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Company Incentives for Going Green?

Cliff posted more than 8 years ago | from the may-your-car-exhaust-smell-like-french-fries dept.

Biotech 427

Greenie asks: "With fuel costs reaching record highs and more eco-friendly vehicles on the market than ever before, one has to ask, is it making a difference (yet)? NewEnough.com is an online retailer of new and surplus/wholesale motorcycle apparel based in West Texas. Recently, they posted a letter to the public on their website about how they've 'gone green,' and are offering incentives to their employees for switching to modern, fuel efficient vehicles (hybrid electric, diesel, bio-diesel...). While the specifics of their incentive program were not discussed, has anyone ever heard of larger companies offering a similar incentive program? According to Fortune.com, Wal-Mart is the largest employer in America. If Wal-Mart, McDonalds, UPS, GM, and Ford, the five companies that Fortune lists as having the most employees, all offered a similar incentive, more than 2,865,700 people would be eligible for incentive to go green. That could really start to make a difference for the environment. Now imagine the environmental benefit of every company in America making this same incentive offer..."

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Going green (4, Insightful)

BWJones (18351) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867409)


If they really want to push more efficient automobiles, perhaps we could wean the American preference for the large SUV? I wrote about this some time ago here [utah.edu] , talking about small car companies like Smart who really should be looking harder at the American market and employing creative marketing approaches to specific markets that would be most receptive to the small car.

Of course a real way of going "green" would be to simply make it easier for people to telecommute. We saw a huge interest in telecommuting a couple of years ago, but since then, many corporations have cut back on telecommuting or reversed earlier policies.

Programs to make broadband more ubiquitous and accessible would enable inexpensive video conferencing technologies (like iChat with an iSight), audio conferencing and the ability to be persistently available, which could be a bad thing for salaried employees though :-)

Re:Going green (2, Informative)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867476)

It's really not so much the SUV's and trucks as the auto makers being lazy and not making them fuel efficient, and they buying congressmen to leave loopholes for them so they can continue to use cheaper parts for less efficient vehicles.

ford failes [ran.org]
more bad stuff [truthout.org]
difference in EPA and Consumer reports testing [consumerreports.org]
etc etc etc

Re:Going green (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867589)

So the real solution is to throw out corrupt congressmen who sell their votes for money, whores and nice vacations.

Re:Going green (0)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867615)

I vote for this as long as the money and whores can stay with me.

Re:Going green (3, Insightful)

IamNotWitchboy (563675) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867649)

Somehow, I dont see GM or Ford offering incentives to its employees for buying Toyotas.

Re:Going green (3, Insightful)

punxking (721508) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867485)

If they really want to push more efficient automobiles, perhaps we could wean the American preference for the large SUV?

Boy am I all for smaller cars and getting people to give up their SUVs (although I'm certainly not holding my breath). It's frustrating to see so many of these (ahem) "sport" vehicles that will never go off a city street and almost always have one person driving sans any passengers. What's the point? My wife and I finally gave in and bought a minivan recently, not because we needed that much space or wanted a large vehicle, but because we have two young children and it seems like half of the state of California is in Pick-ups and SUVs. In the event of an accident, if we were in a normal car, the other guy's bumper is likely right at head level (add to that the "flow" speed on the freeways here, when not congested, is about 75 miles an hour).

I wish I could go the public transportation route, but thanks to the pitiful bus system in greater San Diego, I'd have to take 3 busses for approximately 2hours each way to get to work (to cover 20 miles) and with a slim margin for connections if any of the busses were late.

Re:Going green (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13867659)

I'd be willing to bet that your minivan is in the same CAFE "light truck" category as those SUVs and pickups you're looking
down your nose at. Pot, meet kettle.

Re:Going green (2, Informative)

Alex P Keaton in da (882660) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867664)

Please indulge me and let me be an ass: Minivans are about as bad as many SUVs as far as MPG- why they get a free pass, I'll never know.
Please- climb off your high horse- No one else needs a large vehicle, but you can justify yours... I am not trying to be a dick, but many who have big vehicles think they need one, but no one else does....
Many people with SUVs have kids...
Dodge Caravan: City Mileage: 19-20 mpg
Dodge Durango: City Mileage: 14-16 mpg
Buick Terraza: City Mileage: 17-18 mpg
Chevy Uplander: City Mileage: 17-18 mpg
Kia Sedona: City Mileage: 16 mpg
Nisaan Quest:City Mileage: 18-19 mpg
Honda Odyssey: City Mileage: 20 mpg
Acura MDX SUV: City Mileage: 17 mpg
Chevy Equinox SUV: City Mileage: 19 mpg
Honda Pilot SUV: City Mileage: 17-18 mpg
Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV: City Mileage: 15-17 mpg
And on and on on on on and on... Source Edmunds.com

the SmartCar (4, Insightful)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867504)

Look, as much as I love the idea of the SmartCar, no way in hell am I going to be driving one on the roads around here, with all the monster SUVs on the road. I'm green, but I'm not suicidal!

Some better ideas are coming along shortly, though. VW is coming out with their "twin-charger" engine cars (Polo & Golf, and in 2008, a Scirocco successor, possibly named the Rivo). A twin-charter Polo may get up to 69mpg - on gasoline.

Another idea is to use an efficient diesel auto - like the TDI Volkswagens currently available in most U.S. states. The TDI Jetta & Golf can get over 45mpg (some get slightly over 50; depends on how you drive, I imagine). Since these are diesels, you can run them on biodiesel and not only get great gas mileage, but also have much-improved emissions at the same time.

VW recently announced they're switching to common-rail diesels, so as to improve emissions.

