This blog will cover some news items related to Sustainability: Corporate Social Responsibility, Stewardship, Environmental management, etc.


Arthur D Little report: 'The Carbon Margin' -- “What’s needed is innovation based on understanding how markets will look in a low-carbon economy in 2020; understanding your core competencies, now and in the future, as part of an effective partnering strategy; and understanding new routes to market.”

Thanks to Gill & Chris/  Sorry for the duplicates

A greener way to recover methane: Oil reservoirs could have an environmental make-over with the help of bacteria; Low faith in biofuels for climate: decision-makers have little faith in biofuels, a study released at the UN climate talks in Bali reveals.

Thanks to Norbert

A greener way to recover methane
Oil reservoirs could have an environmental make-over with the help of bacteria.

Oil sands from the air
Could microbes help extract the methane from oil sands?

A report in Nature has shown how crude oil in deposits around the world are naturally broken down by microbes to methane.

Scientists say that increasing microbe activity would produce a more energy-efficient method of methane recovery.

It is likely field tests will start by 2009.

The ability to recover methane directly from deeply buried oil reserves means energy-intensive and thermal polluting processes are removed.

But methods like injecting steam into the reservoirs to heat and loosen the heavy viscous oil, so it can be pumped to the surface, are no longer needed say the authors of the Nature report.

"The main thing is you'd be recovering a much cleaner fuel," says co-author Steve Larter, a petroleum geologist from the University of Calgary.

"Methane is, per energy unit, a much lower carbon dioxide emitter than bitumen. Also, you wouldn't need all the upgrading facilities and piping on the surface."

Co-author Martin Jones, from the University of Newcastle, told the BBC News website that recovering methane from microbe biodegradation could also be used in exhausted oil fields: "Typically more then half of the oil that is in the reservoir is left there after the field is exhausted. In cases where they can't get the oil out economically, then they could convert it to gas."

Eating oil

The scientists found that the main process of crude oil biodegradation occurs by anaerobic bacteria - those which live and grow in the absence of oxygen - and that this produces methane. These microbes exist in oil reservoirs to a depth of 2km and a temperature of 80C.

The trick would be to speed up that process from geological time to a human time-scale
Martin Jones, University of Newcastle

This process occurs via an intermediate separate family of bacteria that produce carbon dioxide and hydrogen from partly degraded oil, prior to it being turned into methane.

The researchers also suggest that CO2 could be recycled as fuel in a closed-loop energy system once captured as methane, helping to prevent further CO2 release into the atmosphere.

Increased activity

To accelerate the breaking down of oil into methane the scientists suggest feeding the microbes with fertilisers. These would include phosphorus, which is a limiting nutrient, as well as some vitamins.

"The micro-organisms eat the oil, so there is plenty of food there, it is just the other smaller nutrients that would be needed to get them to grow quicker," Martin Jones told the BBC News website.

He added: "One of the things the studies showed is that when you degrade oil under methanogenic conditions in the laboratory, the patterns of hydrocarbon degradation are exactly the same as what you see in reservoir degraded oils world-wide. So the trick would be to speed up that process from geological time to a human time-scale."

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2007/12/12 21:16:11 GMT


Low faith in biofuels for climate

Climate decision-makers have little faith in biofuels, a study released at the UN climate talks in Bali reveals.

BBC News | Science/Nature | World Edition
Tuesday, 11 December 2007 03:24:18

Low faith in biofuels for climate

By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News website

Protest. Image: AFP/Getty
Campaigners outside the talks have a simple message for delegates

Decision-makers in the climate change field have little faith in biofuels as a low-carbon technology, the World Conservation Union (IUCN) says.

Unveiled at the UN climate convention meeting in Bali, its survey suggests professionals have more confidence in bicycles than in biofuels.

The findings come as ministers assemble for the final part of the UN talks.

Conservation groups have highlighted the impact of climate change in the tropics and the Antarctic.

If nobody shows the willingness to deal with the reduction of carbon emissions to a manageable level, then what are we doing here?

Thelma Krug, Brazilian delegate

European negotiators at the two-week meeting in the beach resort of Nusa Dua are hoping that the meeting will launch a two-year process leading to a further round of binding cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, to come into force when the current Kyoto Protocol targets expire in 2012.

But delegates say much ground remains to be covered as ministers from nearly 190 nations arrive for the last three days of discussions under the UN climate convention (UNFCCC) and Kyoto Protocol.

Fuelling doubts

"Technology must be at the heart of the future response to climate change," UNFCCC executive secretary Yvo de Boer declared at the talks.

But which technology? In a survey of 1,000 professionals in 105 countries, IUCN attempted to gauge which technologies inspired the most confidence.

The survey included people from governments, NGOs and industry.

Only about one-fifth of decision-makers polled by IUCN were confident that present-generation biofuels could deliver as a low-carbon technology.

Of 18 technologies suggested by IUCN, the current generation of biofuels came bottom of the list, with only 21% believing in its potential to "lower overall carbon levels in the atmosphere without unacceptable side effects" over the next 25 years.

Nearly twice as many were confident in the potential of nuclear energy, while solar power for hot water and solar power for electricity emerged as the most favoured low-carbon technologies.

Overall, respondents said increasing energy efficiency and reducing demand could produce more benefits than "clean" energy sources.

Although the EU and the US are attempting to boost the expansion of biofuels, recent evidence is equivocal about their potential.

Studies show they may produce only marginal carbon savings compared to conventional petrol and diesel.

In Indonesia and elsewhere, forests are being cleared for palm oil plantations, partly to produce biofuels. There is evidence that leaving forests intact results in greater climate benefits while protecting biodiversity.

Life at the extremes

Two presentations on the sidelines of the Bali conference have highlighted the impacts of climate change on the natural world.

Conservation International (CI) researchers took forecasts from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) 2007 assessment of the Earth's likely climatic future, and calculated what those forecast trends would mean for areas safeguarded for nature, such as national parks and forest reserves.
Adele penguin and chicks. Image: AP
Penguins along the Antarctic Peninsula are declining, says WWF

They found that more than half of these zones were vulnerable to projected climate change. In 21 countries, mainly in the tropics, more than 90% of protected areas were vulnerable.

"We previously assumed that if the land is protected, then the plants and animals living there will persist," said Sandy Andelman, head of CI's Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring network.

"That may be wishful thinking."

WWF, meanwhile, looked at conditions at the Earth's other climatic extreme - the cold of the Antarctic peninsula.

This tendril of land that projects from the Antarctic towards the tip of South America is warming much faster than the global average.

According to WWF researchers, sea ice cover has declined by about 40% over the last quarter century.

"The research done over the last couple of years is that many penguin populations across Antarctica are in decline, with some dropping as much as 65%," said WWF's director-general Jim Leape.

"You are seeing a massive loss of sea ice in important parts of the continent, and that sea ice is crucial to the food web of Antarctica upon which these penguins depend."

Binding ties

Like other conservation groups, WWF is calling for the inclusion of binding targets for reducing carbon emissions in any agreement coming out of the Bali conference.

A draft circulating this week calls for industrialised nations to cut their emissions by 25-40% by 2020.

It is supported by the EU. But the US, Australia, Canada and Japan are arguing against the inclusion of concrete targets at this stage.

"To start with a predetermined answer, we don't think is an appropriate thing to do," US chief negotiator Harlan Watson has said.

But there is frustration among some developing countries at what they see as a lack of political will among the high emitters.
Rajendra Pachauri and Al Gore. Image: AFP/Getty

Gore in Nobel climate plea

"If nobody shows the willingness to deal with the reduction of carbon emissions to a manageable level, then what are we doing here?" Brazilian delegate Thelma Krug told the AFP news agency.

Receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo yon Monday, former US Vice-President Al Gore urged the US and China to "stop using the others' behaviour as an excuse for stalemate" and work together to find a mutually acceptable way of tackling climate change.

Mr Gore and his fellow Nobel laureate, IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri, will be in Bali for the ministerial talks, as will the new Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, whose recent ratification of the Kyoto Protocol injected fresh optimism into the UN process.

