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Blog Posts (304)
- Dial Oil For Murder?
Recent paper accuses Big Oil of homicide In the upcoming April issue of EA, we mention how Big Oil—and even natural gas companies—have become the Grim Reaper. As the faces of fossil fuel pollution, they weather unrivaled criticism and are put on trial, literally. But no claim has gone further than this latest paper, published in an esteemed business review journal, that accuses Big Oil of homicide. Below is an abstract of the extreme paper, which was written January 23 by David Arkush of Public Citizen and Donald Braman, of George Washington University Law School's "Justice Innovation Lab" and "DC Justice Lab": "Prosecutors regularly bring homicide charges against individuals and corporations whose reckless or negligent acts or omissions cause unintentional deaths, as well as those whose misdemeanors or felonies cause unintentional deaths. Fossil fuel companies learned decades ago that what they produced, marketed, and sold would generate “globally catastrophic” climate change. Rather than alert the public and curtail their operations, they worked to deceive the public about these harms and to prevent regulation of their lethal conduct. They funded efforts to call sound science into doubt and to confuse their shareholders, consumers, and regulators. And they poured money into political campaigns to elect or install judges, legislators, and executive officials hostile to any litigation, regulation, or competition that might limit their profits. Today, the climate change that they forecast has already killed thousands of people in the United States, and it is expected to become increasingly lethal for the foreseeable future. Given the extreme lethality of the conduct and the awareness of the catastrophic risk on the part of fossil fuel companies, should they be charged with homicide? Could they be convicted? In answering these questions, this Article makes several contributions to our understanding of criminal law and the role it could play in combating crimes committed at a massive scale. It describes the doctrinal and social predicates of homicide prosecutions where corporate conduct endangers much or all of the public. It also identifies important advantages of homicide prosecutions relative to civil and regulatory remedies, and it details how and why prosecution for homicide may be the most effective legal remedy available in cases like this. Finally, it argues that, if our criminal legal system cannot focus more intently on climate crimes—and soon—we may leave future generations with significantly less for the law to protect." The 70-page paper was published in its entirety in the Harvard Environmental Law Review, Vol. 48, No. 1, 2024. The question remains as to whether charging fossil fuel companies, their boards and/or executives, with homicide, is actually plausible. It should first be noted that "homicide" encompasses lesser charges than murder, including manslaughter. Secondly, as one professor noted in an interview with The Guardian, it would be tough to make such charges actually stick. “The morality of what fossil fuel companies have been doing over a few decades has become clearer and clearer,” Christopher Kutz, a distinguished professor and director of the Kadish Center for Morality, Law and Public Affairs at the University of California, Berkeley, told the Guardian Wednesday. “They are complicit in the deaths that occur and the article is very persuasive about that. But whether you could make an actual criminal charge stick is tricky because their complicity is mixed with the complicity of everybody else.”
- Bluon Green
HVAC company teams up with Sera ahead of warmer weather Spring is upon us, and those trendy handyman apps are wasting no time trying to dominate the technician space. With warmer weather approaching, Bluon and Sera Systems, Inc., two software companies in HVAC, announced their plan to join forces Thursday "to modernize and bring a new level of productivity to the HVAC industry from OEM to distributor to contractor to technician and all the way to the consumer." A group of Bluon technicians.—Bluon photo HVAC is a well-established $150 billion industry, yet Gallup estimates that on average HVAC businesses are operating at a staggering low 38% efficiency. Together, Bluon and Sera, for the first time, can materially impact these inefficiencies through the combined power of their next-generation platforms, which are both focused on creating far more efficient and effective technicians in the field. Bluon, based in Irvine, California and home to a large HVAC community, supports HVAC contractors and their technicians in the field while connecting them with their local brick-and-mortar distributors. With Bluon, techs may have a single source that is brand-agnostic for community interaction, equipment documentation, live 24/7 tech support and for acquiring parts and materials from their local distributors. Bluon "provides the first data and transactional throughline from OEM to distributor to contractor to technician, providing material value to each," the company said in an e-mail to Electrical Apparatus. Since it is centered around a mobile app, Bluon claims "the largest HVAC community on earth." Today's tally for this community included about 160,000 technicians, according to Bluon's website ticker. Sera, a fast-growing field service management software in the industry, partners with contractors to improve their bottom line by optimizing key business levers: time management, tech efficiency, cash flow and membership management. Sera’s unique platform and consultative approach enables small, medium and large contractors alike to see impact on their business in as little as "just a few months," the company said. "As a result, Sera's customers are guaranteed to improve their margins by 50% or more within six months," it also claimed. “From the very beginning, Sera was developed to bring efficiencies to all areas of a contractor’s business. With Bluon, we are realizing efficiencies we never thought possible,” said Billy Stevens, CEO and founder of Sera. “This integration is laying the foundation for a future where contractors, small and large, won’t be charged a penny to have access to a suite of services and best-in-class software tools. The idea of making these services and tools readily available to the small one-to-five-man shops — which make up 65% of the industry — is truly exciting.” said Bluon CEO and founder Peter Capuciati.
- Varflex Appeal
Company's material used in International Space Station If you're attending the Electrical Wire Processing Technology Expo this spring (May 17-18 in Milwaukee), you'll likely see old companies and new. One of those is Varflex, who has been in the news recently for some of its applications. You might've heard that the International Space Station is set to be decommissioned. NASA announced plans as part of its fiscal year 2024 budget proposal this month to develop the tug to help deorbit the station at the end of its life in 2030. NASA is seeking $180 million in 2024 to start work on the tug, and anticipates spending as much as $1 billion to build it. "Thank you to the International Space Station for sending this incredible picture of our tightly woven fiberglass sleeving," Varflex says on its website, referring to a photo from 2022 shown below. "Our fiberglass is tightly woven substrate with a woven-in grid of graphite yarn to provide static dissipative performance. This product is silicone free. This material is primarily used in aerospace applications for space shuttles and international space stations." Varflex manufactures electrical insulating sleevings suitable for a variety of high and low temperatures, high voltage and abrasive environments. Electrical insulated sleevings are made from braided fiberglass, both coated and uncoated sleevings. All sleevings are RoHS, REACH and Conflict Minerals compliant, meeting many military, UL, and CSA certifications. Although electrical applications are most common, Varflex braided sleevings can also be used to jacket wire small devices from intense heat, radiative environments, ultraviolet light, abrasion, flexing and intermittent exposure to chemicals.
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- Latest News | Barks Publications
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