And all this without resorting to an overly-expensive (not that VW is cheap, mind), overly-complex, not-so-safe-for-emergency-workers hybrid.

I'm really hoping that hydrogen injection system, H2N-Gen, actually comes to market and works as advertised. This is a device that injects hydrogen into the cylinders during combustion to enable around 97% of the fuel to be burned, thus almost eliminating emissions; should work on any internal combustion engine (gas, diesel, or natural gas). Let's hope it's also relatively affordable. "Another fine Canadian product (based on an American invention)"

I now return you to your regularly-scheduled Slashwhining, already in progress...

Re:the SmartCar (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13867694)

There's lots of reasons to consider bio-diesel:
- cleaner burning
- more efficient, so you use less fuel, and create less CO2
- The canola or soy oil is probably locally produced so you're not contributing to the trade deficit
- ...or funding governments you may not want to fund.
- The canola/soy plants used up some CO2 when they were growing, so you can argue its green-house gas neutral
- if you're not burning petroleum you're helping delay "peak oil" and soften the blow to our economy

Re:Going green (4, Insightful)

Arandir (19206) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867515)

Of course a real way of going "green" would be to simply make it easier for people to telecommute. We saw a huge interest in telecommuting a couple of years ago, but since then, many corporations have cut back on telecommuting or reversed earlier policies.

Bingo. The idea that companies should offer incentives for "green" cars is bizarre, because there is no benefit to the company for employees having "green" cars. Companies are not in the business of pure philanthropy, neither are they social experiments. For a small company it might be possible if enough of the shareholders lean one way or another politically, but it's not viable for larger companies.

It's one thing for a company to organize a weekend charity drive, but to actually redirect revenues towards political posturing is nuts. If the cost savings for fuel efficient cars isn't enough incentive for employees, then maybe they're not the global panacea everyone says they are.

But telecommuting *benefits* the company, so it makes sense to encourage it for those jobs where its practical.

Re:Going green (2, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867528)

Easy, just put up fuel prices. In the UK, we are paying around 90p per litre - around $6 per gallon [google.com] . If people were paying that sort of price, then they might be more keen to drive something that gets more than 20 miles per gallon.

Ideally, this should be coupled with non-profitmaking public transport, which is exempt from fuel tax.

Re:Going green (1)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867552)

Not so convinced about telecommuting - as someone with the option of working from home, I still go to the office almost everyday. I find it easier to work, the space is better organised (although lack of any formal office space at home obviously doesn't help), and I actually quite like getting out of the house.

It's very useful if I'm mildly ill (and particularly good for not giving everyone else whatever I've got), waiting for a parcel or similar, but that's about it.

I should add, I walk to work, so environmental impact is essentially a non-issue. If I didn't live within walking distance, maybe I could afford to have an office in my house!

Re:Going green (1, Interesting)

Alex P Keaton in da (882660) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867583)

Arggh- Jesus, I am sick of the "Fuel Efficient" car thing. We need to get away from the whole "I get 200 mpg so I am better than you" thing. It needs to be about total personal energy consumption. I drive a Ford F350 (I plow snow in the winter as a second job, but thats another story- get your fuel efficient car into the lot at your job when it has snowed 2 feet over night and it hasn't plowed... then tell me to get something more fuel efficient). I get about 12-15 mpg around town. But guess what? I live 2 (two) miles from my job!!! So at 15 miles per gallon, round trip my commute totals 10 miles a week, or 2/3 of a gallon used per week commuting! (Yes I know starting the vehicle takes a lot of gas, but I am going for a simplified argument) Someone who gets 40 miles per gallon, but commutes 40 miles each way to work, drives 400 miles commuting per week, and uses 10 gallons of gas commuting per week. So this asshole, using 10 gallons a week commuting, while I use 2/3 of a gallon, gets an incentive, because he drives a little "woman repellant?" All the while using more gas than I do?
What if I buy a Prius, but run my ac at full blast in my big old house in the summer, and have the heat at 85 all winter in my big old house, and commute 80 miles to work each way, and when I change the oil in my Prius, I let the old oil run right into the river, and when I don't want my Prius anymore, I throw the batteries in a landfill. Do I get an incentive then?
The MPG is the only indicataor of your green-ness argument is a simple argument for simple minds, and doesn't belong on Slashdot.
How about these actors who drive a Prius and preach, and then get in a private jet and air condition a 30,000 sq foot house that 2 people live in?

Re:Going green (2, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867616)

Translation: I've got this mother fucking hog of a vehicle, and I want to come up with some outrageous bits of hyperbole to justify me still driving the vehicle that ultimately gives Middle Eastern despots control over my country, pollutes the atmosphere and is starting to make my pocket book and the overall economy crumble.

Re:Going green (1)

GreyWolf3000 (468618) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867668)

Sometimes, I find it hard to express my somewhat complicated reaction to something someone else has said. And sometimes, someone else comes along and states exactly what you're thinking, only in a far more creative and poigniant fashion than you could.

I wish I drank coffee, and had some in my mouth, so I could tell you that I spat it all over my desk. Kudos, my friend.

Re:Going green (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13867636)

Did you read the article the OP linked to and wrote? You should do that before posting "The MPG is the only indicataor of your green-ness argument is a simple argument for simple minds, and doesn't belong on Slashdot." and misspelling "indicator". Perhaps you don't belong on Slashdot?

Generally, there is an inherent incentive for people to do all the things that you talk about. It is that they simply spend more money and inherently pay more for it.

Re:Going green (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867685)

I live 2 (two) miles from my job!!! neener neener neener, I live about a mile and walk, so color me jolly green also lost 15 pounds this year so at 52 I'm weighing less than I did in High School while playing football. 2 Miles is easy bicycle range even with snow on the ground, do it because It'll make you feel better and you can still laugh at the enviro-nazi's.