But three days of busy talks lie ahead if a deal is to be made.


The Unavoidable Truth: The survey results illustrate that overall ICT managers and organisations have been slow to respond to the environmental impact of their activities. There are many areas where ICT departments can quickly and significantly reduce their carbon emissions. Some organisations are already leading by example.


ICT's involvement in
sustainability strategies
Most ICT departments are not integral to their
organisation's social responsibility strategy. Around half
of respondents are involved in some way, but nearly a
quarter are not involved at all. Furthermore, nearly half
have never been asked to focus on energy efficiency as
a part of an organisation-wide initiative and 94% of
organisations do not incentivise the ICT department to
act in an environmentally friendly way.
ICT departments showed a willingness to become
involved in sustainability strategies, but they appear
to be an under-used valuable asset when it comes
to improving organisational energy efficiency.
ICT capacity and 'Green IT'
Data storage is confused and inefficient. Only 40% of ICT
departments are using more than half of their available
server storage space, and only a fifth of organisations have
a good working policy on data retention.
Simultaneously, more than two thirds of the departments
have already filled over 75% of the physical floor space of
their data centre and 61% expect to reach storage capacity
within 24 months.
ICT professionals cited time pressures and cost as the
biggest obstacles to the implementation of new 'Green IT'
technologies. Other significant barriers are the scarcity of
information and a lack of knowledge within organisations.
Only 1% of professionals considered vendor environmental
information to be excellent whilst 60% said it was poor or
The introduction of recognised industry standards and
targeted ICT tax allowances were rated as the most
important incentives to encourage the take up of 'Green IT'.
The Unavoidable Truth
The survey results illustrate that overall ICT managers
and organisations have been slow to respond to the
environmental impact of their activities. There are many
areas where ICT departments can quickly and significantly
reduce their carbon emissions. Some organisations are
already leading by example.
Case study 1:
Greater energy efficiency through server virtualisation
Organisation: John Lewis Partnership (JLP)
Service / product provider: Intel Server Virtualisation
After an initial pilot of 20 virtual servers, JLP has rapidly
increased to an estate of nearly 150 virtual servers. In
2008 more than half of JLP's computing power will be
virtualised. This project has saved over £100,000 in new
server purchases, 120 units of rack space, 1.5 tonnes in
weight of equipment, numerous network and SAN
connections, £8,000 in consumed power over five months,
additional air conditioning costs and 250 tonnes of CO2
Case study 2:
Thin client implementation and the virtual desktop
Organisation: Reed Managed Services
Service / product provider: Wyse Technology
Reed replaced all of its 4,500 PCs with thin clients.
To maximise their investment, they also introduced blade
servers and server virtualisation technology in the data
centre, and decommissioned servers in remote offices.
In one year, Reed has reduced energy consumption by
5.4 million kWh, cut CO2 emissions by 2,800 tonnes a
year, halved the number of storage drives, reduced the
number of servers by a factor of 20, and cut the annual
IT budget by a fifth.
Case study 3:
Power Management Software
Organisations: Peterborough City Council and Irwin Mitchell
Service / product provider: NightWatchman® by 1E and
Surveyor® by Verdiem.
Power management software automatically reduces
energy being wasted by equipment when switched on
but left idle.
By introducing NightWatchman® software, Peterborough
City Council has saved £50,000 per annum on electricity
and 250 tonnes of CO2 – making a return on investment
in under three months.
By introducing Surveyor® software, Irwin Mitchell reduced
PC energy consumption by 34%, which equates to around
107 tonnes of CO2 per year.
Case study 4:
Communications without travel
Organisation: Pearson plc
Service / product provider: Teliris VirtuaLive®
Through the utilisation of telepresence technology,
Pearson has reduced time wasted by senior executives
when travelling, improved the speed and flexibility of their
decision-making and enhanced the work/life balance for
employees through reduced travel.
Pearson has also significantly reduced transport costs and
avoided 800 tonnes of CO2 emissions worth of air travel.
Case study 5:
Energy efficiency through behaviour change
Organisations: Construction Skills and Britannia
Building Society
Service / product provider: Global Action Plan
Behaviour change achieved through empowering staff
and using innovative and fun communications helped
Construction Skills reduce PC and monitor energy waste
by 58%.
Britannia Building Society has a complex ICT system,
reflecting the 250+ branches in the UK. Through branch
staff manually switching off printers and photocopiers an
estimated 222 tonnes of CO2 and £34,000 will be saved

Bitter Divisions at Climate Talks: Amid growing frustration with the United States in deadlocked negotiations at a United Nations conference on global warming, the European Union threatened Thursday to boycott separate talks proposed by the Bush administration in Hawaii next month

December 14, 2007
Bitter Divisions at Climate Talks

NUSA DUA, Indonesia — Amid growing frustration with the United States in deadlocked negotiations at a United Nations conference on global warming, the European Union threatened Thursday to boycott separate talks proposed by the Bush administration in Hawaii next month.

Humberto Rosa, the chief delegate from Portugal, which holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, said the talks to be hosted by the Bush Administration in Hawaii in January would be "meaningless" if there was no deal this week here at the conference on the resort island of Bali.

Germany's environment minister, Sigmar Gabriel, told reporters here, "No result in Bali means no Major Economies Meeting." He was referring to the formal name of the proposed American-sponsored talks.

The goal of the Bali meeting, which is being attended by delegates from 190 countries and which is scheduled to end Friday, is to reach agreement on a "roadmap" for a future deal to reduce greenhouse gases.

The escalating bitterness between the European Union and United States came as former Vice President Al Gore told delegates in a speech that "my own country, the United States, is principally responsible for obstructing progress here in Bali."

Mr. Gore arrived at the conference from Norway, where he received the Nobel Peace Prize along with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for their work in helping to alert the world to the danger of global warming. He urged delegates to agree an open-ended deal here that could be enhanced after the Bush Administration leaves office and United States policy changes.

"Over the next two years the United States is going to be somewhere it is not now," Mr. Gore said to loud applause. "You must anticipate that."

There appears to be broad consensus among delegates here that a new agreement on climate change should be ready by 2009, in time to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the current agreement that limits emissions by all wealthy countries except the United States, which signed the Kyoto agreement but has refused to adopt it. But gaping differences remain between countries over how to share the burden of switching away from types of energy that contribute to global warming.

The United States and the European Union remain at odds on many major points, including whether an agreement signed here should include numerical targets, a move that the United States and a few other countries, including Russia, oppose.

The emerging economic powers, most notably China and India, also refuse to accept limits on their emissions, despite projections that they will soon become the dominant sources of the gases.

"I'm very concerned about the pace of things," Yvo de Boer, the executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which is playing host to the meeting, said Thursday.

The United Nations released fresh data Thursday confirming what it called the planet's continued and alarming warming.

The 10 years ending in 2007 were the warmest on record, said Michel Jarraud, the secretary general of the World Meteorological Organization, a United Nations agency, citing data taken since the late 1800s from a global network of weather stations, ships and buoys.

"It's very likely the warmest period for at least the last 1,000 or 1,300 years," he told reporters.

The data did not surprise scientists — every recent decade has been warmer than the previous one — but in releasing the numbers here the agency hoped to spur the 190 deadlocked governments into reaching a deal that would set a deadline for a global climate change agreement.

Disagreements exist across a wide range of issues and between numerous blocs of countries but the United States has come under especially strong criticism here by countries rich and poor and by its own domestic critics.

"The best we hoped for was that the U.S. would not hobble the rest of the world from moving forward," said Kevin Knobloch, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists, a non-profit American organization. "Our delegation here from the States has not been able to meet that low level of expectation."

Paula Dobriansky, the head of the American delegation, said Thursday she was committed to obtaining an "environmentally effective and economically sustainable" agreement by 2009.

"We are working very hard to achieve consensus," she told reporters.

Delegates here have seen two faces of America: the cautious negotiators who have sought to water down the more ambitious goals of the European Union, and the more activist voices from people like Mr. Gore, and Michael Bloomberg, the New York City mayor who gave a speech on the sidelines of the conference.

