Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Al Gore and Mikhail Gorbachev battle for control of .eco domain

Elizabeth Judge
Al Gore, the former American vice-president, is at loggerheads with Mikhail Gorbachev, the Russian ex-president, over the rights to control a new “green” internet domain that could be worth billions.
The right to operate .eco — the green equivalent to .co.uk or .com — could become available as early as next year after efforts to extend the web’s reach by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann), the body that oversees the internet’s structure.
The potential awarding of the coveted domain — a right that comes with a $100,000-plus (£60,700) price tag — has sparked a landgrab that has the two former statesmen pitted against each other.
Mr Gore has lent his support to an alliance called Dot Eco LLC, while Mr Gorbachev is indirectly linked to Big Room, a Canadian alliance, through the support of Green Cross International, the Swiss-based ethical and social causes charity that he founded.
In an attempt to secure the moral high ground, Big Room promises that, if it wins the contest, it will donate a quarter of the sales that it generates selling domain names to environmental and social causes.
Big Room is also pledging to ensure that it will award a domain name only to groups that provide proof of their green credentials, thus making .eco into a cyber environmental kitemark.
Trevor Bowden, a co-founder of Big Room, said: “Domain names are uniquely able to fight for our planet because they are global, accessible from any web browers, anytime, anywhere and already used by millions.
“.eco will open up a whole new suite of domains that will make it easier for ecofriendly businesses, organisations, and people to find each other and brand themselves online.”
He declined to say how much he would charge companies to use a .eco domain name if Big Room was successful, but added that the price would be “competitive with other internet names that are on the market”.
The rush for .eco is part of a wider grab for new web addresses after Icann liberalised the awarding of top-level domains, such as .com or .uk.
The internet body announced last year that, under new rules, people would be able to apply for any top-level name at the end of a web address. Previously, they had been restricted.
Scripts other than Latin, such as Chinese, Japanese, Arabic and Cyrillic, will also be allowed. The owner of a domain wins the right to sell web addresses that fit its criteria.
Last month Mr Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection released a green paper containing its pitch for ownership of the domain. The group said that it was “committed to operating .eco as a tight, customer-focused, well-run business in order to use our revenues to help the environment”.
Adam Taylor, of Adlex solicitors, which specialises in internet matters, said: “Given that these two big players are already involved, I would expect there to be a lot of interest in this.” Despite the potential financial gain, he said that the costs of operating an internet registry were considerable because of the costs of providing the necessary databases, servers and routers. Verisign, the company that owns and manages .com, is estimated to have spent more than $100 million developing the .com infrastructure.
Getting the point
• The most popular top-level domain in the world is .com
• Every country has its own domain code, such as .de (Germany) and .fr (France)
• There are 21 top-level domains, ranging from .org to .net
• Icann, a not-for-profit body, was set up in 1998 to oversee the structure of the internet

Miners Push Back Against Plan to Impose Royalties

White House efforts to require more mining companies to pay royalties are running into resistance from the industry, which argues that new burdens would jeopardize green energy.
If too many costs are imposed on domestic miners, the U.S. will be importing even more of the raw materials used to make such items as wind turbines, hybrid vehicles and solar panels, said Laura Skaer, executive director of the Northwest Mining Association, a trade group.

