Sustainablog

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

6.10.09

Seeking shelter: Mapping the effects of climate change on migration and displacement

Thanks to Vishal



Green Newsclips for 6 October 2009: Carrot-cams and eco-labels

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2009/oct/01/asda-supermarkets

Asda's carrotcam gives customers glimpse behind scenes
Chief Andy Bond says shoppers will be able to 'trace the journey of every Asda product from farm to fork, warehouse to wardrobe'
Julia Finch, city editor
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 1 October 2009 18.52 BST
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How many people does it take to wash a carrot? Those who log on to Asda's new website will be able to see for themselves: Britain's second-biggest supermarket has installed a webcam in a processing plant so shoppers can see their Sunday veg rattling along a conveyor and into a sack.
The grocer has also trained a camera on the side of a milking machine in a dairy somewhere in Scotland. Shoppers might just catch a glimpse of a hoof poking out if they wait long enough. Or they could try relaxing in front of Escalatorcam – a camera focused on the foyer of Asda's Leeds HQ and a certain cure for insomnia.
This is what shoppers have been waiting for, or so reckons Andy Bond, chief executive of Asda, who was today outlining his new vision – "the dawn of a new age, where consumers dictate how we do business and the products we sell" – with a promise to lift the lid on the way Asda operates.
A team of bloggers has been recruited to tell shoppers about the business, rather than "a bunch of PR consultants", said Bond, even though he had the public relations industry's spinmeister-general, Matthew Freud, on hand to offer help during his speech.
He wants a "transparent" business; Asda would be run "by the consumer for the consumer", he declared, adding: "There is no 'behind the scenes'."
His new approach was supported by facts and figures produced by Tony Blair's favourite pollster, Philip Gould. Shoppers trust supermarkets more than teachers, said Gould, and 65% trust their local grocer more than any political party.
Carrotcam and Cowcam are just the start: "The ambition is to reach a point where customers can trace the journey of every Asda product: from farm to fork or warehouse to wardrobe," said Bond.
Bond has labelled his new way of doing business as "democratic consumerism" and compared it to President Obama's politics – "offering openness, transparency, collaboration and dialogue".
So if there is to be no "behind the scenes", might we soon be seeing inside battery chicken sheds or at board meetings – a cluckcam and fatcatcam?What about some live footage from an abattoir, a Bangladesh T-shirt factory or an angry price negotiation between an Asda buyer and a supplier? "If that is what customers want, we will really have to consider it seriously," he said, looking just a little concerned.
What about making his own salary or expenses transparent? "If a whole pile of requests come in to see my expenses, then bring it on", said the Asda man. But no, he wouldn't be baring all today.
He also unveiled plans for a "truly transparent" store, in South Wales "where glass walls will replace brick walls, giving a unique window into areas normally out of view". Like the staff canteen, presumably, maybe the cloakrooms.
He will also be offering cash incentives to shoppers who can come up with money-saving ideas for Asda – 5% of the saving. But only for the first year. Suggestions that cash could be saved by trimming Bond's rumoured £1m salary will not count.
The Asda boss outlined plans to consult thousands of shoppers, online and in person, for their views on new products before they go in the stores. They should have plenty of time for this – according to Gould, housewives spend 47% of their leisure time online.
The Asda man's big business plan attracted some withering assessments from rivals. Peter Marks, chief executive of the Co-op, said Asda appeared to be catching up at last: "It's good to see others adopting the kind of approach which has been the hallmark of Co-operation for many generations. Andy Bond and his team at Asda are welcome to come and see how it's done."
A senior executive at another rival said: "It's genius. Ask the customers what they think? I can't think why no one has ever thought of that before."

http://www.environmentalleader.com/2009/10/01/wal-mart-wri-may-decide-which-eco-labels-will-stick/

