Sustainablog

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

30.1.08

Diesel pollution clogs arteries, raises risk of heart disease


Thanks to Susan

http://www.newstarget.com/022198.html

Diesel pollution clogs arteries, raises risk of heart disease

(NewsTarget) Diesel fumes interact with fatty acids found in LDL ("bad") cholesterol to raise the risk of heart disease, according to a study published in the online journal "Genome Biology."

On their own, both diesel fumes and certain fatty acids contained in LDL cholesterol create free radicals in the body. These free radicals damage cells and tissue, leading to the inflammation that can cause cardiovascular disease.

In the new study, researchers at the University of California-Los Angeles found that the combination of diesel and the fats was far more dangerous than either factor separately.

"Their combination creates a dangerous synergy that wreaks cardiovascular havoc far beyond what's caused by the diesel or cholesterol alone," said lead researcher André Nel.

The researchers first combined diesel pollutants with the
fatty acids and added them to a culture of cells from the inside of human blood vessels. They found that the mixture activated the genes that promote cellular inflammation.

Then the researchers exposed mice with high cholesterol to diesel particles. In response, many of the same genes were activated in the mice's bodies.

Researchers said that the exact mechanism by which pollution leads to
heart disease is still unknown.

"We do know that these particles are coated with chemicals that damage tissue and cause inflammation of the nose and lungs," Nel said. "Vascular inflammation in turn leads to cholesterol deposits and clogged arteries, which can give rise to blood clots and trigger heart attack or stroke."

According to Cathy Ross, a cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, it has long been known that air
pollution increases a person's risk of death from cardiovascular disease. "Anyone with chronic lung disease or coronary heart disease should avoid staying outside for long periods when pollution levels are high," she said.

29.1.08

Don't Bother with the "Green" Consumer: Instead of focusing on a green niche, focus on green behaviors that everyone can aspire to.




Don't Bother with the "Green" Consumer

by Steve Bishop
Posted on January 23, 2008 9:00 AM

It seems so logical on the face of it. A company wishing to go green should focus on the green consumer, right? Not so. Marketing to the green consumer has proved difficult, even downright dangerous, for companies large and small. Here's why.

  • Established companies fear alienating their base of mainstream consumers by appealing to the green consumer, and rightly so. The majority of consumers seek to satisfy their personal needs before considering those of the planet. Green for green's sake products often don't meet the basic needs that most people require from their products. Take hemp clothing, for example. If green for green's sake products could go mainstream, we'd all be wearing hemp sweaters and be happy
    about it.
  • Small, streamlined green brands that truly appeal to the environmentalist consumer can't reach the mainstream. Those companies get stuck in a green ghetto—virtuous, but limited in scope.
The result is that most companies are stuck somewhere in the middle—and that turns out to be a very dangerous place indeed. We've all watched a company take a traditional product and tout its green virtues. When the approach doesn't work all that well, they simply take out a bigger megaphone. Hence the green-washing epidemic we have today.

So while the traditional marketing answer to the question, Should we market to the green consumer? has been yes, the better answer is this: Instead of focusing on a green niche, focus on green behaviors that everyone can aspire to.

When we helped Shimano, an international manufacturer of bike parts, create a new bike platform, we didn't focus on cycling enthusiasts—the biggest segment in this market—or on the green niche. Instead we focused on a growth strategy with a "green outcome"—more people riding bikes and enjoying it. As a result, we turned our attention to the 161 million Americans who don't ride at all.

Our work with Shimano yielded two insights: 1) everyone fondly remembers biking as a kid; 2) highly technical sports bikes and lycra-clad salespeople in bike stores put off would-be everyday riders. So Shimano pitched a concept bike to manufacturers that was intuitive and inviting. Mechanical components were hidden, handlebars were stripped of complex controls, and pedals, were well, just pedals.

/flatmm/HBRGreen_image2_golive.jpgThey called it the "Coasting" bike. Nothing to learn, just jump on and go, like when you were a kid. That's what gets people riding.

So where's the environmental story here? Well, there isn't an explicit one. Shimano is addressing a human problem, not an environmental one. By seeking the truth about what really matters to people and creating a great experience for them, the company is appealing to a mass market increasingly aware of our impact on the planet. Coasting bikes tell the green story implicitly by inviting people to engage in new, positive behaviors—like reducing greenhouse gases by pedaling—instead of driving.

