Sustainablog

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

21.8.09

Green Newsclips for 21 August 2009: Benefits to adapting to climate change in Scandinavia, Coffee problems in CEntral America, and Australia moves on alternative energy


http://planetark.org/wen/54325

Big Benefits Seen In Adapting To Climate Change
Date: 21-Aug-09
Country:
 NORWAY
Author:
 Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent

OSLO - Helping developing nations to adapt to climate change such as floods or heatwaves can give bigger economic benefits than a focus on deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, a study indicated on Friday.
A total of $10 trillion spent on adaptation, ranging from research into drought-resistant crops to measures to limit a spread of diseases such as malaria, would provide $16 trillion of economic benefits over the coming century, it said.
"We talk immensely about cutting carbon emissions, but there are many other ways to deal with climate change," said Bjorn Lomborg, Danish author of "The Skeptical Environmentalist" who commissioned the study by Italian researchers.
"Everyone pays lip service to adaptation but in reality we rarely talk as much about it as cutting carbon emissions," he told Reuters of the study, meant to provoke debate about a new U.N. climate treaty to be agreed in Copenhagen in December.
"The authors find that...adaptation achieves more than mitigation in terms of reducing the damage from climate change," he said. Mitigation means curbing emissions of greenhouse gases and often gets most attention at U.N. climate negotiations.
The study said that the highest economic benefits would come if adaptation went hand in hand with moderate curbs on emissions. In the best case, $9 trillion spent would give $19 trillion of benefits, it said.
"The optimal strategy to deal with climate change entails the adoption of both adaptation and mitigation measures," Carlo Carraro of the University of Venice and co-authors from the Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in Italy wrote.
MARKET FORCES
The study also said that the impacts of climate change could also be muted by adaptation, driven by market forces. In developed nations, for instance, farmers could turn to new crops to match water availability and temperatures.
"If it rains less you will adapt and you will use drip irrigation," said Lomborg, who is head of the Copenhagen Consensus Center. "If it rains more you will grow more crops and you will end up being more productive."
Other low-cost measures could include insulation of older buildings, building new homes with higher steps to avoid flooding or siting new infrastructure inland to avoid storm surges from a creeping rise in sea levels.
"The problem from global warming is not going to be in the developed world, it will be in the developing world," he said.
Taking account of the natural market-driven adaptation, climate change could have a fractional net positive impact in developed nations, totaling a 0.1 percent gain in gross domestic product by 2100, the study said.
And in poor nations, such adaptation could limit overall economic losses to 2.9 percent of GDP from 5.3 percent.
The authors say that their study does not include feared costs of catastrophic damages or "tipping points," irreversible shifts in the climate system that could, for instance, bring an irreversible melt of Greenland's ice that drives up sea levels.
(Editing by Matthew Jones)

http://planetark.org/wen/54333

Climate Change Threatens Central American Coffee
Date: 21-Aug-09
Country:
 GUATEMALA
Author:
 Sarah Grainger

CERRO DE ORO - Scientists expect climate change to dramatically affect coffee production in Central America in the coming decades, but some lowland farmers in Guatemala say they are already feeling the effects.
The United Nations forecasts temperatures will rise one to six degrees over the next century, which will make some lower-lying coffee producing areas enviable, forcing farmers to move to higher altitudes.
Academics conducting a four-year study of the effects of climate change on small coffee growers in Guatemala have found that many in lowland areas are struggling to continue.
"In the eastern department of Santa Rosa, the problem is the dryness and farmers there are complaining about a lack of water, particularly this year," said Edwin Castellanos, the scientist leading the study.
Guatemalan coffee exports have been largely consistent over the last five years, hovering between 3.3 million and 3.8 million 60-kg bags per season and never varying by more than 10 percent a year because farmers in higher altitude microclimates have been less affected.
"If we see a percentage change over 10 percent, then we would start to worry," said Christian Rasch, head of Guatemala's coffee producers association.
Even farmers in more humid areas are struggling with extremes of weather. Some experts say climate change is a factor in the recent increase in unpredictable weather.
Coffee growers in Cerro de Oro, a village nestled in the volcanic mountains overlooking crystalline Lake Atitlan, have been hit by torrential rains as well as harsh droughts in recent years.
"There's not much we can do to counter the effects on our crops because we can't predict what the weather will be like," said coffee grower Carlos Sitean.
GOVERNMENT HELP NEEDED
In nearby Nicaragua, much of the low-lying land devoted to coffee production is likely to become unsuitable for the crop as temperatures rise. Unlike Guatemala, coffee growers there have no higher ground to move to so its farmers will have to give up on coffee altogether.
Those farming at higher altitudes in Central America may also be tempted to diversify into other crops or even quit farming as unpredictable weather makes growing coffee an increasingly risky investment since an entire harvest can be destroyed by hurricane or drought.
"I'm thinking now that I'm going to have to sell my land because its not giving me results," said Nasario Guoz, who has been farming coffee in Cerro de Oro for over 30 years.
Ideas to help coffee farmers cope with climate change include zoning schemes where farmers get access to cheap credit in return for planting crops recommended by agricultural models and developing more resistant crop varieties.
But experts warn that the efforts of nongovernmental organizations and the private sector will not be enough to cope with the challenge.
"Governments have to strategically look at where coffee could be grown in the next 30 or 40 years and other areas where clearly its going to die out quickly," said Dr Peter Baker, an expert on commodities at the Center for Agriculture and Bioscience International, a UK-based think tank.
Some help for coffee growers could come if a new global climate change treaty can be agreed this year.
Developing nations want industrialized countries to commit to helping poorer countries with financing and technology as part of the new treaty that will replace the Kyoto Protocol.
A group of 80 poor nations argued at a UN climate negotiations in Germany that rich countries should provide $100 billion a year to help them adapt to climate change. The new treaty is due to be signed in Copenhagen this December.
(Editing by Robert Campbell)

http://planetark.org/wen/54331

Australia Government Seeks Talks On Emissions Scheme
Date: 21-Aug-09
Country:
 AUSTRALIA
Author:
 Rob Taylor

