Sustainablog

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

22.1.10

Green newsclips for 22 January 2010: Venise-en-Paris, Himalayan glaciers won't be all gone by 2035, Methane in the Artic leaking at record levels, and Rolling Stone magazine highlights 'Climate Killers'

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

Climate is investment chance of a lifetime -Deutsche Bank

Reuters, 14 January 2010 - Green technologies posed the investment opportunity of our lifetime said Deutsche Bank's global head of asset management, in a study published on Thursday.

A Deutsche Bank report found that companies specialising in energy efficiency and renewable energy such as wind and solar power outperformed peers across the wider global economy last year and expected more to come in 2010.

Clear proof of the threat posed by climate change meant that governments will only ramp up steps to curb carbon emissions and favour clean technologies, it said.

"The shift to a low-carbon economy to mitigate global warming will require the creation of new technologies, industries and jobs on a massive scale," said Kevin Parker. Deutsche Asset Management had $695 billion in assets under management as of September 2009.

"The absolute imperative to prevent climate change is therefore also, I believe, the economic and investment opportunity of our lifetime," he commented in the report.

Deutsche bankers looked on the bright side of a Copenhagen climate summit last December which failed in its main objective to drive global consensus on action to fight climate change.

Their report instead pointed to proliferating national green policies, regardless of a multilateral deal to fight climate change. Copenhagen failed to agree a mandate to agree a legally binding successor to the existing Kyoto Protocol.

"What matters far more is that national and local governments all over the world are not waiting for a supra-national framework," said Parker.

"They are already pushing ahead with their own policies that will do far more than international regulation in the short to medium term to stimulate private investment."

The report called for clearer, more transparent policies such as feed-in tariffs which typically guarantee particular prices for electricity generated from renewable sources over several decades, giving investors comfort to fund projects.

Since the 2009 low in global stocks, indices showed that energy efficiency stocks had risen 126 percent and clean energy and technology by 88 percent compared with wider global stocks' 70 percent, Thursday's report showed.

"Climate change is not merely an investment sector that may hold future promise; it is a sector that has already delivered and is continuing to deliver," said Parker.

"That is why we believe institutional investors should be shifting their asset allocation towards climate change."

(Reporting by Gerard Wynn, Editing by William Hardy)

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

Price fixing

Economist.Com, January 18, 2010 Monday - Why it is important to put a price on nature

Valuing the environment

THE insight that nature provides services to mankind is not a new one. In 360BC Plato remarked on the helpful role that forests play in preserving fertile soil; in their absence, he noted, the land was turned into desert, like the bones of a wasted body. The idea that the value provided by such "ecosystem services" can be represented by ecologists in a way that economists can get to grips with, though, is rather newer. A number of the thinkers who have made it a hot topic in the past decade gathered at a meeting on biodiversity and ecosystem services held by the Royal Society, in London, on January 13th and 14th. They looked at the progress and prospects of their attempts to argue for the preservation of nature by better capturing the value of the things - such as pollination, air quality and carbon storage - that it seemingly does for free.

Environmental valuations aim to solve a problem that troubles both economists and ecologists: the misallocation of resources. Take mangrove swamps. Over the past two decades around a third of the world's mangrove swamps have been converted for human use, with many turned into valuable shrimp farms. In 2007 an economic study of such shrimp farms in Thailand showed that the commercial profits per hectare were $9,632. If that were the only factor, conversion would seem an excellent idea.

However, proper accounting shows that for each hectare government subsidies formed $8,412 of this figure and there were costs, too: $1,000 for pollution and $12,392 for losses to ecosystem services. These comprised damage to the supply of foods and medicines that people had taken from the forest, the loss of habitats for fish, and less buffering against storms. And because a given shrimp farm only stays productive for three or four years, there was the additional cost of restoring them afterwards: if you do so with mangroves themselves, add another $9,318 per hectare. The overall lesson is that what looks beneficial only does so because the profits are retained by the private sector, while the problems are spread out across society at large, appearing on no specific balance sheet.

Ecosystem-services researchers are now providing such balance sheets in more and more of the world. Poor countries such as South Africa and Tanzania have realised that if they study the provision of such services sensibly, they can make more rational decisions and avoid some of the costly mistakes made by those places that have already developed. To this end, the Natural Capital Project, a group based at Stanford University, California, has developed a suite of computer programs called InVEST, which will analyse and map ecosystem services. InVEST allows farmers, landowners and government officials to make better-informed decisions about the current and future costs of an activity.

In the Eastern Arc mountains in Tanzania, for example, deforestation is reducing river flows, which leaves the people and industries of Dar es Salaam, the country's largest city, short of both water and hydroelectricity. InVEST is being used to find the least bad places for further upstream development, and to pinpoint those areas where paying the locals to maintain the environment will yield the greatest dividends downstream. Meanwhile, in Colombia, funds have been created by water users, particularly the thirsty sugarcane industry, to pay for investment in watershed conservation and restoration. Again, the priority areas for such funds are being discovered by mapping the ecosystem services.

The move to put a price on nature has its critics. Some think the notion is an affront to those who place cultural, spiritual or aesthetic value on biodiversity for its own sake. It would be a mistake to look at things this way. In valuing a particular service - such as the cost of erosion to Greek hillsides - which can be quantified with a reasonable degree of certainty, you do not exhaust the reasons for preserving the groves where the dryads play.