For a company that wants to go green, then, the green consumer niche is almost irrelevant. I'm reminded of HBS professor Ted Levitt's old marketing axiom that people who buy drills don't need drills; they need holes. Consumers—whether they are green or mainstream—don't simply want green products, they want solutions to their day-to-day problems that also make sense for our environment.

The bottom line: Marketing needs to define what sustainability means for their company and then decide how to express those values in their offerings. Companies should stop trying to appeal to green consumers by building green myths into the products they have and start creating something real—products that tell their environmental story for them.


About The Author

Steve Bishop is a global lead of Design for Sustainability at IDEO. He focuses on applying design thinking to the issues of sustainability for IDEO clients. His experience ranges across several industries including automotive, consumer products, and medical devices. He's helped design high-end award-winning office furniture, packaging, instrument panels for hybrid vehicles, and medical injection devices, for which he holds several patents.

A summary of US President's Energy Message in 2008 "State of the Union" (annual update) message.


Thanks to Colin



A contrarian view: Climate Change Not a Priority for Big Business, Survey Shows


Thanks to an anonymous tipster (who signed my name! :-)



------------------------------------------------------------
Climate Change Not a Priority for Big Business, Survey Shows [1]
------------------------------------------------------------
 

Jan. 28, 2008 — Nearly nine in ten large companies say climate change doesn't
rate among their top priorities, taking a back seat to traditional business
concerns such as competition, operational costs, innovation and technology, and
the quest for new products and services. The Independent reports [2] the results
of a new Accenture survey showing that just 5% of big businesses consider global
warming a top priority, and only 11% peg it at second or third place.

       
[1]
http://www.sustainablelifemedia.com/content/story/strategy/climate_change_not_a_priority_for_big_business
[2]
http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/big-business-says-addressing-climate-change-rates-very-low-on-agenda-774648.html

Independent.co.uk
Big business says addressing climate change 'rates very low on agenda'

Poll of 500 major firms reveals that only one in 10 regard global warming as a priority

By Tricia Holly Davis, Geoffrey Lean and Susie Mesure
Sunday, 27 January 2008

Nearly nine in 10 of them do not rate it as a priority, says the study, which canvassed more than 500 big businesses in Britain, the US, Germany, Japan, India and China. Nearly twice as many see climate change as imposing costs on their business as those who believe it presents an opportunity to make money. And the report's publishers believe that big business will concentrate even less on climate change as the world economy deteriorates.

The survey demolishes George Bush's insistence that global warming is best addressed through voluntary measures undertaken by business – and does so at the most embarrassing juncture for the embattled President. For this week he is convening a meeting of the world's largest economies to try to persuade them to agree with him.

The meeting – in Hawaii on Wednesday and Thursday – follows the US's refusal to accept binding targets for reducing carbon dioxide emissions, the main cause of global warming, in international negotiations in Bali last month, and is seen as an attempt to develop a less rigorous approach to the crisis.

But the new report shows that even business does not support this, with four out of the five companies surveyed wanting governments to take a central role in tackling climate change.

The survey, carried out by the consulting firm Accenture, found that only 5 per cent of the companies questioned – and not one in China – regarded global warming as their top priority. And only 11 per cent put it in second or third place.

Overall it ranked eighth in business leaders' concerns, below increasing sales, reducing costs, developing new products and services, competing for talented staff, securing growth in emerging markets, innovation and technology. Although most are taking limited action to reduce their own emissions, almost one in five had done nothing.

Mark Spelman, global head of strategy at Accenture, told The Independent on Sunday at the World Economic Forum in Davos last week: "Climate change is not going to get nearly the same degree of attention here as it would have achieved if the economic outlook were brighter. Whenever there are underlying economic concerns, people will focus on them."

The report makes it clear that – in contradiction of the Bush administration's position – business is waiting for governments to take the lead. Nearly half of all the companies worldwide said that climate change was already a major issue for them and three in five expected it to be so within five years. But more than half confessed to be struggling to understand its implications.