CANBERRA - Australia's government challenged conservative rivals on Thursday to support deadlocked emissions trade laws after both sides reached agreement on a new national target to sharply lift the use of renewable energy.
The center-left government said it was talking to neighboring New Zealand about "harmonizing" emissions schemes in the South Pacific's two biggest economies as Australia's upper house agreed renewables should supply 20 percent of energy by 2020, four times more than at present.
"This is a matter where the two governments are considering possibilities," Australian Climate Change Minister Penny Wong told the Senate during debate on the controversial scheme.
The renewable laws aim to come into effect on January 1 next year and target production of 45,000 gigawatt hours of clean energy by 2020.
Australia's government plans to start imposing a cost on carbon emissions from 2011 through a carbon-trading scheme, while New Zealand is reviewing its emissions-trading laws and is expected to announce a watered-down scheme by the end of 2010. But in the biggest setback to Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd since his 2007 election win, the upper house last week rejected his emissions plan after conservative, green and independent lawmakers joined forces against it.
The scheme aims to cut Australia's emissions by between 5-25 percent over the next decade, with the higher target dependent on a matching agreement out of global talks in Copenhagen in December on a new climate pact for the world.
Rudd could have the option of calling a snap election if the Senate rejects the emissions laws a second time.
Conservative environment spokesman Greg Hunt said negotiation on the renewable energy laws proved the government and opposition could reach a negotiated outcome on carbon trade without the need for an election, if Wong agreed to talks.
"We have already put forward very clear propositions," Hunt told Australian television. "We'll talk, but we're ready to talk now without preconditions."
COPENHAGEN DEADLINE
But Wong's junior Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said the conservatives must quickly come up with amendments for its scheme if it wanted negotiations.
Wong has said the government will bring the package back to parliament try to pass it before the Copenhagen meeting, where developing nations like China and India will try to reach agreement with major economies on a broad climate pact.
"The next major priority for our parliamentarians ... is to strengthen and pass the emissions trading legislation to show Australia is prepared to walk the talk on climate change action," said Australian Conservation Foundation chief Don Henry.
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, meeting Rudd in Canberra, said it did not make sense to have a divergent emissions scheme from Australia, despite concern from Australian farmers that inclusion of agricultural emissions from 2015 could see them lose out.
New Zealand is aiming to cut its emissions between 10 and 20 percent by 2020 from 1990 levels.
Underlining business interest in Australia's scheme, the country's dominant stock exchange operator, ASX Ltd, said it planned to list carbon-trading instruments once legislation for the carbon trade scheme passed parliament.
The influential Australian Greens, who control five of the seven key swing votes the government needs to pass laws through the Senate, said the renewables deal pointed to an eventual government-opposition agreement on emissions trade.
"The bipartisan support on this scheme points to the government and opposition getting together to pass the major legislation," Greens Leader Bob Brown told reporters.
The renewable laws will see electricity retailers offer a portion of renewable power to consumers, eating into the dominance of coal-fired generators, and unlocking $22 billion in wind, solar and geothermal energy investment.
The 20 percent target matches one set by the European Union two years ago and which the European Commission hopes will create 2.8 million new jobs and boost European GDP.
(Editing by Nick Macfie)

INSTANT VIEW 2-Australia's Renewable Energy Target Law
Date: 21-Aug-09
Country:
 AUSTRALIA
Author:
 Leonora Walet and James Grubel

CANBERRA - Australia passed laws on Thursday mandating the generation of 20 percent of its electricity from renewable energy, which could unleash up to $22 billion in investments to the sector.
The renewable energy laws set a statutory target of 9,500 gigawatt-hours (GWh) from renewable electricity sources in 2010, increasing to 45,000 GWh in 2020.
The legislation is generally viewed as a step in the right direction, although some analysts think the measure comes too little too late.
Here are some views on the new law:
CHRISTINE MILNE, AUSTRALIAN GREENS SENATOR
"This should be a really exciting day in Australia, because getting an increase in the renewable energy target is going to be really important for jobs and for the rollout of new technologies that will get us to a low-carbon future. But there is a high level of disappointment and disenchantment because the government has completely wrecked the integrity of the renewable energy target by including coal gas. By putting it into that financial mechanism, albeit above the 20 percent, it actually is undermining renewable energy."
MATTHEW WARREN, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, CLEAN ENERGY COUNCIL
"This is to date the most significant piece of climate change legislation in Australian history. It is the result of bipartisan support within the parliament and years of hard work by many in the emerging clean energy industry.
"Climate change is the biggest policy challenge in modern history. The legislation to address it is generational in scale. It needs bipartisan support, as inevitably both sides of politics will be stewards of its execution and implementation. Importantly, this has been achieved today. And of course the next challenge is the successful passage of the federal government's carbon pollution reduction scheme."
DON HENRY, AUSTRALIAN CONSERVATION FOUNDATION
"This is the first major piece of climate legislation to pass Australia's federal parliament and we welcome it. This is an important step towards a cleaner future for Australia.
"The next major priority for our parliamentarians, in the months leading up to the crucial UN climate negotiations at Copenhagen in December, is to strengthen and pass the emissions trading legislation to show Australia is prepared to walk the talk on climate change action."
SIMON TROMAN, VICE PRESIDENT, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND SOLAR ENERGY SOCIETY
"The law has brought some certainty back into (the) renewable energy sector. It's an important piece of legislation, the kind of policy that has been successful in the past. But, I don't think coal seam methane should be there. The fact that you can get a renewable certificate for something that is not renewable is wrong."
JENNY COSGROVE, ANALYST FOR WILSON HTM, AUSTRALIA
"Generally, it's a good piece of legislation in support of renewable energy. One of the expectations is that the new target will be filled relatively quickly. The generation that derives the certificates will be filled by 2013 or 2014, and the certificates all allocated out by that point, committed to specific projects. In itself, it's not a bad thing but one of the implications of that is that the existing renewable technology will take the bulk of the credits, leaving little for emerging renewable technology and that will include wave and geothermal or the large-scale base solar photovoltaic."
MURIEL WATT, CHAIRMAN OF THE AUSTRALIAN PV ASSOCIATION
"We don't like the government introduction of compensation or exemption for heavy electricity users for trade-exposed industries. We think it's just a way of saying the biggest polluters of the country are getting exemptions yet again. And the cost, the rest of the society will have to pay."
"All our trading countries have large renewable targets anyway so I don't know why they feel they are going to be compromised by having local targets."
CHARLES YONTS, SOLAR ANALYST FOR CLSA ASIA-PACIFIC, HONG KONG:
"The passage of the bill is positive, though it's unlikely to make Australia a major market for solar. It's too small. Had Australia implemented the programme in 2004 or 2006 even, then potentially it could have a big impact. But in reality, given the overall size now of the global solar market, Australia is unlikely to become a significant market. It's (solar sector) relatively small, and it's a little too late for Australia. It built up a lot of solar technology and did a lot of the groundwork, but then everyone moved to China."
JEREMY HIGGS, MANAGING DIRECTOR, ENVIRONMENTAL INVESTMENT SERVICES ASIA, HONG KONG:
"The legislation is very positive and way overdue. All these environmental legislations and regulations are being enacted as we go along, supporting the first steps along a road which is necessarily going to be a long journey. These are just stones being laid in the foundation. And certainly 20 percent of Australia's energy to be generated from renewable sources by 2020 is a very positive foundation and step to build upon."
"The solution to the problems that we have, the pollution and emissions, they're not going to be solved in six months time, or a year's time. It's a long period of time and what I think we expect is that this hopefully will be the first important legislation, but won't necessarily be the last."
(Editing by Jerry Norton)
© Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved

FACTBOX - Australia's Renewable Energy Sector
Date: 21-Aug-09
Country:
 AUSTRALIA
Author:
 Leonora Walet