"Then we've traded our dependence on Mideast oil for a dependence on foreign minerals," Ms. Skaer said. The zinc, molybdenum and rare-earth minerals needed for wind turbines, copper for hybrid cars and titanium and cobalt for solar panels are imported from China, Peru and elsewhere.
Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D., N.M.) said imposing new fees won't crush the $70 billion-a-year mining business. "This is not intended to harm the mining industry economically," he said. "I don't see how it impacts our ability to transform to a clean-energy economy."
The Obama administration wants to raise tens of millions of dollars by changing a 137-year-old law that allows private companies to extract minerals from public lands without paying royalties.
Mr. Bingaman and others who support changing the law say there is no reason for the industry to be governed by a law that dates to 1872. Companies that take such commodities as coal and oil from public lands pay royalties.
"Given our current economic crisis and the empty state of our national treasury, it is ludicrous to be allowing this outmoded law to continue," Rep. Nick Rahall (D., W.Va.) said earlier this year. He has introduced legislation to impose an 8% royalty on production value.
Mr. Bingaman's bill would impose royalties of 2% to 5%.
Under the bills, royalties and other fees would be used to clean up thousands of abandoned mining sites. The Environmental Protection Agency last month reported that mining has polluted 3,400 miles of streams and 440,000 acres of land and continues to release enormous quantities of toxic chemicals.
The industry disputes those findings and says most pollution can be blamed on long-shuttered mines, not modern operations.
Industry officials say they are open to paying some royalties, but only on net profits, not raw production. They also plan to fight any legislation that puts significant expanses of land off-limits to mining to protect scenery, habitat or tourism potential.
As the law now stands, mining is the "highest and best use" of most public land with mineral deposits, giving the industry priority over recreation, ranching and other interests.
Proposals to revise the 1872 law have been around for years. Recently, some environmentalists have accused Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of blocking changes. Mr. Reid represents Nevada, which is rich in gold mines.
Mr. Reid didn't respond to allegations that he is preventing changes to the law. His spokesman, Jon Summers, said the Democratic senator would support "mining law reform, done responsibly." Any overhaul, Mr. Summers said, would have to take into account the effects on mining towns and mining jobs.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told Congress last month that the administration was committed to overhauling the law. But Mr. Bingaman said he wasn't sure the administration would prevail.
Ms. Skaer, the industry representative, said no one should be in a rush to rewrite the law.
"The U.S. Constitution is about 100 years older than the mining law," she said. "And I don't hear anyone calling it out of date."
Write to Stephanie Simon at stephanie.simon@wsj.com

Labor Secretary Says Green Jobs Hiring Will Pick Up

Associated Press
LAS VEGAS -- Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said Monday that she believes hiring in the alternative-energy industry will pick up in the next 12 months, but it will take longer than that for so-called green jobs to become a bigger part of the U.S. job market.
Ms. Solis told he Associated Press on Monday that new government incentives will kick-start hiring in the fledgling industry as companies regain confidence.
Those scheduled to appear at the second National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas include former President Bill Clinton, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Al Gore will also speak.
Polls have already shown that as the economy worsened, Americans were less enthusiastic about environmental policies that would come at the expense of jobs and an improving economy.
That has created a rift between political leaders at the state and federal levels as to how aggressively the U.S. should push to create green jobs.
Money had already begun to flow into the sector at a record pace last year before new government initiatives were announced, but also before the full weight of the recession became apparent.
Wind, solar and other alternative energy companies have been forced to cut back on workers. Projects were canceled as credit markets froze and venture capital evaporated.
The Obama administration continues to authorize investments in alternative energy companies and last week announced $2.4 billion in federal grants to develop next-generation electric vehicles and batteries.
The announcements were made by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in Detroit and in a hard-hit region of Indiana.
Michigan, which has been devastated by job losses in the auto industry, would see companies within its borders get $1 billion in federal grants with the administration pushing green jobs as part of its economic cure.
The alternative energy sector could spark a new "industrial revolution," with better prospects for minorities and new training for workers with traditional vocational skills, Ms. Solis said.
Copyright © 2009 Associated Press

Ban Ki-moon warns of catastrophe without world deal on climate change

Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations Secretary-General, has warned of "catastrophic consequences" unless a new international agreement on greenhouse gas emissions is reached.

By Jon Swaine Published: 1:12PM BST 10 Aug 2009

Climate change is "simply the greatest collective challenge we face as a human family", Mr Ban said in a speech on Monday in Seoul.
He urged international leaders to reach a deal to limit their countries' carbon emissions at the UN climate conference in Copenhagen in December.