Re:Going green (2, Interesting)

happyemoticon (543015) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867629)

If they really want to push more efficient automobiles, perhaps we could wean the American preference for the large SUV?

Completely the right way to go. If you live in a typical geek habitat like the SF area or Seattle, you don't realize how much people in Arizona, Southern California and the midwestern states prize their SUVs. A friend of mine went to visit some distant relatives out in Phoenix and was astonished that each adult owned a minivan or a Suburban. There was only one person in the entire gathering (aside from Andy, he drives a Geo Metro) who had a mid-sized sedan, and that was because he had to commute (which was a very foreign concept to all of them). The apologized profusely when he had to ride in the piddly sedan, as if it was a grave and serious offense.

These monsterous vehicles are a way of life for many Americans. They're home away from home: air-conditioned little worlds with 800 watt sound systems and DVD players. That's a hard mindset to budge.

As far as telecommuting, the people in my workplace would probably not suffer from coming in 2-3 times a week and telecommuting the rest of the time. The problem I have is that for me, work has a very large spatial component. Home has way too many pleasurable distractions, and not just the video games: my girlfriend, for instance. I wrote most of my essays in college in the kitchen, the school library and cafes. The only way I could telecommute is if I had a study or something. Or an SUV parked near a Starbucks.

Re:Going green (0)

SorryToHaveTaTellYa (925471) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867638)

Not that I have a problem with Enviro-cars, but I know that, personally, if I don't have an SUV, I will not be able to get out of my driveway for at least 3-6 months of the year. Beyond that an SUV will last me 2-5 times longer than any car I could by. The rugged roads that I have to drive (because I live in the mountains, and not the city-would-like-to-think-they-are-mountains, but the dirt roads, acres of land mountains) kill most cars I could own. So an SUV does me better, except for gas. Hence the reason why I still have a car. Anyway, just wanted to put that into the pot on going against SUVs. People like me get banished to our homes most of the year.

Also, free market has always been what this country was built on. So, let's build a better SUV instead of trying to ban them, let's make them better. Why not? Heck, people are going to drive them (including me), so let's make them better, more economocal!

Re:Going green (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867667)

many corporations have cut back on telecommuting or reversed earlier policies.

Because this way they can keep an eye on you.

Nevermind that execs and sales people are often out of the office doing who knows what.

Oh, and McDonalds profits from people going out and burning up fossil fuels, that's the foundation of the fast-food industry.

Green Incentives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13867684)

I think the problem isn't so much being 'green' anymore but a neccesity, born of shrinking energy reserves that will motivate people to save/produce energy. If you are interested in this type of news/diy projects there is an excellent website : FutureCrisis [futurecrisis.com]

We do this here at Halliburton (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13867412)

In fact, if you wear a green cardigan on Saint Patrick's Day, you could win a team spirit award.

Blah - green is lifestyle choice. (0)

Anonymous Crowhead (577505) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867416)

Trying to buy it probably won't work.

Why? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13867417)

Why the fuck should companies offer incentives for their employees to "go green"?

Silly rabbit (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13867421)

Companies are owned by Republicans and Republicans hate the environment.

Re:Silly rabbit (3, Funny)

shmlco (594907) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867582)

Republicans do NOT hate the environment. It's a great resource...

I've got a plan for the minorities... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13867422)

send 'em to the California Youth Authority.

Google (4, Informative)

ornil (33732) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867425)

Google benefits page [google.com] : Fuel Efficiency Vehicle Incentive Program

WalMart?! Bahahaha... (5, Insightful)

FatSean (18753) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867429)

They don't care, the factories in China that produce the majority of WalMart's goods spew pollution wholesale.

Re:WalMart?! Bahahaha... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867555)

Are there pollution taxes in the USA? If the goods had been made there, then would they have been taxed? If so, then perhaps it would be a good idea to apply pollution tax to imports as well, with a rebate if the manufacturer could prove that they had already paid pollution tax in the country of origin. Goods manufactured in countries that agreed to impose similar pollution taxes would be automatically exempt.

HA HA!!! The US has done it's best to kill... (1)

arfonrg (81735) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867691)

HA HA!!! The US has done it's best to kill it's industry! Between all the EPA, OSHA, and other agencies, American manufacturing is pretty much dead. I don't mind the regulations to make this a safer/cleaner place but, I do mind that they give a Hell-Hole like China MOST FAVORED TRADING status after killing American industry.

They enacted all sorts of anti-manufacturing laws/rules and open the doors wide open for other polluting countries to dump goods! They should level the playing field a little WITH pollution tarriffs.

It's not fair to American companies that they can't afford to manufacture in the US due to rules and then allow (basically) un-regulated countries to dump goods.

yeah but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13867430)

Whilst I personally would encourage anybody to "go green" - its indicative of how "un-green" america is when the incentive is for getting a car that does "over 40mpg" or simply get a diesel.

To a european this just sounds daft.

My small ford does 50mpg without even trying and thats before I start thinking about pouring veg-oil in the tank.

Come on america... raise the bar a little bit !

Re:yeah but... (2, Insightful)

homer_ca (144738) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867518)

I believe the Brits use Imperial gallons so 1MPG in the UK != 1MPG in the US. Also, petrol cars are just less efficient than diesels. Even the smallest conventional petrol cars sold in the US (Civic and Echo) get about mid 30's MPG.

Re:yeah but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13867653)

I believe the Brits use Imperial gallons so 1MPG in the UK != 1MPG in the US.