Matthew Farrow, head of environment for the Confederation of British Industry, agreed that companies are having a hard time digesting climate change, but added: "The core financials need to be right, but business also needs to understand how climate change will affect the marketplace and realise those business opportunities."

Some 67 per cent of the businesses surveyed agreed they have a role to play in tackling global warming, but only four out of 10 felt in a position to fulfil it. In China only 14 per cent of those questioned felt in a strong position.

The report concludes: "Businesses clearly are seeking long-term signals about where and how to invest. They are reluctant to make big investments in climate change-related initiatives until the scope of future regulation becomes clearer".

This point has been made to US and European governments by businesses in their own countries. The European Corporate Leaders on Climate Change group, made up of the heads of major companies – which persuaded both Tony Blair and EU President José Manuel Barroso to make climate change a priority – has called for "a strong and clear policy framework" to enable cuts in emissions.

And the US Climate Action Partnership – which includes the heads of blue-chip companies such as General Electric, DuPont, and Alcoa – has urged Mr Bush to "establish a mandatory emissions pathway" leading to a reduction of up to 30 per cent in US emissions within 15 years.

Yesterday, Mark Kenber, policy director at the Climate Group, said: "These disappointing findings highlight the fact that carbon pricing mechanisms are not yet strong enough for businesses to incorporate climate change risks and opportunities into traditional business strategy".


Climate Change Not a Priority for Big Business, Survey Shows

Jan. 28, 2008 — Nearly nine in ten large companies say climate change doesn't rate among their top priorities, taking a back seat to traditional business concerns such as competition, operational costs, innovation and technology, and the quest for new products and services. The Independent reports the results of a new Accenture survey showing that just 5% of big businesses consider global warming a top priority, and only 11% peg it at second or third place.

"Climate change is not going to get nearly the same degree of attention here as it would have achieved if the economic outlook were brighter," says Mark Spelman, global head of strategy at Accenture. "Whenever there are underlying economic concerns, people will focus on them." (Find out what executives perceive as the top five threats to business success here.)

Adds Matthew Farrow, head of environment for the Confederation of British Industry: "The core financials need to be right, but business also needs to understand how climate change will affect the marketplace and realise those business opportunities."

The report notes that "businesses...are reluctant to make big investments in climate change-related initiatives until the scope of future regulation becomes clearer," finding that large companies would prefer to let government take the lead. While 67% say they agree that business has a role in tackling climate change, only 40% feel they are in a position to fill it. Four out of five respondents said they expect government to take the lead role in addressing global warming.

Many market watchers point out that business would pay more attention to global warming with a stronger carbon market to make it worth their financial while. "These disappointing findings highlight the fact that carbon pricing mechanisms are not yet strong enough for businesses to incorporate climate change risks and opportunities into traditional business strategy," according to Mark Kenber, policy director at the Climate Group.

The findings of the Accenture survey were revealed last week at the meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where climate change maintained a prominent place on the agenda.

IBM and the EPA's Fortune 500 List of Green Power Purchasers


thanks to Michael @IBM Media relations for this news clip and facts

53 Fortune 500 Corporations Surpass EPA Green Power Goals:
http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/dc57b08b5acd42bc852573c90044a9c4/6c85f7cb2c4e0380852573de005d3732!OpenDocument


