Sustainablog

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

5.11.09

IBM Global Oil & Gas / Climate Change Report and webinar replay

Thanks to Cathy for this.. sorry for any duplicates




Colleagues,

The Global Oil & Gas Climate Change Adaptation  Report webinar launch went well on Tuesday and I am pleased to provide you with the press coverage (below).  Thank you to the co-sponsors of this report.

Here is a soft copy of the report for your distribution networks:

You can also download the report via this weblink:
 "Global Oil and Gas - The Adaptation Challenge" Please download the new report here: IBM UK Green
The report is at the bottom of the IBM landing page.
You should also be able to click for the webinar replay.  This link will take you to the ON24 site where the webinar replay is hosted.



News wires


UK, Reuters, 03.11.09, Global Report: Climate Change Exposes the Oil and Gas Industry to Risk
http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS116799+03-Nov-2009+PRN20091103

Over three quarters of the world's oil and gas companies surveyed believe inevitable climate change could impact their business: increasing downtime, system failures and safety; but only 19 percent are taking action, says a new Acclimatise report backed by IBM.

Titled "Global Oil & Gas — The Adaptation Challenge," the report is based on the Carbon Disclosure Project's annual request for investor information that was sent to the world's largest 128 oil and gas companies globally (based on market capitalization). Analyzed using the Acclimatisation Index Methodology, the report identified the top five impacts of climate change and the industry implications.

"The Oil and Gas industry is an important contributor to our society and economy. So, if anything impacts the industry, it could well impact people at home, at work, on the move, or even their personal finances," said Allan Roberts, IBM's Industrial Strategy & Change Leader, IBM Global Business Services, UK & Ireland. "While oil and gas companies are typically well-run and have systems for monitoring risks, they have been exposed to problems with their major projects and operations in the past. Evidence in the report shows companies may not be fully appreciating the risks posed by climate change or have in place responses which are robust."

Top Five Climate Change Impacts
Increased pressure on water resources: Concerns were reported over changing rainfall patterns, water shortages, poor water quality, drought and flooding significantly increasing the demand for water. Growing competition for available resources could create operational problems for companies that rely heavily on water for oil and gas production. The demand also may create conflicts with local communities and other water users throughout the world changing the risk landscape for oil and gas companies. Nearly all companies surveyed did not appear to recognize the risk landscape is changing -- only six percent reported knowledge of potential civil and geo-political risks and three percent identified adverse risks for local communities.

Physical asset failure: The report revealed that many existing plants and equipment have been designed on the basis of historic climatic conditions and may not withstand changing environmental conditions. Fluctuating temperatures can affect efficiency and performance of physical assets leading to transport disruption, damaged buildings and increased operational delays and costs. Only six percent of respondents indicated they were taking actions to manage disruptions to off-site utilities (energy, communications, water and waste treatment).

Employee health and safety risks: Volatile working conditions in extreme environments and physical assets that are potentially not suitable for the changing climatic conditions have the potential to impact the health and safety of employees. However, only 1.5 percent of respondents reported to incorporate climate change considerations into their health and safety risk assessments. Employer and public liability insurance cover may be compromised if companies fail to take climate change into account during health and safety risk assessments.

Drop in value of financial assets: To meet the growing demand for energy, oil and gas companies need to continue securing investment for new exploration, production and manufacturing. Potential investors and stakeholders are placing greater importance on the business impacts of climate change, as the risks impact cost and revenue drivers. Insurance costs could potentially rise because of greater chances of physical plant damage due to weather events, an issue only recognized by 10 percent of respondents. The current reported value of proved reserves also may be affected by companies failing to take into account the full impact of climate change. This could result in changes to the disclosed value of reserves, which has major financial implications.

Damage to corporate reputation: As knowledge and awareness of climate change grows, any failure to monitor and report the impacts of climate change on social and ecological resources is increasingly likely to harm a company's reputation. Contractual relationships that do not adequately foresee and manage risks driven by climate change may damage the company's reputation with stakeholders as the risk of parties turning to litigation increases.

"It is difficult to justify the position taken by any company that fails to assess the vulnerability of existing and future assets to acute and chronic changing climatic risks, given the information we now have," said John Firth, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, climate change adaptation specialists Acclimatise. "Companies that develop an integrated approach, recognizing that we no longer have a stable climate, will be the winners. This is not merely an environmental issue, it is about bottom-line consequences and the future viability of oil and gas companies."

Drivers for change
Given the Oil and Gas industry's ability to innovate, there is no reason why it will not continue to be a major contributor to society and the economy of the future. There are a number of drivers for change that will influence the level and rate of innovation.

Cost/revenue drivers: Operating costs at refineries could increase in response to changes in asset efficiency and resilience with higher ambient air temperatures. Disruptions to transport links due to permafrost thaw already are having significant impacts with companies having to hold and maintain larger on-site spare parts and materials stores. Operational costs could increase in response to changes in design standards for offshore platforms.

Stakeholder pressure: Investors and other stakeholders — including market and financial analysts, governments and regulatory agencies, research institutions, consumers, local communities and NGOs — are already starting to place greater pressure on oil and gas companies to address climate risks and opportunities.

New regulatory landscapes: Although new regulatory policies are being developed in many countries, there remains a great deal of uncertainty regarding the scope, content and format of future legislation on emissions. Greater certainty about the future regulatory landscape is required to encourage companies to invest in alternatives to fossil fuels and develop cleaner and sustainable energy sources.

In the United Kingdom, the Climate Change Act 2008 gives the government an adaptation reporting power that requires oil and gas companies to assess and disclose the impacts climate change might have on their business. The UK Government recently updated the Petroleum Act, tightening the laws on decommissioning, making it compulsory for companies to take the impacts of climate change into account.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission asks publicly-listed companies to disclose climate threats to their bottom lines in annual reporting.

Opportunity to improve

Paul Simpson, Chief Operating Officer, Carbon Disclosure Project, said, "This report shows how important it is for the oil and gas sector to plan for a changing climate. Issues such as water shortages and changing weather patterns and temperatures will impact infrastructure, operations, revenues and costs. As a result, investors want to know how oil and gas companies are dealing with these risks and planning for them in the future. This report helps answer those questions."


UK, M2 Press Wire, 03.11.09, Global Report: Climate Change Exposes the Oil and Gas Industry to Risk; Changes in Climate Could Impact Oil and Gas Company's Assets, Operations and Safety

Over three quarters of the world's oil and gas companies surveyed believe inevitable climate change could impact their business: increasing downtime, system failures and safety; but only 19 percent are taking action, says a new Acclimatise report backed by IBM.

'The Oil and Gas industry is an important contributor to our society and economy, so if anything impacts the industry it could well impact people at home, at work, on the move, or even their personal finances,' said Allan Roberts, IBM's Industrial Strategy & Change Leader, IBM Global Business Services, UK & Ireland. 'While oil and gas companies are typically well run and have systems for monitoring risks, they have been exposed to problems with their major projects and operations in the past. Evidence in the report shows companies may not be fully appreciating the risks posed by climate change or have in place responses which are robust.'

The report titled 'Global Oil & Gas - The Adaptation Challenge' is based on the Carbon Disclosure Project's annual request for investor information that was sent to the world's largest 128 oil and gas companies globally (based on market capitalisation). Analysed using the Acclimatisation Index.( )Methodology, the report identified the top five impacts of climate change and the industry implications.

Top Five Industry Impacts of Climate Change

Increased pressure on water resources: Concerns over changing rainfall patterns, water shortages, poor water quality, drought and flooding is significantly increasing the demand for water. Growing competition for available resources could create operational problems for companies which rely heavily on water for oil and gas production. The demand may also create conflicts with local communities and other water users throughout the world changing the risk landscape for oil and gas companies. Nearly all companies surveyed did not appear to recognise the risk landscape is changing - only 6% reported knowledge of potential civil and geo-political risks and 3% identified adverse risks for local communities.

Physical asset failure: The report revealed that many existing plants and equipment have been designed on the basis of historic climatic conditions and may not withstand changing environmental conditions. Fluctuating temperatures can affect efficiency and performance of physical assets leading to transport disruption, damaged buildings and increased operational delays and costs. Only 6% of respondents indicated they were taking actions to manage disruptions to off-site utilities (energy, communications, water and waste treatment).

Employee health and safety risks: Volatile working conditions in extreme environments and physical assets which are potentially not suitable for the changing climatic conditions have the potential to impact the health and safety of employees. However only 1.5% of respondents reported to incorporate climate change considerations into their health and safety risk assessments. Employer and public liability insurance cover may be compromised if companies fail to take climate change into account during health and safety risk assessments.

Drop in value of financial assets: To meet the growing demand for energy, oil and gas companies need to continue securing investment for new exploration, production and manufacturing. Potential investors and stakeholders are placing greater importance on the business impacts of climate change as the risks impact cost and revenue drivers. Insurance costs could potentially rise because of greater chances of physical plant damage due to weather events, an issue only recognised by 10% of respondents. The current reported value of proved reserves may also be affected by companies failing to take into account the full impact of climate change. This could result in changes to the disclosed value of reserves which has major financial implications.

Damage to corporate reputation: As knowledge and awareness of climate change grows, any failure to monitor and report the impacts of climate change on social and ecological resources is increasingly likely to harm a company's reputation. Contractual relationships that do not adequately foresee and manage risks driven by climate change, may damage the company's reputation with stakeholders as the risk of parties turning to litigation increases.

'It is difficult to justify the position taken by any company that fails to assess the vulnerability of existing and future assets to acute and chronic changing climatic risks, given the information we now have,' said John Firth, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, climate change adaptation specialists Acclimatise. 'Companies that develop an integrated approach, recognising that we no longer have a stable climate, will be the winners. This is not merely an environmental issue, it is about bottom line consequences and the future viability of oil and gas companies.'

Drivers for Change

Given the Oil and Gas industry's ability to innovate there is no reason why it will not continue to be a major contributor to society and the economy of the future. There are a number of drivers for change that will influence the level and rate of innovation.

Cost/revenue drivers - Operating costs at refineries could increase in response to changes in asset efficiency and resilience with higher ambient air temperatures. Disruptions to transport links due to permafrost thaw are already having significant impacts with companies having to hold and maintain larger on-site spare parts and materials stores. Operational costs could increase in response to changes in design standards for offshore platforms.

Stakeholder pressure - Investors and other stakeholders, including market and financial analysts, governments and regulatory agencies, research institutions, consumers, local communities and NGOs - are already starting to place greater pressure on oil and gas companies to address climate risks and opportunities.

New regulatory landscapes - Although new regulatory policies are being developed in many countries there remains a great deal of uncertainty regarding the scope, content and format of future legislation on emissions. Greater certainty about the future regulatory landscape is required to encourage companies to invest in alternatives to fossil fuels and develop cleaner and sustainable energy sources.

In the United Kingdom the Climate Change Act 2008 gives the government an adaptation reporting power that requires oil and gas companies to assess and disclose the impacts climate change might have on their business. The UK Government recently updated the Petroleum Act, tightening the laws on decommissioning, making it compulsory for companies to take the impacts of climate change into account.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission ask publicly-listed companies to disclose climate threats to their bottom lines in annual reporting.

Opportunity to Improve

Acclimatise and IBM have jointly prepared a set of 10 Prepare-Adapt questions to help oil and gas executives take informed steps towards building corporate resilience to inevitable climate change.

To start, a company should undertake a high-level assessment of how climate change could impact their business model. The next step is to analyse the individual areas that could have the greatest material impact on performance - two areas of consideration could be Non-Market Strategy and Asset Lifecycle Management. Finally companies need to adapt reporting and performance management to incorporate risks arising from climate change.

Paul Simpson, Chief Operating Officer, Carbon Disclosure Project, said, 'This report shows how important it is for the oil and gas sector to plan for a changing climate. Issues such as water shortages and changing weather patterns and temperatures will impact infrastructure, operations, revenues and costs. As a result, investors want to know how oil and gas companies are dealing with these risks and planning for them in the future. This report helps answer those questions.'

For a full copy of the report: http://www-05.ibm.com/uk/green/cdp2009/oil_and_gas.pdf

US, PR Newswire, 03.11.09, Global Report: Climate Change Exposes the Oil and Gas Industry to Risk; Changes in Climate Could Impact Oil and Gas Company's Assets, Operations and Safety

Over three quarters of the world's oil and gas companies surveyed believe inevitable climate change could impact their business: increasing downtime, system failures and safety; but only 19 percent are taking action, says a new Acclimatise report backed by IBM (NYSE: IBM).

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20090416/IBMLOGO)

"The Oil and Gas industry is an important contributor to our society and economy, so if anything impacts the industry it could well impact people at home, at work, on the move, or even their personal finances," said Allan Roberts, IBM's Industrial Strategy & Change Leader, IBM Global Business Services, UK & Ireland. "While oil and gas companies are typically well run and have systems for monitoring risks, they have been exposed to problems with their major projects and operations in the past. Evidence in the report shows companies may not be fully appreciating the risks posed by climate change or have in place responses which are robust."

The report titled "Global Oil & Gas - The Adaptation Challenge" is based on the Carbon Disclosure Project's annual request for investor information that was sent to the world's largest 128 oil and gas companies globally (based on market capitalisation). Analysed using the Acclimatisation Index(TM).( )Methodology, the report identified the top five impacts of climate change and the industry implications.

Top Five Industry Impacts of Climate Change

Increased pressure on water resources: Concerns over changing rainfall patterns, water shortages, poor water quality, drought and flooding is significantly increasing the demand for water. Growing competition for available resources could create operational problems for companies which rely heavily on water for oil and gas production. The demand may also create conflicts with local communities and other water users throughout the world changing the risk landscape for oil and gas companies. Nearly all companies surveyed did not appear to recognise the risk landscape is changing - only 6% reported knowledge of potential civil and geo-political risks and 3% identified adverse risks for local communities.

Physical asset failure: The report revealed that many existing plants and equipment have been designed on the basis of historic climatic conditions and may not withstand changing environmental conditions. Fluctuating temperatures can affect efficiency and performance of physical assets leading to transport disruption, damaged buildings and increased operational delays and costs. Only 6% of respondents indicated they were taking actions to manage disruptions to off-site utilities (energy, communications, water and waste treatment).

Employee health and safety risks: Volatile working conditions in extreme environments and physical assets which are potentially not suitable for the changing climatic conditions have the potential to impact the health and safety of employees. However only 1.5% of respondents reported to incorporate climate change considerations into their health and safety risk assessments. Employer and public liability insurance cover may be compromised if companies fail to take climate change into account during health and safety risk assessments.

Drop in value of financial assets: To meet the growing demand for energy, oil and gas companies need to continue securing investment for new exploration, production and manufacturing. Potential investors and stakeholders are placing greater importance on the business impacts of climate change as the risks impact cost and revenue drivers. Insurance costs could potentially rise because of greater chances of physical plant damage due to weather events, an issue only recognised by 10% of respondents. The current reported value of proved reserves may also be affected by companies failing to take into account the full impact of climate change. This could result in changes to the disclosed value of reserves which has major financial implications.

Damage to corporate reputation: As knowledge and awareness of climate change grows, any failure to monitor and report the impacts of climate change on social and ecological resources is increasingly likely to harm a company's reputation. Contractual relationships that do not adequately foresee and manage risks driven by climate change, may damage the company's reputation with stakeholders as the risk of parties turning to litigation increases.

"It is difficult to justify the position taken by any company that fails to assess the vulnerability of existing and future assets to acute and chronic changing climatic risks, given the information we now have," said John Firth, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, climate change adaptation specialists Acclimatise. "Companies that develop an integrated approach, recognising that we no longer have a stable climate, will be the winners. This is not merely an environmental issue, it is about bottom line consequences and the future viability of oil and gas companies."

Drivers for Change

Given the Oil and Gas industry's ability to innovate there is no reason why it will not continue to be a major contributor to society and the economy of the future. There are a number of drivers for change that will influence the level and rate of innovation.

Cost/revenue drivers - Operating costs at refineries could increase in response to changes in asset efficiency and resilience with higher ambient air temperatures. Disruptions to transport links due to permafrost thaw are already having significant impacts with companies having to hold and maintain larger on-site spare parts and materials stores. Operational costs could increase in response to changes in design standards for offshore platforms.

Stakeholder pressure - Investors and other stakeholders, including market and financial analysts, governments and regulatory agencies, research institutions, consumers, local communities and NGOs - are already starting to place greater pressure on oil and gas companies to address climate risks and opportunities.

New regulatory landscapes - Although new regulatory policies are being developed in many countries there remains a great deal of uncertainty regarding the scope, content and format of future legislation on emissions. Greater certainty about the future regulatory landscape is required to encourage companies to invest in alternatives to fossil fuels and develop cleaner and sustainable energy sources.

In the United Kingdom the Climate Change Act 2008 gives the government an adaptation reporting power that requires oil and gas companies to assess and disclose the impacts climate change might have on their business. The UK Government recently updated the Petroleum Act, tightening the laws on decommissioning, making it compulsory for companies to take the impacts of climate change into account.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission ask publicly-listed companies to disclose climate threats to their bottom lines in annual reporting.

Opportunity to Improve

Acclimatise and IBM have jointly prepared a set of 10 Prepare-Adapt questions to help oil and gas executives take informed steps towards building corporate resilience to inevitable climate change.

To start, a company should undertake a high-level assessment of how climate change could impact their business model. The next step is to analyse the individual areas that could have the greatest material impact on performance - two areas of consideration could be Non-Market Strategy and Asset Lifecycle Management. Finally companies need to adapt reporting and performance management to incorporate risks arising from climate change.

Paul Simpson, Chief Operating Officer, Carbon Disclosure Project, said, "This report shows how important it is for the oil and gas sector to plan for a changing climate. Issues such as water shortages and changing weather patterns and temperatures will impact infrastructure, operations, revenues and costs. As a result, investors want to know how oil and gas companies are dealing with these risks and planning for them in the future. This report helps answer those questions."

