A short while back, I inaugurated the MNN Innovation Index – a snapshot of the latest numbers that matter to the emerging sustainable economy. Herewith, the second edition:

 

$535 million:

The dollar value of the federal loan guarantee given to solar panel maker Solyndra, which filed for bankruptcy last week. Once seen as a cornerstone of California’s emerging cleantech economy, Solyndra wilted under the intense heat of international competition, particularly from Chinese manufacturers. (As GreentechSolar pointed out, the value of the Chinese government’s low-interest direct loans to its solar companies exceeded the U.S. government’s guarantees by a factor of at least four.)

 

$345 billion:
This is the ballpark estimate for 2011 alone of the total lifecycle operating costs of America’s coal industry not carried by mining and generating companies, according to a Harvard University study published earlier this year. The figure includes everything from the cost of greenhouse gas emissions to the health costs of pollution to tourism dollars lost to mountaintop removal mining. If factored in, Reuters reports, these costs would “effectively triple” the price of electricity from coal-fired power plants. A point to bear in mind as Solyndra’s failure calls into question the competitiveness of pollution-free solar power.

 

$400 billion:

The total investment worldwide in cleantech since the start of 2011, Greenbiz reports. In the midst of ongoing global economic turmoil, smart money continues to go green.

 

149 years:

As the Washington Post reported this week, this is the extreme end-of-the-life expectancy for an orange roughy — one of many deep-sea fish species being catastrophically overharvested right now. A paper in the scientific journal Marine Policy recommends a total ban on deep-sea fishing, which hauls in fish whose stocks take much longer to regenerate themselves than previous commercial fisheries — in the orange roughy’s case, for example, newly hatched fish are 30 years from being able to reproduce.

 

100 percent:

This was the portion of motor vehicles banned from the streets of nine cities across Bolivia last Sunday for the country’s “National Day of the Pedestrian,” BBC News reported. About 2 million cars, trucks and even buses were removed from streets nationwide. “We strive to protect Mother Nature but we also want to create mechanisms for the integration of people. This is the balance we seek,” Bolivian Vice-President Alvaro Garcia Linera told the BBC.

 

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