Facts about IBM Being Named to EPA's Fortune 500 List of Green Power Purchasers
  • IBM Corporation ranks No. 12 on EPA's Fortune 500 list of Green Power Purchasers.
  • IBM Corporation purchased more than 110,000 megawatt-hours (MWH) of green power, enough to meet 4 percent of the company's U.S. purchased electricity use.  During the same period and across its global operations, IBM procured 453,000 MWH of renewable energy through direct purchases and renewable energy certificates (RECs).  This is estimated to constitute approximately 9 percent of IBM's global electricity purchases in 2007.  IBM's commitment to green power helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also supporting the development of new renewable generation capacity around world.
  • The use and support of renewable energy are key components of IBM's global climate protection and energy management program.  
  • The company's 2007 renewable energy purchases included direct purchases for IBM's own consumption as well as purchases of RECs.  Notably, a majority of the electricity used to support IBM's operations in UK is sourced from a mixture of renewable generation technology including biomass, wind, and combined heat and power  generation.  In the Netherlands, 100 percent of IBM's electricity (16,000 MWH) is generated by renewable sources. Also in 2007, IBM added renewable energy sources to its energy mix in Australia, purchasing 3,865 MWH of accredited renewable energy -- a renewable energy accreditation system that is equivalent to the GREENe Certification in the U.S. --  representing 4 percent of its anticipated annual electricity use in that country.  In the United States, the largest purchases involved 96,000 MWH of RECs and 12,000 MWH of wind generated electricity for IBM's Austin Texas location.
  • IBM's procurement of renewable energy and RECs has increased from 11,000 MWH 2001 to 453,000 MWH in 2007, a 40-fold increase over this period.  
  • After having avoided nearly 3 million metric tons of CO2 emissions through implementing energy conservation projects between 1990 and 2006 (is equal to 44 percent of the company's 1990 global CO2 emissions), IBM set a second generation goal to reduce CO2 emissions associated with its energy use 12 percent between 2005 and 2012.  Use of renewable energy is recognized as important means for the company to achieve its goal.  
  • IBM believes its use of renewable energy and purchases of RECs support the renewable energy market, drive technological development and economies of scale for renewable energy generating technologies, and enable renewable energy sources to become cost competitive over time.  These purchases demonstrate IBM's leadership on addressing climate change.
  • IBM is currently assessing its renewable energy options in the United States for 2008, both for potential direct purchases of renewable energy and the purchase of RECs.  Where IBM is purchasing electricity in unregulated markets, the company is requesting that power suppliers price renewable energy options as part of their proposal.  With the high demand for RECs and the market impacts of the Renewable Portfolio standards in many of the states where IBM has large facilities, the company is evaluating the options for renewable energy purchases to determine which can make business and economic sense.  IBM has expanded its purchases outsides of the United States in the past two years, as there have been better opportunities for renewable energy purchases in the markets of the European Union.

Renault met un pneu en terre promise: Dès 2011, Renault distribuera à grande échelle une voiture à zéro émission de CO2 sur le marché israélien.


Thanks to Sonia

In French but could interest the community
http://www.planete-terra.fr/article443.html

Dès 2011, Renault distribuera à grande échelle une voiture à zéro émission de CO2 sur le marché israélien.

ourires aux lèvres, le pédégé de Renault-Nissan Carlos Ghosn, le premier ministre Ehud Olmert et l'entrepreneur israélien Shaï Agassi échangent des poignées de main vigoureuses, de celles qui scellent une bonne affaire. Les trois ont signé, ce lundi 21 janvier, un accord de partenariat qui aboutira à la commercialisation de masse d'une voiture électrique dans l'Etat hébreux. Une première, car le projet marque "le début de la distribution en grande série d'un véhicule à zéro émission de C02" selon Carlos Ghosn qui espère vendre en Israël 10 000 à 20 000 voitures de ce type par an.

Forfait voiture électrique

Les termes du contrat sont simples. Renault produit la voiture. Nissan fournit les batteries. Project Better Place construit le réseau électrique de recharge. Shaï Agassi, le directeur général de cette société, avait convaincu Carlos Ghosn de se lancer dans ce projet au Forum de Davos en 2007. Son idée est originale : désormais on achèterait sa voiture électrique comme son téléphone portable. Le client souscrit un abonnement pour l'utilisation de la batterie, qui lui est facturée au kilomètre parcouru.

La future berline électrique offrira selon Renault "des performances identiques à celle d'un véhicule équipé d'un moteur à essence de 1,6 litre" et aura une autonomie comprise entre 100 et 160 kilomètres. La voiture idéale pour ce type de marché, dans la mesure où 90% des Israéliens parcourent moins de 70 km par jour et où la distance entre les principales villes n'excède pas 150 km précise Renault dans un communiqué. Si jamais il leur prenait l'envie d'un voyage au long court, ils pourraient néanmoins zapper les 4 à 5 heures de recharge en échangeant leurs batteries au lithium dans l'une des 500 000 bornes de recharge. Lesquelles seront indiquées au conducteur par un système informatique embarqué.