For a full copy of the report: http://www-05.ibm.com/uk/green/cdp2009/oil_and_gas.pdf


News stories


UK, Business Green, 04/11/09, Oil and gas firms accused of failing to address physical climate risks
http://www.businessgreen.com/business-green/news/2252400/oil-gas-companies-accused

Report argues that oil and gas sector is largely failing to assess extent to which costly fixed assets will be affected by climate change

Oil and gas companies are not only major contributors to climate change, they are also uniquely at risk from the impacts of global warming. But despite the dual legislative and operational risks they face, many are burying their heads in the sand and failing to properly assess climate change risks.

That is the stark conclusion of a major report from environmental consultancy Acclimatise, which assessed oil and gas companies' responses to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) and found that while more than three quarters accepted that already inevitable levels of climate change would affect their business through increased downtime, system failures and rising safety risks, only 19 per cent were taking action to address those risks.

Speaking to BusinessGreen.com, Acclimatise chief executive John Firth said that while oil and gas firms were relatively adept at assessing extreme weather risks, they were guilty of largely ignoring the extent to which these risks will rise as a result of climate change.

He added that they were also failing to prepare for the likely impact of other climate change effects, such as rising sea levels and water shortages, on their operations.

The report found that while 19 per cent of respondents believed a changing climate may have additional health and safety implications for company employees, only 1.5 per cent gave evidence of actions being taken to manage these risks.

Similarly, just three per cent of respondents said they were investing in more water-efficient assets to help cope with predicted droughts, despite the fact many exploration projects and refineries are hugely reliant on reliable water supplies.

"If you put aside the fact that they are large emitters and are likely to be affected by climate change legislation, oil and gas companies are also exposed to physical climate change effects because they tend to invest heavily in long-term fixed assets," explained Allan Roberts, industrial strategy and change leader at IBM, which commissioned the report. "For example, the oil industry requires a lot of water and will face difficulties if water resources become scarce."

Failure to manage climate change risks could even affect oil and gas firms' valuations, according to Firth, who argued that rising sea levels and the increased frequency of extreme weather events could make it harder to access oil reserves and decommission existing assets.

UK, Greenbang, 04.11.09, Climate change talks, but oil & gas industry's not listening

Most oil and gas companies are no longer denying the existence of climate change, but they're doing little to prepare for it, which could have major implications for the energy industry … and everyone who relies on it.

According to a new report from Acclimatise that's backed by IBM, more than three quarters of the world's oil and gas companies surveyed believe inevitable climate change could impact their business. Only 19 per cent, though, are taking action, the report finds.

"It is difficult to justify the position taken by any company that fails to assess the vulnerability of existing and future assets to acute and chronic changing climatic risks, given the information we now have," said John Firth, CEO and co-founder of Acclimatise, which specialises in climate change adaptation. "Companies that develop an integrated approach, recognising that we no longer have a stable climate, will be the winners. This is not merely an environmental issue, it is about bottom-line consequences and the future viability of oil and gas companies."

The report, "Global Oil & Gas – The Adaptation Challenge," is based on the Carbon Disclosure Project's annual request for investor information that was sent to the world's largest 128 oil and gas companies globally. It identifies the top five impacts of climate change and the implications for the oil and gas industry:

Increased pressure on water resources: Concerns over changing rainfall patterns, water shortages, poor water quality, drought and flooding is significantly increasing the demand for water. Growing competition for available resources could create problems for companies that rely heavily on water for oil and gas production. The demand could also create conflicts with local communities and other water users throughout the world. Nearly all the companies surveyed did not appear to recognise the risk landscape is changing: only 6 per cent reported knowledge of potential civil and geopolitical risks and 3 per cent identified adverse risks for local communities.
Physical asset failure: Many existing plants and equipment have been designed for the existing climate and might not withstand changing environmental conditions. Fluctuating temperatures can affect efficiency and equipment performance, leading to transport disruption, damaged buildings and increased operational delays and costs. Only 6 per cent of respondents indicated they were taking actions to manage disruptions to off-site utilities for energy, communications, water and waste treatment.

Employee health and safety risks: Volatile working conditions in extreme environments and physical assets that aren't suitable for a changing climate could impact the health and safety of employees. However, only 1.5 per cent of respondents said they had incorporated climate change considerations into their health and safety risk assessments. Employer and public liability insurance coverage could be compromised if companies fail to take climate change into account during health and safety risk assessments.

Drop in value of financial assets: To meet the growing demand for energy, oil and gas companies need to continue securing investment for new exploration, production and manufacturing. Potential investors and stakeholders are placing greater importance on the business impacts of climate change as the risks impact cost and revenue drivers. Insurance costs could potentially rise because of greater chances of physical plant damage due to weather events, an issue recognised by only 10 per cent of respondents. The current reported value of proved reserves may also be affected by companies failing to take into account the full impact of climate change. This could result in changes to the disclosed value of reserves, which has major financial implications.

Damage to corporate reputation: As knowledge and awareness of climate change grows, any failure to monitor and report the impacts of climate change on social and ecological resources is increasingly likely to harm a company's reputation, the report finds. Contractual relationships that do not adequately foresee and manage risks driven by climate change could damage a company's reputation with stakeholders as the risk of parties turning to litigation increases.

"The Oil and Gas industry is an important contributor to our society and economy, so if anything impacts the industry it could well impact people at home, at work, on the move, or even their personal finances," said Allan Roberts, industrial strategy & change leader for IBM Global Business Services, UK & Ireland. "While oil and gas companies are typically well run and have systems for monitoring risks, they have been exposed to problems with their major projects and operations in the past. Evidence in the report shows companies may not be fully appreciating the risks posed by climate change or have in place responses which are robust."


UK, eWeek, 04.11.09, IBM: Fossil Fuel Companies Are Climate Change Victims, Not Perpetrators
http://www.eweekeurope.co.uk/news/ibm--fossil-fuel-companies-are-climate-change-victims--not-perpetrators--2336

Skirting carefully around the fact that fossil fuels contribute to climate change, IBM has plenty of advice for how oil and gas companies can respond to the threat from global warming

Along with other large IT companies such as HP, IBM appears to have an extremely pragmatic take on climate change.

Keen to be seen to be green with a rash of carbon-cutting services and "green" hardware, the vendor is also happy to profit from the lucrative contracts available from oil and gas companies' continuing research and exploration for new carbon-rich reserves.

In a report released this week, Global Oil & Gas – The Adaptation Challenge, IBM discusses how oil and gas companies can use IT systems (presumably from IBM) to off-set some of the impact of climate change on their operations and future profitability.

But while the incisive report is happy to drill down into details such as how water shortages caused by global warming could harm the water intensive operations of oil and gas companies, it side-steps any direct criticism of the industry for its contribution to climate change.

"Given the track-record of the oil and gas industry and its ability to innovate, we see no reason why it will not continue to be a major contributor to society and the economy in the future," the report states.

Allan Roberts, IBM's industrial strategy & change leader, IBM Global Business Services, UK & Ireland even goes on to claim that any disruption to the future profitability of oil and gas companies from climate change won't just be bad for the businesses themselves but society as a whole. "The oil and gas industry is an important contributor to our society and economy, so if anything impacts the industry it could well impact people at home, at work, on the move, or even their personal finances," he said.

IBM is not alone in its fervent support for the future of oil and gas companies whilst simultaneously declaring its love of the environment and opposition to the causes of climate change. HP recently held a conference in the Hungarian capital Budapest where the company discussed the IT services and products it could offer fossil fuel producers to help them improve exploration and management of their businesses. Hewlett-Packard is committed to cutting its own carbon emissions, but is also happy to profit directly from the tools and services it sells to utility companies for fossil fuel production and exploration, said the European chairman of HP's environmental board Klaus Hieronymi at HP's 9th Executive Energy Conference 2009 event in Budapest.

"I think the oil and gas industries have the same challenges as everyone," he told eWEEK Europe at the event. "I think its an illusion to say that we will reduce our dependency on oil and gas in the next five years. No way. So the challenge is to make sure that we still have the appropriate reserves there and help the oil and gas industry to find more."

The supportive messages given out by HP and IBM on the societal and economic value of fossil fuel companies contrasts starkly with the IT vendors stance on the impact of the actual fossil fuels themselves. "IBM has a long history of environmental leadership. The company's corporate policy on environmental protection, first established in 1971, is supported by a comprehensive global environmental management system that governs its operations worldwide," the company states on the "Environmental Stewardship" section of its website.

In its latest environmental report, the company states: "Between 1990 and 2008, IBM's annual conservation actions saved a sum total of 4.9 billion kWh of electricity consumption, avoided nearly 3.3 million metric tons of CO2 emissions (equal to 48% of the company's 1990 global CO2 emissions) and saved over $343 million in energy expense."

UK, Carbon Based, 03.11.09, Global report analyzes risks of climate change for the oil and gas industry
http://carbon-based-ghg.blogspot.com/2009/11/global-report-analyzes-risks-of-climate.html

Over three quarters of the world's oil and gas companies surveyed believe inevitable climate change could impact their business: increasing downtime, system failures and safety; but only 19 percent are taking action, says a new Acclimatise report backed by IBM.

"The Oil and Gas industry is an important contributor to our society and economy, so if anything impacts the industry it could well impact people at home, at work, on the move, or even their personal finances," said Allan Roberts, IBM's Industrial Strategy & Change Leader, IBM Global Business Services, UK & Ireland. "While oil and gas companies are typically well run and have systems for monitoring risks, they have been exposed to problems with their major projects and operations in the past. Evidence in the report shows companies may not be fully appreciating the risks posed by climate change or have in place responses which are robust."

The report titled "Global Oil & Gas - The Adaptation Challenge" is based on the Carbon Disclosure Project's annual request for investor information that was sent to the world's largest 128 oil and gas companies globally (based on market capitalisation). Analysed using the Acclimatisation Index Methodology, the report identified the top five impacts of climate change and the industry implications:

Increased pressure on water resources...
Physical asset failure…
Employee health and safety risks…
Drop in value of financial assets …
Damage to corporate reputation…

UK, TransWorldNews, 03.11.09, Global Report: Climate Change Exposes the Oil and Gas Industry to Risk
http://www.transworldnews.com/NewsStory.aspx?storyid=135747

Changes in Climate Could Impact Oil and Gas Company's Assets, Operations and Safety

Over three quarters of the world's oil and gas companies surveyed believe inevitable climate change could impact their business: increasing downtime, system failures and safety; but only 19 percent are taking action, says a new Acclimatise report backed by IBM.

"The Oil and Gas industry is an important contributor to our society and economy, so if anything impacts the industry it could well impact people at home, at work, on the move, or even their personal finances," said Allan Roberts, IBM's Industrial Strategy & Change Leader, IBM Global Business Services, UK & Ireland. "While oil and gas companies are typically well run and have systems for monitoring risks, they have been exposed to problems with their major projects and operations in the past. Evidence in the report shows companies may not be fully appreciating the risks posed by climate change or have in place responses which are robust."

The report titled "Global Oil & Gas - The Adaptation Challenge" is based on the Carbon Disclosure Project's annual request for investor information that was sent to the world's largest 128 oil and gas companies globally (based on market capitalisation). Analysed using the Acclimatisation Index(TM).( )Methodology, the report identified the top five impacts of climate change and the industry implications.

Top Five Industry Impacts of Climate Change

Increased pressure on water resources: Concerns over changing rainfall patterns, water shortages, poor water quality, drought and flooding is significantly increasing the demand for water. Growing competition for available resources could create operational problems for companies which rely heavily on water for oil and gas production. The demand may also create conflicts with local communities and other water users throughout the world changing the risk landscape for oil and gas companies. Nearly all companies surveyed did not appear to recognise the risk landscape is changing - only 6% reported knowledge of potential civil and geo-political risks and 3% identified adverse risks for local communities.

Physical asset failure: The report revealed that many existing plants and equipment have been designed on the basis of historic climatic conditions and may not withstand changing environmental conditions. Fluctuating temperatures can affect efficiency and performance of physical assets leading to transport disruption, damaged buildings and increased operational delays and costs. Only 6% of respondents indicated they were taking actions to manage disruptions to off-site utilities (energy, communications, water and waste treatment).

Employee health and safety risks: Volatile working conditions in extreme environments and physical assets which are potentially not suitable for the changing climatic conditions have the potential to impact the health and safety of employees. However only 1.5% of respondents reported to incorporate climate change considerations into their health and safety risk assessments. Employer and public liability insurance cover may be compromised if companies fail to take climate change into account during health and safety risk assessments.

Drop in value of financial assets: To meet the growing demand for energy, oil and gas companies need to continue securing investment for new exploration, production and manufacturing. Potential investors and stakeholders are placing greater importance on the business impacts of climate change as the risks impact cost and revenue drivers. Insurance costs could potentially rise because of greater chances of physical plant damage due to weather events, an issue only recognised by 10% of respondents. The current reported value of proved reserves may also be affected by companies failing to take into account the full impact of climate change. This could result in changes to the disclosed value of reserves which has major financial implications.

Damage to corporate reputation: As knowledge and awareness of climate change grows, any failure to monitor and report the impacts of climate change on social and ecological resources is increasingly likely to harm a company's reputation. Contractual relationships that do not adequately foresee and manage risks driven by climate change, may damage the company's reputation with stakeholders as the risk of parties turning to litigation increases.

"It is difficult to justify the position taken by any company that fails to assess the vulnerability of existing and future assets to acute and chronic changing climatic risks, given the information we now have," said John Firth, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, climate change adaptation specialists Acclimatise. "Companies that develop an integrated approach, recognising that we no longer have a stable climate, will be the winners. This is not merely an environmental issue, it is about bottom line consequences and the future viability of oil and gas companies."

Drivers for Change

Given the Oil and Gas industry's ability to innovate there is no reason why it will not continue to be a major contributor to society and the economy of the future. There are a number of drivers for change that will influence the level and rate of innovation.

Cost/revenue drivers - Operating costs at refineries could increase in response to changes in asset efficiency and resilience with higher ambient air temperatures. Disruptions to transport links due to permafrost thaw are already having significant impacts with companies having to hold and maintain larger on-site spare parts and materials stores. Operational costs could increase in response to changes in design standards for offshore platforms.

Stakeholder pressure - Investors and other stakeholders, including market and financial analysts, governments and regulatory agencies, research institutions, consumers, local communities and NGOs - are already starting to place greater pressure on oil and gas companies to address climate risks and opportunities.

New regulatory landscapes - Although new regulatory policies are being developed in many countries there remains a great deal of uncertainty regarding the scope, content and format of future legislation on emissions. Greater certainty about the future regulatory landscape is required to encourage companies to invest in alternatives to fossil fuels and develop cleaner and sustainable energy sources.

In the United Kingdom the Climate Change Act 2008 gives the government an adaptation reporting power that requires oil and gas companies to assess and disclose the impacts climate change might have on their business. The UK Government recently updated the Petroleum Act, tightening the laws on decommissioning, making it compulsory for companies to take the impacts of climate change into account.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission ask publicly-listed companies to disclose climate threats to their bottom lines in annual reporting.

Opportunity to Improve

Acclimatise and IBM have jointly prepared a set of 10 Prepare-Adapt questions to help oil and gas executives take informed steps towards building corporate resilience to inevitable climate change.

To start, a company should undertake a

high-level assessment of how climate change could impact their business model. The next step is to analyse the individual areas that could have the greatest material impact on performance - two areas of consideration could be Non-Market Strategy and Asset Lifecycle Management. Finally companies need to adapt reporting and performance management to incorporate risks arising from climate change.

Paul Simpson, Chief Operating Officer, Carbon Disclosure Project, said, "This report shows how important it is for the oil and gas sector to plan for a changing climate. Issues such as water shortages and changing weather patterns and temperatures will impact infrastructure, operations, revenues and costs. As a result, investors want to know how oil and gas companies are dealing with these risks and planning for them in the future. This report helps answer those questions."

UK, Trading Markets, 04.11.09, Changes in Climate Could Impact Oil and Gas Company's Assets, Operations and Safety

Over three quarters of the world's oil and gas companies surveyed believe inevitable climate change could impact their business: increasing downtime, system failures and safety; but only 19 percent are taking action, says a new Acclimatise report backed by IBM.

"The Oil and Gas industry is an important contributor to our society and economy, so if anything impacts the industry it could well impact people at home, at work, on the move, or even their personal finances," said Allan Roberts, IBM's Industrial Strategy & Change Leader, IBM Global Business Services, UK & Ireland. "While oil and gas companies are typically well run and have systems for monitoring risks, they have been exposed to problems with their major projects and operations in the past. Evidence in the report shows companies may not be fully appreciating the risks posed by climate change or have in place responses which are robust."

The report titled "Global Oil & Gas - The Adaptation Challenge" is based on the Carbon Disclosure Project's annual request for investor information that was sent to the world's largest 128 oil and gas companies globally (based on market capitalisation). Analysed using the Acclimatisation Index(TM).( )Methodology, the report identified the top five impacts of climate change and the industry implications.

Top Five Industry Impacts of Climate Change

Increased pressure on water resources: Concerns over changing rainfall patterns, water shortages, poor water quality, drought and flooding is significantly increasing the demand for water. Growing competition for available resources could create operational problems for companies which rely heavily on water for oil and gas production. The demand may also create conflicts with local communities and other water users throughout the world changing the risk landscape for oil and gas companies. Nearly all companies surveyed did not appear to recognise the risk landscape is changing - only 6% reported knowledge of potential civil and geo-political risks and 3% identified adverse risks for local communities.

Physical asset failure: The report revealed that many existing plants and equipment have been designed on the basis of historic climatic conditions and may not withstand changing environmental conditions. Fluctuating temperatures can affect efficiency and performance of physical assets leading to transport disruption, damaged buildings and increased operational delays and costs. Only 6% of respondents indicated they were taking actions to manage disruptions to off-site utilities (energy, communications, water and waste treatment).

