1. Caterpillar bulldozes to fuel efficiency and less greenhouse gases
California’s Air Resources Board continues to formulate plans for cap and trade, mandatory reporting, carbon offsets and other mandates to reach bold California-only emission goals.  There are, though, other forces out there promoting change that are a win-win for everyone.  Take for example the Caterpillar D7E Track Type Tractor (what we call a bulldozer and pictured below) that was unveiled last week in front of the Cal EPA building.  This innovation screamer is a result of Caterpillar’s focus on the marketplace and reducing the operating costs of their customers.  CARB acknowledged this innovative approach for powering these off-road machines at the recent unveiling of their new funding program for clean engine technologies  (see CARB release).

The machine looks like all the others you see working at various construction sites across the state.   It’s only when you open the hood that you find that this machine is not like all the others because it relies on a new diesel electric drive technology that like a hybrid uses an engine to generate electricity which then runs most of the applications on the machine. Unlike a hybrid it doesn’t store the energy but uses it to keep the machine cutting through the dirt – at a 20-30 percent fuel economy improvement (which equates to an equal amount of CO2 reductions).

So why is this Important? California leads the way on emission efficiencies, ranking second only behind Rhode Island according to the "2009 Competitiveness Redbook".  This position is the result of the ingenuity of California’s workforce and manufacturers, and measures like CARB’s grant program that incent cutting edge companies to help California lead the way.  We must ensure that the state’s greenhouse gas policies and mandates don’t hamper these innovations which have made California a recognized leader.

Governor Schwarzenegger has laid out lofty greenhouse gas reduction goals — 20 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050 — so maybe a 20 to 30 percent fuel economy improvement for a bulldozer doesn’t seem like much, but when you add up the fact that this machine can burn through more than 2,500 gallons of fuel a year, those savings start to add up.

2.  International Paper grows its West Sacramento recycling facility
Last month, International Paper rolled out its newest recycling facility in West Sacramento — 57,000 feet of acreage and 30 employees will take their place in IP’s Recycling Business which manages over 6 million tons of recycled paper per year.  IP said they intend to grow more in West Sacramento, but of course operating costs will dictate if and when that plays out.  This facility alone (one of three in California) will process 4,000 tons of material per month.  West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon and California Integrated Waste Management Board Chairwoman Margo Reid Brown both appeared at the ceremony to congratulate IP on its leadership.

Why is this important you ask?  This is the second company in California that unveiled in the last two weeks yet more green contributions that were not a result of government mandates, but outcomes of public awareness campaigns, market shrewdness, innovation and customer demand.

Interesting facts about the recycling industry:

Cost range for a bale of recycled paper: $30 to $450
Workers: 85,000
Salaries & wages: $4 billion
Good & services: $10 billion
First California recycling campaign: 1981

From Left: Carlos Ramos – area plant manager, IP Recycling Business; Clark Weiss – operations manager, West Sacramento Recycling plant; Pete Grogan – manager of market development and innovation, IP RecyclingBusiness; Ram Surat – materials handler, West Sac Recycling Plant; Bill Lampe – director of operations, IP Recycling Business; West Sac Mayor Christopher Cabaldon; Margo Reid Brown – chair of CIWMB; Katie Brown – Margo’s daughter