In an interview Thursday, Mr. Bloomberg criticized both the Bush administration and Congress for not being aggressive enough in addressing global warming.

"There's a belief that the United States should not do anything until all the other governments are willing to go along and do it at the same time," Mr. Bloomberg said. "We should be doing this regardless of whether the world is following or not."

The World Meteorological Organization said Thursday that the world's average surface temperature had risen by .74 degrees Celsius, or 1.33 degrees Fahrenheit, since the start of the 20th century. To laymen that may seem like a modest rise, but scientists consider it alarming in the context of historical shifts in temperature.

The difference between temperatures today and an ice age is only 5 or 6 degrees Celsius (9 or 10.8 Fahrenheit), according to Mr. Jarraud of the World Meteorological Organization.

Several weeks ago, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nation's leading scientific body on the topic, released its gloomy assessment of warming that is being cited by European delegates here as a clarion call. Climate change was "unequivocal," the report concluded.

"Average Northern Hemisphere temperatures during the second half of the 20th century were very likely higher than during any other 50-year period in the last 500 years and likely the highest in at least the past 1,300 years," the report said. Greenhouse gases were very likely the dominant force driving up temperatures now, it said.

The panel, made up of hundreds of scientists, releases its assessment of the data and science on climate change every five years.

Temperature rise was likely to be responsible for a wide range of natural phenomena that are already being observed around the world, the panel's report concluded, including rising sea levels, melting ice caps and an increase in the frequency of severe storms.

If temperature rise is not reined in, and particularly if it exceeds 2 to 3 degrees Celsius, the scientists warned, the world could face massive species extinctions, widespread starvation as crops failed in hotter, drier climates, and a relentless rise in sea levels that would permanently drown some small island states.

"If we do not act now, climate change will increase the number of hungry people in the world," said Jacques Diouf, director general of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, who is in Bali this week.

Under varying scenarios, the intergovernmental panel's report said that temperatures could rise between 1.1 and 6.4 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. Many climatologists believe that an increase of about 2 degrees is inevitable, even if man-made carbon emissions were controlled quickly, because of the time lag before such actions will have an effect.

Thomas Fuller reported from Nusa Dua, Indonesia, and Elisabeth Rosenthal reported from Rome.


50th Anniversary of the Global Co2 Record: Although addressing climate change through reduction of greenhouse

Many thanks to Peter for sending this on. Apologies for duplicates

50th Anniversary of the Global Co2 Record
~A Celebration and Symposium~

(Tentative Agenda)
November 28-30, 2007 / Kona, Hawaii


Welcome Reception
6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. 

Welcoming Remarks

Dr. Richard W. Spinrad, Assistant Administrator, NOAA, Oceanic and Atmospheric Research
Hon. Daniel K. Inouye, Senator, State of Hawaii (Invited)
Dr. Ken Melville, Deputy Director for Research, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Mr. Timothy R. E. Keeney, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere, NOAA
Dr. Len Barrie, Director, WMO Atmospheric Research and Environment Programme

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone, President, National Academy of Sciences

What We've Learned from the CO2 Measurement Record
A half century of carbon measurements has provided the cornerstone for research into human-driven climate change. As measurements have become more sophisticated and expanded from one station to a global network, the data have enabled us to draw strong conclusions about the carbon cycle.  This session will cover what we know now and what other gases can tell us about the origin and fate of CO2

Speakers: Prof. Ralph F. Keeling, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Dr. Pieter P. Tans, NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory
Dr. Martin Heimann, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry

Assessing Impacts and Urgency
Continued emission of CO2 and other greenhouse gases will exacerbate the warming trend already observed during the past century, along with consequences of sea-level rise, glacial melting, ocean acidification, and ecosystem disturbance. The potential impact of these events, combined with the complication of realized and potential feedbacks, underscores the urgency of improving our understanding of the climate system, while simultaneously working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Rising sea levels, increased desertification, and changing availability of food, water and energy could trigger conflicts around the globe. This session will explore these issues, as well as the interrelationship among climate change, national and international security, and energy dependence.

Introduction by: Dr. Alexander E. MacDonald, Director, NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory
Speakers: Dr. Richard Somerville, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
VADM Paul Gaffney USN (Ret.), Military Advisory Board

Business Challenges, Opportunities, and Risks
Although addressing climate change through reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is though challenging, the outlook is not necessarily bleak.  Opportunity exists for developing new sources of energy, profitably mitigating emissions, and making better and more efficient use of existing alternatives. These efforts are likely to be market-driven as governments and business organizations establish agreed-upon guidelines for reduction.  Innovation in the future will likely lead to new and effective alternatives.

Introduction by: Mr. Fredrick D. Palmer, Sr. Vice President for Governmental Relations, Peabody Energy
Speakers: Bruce Braine, Vice President, Strategic Policy Analysis, American Electric Power
Helen Howes, Vice-President, Environmental Health & Safety, Exelon Corporation

Climate Change Mitigation under Strong Carbon Constraints
This talk will discuss the range of mitigation options that already exist and how societies may choose the composition of their mitigation-adaptation "portfolios."  The international dimensions of mitigation and the possible new "architecture" for post-2012 climate policy will be discussed, as will the necessity of heavy involvement from the environmental science community in assessing already foreseeable large-scale mitigation options and in-the-wings geoengineering options.

Speaker: Prof. Robert H. Socolow, Princeton University

Symposium Dinner - Commemorating 50 years of the CO2 Record & Dr. Charles David Keeling
6:30 p.m.

Speakers: Prof. Ralph F. Keeling, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Forrest Mims, author

8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. 

Terrestrial Impacts, Feedbacks & Human Adaptation

As the climate warms, managed and unmanaged ecosystems will adjust to changes in temperature, moisture, and extreme events.  The same systems are already adapting to existing threats, such as invasive species and habitat fragmentation. What changes are already occurring and how might they feed back into the climate system to create further change in the future?

Speakers: Prof. Christopher B. Field, Stanford University
Dr. Paul Kirshen, Tufts University
Dr. Ted Schuur, University of Florida
Dr. David Lobell, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Ocean Impacts, Feedbacks & Human Adaptation
One certain outcome of increasing CO2 in the atmosphere is increasing acidification of the oceans. This has potentially serious consequences for the marine environment, from one-celled organisms to complex ecosystems such as coral reefs.

Speakers: Dr. Richard A. Feely, NOAA Pacific Marine Environment Laboratory
Dr. Scott Doney, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Dr. Victoria Fabry, California State University, San Marcos

The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum: An Analog for the Future?
Fifty-five million years ago an enormous amount of carbon was rapidly released into the atmosphere and oceans. This led to significant warming as well as ocean acidification lasting tens of thousands of years. Could current human activities trigger another huge and rapid release of carbon?

Speaker: Prof. James E. Zachos, University of California, Santa Cruz

Ecosystem Impacts, Feedbacks & Human Adaptation, Panel Discussion
Dr. Edward L. Miles, University of Washington

A Climate Success Story - Reversing Ozone Depletion
Climate change owing to increased greenhouse gas emissions is not the first serious global environmental issue faced by society. Two decades ago, depletion of stratospheric ozone posed a threat to both human health and Earth's ecosystems. This difficult issue of the time was addressed collectively by scientists, policy-makers, and industry to achieve an outcome with promising results.

Speaker: Dr. Susan Solomon, NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory

Luau - Featuring renowned Hawaiian chef Sam Choy.
6:30 p.m.

8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. 

Mitigation Options: Part 1
There are many options for reform of our energy system, and we will likely have to work simultaneously on many of them. Improved energy efficiency, zero emissions fossil fuel utilization, nuclear energy, and renewables are among the options for reforming our energy system.