Australia passed laws on Thursday requiring the generation of 20 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020.
Experts forecast Australia needs to install around 11,000 megawatts of new capacity to meet the targets, possibly unleashing $22 billion in investment in the sector.
That means more than half of all of the country's new electricity generation capacity between now and 2020 will have to use renewable energy.
Following are some facts about Australia's renewable energy sector:
RENEWABLE ENERGY SYSTEMS
Wind power remains the cheapest form of renewable energy but is still at an early stage, with installed capacity at about 1.3 gigawatts (GW), or barely 3 percent of Australia's total installed capacity of 45 GW.
Solar power holds promise in a country known for its sunshine. Australia's solar credits program, which will subsidize the cost of households installing 1.5-kw solar power systems, and subsidized tariffs should help boost demand.
Australia may see increased investment in geothermal power, which taps heat trapped in granite 3 km or more below the earth's surface to run turbines and generate power. Studies suggest that Australia's hot fractured rock geothermal energy could provide up to 2,200 MW of base-load capacity, or up to 40 percent of the country's renewable target, entailing investment of about A$12 billion.
A rush to deploy proven technologies will be at the expense of geothermal and other emerging technologies including concentrated solar power and ocean energy, which require time and huge capital to develop.
ASSESSING COSTS
Renewable energy would require government subsidies for many years to make it cost competitive against fossil fuels. Marginal costs for wind and geothermal over the long-term would be about $100 per megawatt-hour and concentrated solar about $150 per MWh. Wave energy is estimated at about $225 a MWh.
Though costs are expected to trend downwards over time, competing with conventional electricity prices, currently at $30 to $50 per MWh, would be tough. Rising prices for carbon amid earth's limited supply of oil and gas could work toward making clean energy cost-competitive.
For now, the main challenge confronting the renewable energy sector would be securing funding for investment in building new projects. Fiscal stimuli directed toward boosting low carbon energy systems should ease industry's funding concerns.
WINNERS FROM EXPANDED TARGET
The best direct exposure to renewable energy in Australia is its wind companies such as Infigen Energy, formerly known as Babcock & Brown Wind Partners, analysts say.
Other companies with exposure to wind projects include Transfield Services Infrastructure and Viridis Clean Energy.
AGL Energy and Orgin Energy should benefit seeing renewable energy as a strategic priority. As Australia's largest power retailers, their interest in developing renewable energy, among others, is to offset their liabilities to purchase renewable energy certificates or RECs.
The solar segment is led by Dyesol Ltd. Other solar fuel cell technology companies include Silex.
Geothermal carries great growth potential. Geodynamics with a market capitalization of over A$290 million is the leader of the pack of about 8 companies in the sector, most with a capitalization of less than A$20 million.
Exposure to clean coal technology is through White Energy.
Coal bed methane technology, which uses the trapped methane in coal to produce gas, has been identified among technologies to benefit from the new law. Companies actively exploring coal bed methane includes Sydney Gas Ltd Queensland Gas Co and Origin Energy.
Exposure to Australia's wave energy can be made through investments in Carnegie Corp.
(Sources: Australian government, here;The Clean Energy Council, www.cleanenergycouncil.org.au; Auerbach Grayson Research, www.agco.com; McLennan Magasanik Associates, Wilson HTM as cited in Auerbach Grayson reports)
(Editing by Nick Macfie)

20.8.09

Green Newclips for August 20, 2009: Top green outsourcers, Total cost of Data Centres, Moore's Law, and 1/3 of large firms are STILL not on the ball


http://blogs.harvardbusiness.org/winston/2009/08/it-and-green-converge.html

Moore's Law and the Environment: An Opportunity
8:08 AM Tuesday August 18, 2009
Tags:Green businessIT managementWal-mart

Everything's getting faster these days—you've heard it before. Two mega-trends in particular are merging: rapidly accelerating technological change and rapidly evolving environmental issues and pressures. Lucky for us, the first change is going to save our butts from the second. Fast-evolving, smart IT will play a critical role in helping us navigate and profit from environmental challenges. The two trends together are combining to make for enduring change in how business is done, a movement to a permanently higher plane of green and tech-driven activity.

A recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, "Ten-Year Century," makes the well-known case that the pace of transformation in society is accelerating. More has changed, the authors say, in this decade than in the previous century. To be specific,

Changes that used to take generations—economic cycles, cultural shifts, mass migrations, changes in the structures of families and institutions—now unfurl in a span of years... Game-changing consumer products and services (iPod, smart phones, YouTube, Twitter, blogs) that historically might have appeared once every five or more years roll out within months.

The "Laws" of Technology that the authors highlight—Moore's and Metcalfe's—perfectly describe how quickly both computational power and networking capacity are growing (double the computing power on every chip every 18 months, for example). It's a "law" in the world of technology that things are steadily getting faster.

But this op-ed and other "tech is changing the world so fast" stories—and I'm a sucker for them—miss the another big shift that's moving just as fast: the degradation of the natural world and the resulting pressure to green society and business.

The forces driving the greening of business—from natural world pressures to business customers asking tough questions about your environmental impacts—are evolving incredibly quickly. First, we're witnessing changes in the physical world that scientists and geologists normally expect to take decades, if not millennia.

Scientists are very surprised by the increasing pace of change in environmental deterioration, particularly in our climate. As science writer Sharon Begley points out in Newsweek, statements from experts such as, "that really shocked us," "we had no idea how bad it was," and "reality is well ahead of the climate models" keep coming up repeatedly. The scientific consensus on environmental issues has also moved quickly, from careful support for the thesis of human-induced climate change to vast, overwhelming, somewhat nervous agreement in less than 10 years. How sure will our scientific leaders be in 10 more?

Second—and this is the good news—the business world too is changing its ways at a remarkable pace, especially when you consider the size of the companies in motion. Leaders are drastically reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, innovating even in seemingly static parts of the business like fleet and distribution. We hear every day how much Wal-Mart is changing itself (taking an already lean company and improving fleet efficiency by 30% in three years) and forcing change on others (making somewhat-radical new demands on suppliers that will change how they do business).

We can be forgiven for finding the technological, environmental, and business changes awe-inspiring, daunting, and "deer-in-headlights"-freeze-inducing. During a time of fast change, it's also tempting to go into ostrich mode, just chalk it all up to a temporary frenzy, and hope that if you shut your eyes tight it will all go away. But is today's pressure on business and society to go green a "bubble," just another rise in environmental interest like the ones we saw come and go in the early 90s and early 70s? You can guess where I come down on this.

Part of my reasoning is that the business opportunities in solving environmental challenges are so large, why would interest wane? We can already see that the technological changes of today will serve us well in the search for solutions to our biggest environmental challenges today and tomorrow. Imagine the scale of industry transformation and the profit-potential in just three areas:

  • New energy-efficiency and generation technologies to save money and to power our lives
  • Satellite imaging, "remote sensing," nanotechnologies, and data collection methods to track environmental impacts from forests to factories
  • Business analytics tools and software to identify risks and opportunities up and down the value chain.
And so, as with the certainty of the "Ten-Year Century" futurists about the increasing pace of technological change, I believe that the acceleration of the greening of business is real and its impact will be permanent, not transitory. The growing revolution in how business is done will likely dwarf the original industrial revolution in its impact on how we live. We're moving quickly to a new way of designing, making, shipping, selling, using, and disposing of all goods and services. And given the pace of change, it's a spectacularly bad idea to wait out the recession to take action (a case I make in my new book, Green Recovery).