Wal-Mart, WRI May Decide Which Eco-labels Will Stick
The far-reaching Green Supply Chain Initiative, undertaken by the World Resources Institute thanks to a grant from Wal-Mart Stores Inc., aims to develop and deploy a new set of tools to account for GHG impacts on any given firm's supply chain.
The initiative also will develop a "Green Standards Guide" to assist supply chain companies in wading through the different "green" claims of varying environmental certifications and labels.
Essentially, the Green Standards Guide will rate the various eco-labels, helping companys decide which ones they will recognize. A recent study from BBMG found that consumers had poor awareness of all but a few of the more than 400 "green" certification programs and labels.
The WRI initiative also will attempt to ascribe the GHG emissions associated with products sold to consumers, according to a press release.
The grant also will help improve the environmental impact of goods imported from China, as a portion of the funding will go the Beijing-based Institute of Public and Environment Affairs.
Wal-Mart's involvement in the initiative follows the announcement of the retailer's Sustainability Index, under which suppliers will be graded on various aspects of their supply chain.
Wal-Mart has attempted to be inclusive of other industry players in developing the index, which it hopes will be used in other stores as well. For instance, it hasheld talks with Kroger, among others.
This is not the first time Wal-Mart has reached out to a third-party to assign environmental and emissions protocol. With the sustainability index, it appears Wal-Mart is set to use the Carbon Disclosure Project as one means of tracking suppliers' emissions.

Carbon Newsclips for 6 October 2009: Countdown to Copenahgen -- 7 days left to get to a deal, but Obama can't get a bill passed but gets agencies to set their own targets; developing countries start to point the finger at the rich nations for sabotaging the talks. Meanwhile, in the corporate world, Apple and Pepsi make some progress.

http://www.wbcsd.org/plugins/DocSearch/details.asp?type=DocDet&ObjectId=MzU5MTM

Only 10 days left for climate deal, UN's Ban says

Reuters, 3 October 2009 - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Saturday negotiators had just 10 days left to secure a global climate deal and governments must not be hindered by domestic troubles.

The United Nations hopes to bring 190 governments together in early December in Copenhagen to finalise a deal on greenhouse gas emissions to replace provisions of the Kyoto Protocol expiring in 2012.

"There are just 10 negotiating days left until we come to Copenhagen," Ban said, referring apparently to the remaining days of Sept. 28 to Oct. 9 climate talks under way in Bangkok and to a Nov. 2-6 meeting in Barcelona.

"In 10 days we need to decide what needs to be done for our future," he said in a speech at Copenhagen University.

"We are not there yet. There is still a lot to be done and not much time left," he said during a visit to Denmark's capital to meet Danish officials and speak to an Olympic Congress.

Ban said a proposal to hold extra talks in November on financing for a climate deal was still under consideration.

"I see a value and importance of having that kind of last pressure effort," he said. "But we have to first of all see how these negotiations in Bangkok come out."

Ban said responsibility for reaching a deal rests on governments all of which, he added, face domestic challenges.

"Now is not the time to look at domestic challenges, we must look at global challenges that will impact the whole world," the South Korean secretary-general said.

Ban said success depended on the United States, though he recognised that U.S. President Barack Obama could have difficulty pushing through the necessary legislation in time for the December Copenhagen meeting.

"It is true, a fact of life, that without U.S. participation, this deal cannot be done," Ban said when asked what the world should do if the United States did not join.

The United States stayed outside the Kyoto Protocol when it was adopted in 1997, but Ban said this time all countries, "without exception", should join.

"We must have a comprehensive deal," he said.

"Now it seems it may be difficult for President Obama to come with strong authority (to Copenhagen) because this bill is still in the Senate.

"They might not be able to do that by the end of this year, but that should not give the United States an excuse not to do it."

http://www.wbcsd.org/plugins/DocSearch/details.asp?type=DocDet&ObjectId=MzU5MDE

Obama unlikely to sign climate bill before Copenhagen

Reuters, 2 October 2009 - U.S. President Barack Obama is unlikely to sign climate legislation ahead of a U.N. global warming meeting in Copenhagen that starts in early December, the White House's top climate and energy coordinator said on Friday.

"We'd like to be (finished with) the process. That's not going to happen," Carol Browner said at a conference called the First Draft of History. She said the administration is committed to passing comprehensive energy and climate legislation "on the most aggressive timeline possible."

Democratic Senators John Kerry and Barbara Boxer unveiled a climate bill this week but it remained unclear whether it would win the required 60 Senate votes for passage.

Even if the bill does pass, the Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives would have to reconcile their versions of the bill in committee.

That would leave little time for Obama, who has made climate one of his top issues, to sign the bill before 190 nations are due to meet in Copenhagen from early December in hopes of hammering out a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol on global warming.

The U.S. Congress has been focused on health care legislation, delaying work on the Kerry-Boxer bill.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters later on Friday that Obama would consider attending the climate talks in the Danish capital if heads of state were invited.

