Sustainablog

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

12.6.09

Report Finds Climate Change a Detectable Driver of Migration: the consequences for human migration and displacement could reach a scope and scale that vastly exceed anything that has occurred before.. Some 200 million people could be on the move due to climate change by 2050


Thanks to Bob for forwarding these emails
==================================

This just in (see below).  In addition, you may want to view www.cnn.com/2009WORLD/europe/0529/annan.climate.change.human/index.html ("Report: Climate Change Crisis 'Catastrophic'), and www.eesi.org/ccn_060509 and www.eesi.org/ccn_031309.

 
Report Finds Climate Change a Detectable Driver of Migration
Some 200 million people could be on the move due to climate change by 2050
 
BONN (June 10, 2009) -- Unless aggressive measures are taken to halt global warming, the consequences for human migration and displacement could reach a scope and scale that vastly exceed anything that has occurred before, according to a report released today during climate change talks in Germany.
 
Climate change is already contributing to migration and displacement, the report from CARE, UN University and Columbia University found. All major estimates project that the trend will rise to tens of millions of migrants in coming years. Within the next few decades, the consequences of climate change for human security efforts could be devastating, according to the report entitled, "In Search of Shelter: Mapping the Effects of Climate Change on Human Migration and Displacement."
 
The report was authored by CARE, UN University's Institute for Environment and Human Security, and Columbia University's Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN). It was released to the media today during the Bonn Climate Change Talks under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
 
The exact number of people that will be on the move by mid-century is uncertain. The International Organization for Migration estimates that there may be 200 million environmentally-induced migrants by 2050. "While human migration and displacement is usually the result of multiple factors, the influence of climate change in people's decision to give up their livelihoods and leave their homes is growing" says Dr. Charles Ehrhart, CARE's climate change coordinator and one of the report's authors.
 
Mexico and the Central American countries are already experiencing the negative impacts of climate change – both in terms of less rainfall and more extreme weather, such as hurricanes and floods. Rainfall in some areas is expected to decline by as much as 50 per cent by 2080, rendering many local livelihoods unviable and dramatically raising the risk of chronic hunger.
 
"The potential impacts of future sea level rise are at least as startling. In Vietnam's densely populated Mekong River Delta, for example, a sea level rise of two meters would - assuming current populations densities - flood the homes of more than 14.2 million people and submerge half of the region's agricultural land," Ehrhart adds.
 
Other maps in the report show the impacts of: glacier melt in the Himalayas; drying trends in West Africa; sea level rise in the Ganges River Delta; and sea level rise in the Nile River Delta.
 
Most displaced people will seek shelter in their own countries while others cross borders. Some displacement andmigration may be prevented through the implementation ofadaptation measures. However, poorer countries are underequippedto support widespread adaptation. As a result,societies affected by climate change may find themselves lockedinto a downward spiral of ecological degradation, causing social safety nets to collapse while tensions andviolence rise. In this all-too-plausible worst-case scenario,large populations would be forced to migrate as a matter ofimmediate survival. Gender roles, as well as cultural prescriptions and prohibitions, can make it impossible for women and female headed-households to migrate in response to environmental change – even if migration would be a case of survival.
 
"New thinking and practical approaches are needed to address the threats that climate-related migration poses to human security and wellbeing," says Dr. Koko Warner, Head of Section of the UN University's Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) and lead author of the report.
 
People have always relied on long- and short-term migration as ways of dealing with climatic changes. The challenge is to better understand the dynamics of climate-related migration and displacement and incorporate human mobility into international and national plans for adapting to climate change.
 
The new report provides empirical evidence from a first-time, multi-continent survey as well as policy recommendations and an analysis of both the threats and potential solutions. Original maps show climate change impacts and population distribution patterns. "Migration needs to be recognized as not being negative per se, but a sometimes necessary response to the negative impacts of climate change. The policy decisions we make today will determine whether migration can be a choice, a pro-active adaptation measure, or whether migration and displacement is the tragic proof of our collective failure to provide better alternatives," Warner concludes.
 
The report was funded by the UN Refugee Agency and the World Bank.
 
Download the Report and Maps: The maps are available for reproduction. You can download them as well as the report following this link (Credit: "Maps provided courtesy of CARE and CIESIN at the Earth Institute of Columbia University"):
 
http://www.care.de/exklusiv-pr.html  
Username: presse
Password: care#4pm
 
Media Interviews: Dr. Charles Ehrhart and Dr. Koko Warner are in Bonn and available for interviews. Alex deSherbinin and Susana Adamo, authors from CIESIN, are available for interviews in the US.
 
Media Contacts:
Atlanta: Brian Feagans, CARE, bfeagans@care.org, 404-979-9453, 404-457-4644
Bonn: Sandra Bulling, CARE Germany-Luxemburg, bulling@care.de, +49 (0) 151 126 27 123, +49 (0) 228 975 63 46.
 
Alexander deSherbinin, Senior Staff Associate, CIESIN, adesherbinin@ciesin.columbia.edu, 914-715-0178, 845-365-8936.
 