Given the power of high-tech fixes to deal with the somewhat terrifying pace of environmental change, I say let's not just cope with technological change or even embrace it, but let's do everything we can to accelerate it. It may be our only hope.

http://www.environmentalleader.com/2009/08/20/xerox-accenture-csc-atop-list-of-green-outsourcing-vendors/

Xerox, Accenture, CSC Atop List of Green Outsourcing Vendors (IBM #5)
2009top50greenFor companies looking to outsource business services and minimize impact on the environment, a new list shows the top 50 green outsourcing vendors.
The Black Book of Outsourcing has put together its 2009 lists, including ones for outsourcing of infrastructure services, business process outsourcing (BPO), knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) and outsourcing of call centers. In all, there are 15 lists.
In creating the lists, in excess of 1,300 respondents were surveyed about  third party service providers interactions.
For the list of the top 50 green outsourcing vendors, the Black Book of Outsourcing accounted for a company's environmental protection, social improvements and economic growth, plus third-party standards such as:

  • the U.N.'s Global Compact for social, economic and environmental principles
  • the International Organization for Standardization's (ISO) standards 14000 and 14001
  • the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED standard
  • Green Sigma, IBM's sustainability consulting service, which is based on Six Sigma principles.
Here is the complete list of the top 50 green outsourcing vendors.
Rank and company name
1.        Xerox
2.        Accenture
3.        CSC
4.        Capgemini
5.        IBM Global
6.        Oracle
7.        HCL
8.        Patni
9.        WNS Global
10.        Hewlett Packard/EDS
11.        Aramark
12.        Perot Systems
13.        Logica
14.        Wipro
15.        SITEL
16.        Mastech
17.        Océ Business Services
18.        SAP
19.        CIBER
20.        SAIC
21.        TechMahindra
22.        BT
23.        Atos Origin
24.        ACS
25.        Fujitsu
26.        T Systems
27.        Orange Business Services
28.        eTelecare
29.        CH2M Hill
30.        Infosys
31.        Steria Xansa
32.        CGI
33.        Innodata Isogen
34.        Océ Convergys
35.        Sun Microsystems
36.        TeleTech
37.        Hewitt
38.        RR Donnelley
39.        UST Global
40.        Sodexho
41.        Northrop Grumann
42.        Ariba
43.        Emcor
44.        Siemens
45.        Unisys
46.        XChanging
47.        Pitney Bowes
48.        Hitachi
49.        Tata Consultancy Services
50.        CompuCom/Getronics

http://www.environmentalleader.com/2009/08/20/white-paper-it-buyers-need-to-look-at-the-total-cost-of-data-centers/

White Paper: IT Buyers Need to Look at the Total Cost of Data Centers
datacentercostIn data centers, all costs related to the purchase of electricity and almost all facility costs are directly related to the power use of IT equipment, according to a new white paper released by Intel and Microsoft. This means power used per thousand dollars of server acquisition cost is the most important driver of power and cooling costs in data centers.
According to the white paper, Server Energy Efficiency Implications on Large Scale Datacenters, the power-related capital costs for cooling, backup power, and power distribution are significant — roughly $25,000 per kW of IT power use — and together with the electricity costs account for roughly half of total annualized costs in typical data centers.
The research segments power used per thousand dollars of server cost into two components: performance per dollar of server cost and performance per watt. Performance per dollar of server cost has been increasing more rapidly than performance per watt in recent years, which has led to increases in the power use per server cost, according to the paper.
The result is that the indirect costs for cooling and power distribution start to offset the performance related benefits of Moore's law, say the researchers. They also conclude that too little attention has been paid to the true total costs for data center facilities, and these trends have important implications for the design, construction and operation of data centers.
A key finding in the paper indicates that an IT buyer who does not assess the total cost for purchasing new servers but instead focuses solely on performance per dollar of server acquisition cost will overestimate the benefits from buying more computing power. This mismatch between costs and benefits is the primary reason why institutional changes are needed in most data-center operations, which traditionally have separate budgets for the IT and facilities departments, suggest the researchers.
There are technical solutions for improving data center efficiency but the most important and most neglected solutions relate to institutional changes that can help companies focus on reducing the total costs of computing services, say the researchers.
The reason: IT departments generally don't pay the electric bill or the costs to build cooling or power distribution capacity, so they don't demand high-efficiency servers because the costs for inefficiency come out of someone else's budget. Cloud computing providers have generally been ahead of the industry in fixing these misplaced incentives, which gives them an economic advantage over in-house corporate data center operators, according to the research.
There are some signs that the industry's focus on the reduction of power use in servers since 2006 has been paying off, although more research is needed to confirm this finding, say the researchers. Click here for the white paper.
The research was co-authored by Dr. Jonathan Koomey, Project Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Consulting Professor at Stanford University and visiting professor at Yale University's School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Dr. Koomey is one of the leading international experts on electricity used by computers, office equipment, and data centers, as well as in energy conservation technology, economics, policy and global climate change.
Intel and Microsoft also offer other peer-reviewed research papers that assess the energy and environmental impacts of information technology in the areas of computer performance and music downloads.

http://www.climatebiz.com/print/26971

One-Third of World's Biggest Firms Still Not Addressing Climate Change
By Robert Kropp
Created 2009-08-11 17:14
MIDDLEBURY, Vt. — Asking what investors should be doing about the unprecedented "projected impacts of climate change on the environment and society," a new report by EIRIS, a U.K.-based provider of research into the social, environmental and ethical performance of companies, compared the corporate responses to climate change of the 300 largest companies in the FTSE All World Index to its 2008 analysis. 

The report, entitled 
Climate Change Compass: The road to Copenhagen, looks forward to what it describes as "the most important climate change-related meeting since 1997," to be held in December, 2009, in Copenhagen. If combined with stimulus packages and clear regulatory frameworks from governments, the meeting in Copenhagen offers opportunities for companies to develop low-carbon activities. 

SocialFunds.com spoke with Carlota Garcia-Manas, Assistant Head of Research at EIRIS and the author of the report, about its findings. 

"In general, there's been a positive trend," said Garcia-Manas. "The majority of companies in the group now have some kind of climate change policies, many of which contain emissions reduction targets." 

The report found that of the 300 companies analyzed, 55 percent have short-term targets on climate change, up from 48 percent in 2008. In addition, 91 percent of high and very high impact companies disclose absolute CO2 or greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions data. High impact sectors are defined by the report as chemicals, construction, electricity, food, industrial metals, mining, and oil and gas. 

Other positive findings of the report include a significant decrease in the proportion of companies in high-impact sectors with no or limited responses to climate change, from 34 percent in 2008 to 19 percent. The number of companies in high-impact sectors with a corporate-wide commitment to climate change mitigation increased, from 84 percent in 2008 to 99 percent. Only one high-impact company of those analyzed in the report had no such commitment in 2009. 