Browner said she did not know if a global agreement on binding cuts in greenhouse gas emissions could be made in Copenhagen. But she had hope for progress saying the world's top leaders recognize global warming is a problem.

"Copenhagen isn't the end of a process, it is the beginning of a process," she said.

The administration has been pleased with recent talks with China, the world's top greenhouse gas polluter, on tackling climate change, she added.

STATES

Browner expressed optimism Congress would pass the bill in due time but said the administration has options if that did not happen.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency could work with states that already have formed carbon markets to extend those programs, said Browner, former head of that agency.

"That may be a way in which you could form a regime using these models that are already out there," she said.

Ten eastern U.S. states have formed the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. In addition, California and several other states in the West plan to regulate six greenhouse gases from smokestacks and tailpipes beginning in 2012.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/oct/04/us-climate-change-bill-browner/print

US climate bill not likely this year, says Obama adviser
Carol Browner's bleak view deepens concerns negotiations will fail to produce meaningful agreement in Copenhagen
Suzanne Goldenberg, US environment correspondent
guardian.co.uk, Sunday 4 October 2009 18.45 BST
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Carol Browner speaking in Washington. Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
The White House has said for the first time that it does not expect to see a climate change bill this year, removing one of the key elements for reaching an international agreement to avoid catastrophic global warming.
In a seminar in Washington, Barack Obama's main energy adviser, Carol Browner, gave the clearest indication to date that the administration did not expect the Senate to vote on a climate change bill before an international meeting in Copenhagen in December.
Browner spoke barely 48 hours after Senate Democrats staged a campaign-style rally in support of a climate change bill that seeks to cut US emissions by 20% on 2005 levels by 2020.
"Obviously, we'd like to be through the process, but that's not going to happen," Browner told a conference hosted by the Atlantic magazine on Friday. "I think we would all agree the likelihood that you'd have a bill signed by the president on comprehensive energy by the time we go in December is not likely."
Browner's bleak assessment deepens concerns that negotiations, already deadlocked, will fail to produce a meaningful agreement in Copenhagen. It also threatens to further dampen the prospects for a bill that was struggling for support among conservative and rustbelt Democrats.
The UN has cast the Copenhagen meeting as a last chance for countries to reach an agreement to avoid the most disastrous effects of warming. Negotiators – including the state department's climate change envoy – admit it will be far harder to reach such a deal unless America, historically the world's biggest polluter, shows it is willing to cut its own greenhouse gas emissions.
Browner's comments undercut a campaign by Democratic leaders in the Senate, corporations and environmental organisations to try to build momentum behind the bill. The day before Browner's comments, John Kerry, the former presidential candidate who is one of the sponsors of the cap-and-trade bill, told a conference he remained confident the bill would squeak through the Senate.
Her remarks also raise further doubts about how forcefully the Obama administration is willing to press the Senate for a climate bill in the midst of its struggles over healthcare.
In the last two weeks, diplomats have grown increasingly frustrated with the administration. Negotiators say they understand Obama would have to struggle to get this agenda through the Senate, but say the president has shied away from opportunities to make the case for climate change.
Obama came in for harsh criticism from environmental organisations for failing to urge the Senate to act during a speech to the United Nations summit on climate change late last month. Environmental groups called it a "missed opportunity".
"If there is no serious US legislation in place then we will have delegations arriving and getting increasingly frustrated with nothing happening," said John Bruton, the European Union's ambassador.

http://www.environmentalleader.com/2009/10/06/obama-orders-federal-agencies-to-set-2020-emissions-goals/

Obama Orders Federal Agencies to Set 2020 Emissions Goals
Federal agencies were given 90 days to set goals for reducing emissions by 2020. President Obama is letting each agency set its own target, and the military is immune from the mandate, reports the Associated Press.
Agencies have until June of 2010 to set targets for reducing emissions from employee travel and commutes.
Obama said this is an opportunity for government agencies to set the pace as Congress lags on adopting national emissions targets.
"As the largest consumer of energy in the U.S. economy, the federal government can and should lead by example when it comes to creating innovative ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," Obama said in a statement.
The federal government owns more than 500,000 buildings and operates more than 600,000 vehicles. It also purchases more than $500 billion a year in goods and services.
The Oct. 5 executive order expands upon a Bush-era mandate to cut petroleum and water use, and reduce waste.
Specifically, the executive order calls for the following:

  • 30 percent reduction in vehicle fleet petroleum use by 2020;
  • 26 percent improvement in water efficiency by 2020;
  • 50 percent recycling and waste diversion by 2015;
  • 95 percent of all applicable contracts will meet sustainability requirements;
  • Implementation of a 2030 net-zero-energy building requirement;
  • Implementation of the stormwater provisions of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, section 438; and
  • Development of guidance for sustainable Federal building locations in alignment with the Livability Principles put forward by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Transportation, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
To read the full executive order, click here.
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Climate talks: The wrangle over emissions yardsticks

AFP, 22 September 2009 - Competing ways of calculating a country's carbon burden are looming as a sticking point ahead of a UN conference in Copenhagen in December tasked with crafting a landmark deal on climate change.

Rich countries and developing giants favour different yardsticks for judging efforts to curb the "greenhouse" gases that are blamed for disrupting the climate system and driving up sea levels.

These different methodologies may seem arcane. But reconciling them could hold the key to the December 7-18 parlay under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

There are essentially three ways of presenting a country's carbon output.

-- VOLUME OF EMISSIONS:

This is the simplest measure, relating to the total amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other heat-trapping gases emitted by an economy.

Rich countries generally favour setting targets on this basis. Tackling the overall volume of emissions meets scientific criteria for dealing with greenhouse gases and also makes it simpler to reach a deal, they say.

China and the United States are the world's top two carbon polluters, each accounting for about 20 percent of global emissions. The European Union's 27 nations contribute another 14 percent, according to the US Department of Energy Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC).

Poorer countries counter that this measure fails to take into account the historical responsibility of rich nations whose carbon-driven growth began more than a century ago.

It also, they say, ignores the distribution of emissions across an entire population.

-- PER CAPITA EMISSIONS:

This means taking the volume of emissions and dividing it by the country's population.

On a per capita basis, the emitters' list is headed by United States, with around 20 tonnes of CO2 per head per year, closely followed by Australia and Canada, says CDIAC.

EU residents only produce half as much per head. China and India emit less than five tonnes and about one-and-a-half tonnes respectively.

The large developing countries, led by India, argue that such figures exemplify the need for "climate justice."

Poorer nations should have the chance to use cheap, versatile and plentiful fossil fuels to haul themselves out of poverty, which means their per-capita levels should not be constrained for now, they argue.

Critics see the moral point behind per-capita measurement, but also worry it could be exploited to wreck a climate treaty.

Even if China, India and other giants peg their per-capita emissions at just half of rich countries' current levels, dangerous amounts of CO2 will be spewed into the atmosphere, simply because their populations are so big.

Climate experts have said that by 2050, when the world's population is expected to reach nine billion, the average global output of CO2 must not exceed two tonnes per capita to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

-- CARBON INTENSITY

This is the most complex measure, entailing the amount of greenhouse gas emitted per unit of gross domestic product (GDP).

By vowing to reduce carbon intensity -- as Chinese President Hu Jintao did at the UN in New York on Tuesday -- a country is essentially promising to make smarter use of fossil fuels or switch to cleaner energies.

Some countries already have relatively low carbon intensities. They are led especially by Japan, followed by France, Britain, Germany and the United States. The United States does well on this score, although it is still a huge volume emitter because of the size of its economy.

Russia is the most profligate, emitting 10 times more carbon fuel for the same production output than its most efficient European neighbors.

Critics of the carbon intensity measure say that energy efficiency is useful but does not necessarily entail a cut in emissions.

Even if it uses fossils more effectively, a rapidly-growing economy -- such as China's, growing by double digits -- can still emit more greenhouse gases in absolute terms, they say.

http://www.wbcsd.org/plugins/DocSearch/details.asp?type=DocDet&ObjectId=MzU3MjE

Is 350 the new 450?

ClimateWire, 28 September 2009 - When it comes to fighting climate change, pick a number -- any number.

Nearly 200 countries have signed a U.N. treaty pledging to avoid "dangerous" climate change. But lately, it seems, "dangerous" is lost in translation. Fifteen years since that agreement took effect, scientists and governments are still grappling with what carrying out its promise means.

For the European Union, it means limiting Earth's warming to just 2 degrees Celsius hotter by the end of this century than it was before the Industrial Revolution. That's a goal many experts believe is roughly equivalent to capping atmospheric carbon dioxide at 450 parts per million. But a growing number of countries -- mostly vulnerable ones and small island nations like the Maldives -- say that won't prevent rising sea levels from swamping their coasts.