Susana Adamo, sadamo@ciesin.columbia.edu, Associate Research Scientist, CIESIN, 845-365-8966.
 
Watch a Webcast of Media Briefing June 10th: http://unfccc2.meta-fusion.com/kongresse/090601_SB30_Bonn/templ/ovw_page.php?id_kongressmain=76
 

U.S. Climate Bill, U.N. Pact Seen More Likely In 2010


Mark me as disappointed if this delay materialises. you have to shake your head when you read things like "When you are explaining, you are losing."
- JFB

U.S. Climate Bill, U.N. Pact Seen More Likely In 2010
Date: 12-Jun-09
Country:
 US
Author:
 Timothy Gardner

U.S. Climate Bill, U.N. Pact Seen More Likely In 2010 Photo: Lucas Jackson
A layer of smog can be seen above Manhattan through the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in New York May 21, 2009.
Photo: Lucas Jackson

NEW YORK - The U.S. energy bill may not pass until next year, which could also delay an agreement to extend the Kyoto Protocol on cutting global greenhouse gas emissions until 2010, experts said on Thursday.
Environmentalists, carbon market developers and many politicians have urged passage of a U.S. climate bill before December, when nearly 200 countries will aim to hash out a successor to the Kyoto pact.
They have seen it as a way for the United States, the world's largest greenhouse gas polluter on a per capita basis, to break a deadlock with China, the top overall greenhouse polluter, on taking action on global warming. Combined, the giants emit about 40 percent of the world's planet-warming pollution.
The U.S. bill, which would launch a cap-and-trade market to reduce emissions, has made progress, including passage in the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee. It also has the support of President Barack Obama, but much work remains to be done.
"Action in the Senate will be far more difficult than in the House," Eileen Claussen, president of the Washington-based nonprofit the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, told an Environmental Finance conference on Thursday. She said it's "nowhere near certain" that the bill would come to a Senate vote this year.
Two obstacles stand in the way. First, advocates must convince the public the bill, which might initially raise electricity and other energy prices, will ultimately save money by heading off damage caused by global warming.
The UN's science panel said global warming could bring killer droughts from higher temperatures, stronger storms, and floods from rising seas as glaciers melt.
One opponent, the Coalition for Affordable American Energy, whose members include the influential U.S. Chamber of Commerce and about 200 other organizations, has estimated climate legislation could cost U.S. households $1,400 per year by 2020.
Claussen said the current U.S. climate bill contains consumer protections that would shield against such price shocks.
Second, experts said the bill must include nuclear energy, which is nearly emissions free but comes with other problems such as toxic waste. Claussen said a resolution on nuclear power could help the Senate reach the required 60 votes for the bill's passage.
Overcoming the hurdles and passing the bill, especially during a recession, will take time, probably until next year, for lawmakers to work out.
"There is an old saying in politics," said Steve Corneli, a market and climate policy expert for U.S. power generator NRG Energy, Inc. "When you are explaining, you are losing."
Without action from the United States, rich and poor countries will remain divided on the climate change issue. The focus in Copenhagen in December might shift from forming a final global agreement to working out a framework of ideas, such as how to bury carbon emissions and finance renewable energy infrastructure. Advocates are encouraged, though, that China and the United States are making enough progress that a global pact should eventually be hashed out.
"I don't think not reaching an agreement (in 2009) will be particularly dire," one carbon market broker said.
(Editing by David Gregorio)

11.6.09

(Carbon management) Offset System A Step Towards A Carbon Market In Canada


thanks to Matt for this.

BTW I absolutely admire the chutzpah of using an example where the Albertan farmer gets money from the Quebec farmer. Well... maybe chutzpah is the wrong word ;-) -JFB

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The following is the full text of a news release and backgrounder issued by Environment Canada June 10, 2009:
Offset System A Step Towards A Carbon Market In Canada

OTTAWA, Ont. -- June 10, 2009 -- Canada's Environment Minister, Jim Prentice, today announced that the Government is taking an important step towards setting up a carbon market in Canada by moving forward with its Offset System for Greenhouse Gases.

"The Offset System is an important part of Canada's efforts to reduce greenhouse gases" said Minister Prentice.  "This system is one of several steps we are taking as we finalize our domestic regulatory framework for greenhouse gas emissions, and marks a major milestone as we move towards establishing a carbon market in Canada."

The Offset System will establish tradable credits and encourage cost-effective domestic greenhouse gas reductions in areas that will not be covered by planned federal greenhouse gas regulations, like the forestry and agricultural sectors.  For example, potential offset projects could include methane capture and destruction from landfill gas, the creation of new forests, or agricultural soil management.

Companies subject to the greenhouse gas emissions regulations will be able to purchase offset credits on the carbon market and use these credits for compliance with their regulated targets.  In addition, other parties, such as small businesses, individuals and travellers, will be able to acquire and use these credits to voluntarily offset the greenhouse gas emissions from their activities.