Overall, the proportion of companies with no or limited disclosure on climate change decreased to less than 12 percent in 2009, from 29.4 percent in 2008. 

However, utilizing such key indicators as governance, strategy, disclosure, and performance, the report found that over a third of the 300 companies analyzed continue to carry unmitigated climate-related risks. Some high-impact sectors, such as industrial metals, food producers, and oil and gas producers, were found to have a greater proportion of companies with unmitigated risk when compared with 2008. 

Garcia-Manas said, "While most company policies now contain some reference to short-term emissions reduction targets, when we look out five or ten years we don't see as much information. The lack of long-term strategies could be because companies are waiting to see how governments adopt regulations for emissions reductions." 

While the report found that a "lack of clarity and comparability of quantitative data persists and can compromise investment decisions," it is not because of inadequate reporting initiatives that this is so, according to Garcia-Manas. 

"The 
Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) is an established initiative that provides guidance to companies for greenhouse gas emissions disclosure," she said. 

Another of the key findings of the report is the necessity for investor engagement. According to the report, "Investors must understand the impact these issues will have on their portfolios and integrate climate change into their engagement strategies or when exercising voting rights." 

Underscoring the importance of investors in encouraging companies to address climate change risks effectively, Garcia-Manas said, "The more companies are doing, the less risk investors are incurring. We suspect that investor activism has had an impact on companies addressing more of risk." 

One important area in which investors and Boards of Directors can encourage companies in their portfolios to address climate change more effectively is in the area of remuneration. Only about 20 percent of companies incentivize management attention to climate risks, according to the report. 

"Remuneration is one of the main issues," said Garcia-Manas. "Activist investors can engage with companies to ensure that management structures incentivize attention to climate risks." 

Asked by SocialFunds.com if the report focused on regional differences among companies, Garcia-Manas said, "At the moment the only country assessment we have is a study of Asian companies, but we plan on issuing a report on North American companies this year." 

Entitled 
Climate Change Tracker: Asia [PDF], that study, which was released in May, 2009, found that while initiatives on the part of Japanese companies was having a positive influence, opportunities for Asian companies to improve performance through increased levels of disclosure and engagement remain. 

The new report concludes, "Given the importance of Climate Change and the likely impact of it on future long-term corporate financial performance it is increasingly seen as an investor's fiduciary responsibility to integrate consideration of climate change into their investment strategy." 

Garcia-Manas concluded, "The three pillars in improving reporting are the companies themselves, governments, and investors."

 

Related News & Blogs

(Water Management) Business Must Tie Water to Climate Change


http://www.environmentalleader.com/2009/08/19/business-must-tie-water-to-climate-change/

Business Must Tie Water to Climate Change
Bjorn Von Euler
Director of Corporate Philanthropy
ITT Corp.

bjorn-mug2Nearly 2,500 people from 136 countries are gathering this week in my home town of Stockholm, a city of islands and water, for the nineteenth annual World Water Week. Scientists, policymakers, business leaders, NGOs and media have come together to debate all things water - scarcity, access, infrastructure and management - and its relation to climate change.
The conference has just begun, and already three themes have emerged:
1. Climate change = water change.
As we've noted before, energy, climate and water are inextricably linked, and in these months of intense debate on seminal climate legislation (particularly in the United States) and with the upcoming COP 15, water as an issue is increasing in priority.
In fact, Circle of Blue (full disclosure: ITT often works with Circle of Blue) and GlobeScan released a survey revealing that water is, for much of the world's population, of greater concern than climate change. Those of us in the private sector should also note that in nearly every country surveyed, a majority held companies as well as government responsible for ensuring clean water.
What this says to me is that as we look to reduce our carbon footprint, we must also address our impact on water - our water footprint - and vice versa.
2. The need to better manage water resources.
What is becoming increasingly apparent is that we - every country, nearly every municipality - have to become better at managing water. As Professor Richard Carter of WaterAid said, "We need to relearn how to manage water in an integrated way."
This can mean many things - from being, as ITT's John Williamson said, "intellectually honest" about the need to change the way we view water to investing significantly more (hundreds of billions more) in aging, decaying infrastructure, which may require each of us to pay the "real" price of water. We must also address the pollution that makes even plentiful water unavailable to so many people.
3. The emergence of sanitation as an issue separate from water.
We often think of sanitation and hygiene as an aspect of the water issue.Sanitation is indeed a critical issue, and one in which many companies are involved. What I've been hearing this week, however, is that in the effort to promote sanitation, water is only one aspect of the problem. It is fair to say that the real issue is the need for concerted public education - to wash hands, for example - and the need to adapt programs to cultural norms.
Dr. William T. Muhairwe, of the National Water and Sewerage Corporation of Uganda, noted that in some parts of Africa, toilets are shunned for reasons of tradition, and insisting on their use can therefore be counterproductive. It will be interesting to see where this important debate goes in coming years.
All in all, and as I said to a partner earlier today, it's an exciting time to be working in water. What matters most is that so many people from so many different walks of life have come together to not only debate this issue, but to learn from one another - and act.
More to come.
Bjorn Von Euler, director of corporate philanthropy for ITT Corp., attended the World Water Week proceedings in Stockholm, Sweden. He is writing a series of reports on the event for Environmental Leader.

Measure, Manage Emissions to Compete in Low-Carbon Economy


http://www.environmentalleader.com/2009/08/20/measure-manage-emissions-to-compete-in-low-carbon-economy/

Measure, Manage Emissions to Compete in Low-Carbon Economy
ghgemissionsbysourceThe first step in mitigating risks associated with climate change is to calculate carbon emissions and their potential costs from direct operations and supply chains, according to a new report. The study finds that companies with more energy-efficient operations and supply chains will be better positioned during the shift to a low-carbon economy to attract investors and increase market share.
The report, Carbon Emissions — Measuring the Risks, conducted by NSF International, a public health and safety organization, and Trucost PLC, evaluates the impact of climate change legislation such as cap-and-trade programs on companies across a variety of industries and how those associated risks can be turned into competitive advantages.
The report can help companies implement sustainable business practices and verify their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions data in preparation for the new regulations, said NSF, a global provider of environmental data and analysis.
The report examines the GHG emissions and carbon footprints of S&P 500 companies in several sectors including chemicals, food and beverage, healthcare, industrial goods and services, personal and household goods, automobiles and parts, and retail. With data on emissions from their operations and supply chains, companies can identify ways to reduce emissions, manage carbon risks, use resources more efficiently and cut costs, according to the report.
The report also shows which sectors emit the most direct and indirect operational GHG emissions and the ones most exposed to carbon costs under regulations to control emissions, which can be used to identify potential financial risk. As an example, emissions from carbon-intensive suppliers could lead to higher costs for goods and services as they try to pass on carbon costs.
The research also covers other significant environmental impacts such as natural resources for each sector, and calculates environmental costs based on the financial value of damages caused by each impact.
The study finds that over 80 percent of GHG emissions originate from supply chains, representing a serious financial exposure as costs are passed on to manufacturers, and that two-thirds of companies inadequately report their carbon emissions.
Other findings indicate that the cost of carbon may reach as high as 25 percent of earnings for some firms, as measured by earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), and companies that compete with more carbon-efficient peers could lose market share.
The report is based on findings from Trucost's study, Carbon Risks and Opportunities in the S&P 500, which assessed GHG emissions, carbon intensity and exposure to carbon costs of S&P companies using publicly disclosed information.