Introduction by: Prof. Robert H. Socolow, Co-Director, Carbon Mitigation Initiative, Princeton Environmental Institute, Princeton University
Speakers: Dr. Julio Friedmann, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Dr. Chuck Kutscher, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Mitigation Options: Part 2 Environmental Impacts of Mitigation Solutions
No mitigation option comes without a consequence.  Some options require increased energy consumption, some cause new or different adverse environmental impacts, several create social and economic concerns, and others have limits as to how long they can be effective.  This session will address several of these issues and suggest several approaches for optimizing our way forward.

Introduction by: Prof. Robert H. Socolow, Co-Director, Carbon Mitigation Initiative, Princeton Environmental Institute, Princeton University
Speakers: Dr. David Keith, University of Calgary
Dr. Dave Karl, University of Hawaii

Regional Efforts
Reducing global CO2 emissions will require local and regional efforts. It is also at the regional scale that the impacts of climate change are felt. This may provide the motivation to solve difficult challenges posed by coordination, funding, and management across borders. This session will discuss opportunities, successes, and needs in regional carbon management.

Speakers: The Honorable Fran Pavley
Co-Author of California's A.B. 32, Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006

Joanne Morin, [NE] Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
David Van't Hof, Western Governors' Association

Economic Tools & Financial Incentives
Economic impacts of human-driven climate change include insurance losses and increased damage from fires, drought, and severe storms. How can our economic system profitably reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and provide incentives for investments in emission reductions? Walsh will discuss various economic drivers for change.

Speaker: Dr. Michael Walsh, Chicago Climate Exchange

Future Measurements and Research Needs
As we set about reducing carbon emissions, we will need an objective method to measure the effectiveness of the different approaches.  Which of the evolving policies work best?  Building on the experience gained from the Mauna Loa record, the atmosphere itself offers us the possibility to provide this policy feedback.

Speaker: Dr. Wouter Peters, Wageningen Research University, Netherlands

New Research for a Committed World, Panel Discussion
Prof. Ray F. Weiss, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

I recently attended, on behalf of Sharon, a NOAA-sponsored conference in Haiwaii to commemorate the 50th anniversary of atmospheric monitoring from Mauna Loa, and to look at the progression and impact of global warming going forward.  It turned out to be one of the best - and scariest - conferences I ever went to.  When a respected scientist like Ralph Cicerone reviews data on polar ice melt (which shows levels previously predicted for 2040, here in 2007), and says to 200 people, and I quote, "this is the 'oh shit' moment", it tends to grab the attention.... So, indeed, does the presentation that shows that President Lyndon B Johnson was briefed on climate change as long ago as1965.

The materials can be accessed from the link below.  There are a lot of documents, and some of them are very scientific, but others cover contributions from the coal industry, mitigation possibilities such as carbon sequestration, and so on.  I strongly recommend taking time at least to scan them.  Note that the transcript of the meeting is due to follow.


Peter Williams

Many of the presentations have been posted to the web site ( We hope to have the remaining presentations posted by the end of the week.  (The web master has been out of the office for jury duty, which caused some delay in getting things posted quickly).
We will also link poster abstracts and posters delivered during the conference.  We expect to have the final, complete transcript of the three-day conference posted to our web site later this week, as well.


Scott Adams on "The End of Foreign Oil"


This post is dated yesterday, there are pages and pages of comments. When the author of Dilbert starts blogging on alternative energy, we have to believe either (1) a huge bubble is about to burst or, more likely, (2) we are on the verge of mass public acceptance of the need to change.


Green Tech Nanosolar Powersheet: The New Dawn of Solar

Popular science "Innovation of the year" for green tech: Nanosolar powersheet

Green Tech
Nanosolar Powersheet

The New Dawn of Solar

Imagine a solar panel without the panel. Just a coating, thin as a layer of paint, that takes light and converts it to electricity. From there, you can picture roof shingles with solar cells built inside and window coatings that seem to suck power from the air. Consider solar-powered buildings stretching not just across sunny Southern California, but through China and India and Kenya as well, because even in those countries, going solar will be cheaper than burning coal. That's the promise of thin-film solar cells: solar power that's ubiquitous because it's cheap. The basic technology has been around for decades, but this year, Silicon Valley–based Nanosolar created the manufacturing technology that could make that promise a reality.

The company produces its PowerSheet solar cells with printing-press-style machines that set down a layer of solar-absorbing nano-ink onto metal sheets as thin as aluminum foil, so the panels can be made for about a tenth of what current panels cost and at a rate of several hundred feet per minute. With backing from Google's founders and $20 million from the U.S. Department of Energy, Nanosolar's first commercial cells rolled off the presses this year.

Cost has always been one of solar's biggest problems. Traditional solar cells require silicon, and silicon is an expensive commodity (exacerbated currently by a global silicon shortage). What's more, says Peter Harrop, chairman of electronics consulting firm IDTechEx, "it has to be put on glass, so it's heavy, dangerous, expensive to ship and expensive to install because it has to be mounted." And up to 70 percent of the silicon gets wasted in the manufacturing process. That means even the cheapest solar panels cost about $3 per watt of energy they go on to produce. To compete with coal, that figure has to shrink to just $1 per watt.

Nanosolar's cells use no silicon, and the company's manufacturing process allows it to create cells that are as efficient as most commercial cells for as little as 30 cents a watt. "You're talking about printing rolls of the stuff—printing it on the roofs of 18-wheeler trailers, printing it on garages, printing it wherever you want it," says Dan Kammen, founding director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory at the University of California at Berkeley. "It really is quite a big deal in terms of altering the way we think about solar and in inherently altering the economics of solar."

In San Jose, Nanosolar has built what will soon be the world's largest solar-panel manufacturing facility. CEO Martin Roscheisen claims that once full production starts early next year, it will create 430 megawatts' worth of solar cells a year—more than the combined total of every other solar plant in the U.S. The first 100,000 cells will be shipped to Europe, where a consortium will be building a 1.4-megawatt power plant next year.

Right now, the biggest question for Nanosolar is not if its products can work, but rather if it can make enough of them. California, for instance, recently launched the Million Solar Roofs initiative, which will provide tax breaks and rebates to encourage the installation of 100,000 solar roofs per year, every year, for 10 consecutive years (the state currently has 30,000 solar roofs). The company is ready for the solar boom. "Most important," Harrop says, "Nanosolar is putting down factories instead of blathering to the press and doing endless experiments. These guys are getting on with it, and that is impressive." —MICHAEL MOYER

Infographics and photos


See how it works


Nanosolar Powersheet
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Global Resource Corp. HAWK 10

Nokia Eco Sensor Concept Phone / Greener Gadgets conference 2008 in NYC

Thanks to Andrée and Susan

1st greener gadgets conference....

Greener Gadgets Conference
Presented by Inhabitat and Marc Alt + Partners

Inhabitat logo
Marc Alt + Partners logo

On February 1st, 2008 in New York City industry leaders, entrepreneurs, journalists, and designers will gather to discuss the business case for the greening of the consumer electronics industry. Greener Gadgets is a one day conference featuring key representatives from some of the largest consumer electronics companies in the world, innovators from academic thinktanks, members of startups focused on renewable energy, and some of the leading minds in the word of sustainable design and business. Topics to be addressed include: design for sustainability, product life cycle management, take-back and recycling programs, energy efficiency, greener materials, and green lifestyle and product marketing. An attached gallery space will feature a green prototype office display and technology exhibits from companies on the cutting edge of green tech.

The Greener Gadgets conference will showcase revolutionary design and tech innovations that will shape the future of the consumer electronics and change your world... for the better.

From: Susan Smith/Toronto/IBM
To: Media-MDS-CAN, Jean-Francois Barsoum/Markham/IBM@IBMCA
Date: 11/12/2007 01:47 PM
Subject: FYI: Nokia Eco Sensor Concept Phone -

This conceptual phone allows the user to share the collected environmental data with others and vice-versa.
To read more go to:

IBM Toronto Media Design Studio  | susan-jillian smith   | Multi-discipline Design| | tel: 905.413.5901 | cell: 647.400.7645
Instructions on How to Fly, by Douglas Adams: Throw yourself at the ground... and miss.
Blog: Pixel
International Butterfly Migration Project - The Green Project that came out of the Blue

Insurance Initiatives Tackling Climate Change Reach New High

Thanks to Peter for this one

Long but fascinating report on the impact of climate change on the Insurance industry - and on notions of business risk.