Bonne nouvelle, le modèle électrique devrait, au final, coûter sensiblement moins cher qu'un véhicule classique. L'électricité revient effectivement moins cher que les énergies fossiles. Ce qui, a priori, ne devrait pas s'inverser. Par ailleurs, le gouvernement israélien s'est engagé à ce que les taxes sur le véhicule électrique ne dépassent pas 10%. Un geste en cohérence avec sa politique de développement des énergies renouvelables et qui en passant, lui permettra de réduire sa dépendance au pétrole de ses voisins arabes.

 

new Sustainability Benchmarking Report


http://www.sustainability.executiveboard.com/pdf/CEB_Innovest_Industry%20Report%20108.pdf


Dell, HP, IBM, Toshiba rate AAAA

----- Forwarded by Jean-Francois Barsoum/Markham/IBM on 2008-01-29 17:25 -----

 Issue 14                                                                                                                                                                January 24th, 2008
   
What's New- Sustainability Benchmarking Report New Question from Peer Group Member
 

 

The Sustainability Benchmarking Report – a partnership between the Sustainability Forum and Innovest Strategic Value Advisors – addresses the lack of accurate and relevant sustainability benchmarking data through presentation of company- and industry-specific benchmarking information for more than 500 companies across 23 industries. Industry-level "Intangible Value Assessments" are provided, representing detailed analysis of performance across four key sustainability categories:
  • Environment
  • Human Capital
  • Strategic Governance
  • Stakeholder Engagement
The report provides both company-specific ratings and charts illustrating best- and worst-in-class scores, as well as industry averages.

Download the Sustainability Benchmarking Report here.

Reminder: Dell Teleconference Febuary 5th!

Tuesday, February 5th at 11:00 AM EST, hear Tod Arbogast, Director of Sustainable Business at Dell Inc., speak about Dell's efforts to go carbon neutral. If you haven't already, register for this teleconference here.


Weekly Snap Poll

Does your company purchase renewable energy to power its operations?
Yes, for all operations
Yes, but only in specific locations
No

Save Changes


Results from Last Week's Poll

What is your primary consideration in making a sustainability investment?

57% Environmental/Social Benefit
 
7% Revenue Impact
22%
Payback Schedule
 
7% Improved Environmental Image
 7% No Formal Criteria

n=14

See Past Poll Results Here

Financing Question:
From a US Financial Services Company:
I am currently working on a financing outside the US with lenders that require Equator Principle (EP) social and environmental compliance nbsp; If you are familiar with EP, you will know that two key deliverables are a project specific 'Action Plan' and a more generic 'Social and Environmental Management System'. I am hoping to learn about best practices in creating Action Plans and demonstrating adequate Social and Environmental Management Systems.

Do you have experience with financings that require Equator Principle compliance? Do you have any lessons learned or other advice to share in regards to compliance?





Responses will be aggregated and shared with the peer group next week. Your name and the name of your company will not be shared or associated with your response.

To submit a question to your peers, just reply to this message or click the button below.

 


Responses to Last Week's Question

Question: From a US Consumer Products Company: What do you think of the GHG (Greenhouse Gas) Protocol as a standard for measuring GHG emissions? Has anyone been using or considering any alternative standards?

Response: From a US Consumer Products Company: We use the GRI protocol as developed by WBCSD and WRI for all of our carbon reporting.

We have improved our Archive of Peer Questions and Answers. To access past questions and answers, please click on the button below.



Did You Know?

Hewlett-Packard just published guidelines on sustainable supply chain practices based on supplier assessments. While we were not able to find a link to the report itself, this article from the Environmental Leader gives a detailed executive summary of the report, including findings from:

      -HP's supply chain management practices,  
      -Suppliers' environmental and social practices, and
      -Capability-building activities.  


The summary also provides guidelines for multinational corporations on the topic of managing sustainable supply chains.