The other concern, among nature lovers, is that valuations may not always give the answers that they want. Humans are fond of pandas and elephants: yet the species that provide the greatest utility may turn out to be dung beetles, bacteria and trees. To others, though, including many who come from economics, this is a feature, not a bug (or a beetle). It means that the service approach really is trying to measure something useful, rather than confirming prejudices about what needs saving.

Partha Dasgupta, an economist at Cambridge University who gave the Royal Society meeting's opening address, stressed that the ecosystem approach has still more to offer: it can go beyond being a decision tool to becoming a key part of macroeconomic thinking. Dr Dasgupta wants a new measure of national wealth that captures the state of a country's environment in ways that GDP cannot, a measure he calls "Inclusive Wealth". Pavan Sukhdev, an economist at the United Nations Environment Programme, agreed. By way of example, he offered the observation that although GDP incorporates increases in medical spending on respiratory diseases, it does not incorporate the value of reducing air pollution. GDP, he concludes, is an imperfect measure of progress.

Ecologists, then, need to remember that the ultimate prize in ecological economics is not just an increase in the extent to which the environment is a factor in decision-making, but to find ways of weaving it into the fabric of economic thinking. If that results in a better and fuller approximation of the truth, economists should be pleased, too.


http://planetark.org/wen/56432

UN Panel "Regrets" Exaggeration Of Himalayan Thaw
Date: 21-Jan-10
Country:
 NORWAY
Author:
 REUTERS


UN Panel
The Siachen Glacier, north of Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Picture taken October 4, 2003.

OSLO - The U.N. panel of climate scientists expressed regret on Wednesday for exaggerating how quickly Himalayan glaciers are melting in a report that wrongly projected that they could all vanish by 2035.
Leaders of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) "regret the poor application of well-established IPCC procedures in this instance," they said in a statement on the flaw in a paragraph of a 938-page scientific report.
They noted that the projection of a thaw by 2035 did not make it to the final summary for policymakers in its latest report in 2007. The summary projected a faster thaw in the coming years for glaciers from the Andes to the Alps.
India and some climate researchers have criticized the IPCC in recent days for over-stating the shrinking of Himalayan glaciers, whose seasonal thaw helps to supply water to nations including China and India.
A disappearance of the glaciers would badly disrupt flows in Asia that are vital for irrigation. The IPCC leaders said they were strongly committed to ensuring a high standard for the reports.
The offending paragraph says: "Glaciers in the Himalaya are receding faster than in any other part of the world and, if the present rate continues, the likelihood of them disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high if the Earth keeps warming at the current rate."
On Monday, Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said that "glaciers are receding, but the report that glaciers will vanish by 2035 is not based on an iota of scientific evidence."
The IPCC statement said that the 2035 projection was based on "poorly substantiated estimates of rate of recession" and that proper checks were not made.
The IPCC's core finding in 2007 was that it was more than 90 percent sure that mankind is the main cause of global warming, mainly by using fossil fuels.

http://planetark.org/wen/56435

Paris Could Become Another Venice With Next Flood
Date: 21-Jan-10
Country:
 FRANCE
Author:
 Sophie Taylor

Paris Could Become Another Venice With Next Flood Photo: Snow covers gondolas in the canal city of Venice December 19, 2009.
Manuel Silvestri
Photo: Snow covers gondolas in the canal city of Venice December 19, 2009.

PARIS - One hundred years ago, the river Seine burst its banks and filled the elegant boulevards of Paris with torrents of muddy water, forcing thousands of inhabitants out of their homes and cutting off power for months.
The same could happen again. Only this time the consequences will be 10 times worse, experts say.
"The flood is unavoidable," said Louis Hubert, director for the Paris region at France's ministry of ecology and sustainable development.
"What we can simply say is that we are almost certain to see new considerable floods, but we don't know when."
Paris' centennial flood of 1910 -- a flood which has a 1 in 100 chance of occurring every year -- affected 200,000 people in 1910 and cost 1.5 billion euros ($2.15 billion) in today's money, said Hubert.
A similar flood these days would affect around a million inhabitants and cost 15 billion euros, he added. On top of this, another two to three million people are likely to see their electricity cut off for several days, he added.
"In both cases, there are 10 times more people concerned, and the direct cost is ten times more that of 1910. It could lead to disorganization of the Paris region and have an effect on the national economy," added Hubert.
To commemorate the 1910 flood, Paris' Galerie des Bibliotheques is exhibiting a collection of photos, postcards and witness accounts.
Among them are sepia shots of bowler-hatted, mustachioed men traveling piggyback, trousers hoisted and knee-deep in water; a totally submerged Champs de Mars; people pulling up to Notre Dame cathedral in boats and food being delivered by ladder to second-floor apartment windows.
In most cases, Parisians seem to take the catastrophe with humor, smiling wryly at the camera while perched on precarious makeshift structures above swirling water.
Since 1910, Paris has taken pains to boost its defenses, by raising the height of bridges, scooping out a deeper riverbed and carrying out hydraulic work.
But nowadays, increased urbanization and the proliferation of electricity and telephone networks mean more people are vulnerable, Hubert added.
Such preparations would help bring down a water level of eight meters (yards) by 60 cm (24 inches) at the most, Hubert said.
"In spite of everything, the flood, if it happens, risks having consequences at least as extensive or even more so."
Paris museums at risk of flooding such as the Louvre, Musee d'Orsay and Musee du Quai Branly will be able to spirit the priceless works stored in their basements to a safehouse at Cergy-Pontoise, a town northwest of the French capital.
"We have a flood plan and are working hard on it. If anything happens we hope to be warned in time by the Paris fire brigade," said a member of the Louvre Museum's communications team, adding that the center should be finished by 2014.
For now, photographs from 1910 are on display in Paris to warn the city's inhabitants of what to expect.
"I am not here to scare people, but the scenario will be catastrophic enough," said Pascale Dugat, member of La Seine en Partage, which is hosting a gallery on www.seineenpartage.fr.
"These are agreeable, convivial photos to say: 'yes, we are threatened; yes, it's going to happen; yes it will be more catastrophic,'" Dugat told Reuters by telephone.
"And then we will take our little pets and seek refuge in the countryside," she said.