The two draft guides that will be published in the Canada Gazette on June 12 propose rules and guidance on the requirements and processes used to generate offset credits and to verify the eligible greenhouse gas reductions achieved from a registered project.  Interested parties will have 60 days to comment on these guidance documents.

The release of these two draft guides follows the publication of the first draft guide in August 2008, which proposed the rules and guidance to quantify greenhouse gas reductions for projects in Canada's Offset System.  The final versions of all three Offset System guides are expected to be published in the fall of 2009 after all comments have been reviewed.

More information about Canada's Offset System is available on Environment Canada's Web site at: www.ec.gc.ca/creditscompensatoires-offsets

Related Documents

Canada's Offset System for Greenhouse Gases
[Backgrounder 2009-06-10] - see following:

Backgrounder
Canada's Offset System for Greenhouse Gases

Under Canada's Offset System for Greenhouse Gases, the Government of Canada will issue credits for greenhouse gas emission reductions and removals from activities or sectors that are not covered by planned federal regulations of greenhouse gas emissions.  To be eligible to receive offset credits, projects must be within the scope of the Offset System, and must achieve real, incremental, quantifiable, verifiable and unique reductions of greenhouse gases.

Potential projects that could qualify for offset credits include methane capture and destruction from landfill gas, afforestation and other forestry projects, agricultural soil management and wind energy.

For example, farmers using reduced or no-till farming methods which help store carbon in their fields could be eligible to receive offset credits for the amount of carbon stored.  Likewise, operators of landfill sites could install equipment to capture and combust the methane gas coming from the landfill, and would be eligible to receive offset credits if the site meets the other eligibility requirements.  Similarly, a wind turbine could be eligible to receive offset credits for the emissions avoided from the displaced electricity.  A list of potential projects can be found in Table 1 below.

There are five steps required to generate offset credits from a project:
1.        Creation of a quantification protocol for the project type;
2.        Registration of the project;
3.        Implementation of the registered project and monitoring of data;
4.        Reporting and verification of reductions from the registered project;
5.        Certification of reductions and issuance of offset credits by Environment Canada.

Once an offset credit is generated by an eligible project, it can be traded on the carbon market, banked or used for compliance purposes.  These credits could be sold directly to companies subject to federal greenhouse gas regulations, allowing them to meet their required reductions.  Other parties (e.g. small businesses, individuals, travellers) will be able to acquire and use these credits to voluntarily offset greenhouse gas emissions from their activities.

For example, a no-till farming project could benefit from the offset system as below:
1.        A farmer in Alberta generates 5 tonnes of CO2 reductions with his registered offset project
2.        The farmer then receives 5 credits from the Offset System
3.        A company in Quebec purchases 5 credits from the farmer to satisfy federal greenhouse gas regulations
4.        The farmer receives payment equivalent to current market value of carbon credits

The Government of Canada has developed three guidance documents which set out the program rules, eligibility requirements and applications processes.  These three documents provide guidance on the rules for the system in three areas:

  • quantifying reductions from a project;
  • generating credits, and;
  • verifying reductions.
The first of these three draft guidance documents,Canada's Offset System for Greenhouse Gases: Guide for Protocol Developers, was published in CanadaGazette, Part I in August 2008 and proposed the rules and guidance on the requirements and processes to quantify the greenhouse gas reductions for projects in Canada's Offset System.

The two draft guides that will be published in the Canada Gazette on June 12 are Canada's Offset System for Greenhouse Gases: Program Rules and Guidance for Project Proponents and Canada's Offset System for Greenhouse Gases: Program Rules for Verification and Guidance for Verification Bodies.  These guides propose the rules and guidance on the requirements and processes to create offset credits, from the registration of the project to the issuance of offset credits; and on the requirements and processes to verify the eligible greenhouse gas reductions achieved from a registered Offset Project.

These two documents will be published in the Canada Gazette, Part I for a 60-day public comment period.  Consideration will be given to comments received and the final versions of all three guidance documents published in the fall.

As we finalize the offset system, we will explore approaches to harmonize the federal and various provincial offset systems, with an objective to ensure that carbon trading markets can function efficiently.

For more information on the Offset System, please visit www.ec.gc.ca/creditscompensatoires-offsets

Table 1: List of potential offset projects


Project-type Potential Activities
Afforestation
  • creation of a forest where none has existed since at least 1990
Landfill Gas Capture and Combustion
  • capture and destruction of methane from landfill sites
  • Reduced or no-tillage
  • reduction in the amount of tillage on farmland
  • Wind
  • generation of electricity from wind energy

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    Correction: (Carbon Management) Wal-Mart Emits 20 Trillion Tons of Carbon Globally


    thanks to Bruce for the correction



    Hi Jean-Francois, you should note that Environmental Leader (the source of this article) retracted the headline:
    [Editors note: A previous headline mischaracterized Wal-Mart's global emissions based on erroneous information from the chart above from the Wal-Mart report.]
    With revenues of 400 billion and 53 tons per million, I believe the correct figure is 20+ million tons and not trillions.  I am curious as to how they came up with the 53 tons/million - anyone in your group aware of that?