Employee health and safety risks: Volatile working conditions in extreme environments and physical assets which are potentially not suitable for the changing climatic conditions have the potential to impact the health and safety of employees. However only 1.5% of respondents reported to incorporate climate change considerations into their health and safety risk assessments. Employer and public liability insurance cover may be compromised if companies fail to take climate change into account during health and safety risk assessments.

Drop in value of financial assets: To meet the growing demand for energy, oil and gas companies need to continue securing investment for new exploration, production and manufacturing. Potential investors and stakeholders are placing greater importance on the business impacts of climate change as the risks impact cost and revenue drivers. Insurance costs could potentially rise because of greater chances of physical plant damage due to weather events, an issue only recognised by 10% of respondents. The current reported value of proved reserves may also be affected by companies failing to take into account the full impact of climate change. This could result in changes to the disclosed value of reserves which has major financial implications.

Damage to corporate reputation: As knowledge and awareness of climate change grows, any failure to monitor and report the impacts of climate change on social and ecological resources is increasingly likely to harm a company's reputation. Contractual relationships that do not adequately foresee and manage risks driven by climate change, may damage the company's reputation with stakeholders as the risk of parties turning to litigation increases.

"It is difficult to justify the position taken by any company that fails to assess the vulnerability of existing and future assets to acute and chronic changing climatic risks, given the information we now have," said John Firth, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, climate change adaptation specialists Acclimatise. "Companies that develop an integrated approach, recognising that we no longer have a stable climate, will be the winners. This is not merely an environmental issue, it is about bottom line consequences and the future viability of oil and gas companies."

Drivers for Change

Given the Oil and Gas industry's ability to innovate there is no reason why it will not continue to be a major contributor to society and the economy of the future. There are a number of drivers for change that will influence the level and rate of innovation.

Cost/revenue drivers - Operating costs at refineries could increase in response to changes in asset efficiency and resilience with higher ambient air temperatures. Disruptions to transport links due to permafrost thaw are already having significant impacts with companies having to hold and maintain larger on-site spare parts and materials stores. Operational costs could increase in response to changes in design standards for offshore platforms.

Stakeholder pressure - Investors and other stakeholders, including market and financial analysts, governments and regulatory agencies, research institutions, consumers, local communities and NGOs - are already starting to place greater pressure on oil and gas companies to address climate risks and opportunities.

New regulatory landscapes - Although new regulatory policies are being developed in many countries there remains a great deal of uncertainty regarding the scope, content and format of future legislation on emissions. Greater certainty about the future regulatory landscape is required to encourage companies to invest in alternatives to fossil fuels and develop cleaner and sustainable energy sources.

In the United Kingdom the Climate Change Act 2008 gives the government an adaptation reporting power that requires oil and gas companies to assess and disclose the impacts climate change might have on their business. The UK Government recently updated the Petroleum Act, tightening the laws on decommissioning, making it compulsory for companies to take the impacts of climate change into account.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission ask publicly-listed companies to disclose climate threats to their bottom lines in annual reporting.

Opportunity to Improve

Acclimatise and IBM have jointly prepared a set of 10 Prepare-Adapt questions to help oil and gas executives take informed steps towards building corporate resilience to inevitable climate change.

To start, a company should undertake a

high-level assessment of how climate change could impact their business model. The next step is to analyse the individual areas that could have the greatest material impact on performance - two areas of consideration could be Non-Market Strategy and Asset Lifecycle Management. Finally companies need to adapt reporting and performance management to incorporate risks arising from climate change.

Paul Simpson, Chief Operating Officer, Carbon Disclosure Project, said, "This report shows how important it is for the oil and gas sector to plan for a changing climate. Issues such as water shortages and changing weather patterns and temperatures will impact infrastructure, operations, revenues and costs. As a result, investors want to know how oil and gas companies are dealing with these risks and planning for them in the future. This report helps answer those questions."


UK, GreenWise, 04.11.09, Businesses could pay for failure of oil and gas companies to adapt to changing climate
http://www.greenwisebusiness.co.uk/news/businesses-could-pay-for-failure-of-oil-and-gas-companies-to-adapt-to-changing-climate-862.aspx

The failure of the world's oil and gas companies to fully appreciate the risks associated with climate change and put in place strategies to deal with them, could have implications for all businesses, a new report claims.

The report – produced by climate change adaptation specialists Acclimatise, and backed by IBM – shows that, while more than three quarters of the world's oil and gas companies believe climate change could impact their businesses by increasing downtime, system failures and compromising safety, just 19 per cent are taking action to deal with the issues.

Disruption of oil and gas supplies caused by climate change could have implications for all of us, according to Allan Roberts, industrial strategy and change leader, IBM Global Business Services, UK and Ireland, who said: "The oil and gas industry is an important contributor to our society and economy, so if anything impacts the industry it could well impact people at home, at work, on the move, or even their personal finances."

He added: "Evidence in the report shows companies may not be fully appreciating the risks posed by climate change or have in place responses which are robust."

Increasing pressure on water resources is identified by the report as one of the five main risk areas. It suggests growing competition for available resources could create operational problems for companies that rely heavily on water for oil and gas production.

The 'risk landscape' for oil and gas companies could also change if their demands on dwindling water resources puts them in conflict with local communities and other water users throughout the world, the report says.

Yet hardly any of the companies covered by the report appear to recognise these potential risks – only six per cent reported knowledge of potential civil and geo-political risks and three per cent identified adverse risks for local communities.

The risk of physical asset failure is another big issue for oil and gas companies. Many existing plants have been designed on the assumption that historic climate conditions will prevail, and they may not be capable of withstanding changing environmental conditions, the report claims.

Only six per cent of respondents indicated they were taking actions to manage disruptions to off-site utilities – such as energy, communications, water and waste treatment – caused by physical asset failure as a result of climate change.

The report notes that disruptions to transport links due to permafrost thaw are already having a significant impact, with companies having to hold and maintain larger on-site spare parts and materials stores, which in turn has an impact on operational costs.

"It is difficult to justify the position taken by any company that fails to assess the vulnerability of existing and future assets to acute and chronic changing climatic risks, given the information we now have," said John Firth, ceo of Acclimatise.

"Companies that develop an integrated approach, recognising that we no longer have a stable climate, will be the winners. This is not merely an environmental issue, it is about bottom line consequences and the future viability of oil and gas companies."

The good news, according to the report, is that the oil and gas industry has demonstrated in the past its ability to innovate and adapt and "there is no reason why it will not continue to be a major contributor to society and the economy of the future".

However, the rate of innovation will be determined by a number of factors, including the impact of climate change on operatinal costs, pressure from stakeholders and whether companies are given a strong legislative lead, the report says.

The Aclimatise report is based on the Carbon Disclosure Project's annual request for investor information that was sent to the world's largest 128 oil and gas companies globally (based on market capitalisation).

UK, Scientific Computing, 04.11.09, Climate Change Exposes Oil and Gas Industry to Risk
http://www.scientificcomputing.com/news-DS-Climate-Change-Exposes-Oil-and-Gas-Industry-to-Risk-110409.aspx

Over three quarters of the world's oil and gas companies surveyed believe inevitable climate change could impact their business: increasing downtime, system failures and safety; but only 19 percent are taking action, says a new Acclimatise report backed by IBM.

Titled "Global Oil & Gas — The Adaptation Challenge," the report is based on the Carbon Disclosure Project's annual request for investor information that was sent to the world's largest 128 oil and gas companies globally (based on market capitalization). Analyzed using the Acclimatisation Index Methodology, the report identified the top five impacts of climate change and the industry implications.

"The Oil and Gas industry is an important contributor to our society and economy. So, if anything impacts the industry, it could well impact people at home, at work, on the move, or even their personal finances," said Allan Roberts, IBM's Industrial Strategy & Change Leader, IBM Global Business Services, UK & Ireland. "While oil and gas companies are typically well-run and have systems for monitoring risks, they have been exposed to problems with their major projects and operations in the past. Evidence in the report shows companies may not be fully appreciating the risks posed by climate change or have in place responses which are robust."

Top Five Climate Change Impacts
Increased pressure on water resources: Concerns were reported over changing rainfall patterns, water shortages, poor water quality, drought and flooding significantly increasing the demand for water. Growing competition for available resources could create operational problems for companies that rely heavily on water for oil and gas production. The demand also may create conflicts with local communities and other water users throughout the world changing the risk landscape for oil and gas companies. Nearly all companies surveyed did not appear to recognize the risk landscape is changing -- only six percent reported knowledge of potential civil and geo-political risks and three percent identified adverse risks for local communities.

Physical asset failure: The report revealed that many existing plants and equipment have been designed on the basis of historic climatic conditions and may not withstand changing environmental conditions. Fluctuating temperatures can affect efficiency and performance of physical assets leading to transport disruption, damaged buildings and increased operational delays and costs. Only six percent of respondents indicated they were taking actions to manage disruptions to off-site utilities (energy, communications, water and waste treatment).

Employee health and safety risks: Volatile working conditions in extreme environments and physical assets that are potentially not suitable for the changing climatic conditions have the potential to impact the health and safety of employees. However, only 1.5 percent of respondents reported to incorporate climate change considerations into their health and safety risk assessments. Employer and public liability insurance cover may be compromised if companies fail to take climate change into account during health and safety risk assessments.

Drop in value of financial assets: To meet the growing demand for energy, oil and gas companies need to continue securing investment for new exploration, production and manufacturing. Potential investors and stakeholders are placing greater importance on the business impacts of climate change, as the risks impact cost and revenue drivers. Insurance costs could potentially rise because of greater chances of physical plant damage due to weather events, an issue only recognized by 10 percent of respondents. The current reported value of proved reserves also may be affected by companies failing to take into account the full impact of climate change. This could result in changes to the disclosed value of reserves, which has major financial implications.

Damage to corporate reputation: As knowledge and awareness of climate change grows, any failure to monitor and report the impacts of climate change on social and ecological resources is increasingly likely to harm a company's reputation. Contractual relationships that do not adequately foresee and manage risks driven by climate change may damage the company's reputation with stakeholders as the risk of parties turning to litigation increases.

"It is difficult to justify the position taken by any company that fails to assess the vulnerability of existing and future assets to acute and chronic changing climatic risks, given the information we now have," said John Firth, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, climate change adaptation specialists Acclimatise. "Companies that develop an integrated approach, recognizing that we no longer have a stable climate, will be the winners. This is not merely an environmental issue, it is about bottom-line consequences and the future viability of oil and gas companies."

Drivers for change
Given the Oil and Gas industry's ability to innovate, there is no reason why it will not continue to be a major contributor to society and the economy of the future. There are a number of drivers for change that will influence the level and rate of innovation.

Cost/revenue drivers: Operating costs at refineries could increase in response to changes in asset efficiency and resilience with higher ambient air temperatures. Disruptions to transport links due to permafrost thaw already are having significant impacts with companies having to hold and maintain larger on-site spare parts and materials stores. Operational costs could increase in response to changes in design standards for offshore platforms.

Stakeholder pressure: Investors and other stakeholders — including market and financial analysts, governments and regulatory agencies, research institutions, consumers, local communities and NGOs — are already starting to place greater pressure on oil and gas companies to address climate risks and opportunities.

New regulatory landscapes: Although new regulatory policies are being developed in many countries, there remains a great deal of uncertainty regarding the scope, content and format of future legislation on emissions. Greater certainty about the future regulatory landscape is required to encourage companies to invest in alternatives to fossil fuels and develop cleaner and sustainable energy sources.

In the United Kingdom, the Climate Change Act 2008 gives the government an adaptation reporting power that requires oil and gas companies to assess and disclose the impacts climate change might have on their business. The UK Government recently updated the Petroleum Act, tightening the laws on decommissioning, making it compulsory for companies to take the impacts of climate change into account.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission asks publicly-listed companies to disclose climate threats to their bottom lines in annual reporting.

Opportunity to improve

Paul Simpson, Chief Operating Officer, Carbon Disclosure Project, said, "This report shows how important it is for the oil and gas sector to plan for a changing climate. Issues such as water shortages and changing weather patterns and temperatures will impact infrastructure, operations, revenues and costs. As a result, investors want to know how oil and gas companies are dealing with these risks and planning for them in the future. This report helps answer those questions."



US, Environmental Leader, 03.11.09, About three-fourths of global oil and gas firms say they believe that climate change could cause business downtime, system failures and safety risks, yet just 19 percent say they are taking action.
http://www.environmentalleader.com/2009/11/03/climate-change-poses-threat-to-oil-gas-industry/

"Our environment is changing and any impacts will be felt across the world putting consumers at risk of a reduced power supply and an increase in prices," said Allan Roberts, Industrial Strategy and Change Leader, IBM UKI Global Business Services.

The report (PDF), "Global Oil & Gas – The Adaptation Challenge," made note of five top industry impacts from climate change:

Increased pressure on water resources: Concerns over changing rainfall, water shortages, poor water quality, drought and flooding will increase the demand for water, which may cause operational problems for companies which rely on water for oil and gas production. Only 6 percent of respondents reported knowledge of potential civil and geo-political risks.
Physical asset failure: Many exsisting plants and equipment have been designed on the basis of historic climatic conditions and may not withstand changing environmental conditions. Just 6 percent of respondents said they were taking actions to manage disruptions to off-site utilities, including energy, communications, water and waste treatment.
Employee health and safety risks: Volatile working conditions in extreme environments and sub standard physical assets may impact the health and safety of employees. In such a case, employer and public liability insurance cover may be compromised.
Drop in value of financial assets: To meet the growing demand for energy, oil and gas companies need to continue securing investment for new exploration. Potential investors and stakeholders are placing greater importance on the business impacts of climate change as the risks impact cost and revenue drivers. The current reported value of proved reserves may also be affeced by companies failing to take into account the full impact of climate change.
Damage to corporate reputation: As knowledge and awarenesss of climate change grows, any failure to monitor and report on the impacts of climate change on social and ecological resources is likley to harm a company's reputation.
The report recommends that companies analyze their non-market strategies and asset lifecycle management to determine how resilient they are to climate change.

IBM based its analysis on 128 responses to the Carbon Disclosure Project's annual request for investor information from leading oil and gas companies.

UK, Trading Charts, 04.11.09, IBM: Global Report: Climate Change Exposes the Oil and Gas Industry to Risk
http://news.tradingcharts.com/futures/6/2/131056926.html
Over three quarters of the world's oil and gas companies surveyed believe inevitable climate change could impact their business: increasing downtime, system failures and safety; but only 19 percent are taking action, says a new Acclimatise report backed by IBM.

'The Oil and Gas industry is an important contributor to our society and economy, so if anything impacts the industry it could well impact people at home, at work, on the move, or even their personal finances,' said Allan Roberts, IBM's Industrial Strategy & Change Leader, IBM Global Business Services, UK & Ireland. 'While oil and gas companies are typically well run and have systems for monitoring risks, they have been exposed to problems with their major projects and operations in the past. Evidence in the report shows companies may not be fully appreciating the risks posed by climate change or have in place responses which are robust.'

The report titled 'Global Oil & Gas - The Adaptation Challenge' is based on the Carbon Disclosure Project's annual request for investor information that was sent to the world's largest 128 oil and gas companies globally (based on market capitalisation). Analysed using the Acclimatisation Index.( )Methodology, the report identified the top five impacts of climate change and the industry implications.

Top Five Industry Impacts of Climate Change

Increased pressure on water resources: Concerns over changing rainfall patterns, water shortages, poor water quality, drought and flooding is significantly increasing the demand for water. Growing competition for available resources could create operational problems for companies which rely heavily on water for oil and gas production. The demand may also create conflicts with local communities and other water users throughout the world changing the risk landscape for oil and gas companies. Nearly all companies surveyed did not appear to recognise the risk landscape is changing - only 6% reported knowledge of potential civil and geo-political risks and 3% identified adverse risks for local communities.

Physical asset failure: The report revealed that many existing plants and equipment have been designed on the basis of historic climatic conditions and may not withstand changing environmental conditions. Fluctuating temperatures can affect efficiency and performance of physical assets leading to transport disruption, damaged buildings and increased operational delays and costs. Only 6% of respondents indicated they were taking actions to manage disruptions to off-site utilities (energy, communications, water and waste treatment).

Employee health and safety risks: Volatile working conditions in extreme environments and physical assets which are potentially not suitable for the changing climatic conditions have the potential to impact the health and safety of employees. However only 1.5% of respondents reported to incorporate climate change considerations into their health and safety risk assessments. Employer and public liability insurance cover may be compromised if companies fail to take climate change into account during health and safety risk assessments.

Drop in value of financial assets: To meet the growing demand for energy, oil and gas companies need to continue securing investment for new exploration, production and manufacturing. Potential investors and stakeholders are placing greater importance on the business impacts of climate change as the risks impact cost and revenue drivers. Insurance costs could potentially rise because of greater chances of physical plant damage due to weather events, an issue only recognised by 10% of respondents. The current reported value of proved reserves may also be affected by companies failing to take into account the full impact of climate change. This could result in changes to the disclosed value of reserves which has major financial implications.

Damage to corporate reputation: As knowledge and awareness of climate change grows, any failure to monitor and report the impacts of climate change on social and ecological resources is increasingly likely to harm a company's reputation. Contractual relationships that do not adequately foresee and manage risks driven by climate change, may damage the company's reputation with stakeholders as the risk of parties turning to litigation increases.

'It is difficult to justify the position taken by any company that fails to assess the vulnerability of existing and future assets to acute and chronic changing climatic risks, given the information we now have,' said John Firth, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, climate change adaptation specialists Acclimatise. 'Companies that develop an integrated approach, recognising that we no longer have a stable climate, will be the winners. This is not merely an environmental issue, it is about bottom line consequences and the future viability of oil and gas companies.'