http://www.environmentalleader.com/2010/01/20/it-directors-cite-energy-savings-as-no-6-data-center-concern/

IT Directors Cite Energy Savings As No. 6 Data Center Concern
Posted By Environmental Leader On January 20, 2010 @ 9:05 am In ChartsData CenterFeatureResearch & Technology | No Comments
symantec1aAbout 42 percent of IT directors globally said they expect to make significant changes to their data centers in 2010, including energy efficiency upgrades and server virtualization, according to the "2010 State of the Data Center [1]" report from Symantec[2].

Another 48 percent say they will make minor changes.

Security was listed as a top area of concern in data centers by about 83 percent of respondents.

Server virtualization, an energy saving measure, was the fourth-leading area of concern, at about 72 percent.

Energy savings came in No. 6 at 70 percent.

The survey found that mid-size data centers are more likely to use virtualization.

symantec2a


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

URL to article: http://www.environmentalleader.com/2010/01/20/it-directors-cite-energy-savings-as-no-6-data-center-concern/

URLs in this post:
[1] 2010 State of the Data Center: http://www.symantec.com/about/news/resources/press_kits/detail.jsp?pkid=sdcreport2010
[2] Symantec: http://www.symantec.com/index.jsp


http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jan/14/arctic-permafrost-methane/print

Arctic permafrost leaking methane at record levels, figures show
Experts say methane emissions from the Arctic have risen by almost one-third in just five years, and that sharply rising temperatures are to blame
David Adam, environment correspondent
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 14 January 2010 19.00 GMT
 larger | smaller
Arctic tundra in Siberia
Permafrost in Siberia. Methane emissions from the Arctic permafrost increased by 31% from 2003-07, figures show. Photograph: Francis Latreille/Corbis
Scientists have recorded a massive spike in the amount of a powerful greenhouse gas seeping from Arctic permafrost, in a discovery that highlights the risks of a dangerous climate tipping point.
Experts say methane emissions from the Arctic have risen by almost one-third in just five years, and that sharply rising temperatures are to blame.
The discovery follows a string of reports from the region in recent years that previously frozen boggy soils are melting and releasing methane in greater quantities. Such Arctic soils currently lock away billions of tonnes of methane, a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, leading some scientists to describe melting permafrost as a ticking time bomb that could overwhelm efforts to tackle climate change.
They fear the warming caused by increased methane emissions will itself release yet more methane and lock the region into a destructive cycle that forces temperatures to rise faster than predicted.
Paul Palmer, a scientist at Edinburgh University who worked on the new study, said: "High latitude wetlands are currently only a small source of methane but for these emissions to increase by a third in just five years is very significant. It shows that even a relatively small amount of warming can cause a large increase in the amount of methane emissions."
Global warming is occuring twice as fast in the Arctic than anywhere else on Earth. Some regions have already warmed by 2.5C, and temperatures there are projected to increase by more than 10C by 2100 if carbon emissions continue to rise at current rates.
Palmer said: "This study does not show the Arctic has passed a tipping point, but it should open people's eyes. It shows there is a positive feedback and that higher temperatures bring higher emissions and faster warming."
The change in the Arctic is enough to explain a recent increase in global methane levels in the atmosphere, he said. Global levels have risen steadily since 2007, after a decade or so holding steady.
The new study, published in the journal Science, shows that methane emissions from the Arctic increased by 31% from 2003-07. The increase represents about 1m extra tonnes of methane each year. Palmer cautioned that the five-year increase was too short to call a definitive trend.
The findings are part of a wider study of methane emissions from global wetlands, such as paddy fields, marshes and bogs. To identify where methane was released, the researchers combined methane levels in the atmosphere with surface temperature changes. They did not measure methane emissions directly, but used satellite measurements of variations in groundwater depth, which alter the way bacteria break down organic matter to release or consume methane.
They found that just over half of all methane emissions came from the tropics, with some 20m tonnes released from the Amazon river basin each year, and 26m tonnes from the Congo basin. Rice paddy fields across China and south and south-east Asia produced just under one-third of global methane, some 33m tonnes. Just 2% of global methane comes from Arctic latitudes, the study found, though the region showed the largest increases. The 31% rise in methane emissions there from 2003-07 was enough to help lift the global average increase to 7%.
Palmer said: "Our study reinforces the idea that satellites can pinpoint changes in the amount of greenhouse gases emitted from a particular place on earth. This opens the door to quantifying greenhouse gas emissions made from a variety of natural and man-made sources."
Palmer said it was a "disgrace" that so few satellites were launched to monitor levels of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane. He said it was unclear whether the team would be able to continue the methane monitoring in future. The pair of satellites used to analyse water, known as Grace, are already over their expected mission life time, while a European version launched last year, called Goce, is scheduled to fly for less than two years.
The new study follows repeated warnings that even modest levels of global warming could trigger huge increases in methane release from permafrost. Phillipe Ciais, a researcher with the Laboratory for Climate Sciences and the Environment in Gif-sur-Yvette, France, told a scientific meeting in Copenhagen last March that billions of tonnes could be released by just a 2C average global rise.
More on methane
While carbon dioxide gets most of the attention in the global warming debate, methane is pound-for-pound a more potent greenhouse gas, capable of trapping some 20 times more heat than CO2. Although methane is present in much lower quantities in the atmosphere, its potency makes it responsible for about one-fifth of man-made warming.
The gas is found in natural gas deposits and is generated naturally by bacteria that break down organic matter, such as in the guts of farm animal. About two-thirds of global methane comes from man-made sources, and levels have more than doubled since the industrial revolution.
Unlike carbon dioxide, methane lasts only a decade or so in the atmosphere, which has led some experts to call for greater attention to curbs on its production. Reductions in methane emissions could bring faster results in the fight against climate change, they say.


guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010



http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/31633524/the_climate_killers/print

The Climate Killers
Meet the 17 polluters and deniers who are derailing efforts to curb global warming

TIM DICKINSON
Posted Jan 06, 2010 8:00 AM


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Read how Big Oil and Big Coal mounted aggressive lobbying campaigns to block progress on global warming in Jeff Goodell's "As the World Burns."


The Profiteer
Warren Buffett

CEO, Berkshire Hathaway

Despite being a key adviser to Obama during the financial crisis, America's best-known investor has been blasting the president's push to curb global warming — using the same lying points promoted by far-right Republicans. The climate bill passed by the House, Buffett insists, is a "huge tax — and there's no sense calling it anything else." What's more, he says, the measure would mean "very poor people are going to pay a lot more money for their electricity." Never mind that the climate bill, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, would actually save Americans with the lowest incomes about $40 a year.

But Buffett, whose investments have the power to move entire markets, is doing far more than bad-mouthing climate legislation — he's literally banking on its failure. In recent months, the Oracle of Omaha has invested billions in carbon-polluting industries, seeking to cash in as the world burns. His conglomerate, Berkshire Hathaway, has added 1.28 million shares of America's biggest climate polluter, ExxonMobil, to its balance sheet. And in November, Berkshire placed a huge wager on the future of coal pollution, purchasing the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad for $26 billion — the largest acquisition of Buffett's storied career. BNSF is the nation's top hauler of coal, shipping some 300 million tons a year. That's enough to light up 10 percent of the nation's homes — many of which are powered by another Berkshire subsidiary, MidAmerican Energy. Although Berkshire is the largest U.S. firm not to disclose its carbon pollution — and second globally only to the Bank of China — its utilities have the worst emissions intensity in America, belching more than 65 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere in 2008 alone.

As a savvy investor, Buffett would only buy a coal-shipping railroad if he felt certain that Congress will fail to crack down on climate pollution. "Whatever hurts coal also hurts the railroad business," observes Peter Gray, a corporate climate attorney at the international law firm of McKenna Long & Aldridge. "Mr. Buffett must believe that efforts to adopt cap-and-trade legislation will fail."

That's a strange position for the billionaire to take, given that he's promised to donate more than 80 percent of his fortune to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "As someone who is giving so much money to international development, Buffett ought to know better," says Joe Romm, who served as an assistant energy secretary under Bill Clinton. "He ought to have spent a great deal of time considering the greatest threats to developing countries — which would have quickly educated him about climate change."


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The Disinformer
Rupert Murdoch

CEO, News Corporation

In 2007, when the world's most powerful media baron announced his newfound conviction that global warming "poses clear, catastrophic threats," it seemed as though the truth about climate change might finally get the attention it deserves. Murdoch promised that not only would News Corp. itself become carbon-neutral by 2010, but that his media outlets would explain the urgent need for a cap on carbon emissions. Climate change, he pledged, would be addressed as a sober reality across the News Corp. empire, whether as a plot element on 24 or in a story on Fox News. "I don't think there's any question of my conviction on this issue," Murdoch declared. "I've come to feel it very strongly."

Since then, however, Murdoch and his media operations have become the nation's leading source of disinformation about climate change. In October, Fox Business ran an extended segment on "The Carbon Myth," inviting a hack scientist to "make the case" that more carbon pollution is actually "good for the environment." The Wall Street Journal has continued to lie not only about the reality of global warming but about Obama's efforts to prevent it, denouncing climate legislation as "likely to be the biggest tax in American history." The New York Post insisted that the Copenhagen climate negotiations were little more than a meet-up for "shamsters, scam artists and assorted 'global warming' opportunists" who planned to "transfer a trillion bucks from the economies of the world's developed nations to Third World kleptocrats — with God-only-knows how much cash sticking to the fingers of well-connected U.N. bureaucrats." And on Fox News, right-wing attack dog Sean Hannity misinformed his viewers that 2009 — the fifth-hottest year in the past 130 — was "one of the coldest years on record." Hannity then summed up the deranged denial that permeates Murdoch's media empire: "I don't believe climate change is real," he said. "I think this is global-warming hysteria and alarmism."