   



If you prefer not to receive the Sustainability Forum e-mail,
please click
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A Cheaper Battery for Hybrid Cars: Researchers in Australia have created what could be called a lead-acid battery on steroids, capable of performing as well as the nickel-metal hydride systems found in most hybrid cars but at a fraction of the cost

Thanks to Norbert

Content:

A Cheaper Battery for Hybrid Cars by Tyler Hamilton
New lead-acid batteries could achieve high performance.

http://www.technologyreview.com/Energy/20105/?nlid=830


Technology Review - Published by MIT
Thursday, January 24, 2008
A Cheaper Battery for Hybrid Cars
New lead-acid batteries could achieve high performance.
By Tyler Hamilton

The future market for hybrid-electric vehicles, at least those that are affordable, isn't necessarily paved with lithium. Researchers in Australia have created what could be called a lead-acid battery on steroids, capable of performing as well as the nickel-metal hydride systems found in most hybrid cars but at a fraction of the cost.

The so-called UltraBattery combines 150-year-old lead-acid technology with supercapacitors, electronic devices that can quickly absorb and release large bursts of energy over millions of cycles without significant degradation. As a result, the new battery lasts at least four times longer than conventional lead-acid batteries, and its creators say that it can be manufactured at one-quarter the cost of existing hybrid-electric battery packs.

In the United Kingdom last week, a Honda Insight hybrid powered by the UltraBattery system surpassed 100,000 miles on a test track. "The batteries were still in perfect condition at the end of the test," says David Lamb, who heads up low-emission transport research at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia's national science agency. "What we've got is a lead-acid battery that is nice and cheap but can perform as well as, or better than, the nickel-metal hydride technology, which we know is very expensive."

Lead-acid batteries, invented by French physicist Gaston Plante in 1859, don't get much respect these days, despite being a crucial fixture under the hood of most vehicles. They contain lead, so environmentalists don't like them. They're heavy for the energy they store--a bad trait for mobile applications. And they degrade easily if not cycled properly. Indeed, there have been no major advances in the technology over the decades.

Meanwhile, a newer generation of batteries--most notably lithium-ion ones--are capturing the attention of investors and automakers. "Many have tried to improve the lead-acid battery, but the improvements were usually not that great or worth the added cost," says Malcolm Shemmans, founder and president of BET Services, a provider of battery-testing services to the auto industry.

To compensate for some of the shortcomings of lead-acid technology, many in the past have tried to complement the batteries with supercapacitors. In the late 1990s, for example, Lamb helped design two hybrid cars that used a 60-volt lead-acid pack and a separate 150-volt supercapacitor pack. The lead-acid system allowed the vehicles to drive in all-electric mode in the city, while the supercapacitors gave the cars the jolt that was needed for acceleration and the ability to quickly absorb energy from braking.

The cars worked well, but all the power electronics that were needed to control the two power systems were heavy and prohibitively expensive. Instead of treating the lead-acid batteries and supercapacitors as separate systems, Lamb's team decided to eliminate the need for all external electronics and instead build the supercapacitors directly into the battery. Essentially, one of the plates (the negative electrode) in the lead-acid battery was made half of lead and half of carbon, turning the battery into a supercapacitor-lead-acid hybrid.

CSIRO brought the design to Japanese battery manufacturer Furukawa Battery Company, which saw potential in the technology. After three years of collaboration, the two organizations determined that they could manufacture the UltraBattery much like conventional lead-acid batteries and at similar cost.

Meanwhile, Axion Power International, in New Castle, PA, has also developed a new type of lead-acid battery. Edward Buiel, chief technical officer with Axion, says that lead-acid batteries can play a significant role in the future of transportation and energy supply. Unfortunately, he adds, the automakers don't see the potential. "If you're not lithium-ion or nickel-metal hydride, they're not interested. It's frustrating."

Buiel says that the typical cost of a nickel-metal hydride power pack is $2,000, and close to $5,000 retail. "A comparable lead-acid could be in the range of $1,000 in low volume, and significantly less in high volume," he says. "It's a battery where the consumer could see enough fuel savings for a payback in a year or two."

Despite the reluctance of the auto industry to embrace the technology, Lamb is convinced that by 2010 there will be some Japanese-made hybrid cars on the market offering the UltraBattery option.

However, Axion might have something to say about it. "We definitely think this technology is an excellent choice for hybrid-electric vehicles," says Buiel. "There's a lot of intellectual property in this area, and most of it is owned by Axion. Obviously, if we feel somebody violates our patent, we will defend that vigorously." He says that Axion plans to launch a demonstration project in North America this year that will test dozens of hybrid vehicles retrofitted with its lead-carbon batteries.