Drivers for Change

Given the Oil and Gas industry's ability to innovate there is no reason why it will not continue to be a major contributor to society and the economy of the future. There are a number of drivers for change that will influence the level and rate of innovation.

Cost/revenue drivers - Operating costs at refineries could increase in response to changes in asset efficiency and resilience with higher ambient air temperatures. Disruptions to transport links due to permafrost thaw are already having significant impacts with companies having to hold and maintain larger on-site spare parts and materials stores. Operational costs could increase in response to changes in design standards for offshore platforms.

Stakeholder pressure - Investors and other stakeholders, including market and financial analysts, governments and regulatory agencies, research institutions, consumers, local communities and NGOs - are already starting to place greater pressure on oil and gas companies to address climate risks and opportunities.

New regulatory landscapes - Although new regulatory policies are being developed in many countries there remains a great deal of uncertainty regarding the scope, content and format of future legislation on emissions. Greater certainty about the future regulatory landscape is required to encourage companies to invest in alternatives to fossil fuels and develop cleaner and sustainable energy sources.

In the United Kingdom the Climate Change Act 2008 gives the government an adaptation reporting power that requires oil and gas companies to assess and disclose the impacts climate change might have on their business. The UK Government recently updated the Petroleum Act, tightening the laws on decommissioning, making it compulsory for companies to take the impacts of climate change into account.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission ask publicly-listed companies to disclose climate threats to their bottom lines in annual reporting.

Opportunity to Improve

Acclimatise and IBM have jointly prepared a set of 10 Prepare-Adapt questions to help oil and gas executives take informed steps towards building corporate resilience to inevitable climate change.

To start, a company should undertake a high-level assessment of how climate change could impact their business model. The next step is to analyse the individual areas that could have the greatest material impact on performance - two areas of consideration could be Non-Market Strategy and Asset Lifecycle Management. Finally companies need to adapt reporting and performance management to incorporate risks arising from climate change.

Paul Simpson, Chief Operating Officer, Carbon Disclosure Project, said, 'This report shows how important it is for the oil and gas sector to plan for a changing climate. Issues such as water shortages and changing weather patterns and temperatures will impact infrastructure, operations, revenues and costs. As a result, investors want to know how oil and gas companies are dealing with these risks and planning for them in the future. This report helps answer those questions.'

UK, Earthtimes, 04.11.09, Global Report: Climate Change Exposes the Oil and Gas Industry to Risk

Over three quarters of the world's oil and gas companies surveyed believe inevitable climate change could impact their business: increasing downtime, system failures and safety; but only 19 percent are taking action, says a new Acclimatise report backed by IBM.

Titled "Global Oil & Gas — The Adaptation Challenge," the report is based on the Carbon Disclosure Project's annual request for investor information that was sent to the world's largest 128 oil and gas companies globally (based on market capitalization). Analyzed using the Acclimatisation Index Methodology, the report identified the top five impacts of climate change and the industry implications.

"The Oil and Gas industry is an important contributor to our society and economy. So, if anything impacts the industry, it could well impact people at home, at work, on the move, or even their personal finances," said Allan Roberts, IBM's Industrial Strategy & Change Leader, IBM Global Business Services, UK & Ireland. "While oil and gas companies are typically well-run and have systems for monitoring risks, they have been exposed to problems with their major projects and operations in the past. Evidence in the report shows companies may not be fully appreciating the risks posed by climate change or have in place responses which are robust."

Top Five Climate Change Impacts
Increased pressure on water resources: Concerns were reported over changing rainfall patterns, water shortages, poor water quality, drought and flooding significantly increasing the demand for water. Growing competition for available resources could create operational problems for companies that rely heavily on water for oil and gas production. The demand also may create conflicts with local communities and other water users throughout the world changing the risk landscape for oil and gas companies. Nearly all companies surveyed did not appear to recognize the risk landscape is changing -- only six percent reported knowledge of potential civil and geo-political risks and three percent identified adverse risks for local communities.

Physical asset failure: The report revealed that many existing plants and equipment have been designed on the basis of historic climatic conditions and may not withstand changing environmental conditions. Fluctuating temperatures can affect efficiency and performance of physical assets leading to transport disruption, damaged buildings and increased operational delays and costs. Only six percent of respondents indicated they were taking actions to manage disruptions to off-site utilities (energy, communications, water and waste treatment).

Employee health and safety risks: Volatile working conditions in extreme environments and physical assets that are potentially not suitable for the changing climatic conditions have the potential to impact the health and safety of employees. However, only 1.5 percent of respondents reported to incorporate climate change considerations into their health and safety risk assessments. Employer and public liability insurance cover may be compromised if companies fail to take climate change into account during health and safety risk assessments.

Drop in value of financial assets: To meet the growing demand for energy, oil and gas companies need to continue securing investment for new exploration, production and manufacturing. Potential investors and stakeholders are placing greater importance on the business impacts of climate change, as the risks impact cost and revenue drivers. Insurance costs could potentially rise because of greater chances of physical plant damage due to weather events, an issue only recognized by 10 percent of respondents. The current reported value of proved reserves also may be affected by companies failing to take into account the full impact of climate change. This could result in changes to the disclosed value of reserves, which has major financial implications.

Damage to corporate reputation: As knowledge and awareness of climate change grows, any failure to monitor and report the impacts of climate change on social and ecological resources is increasingly likely to harm a company's reputation. Contractual relationships that do not adequately foresee and manage risks driven by climate change may damage the company's reputation with stakeholders as the risk of parties turning to litigation increases.

"It is difficult to justify the position taken by any company that fails to assess the vulnerability of existing and future assets to acute and chronic changing climatic risks, given the information we now have," said John Firth, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, climate change adaptation specialists Acclimatise. "Companies that develop an integrated approach, recognizing that we no longer have a stable climate, will be the winners. This is not merely an environmental issue, it is about bottom-line consequences and the future viability of oil and gas companies."

Drivers for change
Given the Oil and Gas industry's ability to innovate, there is no reason why it will not continue to be a major contributor to society and the economy of the future. There are a number of drivers for change that will influence the level and rate of innovation.

Cost/revenue drivers: Operating costs at refineries could increase in response to changes in asset efficiency and resilience with higher ambient air temperatures. Disruptions to transport links due to permafrost thaw already are having significant impacts with companies having to hold and maintain larger on-site spare parts and materials stores. Operational costs could increase in response to changes in design standards for offshore platforms.

Stakeholder pressure: Investors and other stakeholders — including market and financial analysts, governments and regulatory agencies, research institutions, consumers, local communities and NGOs — are already starting to place greater pressure on oil and gas companies to address climate risks and opportunities.

New regulatory landscapes: Although new regulatory policies are being developed in many countries, there remains a great deal of uncertainty regarding the scope, content and format of future legislation on emissions. Greater certainty about the future regulatory landscape is required to encourage companies to invest in alternatives to fossil fuels and develop cleaner and sustainable energy sources.

In the United Kingdom, the Climate Change Act 2008 gives the government an adaptation reporting power that requires oil and gas companies to assess and disclose the impacts climate change might have on their business. The UK Government recently updated the Petroleum Act, tightening the laws on decommissioning, making it compulsory for companies to take the impacts of climate change into account.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission asks publicly-listed companies to disclose climate threats to their bottom lines in annual reporting.

Opportunity to improve

Paul Simpson, Chief Operating Officer, Carbon Disclosure Project, said, "This report shows how important it is for the oil and gas sector to plan for a changing climate. Issues such as water shortages and changing weather patterns and temperatures will impact infrastructure, operations, revenues and costs. As a result, investors want to know how oil and gas companies are dealing with these risks and planning for them in the future. This report helps answer those questions."

UK, Chloregy, 04.11.09, Global Report: Climate Change Exposes the Oil and Gas Industry to Risk Changes in Climate Could Impact Oil and Gas Company's Assets, Operations and Safety

Over three quarters of the world's oil and gas companies surveyed believe inevitable climate change could impact their business: increasing downtime, system failures and safety; but only 19 percent...
are taking action, says a new Acclimatise report backed by IBM.

"The Oil and Gas industry is an important contributor to our society and economy, so if anything impacts the industry it could well impact people at home, at work, on the move, or even their personal finances," said Allan Roberts, IBM's Industrial Strategy & Change Leader, IBM Global Business Services, UK & Ireland. "While oil and gas companies are typically well run and have systems for monitoring risks, they have been exposed to problems with their major projects and operations in the past. Evidence in the report shows companies may not be fully appreciating the risks posed by climate change or have in place responses which are robust."

The report titled "Global Oil & Gas - The Adaptation Challenge" is based on the Carbon Disclosure Project's annual request for investor information that was sent to the world's largest 128 oil and gas companies globally (based on market capitalisation). Analysed using the Acclimatisation Index(TM).( )Methodology, the report identified the top five impacts of climate change and the industry implications.

Top Five Industry Impacts of Climate Change

Increased pressure on water resources: Concerns over changing rainfall patterns, water shortages, poor water quality, drought and flooding is significantly increasing the demand for water. Growing competition for available resources could create operational problems for companies which rely heavily on water for oil and gas production. The demand may also create conflicts with local communities and other water users throughout the world changing the risk landscape for oil and gas companies. Nearly all companies surveyed did not appear to recognise the risk landscape is changing - only 6% reported knowledge of potential civil and geo-political risks and 3% identified adverse risks for local communities.

Physical asset failure: The report revealed that many existing plants and equipment have been designed on the basis of historic climatic conditions and may not withstand changing environmental conditions. Fluctuating temperatures can affect efficiency and performance of physical assets leading to transport disruption, damaged buildings and increased operational delays and costs. Only 6% of respondents indicated they were taking actions to manage disruptions to off-site utilities (energy, communications, water and waste treatment).

Employee health and safety risks: Volatile working conditions in extreme environments and physical assets which are potentially not suitable for the changing climatic conditions have the potential to impact the health and safety of employees. However only 1.5% of respondents reported to incorporate climate change considerations into their health and safety risk assessments. Employer and public liability insurance cover may be compromised if companies fail to take climate change into account during health and safety risk assessments.

Drop in value of financial assets: To meet the growing demand for energy, oil and gas companies need to continue securing investment for new exploration, production and manufacturing. Potential investors and stakeholders are placing greater importance on the business impacts of climate change as the risks impact cost and revenue drivers. Insurance costs could potentially rise because of greater chances of physical plant damage due to weather events, an issue only recognised by 10% of respondents. The current reported value of proved reserves may also be affected by companies failing to take into account the full impact of climate change. This could result in changes to the disclosed value of reserves which has major financial implications.

Damage to corporate reputation: As knowledge and awareness of climate change grows, any failure to monitor and report the impacts of climate change on social and ecological resources is increasingly likely to harm a company's reputation. Contractual relationships that do not adequately foresee and manage risks driven by climate change, may damage the company's reputation with stakeholders as the risk of parties turning to litigation increases.

"It is difficult to justify the position taken by any company that fails to assess the vulnerability of existing and future assets to acute and chronic changing climatic risks, given the information we now have," said John Firth, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, climate change adaptation specialists Acclimatise. "Companies that develop an integrated approach, recognising that we no longer have a stable climate, will be the winners. This is not merely an environmental issue, it is about bottom line consequences and the future viability of oil and gas companies."

Drivers for Change

Given the Oil and Gas industry's ability to innovate there is no reason why it will not continue to be a major contributor to society and the economy of the future. There are a number of drivers for change that will influence the level and rate of innovation.

Cost/revenue drivers - Operating costs at refineries could increase in response to changes in asset efficiency and resilience with higher ambient air temperatures. Disruptions to transport links due to permafrost thaw are already having significant impacts with companies having to hold and maintain larger on-site spare parts and materials stores. Operational costs could increase in response to changes in design standards for offshore platforms.

Stakeholder pressure - Investors and other stakeholders, including market and financial analysts, governments and regulatory agencies, research institutions, consumers, local communities and NGOs - are already starting to place greater pressure on oil and gas companies to address climate risks and opportunities.

New regulatory landscapes - Although new regulatory policies are being developed in many countries there remains a great deal of uncertainty regarding the scope, content and format of future legislation on emissions. Greater certainty about the future regulatory landscape is required to encourage companies to invest in alternatives to fossil fuels and develop cleaner and sustainable energy sources.

In the United Kingdom the Climate Change Act 2008 gives the government an adaptation reporting power that requires oil and gas companies to assess and disclose the impacts climate change might have on their business. The UK Government recently updated the Petroleum Act, tightening the laws on decommissioning, making it compulsory for companies to take the impacts of climate change into account.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission ask publicly-listed companies to disclose climate threats to their bottom lines in annual reporting.

Opportunity to Improve

Acclimatise and IBM have jointly prepared a set of 10 Prepare-Adapt questions to help oil and gas executives take informed steps towards building corporate resilience to inevitable climate change.

To start, a company should undertake a high-level assessment of how climate change could impact their business model. The next step is to analyse the individual areas that could have the greatest material impact on performance - two areas of consideration could be Non-Market Strategy and Asset Lifecycle Management. Finally companies need to adapt reporting and performance management to incorporate risks arising from climate change.

Paul Simpson, Chief Operating Officer, Carbon Disclosure Project, said, "This report shows how important it is for the oil and gas sector to plan for a changing climate. Issues such as water shortages and changing weather patterns and temperatures will impact infrastructure, operations, revenues and costs. As a result, investors want to know how oil and gas companies are dealing with these risks and planning for them in the future. This report helps answer those questions."

SAP’s Sustainability Performance Management tool could be a real game-changer

Thanks to Jon for this one



(the energy collective.com)
http://theenergycollective.com/TheEnergyCollective/50968


Sustainability reporting is a bit all over the place. Standards, such as they are, are many, not widely agreed on, and are loosely observed.

One of the better sustainability reports to emerge this year was SAP's. Unlike the staid PDF documents most companies put out, SAP's is a website which allows reasonably deep linking ( here's the section on SAP's 2008 Carbon Footprint, for example – notice how you can change it to see footprint by region, KTon or Kg/employee, and get extra info by rolling the mouse over the charts). SAP also rolled out a discussion area where people can comment on SAP's materiality and the Sustainability report.

Hugely impressive stuff from SAP and extremely innovative.

SAP regularly in discussions around sustainability make the point that while their carbon footprint of almost 500,000 tonnes per annum is significant, the combined footprint of their clientbase is 10,000 times their own! SAP are taking the line that while it is important for SAP to reduce their own emissions, helping reduce their clients carbon footprint could produce a far better long-term planetary outcome. As long as companies remember that, as I have said before, the correct order is Planet first, then People, and then Profit.

SAP have taken the next logical step with their Sustainability report. They have productized it!

Now the technology to produce a sustainability report similar to SAP's will be available to all SAP customers. The app will connect into most ERP apps to pull out the data for Sustainability Performance Management reporting so being an SAP customer is not a pre-requisite for getting this to work, as far as I understand it.

The app comes with a library of 100+ sustainability framework reporting KPI's, it comes with a ton of scorecards and dashboards for reporting, which allows companies to focus on improving sustainability performance as opposed to gathering data and compiling reports.

The product is not finalized yet and won't be made available for another month or two but if it delivers on half of what it promises, it is a potential game changer in the world of sustainability reporting.

I hope to interview someone from SAP shortly to get more details on SAP's Sustainability Performance Management tool, and as soon as I do, I will post the interview here.
___________________________________________________________________________

4.11.09

Carbon newsclips for 4 November 2009: Economists agree on the threat of global warming, but not the impact of cap-and-trade on consumers

http://www.newscientist.com/special/copenhagen-climate-change-summit

Instant Expert: The Copenhagen climate change summit

It's being billed as the meeting that will determine the future of humanity. Come early December, we will be inundated with news from the Copenhagen summit. Can it really save us from climate catastrophe? Catherine Brahic and Fred Pearce sift through the mass of science and policy to pick out the key points to watch



A LOW-CARBON FUTURE STARTS HERE
Why this year? Two years ago in Bali, member nations of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which is convening the Copenhagen summit, agreed that they would accelerate their efforts and draft a long-term plan to avoid dangerous climate change. Their deadline for doing so is the close of this year's summit, on 14 December. 

Hasn't the Kyoto protocol shown all this to be pointless?
 Not necessarily. The Kyoto protocol was always intended as a first step. There are a number of differences this time around, most notably that the US opted out of the Kyoto protocol but is very much engaged in the Copenhagen process. 

Why 250,000 megatonnes?
 We have already emitted 
over 500,000 megatonnes of carbon - equivalent to about 1,800,000 megatonnes of carbon dioxide - mostly by burning fossil fuels and cutting down forests. This year, climate scientists calculated that if we emit no more than 750,000 megatonnes in total, we will have a75 per cent chance of limiting global warming to 2 °C. 

What is the significance of 2 °C?
 The 
objective of the UNFCCC is to prevent "dangerous" climate change. Although any amount of warming may have consequences - including biodiversity loss, changing weather patterns and disappearing coastlines - many climate scientists predict that some of those changes will be irreversible beyond 2 °C and others will pose a serious threat to millions of people. As a consequence, 2 °C has been adopted by politicians as the threshold for dangerous climate change. 

Is 2 °C little enough?
 That all depends: little enough for what? No amount of warming is risk-free, and modelling studies indicate that at 2 °C an additional 1 billion people will suffer water shortages and most of the world's corals will be bleached. The world's poorest nations, which include a number of island states that are particularly vulnerable to sea-level rise, are 
campaigning to limit warming to 1.5 °C. Given the effort that is going to be required to reach the 2 °C target, this is unlikely to be achieved. Moreover, lags in climate systems, plus the removal from the atmosphere of the fine aerosol particles now cooling the world, mean past emissions are likely to result in a 1.9 °C warming.



WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE
There are no two ways about it: to have any chance of avoiding the disastrous consequences of exceeding our carbon budget, we must usher in a new era of low-carbon societies. 

How this is done will depend on what deal can be reached between rich and developing nations. Both must agree to cut emissions according to their means and historical responsibility. 