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The Fake Protestor
Jack Gerard

President, American Petroleum

As head of the American Petroleum Institute, Gerard serves as the frontman for the nation's oil and gas industry, including energy giants like Exxon, Shell, BP and Halliburton. Although API now claims to back the move to a "carbon-constrained economy," Gerard has been working behind the scenes to scuttle climate legislation. According to an internal memo leaked in August, Gerard directed API's nearly 400 member companies to mobilize their employees to attend "Energy Citizen" rallies in 20 states to protest a cap on carbon pollution. To ensure the success of the fake grass-roots protests, Gerard bragged that he had also enlisted a bevy of polluting allies — including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers. "Please treat this information as sensitive," Gerard cautioned in the memo. "We don't want critics to know our game plan."

This is not the first time that API has been at the center of a secretive campaign to derail carbon controls. In the late 1990s, the institute conspired with Exxon and a cadre of right-wing think tanks to create the "Global Climate Science Communications Action Plan" — an $8 million effort to fund climate research that hypes the "weaknesses in scientific understanding" of global warming. "Victory will be achieved," the plan explained, when "those promoting the Kyoto treaty on the basis of extant science appear to be out of touch with reality."


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Burning Man
Rex Tillerson

CEO, ExxonMobil

Tillerson, who oversees the world's biggest oil company, concedes that "greenhouse-gas emissions are one of the factors affecting climate change." But that doesn't mean that America's largest carbon polluter plans to stop killing the climate. Exxon is responsible for 397 million tons of CO2 emissions annually — more than twice those of the nation's dirtiest electric utility — accounting for 6.5 percent of America's climate-warming pollution. As part of its campaign to defeat climate legislation, which Tillerson claims will "cap economic growth," Exxon spent $29 million on lobbying in 2008 — second only to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. And despite vowing to stop its funding of climate denial, it continues to foot the bill for bogus research by right-wing outfits like the Heritage Foundation, which asserts that "growing scientific evidence casts doubt on whether global warming constitutes such a threat."

In a disingenuous attempt to appear serious about the threat of climate change, Tillerson has recently begun to advocate a tax on carbon pollution — a measure he knows has absolutely no chance of passing. "It's strategic," says Emilie Mazzacurati, North American research chief for the energy analyst Point Carbon. "You're never going to pass a tax on carbon in this country; politically, it's completely impossible." Such duplicity is par for the course: In 2007, spending $100 million on ads, Exxon boasted about its investments in renewable energy — even though such deals totaled only $10 million that year.


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The Dirty Democrat
Sen. Mary Landrieu

Democrat, Louisiana

Landrieu — who boasts of being "the most fervent pro-drilling Democrat in the Senate" — has assured oil interests that she'll be "putting the brakes" on current efforts to cap carbon pollution. Even though her home state will be savaged by climate change, Katrina-style, Landrieu routinely sides with her energy funders. In 2008, after providing the pivotal vote to preserve $12 billion in tax breaks for Big Oil, she received $272,000 from oil and gas interests — third among Democrats. Joined by other Democrats from key energy states — including Jim Webb of Virginia, Max Baucus of Montana, Evan Bayh of Indiana and Robert Byrd of West Virginia — Landrieu tried to kill climate legislation in the Senate by requiring that it be passed by a 60-vote supermajority. "Landrieu acts more to protect Big Oil than the future for the people of Louisiana," says Tony Massaro of the League of Conservation Voters, which added Landrieu to its "Dirty Dozen" roster of pro-pollution politicians.


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The Drudge of Denial
Marc Morano

Founder, Climate Depot

Morano, who worked for Sen. James "Global Warming is a Hoax" Inhofe, left Congress last year to set up shop as the Matt Drudge of climate denial. Today he runs Climate Depot, a website whose sponsor is funded by oil heir Richard Mellon Scaife. A private version of a congressional blog that Morano ran for Inhofe, the site serves as a clearinghouse for climate kooks. "He's a central cell of the climate-denial machine," says Kert Davies, research director for Greenpeace. "He's been very effective in delaying action on this crisis."

Morano says climate scientists are in the "fear-promoting business" and accuses them of waging a "war on modern civilization." But it's Morano who trafficks in wild claims, routinely distorting the work of climate scholars and charging that "proponents of man-made global warming have been funded to the tune of $50 billion." A former producer for Rush Limbaugh, Morano gained fame as one of the first to trumpet Swift-boat lies about John Kerry's military record. Andrew Watson, a British climate professor who recently debated Morano on the BBC, said it best in a whispered aside at the end of the show: "What an asshole."


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God's Denier
Sen. James Inhofe

Republican, Oklahoma

As the former chairman and ranking Republican of the Senate environment committee, Inhofe is one of the GOP's loudest and most influential voices on climate change. The senator from Oklahoma calls global warming "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people," insists that carbon dioxide is not "a real pollutant," and doesn't worry about rising sea levels, because, if all else fails, "God's still up there."