A replacement for the 1997 Kyoto protocol, which expires in 2012, is supposed to be negotiated at the summit. Mr Ban said the leaders had a "once-in-a-generation opportunity".
"We have a chance to put in place a climate change agreement that all nations can embrace, which will be equitable, balanced, comprehensible," Mr Ban said.
"The world has less than 10 years to halt the global rise in greenhouse gas emissions if we are to avoid catastrophic consequences for people and the planet."
He called on governments to "seal the deal in the name of humankind" through a "renewed multilateralism, a compassionate multilateralism."
Mr Ban said that the threat of climate change was made worse because of other era-defining crises. "We are living through an age of multiple crisis," he said. "Fuel, flu and food, and most seriously, financial. Each is something not seen for years, even for generations. But now they are hitting us all at once."
World leaders are likely to arrive in Copenhagen with sharply different views on the amount by which carbon emissions should be reduced.
The countries of the European Union have already committed themselves to a 20 per cent cut on 1990 emissions levels by 2020, followed by an 80 per cent cut by 2050.
New Zealand announced on Monday that it would cut emissions by 10 to 20 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020.
However, the US Senate is expected to pass a bill to cut emissions by only 17 per cent on 2005 levels by 2020.
Meanwhile China and India, both keen to protect their ability to continue mass industrialisation, have refused to offer any specific targets for cuts to their emissions. They are also insisting that both Europe and the US commit to 40 per cent cuts in emissions by 2020 against 1990 levels.
The Pacific Islands Forum, representing the group of low-lying island nations threatened by rising sea levels, last week urged cuts of 45 per cent.
Scientists have warned that reductions of 25 to 40 per cent are needed to prevent global temperatures from rising 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F).
Last week Yu Qingtai, China's top climate envoy, reiterated his country's view that developed nations had a moral obligation to make the more drastic cuts because they had prospered from decades of emissions.
He said China's only "quantified and measurable target" would be an aim to reduce energy consumption per unit of its gross domestic product by 20 per cent on 2005 levels by 2010.
Yvo de Boer, the executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, admitted that there was currently little consensus on the necessary extent of cuts.
"We are not even at the stage yet where we have all the initial emissions reduction offers from all industrialised countries," he said.
John Prescott, the former deputy Prime Minister, who helped broker the Kyoto deal, warned rich nations would have to make more sacrifices.
"Copenhagen is a much more difficult nut to crack than Kyoto," Mr Prescott warned, adding rich countries faced having to make a "fundamental change" to their economies.