    10.6.09

    (Carbon Management) Midwest States Call for 20% Reduction in GHG Emissions: The plan calls for a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from 2005 levels by 2020, and an 80 percent reduction by 2050.


    Midwest States Call for 20% Reduction in GHG Emissions
    usclimatemapSix Midwestern governors and a Manitoban premier have released recommendations for a regional cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The plan calls for a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from 2005 levels by 2020, and an 80 percent reduction by 2050.
    The recommendations give governors in the Midwest a possible framework for a regional system if Congress fails to act pass a federal cap-and-trade system by 2012, reports KSTP TV News in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
    Signed by the governors of Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin and the premier of Manitoba, Canada, the recommendations are the result of an 18-month process that began in 2007 when the governors formed the Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord.
    "In the absence of federal climate legislation, regional partnerships are vital to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, spurring energy innovations, and creating green jobs," stated Franz Litz, a senior fellow at World Resources Institute (WRI) who advised the regional group.
    Following other regional carbon-trading agreements in the western and northeastern U.S., including the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and Western Climate Initiative (WCI), this is the first to address the unique climate challenges faced in America's heartland, says WRI.
    In April, there was talk about the regional carbon markets in the U.S. joining forces before the launch of federal greenhouse gas legislation. The federal legislation could cut greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent from 2005 levels by 2020, and establish a cap-and-trade system for carbon dioxide and national standards for renewable energy.
    In the Northeast, the RGGI caps carbon-dioxide emissions from large electric utilities in 10 eastern states with a goal of reducing emissions by 10 percent by 2018. WCI is a cap-and-trade program covering various industries in seven western states and four Canadian provinces.
    The Midwestern program's design will focus on promoting carbon sequestration through good agricultural practices, investment in carbon capture and storage, and energy efficiency, says WRI.
    The Midwest plan covers more economic sectors than the Northeastern system, which is already in effect but focuses on the power industry, and unlike the Western system that phases in different sectors of the economy, the Midwest brings them in all at once, reports KSTP News.
    It also slightly differs from the federal cap-and-trade program currently being debated in Congress. Legislation introduced in Congress begins with free allowances that eventually are bought and sold on the open market, while most of the allowances for emissions under the Midwest plan would initially be sold for a small fee to help ease the cost of the transition to both industry and consumers, according to KSTP News.

    Dow Corning Adopts Eco ‘Megatrend’ Strategy


    Dow Corning Adopts Eco 'Megatrend' Strategy
    dow-solar2Dow Corning is shifting its focus to more research and development of "solutions linked to global megatrends such as the drive for efficiency, increased focus on alternative energy and clean water and the rapid urbanization in fast-growing emerging geographies," said company President Stephanie Burns, reportsMLive.com.
    After the shift, Dow Corning estimates at least half of its business operations will be related to sustainability, reports WSGW.com.
    Dow Corning is revamping Xiameter, what it calls the world's largest online portal for purchasing silicone-based products. For global purchasers of raw materials, the Web portal will more than double the available products.
    By having more information on the Web portal, Dow Corning will better educate its customer base about products that have sustainability aspects.
    For instance, Dow Corning makes a product that reduces the amount of water needed to make the some 2 billion pairs of blue jeans sold annually around the world, said Vice President Marie Eckstein, reports ABC.
    "It's something close to 8 billion gallons of water that doesn't need to be used in the manufacturing of blue jeans," she said.
    Dow Corning's subsidiary Hemlock Semiconductor Corp. is the world's biggest producer of polycrystalline silicon, which is used in iPods, laptops, flatscreen TVs and solar panels.
    Dow is pouring $5 billion into development of solar panels, reports U.S. Glass News Network.
    Earlier this year, Dow Corning announced plans to purchase more than 14,000 megawatt hours of wind power through Consumers Energy's Green Generation program.

    Green Transport Cuts Emissions, Fuel Use and Cost: conserving fuel, reducing idling, using alternative fuels, reducing packaging and neutralizing carbon


    Green Transport Cuts Emissions, Fuel Use and Cost
    greentransportIt's simple and profitable to reduce transportation-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, according to a new white paper from Chicago-based EA Logistics.
    The company's first whitepaper on green transport, "Getting It There Green: Why and How to Choose Sustainable Transport Partners," provides the business case for green freight, along with the financial, risk-reduction and environmental benefits of adopting more sustainable shipping practices. It also identifies steps that can be taken by shippers to reduce their carbon footprint and choose suppliers who can help them achieve their sustainability goals.
    The report covers several key areas where companies can make transport greener. These include conserving fuel, reducing idling, using alternative fuels, reducing packaging and neutralizing carbon. It also covers several strategies such as consolidating, optimizing routes, regionalizing, and changing modes to cut down on fuel use and emissions.
    EAL says it was one of the first freight forwarders to provide free carbon offsets, "neutralizing" 100 percent of a shipment's CO2 emissions by planting trees in the customer's name. The company's Delivered GrEAn program, launched in 2007, incorporates a host of sustainable practices, including the use of biodiesel in company-owned trucks, establishing anti-idling policies, enforcing drive speed limits, and maximizing route efficiency.
    EAL has also achieved the highest score on EPA's SmartWay fleet efficiency program and partners with other SmartWay carriers for most of its shipments. According to the EPA, moving freight in the U.S. accounts for 20 percent of energy consumed by the transportation sector, and truck and rail transport combined use more than 35 billion gallons of diesel fuel per year and generate more than 350 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.
    The industry is making improvements. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), CO2 emissions from U.S. transportationdropped 5.2 percent in 2008, the largest annual decline since 1990. EIA says motor gasoline accounts for 58.7 percent of the transportation-related CO2 emissions followed by diesel fuel, which accounts for 23.2 percent of the sector's emissions.