Yes, 1 Imperial gallon = 1.2 US gallons. So a 50 miles per Imperial gallon would be 41.7 miles per US gallon.

Ummm... (3, Funny)

Otter (3800) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867431)

Sorry, do Wal-Mart and McDonalds really seem like companies that are likely to give hefty bonuses to their employees to buy a Prius? Good question, though...

Meanwhile, shouldn't employees at a motorcycle leathers maker ride, uh, motorcycles? Or does "motorcycle" nowadays just mean sticking an Orange County Choppers sticker on the rear window of your SUV and going home to watch TV shows about motorcycles?

Re:Ummm... (1)

BWJones (18351) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867453)

Or does "motorcycle" nowadays just mean sticking an Orange County Choppers sticker on the rear window of your SUV and going home to watch TV shows about motorcycles?

Funny. Truly funny and one of the reasons I enjoy reading your posts.

Re:Ummm... (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867467)

I was wondering if anyone else caught that.. An i have never heard of a green motorcycle (at least one that was in the main stream..)

Re:Ummm... (1)

doctypo (920982) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867512)

Based on the motorcycle you have, you could easily get 45-90MPG, I ride a Kawasaki Ninja ZX-636 which easily gets 50MPG, that's a little greener than a 12-14MPG SUV.

Re:Ummm... Mopeds (1)

spooky_nerd (646914) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867519)

Green motorcycles exist. They're called mopeds.

Re:Ummm... (1)

FullCircle (643323) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867591)

Mine gets 70 MPG (city), that's almost twice as green as a hybrid and still seats two.

Almost any non-show motorcycle that isn't 20+ years old is more efficient than the average hybrid car.

What can a motorcycle haul? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867605)

But do motorcycles haul groceries? And do they haul diagnostic equipment for on-site computer service? A compact petrol-hybrid or diesel car does.

Re:Ummm... (2, Informative)

RY (98479) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867688)

There is a motorcyle engine made by f1 engineering. The MPG is in the 100MPG range. I just checked the site as the engine and motorcycle were only availible to the military. Now a civilian version of the M1030M1 Diesel Motorcycle is now available to the general public. The engine has multi-fuel compatibility and can use;

a) Commercial Diesel Fuels, including low sulfer fuels, such as CARB Diesel
b) NATO Military Spec Diesel Fuel
c) Bio-Diesel (B20 or B100)
d) Aviation Kerosene including JP4, JP5, JP8, and AVTR
e) Kerosene

Http:\\www.f1 engineering.com

Re:Ummm... (2, Informative)

periol (767926) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867609)

You can affordably retrofit a motorcycle [rqriley.com] to run on an electric engine. Your mockery aside, it is the most feasible way for an average person to green up their morning commute (not that many people will do it, but I am considering it).

And the question is (1)

jma34 (591871) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867434)

Here is an entire post to "Ask Slashdot" without a question mark in the body. What is the question?

Re:And the question is (1)

Hey, Retard... (915400) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867455)

...are you blind?

Re:And the question is (1)

jma34 (591871) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867461)

Actually I did find the question mark. But I'm still wondering, really what is the question?

Government Stopping It (3, Insightful)

Kinky Bass Junk (880011) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867437)

Maybe it would help if the Government endorsed green fuels a little more. Here in Australia, we have a Government that taxes extremely highly, but doesn't provide any incentives to green fuel companies.

Wilma Is Not Global Warming (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13867439)

It's shaping up as an "extreme" week for global warming junk science. On Monday, the media reported about a new global warming study with headlines like UPI's "More Extreme Weather Predicted."

By Wednesday, Hurricane Wilma was labeled as the "strongest Atlantic hurricane ever reported," which no doubt will fuel claims that global warming is causing more intense hurricanes.

We can, however, weather such global warming alarmism with the pertinent facts.

Monday's news was generated by a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Purdue scientists who used a combination of mathematical models, historical weather data and local climate systems to supposedly predict that the interaction of increasing greenhouse gas concentrations and local geographic features will increase the frequency and severity of extreme weather events, such as floods and heat waves.

The first red flag, here, is the Purdue researchers' reliance on a mathematical model of global climate -- essentially the Purdue scientists' crude guess as to how our exceedingly complex climate system works.

While scientists and engineers often can use mathematics to successfully explain how many natural and artificial systems function -- where success can be determined by how well the model's results match up to real-world data -- successful climate modeling has so far proved to be too difficult to achieve. Richard Lindzen, the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at MIT, says that the models fail to correctly describe the behavior of clouds, which may cause predictions of higher temperatures to be three times too high.

In fact, no mathematical climate model has ever been validated against the historical temperature record. So why would anyone believe that climate models can predict future climate with any reasonable certainty?

Although the Purdue study claims that increasing greenhouse gas emission levels will lead to more extreme weather events, a look at the historical record seems to refute the claim.

During the 20th century, for example, atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide reportedly have increased by about 25 percent, from roughly 295 parts per million (ppm) to 370 ppm, with about two-thirds of the increase occurring after 1950. Based on the Purdue researchers' claims, we should then have expected to observe more extreme weather in the U.S. after 1950. But this hasn't been true in terms of temperatures.

During the 20th century, 26 states recorded their record low temperatures before 1950. Only 17 states recorded record high temperatures after 1950. So the post-1950 acceleration in greenhouse gas concentrations doesn't seem to have any effect on the occurrence of extreme temperatures.

There's little reason, then, to have confidence in the claims of the Purdue researchers.

Turning to Wilma -- and the inevitability that some will try to link her with the dreaded global warming -- real-life data again ought to defuse the alarmism.

