Apple Goes Off Green

Apple has abruptly announced that it is withdrawing from a green computer certification scheme prompting San Francisco city authorities to drop its products.

The Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) certifies desktops, laptops and monitors against environmental criteria agreed by the industry and supported by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The 1000-plus products from over 300 manufacturers registered with the scheme are more energy efficient, easier to upgrade and recycle and contain lower levels of heavy metals like cadmium, lead and mercury.

While the scheme only currently covers desktops, laptops and monitors, the inclusion of TVs, printers and servers is expected soon. There are, however, no explicit plans yet to add smartphones or tablet computers like Apple’s iPad.

Apple’s decision to withdraw from EPEAT is all the more surprising because it was one of the companies originally involved in drawing up the rating criteria and has come in for increasing criticism in recent times over its environmental profile.

Energy Efficiency News

As to why, one tech reporter thinks it has to do with up coming offerings in which batteries are fused to frames, making recycling not meet common-sense guidlines.  e.g. needing heat-guns to get them out.  For more, listen to Newsy

Nice going Apple.  You have plenty of workers in China.  These un-recyclable devices can be sent to their poor cousins and smashed apart like other US cast-off electronics.  What’s that called?  Externalized expenses?

U.S. Bringing Up the Rear in Race to Green

“Silicon Valley venture capitalist John Doerr, whose early investments helped launch Google and Amazon, delivered a stark warning to Congress on Wednesday that the United States is on the verge of being left behind in the green tech revolution.

“Doerr, a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, which is betting billions on clean energy technologies, told senators that two of his firm’s biggest investments were with foreign firms because U.S. companies did not have the most advanced technology. Of the top 30 companies in solar, wind and advanced batteries, just six are U.S. firms.

“Notice the trend here,” Doerr told members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “We won the space race with the Soviet Union. Now as (New York Times columnist) Tom Friedman says, we’re in an Earth race with other nations to see who can invent the technology so that men and women can stay on Earth. And we are not winning today.”

“But Doerr and other evangelists of green technology believe the environment could change under President-elect Barack Obama, who has pledged to make tackling global warming a top priority. Doerr has been meeting with Obama’s transition team and leaders in Congress to urge them to use the new economic stimulus package to modernize the electric grid and offer new incentives to help clean energy startups get off the ground.”

Coile at SF Gate