    (Carbon Management) Wal-Mart Emits 20 Trillion Tons of Carbon Globally


    Wal-Mart Emits 20 Trillion Tons of Carbon Globally
    wm-emissionsWhile seeing an overall rise in carbon emissions to about 20 trillion tons in 2008, Wal-Mart Stores International is making progress in reducing its emissions per sales. In 2008, the retailer emitted about 53 tons of emissions per $1 million in sales, down from about 55 tons in 2007 and 58 tons in 2006, according to its2009 Global Sustainability Report.
    The retailer, which owns 7,873 retail outlets internationally, is striving for what President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Duke calls "sustainable sustainability."
    Wal-Mart adopted its "Sustainability 360″ initiative in 2005, which operates under three overall goals: 100 percent reliance on renewable energy; to create zero waste; to sell products that sustain resources and the environment.
    Like everything else Wal-Mart does, its CSR report is big, at 111 pages. Download the PDF here.
    Here are some highlights from the report.
    • About 57 percent of waste generated by stores, clubs and disribution centers was diverted from landfills in 2008.
    • The retailer has more than 100,000 suppliers worldwide.
    • Wal-Mart will open a prototype store in the U.S. that is 25-30 percent more efficient.
    • More than 500 locations have been retrofitted with refrigerated display cases that use LED bulbs.
    • The company has surpassed its goal to increase fleet efficiency by 25 percent by 2008, against a 2005 baseline. At 38 percent increased efficiency, the retailer is moving toward its goal to double U.S. fleet efficiency by 2015.
    • Wal-Mart China has reduced energy use in existing stores by 24 percent since 2005.
    • Seiyu, Wal-Mart's Japanese subsidiary, was able to transport 16 percent more goods over the same distance by using more efficient routing and loading practices, as well as through consolidating operations and deliveries.
    • The retailer has used its Packaging Scorecard system to gather information on 300,000 items carried at Wal-Mart and 90 percent of items at Sam's Club.
    • At Sam's Club, 100 percent of jewelry gift boxes are made from recycled content.
    • The company had pledged to remove PVC from U.S. private brand packaging by October 2007. However, Wal-Mart says it has not found suitable replacements for over-the-counter, tamper-evident items, as ell as metal can sealants and meat wrapping. PVC will not be replaced until the retailer decides on a suitable alternative.
    • About 79 percent of direct import products came from factories that received one of the retailer's top two ratings regarding environmental and social practices. By 2012, the retailer aims for 95 percent of production to achieve either of the top two ratings.
    • More stores are adding daylight harvesting into their design, a practice that reduces electric lighting in sales areas up to 75 percent during the daytime.
    Earlier this year, Wal-Mart said it aims to double the amount of solar power it uses by late 2010.
    Here is how Wal-Mart organizes sustainability functions within its operations.
    wm-sustainable-heirarchy
    « PANEL DISCUSSES THE CLIMATE REGISTRY AND CARBON ACCOUNTING

    (Carbon Management) Emissions Caps Seen Costing Airlines $7 Billion A Year


    Emissions Caps Seen Costing Airlines $7 Billion A Year
    Date: 10-Jun-09
    Country:
     INDONESIA
    Author:
     Neil Chatterjee

    Emissions Caps Seen Costing Airlines $7 Billion A Year Photo: A British Airways aircraft comes into land at Gatwick Airport near London in southern England February 6, 2009.
    Luke MacGregor
    Photo: A British Airways aircraft comes into land at Gatwick Airport near London in southern England February 6, 2009.