Since it's generally agreed by climate researchers that manmade greenhouse gas emissions haven't caused an increase in the frequency of hurricanes, global warming advocates now claim that manmade greenhouse gas emissions will lead to stronger, or more "intense" hurricanes. Such claims have been made most recently in studies by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Kerry Emanuel (Nature, Aug. 4) and the Georgia Institute of Technology's Peter Webster (Science, Sep. 16).

Emanuel claimed in his paper that hurricane strength doubled over the last few decades. But as Virginia state climatologist Pat Michaels recently pointed out, if Emanuel's claim were true, then "the change would be obvious; you wouldn't need a weatherman to know which way this wind was blowing. All of these feuding scientists would have agreed on the facts long ago."

National Hurricane center expert Chris Landsea told the Chronicle of Higher Education (Sept. 8) that Emanuel's results are an artifact of the mathematical procedure he used to derive his claims. When looked at properly, the hurricanes of the past two decades aren't unprecedented, according to Landsea.

Webster claims in his paper that the number of severe hurricanes (Categories 4 and 5) has just about doubled since 1970. But Michaels looked under the pre-1970 stone and found that Webster was only telling half the story.

Michaels says that during the 25-year period before 1970 the trend was toward fewer strong storms.

"When taken as a whole, the pattern appears to be better characterized as being dominated by active and inactive periods that oscillate through time, rather than being one that indicates a temporal trend," wrote Michaels.

And as far as Wilma being the "strongest" hurricane on record, chief meteorologist for weatherunderground.com and former Hurricane Hunter flight meteorologist Jeff Masters told Reuters that similar storms could have occurred before the 1960s.

"Back then we didn't have satellites and we didn't have aircraft reconnaissance. So it's quite possible that a lot of those hurricanes [were as strong, or stronger than Wilma].We just weren't around there to see," said Masters.

If global warming science were like the kids' game Rock-Paper-Scissors, real-life climate data would trump crystal ball-like mathematical climate models every time. We just need to be on guard so that hysteria isn't allowed to trump the facts.

Re:Wilma Is Not Global Warming (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867630)

Translation: I don't want to change my energy gluttonous habits so I'll copy and paste some anti-science diatribe and sit back smugly and pray in the very back of my small, pointed, pseudo-scientific head that those guys aren't right about global warming.

Yeah, sure (0, Offtopic)

gerf (532474) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867441)

You know, everyone in my company recently donated $5 to a scholarship for a disabled kid.

If everyone in China, Russia, the US, India and Brazil, the LARGEST countries in the world, donated $5 per person, we could buy this kid a new pair of legs!

C'mon, geeks are too realistic/sarcastic/pessimistic for this type of a /. submission. I hope.

MOD PARENT UP! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13867598)

Seriously, what do they expect of "big corporations"? They're big, sure, but not always profitable, or able to throw money around as much as we'd like to think.

The incentives... (5, Insightful)

drmike0099 (625308) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867443)

Wal-mart: Buy a smaller car, cuz next week we're going to start paying you less.
McDonald's: Buy our salads and lose weight; it will cut your fuel costs by not dragging your fat butt (which you must have got at Burger King and not here) around.
UPS: Don't take it there and waste gas yourself, pay us to.
GM and Ford: Trade in that old, fuel-inefficient sedan for a new, advanced-fuel-utilization sport-utility vehicle. You know you want to!

Not just to mock this, but what incentives do these companies really have for their bottom line that would inspire them to make this an issue? As a rule, top companies stay out of potentially politically-charged issues, and this is, unfortunately, one of those.

Green isn't cheap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13867445)

The problems with company-sponsored incentives is that they add additional bureacracy to the company, which means higher costs to the consumer. Plus, there's a hidden cost to going green. I submit that the world would be greener if people kept their existing cars rather than trading them in prematurely for ones that offer a marginal improvement on environmental stress. The cost to the environment of producing all those "green" cars is worse than keeping your existing ones.

Rebates for Alternative Transportation (2, Interesting)

fossa (212602) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867448)

My father mentioned that his employer offered a rebate to employees who biked to work four days per week (I believe on the premise that biking to work to reduced parking lot crowding, but I can't remember the details).

I know that my city offers a rebate if one purchases a water saving washing machine (I live in a dry area). It seems cities should offer a similar rebate to those who bike to work (less traffic impact, less wear and tear on the roads, less pollution), or those who drive cleaner cars (less pollution). Proving one bikes/walks/etc. to work may be too difficult... Or perhaps the cost of roads is already built into vehicle registration.

Re:Rebates for Alternative Transportation (1)

E-Rock (84950) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867563)

Why should the goverment give you a gift (from other taxpayers) for a low water washing machine? It'd be better if they didn't subsidize the water to the point that it is almost free. Then your water saving washer would pay for itself, and more people would be encouraged by their own self interst into buying them.

Stop looking for handouts for doing the right thing. Lobby to have the goverment stop keeping the price of doing the wrong thing artifically low.

Re:Rebates for Alternative Transportation (1)

cortana (588495) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867640)

Yeah! It's not like the poor deserve clean running water in the first place! In fact that would kill both birds with the same stone--the increased incidence of water-bourn diseases will decrease the surplus population!

Re:Rebates for Alternative Transportation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13867645)

Why should the goverment give you a gift (from other taxpayers)

HAR HAR HAR

ZOMG, someone spends thousands in taxes and gets $50 back, that must be STEALING right from YOUR wallet, right?$!@

There are real reasons to be a libertarian. Stupid faggotry like this isn't one of them.

Re:Rebates for Alternative Transportation (1)

MoxFulder (159829) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867570)

Or perhaps the cost of roads is already built into vehicle registration.


Ha! Not likely :-) I don't think that $100 registration fee comes anywhere NEAR covering the enormous cost of building and maintaining roads in the USA...

