At times his schedule seems downright presidential: the week after our interview in Nashville, Gore visited the leaders of France, Germany, and Austria to talk about the environment. Says Gary Hirschberg, a climate-change activist and the CEO of Stonyfield Farm, who has known Gore for years: "I had an easier time seeing him when he was in the White House."

Technically, of course, Gore was never "in" the White House. But he's been dealing with continual speculation about whether he still has designs on the place. Is there a chance he'll jump into the race? "It's a luxury to be able to focus on what you are most passionate about all the time," he says. When asked to elaborate he adds, "Casting about for words to describe this with precision is less productive than just saying that what I'm doing feels like the right thing to do." So the answer is probably not, though like any good politician, he's left the door open.

For now Gore truly seems to enjoy kicking around Nashville, where he'll continue to be based. Since he won't be on Sand Hill Road daily, he explains, he's installed a high-definition videoconferencing system to dial into Kleiner's weekly partner meetings.

If Gore is the elder statesman of the group, Doerr is the salesman. Famous both for his boundless energy and his high-end hucksterism, at 56 he is wiry and birdlike in his tendency to flit from topic to topic. He specializes in making everyone around him believe as passionately about his current cause -- -first the PC, then the Internet, now the environment -- as he does.

By Marc Gunther and Adam Lashinsky, Fortune
November 12 2007: 11:02 AM EST

Blood, silver-haired and 48, may be the youngest of the group, but he's accustomed to managing money on a scale that dwarfs Kleiner's (See sidebar, "Talking 'bout their generation"). At Goldman (Charts, Fortune 500) he oversaw the company's $325 billion asset-management arm from London. A retired Goldman exec, Phil Murphy, who now raises money for the Democratic Party, introduced him to Gore.

Gore and Doerr got to know each other more than a dozen years ago when they met to discuss technology and education policy during Gore's vice presidency. They were seen together so often that by the late 1990s, VC Stewart Alsop jokingly printed up and distributed hundreds of buttons that read GORE AND DOERR IN 2004. Doerr says he never considered elective office, but he credits Gore for his environmental awakening.

In June 2005, Doerr invited the Gores and Bill Joy, the former chief scientist at Sun Microsystems and now a Kleiner partner, to dinner at his home. Over coffee and dessert Gore hooked up his laptop to a projector and showed the group the slide show that the filmmaker Davis Guggenheim was just beginning to turn into a feature-length documentary. "I didn't get it until Al showed his slide show at our home," says Doerr. (Doerr has on various other occasions credited his conversion to his daughter Mary, Segway inventor Dean Kamen, Bill Joy, and New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, a pal and cross-country ski partner.)

Last year Gore and Blood came to the realization that Generation's wide-ranging research into public companies could be put to other uses. For one thing, Generation's investment analysts were coming across all sorts of interesting companies and trends, but since they currently invest in only public companies, they couldn't use those insights. Remembers Gore: "We began to think about how we could develop another way of pursuing these ideas in the market. And I said, 'Hey, the best in the world is Kleiner Perkins.'"

Kleiner had been dabbling in green investing, backing companies like fuel-cell maker Bloom Energy and solar energy startup Miasole. It has financed others that stretch the definition of clean technology to the breaking point: Terralliance has a stealth technology for finding fossil fuels, and GloriOil uses superbugs to increase recovery from mature oil wells. "GloriOil ought not to be named GloriOil," says Doerr, sounding defensive. "It ought to be named GloriMicrobes."

When Gore approached Doerr about a Kleiner-Generation "mind meld" last year, Doerr felt it was worth exploring. Capital requirements for startup IT companies had dropped precipitously, so the timing was good to explore a new area.

Doerr asked a younger Kleiner partner, Ellen Pao, who recently had been hired to make consumer Internet investments, to organize a meeting of 50 environmental thought leaders so that the partners could brainstorm with them about opportunities. They met in May 2006 at the San Francisco Four Seasons. R.K. Pachauri, whose UN Global International Panel on Climate Change later would share the Nobel with Gore, was there. So was Jose Goldemberg, a Brazilian scientist who spearheaded his country's push into sugarcane-based ethanol.

Kleiner was by no means the first venture firm to pursue clean-technology investments. Firms like VantagePoint Venture Partners and Nth Power were earlier to the sector, and former partner Vinod Khosla, who remains affiliated with Kleiner and works out of its offices, began advocating alternative-energy investments well before Doerr got religion. Today Kleiner has co-invested with Khosla's new firm in several companies, including Ausra.

The shift has ruffled some feathers within the firm. Ray Lane, the former president of Oracle (Charts, Fortune 500), says some of his partners were concerned that the green focus would distract Kleiner's attention from its historical IT focus. But clearly there's no turning back. When Kleiner announced its latest fund, in February 2006, it designated $100 million of the $600 million total to clean-technology investments, then raised that to $200 million seven months later.

What do investors like Yale University and the University of California think of the move? In general, having profited handsomely, they tend to give Kleiner a long leash.