19.8.09

Green Newsclips for 19 August 2009: CDs vs. Downloads, China vs. US, Canada vs. US and Unions vs. CO2


http://www.environmentalleader.com/2009/08/19/cds-vs-music-downloads-carbon-footprint-compared/

CDs vs. Music Downloads: Carbon Footprint Compared
cds-vs-digiIn a white paper comparing the carbon footprint and energy usage associated with various forms of music delivery, from CDs sold at retail to CDs sold on the Internet to simple downloads, it's not surprising that the downloads have the least environmental impact.
Purchasing music digitally reduced CO2 emissions associated with delivering music to consumers by 40-80 percent, as compared to buying a CD at retail.
The research took into account all facets, from packaging to type of shipping involved.
The white paper, "The Energy and Climate Change Impacts of Different Music Delivery Methods," (PDF download) was sponsored by Microsoft and Intel. The report was prepared by the Department of Civil Engineering and Environmental Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory at Stanford University.

http://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/article_print.aspx?L2=3&L3=50&ar=2419

China and the US: The potential of a clean-tech partnership

China and the US: The potential of a clean-tech partnership
Only a collaboration between the two countries will create an environment where clean-energy technologies can thrive.

August 2009 • Jonathan Woetzel
Source: Climate Change Special Initiative

China and the United States, the world's dominant producers of carbon emissions, have adopted aggressive programs to reduce oil imports, create new clean-energy industries and jobs, and generally improve the environment. But the environment that will be most critical to making or breaking the two countries' efforts to curb the dangers of global warming could well be the market that they jointly create in pursuit of their aims. Unless the two work together to provide the scale, standards, and technology transfer necessary to make a handful of promising but expensive new clean-energy technologies successful, momentum to curb global warming could stall and neither country will maximize its gains in terms of green jobs, new companies, and energy security.
The risk is real. Electrified vehicles, carbon capture and storage (CCS), and concentrated solar power, among other emerging "green tech" sectors, will need massive investment, infrastructure, and research to get off the ground. While the Chinese and US governments, along with private investors, are pursuing all of these technologies, they cannot achieve separately what they could jointly.
For a more in-depth look at these three clean-energy technologies and how China–US cooperation could make them economically feasible, launch this interactive exhibit, a collaboration between McKinsey and frog design.

China and the US: The potential of a clean-tech partnership
Cooperation between China and the United States could make clean technology feasible.
Launch Interactive
Back to top
Whether collaborating formally or informally, China and the United States working as a group of two (or G-2) dedicated to climate change would boost these technologies and deliver benefits that would accrue to all nations. Clean-energy solutions are critical for reducing the amount of harmful greenhouse gases produced not only by the two highest-emitting nations but also by countries worldwide. For instance, if the majority of vehicles on the world's roads by 2030 were hybrids and battery-powered vehicles, they would generate 42 percent fewer emissions than if all cars continued to run on today's gas and diesel engines.1 But such reductions won't occur—won't even come close to happening—unless China and the United States lay the groundwork to make it so.
A global electric-car sector must start in China and the United States, and it must begin with the two countries jointly creating an environment for automotive investors to scale their bets across both nations. Private companies in China and the United States will most certainly compete to make the products, including electric-drive (or hybrid) vehicles, batteries, charging stations, and so on. But the two governments can no doubt create the conditions for both of them to succeed—for example, by setting coordinated product and safety standards across the two markets, funding the rollout of infrastructure, sponsoring joint R&D initiatives in select areas (such as new materials for car parts), ensuring that trade policies support rather than hinder the development of a global supply chain for the sector, and providing consumers with financial incentives to buy the new models. More immediately, the two governments could pick matching cities in China and the United States for electrified-vehicle pilots that could be used to collect standardized data on real electrified-vehicle consumer adoption, infrastructure costs, and driving conditions that could then be shared with companies in both nations.
This new sector will require scale to succeed—more scale than could be found any time soon in either country alone. Electrified vehicles may one day become a viable market within both nations, but that day will arrive much more quickly if the two countries collaborate to create a market that is bigger and more attractive. In building this market, China and the United States would also ensure that the companies and jobs associated with it would be created in both countries sooner. Oil consumption will fall more quickly as well: today, about 50 percent of China's oil imports—and 80 percent of America's—are used to fuel vehicles. In other words, one plus one would equal three. Such momentum would also likely spark Europe into competing in a global electrified-vehicle industry faster.
CCS is another technology whose success needs the scale that only China and the United States can create together. Adapting CCS technology to coal-fired plants to capture the emitted greenhouse gases is expensive. CCS technology also uses a lot of energy to capture the emissions, thereby making plants less efficient. And fundamental questions about how the captured emissions are to be stored still need addressing. Neither nation is pursuing this expensive, uncertain emissions reduction technology quickly, but they would improve their chances and their options if they pooled costs and knowledge.
Together, the two governments could fund demonstration plants in China and the United States, jointly evaluate technologies available from vendors, set standards, and drive down costs. By using the pilot plants as research labs to learn more about the challenges CCS faces and how to overcome them, the governments could share the information with companies entering the CCS business, advancing learning in this industry at a quicker pace. Assuming engineers find solutions to the technical and storage hurdles, we estimate that by 2030 this technology could "clean" 17 percent of coal power in the United States and 30 percent of China's coal power, reducing total combined emissions by as much as 7 percent—a significant benefit to both nations and to the world.
Concentrated solar power (CSP) might not even have a future without joint action by China and the United States. As an emerging technology, CSP requires both technical progress and massive investments that only the largest economies can support. CSP technology uses sunlight to create and store steam power to drive turbines that transmit electricity on a larger scale more easily than they could using photovoltaic technology (which uses flat-screen receptors that turn sunlight into power). If clean concentrated solar power is scaled to generate 22 percent of total power in China and the United States by 2030, it could create over half a million jobs in each country. Setting common standards, coinvesting in pilot projects and R&D, and undertaking other joint initiatives are the way to get this started.
There are other benefits to joint action on clean energy besides reducing oil imports, cleaning up the air, and creating jobs. Cooperation on tangible actions that result in positive improvements for each country could help to foster trust between governments that have real differences on other political and economic issues. In addition, meaningful reductions in oil consumption by the world's two largest importers of oil could ease pressure on future global supply and demand imbalances of the fossil fuel.
It won't be easy for countries and companies to work in common to make these technologies real. The challenges to cooperation are numerous. Companies in both nations will be wary about what information they share with partners and competitors. Real cooperation between the two countries on technology initiatives is limited, so both sides will have to work hard to build relationships. In addition, they will need to create institutional frameworks for implementing and managing projects, as well as cofinancing mechanisms, partnership rules, and governance models. US companies will be concerned about protecting the intellectual property (IP) technologies that they use in pilot projects in China. The two governments will need to cleanly separate bilateral initiatives on clean-energy development from broader, multilateral agreements on emissions reductions. The list goes on.
But none of these challenges are showstoppers. Negotiations between the two countries could address nearly all these issues comprehensively. Even the thorniest—IP protection—is manageable. Because companies from many nations would contribute to making these three big technologies a success, IP agreements should be international. On that front, China will need to improve its ability to enforce global IP rules. Most critical, however, is the leadership that will be needed to surmount these obstacles. A commitment at the top levels of both governments to set a joint course for making these technologies real would be the signal of a real beginning. From there the impulse for collaboration may well filter down through the public and private sectors in the two countries to make research, investment, and policy a cooperative agenda. 