Far from being marginalized, Inhofe continues to hold remarkable sway: In November, he organized fellow GOP members to boycott the environment committee's debate on climate legislation. He also marshaled the ranking GOP members of all six committees with jurisdiction over climate change to write Sen. Barbara Boxer, warning her that proceeding without Republicans would "severely damage" prospects for the bill's passage. The move helped cloud the bill's future, diminishing America's bargaining position at the Copenhagen climate negotiations. "We won, you lost," Inhofe gloated to Boxer during a committee hearing. "Get a life."

In December, the senator also vowed that a resurgent GOP would block the EPA from curbing carbon pollution: "After the 2010 election," he said, "I guarantee we'll have the votes to do it."


The Power Player
David Ratcliffe

CEO, Southern Company

Ratcliffe, the head of America's second-dirtiest electric utility, has assembled an army of 63 lobbyists — almost twice as many as any other company — to defeat climate legislation. It's a pro-carbon dream team, anchored by Jeffrey Holmstead of Rudy Giuliani's law firm, who worked on behalf of utilities like Southern as a top clean-air official under George W. Bush. The reason for the lobbying blitz: Southern burns a lot of coal — its largest plant produces more carbon pollution than all of Brazil's power plants combined — and new limits on emissions being considered by the Senate could cost the utility some $400 million a year. That's why Ratcliffe continues to deny the reality of global warming: "I don't believe there's an impending catastrophe," he says, insisting that the environment will simply "adapt to changing realities."

"The value of his stock trumps everything," says Carl Pope, head of the Sierra Club. "It's hard to imagine a more cynical attitude. But no doubt he genuinely sees it that way — his bottom line is the measure of the world."


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The Arm Twister
Dick Gephardt

CEO, Gephardt Group

The former House majority leader now uses his considerable political clout as a lobbyist for Peabody Energy, the world's largest private-sector coal company. Working behind the scenes on Capitol Hill, Gephardt has emerged as the most credible proponent of "clean coal" — an imaginary technology being touted by the industry as an alternative to limits on carbon pollution. ("Clean coal is like healthy cigarettes," says Al Gore. "It does not exist.") In July, Gephardt was the keynote speaker at the Clean Coal Technology Conference, an honor bestowed after he helped win $1 billion in stimulus funding for FutureGen, a "clean coal" boondoggle promoted by Peabody. That's a significant return on the $1.7 million that Peabody and the FutureGen Industrial Alliance have invested in Gephardt Group's services since 2007. His firm also lobbies for Ameren, the nation's fourth-dirtiest utility, as well as for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The head of Peabody's Washington office, Fred Palmer, marvels at the access the ex-congressman still enjoys on Capitol Hill: "I can meet with a lot of people, but I'm Fred Palmer. He's Dick Gephardt."


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The Pundit
George Will

Commentator, ABC

Leveraging his status as the nation's most recognizable pundit, Will has become a one-man front for corporate-funded "science" that denies the existence of global warming. From his institutional perches at the Washington Post, Newsweek and ABC's This Week, Will preaches about the "indoctrination" of Americans by "environmental Cassandras" in the "media-entertainment-environmental complex" over a climate threat that is "hypothetical" and only "allegedly occurring." To buttress such wild-eyed denial, Will cherry-picks data points — or simply makes them up, as when he claimed in a recent column that "there has been no recorded global warming for more than a decade" and that "global sea-ice levels now equal those of 1979." Both assertions are flat-out wrong: Eleven of the warmest years on record have occurred in the past 13 years, and researchers have recorded a decrease in global sea ice bigger than Texas and California combined.

Despite a rebuke from the Post's ombudsman, the paper has refused to run any correction for Will's disinformation campaign. The pundit, meanwhile, continues to belch climate nonsense from behind his tortoise-shell spectacles, claiming that limiting carbon pollution would force developing nations to "sacrifice their modernization on the altar of climate change." He also accuses climate scientists — rather than big polluters — of perpetuating lies out of financial self-interest, citing what he calls the "enormous incentive to get on the bandwagon on global warming." "He positions himself as a conservative intellectual," says Joe Romm, a physicist who serves as a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. "But you can't be an intellectual and be anti-science. He's really just an ideologue masquerading as an intellectual."


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The Know Nothing
Tom Donohue

President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

As the de facto chief of American business and industry, Donohue has turned the biggest lobbying presence on Capitol Hill into the biggest friend of climate polluters. In the first nine months of last year, the Chamber spent $65 million — three times more than ExxonMobil — mounting a campaign to block Congress from placing limits on carbon pollution. "Not only has the Chamber spent decades denying the existence of the climate crisis," Al Gore observed, "now it is dedicating a significant quantity of resources and money attempting to prevent Congress from taking action."

The extreme anti-climate position staked out by Donohue runs counter to the position of his own members. Of the 23 companies on the Chamber's board that made their position on climate legislation public, only four are against it — and three of those are coal companies. Yet the Chamber claims, in scaremongering language, that climate legislation threatens to "completely shut the country down" and "virtually destroy the United States." For his part, Donohue is proudly ignorant of the risks that a changing climate poses to the business community: "Is the science right? Is science not right? I don't know."