Developing nations will also need money and technology to green their industrialisation. 
Where this will come from will be a key preoccupation for the Copenhagen negotiators




THE HAVES...
must cut emissions by 


BY 2020 BY 2050
NEED 25-40 % 80-95 %
AGREED SO FAR 10-24 % 40-80 %



AND HAVE NOTS
must cut emissions by 


BY 2020
NEED 15-30 %
AGREED SO FAR 10-15 %



MONEY


It could cost the poorest nations hundreds of billions of dollars a year to curb their emissions and adapt to inevitable climate change.

Rich nations are responsible for most of the gases that are already heating the planet, and 
have a duty to help foot this bill. Negotiators in Copenhagen will have to agree on how.

Funds could be raised through taxes on emissions permits, for instance, or on international airline tickets. Or there could be a levy on all carbon emissions above certain national thresholds - as proposed by Switzerland.

The European Union agreed last week to push for a fund worth €100 billion a year by 2020.


FORESTS


Around 15 per cent of emissions come from deforestation. WWF believes this could be cut by three-quarters by 2020, but that requires giving governments, landowners and forest communities incentives to stop destroying their forests.

Two years ago, climate negotiators promised to sign such a deal - dubbed
Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) - in Copenhagen.

The cash could come from rich nations buying carbon offsets to meet their emissions targets.

Brazil and Indonesia - which account for 60 per cent of emissions from deforestation - are keen. But close monitoring is essential to ensure loggers claiming cash for a forest do not continue chopping down individual trees or move their operations elsewhere.

Also, countries such as Costa Rica that have protected their forests say it unfairly rewards those who got rich destroying theirs.


TECHNOLOGY


Two billion people worldwide do not have access to mains electricity.

To bridge that gap and power industry in developing countries, the International Energy Agency says $13 trillion must be invested in the developing world in the next 20 years.

In Copenhagen, negotiators must seal a deal to ensure this goes mostly into low-carbon technologies - but how?

Western engineering firms want an open door to developing markets, perhaps secured by a "green free trade" deal. Countries like India and China want deals with rich nations that would give their own companies free access to western know-how.


DEAL BREAKERS


Who might thwart a deal?

The US may not be able to make credible promises if Congress has not passed a climate change bill in time.

If China and India think the US is not serious, they will hold back on pledges to green their own economic development. 

Others might wield a veto, too. Some newly industrialised countries - Malaysia and South Korea for instance - now have emissions higher than many European countries. They may protest if asked to sign up to firm targets.

Malaysia's emissions are four times what they were in 1990 and, per head of population, equal to the UK's.

Saudi Arabia's emissions have doubled and, per head, now beat all European countries except Luxembourg.

Qatar's per-capita emissions are four times those of the US.

Gulf states tried to torpedo Kyoto because they felt it threatened oil exports. Copenhagen could threaten their internal industrialisation plans.



http://greeninc.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/04/economists-concur-on-threat-of-warming/

Economists Concur on Threat of Warming
By Todd Woody
  Economists' responses to the statement: "The environmental effects of greenhouse-gas emissions, as described by leading scientific experts, create significant risks to important sectors of the United States and global economy."

A New York University School of Law survey found near unanimity among 144 top economists that global warming threatens the United States economy and that a cap-and-trade system of carbon regulation will spur energy efficiency and innovation.

"Outside academia the level of consensus among economists is unfortunately not common knowledge," Richard Revesz, dean of the law school, said during a press conference on Wednesday. "The results are conclusive – there is broad agreement that reducing emissions is likely to have significant economic benefits."

The law school's Institute for Policy Integrity sent surveys to 289 economists who had published at least one article on climate change in a top-rated economics journal in the past 15 years. Half of those economists responded anonymously to a dozen questions that solicited their opinions on a range of issues, from the impact of climate change on particular industries to how the benefits of reduced greenhouse-gas emissions should be calculated.

The survey found that 84 percent of the economists agreed that climate change "presents a clear danger" to the United States and global economies – hitting agriculture the hardest – even though the severity of global warming remains unknown.

Only 5.6 percent disagreed with that statement, while 7.6 percent were neutral and 2.8 percent had no opinion.

Not surprisingly, the economists favored a market-based approach to limiting carbon emissions, with 80.6 percent supporting the auctioning of emissions allowances, while 9 percent believed the government should give them away.

Climate change legislation before Congress would initially distribute some free allowances to industry while increasing the number of auctioned permits over time. "Some of the answers we get were fairly consistent with what we expected, to the extent that they are consistent with general economic theory, which is likely to favor an auctioning system," said J. Scott Holladay, an economics fellow at the institute and an author of the report.

Nearly all the economists – 94.3 percent – said the United States should agree to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions through an international climate treaty. Fifty-seven percent said the country should make such a commitment even without an agreement.

Seventy-three percent of the respondents agreed that the uncertainty surrounding the severity of climate change raises the economic value of implementing measures to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Such measures would increase energy efficiency and promote innovation, according to 97 percent of the economists.

There was far less consensus on how to calculate the economic damage from each ton of carbon emitted, which the survey called the "social cost" of carbon dioxide. The economists' estimates generally ranged from $20 to $100 a ton, though one calculated the cost at $10,000 and another at $10 million.

According to the report, some economists who responded to the survey felt it was it too focused on the United States, while others objected to the nature of the questions.

"Several respondents argued that the questions were too simple to accurately capture the complexity of climate change or that specific questions could not be answered," wrote the report's authors.

http://greeninc.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/04/the-vagaries-of-estimating-cap-and-trades-impact-on-consumers/

The Vagaries of Estimating Cap-and-Trade's Impact on Consumers
By John Collins Rudolf
Shutterstock Shoes, clothing and accessories will cost Texas families an extra $57 under a cap-and-trade scheme, a state study suggested.

Since the Waxman-Markey climate and energy bill emerged in draft form early this year, a wide variety of reports from think tanks, nonprofits, universities and consultants have emerged — all attempting to project its impact on employment, electricity prices and gross domestic product.

Some predict economic collapse, while others anticipate a burst of growth and green jobs.

The disparity spurred Larry Parker, an energy and environmental policy specialist with the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, to warn lawmakers last month to beware of such analyses — particularly those that purport to gauge the impact on states and individuals.

Such "fine-grained" analyses, he told the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, "are fraught with numerous difficulties."

Still, one particularly granular study by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, released last March, has stirred a good deal of debate in Texas.

A fact sheet on the comptroller's Web site, based on the March study, projects the impact of cap-and-trade on Texas beginning in 2012 and offers detailed estimates of the impact on individual Texas households.

"If cap-and-trade started tomorrow, the typical Texas family could expect to spend up to $1,136 more total on goods and services a year," the fact sheet says.

The specificity of household cost predictions is impressive: "legal and financial services" would cost consumers an added $72, the study says. "Clothes, shoes and accessories" would run an extra $57 as a result of cap-and-trade.

Texas politicians, including Gov. Rick Perry and Commissioner of Agriculture Todd Staples, seized on the report's projections to denounce cap-and-trade legislation as a looming economic disaster for Texas families.

"According to the comptroller, this legislation would immediately increase the cost of household goods for Texas families an additional $1,200 per year," Mr. Perry said in a speech in Austin on Sept. 22.

The governor repeated those assertions in a speech last month before the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission.

The study cited by Mr. Perry has been heavily revised in recent months, according to David Schanbacher, the director of the natural resources policy division at the Texas Office of the Comptroller. He noted, for example, that the original figures failed to account for the 83 percent of carbon allowances that will be given away for free during the initial years of the cap-and-trade program.

Some figures on the comptroller's Web site have been adjusted recently to reflect the revised study, though others, tied to the original report, remain.

Nathaniel Keohane, the director of economic policy and analysis at the Environmental Defense Fund, called the results of the comptroller's initial study deeply misleading.

"This is a clearly biased study that is simply irrelevant to the legislation moving through Congress," said Mr. Keohane. "Its conclusions would only be valid if Congress was proposing to sell all the allowances at auction, pile the cash up on the steps of the Capitol, and set it on fire."

Whether or not that's true, Mr. Parker of the Congressional Research Service seemed to suggest that any attempt to measure the direct financial impacts of a climate bill on individuals — or even states — ought to be viewed with some skepticism.

The estimates generated by such studies, Mr. Parker said, "reflect more on the philosophies and assumptions of the cases reviewed than on any credible future effect."

3.11.09

Green newsclips for 3 November 2009: IBM analysis shows Oil & Gas under threat, but Canada could thrive under GHG emissions targets; Al Gore's sequel comes as the ROW complains of lack of leadership in America, and expect 150M climate refugees within 40 years

http://www.environmentalleader.com/2009/11/02/global-smart-meter-installations-to-reach-250-million-units/print/

Climate Change Poses Threat to Oil, Gas Industry
Posted By Environmental Leader On November 3, 2009 @ 12:29 am In ClimateConventional EnergyPredictionsResearch & Technology | No Comments
About three-fourths of global oil and gas firms say they believe that climate change could cause business downtime, system failures and safety risks, yet just 19 percent say they are taking action.

"Our environment is changing and any impacts will be felt across the world putting consumers at risk of a reduced power supply and an increase in prices," said Allan Roberts, Industrial Strategy and Change Leader, IBM UKI Global Business Services.

The report (PDF), "Global Oil & Gas – The Adaptation Challenge [1]," made note of five top industry impacts from climate change:

  • Increased pressure on water resources: Concerns over changing rainfall, water shortages, poor water quality, drought and flooding will increase the demand for water, which may cause operational problems for companies which rely on water for oil and gas production. Only 6 percent of respondents reported knowledge of potential civil and geo-political risks.
  • Physical asset failure: Many exsisting plants and equipment have been designed on the basis of historic climatic conditions and may not withstand changing environmental conditions. Just 6 percent of respondents said they were taking actions to manage disruptions to off-site utilities, including energy, communications, water and waste treatment.
  • Employee health and safety risks: Volatile working conditions in extreme environments and sub standard physical assets may impact the health and safety of employees. In such a case, employer and public liability insurance cover may be compromised.
  • Drop in value of financial assets: To meet the growing demand for energy, oil and gas companies need to continue securing investment for new exploration. Potential investors and stakeholders are placing greater importance on the business impacts of climate change as the risks impact cost and revenue drivers. The current reported value of proved reserves may also be affeced by companies failing to take into account the full impact of climate change.
  • Damage to corporate reputation: As knowledge and awarenesss of climate change grows, any failure to monitor and report on the impacts of climate change on social and ecological resources is likley to harm a company's reputation.
The report recommends that companies analyze their non-market strategies and asset lifecycle management to determine how resilient they are to climate change.

IBM based its analysis on 128 responses to the Carbon Disclosure Project's annual request for investor information from leading oil and gas companies.

http://www.environmentalleader.com/2009/11/03/forests-carbon-offsets-endangered-by-new-un-co2-credit-plan/print/

Forests Carbon Offsets Endangered by New UN CO2 Credit Plan
Posted By Environmental Leader On November 3, 2009 @ 7:32 am In Carbon Finance & OffsetsCarbon Offsets/RECsClimateConservationEmissionsFeatureForestsGlobalGovernment,Policy & Law | No Comments
Some forest carbon-dioxide credits under a new UN forestry climate agreement may be worth less after text that protected forests was removed last month, according to an investor's group, reports Bloomberg News [1].

This could leave some companies who have bought certain forest carbon offsets feeling taken.

The Carbon Markets & Investors Association (CMIA), an emissions-trading lobby group, said in the article the proposal [2] made during climate talks in Bangkok didn't include wording to protect natural forests from being used to cultivate managed woodland plantations, which may reduce demand for the credits.

The proposal will be discussed during final climate negotiations in Barcelona before almost 200 countries gather in Copenhagen to reach an agreement on terms for a new climate protection accord, reports Bloomberg News.

Measures to slow deforestation may be included. Carbon credits would be generated from projects tied to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, known as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation in developing countries (REDD), according to Bloomberg News.

It's generally seen as a cost-effective approach to conserving forests while helping to slow climate change, reports Mongabay.com [3].

The UN estimates that 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions result from deforestation and forest degradation. The United Nations recently released [4] an online forest health tracker that helps monitor the size and health of forests. The UN Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD) tool is aimed at combating climate change through creating incentives to reverse the trend of deforestation.

Brazil, India, Mexico, Switzerland, Norway and more than a dozen other countries want to include the safeguards but the European Union, backed by Democratic Republic of the Congo and other Congo Basin countries, blocked reinstatement of the conversion safeguard, according to Mongabay.com.

Environmentalists believe the elimination of a key provision from the negotiating text for the REDD mechanism could turn the proposed climate change mitigation scheme into a subsidy for large-scale conversion of natural forests to industrial plantations, reports Mongabay.com

Environmentalists told Mongabay that without the provision, forestry companies could receive REDD payments for logging tropical forests and replacing them with single-species plantations, which are biologically impoverished and store less carbon relative to natural forests.

The provision is expected to be reinstated at the Barcelona talks, according to Mongabay.com.

http://www.environmentalleader.com/2009/11/03/canada-can-meet-ghg-emissions-targets-while-growing-jobs-economy/print/

Canada Can Meet GHG Emissions Targets, While Growing Jobs, Economy
Posted By Environmental Leader On November 3, 2009 @ 7:49 am In Carbon FinanceCarbon Finance & OffsetsCarbon Offsets/RECsChartsClimateEconomicsEmissionsFinancial,GovernmentNorth AmericaPredictionsReportingResearch & Technology | No Comments
Canada can meet [1] targets to reduce global warming pollution, while growing jobs and its economy, according to an economic modeling study commissioned by the Pembina Institute [2] and the David Suzuki Foundation [3]. However, not all provinces agree with the study's findings.

The report, Climate Leadership, Economic Prosperity [4] (PDF), shows how Canada can achieve both the federal government's current target to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 20 percent below the 2006 level by 2020, as well as a more ambitious target of 25 percent below the 1990 level by 2020. The second target is derived from analysis of the emission reductions needed to limit average global warming to 2 degrees C — a limit supported by a broad scientific consensus, according to the report.

This is said to be the first Canadian study of its kind to show regional impacts on employment and gross domestic product, and the first to comprehensively examine how Canada can meet a GHG reduction target for 2020 that goes beyond the federal government's target.

Leading economic modeling firm M.K. Jaccard and Associates conducted an in-depth study of federal and provincial policies needed for Canada to meet two targets to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, which indicates that Canada can implement much stronger climate policies than the U.S. and still prosper economically, according to the report.

Technological approaches cited to achieve major reductions in Canada's GHG emissions range from increased energy efficiency and renewable energy to carbon capture and storage.

Two key findings of the Jaccard study show that Canada's gross domestic product (GDP) would continue to grow at 2.1 percent per year on average between 2010 and 2020 while meeting the 2-degree C target, compared to 2.2 percent for the government's target and 2.4 percent under business as usual. The country's total number of jobs would grow by 11 percent between 2010 and 2020 while meeting either target.

To meet the 2-degree C target, a carbon price would start at $50 per ton in 2010 and reach $200 per ton by 2020, while carbon pricing to meet the government's target would need to reach $100 per ton by 2020, or $145 per ton if Canada does not purchase any international credits, according to the study.

The study also finds that almost half of carbon price revenue can be returned to Canadians through reductions in income tax. Revenue from carbon pricing can also fund major public investments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as building smart grids and transit infrastructure, according to the study.

The study also indicates the need to address very high emissions in Alberta and Saskatchewan, which would significantly reduce projected growth rates in these provinces. However, Alberta's per capita GDP would continue to be much higher than that of any other region, and Saskatchewan's per capita GDP would stay close to the Canadian average, according to the report.

Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach rejected the report's findings that Ottawa can only achieve its GHG emissions targets by limiting growth in Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C., reports CBC News [5].

The report says a massive restructuring of the Canadian economy will be required to meet the government's climate-change targets, with wealth flowing from the West to the rest of the country, reports Canada's news site.

Stelmach told reporters there won't be another wealth transfer to Ottawa saying that federal equalization programs have already transferred $117 billion from the province to Ottawa over the last decade, reports CBC.

The study finds that economic growth by 2020 would be reduced in Alberta by 8.5 percent, in Saskatchewan by 2.8 percent and in British Columbia by 2.5 percent.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/nov/02/al-gore-our-choice-environment-climate/print

Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth sequel stresses spiritual argument on climate
Nobel winner adapts fact-based message to reach those who believe they have a moral duty to protect the planet in Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis
Suzanne Goldenberg, US environment correspondent
guardian.co.uk, Monday 2 November 2009 19.58 GMT
 larger | smaller

Al Gore. Photograph by Graeme Robertson
Al's Gore's much-anticipated sequel to An Inconvenent Truth is published today, with an admission that facts alone will not persuade Americans to act on global warming and that appealing to their spiritual side is the way forward.
In his latest book, Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis, the man who won a Nobel prize in 2007 for his touring slideshow on disappearing polar ice and other consequences of climate change, concludes: "Simply laying out the facts won't work."
Instead, Gore tells Newsweek magazine in a pre-publication interview, that he has been adapting his fact-based message - now put out by hundreds of volunteers - to appeal to those who believe there is a moral or religious duty to protect the planet.
"I've done a Christian [-based] training program; I have a Muslim training program and a Jewish training program coming up, also a Hindu program coming up. I trained 200 Christian ministers and lay leaders here in Nashville in a version of the slide show that is filled with scriptural references. It's probably my favourite version, but I don't use it very often because it can come off as proselytising," Gore tells Newsweek.
Gore's book arrives at a time of intense international scrutiny of America's moves on the environment ahead of an international meeting on global warming at Copenhagen, now just more than a month away.
It draws on the scholarly approach Gore developed for Inconvenient Truth. Since 2007, the former vice-president has been calling experts together from fields ranging from agriculture to neuroscience to discuss possible solutions to climate change.
The book draws on 30 such "solutions summits", as well as Gore's countless telephone conversations with scientists at America's best institutions. According to the book's press release, "Among the most unique approaches Gore takes in the book is showing readers how our own minds can be an impediment to change."
New polling last month showed a steep decline in the numbers of Americans who share Gore's sense of urgency in acting on climate change.
The book aims to reach those Americans by familiarising readers with emerging alternative energy sources, such as geothermal, biomass and wind power, as well as the possibilities of making cleaner coal power plants, and developing a more efficient and responsive "smart" electrical grid.
Gore also explores how deforestation, soil erosion, and the rising world population are multiplying the effects of rising greenhouse gas emissions.
Much of the material was developed through the series of brainstorming sessions organised by Gore. Since 2007, the former vice-president has been calling experts together to discuss possible solutions to climate change. He has also held countless telephone conversations with scientists at America's best institutions.
"He is one of the only politicians that takes the time to actually talk to scientists who are producing the cutting-edge stuff and he comes in with questions. He doesn't ask us how our results impinge on a particular policy he actually asks about science," said Gavin Schmidt, a climatologist at Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, who spoke to Gore along with colleagues four or five times for the book. "Nobody that we have dealt with has ever taken as much time to understand the subtlety of the science and all the different complications and what it all means as Al Gore."
Those conversations led Gore to politically inconvenient conclusions in this new book. In his conversations with Schmidt and other colleagues at the beginning of the year, Gore explored new studies - published only last week - that show methane and black carbon or soot had a far greater impact on global warming than previously thought. Carbon dioxide - while the focus of the politics of climate change - produces around 40% of the actual warming.
Gore acknowledged to Newsweek that the findings could complicate efforts to build a political consensus around the need to limit carbon emissions.