Copyright Technology Review 2008.




Shell Energy Scenarios - Scramble versus Blueprints: Shell estimates that after 2015 supplies of easy-to-access oil and gas will no longer keep up with demand.



Thanks To Colin, apologies for duplicates (there are many)

-----Original Message-----
From:
Van der Veer, Jeroen SI-GLOBAL
Sent:
22 January 2008 08:05
Subject:
Message to all staff from Jeroen van der Veer: Shell Energy Scenarios

 
From: Jeroen van der Veer, Chief Executive
To: All Shell employees
Date: 22 January 2008
 
Subject:   Shell Energy Scenarios



 
Dear Colleagues
 
In this letter, I'd like to share reflections about how we see the energy future, and our preferred route to meeting the world's energy needs. Industry, governments and energy users - that is, all of us - will face the twin challenge of more energy and less CO2.
 
This letter is based on a text I've written for publication in several newspapers in the coming weeks. You can use it in your communications externally. There will be more information about energy scenarios in the months ahead.
 
By the year 2100, the world's energy system will be radically different from today's. Renewable energy like solar, wind, hydroelectricity and biofuels will make up a large share of the energy mix, and nuclear energy too will have a place.
 
Mankind will have found ways of dealing with air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. New technologies will have reduced the amount of energy needed to power buildings and vehicles.
 
Indeed, the distant future looks bright, but getting there will be an adventure. At Shell, we think the world will take one of two possible routes. The first, a scenario we call Scramble, resembles a race through a mountainous desert. Like an off-road rally, it promises excitement and fierce competition. However, the unintended consequence of "more haste" will often be "less speed" and many will crash along the way.
 
The alternative scenario, called Blueprints, has some false starts and develops like a cautious ride on a road that is still under construction. Whether we arrive safely at our destination depends on the discipline of the drivers and the ingenuity of all those involved in the construction effort. Technical innovation provides for excitement.
 
Regardless of which route we choose, the world's current predicament limits our maneuvering room. We are experiencing a step-change in the growth rate of energy demand due to population growth and economic development, and Shell estimates that after 2015 supplies of easy-to-access oil and gas will no longer keep up with demand.
 
As a result, society has no choice but to add other sources of energy - renewables, yes, but also more nuclear power and unconventional fossil fuels such as oil sands. Using more energy inevitably means emitting more CO2 at a time when climate change has become a critical global issue.
 
In the Scramble scenario, nations rush to secure energy resources for themselves, fearing that energy security is a zero-sum game, with clear winners and losers. The use of local coal and homegrown biofuels increases fast.
 
Taking the path of least resistance, policymakers pay little attention to curbing energy consumption - until supplies run short. Likewise, despite much rhetoric, greenhouse gas emissions are not seriously addressed until major shocks trigger political reactions. Since these responses are overdue, they are severe and lead to energy price spikes and volatility.
 
The other route to the future is less painful, even if the start is more disorderly. This Blueprints scenario sees numerous coalitions emerging to take on the challenges of economic development, energy security and environmental pollution through cross-border cooperation.
 
Much innovation occurs at the local level, as major cities develop links with industry to reduce local emissions. National governments introduce efficiency standards, taxes and other policy instruments to improve the environmental performance of buildings, vehicles and transport fuels.
 
As calls for harmonization increase, policies converge across the globe. Cap-and-trade mechanisms that put a cost on industrial CO2 emissions gain international acceptance. Rising CO2 prices accelerate innovation, spawning breakthroughs. A growing number of cars are powered by electricity and hydrogen, while industrial facilities are fitted with technology to capture CO2 and store it underground.
 
Against the backdrop of these two equally plausible scenarios, we will only know in a few years whether December's Bali declaration on climate change was just rhetoric or the beginning of a global effort to counter it. Much will depend on how attitudes evolve in Beijing, Brussels, New Delhi and Washington.
 
Shell traditionally uses its scenarios to prepare for the future without expressing a preference for one over another. But, faced with the need to manage climate risk for our investors and our grandchildren, we believe the Blueprints outcomes provide the best balance between economy, energy and environment.
 