Some stunning statistics.  For example, the last major US hurricane wiped out 75 years of profits on domestic insurance for AllState insurance.  Faced with this it is virtually withdrawing from states such as Florida (so presumably it will rename itself SomeState... ?)

It also makes some fascinating linkages, for example (Ray Paskauskas, take note!)

Integrating Energy Management & Risk
In the context of climate change, win-win approaches to risk-management include a whole
class of strategies that capture the insurance loss-prevention benefits of certain energy
efficiency and renewable energy strategies. We previously chronicled nearly 80
technologies and practices that can lower greenhouse gas emissions while reducing the
direct risk of property damage from mechanical equipment breakdown, professional liability,
builders' risk, business interruption, and occupational health and safety.53 A clear example
pertaining to fire safety—a familiar concern for insurers—is the elimination of fire hazards
with energy-efficient lighting solutions that give off less heat. A subset of these measures
can directly enhance disaster resilience,54 e.g. the ability of facility-integrated solar power
systems to avert business interruptions following outages on the electricity grid or the
resistance of foam insulation (as opposed to less-efficient fiber-based products) to waterlogging
after floods.55
With rising concerns about occupational health and safety, as well as business interruptions,
risk managers will find particular opportunities in industrial and high-technology settings.
Recent work in data laboratories and data centers has identified strategies that enhance
safety and reliability while reducing energy use and greenhouse-gas emissions.56 Downtime
in these facilities can yield large business-interruption insurance claims.

Report: Insurance Initiatives Tackling Climate Change Reach New High
Hundreds of new insurance initiatives, including green building credits, drought-protection in developing countries and incentives for investing in renewable energy and carbon emissions trading are being offered to tackle climate change and rising weather-related losses in the U.S. and globally, ...

This article can be found at:

Al Gore's climate change Nobel acceptance speech

Hat tip to Charlotte for forwarding this on

i had missed it, so i was glad to see this link to a podcast of Al Gore's speech (he speaks for 20 minutes).

Al Gore
The Nobel Peace Prize 2007


Nobel Lecture
Nobel Lecture, Oslo, 10 December 2007.
Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Honorable members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen.
I have a purpose here today. It is a purpose I have tried to serve for many years. I have prayed that God would show me a way to accomplish it.
Sometimes, without warning, the future knocks on our door with a precious and painful vision of what might be. One hundred and nineteen years ago, a wealthy inventor read his own obituary, mistakenly published years before his death. Wrongly believing the inventor had just died, a newspaper printed a harsh judgment of his life's work, unfairly labeling him "The Merchant of Death" because of his invention – dynamite. Shaken by this condemnation, t he inventor made a fateful choice to serve the cause of peace.
Seven years later, Alfred Nobel created this prize and the others that bear his name.
Seven years ago tomorrow, I read my own political obituary in a judgment that seemed to me harsh and mistaken – if not premature. But that unwelcome verdict also brought a precious if painful gift: an opportunity to search for fresh new ways to serve my purpose.
Unexpectedly, that quest has brought me here. Even though I fear my words cannot match this moment, I pray what I am feeling in my heart will be communicated clearly enough that those who hear me will say, "We must act."
The distinguished scientists with whom it is the greatest honor of my life to share this award have laid before us a choice between two different futures – a choice that to my ears echoes the words of an ancient prophet: "Life or death, blessings or curses. Therefore, choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live."
We, the human species, are confronting a planetary emergency – a threat to the survival of our civilization that is gathering ominous and destructive potential even as we gather here. But there is hopeful news as well: we have the ability to solve this crisis and avoid the worst – though not all – of its consequences, if we act boldly, decisively and quickly.

However, despite a growing number of honorable exceptions, too many of the world's leaders are still best described in the words
Winston Churchill applied to those who ignored Adolf Hitler's threat: "They go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all powerful to be impotent."
So today, we dumped another 70 million tons of global-warming pollution into the thin shell of atmosphere surrounding our planet, as if it were an open sewer. And tomorrow, we will dump a slightly larger amount, with the cumulative concentrations now trapping more and more heat from the sun.
As a result, the earth has a fever. And the fever is rising. The experts have told us it is not a passing affliction that will heal by itself. We asked for a second opinion. And a third. And a fourth. And the consistent conclusion, restated with increasing alarm, is that something basic is wrong.
We are what is wrong, and we must make it right.
Last September 21, as the Northern Hemisphere tilted away from the sun, scientists reported with unprecedented distress that the North Polar ice cap is "falling off a cliff." One study estimated that it could be completely gone during summer in less than 22 years. Another new study, to be presented by U.S. Navy researchers later this week, warns it could happen in as little as 7 years.
Seven years from now.
In the last few months, it has been harder and harder to misinterpret the signs that our world is spinning out of kilter. Major cities in North and South America, Asia and Australia are nearly out of water due to massive droughts and melting glaciers. Desperate farmers are losing their livelihoods. Peoples in the frozen Arctic and on low-lying Pacific islands are planning evacuations of places they have long called home. Unprecedented wildfires have forced a half million people from their homes in one country and caused a national emergency that almost brought down the government in another. Climate refugees have migrated into areas already inhabited by people with different cultures, religions, and traditions, increasing the potential for conflict. Stronger storms in the Pacific and Atlantic have threatened whole cities. Millions have been displaced by massive flooding in South Asia, Mexico, and 18 countries in Africa. As temperature extremes have increased, tens of thousands have lost their lives. We are recklessly burning and clearing our forests and driving more and more species into extinction. The very web of life on which we depend is being ripped and frayed.
We never intended to cause all this destruction, just as Alfred Nobel never intended that dynamite be used for waging war. He had hoped his invention would promote human progress. We shared that same worthy goal when we began burning massive quantities of coal, then oil and methane.
Even in Nobel's time, there were a few warnings of the likely consequences. One of the very first winners of the Prize in chemistry worried that, "We are evaporating our coal mines into the air." After performing 10,000 equations by hand, Svante Arrhenius calculated that the earth's average temperature would increase by many degrees if we doubled the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.
Seventy years later, my teacher, Roger Revelle, and his colleague, Dave Keeling, began to precisely document the increasing CO2 levels day by day.
But unlike most other forms of pollution, CO2 is invisible, tasteless, and odorless – which has helped keep the truth about what it is doing to our climate out of sight and out of mind. Moreover, the catastrophe now threatening us is unprecedented – and we often confuse the unprecedented with the improbable.
We also find it hard to imagine making the massive changes that are now necessary to solve the crisis. And when large truths are genuinely inconvenient, whole societies can, at least for a time, ignore them. Yet as George Orwell reminds us: "Sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield."
In the years since this prize was first awarded, the entire relationship between humankind and the earth has been radically transformed. And still, we have remained largely oblivious to the impact of our cumulative actions.
Indeed, without realizing it, we have begun to wage war on the earth itself. Now, we and the earth's climate are locked in a relationship familiar to war planners: "Mutually assured destruction."
More than two decades ago,scientistscalculated thatnuclear war could throw so much debris and smoke into the air that it would block life-giving sunlight from our atmosphere, causing a "nuclear winter." Their eloquent warnings here in Oslo helped galvanize the world's resolve to halt the nuclear arms race.
Now science is warning us that if we do not quickly reduce the global warming pollution that is trapping so much of the heat our planet normally radiates back out of the atmosphere, we are in danger of creating a permanent "carbon summer."

As the American poet Robert Frost wrote, " Some say the world will end in fire; some say in ice." Either, he notes, "would suffice."