About the Author
Jonathan Woetzel is a director in McKinsey's Shanghai office.
Back to top
Notes
1 For more information, see the full report, Pathways to a Low-Carbon Economy: Version 2 of the Global Greenhouse Gas Abatement Cost Curve, McKinsey & Company, January 2009. Emissions abatement could be even higher if the electricity used to recharge car batteries is clean.




http://planetark.org/wen/54283

Unions Favor Deep CO2 Cuts And Green Jobs
Date: 19-Aug-09
Country:
 NORWAY
Author:
 Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent

Unions Favor Deep CO2 Cuts And Green Jobs Photo: Alexandra Beier
The exhaust of a Porsche sports car is pictured in the street's traffic in Munich, December 21, 2007.
Photo: Alexandra Beier

OSLO - Trade unions are supporting deep cuts in greenhouse gases as part of a planned U.N. climate pact and want to ensure jobs are preserved in a shift to a green economy, a leader of a global labor group said on Tuesday.
More jobs could be created than are lost if governments are serious about promoting a switch from fossil fuels to a low-carbon economy, said Guy Ryder, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).
"We are aboard. It's a fragile consensus but it is there," Ryder told Reuters of an ITUC endorsement in 2008 of cuts in greenhouse emissions as part of a planned treaty to help avert rising sea levels, more heatwaves, droughts and floods.
The Brussels-based ITUC, which says it represents 168 million workers in 155 countries, wants the new U.N. pact due to be agreed in Copenhagen in December to ensure a "just transition" for workers to a greener economy.
"Copenhagen cannot simply be about the environment with the exclusion of social and employment questions," Ryder said on the sidelines of a climate seminar in Oslo.
Ryder said the ITUC supported cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 of 25 to 40 percent from 1990 levels for developed nations, which a U.N. panel of climate scientists has said would avert the worst effects of climate change.
But recession has sapped governments' willingness to take tough action. So far in the U.N. negotiations, developed nations are offering greenhouse gas cuts of just 10 to 14 percent below 1990 levels.
ARGENTINA, AFRICA
Backed by the unions, Argentina and African nations inserted a phrase urging "a just transition of the workforce" into a draft 200-page negotiating text for a Copenhagen deal, he said.
"That means that the transition to this low-carbon future must take account of the employment and social dimensions," he said. The phrase is in brackets in the latest text, meaning it faces opposition from some nations.
Unions have long feared that acting to limit climate change will mean layoffs. Ryder said the ITUC did not agree to endorse the U.N.'s 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which demands cuts by developed nations, until 2004.
Stronger evidence that global warming is caused by mankind helped tip the balance toward Kyoto, along with the unions' insistence on social justice.
Ryder said many U.N. studies showed that a low-carbon future could be achieved by "policies that would increase the quantity and quality of employment."
"This will not happen automatically ... It has to be made to happen" and there should be national employment targets, he said.
In the past two decades or so "the idea has been 'let's deregulate, let's privatize, let's let the markets free and the jobs will follow'. I think that orthodoxy is looking rather rocky," he said of the current economic downturn.
He said many workers -- such as a Polish coal union leader he recently met -- doubted that a shift to a greener economy would mean jobs. "If you work in the Silesian coalfields this doesn't make a whole lot of sense," he said.
"There is going to have to be massive social protection and investment in adjustment," he said of a global shift from fossil fuels toward industries such as wind or solar power.

http://planetark.org/wen/54281

Canada Loses Out As U.S. Ups Green Ante
Date: 19-Aug-09
Country:
 CANADA
Author:
 Nicole Mordant

Canada Loses Out As U.S. Ups Green Ante Photo: J.P. Moczulski
A view of a wind turbine (L) as it spins at the Melancthon I Wind Farm, the first of several commercial sized wind farm projects in the province of Ontario, in Shelburne, approximately 125 km (77 miles) north of Toronto March 9, 2006.
Photo: J.P. Moczulski

VANCOUVER, British Columbia - The Obama administration's titanic $60 billion spending plan for the U.S. clean energy sector is luring investors away from green businesses in Canada, threatening the industry's growth here.
Already battered by recession and tight credit markets, Canada's renewable energy and clean technology companies must now compete for investment with their U.S. peers, who have an unprecedented cache of federal cash grants and tax incentives.
A start-up, whether it makes turbines for wind farms, solar panels or electric cars, may think twice before setting up shop in Canada, curbing the country's ability to create jobs and generate tax revenue, and losing technological innovation.
"There is no doubt that the actions of the Obama administration pose a real challenge to Canada," said Robert Hornung, president of the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA), whose members include Toronto Stock Exchange-listed Canadian Hydro Developers Inc, Algonquin Power Income Fund and Innergex Renewable Energy Inc.
"The U.S. has sent a very strong signal that renewable energy is going to play a central role in both energy-environment and economic recovery strategies. We don't have the same signals here federally," he told Reuters.
Hornung said he had started "hearing stories" of international companies shifting business away from Canada to the United States. Some U.S. companies in Canada were also pulling back, he said, without mentioning any names.
The United States plans to invest $59 billion of its $787 billion economic stimulus plan in green energy to help create jobs, double America's supply of renewable energy and reduce its dependence on foreign oil.
That comprises $39 billion for projects at the U.S. Department of Energy and $20 billion in tax incentives for industries such as solar energy, wind power and geothermal.
The Canadian government's centerpiece clean energy plan is the C$1.5 billion ($1.4 billion) ecoENERGY for Renewable Power program, which was introduced in 2007. But Hornung said it will have allocated all its funding this fall.
"For investors who are looking at North America, they look to the U.S. and they see some policy certainty and a strong incentive. They look to Canada they see an incentive that is in essence shutting down and no certainty going forward. That is where our challenge is at the moment," he said.
COMPETING WITH HEFTIER NEIGHBOR
The 2009 Canadian budget also included a C$1 billion five-year Green Infrastructure Fund for clean electricity generation and a C$1 billion Clean Energy Fund to support research and development of new renewable technologies -- a help but not enough to compete with Canada's heftier neighbor.
"The risk is that early stage companies say, 'Maybe I should just be located in U.S. to start with'. The risk is that we lose the jobs and the innovation," said Jonathan Rhone, chief executive of Nexterra Energy, a small Vancouver-based company making gasification systems that convert waste fuels into clean heat and power.
Not all is doom and gloom though.
Tony Mitchell, chairman of Polaris Geothermal Inc, a Canadian-based energy company, said President Barack Obama's focus on renewables has raised the profile of the once little-known geothermal industry, which generates power through tapping heat from deep underground.
"It is bringing geothermal into the news. It makes capital-raising easier," he told Reuters.
The Toronto Stock Exchange, which has made the clean technology sector a key focus area, remains upbeat about its prospects, despite the muscle of the United States.
Carolyn Quick, spokeswoman for TMX Group, which runs the Toronto Stock Exchange and the TSX Venture Exchange, said "there is a strong pipeline of U.S. companies interested in raising capital in Canada when global economic conditions improve".
Within Canada, the province of Ontario stands out for its green policies, promising to invest almost C$17 million in Electrovaya Inc, a maker of batteries for electric vehicles. It also plans rebates of up to C$10,000 to buyers of plug-in hybrids and electric cars.
The Obama plan also helps Canadian companies with operations or customers in the United States that can benefit from the incentives.
"It is certainly causing us to spend more time in the U.S. Capital is still tight. We, as technology companies, go where the money is," Nexterra's Rhone said.
(Editing by Janet Guttsman)