"Over the years I have been among those who focused most of all on CO2, and I think that's still justified," he told the magazine. "But a comprehensive plan to solve the climate crisis has to widen the focus to encompass strategies for all" of the greenhouse culprits identified in the Nasa study.
The former vice-president has been working behind the scenes to try to nudge the White House and Congress to move forward on a 920-page proposed law to cut America's greenhouse gas emissions and encourage its use of clean energy sources like solar and wind power.
On Saturday, he told the German newspaper, Der Spiegel, he was "almost certain" Obama would attend the negotiations. The White House has so far refused to make a commitment.
But Gore has also been confronted with almost daily fresh reminders of the difficulties of prodding Americans to action.
The proposed legislation has set off a ferocious debate about the costs of dealing with climate change - with conservative Democrats and Republicans saying reducing America's use of oil will deepen unemployment and hurt average American families.
Republicans in the Senate have threatened to boycott a session today that had been called to move forward a draft of a 920-page proposed law to deal with climate change.
Progress on the bill is seen as crucial to getting a binding deal at Copenhagen. Barbara Boxer, the chair of the Senate's environment and public works committee, said yesterday she was ready to move ahead without any Republican participation.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/nov/02/barcelona-us-climate-talks/print

Climate negotiators grow impatient at lack of leadership from America
UN and EU pile pressure on US to set ambitious carbon cuts and timetables to improve chances of deal at Copenhagen
John Vidal in Barcelona
guardian.co.uk, Monday 2 November 2009 16.16 GMT
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Greenpeace activists hang a banner reading Save the climate, at the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Photograph: David Ramos/AP
With just five days' formal negotiations left before the start of crucial UN climate talks in Copenhagen next month, key figures in the negotiations are showing clear signs of impatience at the US position.
At international climate talks in Barcelona, the United Nations and European Union, backed by international environment and development groups, today piled pressure on the US to set more ambitious targets and timetables to cut greenhouse emissions in order to reach an agreement.
"We expect American leadership. President Obama has created great expectations around the world. Now we urge [the US] to contribute in the way that we have," said Andreas Carlgren, Swedish environment minister talking on behalf of the EU presidency.
In a clear reference to the US, he added: "We are prepared to cut a deal. Other countries should demonstrate leadership and step up their current pledges."
Countries accept that the Obama administration's hands have been tied by delays in Congress but they urged the president to show more personal leadership and to instruct his negotiators to be less intransigent.
"I remind the US that it is not the only country in the world that has to have discussions with its domestic parliament," said Connie Hedegaard, the Danish environment ministerwho will host the talks in Copenhagen.
"The expectation out there worldwide among populations and the young [is for] the US to deliver on one of the key challenges of our century. The Americans will have to come up [with an offer] one way or another," she said.
Yvo de Boer, head of the UN framework convention on climate change (UNFCCC) echoed the call for more ambition from the US. "We need to see clear targets from the US at Copenhagen," he said.
But US chief negotiator Jonathan Pershing responded that the US wanted a deal. "Notions that the US is not making an effort is not correct. To apportion blame is not the constructive thing to do. We do not want to be outside [an agreement]. We have the best chance to [make an agreement] if we can implement something domestically. We and Congress recognise the need to move forward," he said.
Pershing accepted that China had moved significantly to reduce its emissions, but said that it needed to go further. "It is very clear that China has taken enormous steps to reduce greenhouse gases. We look forward to an aggressive [next] step from China," he said.
However, groups like Greenpeace accused the US of doing too little. In a letter sent to Obama today they said: "Our critical assessment is that the [US] legislation pending in Congress in the crucial near term will be a perpetuation of business as usual and it will not decrease emissions in the US."
"The continuation of business as usual means doing nothing to reduce emissions. The US position is to reduce US emissions by 17% below 2005 levels. This is far short of what science demands and what Europe has committed to achieve. The 17% reduction shrinks to an actual 4% if measured against 1990 levels." This is the accepted benchmark year used by the Kyoto protocol.
"Congress and parliaments [around the world] have set themselves up to pass new laws to reduce emissions. It is the collective effort that should be reflected," said Pershing.


guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2009



http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/nov/03/global-warming-climate-refugees/print

Global warming could create 150 million 'climate refugees' by 2050
Environmental Justice Foundation report says 10% of the global population is at risk of forced displacement due to climate change
John Vidal in Barcelona
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 3 November 2009 00.05 GMT
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People displaced by Cyclone Nargis line up by their tents for a visit from UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon in 2008 in Kyondah, Myanmar. Photograph: Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images
Global warming will force up to 150 million "climate refugees" to move to other countries in the next 40 years, a new report from the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) warns.
In 2008 alone, more than 20 million people were displaced by climate-related natural disasters, including 800,000 people by cyclone Nargis in Asia, and almost 80,000 by heavy floods and rains in Brazil, the NGO said.
President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives, who presented testimony to the EJF, said people in his country did not want to "trade a paradise for a climate refugee camp". He warned rich countries taking part in UN climate talks this week in Barcelona "not to be stupid" in negotiating a climate treaty in Copenhagen this December.
Nasheed urged governments to find ways to keep temperature rises caused by warming under 2C. "We won't be around for anything after 2C," he said. "We are just 1.5m oversea level and anything over that, any rise in sea level – anything even near that – would wipe off the Maldives. People are having to move their homes because of erosion. We've already this year had problems with two islands and we are having to move them to other islands. We have a right to live."
Last month, the president held a cabinet meeting underwater to draw attention to the plight of his country.
The EJF claimed 500 million to 600 million people – nearly 10% of the world's population – are at risk from displacement by climate change. Around 26 million have already had to move, a figure that the EJF predicts could grow to 150 million by 2050. "The majority of these people are likely to be internally displaced, migrating only within a short radius from their homes. Relatively few will migrate internationally to permanently resettle in other countries," said the report's authors.
In the longer term, the report said, changes to weather patterns will lead to various problems, including desertification and sea-level rises that threaten to inundate low-lying areas and small island developing states. An expert at the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations in Paris recently said global warming could create "ghost states" with citizens living in "virtual states" due to land lost to rising seas.
The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts sea-level rise in the range of 18-59cm during the 21st century. Nearly one-third of coastal countries have more than 10% of their national land within 5 metres of sea level. Countries liable to lose all or a significant part of their land in the next 50 years, said the EJF report, include Tuvalu, Fiji, the Solomon islands, the Marshall islands, the Maldives and some of the Lesser Antilles.
Many other countries, including Bangladesh, Kenya, Papua New Guinea, Somalia, Yemen, Ethiopia, Chad and Rwanda, could see large movements of people. Bangladesh has had 70 climate-related natural disasters in the past 10 years.
"Climate change impacts on homes and infrastructure, food and water and human health. It will bring about a forced migration on an unprecedented scale," said the EJF director, Steve Trent. "We must take immediate steps to reduce our impact on global climate, and we must also recognise the need to protect those already suffering along with those most at risk."
He called for a new international agreement to address the scale and human cost of climate change. "The formal legal definition of refugees needs to be extended to include those affected by climate change and also internally displaced persons," he said.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2009


2.11.09

Carbon newsclips for 2 November 2009: Australia-US-Canada: A study in contrasts; Climate disclosure coming, according to the SEC; the renewed attention given to forests; and more shenanigans leading up to Copenhagen's COP15

http://www.globe-net.com/news/listing.cfm?newsID=4822

Environment Minister Outlines Canada's Climate Change Plan

Integration and Harmonization were the keywords in the Environment Minister's comments - referring to the need for Canada to harmonize with (not follow) the regulatory regime evolving south of the border.
GLOBE-Net (October 27, 2009) - In a wide-ranging address to the Council For Clean and Reliable Energy this week, Environment Minister Jim Prentice
outlined the context for Canada's emerging regulations on the environment and climate change.

Integration and Harmonization were the keywords reflected throughout his comments - referring to the need for Canada to harmonize with (not follow) the regulatory regimes that are evolving south of the border.
The reasons for this are obvious, noted the Minister. Canada shares a common environment with the United States, our economies are integrated, and Canada is a major part of the North American energy equation.
"We're a supplier, a business partner, and a recipient of direct investment. We are not just the single largest supplier to the American market of oil, natural gas, hydroelectricity and uranium. If you live in the land-locked northern tier states, we are an indispensable supplier, "he said, "We co-manage and co-own pipelines and power grids that transcend the border."
This is the reason why it makes sense for the three nations of North America to unite in common cause with respect to climate change policies, he noted. A more practical reason he added was the fact that Canada and the United States have already moved down the path of policy convergence, namely through the agreement between President Obama and Prime Minister Harper on a bilateral Clean Energy Dialogue.
Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is one of the most promising areas for Canada-US cooperation noted Minister Prentice, referencing the funding announced recently for a CCS project at a TransAlta plant west of Edmonton, which could help Canada cut its greenhouse gas emissions by almost three-quarters of current annual emissions by 2050.
One of the biggest impediments to closer cooperation is the absence of clear policies, regulations, and rules governing CCS noted the Minister, and the Clean Energy Dialogue process will help develop policy frameworks to take advantage of opportunities for collaboration
Auto Emissions - Another area where the harmonization of policies has paid off involves the regulation of emissions from vehicles. In 2007, the U.S. Congress passed legislation that prescribes new efficiency standards - a goal of 35 miles per gallon for the average new vehicle fleet by 2020. It only makes sense for Canada to harmonize our standards with the national standard of our largest trading partner.
Cap and Trade - The collaborative approach with the United States extends also to the proposed cap and trade system to manage carbon emissions reductions, noted Minister Prentice. "We will build a system in Canada that can be treated as equivalent to the system that will eventually be adopted in the United States. This does not mean we are waiting for the Americans to act - far from it. It means that we are ensuring we create a system that does not inadvertently impose trade barriers."
Citing a possible U.S. goal of a 20 per cent reduction of greenhouse gases below 2005 levels by 2020 in the draft bill now before the Senate, Minister Prentice noted Canada's GHG emission reduction targets are within the range of US objectives. "By 2020, Canada has committed to reduce GHGs by 20 per cent from their 2006 level and by 2050 we are looking for a 60 to 70 per cent reduction over 2006."
Nuclear's Role - As is the case in the United States. nuclear will play a key role in Canada's clean energy strategy, he stated, which is why the federal government is moving forward with restructuring of Atomic Energy of Canada (AECL) to strengthen its ability to compete internationally and to take full advantage of the emerging opportunities that are part of the nuclear renaissance.
The full text of the Minister's comments are available here.  
Environment Minister Prentice will be a key participant in the upcoming GLOBE 2010conference and exposition on the business of the environment taking place in Vancouver, Canada March 24-26, 2010. Check out this website for more details:http://www.globe2010.com

http://planetark.org/wen/55244

Australia Boosts International Efforts On Climate
Date: 29-Oct-09
Country:
 AUSTRALIA
Author:
 Reuters


The funnel of an oil refinery is seen above water reeds in Melbourne August 13, 2009.
Photo: Mick Tsikas

CANBERRA - Australia stepped up lobbying ahead of the global climate talks in Copenhagen on Wednesday, with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd accepting a key role as Climate Change Minister Penny Wong heads to Spain for talks.
Rudd has accepted an offer from Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen to become a friend of the Copenhagen summit chair, giving him a key role in helping to forge an international deal to curb Greenhouse emissions ahead of the December meeting.
"The leaders engaged by Prime Minister Rasmussen will conduct regular discussions in the lead up to Copenhagen focused on delivering effective action on climate change," a spokesman for Rudd told Reuters.
The spokesman said Rudd would go to Copenhagen if the summit became a leaders' meeting, and if his attendance would help bring about an effective outcome, adding it was critical for leaders to be engaged ahead of the meeting.
Wong, who is negotiating to push laws for a domestic carbon-trade scheme through Australia's parliament, will attend a Barcelona meeting of environment ministers from Thursday, where she will push for progress ahead of the Copenhagen talks.
"We are just weeks out from Copenhagen and at a critical stage in negotiations. This is an important opportunity for countries to make progress on key issues central to achieving consensus in Copenhagen."
Australia has proposed a system of national schedules which will allow developed countries to set individual carbon reduction targets, and allow developing nations to record actions tailored to their circumstances.
Australia has promised to cut greenhouse emissions, blamed for global warming, by 5 percent, or up to 25 percent if other countries agree to take strong action to curb emissions.
Australia, the world's biggest coal exporter, accounts for about 1.5 percent of global emissions but is one of the highest per capital emitters due to a reliance on coal for about 80 percent of electricity generation.
(Editing by Sugita Katyal)

http://www.environmentalleader.com/2009/10/29/keeping-climate-momentum-up-obama-woos-business-execs/print/

Keeping Climate Momentum Up, Obama Woos Business Execs
Posted By Environmental Leader On October 29, 2009 @ 7:29 am In ClimateGovernmentMajor PlayersManufacturingPolicy & Law | No Comments
To rally support for cap-and-trade legislation and other climate bill aspects, President Obama met with more than 100 business executives at the White House Oct. 28.

So far, Obama has held three of these meetings with business leaders, reports the New York Times [1].

The meeting comes against a backdrop of the Senate's three days [2] of hearings on its version of the climate bill.

As the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works deliberates the climate bill, as sponsored by Democratic Senators John Kerry of Massachusetts and Barbara Boxer of California, Republicans are dismissing the legislation as a job-killer that favors some parts of the country over others.

Even Sen. Max Baucus, a Democrat from Montana, said he has "serious reservations" about the bill. He is asking Democrats to weaken the measure, including the 2020 target to reduce emissions by 20 percent, to ensure passage, according to the New York Times [3].

Baucus also wants to pre-empt the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency from adding new greenhouse gas regulations on industry.

http://planetark.org/wen/55263

Chamber Faces Dissent From Big U.S. Firms On Climate
Date: 30-Oct-09
Country:
 US
Author:
 Scott Malone - Analysis

BOSTON - The biggest U.S. business organization has fallen out with influential parts of Corporate America because of its trenchant opposition to climate-change legislation making its way through Congress.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's opposition to the climate bill has already cost it prominent members including Apple Inc and California utility PG&E Corp.
And this week two of the lobbying group's most powerful members, the conglomerate General Electric Co and the telecommunications equipment provider Cisco Systems Inc told Reuters they do not see eye-to-eye with the group on climate regulations.
"The Chamber does not represent our views on the urgent need for climate legislation," said Peter O'Toole, a spokesman for GE, the largest U.S. conglomerate. "We need climate legislation and a price for carbon in the U.S. now."
The Chamber, which represents some 3 million U.S. businesses ranging from massive multinationals to mom-and-pop operations, says its positions take into account the needs of many sorts of businesses across a range of industries.
"Our goal is to have the positions that we actually take stances on be reflective of the democratic majority of the broad majority of the business community," said Eric Wohlschlegel, a Chamber spokesman. "There are cases, not just with energy, where companies are going to peel off and take different positions than the Chamber."
The bill making its way through Congress aims to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide -- a greenhouse gas that contributes to global climate change -- through a cap-and-trade system that would allow companies a limited amount of emissions. Those that emit more would need to buy additional credits; those that emit less would be able to sell credits.
The Chamber has raised concerns that the bill is not comprehensive enough and is not international in scope while seeking to tackle a global problem.
Its opposition to the climate bill, as well as to proposed health care reforms, has become enough of a concern to the White House that U.S. President Barack Obama met with Chamber officials on Thursday.
NEED TO "MODERNIZE"
Apple, which makes Macintosh personal computers and iPod music players, as well as utilities PG&E, Exelon Corp and PNM Resources Inc, quit the Chamber outright over this issue, while giant sportswear maker Nike Inc stepped down from the board but remains a member of the group.
Even companies that are keeping up their memberships said they would like to see change.
Cisco, the world's largest maker of equipment for networking computers, aims to work with the Chamber "to modernize their position," said spokeswoman Jennifer Greeson.
Duke Energy Corp Chief Executive Jim Rogers has long advocated regulation of carbon dioxide emissions and threw his weight behind the House version of the bill. He has no plans to give up his seat on the Chamber's board, a spokesman said.
"We work with the Chamber on lots of different issues, but we don't always see eye-to-eye with them," said Tom Williams, a spokesman for the Charlotte, North Carolina-based company.
Healthcare company Johnson & Johnson in April wrote Chamber officials a letter asking that their public comments on climate change "reflect the full range of views, especially for those of Chamber members advocated for Congressional action."
Many of the nation's largest companies have changed their tone on climate change in recent years, with some regarding regulations as inevitable and saying they would prefer the certainty that can only come when laws are passed. Businesses have also ramped up their green marketing, promoting themselves as environmentally concerned -- an image that does not mesh with aggressively fighting proposed climate regulations.
"It's a really interesting, dramatic turn of events, and unprecedented in nature, that this many major companies would stand up and say: 'You have it wrong,'" said Anne Kelly, director of climate policy at Ceres, a network of socially concerned investors, companies and public interest groups that collectively oversee some $7 trillion in assets.
"HEAVY COSTS" FEARED
To be sure, there are many loud voices within corporate America that oppose the proposed regulations.
The incoming CEO of oil company Chevron Corp, John Watson, told a meeting of Chamber members on Wednesday that the proposals "would lay heavy new costs on every family and business in the U.S."
Chamber spokesman Wohlschlegel also noted that members of the organization dissatisfied with its position on climate have the option of joining its policy-setting environment committee, which currently has about 125 members.
The Chamber's lobbying efforts extend far beyond environmental issues -- it has had a loud voice on both health care and financial regulatory reform, for instance.
Officials at Caterpillar Inc, Dow Chemical Co and International Business Machines Corp all pointed out that their companies belong to the Chamber in part because of the breadth of its influence.
"Our involvement with the Chamber is bigger than a single issue," said IBM spokesman Jay Cadmus. "There are going to be times when you don't agree."
(Editing by Gerald E. McCormick)


http://www.environmentalleader.com/2009/10/29/sec-traded-firms-may-have-to-disclose-climate-change-risks/print/

SEC: Traded Firms May Have to Disclose Climate Change Risks
Posted By Environmental Leader On October 29, 2009 @ 8:34 am In ChartsFinance & ReportingFinancialReportingU.S. | No Comments
U.S.-traded companies may have to disclose their exposure to financial risks relating to climate change and emerging policies under a new U.S. Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) staff guidance, reports Nasdaq [1] (via Dow Jones Newswires).