I bike to work as well, for what it's worth. Ten miles round trip each day. I try to do most of my other errands by bike or metro (subway) as well.

FYI... (1, Insightful)

Jason Hildebrand (103827) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867450)

Green is not black and white.

Fuck the environment and you enviroweenies (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13867451)

I don't want to drive some underpowered Honda Hybrid, and I don't want to spend a fortune on all these overpriced "green" technologies that take decades before there MIGHT be a return.

Social engineers, fuck off.

Re:Fuck the environment and you enviroweenies (2, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867657)

Well, when the wheat belt moves up and out of much of the United States, and you have to come beggering to us Canucks for your hamburger buns, you might think differently. But have it your way. I do love to watch ostriches sticking their hand in the sand and talking out of their asses.

Ford and GM: not likely (4, Insightful)

rgoldste (213339) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867456)

"If Wal-Mart, McDonalds, UPS, GM, and Ford, the five companies that Fortune lists as having the most employees, all offered a similar incentive..."

Recall that Ford and GM missed the hybrid boat big time, and are now struggling to catch up with Honda and Toyota (who are developing prototype hydrogen cars already). Further, the Ford Escape hybrid (Ford's first hybrid), while technically a hybrid, has roughly the same fuel efficiency as the standard model; the electric engine is used to better performance, not efficiency. Thus, it's not clear how much green benefit society would get from Ford employees buying Ford hybrids.

Something tells me that Ford and GM wouldn't subsidize purchasing their competitors' cars, especially given their dire financial situation. Don't expect Ford and GM to jump on this bandwagon.

Re:Ford and GM: not likely (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867588)

Japan has a lot of Nuclear power plants an few natural resources, it's hardly supprising that Honda and Toyota are greener that Ford and GM.

Patents (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867634)

Recall that Ford and GM missed the hybrid boat big time, and are now struggling to catch up with Honda and Toyota (who are developing prototype hydrogen cars already).

It will take 20 years for US automakers to catch up, as Honda and especially Toyota have patents on the technology. Just be glad that Cher isn't going around lobbying for patent term extension.

A step in the right direction, but... (2, Insightful)

dslauson (914147) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867458)

That would be a step in the right direction. However, the added costs of buying a hybrid car still don't outweigh the money saved on gas. Not to mention, most employees of Wal-mart and McDonalds probably don't have a lot of money to be throwing around, regardless of their view of the environment.

So, if you could offer an incentive that would be enough to counterbalance those factors, then you might have something. Until then, saving the environment will be left to those of us who have the luxury of spending a little extra. Sad but true.

Paternalism (4, Insightful)

Brian Stretch (5304) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867459)

Is anyone else bothered by all these paternalistic, lead-the-unwashed-masses-by-the-hand approaches? Just give me my salary and I'll decide how I want to spend it. I'll make an exception for little things done in the name of tax efficiency though (buying bus passes for employees because it's a business tax deduction, etc), and even then only until the Flat Tax [stanford.edu] can be passed (alas, it won't be by President Bush).

Re:Paternalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13867543)

Yes, very.

Pffft...Green... (2, Funny)

BushCheney08 (917605) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867462)

Man, I got fired from my last job because of the green...

I love NewEnough (1)

zbuffered (125292) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867463)

They have the best customer service, the best prices, and their product pages are some of the most useful I've seen. It's a company that is run by actual, real-life people, and there's a lot to be said for that.

That said, I wonder why they didn't include the discount for those who commute to work on their (40mpg+) motorcycle? It's Texas, so that should be feasible year-round.

Re:I love NewEnough (1)

Knetzar (698216) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867509)

How about a discount for those that drive 5 miles instead of 25 miles? Fewer miles means more overall savings then a higher MPG.

And move every time you change jobs? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867675)

How about a discount for those that drive 5 miles instead of 25 miles?

I imagine that the discount would be designed to relocate people and their families closer to the workplace. In order for that to happen, the discount would have to be deep enough to cover the higher rent on living space that's close to job sites. Besides, now you've just replaced commuting to work with commuting to your kids' school, or is your partner staying home so that she can home-school the kids?

Turn off your monitors and the lights... (2, Interesting)

Myko (11551) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867472)

A lot more companies could go green in a different way - encourage their employees to turn off their lights and monitors when they leave (yeah, I know, ya gotta SSH/RDC, so leave the machine on...)

This would save a lot more energy than expecting employees to buy a new car just because they get a bit of an incentive.

Re:Turn off your monitors and the lights... (1)

vantango (719830) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867622)

We encourage our employees to switch off their monitor when the go to lunch, meetings, or home.

Our office lights have their own sensors at each light. They switch themselves off when they detect no motion. And no, they never turn off while you're still there.

The lights also detect the amount of light they emit and adjust accordingly (each light can be programmed as well). eg. Lights near the window will dim (or turn off completely) when the sun comes out.

Incentives aren't free ya know... (3, Insightful)

djrogers (153854) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867482)

Basic economics - if The 5 companies you mentioned offered incentinves to their 2.7million workers, we the customers of said companies would be the ones paying for it. This is simply wealth redistribution on a corporate level, and I doubt we'll see much of it...

Frankly, if I wanted to support 'greenism' at the cash register, I'd buy MYSELF a green fueled car. I don't really want to buy one for someone else, so I'd probably wind up looking up at companies whose prices aren't inflated by such things...

I like competitive prices... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13867483)

What's the point of the fake incentives? It will just add cost to American products and hurt out competitiveness. As a stockholder I demand my companies make the most money possible.