    KUALA LUMPUR - Airlines project that carbon trading will cost the global industry around $7 billion a year from 2020, from when the sector has pledged to grow without adding to greenhouse emissions.
    The International Air Transport Association, which represents 230 airlines, agreed at a board meeting that it would achieve carbon neutral growth from 2020 through a combination of investment in technology, biofuels and economic measures such as carbon trading.
    Aviation is likely to be included in any global pact to replace the Kyoto Protocol to cap emissions from 2013, meaning caps on emissions that will make airlines buy credits to exceed those limits.
    IATA board member Willie Walsh, chief executive of British Airways, told Reuters on Tuesday that the association, in working out its carbon neutral pledge, had forecast a cost of $6.5 billion to $7.5 billion a year from 2020 because of carbon trading, based on a carbon price of $65 a metric ton in 2020.
    "This will cost us. There's no free lunch," Walsh told aviation executives at the IATA annual general meeting in Kuala Lumpur, in a talk about the industry's environmental goals.
    But executives told Reuters the costs were likely to be borne by passengers, given the industry's poor money-making record. IATA forecasts global airlines will lose $9 billion this year.
    "You've heard what IATA has said about losses -- it will have to be passed on to customers," Chew Choon Seng, chief executive of Singapore Airlines, said.
    Executives said the added cost could hurt demand, given higher air fares. When asked if carbon neutral growth meant slower growth, Walsh nodded.
    "It will have an impact on demand and this has been factored in," he said.
    Walsh said the forecast for carbon prices, much higher than the current benchmark price for European carbon credits of around 13 euros ($18.12), was based on the idea that prices were likely to rise with greater demand in a future world market.
    At the moment European Union countries, Japan and Australia have targets to cut emissions under Kyoto, but other major emitters such as the United States and China, and other developing countries, do not have to cut emissions.
    Airline executives at the event railed against a patchwork of rules, given Europe now has mandatory carbon trading but other regions do not.
    Some of the world's largest airlines called on Tuesday for the industry to set global emissions targets. Airlines account for about 2 percent of global emissions and that share is forecast to rise.
    "I am not against emissions trading. But it has to be a level playing field," said Akbar al-Baker, chief executive of Qatar Airways.
    (Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

    9.6.09

    SCENARIOS: Possible changes to US House climate bill


    SCENARIOS: Possible changes to House climate bill
    Date: 09-Jun-09
    Country:
     US
    Author:
     Richard Cowan

    The legislation, having cleared the House Energy and Commerce Committee, seeks to cut emissions by 17 percent by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050.
    * AGRICULTURE - Democrats from farm states are threatening to withhold support unless they win safeguards for ethanol and other biofuels from proposed Environmental Protection Agency regulations. The climate bill could give them leverage: assuming most House Republicans oppose the bill, many in this group of moderate Democrats must be on board in order to pass the measure.
    * OIL DRILLING - Democrats on the Natural Resources Committee want to increase the fees industry pays for oil and gas drilling on federal lands. It also wants to cut the duration of those leases. The committee could attach the plan to the climate bill.
    Another possible initiative: New planning for offshore oil drilling. If incorporated, that could give some Democrats enough political cover to support the climate bill, as their worries about higher energy prices related to the climate bill could be eased by prospects of more domestic oil production.
    * TAXES AND TRADE - The House Ways and Means Committee may leave the bill mostly alone but that is still being weighed. If the panel decides it needs to raise revenues to pay for other initiatives, it could attach new tax provisions. President Barack Obama had hoped the climate legislation would generate hundreds of billions of dollars to finance the continuation of a working-class tax break, but the Energy and Commerce Committee did not go along.
    The Ways and Means Committee also oversees trade and it could consider provisions such as further aid to heavy manufacturing firms competing with foreign imports.
    * SCIENCE AND RESEARCH - The Science and Technology Committee voted to create a national climate agency within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It might try to attach the initiative to the climate bill moving through the House. The idea is to improve scientific knowledge of climate change and provide forecasts and warnings to the public related to changes in the weather and climate.
    * OTHER CONCERNS: The House Financial Services Committee and the Agriculture Committee want to have rules in place for trading pollution permits down the road.
    When the legislation is debated before the full House, some members might try to set a 14 percent goal, instead of 17 percent, for the reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2020. Other lawmakers might try to add provisions to help the U.S. nuclear power industry, which they note emits no greenhouse gases.
    (Reporting by Richard Cowan; Editing by Peter Cooney)

    Poor nations need $142 billion a year in climate fight: EU


    Poor nations need $142 billion a year in climate fight: EU
    Date: 09-Jun-09
    Country:
     BELGIUM
    Author:
     Pete Harrison

    The report, obtained by Reuters, comes after the EU laid out plans to hold competitive tenders for the funding from richer countries, during which poor nations would present their most cost-effective projects for cutting carbon emissions.
    Both documents reveal an EU vision taking shape in the run-up to global climate talks in Copenhagen in December. Finance ministers will fine-tune the bloc's position at a meeting next Tuesday.
    The key issue in Copenhagen will be finding the finance needed to persuade developing nations to cut emissions, and further funding to help them adapt to a problem they say has been caused by rich, industrialized nations.
    Between half and two-thirds of the cheapest options for cutting greenhouse gases up to 2020 or 2030 are in developing countries, the EU's Economic Policy Committee and the Economic and Financial Committee say in the document on funding needs.
    Environmentalists see the document as proof that Europe's economic experts recognize the need to support poor nations in the fight against climate change.
    "The question is now whether the finance ministers will ignore their own experts, or will endorse this clear recognition of the needs in developing countries," said Greenpeace campaigner Joris den Blanken.
    DEFORESTATION
    Emissions cuts by poor nations would partly pay for themselves because cleaning up power generation and industry also reduces their consumption of expensive fossil fuels, but an extra 100 billion euros a year of investments would still be needed by 2020.
    This would include 71 billion euros to clean up industry and energy sectors, 18 billion to halt the destruction of rainforests and 5 billion to curb emissions from agriculture.
    Although the numbers look huge, they are less daunting when compared to the $300 billion of subsidies for fossil fuels in the developing world each year or the $250 billion of agricultural subsidies among OECD states, the report said.
    On top of the cost of cutting their own emissions, poor nations will also need help with the costs of adapting to climate change.
    Such funding could help develop drought-resistant crops, build levees against rising sea levels or find new sources of fresh water as rising temperatures deplete the glaciers on which millions depend for summer meltwater.
    "The precise cost of adaptation in developing countries is very difficult to estimate, due to uncertainty about the precise scope of global warming, its specific regional and local impact..." said the report.
    But it delivered a rough estimate that adaptation costs in all developing countries could be 23-54 billion euros per year in 2030.
    (Editing by Dale Hudson)