With Kleiner ramping up its commitment, Doerr has become ubiquitous in the world of green investing. Last year he was instrumental in helping pass a California bill supported by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger that will mandate the reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions in the state. Lately Doerr's been driving a plug-in Toyota Prius, and he says his daughter Esther refuses to ride in anything else.

He also attracted widespread attention (and a few snickers) when he teared up at this year's techie TED conference while imploring attendees to save the environment. "He has this incredibly intellectual drive," says Randy Komisar, a Kleiner partner. "John is so passionate that he is almost difficult to take on a daily basis."

Entrepreneurs in particular clamor for Doerr's time -- and his operations expertise. John Melo, CEO of Kleiner-backed startup Amyris, says Doerr recently helped him select a chief financial officer, structure a critical joint venture, and implement a performance-management system in the company's lab that has helped it double productivity.

"I beg for time," says Melo. "Probably the most productive hour or two that I can get in a month is the time that I spend with John."

In front of a group, Doerr's style is part motivational speaker, part grad school seminar leader. At the end of one meeting Fortune attended, Doerr suggests that everyone brainstorm about the questions the partnership should consider at its December offsite. Doerr's aide de camp, Wen Hsieh, who holds two technical Ph.D.s from Caltech, scribbles the questions on an easel with a magic marker as Doerr directs the conversation around a long conference table.

Doerr himself wants to know how Kleiner's green-tech initiative can have the most enduring long-term impact. Gore wonders how to serve Americans who want to live "off the grid," a favorite topic. Kleiner partner Ted Schlein wonders how Kleiner will react if the price of oil falls dramatically. Partner -- and biotech expert -- Brook Byers brings up the most immediate concern: "Should we," he asks, "be hiring more people with expertise in the energy field?" Looking around the room, it's obvious that Kleiner employs a plethora of brainiacs and Ph.D.s, but not a single individual with a deep background in energy.

As a high-tech lifer, Doerr knew he'd have to get out of his comfort zone to lead Kleiner into this new era. So during the summer of 2006 he took a trip up the Tambopata River in the Peruvian rainforest to visit a research center run by the nonprofit Conservation International. But he had a difficult time disconnecting. With macaws swooshing overhead and monkeys screaming from the jungle, Doerr fiddled endlessly with a satellite phone and lap-top, desperate to check e-mail. Recalls Tom Friedman, who was among his traveling companions: "We were beyond the network, and that makes John very nervous."

By Marc Gunther and Adam Lashinsky, Fortune
November 12 2007: 11:02 AM EST

Indeed, for three decades most of Doerr's best investments were just around the corner from Sand Hill Road, where he could be in close contact with management and leverage his deep network of tech contacts, which, Doerr always has acknowledged, is his greatest strength as a VC.

Distance is one of the new challenges he faces, and so is developing an alternative-energy brain trust. Doerr is a quick study but a newcomer all the same. Ray Lane spent years as a software executive. The younger partners, like Trae Vasallo and Ellen Pao, come straight out of the IT industry and have been busy educating themselves on green. Even John Melo, the CEO of Amyris -- who formerly ran BP's fuels business in the U.S. and relies heavily on Doerr's counsel -- acknowledges the deficit. "I don't think they understand the structure of the energy market," he says. "I don't know of anyone in the Kleiner environment who has dealt with the complexities of that scale."

Doerr says Kleiner will hire more experts, but insists that the ability to vet and assist entrepreneurs is more important for venture capitalists than industry experience. And the green field is something of, well, a green field. "You can't hire an expert in the recombinant-DNA industry when there isn't one," he says, making a reference to the similar problem Kleiner successfully faced when it backed Genentech in the 1970s.

Gore can certainly help in this arena by, for example, introducing Kleiner people to top atmospheric scientists or government decision-makers. Policy and politics, his specialties, will have a huge impact on the business of clean technology.

Another new twist: The capital requirements in the energy business are massive compared with what's needed to start a software or Internet company. So while Kleiner's cash can help companies get going, building power plants or cars requires complex financing that's well beyond what it can offer.

Doerr understands the complexity of what's ahead. Most venture capitalists are judged on return on investment alone. Asked how he'll judge the success of the green initiative, he reels off five measures: "the company we keep, the quality of the companies we help grow, the quality of the partners we add, returns on the investments we make, and by the CO2 that's taken out of the atmosphere."

Balancing those factors is Gore's challenge as well. Toward the end of the meeting at Kleiner's offices with Ausra, the solar thermal company, one of the executives starts to boast that the plants Ausra is building will thrash nuclear, geothermal, clean coal, and photovoltaic solar solutions. Gore cuts in, a mildly alarmed look on his face. "You know, all of these technologies are going to play a role," he says. "I hate to see you assassinate the competition as a key messaging point."

It's a reminder of what Gore and his partners are trying to do. After all, making money has always been paramount in Silicon Valley. But these guys have a planet to save as well.  To top of page