Buying New and Green vs. Buying Old (1)

fossa (212602) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867493)

I've heard numerous times that it's cheaper in terms of energy to buy a used and inefficient car than to have a factory manufacture a new gree car... Thoughts?

Incentive = Marketing (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867497)

The incentive here is to be just a little greener, and verifiably so, than your competition, and to shout it from the rooftops. If the American consumer REALLY (and are they???) is interested in 'being green' (whatever that means), then they'll come to you. Your competition counters with similar moves, so you go 'greener', until one of you reaches the point where you can't absorb the cost without raising prices to the point that suddenly your market stops caring about being green.

Other than that, there is NO incentive for 'being green', unless you count Government regulation ... but that confuses the power of the dollar with the power of the gun, so its not part of logical discourse.

GM and Ford? (1)

TodLiebeck (633704) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867506)

GM and Ford are not in a position at present to offer additional incentives to their employees unless they will have a direct impact on their bottom lines. This is likely to remain the case for the next several years.

For sure! (1, Insightful)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867507)

Oh hell yes, lets do! If there is an area of our private lives that the Federal, State now local government can't find a way to micromanage for us, by all means lets bully private industry into doing it instead. I'm a fscking moron who could never make a sensible decision on my own so please have someone else make it for me.

Yea, right. The fact that crap like this makes the front page of slashdot instead of being silently deleted along with black helicopter chaser posts that I'm sure they get a hundred of every day tells me this stupid idea isn't being seen as stupid by nearly enough people.... so expect it to be the next 'big thing' in freedom reduction by the leftist moonbat activists.

Incentive? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13867508)

The problem with Americans is that they need an incentive to go green. Why put the burden on employers to offer incentives to their employees, when the employees and citizens themselves should see the incentives of reduced fuel costs, decreased housing energy cost decreased pollution, etc. I think this is a consequence of the instant gratification mentality of the US, i.e, I need to receive money in my pocket right now for doing this.

Re:Incentive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13867686)

"Why put the burden on employers to offer incentives to their employees, when the employees and citizens themselves should see the incentives of reduced fuel costs, decreased housing energy cost decreased pollution, etc."

Oh, yes! That $.50 per fill-up savings is really a great incentive! Let me go purchase a ridiculously overpriced hybrid now, with money I don't have! Say, sir, may I hold a knife to your throat and mug you? I must buy a new hybrid vehicle, to be a good citizen!

Dumbass.

The free market is already doing it (1)

geekee (591277) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867531)

Because of rising gas prices, SUV popularity has dropped substantially. If companies want to improve the environment, they should invest r&d money into more energy friendly products. I don't really see the incentive to encouraging employees to "be green" for a company, since this costs money, and there's no return on the money, other than marketing your company as environmentally friendly.

Re:The free market is already doing it (1)

zerus (108592) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867606)

I agree, is it even the company's best interest to pay their employees to go green? Shouldn't there be tax incentives instead? Maybe lowering the cost of state registration/title/wheel taxes for energy efficient vehicles? To me, this is pretty far out of the scope of a business. Making their own vehicles energy efficient as UPS and Fedex have done is one thing, but throwing money away to employees for this is a bad move for the bottom line. If the world wants to go green, make the cost and effort to switch negligible to that of not going green.

On Lab Parking (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13867549)

JPL lets you park on lab if you have a hybrid. That may not seem like much but it is better than the 10 minute walk from the East lot.

Greenbacks (5, Informative)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867561)

In California there's a market for "landfill credits". Corporations get landfill credits they spend when filling land with waste. They can trade their unused credits in a market. I used to work for a recycling company that was paid to haul off several shipping containers each week from Silicon Valley firms, which then traded that volume in credits for cash. Big "customers" of ours included Apple, HP, IBM, Lockheed, Bank of America. We resold and recycled all that material, redistributing technology around the Pacific Rim in partnership with our Phillipine and Australian branches. California managed its landfill expansion, corporations had a market for their participation, material got distributed more around the world, and we made a bundle. And I got to play with the craziest Frankenstein lab ever, right on the shore of the San Francisco Bay - even buying my first BMW for $300 as "salvage" - and my first SGIs and VAX, too, along with all kinds of Akihabara-grade tech mutants. The landfill market monetized the hidden costs of the product lifecycle which otherwise would be paid by everyone in pollution costs, while still making clear that "we're all in it together". When the actual costs are included in the economy, the incentives for "going Green" are simple and obvious.

But the Heart of our Economy is Oil (1)

DarthTeufel (751532) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867565)

Too much of our GDP is in oil and oil related industries. Thats why there isn't an active pursuit of affordable alternative energy sources.

Going Green = Hell for Mechanics (1, Insightful)

OneByteOff (817710) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867573)

Hybrid vehicles are often difficult to work on, non-serviceable (if something breaks it must be replaced rather then fixed) and the training offered by the factory on performing the work is long and in my opinion not enough qualified mechanics to provide quality service in reasonable time and at a cost consumers can afford.

While there are a significant amount of trained mechanics/technicians, an influx of 2.6 millions possible new consumers might very well lead to a shortage of skilled labor in this field. Imagine bringing your hybrid car in for service and being told you can have it back in a month due to a backlog of work. You take it to dealer #2, and he says a month and a half, now you bring it back to dealer #1 the next day just to find out the wait list turned into 2 months...

Today's work habits are silly anyway. (2, Funny)

Ivan Matveitch (748164) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867580)

It would be far more convenient to live for ten days at work, working sixteen hours each day, and then take twenty days off, repeating the cycle every month. One could then take twelve vacations per year.

Diesel (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13867597)

Can diesel really considered to be "going green"?