But neither need be our fate.It is time to make peace with the planet.
We must quickly mobilize our civilization with the urgency and resolve that has previously been seen only when nations mobilized for war. These prior struggles for survival were won when leaders found words at the 11th hour that released a mighty surge of courage, hope and readiness to sacrifice for a protracted and mortal challenge.
These were not comforting and misleading assurances that the threat was not real or imminent; that it would affect others but not ourselves; that ordinary life might be lived even in the presence of extraordinary threat; thatProvidence could be trusted to do for us what we would not do for ourselves.
No, these were calls to come to the defense of the common future. They were calls upon the courage, generosity and strength of entire peoples, citizens of every class and condition who were ready to stand against the threat once asked to do so. Our enemies in those times calculated that free people would not rise to the challenge; they were, of course, catastrophically wrong.
Now comes the threat of climate crisis – a threat that is real, rising, imminent, and universal. Once again, it is the 11th hour. The penaltiesfor ignoring this challenge are immense and growing, and at some near point would be unsustainable and unrecoverable. For now we still have the power to choose our fate, and the remaining question is only this: Have we the will to act vigorously and in time, or will we remain imprisoned by a dangerous illusion?
Mahatma Gandhi awakened the largest democracy on earth and forged a shared resolve with what he called "Satyagraha" – or "truth force."
In every land, the truth – once known – has the power to set us free.
Truth also has the power to unite us and bridge the distance between "me" and "we," creating the basis for common effort and shared responsibility.
There is an African proverb that says, "If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." We need to go far, quickly.
We must abandon the conceit that individual, isolated, private actions are the answer. They can and do help. But they will not take us far enough without collective action. At the same time, we must ensure that in mobilizing globally, we do not invite the establishment of ideological conformity and a new lock-step "ism."
That means adopting principles, values, laws, and treaties that release creativity and initiative at every level of society in multifold responses originating concurrently and spontaneously.
This new consciousness requires expanding the possibilities inherent in all humanity. The innovators who will devise a new way to harness the sun's energy for pennies or invent an engine that's carbon negative may live in Lagos or Mumbai or Montevideo. We must ensure that entrepreneurs and inventors everywhere on the globe have the chance to change the world.
When we unite for a moral purpose that is manifestly good and true, the spiritual energy unleashed can transform us. The generation that defeated fascism throughout the world in the 1940s found, in rising to meet their awesome challenge, that they had gained the moral authority and long-term vision to launch the Marshall Plan, the United Nations, and a new level of global cooperation and foresight that unified Europe and facilitated the emergence of democracy and prosperity in Germany, Japan, Italy and much of the world. One of their visionary leaders said, "It is time we steered by the stars and not by the lights of every passing ship."
In the last year of that war, you gave the Peace Prize to a man from my hometown of 2000 people, Carthage, Tennessee. Cordell Hull was described by Franklin Roosevelt as the "Father of the United Nations." He was an inspiration and hero to my own father, who followed Hull in the Congress and the U.S. Senate and in his commitment to world peace and global cooperation.
My parents spoke often of Hull, always in tones of reverence and admiration. Eight weeks ago, when you announced this prize, the deepest emotion I felt was when I saw the headline in my hometown paper that simply noted I had won the same prize that Cordell Hull had won. I n that moment, I knew what my father and mother would have felt were they alive.
Just as Hull's generation found moral authority in rising to solve the world crisis caused by fascism, so too can we find our greatest opportunity in rising to solve the climate crisis. In the Kanji characters used in both Chinese and Japanese, "crisis" is written with two symbols, the first meaning "danger," the second "opportunity." By facing and removing the danger of the climate crisis, we have the opportunity to gain the moral authority and vision to vastly increase our own capacity to solve other crises that have been too long ignored.
We must understand the connections between the climate crisis and the afflictions of poverty, hunger, HIV-Aids and other pandemics. As these problems are linked, so too must be their solutions. We must begin by making the common rescue of the global environment the central organizing principle of the world community.
Fifteen years ago, I made that case at the "Earth Summit" in Rio de Janeiro. Ten years ago, I presented it in Kyoto. This week, I will urge the delegates in Bali to adopt a bold mandate for a treaty that establishes a universal global cap on emissions and uses the market in emissions trading to efficiently allocate resources to the most effective opportunities for speedy reductions.
This treaty should be ratified and brought into effect everywhere in the world by the beginning of 2010 – two years sooner than presently contemplated. The pace of our response must be accelerated to match the accelerating pace of the crisis itself.
Heads of state should meet early next year to review what was accomplished in Bali and take personal responsibility for addressing this crisis. It is not unreasonable to ask, given the gravity of our circumstances, that these heads of state meet every three months until the treaty is completed.
We also need a moratorium on the construction of any new generating facility that burns coal without the capacity to safely trap and store carbon dioxide.
And most important of all, we need to put a price on carbon – with a CO2 tax that is then rebated back to the people, progressively, according to the laws of each nation, in ways that shift the burden of taxation from employment to pollution. This is by far the most effective and simplest way to accelerate solutions to this crisis.
The world needs an alliance – especially of those nations that weigh heaviest in the scales where earth is in the balance. I salute Europe and Japan for the steps they've taken in recent years to meet the challenge, and the new government in Australia, which has made solving the climate crisis its first priority.
But the outcome will be decisively influenced by two nations that are now failing to do enough: the United States and China. While India is also growing fast in importance, it should be absolutely clear that it is the two largest CO2 emitters – most of all, my own country – that will need to make the boldest moves, or stand accountable before history for their failure to act.
Both countries should stop using the other's behavior as an excuse for stalemate and instead develop an agenda for mutual survival in a shared global environment.
These are the last few years of decision, but they can be the first years of a bright and hopeful future if we do what we must. No one should believe a solution will be found without effort, without cost, without change. Let us acknowledge that if we wish toredeem squandered time and speak again with moral authority, then these are the hard truths:
The way ahead is difficult. The outer boundary of what we currently believe is feasible is still far short of what we actually must do. Moreover, between here and there, across the unknown, falls the shadow.
That is just another way of saying that we have to expand the boundaries of what is possible. In the words of the Spanish poet, Antonio Machado, "Pathwalker, there is no path. You must make the path as you walk."
We are standing at the most fateful fork in that path. So I want to end as I began, with a vision of two futures – each a palpable possibility – and with a prayer that we will see with vivid clarity the necessity of choosing between those two futures, and the urgency of making the right choice now.

The great Norwegian playwright, Henrik Ibsen, wrote, "One of these days, the younger generation will come knocking at my door."

The future is knocking at our door right now. Make no mistake, the next generation will ask us one of two questions. Either they will ask: "What were you thinking; why didn't you act? "
Or they will ask instead: "How did you find the moral courage to rise and successfully resolve a crisis that so many said was impossible to solve?"
We have everything we need to get started, save perhaps political will, but political will is a renewable resource.
So let us renew it, and say together: "We have a purpose. We are many. For this purpose we will rise, and we will act."

IT can help save the world: We must start seeing IT services as integral in the fight to save the environment

Thanks to Susan for this article

IT can help save the world

We must start seeing IT services as integral in the fight to save the environment, says David Tebbutt

David Tebbutt, Computing, 13 Dec 2007
Picture of David Tebbutt, programme director, Freeform Dynamics
Tebbutt: We need to shift our desires away from material things and towards services

If the developing world wants to emulate the Western world's way of life, we would need multiple planets to supply the raw materials and absorb the waste.

Huge changes need to take place, many of them beyond the scope of the IT department.

But technology can make a substantial difference and have a positive effect, not only on the planet, but on society and company profitability.

Broadly speaking, IT can help run a more efficient and less energy-consuming organisation. It can also help dematerialise a company's products and the means by which it delivers services.

To take a simple example of dematerialisation, remember when we had telephone answering machines? Now the same function is delivered as a service, either by telecoms service providers or by software inside the organisation. More recent examples are online music and e-books.

Forrester Research suggests that, in future, the cost of a product or service will be measured not only in price, but also in terms of energy consumed over its lifecycle.

No doubt a product's inherent recyclability and use of hazardous chemicals could also be taken into
account. Such information would need to be recorded and maintained by IT systems.

Look at the business as a whole, along with the chief executive, facilities, HR manager and anyone else with a vested interest. Raw materials, manufacturing, logistics, staff travel and buildings are all part of the mix.