Supermarket offers and food waste targeted in goverment's food strategy

All aspects of food – production, processing, distribution, retail, consumption and waste – must be addressed, says Hilary Ben
Martin Wainwright
guardian.co.uk, Monday 10 August 2009 11.57 BST
Fewer cut-price supermarket gimmicks and other measures to help target food waste are central to a new government food security strategy to maintain UK food supplies for the next 40 years.
The strategy is highly critical of bogof - "buy one get one free" - offers and heavily reduced "loss leader" lines that encourage shoppers to buy food they don't need which eventually ends up in the bin. And it calculates that reducing food waste has the potential to cut carbon emissions equal to taking a fifth of the country's traffic off the roads. It also promotes leaner and healthier diets, along with higher crop yields and a move towards accepting genetically modified crops.
The series of reports called Food 2030 had been expected last month but was delayed by internal disagreement within the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and foot-dragging over measures that would potentially be unpopular with voters.
Launching the strategy the environment secretary Hilary Benn said: "Last year the world had a wake-up call with the sudden oil and food price rises, but the full environmental costs and the costs to our health remain significant and hidden. We need to tackle diet-related ill health that already costs the NHS and the wider economy billions of pounds each year.
"We need everyone in the food system to get involved — from farmers and retailers to the health service, schools and consumers. Our strategy needs to cover all aspects of our food — production, processing, distribution, retail, consumption and disposal."
It was welcomed by some food specialists who argue that government must provide a brake to consumer-driven market forces. But there was criticism that action with real bite, including curbs on the power of supermarkets over suppliers, and carbon emissions from farming, remained too vague.
There was also frustration that the government was still producing policy strategies and consultations a year on from a major report commissioned at the height of global food price rises from the Cabinet Office called Food Matters. Many felt the new strategy did not include enough substantial changes.
Meredith Alexander, head of food policy at the charity ActionAid UK, said: "The government launched an inquiry into ways supermarkets abuse their market power in May 2006. Three years later, they are only now considering whether or not to actually do something about these bullying practices that contribute to poverty wages overseas."
Professor Tim Lang of City University, a specialist on food policy and member of the Sustainable Development Commission, said: "The issue is how radical or slight will changes for consumers be, and how soft or hard will the policy changes be?
"It's good to see Defra at last championing the view that the UK's food system needs to become very different. But I predict that some very uncomfortable and unpopular decisions will lie ahead for governments in coming years.
"The dominant policy language of recent years has centred on markets, choice and consumer sovereignty. These are too simplistic now. Politics needs to move fast."
Apart from targeting wasteful supermarket offers the reports also promise further action on reducing "tempting" packaging and encouraging restaurants to highlight calorie counts. Food waste in the UK is currently running at average of £420-worth per household, rising to £610 in families with children.
Benn also said that food producers in Britain would have to adapt to climate change, and perhaps grow crops in different areas where they were previously difficult to grow. The report warns that the face of the countryside will have to continue to change to guarantee food security, with GM crop experiments part of the strategy.
"We need to think about the way in which we produce our food, the way we use water and fertiliser," Benn said. "We will need science and we will need more people to come into farming because it has a bright future." He added that global food production had to increase by 70% to feed a world population of 9bn in 2050.
The National Farmers' Union welcomed the strategy's 'joined-up' approach, involving all government departments linked to food production, including the Treasury. NFU president Peter Kendall called for a similar improvement in co-ordinating food research, as well as monitoring GM's effect on the animal feed market as well as pig and poultry production.
He also appealed for a level playing field on sustainability, with strict measures applying to imports as well as home-grown food. He said: "It would make no sense to insist that our production was sustainable but increasingly rely on imports that are not."
Dr Tom MacMillan, executive director of the Food Ethics Council, complimented Defra on "taking a systematic approach to assessing food security" and getting on with the job. But he questioned whether the department had enough clout to tackle wider issues involved in food waste and poor diet.
"For instance, a big factor in food insecurity is income inequality, and you can't crack that by fiddling about with food prices. It calls for better social protection in the UK and internationally," he said. "Another big question mark is over climate change. One of government's most important commitments in Food Matters [a government report published in July 2008] was to push for European climate agreements to take account of methane and nitrous oxide from farming, yet so far all that's happened is a seminar with the French.
"To achieve its aims, the department needs a stronger mandate from the government."
David Adam
Hilary Benn yesterday reignited the debate on growing GM crops in Britain when he suggested the controversial plants could contribute to increased food security. He said: "If GM can make a contribution then we have a choice as a society and as a world about whether to make use of that technology."
GM: feeding the world with science
No GM crops are grown commercially in Britain, although several varieties are farmed extensively in mainland Europe, the United States and elsewhere. This is less down to UK government policy than a reluctance among seed companies to apply for the relevant permits, given the high-profile backlash in Britain against GM food a decade or so ago.
Ministers have never ruled out GM in the UK and a series of comments from inside Whitehall in recent years have prompted speculation that a new industry charm-initiative is preparing to sprout.
In 2008, then environment minister Phil Woolas, said Britain was rethinking its position on GM due to a "growing question" of whether it could help feed the developing world.
Industry bodies have also used the recent food crisis as leverage, though Martin Taylor, head of GM firm Syngenta, told the Guardian last year: "GM won't solve the food crisis, at least not in the short term".
David Adam
From allotment to table in 50 years
With the appetite for home-grown food growing like, well, bindweed, it is good to see urban balconies and backyards groaning under the weight of courgettes and tomatoes. But with National Allotment Week starting today, it is hard to see how the government can meet the demand.
The waiting list in Camden and Islington for an allotment now stands at a staggering 40 and 25 years respectively. With more than 80,000 people nationwide facing an average three-year wait, this isn't all due to middle-class demand – or the Observer Organic Allotment. Research released today by home insurance firm LV shows that 56 per cent of allotment users use their plot to save money, while more than a third do so because of concerns about pesticides.
London food czar Rosie Boycott has promised 2012 new plots by (you guessed it) 2012 and even the venerable National Trust is promising 1,000 new plots in the next three years to help meet this growing demand to grow your own. And if you get your name down today in Camden, your first crop will be ready just in time for 2050.
Allan Jenkins is allotment gardener-in-chief and editor of Observer Magazine

Jeremy Paxman's brother launches battle against wind turbines

Jeremy Paxman's brother has launched a battle against plans for nine 120ft wind turbines overlooking Dartmoor national park which he said would "stick out like a sore thumb".