They're calling for an even stricter standard: 350 parts per million, a number endorsed by NASA climatologist James Hansen.

Some scientists mapping out Earth's potential futures say both targets are arbitrary. What's essential, they insist, is that countries start cutting their greenhouse gas emissions soon and stay flexible in case the planet behaves in unexpected ways.

"The best guesses are not carved in stone," says Gavin Schmidt, a climate modeler at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies. "There well may be surprises, pleasant or unpleasant."

Many experts said ecosystems may react in ways that could exacerbate warming. Some studies have suggested that the world's oceans, which absorb a significant chunk of CO2 emissions, will lose some of that ability as temperatures rise. Other analyses predict that warming will thaw large swaths of permafrost, releasing huge amounts of methane that would accelerate climate change.

Acknowledging the difficulty in pinpointing how sensitive Earth may turn out to be, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projected that the planet would warm anywhere from 1 to 6 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, said Stephen Schneider, a climate scientist at Stanford University's Woods Institute for the Environment.

Scientists say just 'dial it back'

"That's the difference between a little more than twice where we are now and 'Oh my god,'" Schneider said of the IPCC's temperature range.

To put those numbers in context, Earth has warmed about 0.7 degrees Celsius since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. In that same period, the level of CO2 in the atmosphere rose from about 280 ppm to its current 387 ppm.

Even reaching the 450 ppm target isn't a guarantee -- a sentiment stated bluntly in a letter that 20 prominent climate scientists recently sent to members of Congress, urging an even more stringent emissions goal "to hold the risk of ruinous climatic change to an acceptably low level."

"When you put in all those uncertainties, the idea that you can hopefully say 450 [ppm] will be 2 degrees [Celsius], it'll be the same thing -- that's rather optimistic," NASA's Schmidt said.

"If we're very lucky, 450 might be another 1 degree. If we're very unlucky, it might be another 3 degrees." With that in mind, the scientist said he thinks 350 ppm is a good long-term goal.

"We can see changes in ice sheets happening now at roughly 390," he said, "and the planet hasn't even caught up with 390 yet. ... The prudent thing is to say, 'If we can dial it back again, let's do it.'"

Along those lines, Jason Lowe, head of mitigation advice at the U.K.-based Met Office's Hadley Centre, said the best approach to managing climate may simply be to start cutting emissions as soon as possible. His recent research suggests that governments need to start slashing emissions during the next decade, peaking by 2016 and cutting their output 4 percent every year after that.

"The headline result is that as long as you carry that on, you do have a chance of meeting the 2 degree target," he said.

'No such thing as a safe level'

At the most basic level, Lowe said, it means countries that cut earlier will have less onerous cuts to make in later years. "In some ways, you're lowering the risk," Lowe explained. "Every year of delay will make it harder to cut emissions down the road."

Flexibility is also important, said Schmidt, pointing to lessons gleaned from another U.N. environmental treaty, the 1990 Montreal Protocol. Countries that signed the treaty eventually agreed to phase out the use of ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons. But it took years of experience and several rounds of revisions to reach that point.

"It took 4 or 5 goes for [treaty parties] to get to those decisions that had a big impact," Schmidt said. With climate change, he said, governments should have short-term targets "commensurate with the size of the problem" that they can revisit regularly.

"2050 is long enough away that we are going to get a few bites at this cherry," he said.

Despite the wrestling over treaty targets, scientists said one point is clear: The world needs to cut its greenhouse gas output.

Richard Betts, head of climate impacts at the Met Office, said that if current CO2 emissions trends continue, the world could warm an average of 4 degrees Celsius by 2100, with devastating effects.

Some parts of the globe would bear the brunt of that heating, said Betts, quoting new results he is set to present today at a conference organized by Oxford University. The Arctic -- where scientists already predict summer sea ice could disappear by 2040 -- could warm up to 10 degrees Celsius, or roughly 18 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures could rise up to 7 degrees in southern and western Africa, decreasing rainfall by 20 percent or more and raising the risk of severe drought.

"Everyone's focused on the 2 degree target, but if we don't reduce emissions in the next decade, there's a fair chance we'll go above 2 degrees," Betts said. "Four degrees is quite possible later this century."

Schneider, the Stanford scientist, put it bluntly.