After all, cutting the carbon footprint is a question of motivation at the top. Once a company has decided to act, every aspect of the business can be re-examined.

The trick, certainly in the early days, is to look for the big wins. These usually provide net economic, environmental and social benefits.

An internet protocol communications network, for example, can put antennae in every part of a business. Instead of separate monitoring and control systems, they can be consolidated into a single all-embracing network, in theory at least.

But common sense needs to be applied regarding the investment needed and the payoff expected.

It is unlikely that anyone in the organisation will be familiar with all the potential opportunities.

So why not create online meeting places where employees can discuss and share information and opinions?

The more that IT is seen as value-adding, the more it will attract budget and raise its importance to the organisation.

To keep the planet ticking over and to recover lost ground, we need to shift as many of our desires as possible away from material things and towards services.

It all sounds terribly idealistic, but IT can be useful at many levels ­ not least in helping to account for all the company's inputs, processing and outputs, in the effective operation of the buildings and services and in the minimisation of travel, accommodation and commuting.

But if your company does not take green computing seriously or has little interest in it, your best bet is to show how environmental actions can benefit the bottom line, and take it from there.

David Tebbutt is programme director at analyst Freeform Dynamics. Read the blog at:


Enterprise Carbon Management: ZeroFootPrint white paper

Thanks to Ron for forwarding
Please feel free to distribute to your network> We now produce software that addresses the issues raised in the attached paper


Orbitz greens it IT operations

Orbitz greens it IT operations
By: Carolyn Duffy Marsan
Network World (SS)  (10 Dec 2007)

Orbitz, a Chicago travel Web site, has embraced environmentalism as a corporate strategy. Now Orbitz CIO Bahman Koohestani faces the challenge of trying to make the company's electricity-hungry IT operations green.

Koohestani is attacking this challenge in several ways. He's taking his IT operations carbon neutral; he's embracing server consolidation; and, he's using an aggressive technology refresh cycle to buy more energy-efficient computer equipment.

Orbitz has two large data centres in the Chicago area: one in Elk Grove, Ill., and one in Westmont, Ill. Both are powered by Exelon, the Chicago area electric utility, which generates about 80 per cent of its electricity from nuclear power plants.

That's one advantage for Orbitz as it attempts to make its IT operations carbon neutral, a buzzword that means foregoing coal- or natural-gas based fuels that emit greenhouse gases. An organization also can claim to be carbon neutral if it buys offsets of "green" power, such as solar or wind, for the same amount of coal-based power that it uses.

"We're fortunate to be in Chicago, which has only two coal-fired power plants," company spokesman Brian Hoyt says. "That's one of the reasons we're building new data center properties in the city...We're glad that Chicago has a focus from the city government to state and federal officials to keep it as green as possible. One of the ways they do that is by being 80 per cent nuclear power sourced."

Koohestani recommends that other CIOs consider housing their data centers in locations like Chicago that have power sources other than coal-burning electricity plants.

"I would encourage other CIOs to take a look at their power grids, and if they are moving or expanding their data centres, to go to power grids that are much more energy efficient," he says.

Orbitz is measuring and monitoring electricity usage at its data centres on a daily basis.

"We do have an excellent handle on how much energy we use," Koohestani says. "We know how much we are using for cooling. We know how much we use for the network center and for data centre operations. And we know where we need to reduce our amount of usage in order to be more effective...We are looking at the data for the data center daily."

Koohestani says Orbitz doesn't set goals for reducing electricity usage because its business is growing so rapidly.

"Our direction is to optimize our energy use and figure out a way to reduce the total number of servers, and that clearly helps us with heating and cooling costs," he explained.

Orbitz is slashing the number of servers in its search-related server farm by half, from 500 to 250. That will allow the company to adopt more energy-efficient computers and to reduce its power consumption.

"One of the things we constantly look at is how do we optimize and cycle out the older servers that we have and the older technologies that we have and refresh them with newer technology that is more friendly to the environment," Koohestani says. "That enables us to reduce the total number of servers that we have in a particular farm for a particular function."

By cutting the servers in the search function, Orbitz will reduce its power consumption by 40 per cent, says Doug Jaworski, director of infrastructure services for Orbitz.

"We're removing the systems that perform at a much slower capacity and are depreciated," Jaworski says. "We will cut electrical costs by 40%, but that also saves us on server footprint. I, therefore, have less equipment to maintain and manage and less software to operate."

To keep its cooling costs down, Orbitz has designed custom server racks that each support 100 systems and have built-in cooling features. "Through funneling the hot air out and not re-circulating it within our facility, we're able to lower our cooling costs," Jaworski says.

Meanwhile, Orbitz is refreshing all of its desktop computers, laptops and monitors to adopt Energy Star systems that have sleep and standby modes. Jaworski isn't sure how much energy that move will save.

"Energy Star systems are not costing us any more," Jaworski says. "It just makes sense to buy them."

Orbitz refreshes its computer systems every three years or so to keep the technology current and to adopt the latest innovations in energy efficiency.

"We find that if we measure everything from an energy consumption level, we're able to justify refreshes," Jaworski says. "We can show [management] that this helps the bottom line because we can write something off earlier, spend more capital, and in the end save more money." Orbitz also is consolidating the number of data centers it operates. For example, the company is consolidating data centres in 13 European countries into one data centre in the Chicago area.

Global Survey on Climate Change from Clifford Chance

Thanks to Gill

FT - Why the climate change wolf is so hard to kill off: The point of the story of the boy who cried wolf is that, finally, a wolf did appear

thanks to Joe and Gill for this one

FT -- Why the climate change wolf is so hard to kill off
By Martin Wolf
Published: December 4 2007 19:02 | Last updated: December 5 2007 04:38

The point of the story of the boy who cried wolf is that, finally, a wolf did appear. I feel the same way about the intellectual heirs of Thomas Malthus. Malthusians have finally found a wolf called climate change. Many now agree. But it is far away and coming slowly. "If the worst comes to the worst," mutter the rich to themselves, "we can always let our children cope."

This is the complacency that the latest Human Development Report from the United Nations Development Programme attacks. It does a good job, too. But does it do a good enough job to turn the Bali climate change conference into a call for effective action? I fear not. This is not because it fails to make a morally sound case. It is rather because humanity will change its behaviour only when convinced that the lifestyle the better off enjoy now – and the rest of the world aspires to – remains in reach.

This cynical view of human behaviour is fully consistent with what has happened so far. For it is as if the Kyoto treaty had never been. Is this judgment too harsh? Consider just a few of the many facts contained in this report: atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide continue to rise at a rate of 1.9 parts per million a year; over the past 10 years the annual growth rate of emissions has been 30 per cent faster than the average for the past 40 years; if the rate of emission were to rise in line with current trends, stocks of CO2 in the atmosphere might be double pre-industrial levels by 2035; and that, argues the International Panel on Climate Change, would give a likely temperature increase of 3°C, though rises of over 4.5°C cannot be excluded. If the science is right, the world is doomed to significant climate change.
The report takes a temperature increase of 2°C as the threshold of "dangerous climate change". Achieving that means draconian cuts in emissions: "If the world were a single country it would have to cut emissions of greenhouse gases by half by 2050 relative to 1990 levels ... However the world is not a single country. Using plausible assumptions, we estimate that avoiding dangerous climate change will require rich countries to cut emissions by at least 80 per cent, with cuts of 30 per cent by 2020. Emissions from developing countries would peak around 2020, with cuts of 20 per cent by 2050."
Cumulative emissions
The one point in favour of George W. Bush's US or John Howard's Australia is that they were not hypocritical. For the signal feature of most of the commitments made so far has been the failure to meet them (see chart). The vaunted European emissions trading system has been more a way of transferring quota rent to a few big emitters than an effective means of emissions control. The UK government has, for example, been honest enough to admit that large electricity generators gained £1.2bn in quota rent for 2005 alone.