By Caroline Gammell Published: 7:00AM BST 10 Aug 2009

James Paxman also criticised the Government's policy of subsidising wind energy, arguing that turbines were one of the least cost effective and reliable ways to generate electricity.
He said the proposed wind farm in Den Brook Valley, north Tawton, would ruin the landscape and affect tourism, a major part of the local economy.

Mr Paxman, 55, is the chief executive of the Dartmoor Preservation Association (DPA) and gave evidence at a public inquiry this week over whether the farm should be built.
In 2005, Renewable Energy Systems (RES) applied to build nine wind turbines in the Den Brook Valley.
This application was refused by the West Devon Borough Council and so the company appealed and won.
In response, local residents set up The Den Brook Judicial Review Group and took RES to the Court of Appeal, where the decision was reversed.
A public inquiry was called and began this week. It was adjourned until October where more evidence will be heard.
In his evidence at the inquiry, Mr Paxman, a former telecommunications manager, said the DPA was not against wind turbines, but was concerned that they could affect protected areas.
"There will be a significant affect on the character of the local countryside," he said. "We have an absolute gem here in Devon. It is real arcadia.
"We feel that there will be significant damage which will outweigh the benefits. The wind farm will be completely incongruous in terms of scale and structure.
"It will stick out like a sore thumb."
He said: "It is less than 4.5 kilometres from the edge of Dartmoor National Park, and so visible from the high moor and the northern edges of the National Park.
"The Den Brook turbines at 120 metres are only two metres short of the height of Salisbury Cathedral, the highest spire in the country.
"Nine turbines of this height would be conspicuous from a large number of viewpoints in the northern part of Dartmoor."
Mr Paxman, who lives in Lustleigh on the edge of Dartmoor national park, cited the example of Whinash wind farm in Cumbria.
Planning permission was rejected, he said, because of the "potential harm to that particular landscape, and the proximity to two national parks, outweighed the benefits of renewable energy".
Mr Paxman said he thought the Government's renewable energy subsidies were skewed in favour of wind turbines.
"It is my personal opinion that wind turbines are one of the least reliable and least cost-effective modes of electricity generation," he said.
"I believe that the subsidies have been diverting the lion's share of government and corporate funding away from the development of other renewable energy systems with far greater potential for more reliable and cost-effective power generation."
A decision is expected in the autumn.
A spokesman from the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: "The UK has the largest potential wind energy resource in Europe.
"Wind power is one of the most commercially competitive forms of renewable energy and the one that is technologically most able to deliver serious amounts of power. It makes good sense to take advantage of this."