"We're betting the planet," he said of haggling over emissions targets. "There's no such thing as a safe level. There's a level of very risky, versus mildly risky."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/oct/05/climate-change-kyoto/print

China leads accusation that rich nations are trying to sabotage climate treaty
Angry statement from 131 countries at climate talks in Bangkok claims rich nations are rejecting historical responsibilities

John Vidal's Bangkok diary: Secrecy prevails
John Vidal, environment editor in Bangkok
guardian.co.uk, Monday 5 October 2009 12.02 BST
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Rush hour freeway traffic heading north and south on the San Diego 405 Freeway in West Los Angeles, California. Photograph: Evan Hurd/Getty Images
The US and other developed countries are attempting to "fundamentally sabotage" theKyoto protocol and all-important international negotiations over its next phase, according to coordinated statements by China and 130 developing countries at UN climate talks in Bangkok today .
As 180 countries started a second week of talks, the developing countries showed their deep frustration at the slow pace of the negotiations on a global climate deal, which are planned to be concluded in two months' time in Copenhagen.
"The reason why we are not making progress is the lack of political will by Annex 1 [industrialised] countries. There is a concerted effort to fundamentally sabotage the Kyoto protocol," said ambassador Yu Qingtai China's special representative on climate talks. "We now hear statements that would lead to the termination of the protocol. They are introducing new rules, new formats. That's not the way to conduct negotiations," said Yu.
Yu's was echoed by Lumumba Di-Aping, Sudanese chair of the G77, the UN's largest intergovernmental organisation of developing states which represents 130 countries at the talks. "Feelings are running high in the G77. It is clear now that the rich countries want a deal outside the Kyoto agreement. It would be based on a total rejection of their historical responsibilities. This is an alarming development. The intention of developed countries is clearly to kill the protocol," he said.
The angry statements follow a revelation by Barack Obama's energy adviser, Carol Browner, that she did not expect the US Senate to vote on its crucial global warming bill before the Copenhagen talks. That will severely limit Obama's room for manoeuvre at the summit and is the first time the White House has made such an admission.
The G77 plus China group is incensed that rich countries appear to be seeking to establish a new agreement that would force developing countries to cut emissions, but allow rich countries to do little.
In the talks, the US has said it wants a new approach which would move away from a legally binding world agreement to one where individual countries pledged cuts in their national emissions without binding timetables and targets. It is a change from the top down approach of Kyoto, in which total emissions targets are determined by the science, to one in which individual countries pledge their own emissions cuts.
This is seen as undermining the Kyoto framework, which took many years to build, and has until now been the foundation for committing all countries to cut their emissions. The US team in Bangkok declined to respond to today's criticism.
Developed countries have so far refused to show their hand on what their emission cuts should be. The UN's Intergovermental Panel on Climate Change has estimated that to keep below a 2C rise in temperatures they need to cut their emissions by 25-40% by 2020, compared with 1990 levels. But developing countries are calling for an aggregate cut of at least 40%.
But with fewer than 10 days of formal negotiations left before the Copenhagen talks begin, poor countries are complaining that they are being expected to cut emissions but the US and others are being allowed to get away with minimal cuts.
The UN estimates that the combined cut from national pledges made by rich countries, without the US, comes to 16-23%. However, a new analysis by the Alliance of Small Island States, estimates that this drops to just 11-18% with the US's present offer. If rich countries are allowed to offset large amounts of emissions, as expected, this would mean that the world's rich countries might not to have to make any emissions cuts at home.
Several of the world's largest developing countries including China and India, Indonensia and Mexico have indicated that they are ready to make significant emissions cuts.
"The United States wants only to have a national target without binding it to a global treaty. It appears to have won over many other developed countries," said Martin Khor, the director of the South Centre, a think tank of poor countries based in Geneva.
"They are stressing that developing countries have 'common' responsibilities, a code for pulling in the developing countries into emission-reduction obligations, while down-playing the 'differentiated' responsibilities that recognise that the developing countries have had little role in the historic emissions and need space for economic development."
Ed Miliband, the secretary of state for energy and climate change, said he remained optimistic that a deal could be struck at Copenhagen, despite the increase in tension in Bangkok. He said he was confident heads of state would be able to succeed in December where their official negotiators had apparently so far failed.
"This is really too important to be left to formal negotiators. If we are to get an agreement we need leaders, who can knock heads together," Miliband said, speaking in Moscow, where he is on a two-day official visit. He told the Guardian: 'If we treat this like a conventional negotiation we are going to fail... I think leaders can crack this problem.'
• Additional reporting: Luke Harding, Moscow

http://www.environmentalleader.com/2009/10/05/pepsico-reveals-method-for-calculating-carbon-footprint-of-products/