    8.6.09

    Don’t Let Carbon Confusion Stand in Your Way (ISO 14064 for dummies)


    Don't Let Carbon Confusion Stand in Your Way
    Michel Girard
    Director of the Ottawa Office 
    Canadian Standards Association

    michael-girard2You need to measure, monitor and manage your company's carbon footprint.
    Your organization may be under pressure to stay competitive in a sustainable supply chain. You may need to differentiate your brand by showcasing your environmental stewardship. You might want to reduce the risk associated with climate change or prepare for pending mandates and proposed cap-and-trade programs.
    If you're familiar with the ISO 9000 quality management standards, you might want to know that the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has developed an international standard for carbon management: the ISO 14064 series. ISO 14064-1 Part 1 Specification with Guidance at the Organizational Level for Quantification and Reporting of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Removals provides principles and requirements for quantifying and reporting an organization's carbon footprint. This standard breaks the process down into five steps.
    Step 1: Setting Organizational Parameters and Boundaries
    Your organization may include one or more facilities, and each facility may include GHG sources (something that emits greenhouse gasses), GHG sinks (something that removes GHGs from the atmosphere) or GHG reservoirs (places where you can capture and store GHGs). You will need to consolidate facilities based on either financial and/or operational control, or your portion of a shared facility.
    You will also need to determine the GHG emissions from your operations:
    • physical facilities or processes you own or control
    • energy consumed (but not generated) by your organization
    • business travel
    • transportation of goods
    • outsourced activities or franchises
    • waste generated
    • use and end-life phases of products and services
    • production of purchased raw or primary materials
    Step 2: Measuring GHG Activity
    Establish a base year-using historical data or your first inventory year-so you can monitor improvement over time.
    Although GHGs include carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous Oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), the total inventory will be measured in tonnes and converted to carbon dioxide equivalent or CO2e. This is the reason why GHG inventories are also called carbon footprints.
    You will need to measure the amount of energy, fuels or electricity consumed, materials produced, service provided or land affected. Then you weigh this against your reductions activities, such as energy demand and use management, efficiency upgrades, technology or process improvements, GHG capture and storage, management of transportation and travel demands, fuel switching and renewable energy use.
    Step 3: Choosing Methodologies
    Quantification methodologies help minimize uncertainty and provide accurate, consistent and reproducible results-a must-have if you plan to track your progress over time.
    There are three main types of methodologies: calculation, measurement and combination.
    Calculation includes GHG activity data multiplied by GHG emission or removal factors, use of models, facility-specific correlations and mass-balance approach. Measurement is the gathering of hard data-either continuously or periodically-and the combination methodology includes both calculation and measurement.
    You will want to complete an uncertainty assessment and establish a quality assurance procedure for information management.
    Step 4: Reporting
    Share your results with stakeholders by publishing your carbon inventory report on a respected, third-party registry.
    Make sure you know your objectives, who will read the report and how often you plan to update. This will make it more usable and valuable for your stakeholders.
    If you choose a registry that conforms to ISO 14064, your report must include:
    • The reporting period
    • Organizational boundaries and parameters
    • Emissions in tonnes of CO2e
    • Removals in tonnes of CO2e
    • Disclosure of any GHG sources or sinks you did not include, and why
    • The base year inventory
    • A description of the methodologies used
    • The results of your uncertainty assessment
    • Statement of Verification (this will be explained in Step 5: Verification)
    Optional information you may wish to include if it will provide value to your stakeholders, includes:
    • Your policies, strategies or programs
    • Your emission reduction activities and results
    • Purchased or developed GHG offsets
    • Emission details for each facility
    • Assessment of performance against relevant benchmarks
    Step 5: Verification
    Get verification to protect against any accusations of 'greenwashing.' The principles and process are similar to a financial audit. The goal is an independent, objective review of the data and many registries and programs require third-party verification.
    The verifier should be a qualified expert who understands GHG management issues and is familiar with ISO 14064, and specifically ISO 14064-3 Part 3 Specification with Guidance for the Validation and Verification of Greenhouse Gas Assertions. Before getting started, it's important that all parties agree to the scope, objectives, criteria and level of assurance required.
    Once you have established your organization's initial carbon footprint, you can begin working on strategies to reduce it-with the eventual goal of carbon neutrality. Are you ready to start?
    As the Director of the Ottawa Office at the Canadian Standards Association, Michel Girard, PhD, is responsible for the climate change portfolio. CSA Climate Change acted as World Secretariat for the development of the ISO 14064 series of Standards for carbon management and delivers solutions to help adapt infrastructure to a changing climate.