Climate change campaigners stage protest at Mandelson's home

Activists gather outside business secretary's London home in 'act of solidarity' for 625 workers set to lose their jobs at the Vestas wind turbine factory on the Isle of Wight
Press Association
guardian.co.uk, Monday 10 August 2009 12.09 BST
Protesters against the closure of a wind turbine factory chained themselves to Lord Mandelson's home today as the business secretary jetted back from Corfu to take control of the day-to-day business of government.
Members of the Climate Rush campaign group gathered outside Mandelson's two-storey property in Regent's Park, north London, in an "act of solidarity" with 625 workers who are set to lose their jobs at the Vestas factory in Newport, Isle of Wight.
Ellie Robson, 21, a history undergraduate at Cambridge University, said she wanted to expose the government's hypocrisy over climate change as she chained herself to railings outside the business secretary's house.
She said: "Less than two weeks after announcing the government's plans for a low-carbon Britain, Vestas shut down because there's no demand for wind turbines in this country.
"Mandelson, the man in charge of the nation's purse strings, jets off to Corfu and ignores the Vestas workers' occupation.
"If we're going to have a low-carbon Britain then we need our government to support these workers, rather than forcing the closure of their factory and the loss of their jobs."
No one minister has officially been deputising for Gordon Brown over the weekend after Harriet Harman's foreign holiday overlapped with the business secretary's.
Downing Street was forced to issue a swift insistence that the PM remained "in charge" amid speculation that Mandelson would be running the show via mobile phone from the Greek island.
But a spokesman for Mandelson, who was flying back from the Greek island today, insisted it had been pre-agreed that he would be stand-in from his return today until 16 August, when he is expected to hand over to the chancellor, Alistair Darling.
The occupation of the Danish-owned Vestas factory ended last week when workers left the building after an 18-day protest.
One of the workers jumped 20 feet from a balcony before being led away by security guards, waving and smiling at the climate change activists and trade unionists who have been outside giving support during the protest.
The factory's owner, Vestas Wind Systems, had obtained a court order after six workers barricaded themselves into the plant, on an industrial estate on the outskirts of Newport, for more than two weeks in a bid to delay its closure and the loss of 625 jobs.
Mandelson was pictured at the weekend enjoying the hospitality of Nathaniel Rothschild, but appeared to have avoided the political furore sparked by his Corfu break last year.
In an interview published today by the Guardian, Lord Mandelson described himself more of a "kindly pussycat" than a "big beast" of politics.
"I don't really see myself as a big beast. More as a kindly pussycat. Yes, a kindly pussycat. I'm a kindly pussycat, with strong views about what we need to do," he said.
"I think 10 years ago, and also 15 years ago, I was a very hard-nosed, uncompromising figure who was manning the barricades of change in the Labour party, and prepared to take down anything or anyone who stood in the way," he said.
"I don't feel in that mode now. And secondly, I've learned from experience that you can defeat people without killing them."
Brown is expected to swap his constituency in Scotland for the Lake District this week as he opts for a so-called "staycation" – keeping up a record of always holidaying in the UK as prime minister.
Downing Street confirmed that Mandelson would be resuming work in London later today and would be dividing his time between his offices in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and the Cabinet Office.

Electric cars prove profitable for Tesla Motors

The US maker of high-end electric sports cars turned a profit for the first time last month, defying the recession
Mike Harvey, San Francisco
Tesla Motors, the maker of high-end electric sports cars, turned a profit for the first time last month, the company announced.
Despite the recession, the company shipped 109 of its Roadster cars, helping it to earn $1 million on revenue of $20 million.
As big car manufacturers rush to get all-electric models onto the market, Tesla said it was continuing to develop its Model S sedan version and to open regional sales and service centres.
President Barack Obama aims to put a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015 as part of the new US effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions linked to global warming.
Many wonder if electric vehicle sales will take off. In America carmakers sold about 160,000 hybrids in July, just 2.8 per cent of total sales, according to Autodata.
Last week Japanese car giant Nissan unveiled a new battery-powered car called the Nissan Leaf, which the firm said will be in showrooms in Japan, the US and Europe by the end of next year.
The car manufacturer said that unlike existing two-seater electric vehicles, the medium-sized hatchback would seat five adults, with a top speed of about 90mph and a range of more than 100 miles between recharges.
Last month Tesla began delivering the Roadster Sport, a high performance car that does 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, compared to 3.9 seconds for the standard Roadster.
The company claims that its $109,000 Roadster is faster than a Porsche and twice as energy efficient as a Toyota Prius. Tesla sells cars online and at showrooms in California, New York City, Seattle and London.
With an estimated range of 244 miles per charge and zero tailpipe emissions, the Roadster costs only $4 to recharge, the company said.
Unlike other US carmakers, Tesla has not benefited from the federal "cash for clunkers" program that gives Americans rebates for replacing older, gas-guzzling cars with newer, more fuel-efficient ones. Cars that cost more than $45,000 do not qualify for the rebates.
Tesla chief executive and Elon Musk said the privately-held company, based in San Carlos, California, would make significant deliveries to European customers while expanding its presence in several countries.
“We achieved a bottom-line profitability thanks to a tremendous amount of hard work by the Tesla team to improve quality, while simultaneously reducing costs on the Roadster,” he said. “This also shows that there is strong demand for a car that is unique in offering high performance with a clean conscience. Moreover, customers know that in buying the Roadster they are helping fund development of our mass market electric cars.”
Tesla, which in June won Department of Energy approval for $465 million in low-interest loans, hopes to start shipping its Model S in 2011. The all-electric sedan will have a base price of $49,900, roughly half the price of the Roadster.
In addition to the Model S program, Tesla is jointly developing an electric version of the Smart car with Daimler. The first of an initial test fleet of 1,000 electric Smart cars are expected to be on the road in late 2009.

