June 1 – 5, 2015

There is no state in the U.S. where a full-time, minimum-wage worker can afford to rent a one-bedroom apartment for less than 30 percent of his paycheck – a standard measure of housing affordability. That’s the depressing takeaway from a new report by the National Low-Income Housing Coalition. In Texas, a minimum wage worker needs to put in 73 hours a week to afford a one-bedroom unit. In California, it’s 92 hours. In the District of Columbia, it’s a solid 100 hours.

Low-income homeowners receive free solar panels thanks to California cap & trade

Using the $14.7 million raised from California’s cap-and-trade program, Grid Alternatives plans to install solar arrays on more than 1,600 low-income homes by the end of 2016. It is tapping job-training programs to provide the installers and relying on donated equipment from Bay Area solar companies SunEdison, SunPower and Enphase.
Public concern may focus on the risks of transporting petroleum products by rail, but harmful chemicals are among the most common dangerous goods rolling through a community near you. Every day, across tens of thousands of kilometres of track, trains are moving a long list of toxic and corrosive chemicals, often over vast distances and through densely populated areas. Recycling chemicals on site by those who use them could be one way of cutting down on unnecessary and risky travel.
Europe’s top oil and gas companies urged governments around the world to introduce a pricing system for carbon emissions. Criticised for not doing enough to tackle climate change, the chief executives of BG Group, BP, Eni, Royal Dutch Shell, Statoil and France’s Total said carbon pricing “would reduce uncertainty and encourage the most cost-effective ways of reducing carbon emissions widely.” U.S. oil majors ExxonMobil and Chevron chose not to take part in the initiative.
Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell, the 2015 recipient of the Corporate Knights Award of Distinction, said he did what was right, not what was popular, when he introduced a carbon tax in his province back in 2008. Today, B.C.’s carbon tax has become a case study to the world for how to unlock the power of markets to deliver outcomes that are better for the environment and the economy.
The growth of solar power has been nothing short of incredible, and the party is expected to continue. The average wholesale price for solar panels worldwide plunged 40 per cent from $1 per watt in 2011 to $0.60 per watt in 2014, with experts projecting that prices will fall to $0.50 per watt by the end of 2018. Economies of scale and rapid innovation have dramatically lowered costs, but as the industry transitions to a world without subsidies, there will continue to be growing pains.

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