The know-nothing approach has proved too much for many leading companies to bear. Last summer, when the Chamber's senior vice president declared that "there is no evidence that CO2 has an impact on health and welfare" and called for a "Scopes monkey trial of the 21st century" to put the "science of climate change on trial," even the California utility PG&E resigned from the Chamber, blasting Donohue for his group's "disingenuous attempts to distort" the dangers of climate change. Apple and Exelon joined the rush for the exit, and Nike resigned its place on the Chamber's board.


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The Coal Baron
Don Blankenship

CEO, Massey Energy

In an age when most CEOs are canny enough to at least pay lip service to the realities of climate change, Blankenship stands apart as corporate America's most unabashed denier. Global warming, he insists, is nothing but "a hoax and a Ponzi scheme." His fortune depends on such lies: Massey Energy, the nation's fourth-largest coal-mining operation, unearths more than 40 million tons of the fossil fuel each year — often by blowing the tops off of Appalachian mountains.

The country's highest-paid coal executive, Blankenship is a villain ripped straight from the comic books: a jowly, mustache-sporting, union-busting coal baron who uses his fortune to bend politics to his will. He recently financed a $3.5 million campaign to oust a state Supreme Court justice who frequently ruled against his company, and he hung out on the French Riviera with another judge who was weighing an appeal by Massey. "Don Blankenship would actually be less powerful if he were in elected office," Rep. Nick Rahall of West Virginia once observed. "He would be twice as accountable and half as feared."

On the national level, Blankenship enjoys a position of influence on the board of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has led the fight to kill climate legislation. He enjoys inveighing against the "greeniacs" — including Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Al Gore — who are "taking over the world." And he has even taken to tweeting about climate change: "We must demand that more coal be burned to save the Earth from global cooling."

In more unguarded moments, however, Blankenship confesses that his over-the-top rhetoric is strategic. "If it weren't for guys like me," he says, "the middle would be further to the left." He also admits that his efforts to block climate legislation are ultimately self-serving: "It would probably cut our business in half."


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The Hack Scientist
Fred Singer

Retired physicist, University of Virginia

A former mouthpiece for the tobacco industry, the 85-year-old Singer is the granddaddy of fake "science" designed to debunk global warming. The retired physicist — who also tried to downplay the danger of the hole in the ozone layer — is still wheeled out as an authority by big polluters determined to kill climate legislation. For years, Singer steadfastly denied that the world is heating up: Citing satellite data that has since been discredited, he even made the unhinged claim that "the climate has been cooling just slightly." Last year, Singer served as a lead author of "Climate Change Reconsidered" — an 880-page report by the right-wing Heartland Institute that was laughably presented as a counterweight to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world's scientific authority on global warming. Singer concludes that the unchecked growth of climate-cooking pollution is "unequivocally good news." Why? Because "rising CO2 levels increase plant growth and make plants more resistant to drought and pests." Small wonder that Heartland's climate work has long been funded by the likes of Exxon and reactionary energy barons like Charles Koch and Richard Mellon Scaife.


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The Flip Flopper
Sen. John McCain

Republican, Arizona

McCain has been one of the Senate's biggest climate champions since 2003, when he introduced a bill with Joe Lieberman to create a "cap and trade" system similar to the one currently being debated. But since losing the presidency to Barack Obama, McCain is taking his pique out on the planet. He's now threatening to roadblock the very measure he once introduced, lying about its cost and distorting its goals. "What the Obama administration has proposed is not cap-and-trade," McCain says. "It's cap-and-tax." He's even trash-talking a bipartisan alternative by GOP colleague Lindsey Graham, calling it "horrendous."

Although McCain frames his newfound stance as opposition to what he portrays as a $630 billion tax on corporate America, the measure as revised by the House actually provides the energy industry with more than $690 billion in pollution subsidies. McCain's about-face may have more to do with his precarious electoral future: The senator is currently locked in a dead heat with likely primary challenger J.D. Hayworth, a knuckle-dragging former congressman. The one-time "maverick" now earns high praise from the far right: "He's been a fabulous team player," says Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. "On message and effective."


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The Inquisitor
Rep. Joe Barton

Republican, Texas

As ranking Republican on the House energy committee, Barton is a mini version of Sen. James Inhofe. In his view, the climate is changing for "natural variation reasons," and humans should just "get shade" and learn to adapt. "For us to try to step in and say we have got to do all these global things to prevent the Earth from getting any warmer is absolute nonsense," he insists. "You can't regulate God."

During the Bush era, Barton bottled up all climate legislation and pushed to open up public lands for drilling by private interests. He also targeted leading climate scientists, demanding that they provide Congress with detailed documentation of their financial interests. (Barton himself has received $1.4 million from oil and gas donors, plus $1.3 million from electric utilities.) The inquisition drew sharp rebukes, even from Barton's fellow Republicans. Your "purpose seems to be to intimidate scientists rather than to learn from them," then-Rep. Sherwood Boehlert told Barton. The effort "to have Congress put its thumbs on the scales of a scientific debate" is "truly chilling."


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The Tea Partiers
Charles and David Koch

CEO and Executive Vice President, Koch Industries

The multibillionaire brothers not only run the nation's largest private energy company, they rival Exxon in funding the front groups that spread disinformation about the dangers of climate change. Over the years, the Kochs and their foundations have lavished millions on climate deniers at the Heritage Foundation, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Cato Institute, which Charles founded in 1977. Cato, in turn, supports the work of Patrick Michaels, a leading climate denier who attempts to discredit the international scientific consensus on global warming while accepting money from coal companies. As author Thomas Frank observes in What's the Matter With Kansas?, "Koch money subsidizes the mass production of bad ideas."