The Staff Legal Guidance said it's changing how it analyzes companies' "no-action" requests [2] on shareholder proposals relating to environmental, financial or health risks, according to Nasdaq.

The decision, outlined in SEC Staff Legal Bulletin No. 14E (CF), reverses [3] an SEC rule that prevented investors from directly asking companies about the impacts of climate change and other issues on their financial bottom lines, according to Ceres, a network of investors and environmental organizations that represent around $8 trillion in assets.

Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres, said investors will now be able to inquire about the financial implications of critical issues such as climate change.

In the past, the SEC allowed companies to reject shareholder resolutions, as a "no action" request if the resolution linked environmental or social issues to the company's evaluation of risks, according to Ceres.

The SEC guidance follows a series of investor lawsuits against emissions-intense companies demanding that they reveal the potential impact of climate policies on their operations, reports Nasdaq.

Earlier this year, several investor groups, including Ceres and the Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR), requested [4] the SEC to address the lack of corporate disclosure of climate change and other material environmental, social, and governance risks in securities filings.

Two recent studies, by Ceres, Environmental Defense Fund and the Center for Energy and Environmental Security (CEES), found [5] that climate change-related disclosure was nearly nonexistent in SEC filings of global companies with the most at stake in preparing for a low-carbon global economy.

SEC Commissioner Elisse Walters also said the agency is considering new guidance requiring greater carbon disclosure in regular filings with the Commission, reports Nasdaq.

Dan Bakal, Ceres' director of electric power programs, said in that article that although approved shareholder requests aren't binding, they send a strong signal to the company that they need to take action on an issue.

As Congress and the Obama administration move toward federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions, major industry sectors are likely to see their bottom lines impacted by new climate regulations, reports Nasdaq.


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URL to article: http://www.environmentalleader.com/2009/10/29/sec-traded-firms-may-have-to-disclose-climate-change-risks/

URLs in this post:
[1] Nasdaq: http://www.nasdaq.com/aspx/stock-market-news-story.aspx?storyid=200910281505dowjonesdjonline000763&title=correctsec-guidance-may-lead-co2-policy-risk-disclosure
[2] "no-action" requests: http://www.sec.gov/interps/legal/cfslb14e.htm#foot4
[3] reverses: http://www.ceres.org/Page.aspx?pid=1145
[4] requested: http://www.environmentalleader.com/2009/06/16/investors-call-on-sec-to-enforce-climate-change-disclosures/
[5] found: http://www.environmentalleader.com/2009/06/04/sec-filings-lack-climate-change-disclosures/


http://www.environmentalleader.com/2009/10/30/canadian-boreal-forests-emerge-as-viable-carbon-sink/print/

Canadian Boreal Forests Emerge As Viable Carbon Sink
Posted By Environmental Leader On October 30, 2009 @ 7:08 am In Carbon Offsets/RECsClean EnergyForestsNorth AmericaPolicy & Law | No Comments
In northern Canada, an area twice the size of California stores the equivalent of 27 years worth of global greenhouse gas emissions. Now, Canadian provinces and other groups are taking steps to preserve the expansive boreal forest.

Some groups are planning to sell carbon offsets [1] in exchange for protecting the forests. Others just want to see them preserved at any cost. Indeed, Greenpeace spent years pressuring Kimberly-Clark to cease chopping down old-growth boreal forests. When the paper goods giant agreed [2] to use 40 percent recycled content earlier this year, it was deemed a victory for Canada's boreal forests.

Canada's boreal forests, which are made up of a mix of trees, wetlands, peat and tundra, soak up as much as 22 percent of all carbon stored on the Earth's land surface, according to the International Boreal Conservation Campaign [3].

Now, Canadian provincial governments and aboriginal leaders are leading a conservation drive to ban logging, mining and oil drilling on about 250 million acres of Canadian boreal forest, reports the GuardianUK [4].

In Manitoba, a $10 million fund has been set up to protect about 10.8 million acres of forest.

Observers note that, even with conservation efforts, the boreal forests may one day become a virtual carbon time bomb. If climate change causes warmer, drier weather, the boreal forest swamps may dry up, exposing tons and tons of peat that would release carbon. Additionally, warmer weather would bring insect pressure and disease, potentially causing deforestation and the release of even more carbon.


Article printed from Environmental Leader: http://www.environmentalleader.com

URL to article: http://www.environmentalleader.com/2009/10/30/canadian-boreal-forests-emerge-as-viable-carbon-sink/

URLs in this post:
[1] sell carbon offsets: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/118643127/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0
[2] agreed: http://www.environmentalleader.com/2009/08/06/kimberly-clark-to-source-40-of-fiber-from-recycled-or-fsc-certified-stock/
[3] International Boreal Conservation Campaign: http://www.interboreal.org/globalwarming/
[4] GuardianUK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/oct/29/canada-boreal-forest-carbon-vault


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Carbon values drive forest investment, greens wary

Reuters, 28 October 2009 - New rewards to store carbon in trees are driving forestry investments, but green groups fear they pose a threat to ancient woodlands and rainforests.

A new environmental focus is driving momentum in the forestry sector, with new demand for wood to replace coal and natural gas in Europe, and emerging markets for carbon offsets.

But a focus on the carbon benefits of trees has exposed differences between some green groups and investors on what counts as "sustainable" forestry.

Growing awareness of the environmental value of plantation forests is overdue, say managers.

"When you see 'think carefully before you print this email' that's just silly," said Liane Luke, chief timber officer at the $550 million, London-listed Phaunos Timber Fund.

"The more plantations there are the more carbon you're sucking out of the air. People need to get less sentimental about forests, it's like growing corn," she said.

Burning wood to produce energy emits less carbon than burning fossil fuels, especially if the trees are replanted, because plants trap CO2 from the air as they grow.

And because trees trap carbon dioxide, plantation owners may also be able to sell carbon offsets to polluters who have to meet tough emissions caps under prospective climate laws.

Green groups are concerned on how the rules are written for rainforests -- for example whether owners could earn offsets and still extract trees -- and are worried new interest in wood fuel could add pressure on ancient natural forests in Europe.

A new, global U.N.-led climate deal should add clarity to rules in talks which resume next week in Barcelona, in an ongoing effort to agree a deal in Copenhagen in December.

SUSTAINABLE

Indonesia and other south-east Asian countries have a long track record of destroying virgin rainforest to plant palm for the production of oil for the food and biofuel industries.

Reputable timber firms, their investors and green groups agree that landowners shouldn't be able to destroy rainforests and then earn carbon offsets for re-planting them.

But more nuanced rules for "sustainable" forest management are far from written, said Barry Gardiner, chair of a commission on forestry, under a group of lawmakers worldwide called GLOBE.

Liane Luke's Phaunos defines sustainable management of plantations as cutting no more trees than you plant. Natural forests including rainforests can also be selectively logged with little damage, under the right rules, said Gardiner.

But the Rainforest Foundation's Simon Counsell rejected selective logging of rainforests, which he said resulted in far bigger carbon losses than simply from the felled trees, for example from the damage caused by heavy machinery.

"It's a nonsense that these should be eligible for carbon credits, it should be carbon debiting," he said.

Draft climate laws in the United States and Australia are raising expectations of carbon offset markets there.

"As uncertainty recedes we think it will see substantial growth," said Caelim Parkes from Westbury, a manager of alternative investments launching a forestry product. A draft U.S. climate bill being considered in the Senate would allow polluters to buy 1.5 billion tons of carbon offsets annually.

The wood chip market, based on fast-growing eucalyptus and other plantations, has lesser environmental concerns -- especially where they are planted on grasslands in tropical countries, adding soil, landscape and carbon benefits.

The European Union has set goals for the 27-nation bloc to get 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020, fuelling a wood chip boom.

International biomass firm Clenergen, for example, is developing plantations of fast-growing trees for export from Guyana to Europe and the United States, and for domestic energy markets in Ghana and India.

(Editing by James Jukwey)



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World needs low carbon revolution by 2014 -report

Reuters, 19 October 2009 - The world has five years to start a "low carbon industrial revolution" before runaway climate change becomes almost inevitable, a new report commissioned by global conservation group WWF said on Monday.

Beyond 2014, the upper limits of industrial growth rates will make it impossible for market economies to meet the lower carbon targets required to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius, said the report by Climate Risk Ltd, which provides assessments on climate change risk, opportunities and adaptation.

A global temperature rise from carbon emissions of two degrees Celsius has been identified by scientists as presenting unacceptable risks of runaway climate change.

"In highlighting the critical nature of the time constraint, the report also shows that the current emphasis on carbon price as the key element of the climate change solution is dangerously misleading," said co-author Karl Mallon.

The "Climate Solutions 2" report found market measures, such as emissions-trading schemes like the one in operation in Europe and planned by Australia, will not by themselves deliver a sufficient reduction in emissions in time.

Beyond 2014, "war-footing paced interventions" could be introduced to bring about rapid transition, but the report warns against relying on such action. (The report is on wwwf.org.au)

"We have reached a pivotal moment in our history where the window of opportunity which remains to prevent runaway climate change will soon disappear entirely," said Kim Carstensen, leader of WWF's Global Climate Initiative.

U.N. climate talks on expanding the fight against global warming have largely stalled ahead of a major climate summit in Copenhagen Dec 7-18 aimed at forging a new deal to extend or replace the Kyoto Protocol after 2012.

Currently, emissions reduction targets are far below the 25-40 percent cut from 1990 levels by 2020 the U.N. climate panel says is needed to limit the growth of carbon in the atmosphere.

CLEAN INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

The WWF report called for simultaneous action on greenhouse emissions from all sectors, using market measures and other policies such as energy efficiency standards, feed-in tariffs for renewable energy and an end to subsidies for fossil fuel use.

"The transformation will require sustained growth in clean and efficient industry in excess of 20 percent a year over a period of decades," Carstensen said in a statement.

"The report's modelling shows how we can sustain these growth rates but also makes it clear this will be the fastest industrial revolution witnessed in our history."

Industries that will lead the transformation are renewable energy, carbon capture and storage, energy efficiency, low-carbon agriculture and sustainable forestry, said the report.

A "clean industrial revolution" could see renewable energies become competitive with fossil fuels between 2013 and 2025 based on a two percent annual rise in fossil fuel prices and no price on carbon, it said.

"The wind, the sea and the sun will cost the same today, tomorrow and into the future, unlike coal," said Stephan Singer, who leads WWF's Global Energy Initiative.

The report calculates an extra $17 trillion would need to be invested up to 2050, or less than 15 percent of funds managed by institutional investors, to transform industry. It forecast investment returns from 2027 or earlier.

"The basis for this transformation has to be laid in Copenhagen in December with a fair, binding and effective new global deal on climate change," said Carstensen.

(Editing by Jerry Norton)

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

'Creative' policies needed to drive low-carbon investment – UNEP

Environmental Finance, 29 October 2009 - Governments should adopt "creative policies" to encourage low-carbon investment in developing countries, if the world is to mobilise the $500 billion a year needed to help poor countries tackle climate change, according to a report from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and other finance groups.

The private sector will have to supply the vast majority of financing to meet the challenge of climate change, but at present the returns on low-carbon investment in developing countries are not commensurate with the risks, UNEP said.

According to the Catalysing Low Carbon Growth in Developing Economies report, governments could adopt a number of mechanisms to effectively deploy public funds to leverage private sector investment in climate solutions. These include:

  • Explicitly supporting low-carbon investment by providing insurance to cover country risks such as expropriation, breach of contract, war or civil disturbance;
  • Providing insurance for when countries renege on policy frameworks and incentive schemes that underpin low-carbon investments;
  • Providing a public currency fund to offer cost-effective local currency hedges that would not otherwise be available in commercial foreign exchange markets;
  • Establishing vehicles specialising in early-stage low-carbon projects, to provide a series of easily executable, commercially attractive projects; and
  • Direct public sector investment in low-carbon funds with a 'first-loss equity' position where they would be the first investor to lose if the fund fails, thereby improving the overall risk-return profile of such vehicles.
The International Energy Agency has estimated that $1 trillion a year of investment is needed globally to avoid dangerous climate change, and the World Bank suggests half of this will have to be deployed in developing countries.

"Investors and policy-makers increasingly agree on the need to deploy public finance at the margin to mobilise institutional capital for low-carbon growth. This report provides real world insights on how public finance mechanisms can work on the ground," said Nick Robins, head of HSBC's climate change centre and co-chair of the UNEP Finance Initiative's climate change working group.

http://planetark.org/wen/55277

U.N. Talks In Spain Seek To Salvage Climate Deal
Date: 02-Nov-09
Country:
 NORWAY
Author:
 Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent



ooling towers are demolished in an attempt to save energy and reduce emissions, at a power plant in Xinxiang, Henan province, October 28, 2009. The United States does not expect to reach an agreement on climate change with China during President Barack Ob
Photo: Donald Chan

OSLO - Climate negotiators from 175 nations meet in Spain next week for a final session to try to break deadlock between rich and poor and salvage a U.N. deal due in Copenhagen in December.
The November 2-6 talks in Barcelona of almost 4,000 delegates, led by senior government officials, will seek to end deep splits about sharing out curbs on greenhouse gases and ways to raise billions of dollars to help the poor tackle global warming.
In a step forward, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said European Union leaders agreed on funds at a summit on Friday with three conditional offers for Copenhagen. He said poor nations need 100 billion euros ($148 billion) a year from 2020.
Brown told reporters in Brussels that EU states would pay their "fair share." "I think this is a breakthrough that takes us forward to Copenhagen," he said.
Most industrialized nations have not outlined offers.
All sides agree progress has been too slow since talks began in 2007, spurred by findings by the U.N. Climate Panel that world emissions would have to peak by 2015 to avoid the worst of desertification, floods, extinctions or rising seas.
"Time has almost run out," Yvo de Boer, head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, told delegates in a video message. "In Barcelona, all nations must step back from self-interest and let common interest prevail."
The worst financial crisis since the 1930s has distracted attention from global warming and the United Nations and many countries say a legally binding treaty is impossible at the Copenhagen meeting from December 7-18.
The U.S. Senate is unlikely to agree legislation to cut U.S. emissions before Copenhagen, raising fears that other rich nations will be unwilling to promise deep cuts.
"The issue is 'can we agree on the core questions?'," said Michael Zammit Cutajar of Malta, chair of a group negotiating commitments by all nations. "I think we can."
HUGE PUZZLE
"It's a huge puzzle politically to get things done," said Bill Hare, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. He said there had been too much optimism that U.S. President Barack Obama would bring new momentum this year.
"There is a big risk that you end up with a woolly G8-type statement that doesn't take us anywhere," said Mark Kenber, of London based think-tank the Climate Group. The Group of Eight club of the world's leading industrialized nations usually releases non-binding statements of principle after its summits.
Developing nations such as China and India say that the developed countries must cut their emissions by at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 -- arguing they got rich by burning fossil fuels since the industrial revolution.
Offers on the table so far from the rich countries total cuts of about 11 to 15 percent. And developed nations say the poor must also do more by 2020 to slow their rising emissions -- China, the United States, Russia and India are the top emitters.
"It's crucially important that we keep ambitions high, to reach something we can consider 'the Copenhagen Deal'. We do not support any notion of postponing into 2010," said Kim Carstensen of the WWF environmental group.
De Boer wants Copenhagen to agree four key elements -- individual cuts in emissions for rich nations, actions by poor nations to slow their rising emissions, new finance and technology for developing nations and a system to oversee funds.

http://planetark.org/wen/55275

EU Makes Progress On Climate Funding Deal
Date: 02-Nov-09
Country:
 BELGIUM
Author:
 Pete Harrison and David Brunnstrom


European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso (L) arrives at a meeting of the European People Party (EPP) ahead of a two-day European Summit in Brussels, October 29, 2009.
Photo: Sebastien Pirlet