PepsiCo Reveals Method for Calculating Carbon Footprint of Products
PepsiCo, which has been calculating the carbon footprint of its Walkers Crisps potato chips in the UK since 2007, revealed some of the secrets behind its methodology in a recent article at MarketingMagazine.
Martyn Seal, Sustainability Director of PepsiCo Europe, said that the carbon footprint must include all steps of the supply chain to be effective.
PepsiCo Europe worked with the Carbon Trust to develop the carbon footprint of Walkers Crisps, which carry the Carbon Reduction Label. Since then, it also has put the label on 1 kilogram packages of Quaker Oats, as well as Oatso Simple Original and Oatso Simple Golden Syrup.
The first step is to develop a map showing the stages of the supply chain, from growing raw materials to making the product to getting it on the shelf and finally disposing of the packaging.
Second, evaluate the energy consumed at each stage and convert it into the amount of emissions associated with each stage, finally adding up all these elements to determine the carbon footprint of each unit sold.
In the case of Walkers Crisps, PepsiCo revealed that raw materials accounted for 53 percent of the emissions, followed by manufacturing (34 percent), distribution (10 percent) and disposal of used packaging (3 percent).
Seal said the most notable finding was that the majority of the emissions happen outside the scope of Pepsi's operations, meaning that it must work with suppliers or raw materials and distribution partners to most effectively reduce the product's carbon footprint.
In doing so, PepsiCo was able to reduce the carbon footprint of Walkers Crisps 7 percent from 2007 to 2009, saving about 4,800 tons of emissions. The company had originally hoped to cut the footprint by 3 percent.
A standard bag of Walkers Crisps has 80 grams of associated emissions, Seal said.
Seal "absolutely" encourages other firms to conduct carbon footprint analyses.
"By footprinting our products and better understanding where the 'hot spots' in our supply chain are, we've been able to develop a targeted carbon reduction strategy," Seal said. "Our experience has proven that introducing the Carbon Reduction Label, and making a public commitment to reduce carbon emissions, is a powerful means of galvanising action throughout the business."
In the UK, about 52 percent of those polled said they were more likely to buy a product carrying the Carbon Reduction Label, Seal added.

http://www.environmentalleader.com/2009/10/05/apple-drops-bombshell-immediately-withdraws-from-u-s-chamber/

Apple Drops Bombshell, Immediately Withdraws from U.S. Chamber
Becoming the first major consumer brand to make a big statement against the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's position on climate change, Apple has decided to leave the organization.
In contrast to PG&E, PMN and Exelon, the utilities that in recent weeks announced their intention not to renew their chamber memberships, Apple is making its exit from the chamber effective immediately, reports the Washington Post.
In a letter to the chamber, Apple Vice President Catherine Novelli wrote, "Apple supports regulating greenhouse gas emissions, and it is frustrating to find the Chamber at odds with us in this effort," the Post reported.
Apple's move comes as companies increasingly are leaning on the chamber to quit fighting the general concept of climate change, as well as efforts to make emissions a more central part of the political dialogue.
Additionally, the companies are responding to the chamber's call to put the science behind climate change on trial.
Last week, Nike signaled its displeasure with the chamber by giving up its seat on the chamber's board of directors. At the time, Nike said it wanted the chamber to play a positive role in the climate change discussion.
"It is important that US companies be represented by a strong and effective Chamber that reflects the interests of all its members on multiple issues. We believe that on the issue of climate change the Chamber has not represented the diversity of perspective held by the board of directors," Nike said.
In response to the fallout from companies leaving the business lobby, the Chamber of Commerce issued a statement, aimed at defending and clarifying its position.
Thomas Donahue, President and CEO of the chamber, said the chamber wants the U.S. and other nations to negotiate an international agreement that sets binding CO2 reduction commitments for each nation, "while allowing each to devise its own best path to meeting its target."
Apple's move comes as it seeks to clarify its efforts to cut emissions.
Responding to criticism over its past failure to disclose its emissions, the tech company last week revealed its total 10.2 million metric tons of emissions in its most recent sustainability report.
In April of 2007, Apple ranked dead last on Greenpeace's ranking of green electronics manufacturers. Among other things, Greenpeace cited Apple's refusal to disclose its overall emissions.