India Likely to Invest 1 Trillion Rupees in Renewable Energy

NEW DELHI -- India expects 1 trillion rupees ($21 billion) of investments over a five-year period ending March 2012 for renewable-power generation, the chairman of Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd. said Monday.
"An investment of 150 billion rupees has already been made in the first two years of the five-year plan period that runs from April 1, 2007 to March 31, 2012," Debashish Majumdar told reporters.
India plans to add 14.5 gigawatts of capacity to generate renewable power by March 2012.
About 8.8% of India's installed capacity of about 150 gigawatts is renewable-energy based, comprising mainly wind, small hydroelectric, biomass and solar energy projects.
Write to Rakesh Sharma at rakesh.sharma@dowjones.com

Dealers Scramble to Find Fuel-Efficient Cars

DETROIT -- With the "cash for clunkers" program generating more than 245,000 vehicle sales in two weeks, car dealers intensified pressure on auto makers Monday to ramp up production.
Dealers around the country scrambled to find fuel-efficient vehicles that qualify for the program to fill their lots. They also voiced concerns that the extra $2 billion Congress approved for the plan last week won't last through September.
"I am trying to buy new cars wherever I can find them," said Alan Helfman vice president of River Oaks Chrysler Jeep in Houston. Mr. Helfman said he has 50 new vehicles on his lot compared with 320 normally. "Any bump in production would be fantastic."
Chrysler Group LLC has added shifts and overtime at some of its plants. General Motors Co. said it is likely to increase production, but hasn't made any decisions. Ford Motor Co. said it won't make any announcement until early September.
More than $1.03 billion has already been paid out to cover the 245,384 vehicles traded-in under the program designed to replace gas guzzlers with more fuel-efficient vehicles, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Another $2 billion is now being funneled into the program, which is slated to run through November.
Starting last year, the Big Three U.S. auto makers began to cut back production to cope with swelling inventories as consumers skipped purchases amid the recession. During the bankruptcies of GM and Chrysler, both auto makers idled their plants, further reducing supply. Heading into July, it appeared auto makers finally had control of their inventories.
That changed as the government's clunkers program set off a flurry of buying. Even consumers who didn't qualify for the program made purchases. Under the program, formally known as the Car Allowance Rebate System, a customer who trades in a vehicle rated at 18 miles per gallon or less qualifies for a government voucher of $3,500 or $4,500 to buy a new car rated at 22 mpg or more. The allowance goes to the dealer, who must scrap the old vehicle.

The average claim is $4,197, which means that more rebates of $4,500 have been paid than those for $3,500, according to the Transportation Department.
While Ford and GM are still weighing whether to boost production, Chrysler is taking a more aggressive approach. The auto maker, which is being managed by Italian auto maker Fiat SpA, notified workers at its Warren, Mich., pickup-truck assembly plant that they will work overtime on three Saturdays starting August 29, according to two United Auto Workers officials who received details of the plan but asked not to be identified. The plant produces Dodge Rams. More overtime could be scheduled in October, they said.
Also on Monday, Chrysler restored the third-shift to its Windsor, Ontario, minivan plant. The plant assembles the Dodge Grand Caravan, Chrysler Town & Country and Volkswagen Routan. The company ran its Toldeo plant -- home to the Jeep Wrangler -- on overtime last week.
Chrysler spokesman Max Gates had no comment on production schedules.
GM has said it would likely increase production if the clunker program continued, but no announcement has been made. A Ford spokeswoman said the company wouldn't discuss production plans until early September.
Write to Jeff Bennett at jeff.bennett@dowjones.com