    EU 20% Renewable Energy Target Can Deliver 2.8 Million Jobs


    EU 20% Renewable Energy Target Can Deliver 2.8 Million Jobs
    eu-chartReaching the 20 percent renewable energy source (RES) target in 2020 is expected to deliver approximately 2.8 million jobs in the renewable energy sector and generate about 1.1 percent of European GDP, according to a new European Commission study.
    "This shows that benefits of renewables in terms of security of supply and fighting climate change can go hand in hand with economic benefits," statedAndris Piebalgs, EU energy commissioner.
    The European Commission's study on the impact of renewable energy policy on economic growth and employment in the European Union (Employ-RES) indicate that biomass, wind and hydro technologies are currently the most important for job opportunities.
    According to the study, in 2005, the renewable energy sector employed 1.4 million people among the member states with a gross value of 58 billion EUR (approximately $80 billion) with higher employment expected particularly in the member states that joined the European Union (EU) in 2004 and 2007. Implementation of the renewable energy policy will generate about 410,000 additional jobs and 0.24 percent additional GDP in the EU-27 in 2020.
    However, the study indicates that current RES support policies will result in final energy consumption of 14 percent by 2020 and 17 percent by 2030, which indicates a need for improved policies to reap maximum economic benefits from renewable energy. The study also finds that more innovative technologies such as photovoltaic, offshore wind, solar thermal electricity and second-generation biofuels require more financial support in the short term, and will be key to achieving the EU's 2020 target.
    According to a recent report on concentrated solar power (CSP) from Greenpeace International, the European Solar Thermal Electricity Association (ESTELA) and IEA SolarPACES, investments of $14.4 billion in 2010 and increasing to about $128.5 billion in 2050 by countries with the most sun resources could create more than 200,000 jobs by 2020, and about 1.187 million in 2050, and save 148 million tons of CO2 annually in 2020, rising to 2.1 billion tons in 2050. CSP could also meet up to 7 percent of the world's power needs by 2030 and 25 percent by 2050.
    In terms of greenhouse emissions, European finance ministers may draw on shipping and airlines for money to help pay poor nations deal with climate change, according to draft proposals, report Reuters. EU finance ministers meeting in Luxembourg on June 9 are expected to identify possible finance sources for poor countries that could help develop drought-resistant crops or new water sources, according to Reuters.
    Greenhouse gas emissions from shipping and airline sectors, which have been growing steadily over the past 15 years, will be evaluated at a United Nations meeting in Copenhagen in December to find a new global deal on fighting climate change, according to Reuters. The key issue will be finding the finance needed to persuade developing nations to cut their carbon dioxide emissions. However, poor nations would be expected to deliver concrete proof of emissions cuts in return for the cash, reports Reuters.

    Mexico to Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions


    Mexico to Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions
    mexicoMexico's President Felipe Calderon announced that Mexico will voluntarily cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 50 million tons a year by 2012 through the use of more efficient cars and power plants as well as reductions in gas leaks and flaring by the oil industry, reports Reuters. The cut represents approximately 8 percent of the country's emissions, according to the environment ministry.
    Mexico, the second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases in Latin America, accounts for about 1.5 percent of the world's emissions of greenhouse gases with the country's state-run oil industry as a major emitter, reports Reuters.
    Emissions grew 25 percent in 2008 to 54.9 million tons due to increased natural gas flaring and venting, according to state oil company Pemex. The company is working to reduce flaring to 3 percent of gas production this year by installing new gas handling capacity and plans to spend $2.4 billion through 2012 to cut emissions from offshore platforms.
    In April, President Barack Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon agreed to a new partnership to fight climate change and promote environmentally-friendly forms of energy production. Mexico also recently proposed a global climate change fund with each nation paying in based on their population, gross domestic product and greenhouse emissions as an alternative cap-and-trade system favored by the European Union and the U.S.
    Supporting Mexico's plans to protect the environment, Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim recently launched a $100-million green project through a joint partnership with the Mexican government and the World Wildlife Fund to protect Mexico's environment, reports Google news.
    The goal is to foster sustainable development.
    The project targets six key regions, which represent 30 percent of the country and funding from both the public and private sectors will later increase, said Mexican Environment Secretary Juan Rafael Elvira Quesada, reports Google news. The regions are the Gulf of California, the Chihuahuan desert, the Mesoamerican Reef, Oaxaca, the Monarch Butterfly Region and Chiapas, including the Lacandona Forests and El Triunfo reserve