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A Lightweight Investment With Big Dividends: DOE, Alcoa, and Aluminum Vehicles

Good news has emerged from the halls of the Department of Energy (DOE). Yesterday, DOE announced that Alcoa Incorporated, a “global leader in lightweight metals technology, engineering, and manufacturing,” has been awarded a $259 million loan guarantee under the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) Loan Program. This capital will enable Alcoa to add 200 jobs at a Tennessee facility that manufactures the type of high-grade aluminum automakers are using to improve vehicle fuel efficiency and help drivers save money, cut emissions, and reduce oil use. Read More

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Testifying about Sustainability and the American Diet

The day before yesterday, together with my UCS colleagues Lindsey Haynes-Maslow and Deborah Bailin, I went to the National Institutes of Health to testify on the Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. This report, prepared by a committee of experts every five years, provides the basic information for federal food programs such as school lunches and SNAP (formerly called food stamps), and is used to create the official U.S. Dietary Guidelines that are the basis for the MyPlate graphics.

Lindsey, Deborah and I testified about different aspects of the DGAC report, and they have already put their testimony up on their blogs. Here is mine, which focuses on food sustainability issues such as the climate impacts of the American diet.
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When It Comes to Palm Oil, PepsiCo Is Less than Perfect

Growing up, Back to the Future Part II epitomized what the future would look like. I dreamed of owning a hoverboard or riding in a flying car (it didn’t have to be a DeLorean, I wasn’t that picky). Well, that distant future of flying cars, dehydrated food, and self-drying clothes takes place in 2015, so the future is now.

However, on a recent viewing of the film what caught my attention wasn’t the hoverboards or holograms but a drink that Marty McFly orders at a diner. That drink: Pepsi Perfect. Through the work I’ve done investigating  companies’ links between deforestation and palm oil, I’ve learned a lot about PepsiCo’s policies and asked myself how close is the real PepsiCo to being “Pepsi Perfect”? Read More

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The Latest From The EPA: Car Manufacturers Are Exceeding Expectations

Today, the EPA put out its latest “scorecard” for the automakers, answering the question of how well each manufacturer is performing compared to the greenhouse gas emissions standards for light-duty vehicles. The indication is again a cautious optimism, showing that manufacturers continue to exceed the standards, reducing emissions at a rate faster than projected. This is good news for the climate, for consumers at the pump, and for staying on the path to a Half the Oil future. Read More

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2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans: In Support of Limiting and Labeling Added Sugar

Yesterday morning, I took a detour from my usual routine. Instead of strolling the 2 miles from my house to UCS’s office on K Street in Washington, DC, I hopped on the metro and rode up to the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. There I met two other UCS researchers to attend a public hearing on the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s scientific report with one consistent message: that we support the committee’s recommendations. Below is a copy of my testimony. Read More

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