China’s Overhyped, and Underhyped, Greentech Boom

China is either the greatest opportunity or the greatest threat the U.S. green technology industry has ever faced — or, according to Chinese greentech experts at Wednesday’s Cleantech Forum in San Francisco, somewhere in between.

In Exploiting the Data Market, Trust Is Key

Data marketplaces add value when they combine facts drawn from different data sets. However, as new products are created to accomplish this, the relationship between suppliers, the original data and those who download or buy it changes, with trust becoming a critical part of that relationship.

World Bank Opens Up Its Data, Removes Pay Walls

The World Bank, which tracks everything from mortality rates to livestock production in hundreds of countries around the globe, said today it is opening up its data, including removing all of the pay walls around data that used to require a subscription fee to download.

@NATPE: World Bank Says TV is Good (for Developing Countries)

Could more exposure to Baywatch be a good thing for people of developing countries? Well, Baywatch, might be a bad example, but during his presentation at the National Association of Television Programming Executives Conference in Las Vegas this week, World Bank Sr. Economist Charles Kenny laid out how his case for why more TV can be a good thing.

The main thrust of Kenny’s argument is that increased exposure television programs can improve a population’s quality of life, health and women’s rights by exposing them to new ideas. Soap operas in particular, with their strong female lead characters, can be a source of inspiration and education for women audiences in poorer countries.

Kenny stresses that television is not a panacea, it can do just as much harm as good, but it’s a spark for an interesting discussion. Watch the full video and share your thoughts in the comments.


Copenhagen: 7 Lessons Learned From a Decade of Carbon Finance

Almost a decade after launching the world’s first carbon fund, the World Bank said it has learned a series of lessons about the regulation, oversight and scaling process of the carbon funds and greenhouse reduction projects that it has overseen. The World Bank, which spoke about these lessons at the Copenhagen climate talks on Tuesday afternoon, launched its first $160 million carbon fund, the Prototype Carbon Fund (PCF), in 2000 and now has a combination of 10 funds with a total capitalization of more than $2.5 billion. The funds invest in carbon-reduction projects, like wind energy and biomass, in developing countries, and the World Bank currently has 213 active projects across 57 countries.

The World Bank started off its talk by reiterating that the clean development mechanism (CDM) — the market structure that helps industrialized nations gain and trade credits from green projects created in developing nations — is a “proven tool to support greenhouse gas mitigation.” Warren Evans, Sector Director, World Bank Environment Department said the CDM is “exceeding expectations” in terms of the number of projects and capacity, and has been acting as a catalyst for private capital investments.
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World Bank to Fund Its First Smart Grid Project in Turkey

SmartGridTurkey1The World Bank, which is providing billions of dollars for clean power and energy efficiency projects in developing countries, plans to fund its first smart grid project in Turkey, according to the World Bank’s vice president for Sustainable Development, Kathy Sierra. Sierra made the comments Tuesday during a Q&A session before the Commonwealth Club in downtown San Francisco, where she largely focused on the World Bank’s strategy and goals for investing in clean technology in developing regions.
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Biofuels Have Bumped Up Food Prices 75%?!

The biofuel industry couldn’t catch a break, even over the three-day summer weekend. The BBQ-chatter fodder? An article in the Guardian citing a “leaked” World Bank report that says biofuels have driven up the price of food by 75 percent. That’s an absolutely massive number compared to figures found by previous reports, many of which were in the single digits.

Its particularly drastic when compared to the U.S. government’s figures. The U.S. President’s Council of Economic Advisors has said only 3 percent of the increase in world food prices can be attributed to corn ethanol. USDA Chief Economist Joe Glauber cited those statistics in a speech in May and added, “I think it’s fair to say the increase in biofuel production has had some effect, but again, what I’d consider a relatively small effect and one that in looking at it it’s important to take into account a lot of other things that are going on outside of the biofuel sector.”

The Guardian article cites sources that say they believe the World Bank report, which was completed in April, “has not been published to avoid embarrassing President George Bush.”
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Four Free Ways to Experiment With Web Look and Feel

If you’re involved with a blog or an online site and care about its design and interface, there are a number of free tools you can turn to for experimenting with various versions, until you arrive at a design you like. In this post, I’ll cover four of them.

This item from today on Webware alerted me to a very cool WYSIWYG WordPress Theme Generator. If you’re responsible for the design of a WordPress-driven site, take this application for a spin. Down the left rail you get input fields, and on the right you get to see what your finished theme will look like.

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New NetFront Browser for Windows Mobile in Technical Preview

Nf34_tp_pilotHere we thought the long-ago mentioned NetFront Browser by Access was a dead soldier; not by a long shot! Evidence exhibit A: the NetFront Browser v3.4 for Windows Mobile is readily available in a free technical preview for Windows Mobile 5 and 6 devices. Keep in mind what “technical preview” means: the final product could change from what you see now and it might not run 100%. The idea is to get the version out there for developers and OEMs to see what’s new and exciting and you’ll have until the end of February to get a feel for the new features. Near the top of that list is the new PagePilot feature for viewing a whole page and then zooming in as needed. While that looks interesting, I’m more excited about the visual bookmarks shown here as they look to be finger friendly for touchscreens.Nf34_tp_rotateIf the new browser version doesn’t convince you that NetFront is still alive and kicking, Exhibit B in the form of this press release from last week might help. I didn’t realize that the Amazon Kindle browser is based on NetFront, but it appears so since Amazon licensed the browser for their device.(via Brighthand)

Break It Down: $120M for Streamed TV

U.S. television networks will generate $120 million from online advertising shown on streamed episodes in 2007, according to a major media buyer executive. Tracey Scheppach, senior vice-president and video innovation director for Starcom, told the Financial Times that number was based on extrapolating her company’s purchases across the web sites of the four major TV networks.

That’s a nice, meaty number to throw into your PowerPoint decks, but let’s get some context. By contrast, network television is supposed to account for $23.4 billion in U.S. advertising spending this year, according to TNS Media Intelligence. Some 16 percent of American households stream TV broadcasts online, according to TNS and the Conference Board. Forrester recently estimated that total U.S. online video advertising spending would amount to $471 million in 2007 (The FT quotes a much bigger estimate, but strangely ignores the fact that the number doesn’t break out audio revenues).

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