Alternative energy newsclips for 19 August 2009: Hybrids on smart grids, and buildings can cut 60% off the world's energy bills


http://www.edie.net/news/news_story.asp?id=16865&channel=0&title=Improved+efficiency+could+cut+world's+energy+bill+by+60%25

Improved efficiency could cut world's energy bill by 60%



Energy use in buildings could be slashed by over 60% by 2050 according to modeling carried out by a global organisation set up to promote sustainable development, but immediate action would be required from the construction sector to achieve this goal. 

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) claims to have carried out the most rigorous study ever into energy efficiency in buildings, taking four years and $15m to complete. 

The report says that if the political will and appetite for change in the private sector can be found, dramatic cuts to energy consumption could be made over the next four decades. 

"Energy efficiency is fast becoming one of the defining issues of our times, and buildings are that issue's 'elephant in the room'. 

"Buildings use more energy than any other sector and as such are a major contributor to climate change," said Björn Stigson, president of the WBCSD. 

"Unless there is immediate action, thousands of new buildings will be built without any concern for energy efficiency, and millions of existing, inefficient buildings using more energy than necessary will still be standing in 2050. 

"Acting now means reducing their energy consumption and making real progress in controlling climate change. 

"The market alone will not be able to make the necessary changes. Most building owners and occupants don't know enough and don't care enough about energy consumption, and inertia is reinforced by assumptions that costs are too high and savings too low. 

"That's why we are calling for a major, coordinated and global effort. If we can create that, we will cut greenhouse gas emissions and stimulate economic growth at the same time." 


http://www.environmentalleader.com/2009/08/19/ford-utilities-to-tie-plug-in-hybrids-into-smart-grid/

Ford, Utilities to Tie Plug-in Hybrids into Smart Grid
fordhybridsystemAs part of a strategy to improve fuel economy and reduce CO2 emissions, Ford Motor Company has developed an intelligent communications and control system for its plug-in hybrid electric vehicles that enables the vehicles to communicate with the nation's electric grid via smart meters provided by utilities through wireless networking.
The new vehicle-to-grid technology, which leverages Ford's advancements such as SYNC, SmartGauge with EcoGuide and Ford Work Solutions, allows the vehicle operator to program when to recharge the vehicle, for how long and at what utility rate, according to the company.
Ford and its utility partners are now testing the intelligent system. All 21 of Ford's fleet of plug-in hybrid Escapes will be equipped with the vehicle-to-grid communications technology. The first of the specially equipped plug-in hybrids has been delivered to American Electric Power in Columbus, Ohio. Ford's other utility partners' vehicles will also be equipped with the communications technology.
Over the past two years, Ford and its industry partners have logged more than 75,000 miles on the plug-in hybrid test fleet, focusing on battery technology, vehicle systems, customer usage and grid infrastructure. Ford and its research partners are now working to make the recharging process easier and more efficient for consumers. Click here for a list of partnerships.
Ford plans to invest nearly $14 billion in advanced technology vehicles over the next seven years to retool its U.S. plants more quickly to produce fuel-efficient vehicles. The car company recently received two grants from the Department of Energy (DOE) under its fleet electrification program, which was created to accelerate viable commercial production of electrified vehicles and vehicle-to-grid infrastructure development.
The $30-million grant will help fund Ford's collaboration with utility partners to expand their vehicle demonstration and grid integration program, while the $62.7 million grant, matched by Ford, will be used to develop an electric-drive transaxle.
DOE grant funds also will support production of electric-drive system components at Ford supplier Magna, for the Ford Focus battery electric vehicle, as well as Johnson Controls-Saft, which will supply high-voltage batteries for Ford's plug-in hybrid vehicle in 2012.
In addition to the plug-in hybrid vehicle, Ford plans to introduce a pure battery electric Transit Connect commercial van in 2010, and a battery electric Focus compact car in 2011.

WEBINAR RECORDING: Breaking the Climate Deadlock: Technology for a Low Carbon Future




Forwarded from the Climate Group... -JFB




Dear colleague,
 
Please find below a link to yesterday's webinar: Breaking the Climate Deadlock: Technology for a Low Carbon Future
 
This is a recording of the webinar – both the audio and presentation slides – so as always if you missed it, you didn't miss out.
 
Breaking the Climate Deadlock: Technology for a Low Carbon Future
Thursday 30th July: 16.00 BST
56 Minutes

https://theclimategroup.webex.com/theclimategroup/ldr.php?AT=pb&SP=MC&rID=22347462&rKey=FB84453F19DF9F76
 
Also, please find below a link to the report
 
http://www.theclimategroup.org/news_and_events/breaking_the_climate_deadlock_technology_report/
 
Best wishes
 
Thurstan
 
Thurstan Wright
Analyst
THE
˚CLIMATE GROUP

Direct: +44 (0)20 7960 2715 | Switch: +44 (0)20 7960 2970 | Fax: +44 (0)20 7960 2971
The Tower Building (3rd Floor) | York Road | LONDON SE1 7NX |  United Kingdom

twright@theclimategroup.org
www.theclimategroup.org
Skype ID: thurstan.wright
 
Follow us on at www.twitter.com/ClimateGroup
 

17.8.09

Green Book list


JF:  Impressive reading list below.  You might want to circulate to the green community.  Regards, colin

------------------------
I received the below list of "sustainability" books from Bob Bruner, dean of the Univ of Virginia business school.  He's been reading in this space, and found this list--provided to him by another friend--of value.  I'm now reading a few of these titles, and thought you might likewise be interested.  Take care,