For a second opinion, we appealed to climate change calculations made at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. These calculations indicate that a Blueprints world with CO2 capture and storage results in the least amount of climate change, provided emissions of other major manmade greenhouse gases are similarly reduced.
 
The sobering reality is that the Blueprints scenario will only come to pass if policymakers agree a global approach to emissions trading and actively promote energy efficiency and new technology in four sectors: heat and power generation, industry, mobility and buildings. It will be hard work and there is little time.
 
For instance, Blueprints assumes CO2 is captured at 90% of all coal- and gas-fired power plants in developed countries in 2050, plus at least 50% of those in non-OECD countries. Today, there are none. Since CO2 capture and storage adds cost and brings no revenues, government support is needed to make it happen quickly on a scale large enough to affect global emissions. At the very least, companies should earn carbon credits for the CO2 they capture and store.
 
Blueprints will not be easy. But it offers the world the best chance of reaching a sustainable energy future unscathed, so we should explore this route with the same ingenuity and persistence that put humans on the moon and created the digital age.
 
The world faces a long voyage before it reaches a low-carbon energy system. Companies can suggest possible routes to get there, but governments are in the driving seat. And governments will determine whether we should prepare for a bitter competition or a true team effort.
 
That is the article, and how I see our challenges and opportunities. I look forward to hearing how you see the situation (please be concise).
 
 Regards

 


Jeroen van der Veer
Chief Executive

 
 
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28.1.08

Vers une guerre commerciale au nom du climat ? L’Europe envisage une taxe carbone sur les importations ; les États-Unis dénoncent cette forme de « protectionnisme »


Vers une guerre commerciale au nom du climat ?
L'Europe envisage une taxe carbone sur les importations ; les États-Unis dénoncent cette forme de « protectionnisme »
par Alexis Beauchamp
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Texte mis en ligne le 28 janvier 2008 à 14:27

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Vers une guerre commerciale au nom du climat ?
Il n'est pas clair si les règles de l'Organisation mondiale du commerce permettraient à l'Europe d'imposer une taxe carbone sur les produits importés. Photo: OMC
Vers une guerre commerciale au nom du climat ?
L'Europe envisage une taxe carbone sur les importations ; les États-Unis dénoncent cette forme de « protectionnisme »
La Commission européenne réfléchit à la possibilité de mettre en place un système « d'égalisation » qui ferait en sorte de soumettre les produits importés aux mêmes normes sur les gaz à effet de serre (GES) que les produits fabriqués en Europe.
Des plans déposés le 23 janvier stipule que Bruxelles est suffisamment inquiète face à l'éventualité de voir les industries lourdes quitter l'Europe à cause de nouvelles normes sur les GES.

Plusieurs secteurs industriels du Vieux continent sont déjà soumis à une réglementation de leurs émissions de GES, et l'Union européenne a déjà annoncé son intention de resserrer davantage ces normes d'ici 2020.

Or les entreprises soumises au système d'échange de quotas signalent qu'elles sont déjà désavantagées face à leurs concurrents américains et chinois, entre autres. Ce handicap pourrait s'avérer fatal si les normes demeurent une initiative unilatérale européenne, préviennent les industriels.

Plusieurs gouvernements européens, celui de la France en premier lieu, ont entendu cette mise en garde et veulent rectifier cette situation. Les entreprises vendant leurs produits en Europe pourraient devoir participer au système d'échange de quotas, ou une taxe carbone pourrait être imposée sur les fabriqués dans des pays où des normes semblables à celle de l'Europe n'existent pas.

La Commission européenne précise qu'elle ne prendra pas de décision avant 2011.

Le gouvernement américain a tout de même clairement prévenu l'Union européenne qu'il considèrerait un tel système comme du protectionnisme déguisé. La Grande-Bretagne a également signalé son opposition au projet de Bruxelles.

De leurs côtés, les associations syndicales européennes appuient un système qui permettrait selon elles d'éviter la fuite des entreprises polluantes vers des cieux plus laxistes.

Selon EurActiv.com, il existe un flou légal autour de la validité d'une telle initiative sous les règles de l'Organisation mondiale du commerce (OMC).

Pour aller plus loin :
europa.eu Commission européenne