Going green? The USA? You're kidding!? (2, Insightful)

Simonetta (207550) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867618)

There are basicly two Americas now: the red states (rednecks) and the blue states (blue noses). This isn't a state division so much as it is an urban vs. rural/suburban division. Its roots go back to the division between the original settlers of the USA who came two-three hundred years ago and the people whose ancestors immigrated here a hundred years ago.

    The reds are not going to go green - ecology - earth-friendly - global-consciousness or whatever you want to call it. They are direct descendents of the Indian killers who believe that God has given them America as a promised land to do whatever they want with it with His blessing. They are the ones with the $30000 absurdly oversized giant 4x4 trucks parked out in front of the WalMart. These are the people who form the alliance between the fundamentalist churches and the multi-national corporations. They consistently vote against their own economic interest in the belief that allowing the global corporations free reign will get them a guaranteed ticket to heaven. They vote for the most reactionary politicians, fly flags on their giant trucks, and support with their children's blood any crypto-fascist or bone-headed foreign policy war or adventure. They support Jesus; they hate big government and liberals. As as the US economy holds together and they keep getting their checks from the feds, they will be 100% against any form of going green or environmental protection simply on principal. These people would rather kill you than listen to you explain about the long-term consequences of their bone-head mentality. These people aren't unique to the USA, but there are some many more of them in the USA than elsewhere because the USA has so much more money than other places.

    The blues are primary city people. They are much more open to adapting to international environmental policies and going green. However their only hope of implementing a change in US government policy is to break the connection between the fundamentalists and multi-national corporations. Since they don't have the ability to offer the reds a ticket-to-heaven and would impose restrictions on the pollution generated by the corporations, their current prospects are bleak (Especially since they don't count the votes). These people will individually buy 'green' products, but they won't have any influence on the policies of the major corporations. As for getting WalMart to do anything progressive, forget it. It's a lost cause there.

    The only way to get the USA to adopt 'green' policies is unbalance their economy. Whether this will happen without any serious organized international attempt to do is currently anyone's guess. But will the American people voluntarily adopt 'green' policies, don't hold your breath. It's most unlikely.

Support the gasoline tax! (4, Insightful)

Chalex (71702) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867625)

A number of economists agree that the simple tactic (from your intro microeconomics class) of imposing a tax on the consumption of gasoline will do a lot more social good than harm. You can read more about it at the excellent blog http://www.env-econ.net/ [env-econ.net]

Of course, no one wants to pay even more for gasoline! Many Americans don't realize that they already pay much less than people in other parts of the world.

Haha... right (3, Insightful)

lewp (95638) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867635)

Because the only thing standing in the way of the Wal-Mart "associate" with 2 kids working for minimum wage 31 hours per week or the 16 year old kid flipping burgers at McDonald's buying a US$21,000 Prius is the lack of corporate incentives. Sure both companies have their share of white collar work force, but let's keep in mind who the vast majority of the foot soldiers are.

Unless those corporate incentives amounted to about US$20,990 I don't think so. Half these people would kill for any reliable transportation, much less some slick hybrid. Give it ten years for plenty of them to leak into the used market, then we'll talk.

Gee why not get the government involved (2, Informative)

technoextreme (885694) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867643)

Ooo wait. They all ready have. I can get my home installed with solar cells and New York State will pick up the tab.

Who cares about the environment? (1)

leoxx (992) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867646)

Corporations should not be doing "green" things for the sake of the environment, they should be doing it for the sake of their bottom lines. The fact is [rmi.org] , increasing operating efficiency will not only reduce energy use and ultimately green house gas emissions, it can also significantly reduce operating costs and increase profit.

Natural Incentives (4, Interesting)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867660)

Why not let capitalism be the incentive?

As fuel prices increase, everyone has an incentive to do _something_ that reduces their fuel consumption, walking, better mpg, moving home etc.

The government should be the ones nudging the course of the economy and environment by taxing fuel and penalising pollution the right amount. For too long *some* countries in the world (no names) have been taking fuel for granted, im sorry but you just cant all spend your life driving everywhere you go in a 12 mpg truck, the economics of that lifestyle on mass are just not compatible with the worlds resources and atmosphere, your hummer is causing a deficit somewhere, and somehow that deficit needs to be collected, whether its from fuel tax, emissions ratings or whatever.

Yeah I know in reality capitalism probably doesn't work like that, but there is definitely something wrong when I can't afford to have a car because in my country the costs are through the roof and in other countries you can't afford not to have a car because the costs are so low.

low-interest car loans (1)

evershade (894700) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867665)

Vancity, a large credit union on the west coast of Canada offered (and i believe still does) low-interest car loans if you're purchasing something deemed to be a cleaner car (hybrid, efficient). Not sure exactly how the criteria are worked out.

Ask the government! (0, Troll)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867669)

Because, after all, the US was the *FIRST* country to vote in favor of the Kyot... :( nevermind.

GE and ecomagination (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13867673)

I work for GE, and they have launched a campaing doubed ecomagination [ecomagination.com] that goes all the way from research to (of course) marketing. While this is not a campaigne aimed at getting employees to go green, its a business modle that bets on a future industry centered around competitive advantage through environmentally friendly/friendlier products.

Is there yet a supportable case for 'going green'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13867696)

Wouldn't it make far more sense to first build a truly supportable case for 'going green'?

On a personal level, there are few 'green' technologies that are functional, reliable under widespread use, and don't have massive potential downsides

This plan would incent people to buy hybrids that can't possibly pay back their additional costs over their useful lifetime, have environmentally unsound battery packs chock-full of heavy metals, and a potential battery disposal nightmare.

Solar panels you say? In some cases, they still can take more energy to manufacture than they will produce in a 10 year period.
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