BRUSSELS - European Union leaders made progress on Friday toward an agreement on funding that could boost efforts to reach a global deal to fight climate change in Copenhagen in December.
Britain said agreement had already been reached on financing to help developing countries combat the effects of global warming. But diplomats said EU leaders were still trying to bridge a rift between countries in east and west Europe.
Agreement on the last day of an EU summit in Brussels would boost efforts to reach a deal at the international talks in Copenhagen on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, the United Nations' anti-climate change scheme, which expires in 2012.
"Europe is making three conditional offers, money on the table, saying we will do everything we can to make a climate change deal happen," British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said.
"I think this is a breakthrough that takes us forward to Copenhagen and makes a Copenhagen agreement possible."
An EU diplomat later confirmed progress had been made but said: "I think they've come a long way, but not yet reached full agreement."
The EU's Swedish presidency drew up revised proposals after talks broke down on Thursday, largely because of a rift between nine countries from eastern Europe and the richer member states over how the burden should be shared. [nLT246249]
Funding is central to the chances of success in Copenhagen because developing countries say they will not sign up to tackling climate change without enough funds from rich nations.
CRITICISM BY TUTU
A draft summit declaration showed the leaders of the 27 EU countries were preparing to back an estimate that developing nations need 100 billion euros ($148 billion) a year by 2020 to tackle climate problems.
The EU will put up some of that money, together with other countries and industry. But the poorer EU countries in eastern Europe want to know how much they will have to provide.
Many EU states say agreeing figures now would encourage others, such as the United States, to follow suit. But Germany wants to wait until other global powers have said how much they will provide.
"The EU will be pioneering in this respect (financing). However, the commitments will also be tied to other countries making similar financial pledges," German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters.
The EU leaders faced criticism from Nobel-prize winning South African cleric Desmond Tutu, who urged Merkel and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk in particular to help make a deal possible in Copenhagen.
"World leaders are backtracking, mumbling about domestic difficulties and lack of time whilst the European Union, previously progressive champions for action on climate change, is paralyzed by the unseemly bickering amongst its member states over who will pay the bill," he wrote.
BLAIR'S HOPES SLIDE
The main achievement on the first day of the summit was an agreement opening the way to ratification of the Lisbon treaty, which would ease EU decision-making, create an EU president and increase the powers of its foreign policy chief. [nL0338354]
Under the deal, the leaders accepted Czech President Vaclav Klaus's demands for an opt-out from a rights charter attached to the treaty, to shield the Czech Republic from property claims by ethnic Germans expelled after World War Two.
Ratification by the Czech Republic, the only EU state that has not ratified, now depends on its constitutional court rejecting a legal challenge in a ruling expected on Tuesday.
The leaders said they did not discuss who would be the EU president, but former British prime minister Blair's hopes faded when his candidacy failed to secure the blessing of European socialists who are his ruling Labour Party's allies.
The post is now more likely to go to a center-right leader, especially as center-right parties dominate the European Parliament and form a majority among EU leaders.
No front-runner has emerged, but possible contenders include Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, former Finnish prime minister Paavo Lipponen and Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker.
(Editing by Kevin Liffey)

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/money-is-the-key-to-the-success-of-copenhagen-1813177.html

Money is the key to the success of Copenhagen
Developing countries want up to £245bn to reduce their carbon emissions while the EU thinks it should cost them as little as £20bn. Michael McCarthy reports on the huge gap

You think it's about greenhouse gases. You think it's about carbon emissions. And it is. But the Copenhagen agreement on climate change that the world community will attempt to sign in December is just as much about money - enormous, mind-boggling amounts of money.

In brutally simplistic terms, the essence of any deal will be to pay the developing countries of the world, led by China and India, to cut back on the carbon dioxide pouring out of their now-mushrooming economies, which will come to represent 90 per cent of all future emissions growth, and the inducement for them to do this will have to be substantial.

It has hardly dawned on the general public just how big are the sums of cash that the developing world is seeking, and that the rich world will have to go some way towards providing, if the vital pathway to keeping global temperature rises below C is to be mapped out.

But they are truly colossal, and the gap between the potential donor countries and the recipients may be unbridgeable; it is finance, rather than the setting of emissions targets, which is more likely to be the deal-breaker in Copenhagen.

Ever since the first UN global warming treaty was signed in 1992, the rich nations have accepted that they have a special responsibility over climate, as we caused the problem in the first place - most of the CO2 that has gone into atmosphere has been put there by 200 years of western industrialisation.

Now we are asking China and its colleagues in the G77 group of poorer nations to grow - and so bring their people out of poverty - in a different low-carbon way from the way in which we grew, which is difficult and expensive; do as we say, not do as we did. And it is accepted on all sides that if they are to do this, we must help them.

They need help for two essential tasks, which in the jargon are mitigation and adaptation. Mitigation means cutting back on carbon emissions, by substituting renewable energy projects, say, for coal-burning power stations; adaptation means coping with climate change which is now unavoidable, such as building enhanced flood relief schemes to deal with the threat of climate-change-induced sea-level rise. It is obvious that all of this will be costly.

Just how costly the developing world thought it would be became clear at the end of August, when the G77-plus-China, as the nations are collectively known, put forward a formal proposal for financing a new climate agreement. Their "enhanced financial mechanism" suggested that the rich countries should pay between 0.5 and 1 per cent of their gross national product every year. For the European Union, this would be between $90bn (£55bn) and $180bn annually; for the US, between $70bn and $140bn; for Britain alone, between $13bn and $26bn. The full total would be between $200bn and $400bn, a range from nearly double to nearly four times the amount of all current overseas aid flows. Moreover, it would have to be on top of existing aid, the developing countries said - it must be "new and additional", above all current overseas development assistance.

There have been no negotiations about this, because that figure has lain on the table for two months without any of the rich countries responding. But on Friday, at last, the European Union became the first rich-country bloc to come up with its own financial proposals. The EU thinks that the full amount of extra public money needed to pay for climate change in the developed world is €22bn to €50bn annually, depending on what actions the poorer countries undertake (the sum is nearly the same in pounds sterling; in dollars it is about $32bn to $72bn). Europe would probably end up paying about 20 to 30 per cent of this, perhaps €5bn to €12bn, of which Britain itself would probably pay about €1bn. The full regime would be in place by 2020, with lesser sums coming earlier.

The key point about these figures is that they are a start; they allow officials from the 192 countries involved in the treaty, including Britain, at last to start talking about money from today, when the final week of pre-Copenhagen negotiations begins in Barcelona. Oxfam recognised this at the weekend, even while protesting that the level was too low - the charity thinks that more than double the public finance is required. "Finally coming forward with numbers is a positive step but the proposed figure falls well short of the €110bn needed to help poor countries adapt to climate change and curb their carbon emissions," said Robert Bailey, Oxfam's Senior Policy Advisor on climate change.

And, indeed, getting the 27 EU members states to agree at all - some, such as Poland, being very reluctant - was a considerable achievement, for which much of the credit must go to Gordon Brown, who has been pushing hard for an EU deal for months. The EU sums will be the ballpark figures to which other rich nations, the US above all, must now react.

But will they be enough to secure a deal? The quickest glance will show that the EU's top sum is only a third of the developing countries' lowest figure. Is that gap bridgeable in negotiations? Perhaps.

It is not the only problem looming. A condition of the EU offer is "universality" - meaning that some of the richer developing countries, such as China and India, will have to contribute to the fund themselves, even if they end up net beneficiaries of it. They will not like that. But most of all, there is no cast-iron guarantee that the finance will be entirely "new and additional" on top of current aid flows, and the poorer countries fear their development aid may be cut to provide their climate funding.

Next week: The shape of the treaty

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/nov/01/climate-change-world-leaders-accused

World leaders accused of myopia over climate change deal
Senior officials and negotiators increasingly gloomy about the prospects for a global warming deal next month
David Adam and Jonathan Watts
guardian.co.uk, Sunday 1 November 2009 23.24 GMT
Article history

Melting ice in Greenland. British officials say negotiations on a deal to curb global warming have been progressing too slowly. Photograph: Corbis
The head of the international group leading the fight against climate change has accused countries of pushing science aside in favour of self-serving "political myopia" ahead of the vital Copenhagen summit.
Senior officials and negotiators are increasingly gloomy about the prospects for a global warming deal next month, with the British government admitting there is now no chance of a legally binding treaty.
Speaking as officials gather in Barcelona tomorrow for a final round of negotiations, Rajendra Pachauri, head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said: "I gave all the world's leaders a very grim view of what the science tells us and that is what should be motivating us all, but I'm afraid I don't see too much evidence of that at the current stage.
"Science has been moved aside and the space has been filled up with political myopia with every country now trying to protect its own narrow short-term interests. They are afraid to have negotiations go any further because they would have to compromise on those interests."
British officials say the negotiations have been progressing too slowly, and the best Copenhagen can achieve is a "politically binding" agreement. But they insist this does not represent a lowering of ambition for the talks, and say a political deal would still be a major achievement.
"Nobody thinks we will get a full treaty," said a spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change. "Copenhagen must deliver a comprehensive politically binding agreement ... This must cover all the major issues including binding economy-wide emissions reductions from developed countries, significant action from developing countries to slow their emissions growth, and finance. Only this can deliver a legally binding treaty which puts the world on a trajectory to a maximum global average temperature increase of two degrees and provides a fair deal for developing countries."
In an apparent effort to lower expectations ahead of Copenhagen, billed by Gordon Brown as the world's last chance to prevent "catastrophic" climate change, senior figures are playing down the chances of producing a binding treaty.
Yvo de Boer, the UN's most senior climate official, said last week: "It is physically impossible, under any scenario, to complete every detail of a treaty in Copenhagen." He added: "It is absolutely clear that Copenhagen must deliver a strong political agreement and nail down the essentials."
Lars Løkke Rasmussen, prime minister of Denmark, said: "We do not think it will be possible to decide all the finer details for a legally binding regime."
Hanne Bjurstroem, Norwegian cabinet minister and chief climate negotiator, told Reuters: "I don't believe we will get a full, ratifiable, legally binding agreement from Copenhagen."
De Boer pointed out that the 1997 Kyoto protocol, the world's existing treaty on greenhouse gas emissions, took several years to finalise and to come into force.
Pachauri said although negotiations had not moved far and many leaders are playing down expectations, he has not given up on an agreement. "My feeling is leaders don't want to be left with the responsibility for any possible failures so they are hedging their bets. They are downplaying expectations because if we don't get an agreement that reaches people's expectation, there will be a lot of finger-pointing," he said.
On current trends, he warned global temperatures are on course to reach the high end of the IPCC forecast of 6.4C by 2100 with dire consequences for social stability, food production and health.
The Nobel prize winner co-ordinated 1,250 of the world's leading scientists and 2,500 reviewers to draw up an IPCC report in 2007 that asserted climate change was a fact and all but certainly caused bycarbon emissions from human activity. He said: "It is a fact that unfortunately negotiations haven't moved very far, but that is not a major indicator of lack of progress because this is the way negotiations go. Often these things fall into place two minutes before the midnight hour. I am cautiously optimistic."
Pachauri said that a six-month or one-year delay in the search for a deal was not the worst outcome. "This is certainly not desirable, but if it meant a stronger agreement that addressed the seriousness of the problem, it may not be that bad."


http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/construction_and_property/article6898713.ece

Low-carbon UK threatened by cuts, CBI argues
Rebecca O'Connor
RECOMMEND?
The CBI has warned that public spending cuts are driving down bids for construction projects to such low levels that builders will be unable to meet the Government's low-carbon economy targets.
The business leaders' organisation has begun a campaign to protect investment levels, after accusing construction company clients, about 40 per cent of which are in the public sector, of using the recession as an excuse to drive down prices to unsustainably low levels.
John McDonough, chief executive of Carillion and chairman of the CBI's construction council, said: "To ensure that the construction industry can play its role in the UK's economic recovery, we need to make sure that good procurement practices do not fall by the wayside.
"We have already seen worrying signs of some clients using the recession as an excuse to seek the lowest possible tender prices." He said that if prices were driven down too low, construction companies would not have the resources to spend on more expensive energy-efficient building methods.


RELATED LINKS
Invest in construction for recovery, says CBI



CBI trends show growth in manufacturing optimism


Tender prices are expected to fall by 6.6 per cent by the end of this year and are not forecast to recover until 2012, according to aConstruction News survey. Construction output decreased by 1.1 per cent in the third quarter of this year, after a 0.8 per cent drop in the previous quarter.
Lord Mandelson set up the Innovation and Growth Team (IGT) last month to review construction. It will consider the sector's contribution to the development of a low-carbon econ- omy. The Government is expected to announce the appointment of a chief construction adviser as soon as this week, according to reports.
Mr McDonough said: "The Government needs to lead the way and work with the construction industry to ensure focus remains on innovation, partnership and value for money." He called on the Government to change its view of the importance of the construction sector to realising its aim of creating a low-carbon economy and put an end to the practice of driving down prices.
He said: "Construction is seen as an old industry and not very glamorous, which is a shame. The contribution of construction companies to a low- carbon economy is a good example of why construction will play a vital role in the future of the country."
Pricing of construction projects is already a contentious issue. Last month the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) imposed fines of £129.5 million on 103 construction firms in England that had colluded with competitors to drive up the price of public sector contracts. However, the OFT said that there was evidence that bid-rigging was still taking place.
The CBI argues that without government support for building projects, the economic recovery will take longer.


Alternative Energy Newsclips for 2 November 2009: Advanced biofuels might not be such a great idea... and China coming to the rescue -- in Dallas?

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

Advanced biofuels will stoke global warming -study

Reuters, 22 October 2009 - A new generation of biofuels, meant to be a low-carbon alternative, will on average emit more carbon dioxide than burning gasoline over the next few decades, a study published in Science found on Thursday.

Governments and companies are pouring billions of research dollars into advanced fuels made from wood and grass, meant to cut carbon emissions compared with gasoline, and not compete with food as corn-based biofuels do now.

But such advanced, "cellulosic" biofuels will actually lead to higher carbon emissions than gasoline per unit of energy, averaged over the 2000-2030 time period, the study found.

That is because the land required to plant fast-growing poplar trees and tropical grasses would displace food crops, and so drive deforestation to create more farmland, a powerful source of carbon emissions.

Biofuel crops also require nitrogen fertilizers, a source of two greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide (CO2) and the more powerful nitrous oxide.

"In the near-term I think, irrespective of how you go about the cellulosic biofuels program, you're going to have greenhouse gas emissions exacerbating the climate change problem," said lead author, Jerry Melillo, from the U.S. Marine Biological Laboratory.

U.S. ethanol industry group the Renewable Fuels Association said biofuels are by definition emissions neutral because their tailpipe carbon output is absorbed by growing plants.

Without steps to protect forests and cut fertilizer use, gasoline out-performs biofuels from 2000-2050 as well.

The paper did not mean cellulosic biofuels had no place.

"It is not an obvious and easy win without thinking very carefully about the problem," said Melillo. "We have to think very carefully about both short and long-term consequences."

A related study, also published in the journal Science on Thursday, said the United Nations had exaggerated carbon savings from biofuels and biomass, in a mistake copied by the European Union in its cap and trade law, by ignoring deforestation and other land use changes.

The mistake was carried into U.S. climate legislation as well, and would worsen as governments put a price on carbon, driving more biofuel use, it said.

FOOD

"There will be increasing pressure to convert the biomass of the world into an energy source," said Steve Hamburg, chief scientist at green group the Environmental Defense Fund and co-author of the second Science paper.

"Then it competes with agriculture, water protection, biodiversity, a whole host of things, and that doesn't provide benefits to the atmosphere," he told Reuters.

It was also important to take account of how the land had been managed before it was grown with biofuels, said Hamburg. A previous farming practice may have been better for the planet, he said, underlining the complexity of calculating benefits.

Advocates hope that forthcoming talks to agree a new global climate deal in Copenhagen in December will protect forests, by rewarding land owners to store carbon in their trees.

The first paper did not explicitly consider the food production impact of ramping up advanced biofuels. The U.N.'s food agency says that global food output will have to increase 70 percent by 2050 to feed a growing, more affluent population.

The world's forests, rather than farmland, would have to make way for biofuels which would consume by 2100 more land than all food crops now, the first study found.

"We think there is space on earth for both food crops and the biofuels but there are consequences of using that space," in lost forest, Melillo said. "You've got to lose something."

(Writing by Gerard Wynn; Editing by Anthony Barker)

http://www.fastcompany.com/blog/ariel-schwartz/sustainability/china-next-us-renewable-energy-superhero?partner=rss

Is China the Next U.S. Renewable Energy Superhero?
BY ARIEL SCHWARTZThu Oct 29, 2009 at 3:19 PM


Oh, the irony. All-American oilman T. Boone Pickens scraps his plans for the world's biggest wind farm--a $10 billion project in Texas--and who comes in to pick up the pieces? China. The communist country is honing in on the Texas wind industry with a $1.5-billion, 36,000-acre project in West Texas. It's not quite Pickens-scale, but it is the biggest Chinese investment in U.S. renewable energy to date.
The Chinese bank-funded project will even source all 240 turbines from Chinese manufacturer A-Power Energy. When completed in 2011, the wind farm will produce enough power for 180,000 homes. In the meantime, Texans can look forward to 300 new construction jobs.
China's massive Texas project may be a sign of things to come. The country is already the world's fourth largest producer of wind power (after the U.S., Germany, and Spain), and 15 Chinese companies produce commercial turbines. A-Power, the company behind the Texas turbines, just launched last year.



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Chances are, then, that we will see more Chinese investments in U.S. wind power. Texas and the Midwest have huge untapped wind resources, and if American companies don't step up, others will. But in the end, it doesn't really matter who is bankrolling our renewable energy. We should be thankful that someone is willing to pay for it.
[Via Dallas News]