Can the world do better in future? Yes, but it will find it hard. If we are to understand why, we must confront the fact that the world is far from a single country. This creates three huge problems: collective (in)action; perceived injustice; and indifference.

First, not only does each country want to be a free rider on the efforts of others but none feels wholly responsible for the outcome.

Second, the contributions made by different countries to the problem have been (and remain) enormously different. Collectively, the rich countries account for seven out of every 10 tonnes of CO2 emitted since the start of the industrial era. While China is the biggest emitter in the world, its emissions are still only one-fifth of US levels per head. India's are one-fifteenth.
Third, as the report spells out in compelling detail, the heaviest cost will be borne by the world's poor. Among the most frightening consequences are those for rainfall and glaciers: water shortages could become severe across large swaths of the globe. Poor people are far less able to cope with climatic disasters than rich ones. But this, if we were honest, is why the rich are unlikely to make the huge reductions in emissions the report demands. The powerful will continue to act without much consideration for the poor. This, after all, is a world that spends 10 times as much on defence (much of it useless) as on aid to poor countries.

How might this change? The answer is that we must appeal at least as much to people's self-interest as to their morality. Yes, we have a moral obligation to consider both the poor and future generations. Yes, the fact that the changes in the composition of the atmosphere are, to all intents and purposes, irreversible makes early and effective action essential. But acceptance of these points will not be sufficient to obtain meaningful action, instead of pious aspirations and much pretence. A good example of the latter is the proposition that it is enough to lower the carbon intensity of output. Alas, it is not, unless the reduction is very large indeed.

Two things are needed. The first is convincing evidence that the true risks are larger than many now suppose. Conceivable feedback effects might, for example, generate temperature increases of 20°C. That would be the end of the world as we know it. I cannot imagine a rational person who would not seek to eliminate even the possibility of such outcomes. But if we are to do that, we must also act very soon.

The second requirement is to demonstrate that it is possible for us to thrive with low-carbon emissions. People in the northern hemisphere are not going to choose to be cold now, in order to prevent the world from becoming far too hot in future. China and India are not going to forgo development, either. These are realities that cannot be ignored.

The UNDP report argues that the low-carbon future it wants could be achieved at a cost of 1.6 per cent of global output between now and 2030. Such round numbers look attractively modest. But the question people will still ask themselves is what this might mean for their own standards of living. Advocates of change will have to persuade people that living in a low-carbon economy does not mean giving up everything they enjoy. People will not wear hair shirts, whatever they may pretend.

In short, if they are to tolerate radical change in energy use, people must first be frightened and then they must be offered a good way out. The truth, moreover, is that this will happen only if the US also takes the lead. No country will deliver radical cuts if the US does not do so, too. No leaps forward in science and technology will occur if the US is not prepared to commit its resources to those ends. The US can no longer wait for a lead from others. Either it takes the lead now or the cause, in all probability, will be lost. Our children and grandchildren will then find out whether it was a real wolf or not.

Joe Hanley
Director, IBM Media Relations, Europe
Off:        +44 (0)20 8844 6972 (Int. 366972)
Mob:    +44 (0)78 0350 2318 (Int. 267884)

New Scientist = Solar Power Article

Thanks to Brian

the attached article on Solar Power has just been published in the latest New Scientist:


NHL players team up with David Suzuki Foundation: players purchasing clean-air credits to compensate for the extra carbon produced by their extensive travels - a concept known as carbon offsets. All the money they raise will help fund three clean-air projects around the world through Montreal-based not-for-profit Planetair.

Thanks to Keith

A lighter read, but interesting nevertheless.  Perhaps we will witness other professional athletes and affiliations follow suit.

NHL players team up with David Suzuki Foundation
Canadian Press
Dec 7, 2007, 7:45 PM EST
The Boston Bruins' Andrew Ference is very happy to see so many NHL players showing support for the David Suzuki Foundation.

TORONTO - Everybody seems to be going green these days and the NHL Players' Association is asking its members to jump on the bandwagon.

The David Suzuki Foundation and the union announced plans Friday for a partnership that asks players to become more eco-friendly, both at home through their personal choices and in their professional lives through the NHLPA Carbon Neutral Challenge.

The latter initiative involves players purchasing clean-air credits to compensate for the extra carbon produced by their extensive travels - a concept known as carbon offsets. All the money they raise will help fund three clean-air projects around the world through Montreal-based not-for-profit Planetair.

"It's unbelievable how guys pick up on it and know something is important," said Boston Bruins defenceman Andrew Ference, the catalyst for the program. "Hockey is filled with a lot of great character and guys are showing it by stepping up and doing the right thing.

"It's all about taking initiative and we have a lot of guys who are really good at doing that."

Over 350 players - including everyone on the Florida Panthers and Dallas Stars - have already signed up to contribute $290 annually and hundreds more are expected to join in the coming weeks. The amount is based on a clean-air credit cost of $29 per ton and research that says each NHL player contributes 10 tons of carbon emissions per season.

While the dollar-amount may be small, the world-renowned Suzuki believes the impact of having hockey players involved is immeasurable.

"Environmentalists would kill to get this type of attention," he joked as he pointed to a line of cameras. "Let's face it, an old crusty guy like me, an environmentalist, who the hell is going to listen to me? But these guys connect directly with our youth and it's all about the future."

Ference was inspired to launch the program by Canadian Olympic skier Thomas Grandi, who along with wife Sara Renner, an Olympic silver medallist in cross-country skiing, hooked up with Suzuki back in December 2006.

Grandi calculated how much extra carbon he produces while travelling with the Canadian ski team and bought $535 worth of clean air credits to make up for it. He also donated half his prize winnings that season to Suzuki's foundation.

They also urged fellow winter athletes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their daily living, getting the entire Canadian ski team on board.

"There it was obvious because they know meets are being cancelled now in Europe because of a lack of snow. They can see the impact," said Suzuki. "The hockey players are a natural it seems to me, but we have to talk about branching out to the other sports."

Ference started by getting seven of his Flames teammates to sign up.

"If amateur athletes can do it, than we better," he said. "It really is a small amount to contribute but it's the power that message contributes, getting the idea in these players heads about doing the right thing."

Social consciousness comes naturally to Ference, who is also an athlete ambassador for Right to Play, an international charitable organization that uses sport to improve the lives of children and communities affected by war, poverty and disease.

He and Florida Panthers defenceman Steve Montador were part of a July 1-8 trip to Tanzania last summer, an experience that changed him forever. He understands the power of the platform he as an athlete and is thrilled to see the NHLPA taking on a more activist role.

"It's an opportunity and a responsibility," said Ference. "How many kids are watching NHL players and emulating them on the ice? And to see what those same heroes are doing off the ice is very powerful. That's a responsibility that falls on any professional athlete or high-profile person's shoulders, what kind of message are they putting out there? What are they standing for as a group?"

New NHLPA executive director Paul Kelly believes there is a place for the union to be involved in social causes.

"We're becoming a more diverse organization, it's not just looking out for players, players' families, starting to do some partner things with the NHL in terms of marketing," he said. "But in terms of being socially conscious and environmentally responsible, we definitely want to go in that direction."

That has helped make inroads with NHL players in regards to the carbon challenge, although much work lies ahead.

Gas-guzzling SUVs are a common vehicle of choice for professional athletes, hockey players included. Awareness about the issues related to global warming and of the alternatives that are out there are key in the fight.

For instance, Ference got ribbed by his Calgary teammates for driving a hybrid last season, but a handful of players ended up following his lead. Same goes for the Bruins, who had fun with him for riding a bike to the rink until captain Zdeno Chara and others joined in.

"It's introducing guys to things they might not have known about," said Ference. "In Calgary for example, it was call the power companies and switch to wind and guys were like, 'Oh, you can do that?' Six or seven guys picked up the phone and switched to wind. People in general want to do the right thing, as long as someone can show them the way, they're all for it.

"Hockey players aren't different than anybody else."

Their contributions to the carbon challenge will go towards a bio-mass outfit in India, a micro-hydro system in Indonesia and a wind-farm in Madagascar.