One major recipient of Koch cash is Americans for Prosperity, where David chairs the foundation's board. In addition to fomenting last summer's town-hall brawls over health care reform, AFP sponsored a "Hot Air Tour" on climate change, deploying a manned balloon at 75 events for the purpose of "Exposing the Ballooning Costs of Global Warming Hysteria." At the events, the group's president, Tim Phillips, grossly exaggerated the costs of climate legislation, calling it a trillion-dollar tax on American families.

Last October, at an AFP summit attended by David Koch, the assembled Tea Partiers screened a climate-denial film that accused advocates like Al Gore of wanting to take civilization "back to the Dark Ages and the Black Plague." Such events, Koch proclaimed, "bring to reality the vision" of "fighting for the economic freedoms that made our nation the most prosperous society in history." Last year, seeking to defend its own prosperity against a carbon-capped future, Koch Industries spent more than $8.5 million on lobbying.

Related Stories:

Carbon Management newclips for 22 January 2010: The UN's Jan 31 deadline is dropped; Carbon accounting is the next Eldorado; and the impacts of climate change and carbon pricing on business and investments

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/87479ee2-0600-11df-8c97-00144feabdc0.html?nclick_check=1

UN abandons climate change deadline
By Fiona Harvey in London and Anna Fifield in Washington
Published: January 20 2010 20:25 | Last updated: January 20 2010 20:25


The timetable to reach a global deal to tackle climate change lay in tatters on Wednesday after the United Nations waived the first deadline of the process laid out at last month's fractious Copenhagen summit.
Nations agreed then to declare their emissions reduction targets by the end of this month. Developed countries would state their intended cuts by 2020: developing countries would outline how they would curb emissions growth.


EDITOR'S CHOICE
Scientists in glacier claim controversy - Jan-20
In depth: Climate change - Jan-21
Copenhagen's true effect yet to be seen - Jan-17
World weather shifts off balance - Jan-12
Indian PM calls for fairness in climate fight - Jan-05
Outlay on green tech set to grow - Jan-07


But Yvo de Boer, the UN's senior climate change official, admitted the deadline had in effect been shelved.
"By [the end of] January, countries will have the opportunity to . . . indicate if they want to be associated with the accord," he said. "[Governments could] indicate by the deadline, or they can also indicate later."
"You could describe it as a soft deadline," Mr de Boer said. "There is nothing deadly about it. If [countries] fail to meet it, they can still associate with the Copenhagen accord after."
UN carbon trading scheme
CDM
FT interactive graphic: Explore the technologies adopted and various developing nations' level of participation
Countries pushing for a new legally binding treaty on climate change will be disappointed, as The waiving of the deadline sets a bad precedent for efforts to finalise a deal this year. The next scheduled meeting is not until late May, in Germany, with another in late November, in Mexico but many officials say more will be needed.
India, China, Brazil and South Africa, which meet this weekend, are likely to insist on deep cuts from developed nations but offer few concessions of their own.
The result of Tuesday's Massachusetts senatorial election, which took away Barack Obama's super-majority in the Senate, is likely to push climate change further down the US agenda. It was the latest in a series of setbacks that have caused efforts to push a cap-and-trade bill through the Senate to grind to a halt, making it harder for the White House to participate meaningfully in global climate negotiations.
Instead, the administration has been pressing ahead with steps to limit the US's carbon emissions through regulation. The Environmental Protection Agency has unveiled new draft rules that would sharply tighten regulations on smog-building pollutants, or ground-level ozone, and has cracked down on greenhouse gas emissions by ruling that carbon dioxide and five other gases pose a danger to health.

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

U.S. carbon plan to lean on states after Senate vote

Reuters, 20 January 2010 - U.S. regions will lead efforts to contain greenhouse gas emissions over the next few years if Washington can't pass its own legislation, but will have crack down harder if they are to force industry to take meaningful action on fighting global warming.

The election of a Republican in Massachusetts to the U.S. Senate on Tuesday will make it even tougher for the Obama Administration to pass a climate bill containing a "cap and trade" market on emissions --largely because of the already strong opposition to the effort.

That will put the focus back on the states which plan more ambitious regulations to tackle global warming that will proceed with or without Washington's legislative efforts. This involves 10 states in the eastern U.S. that already regulate carbon dioxide in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and a western U.S. and Canadian initiative led by California.

RGGI, which started regulating carbon dioxide emissions from the region's power plants in 2009, has so far raised $494 million in quarterly auctions of permits to pollute. Much of the money will go to state programs to increase energy efficiency.

But the weak economy has taken a toll on trading in the market and prices have fallen for three quarterly auctions in a row, to about $2.05 a ton. That compares with prices in the European Union's carbon market that are nine to 10 times higher.

And it is well below the $20 to $50 level that experts say will be needed to push electric utilities and heavy industry to invest in expensive technologies, like capturing carbon and burying it underground, building new nuclear power plants, or new transmission wires for power from solar and wind power farms.

"Two dollar carbon prices aren't going to do much to fight climate change," said Peter Fusaro, a climate markets expert at Global Change Associates, Inc in New York.

INNOVATION AND EXPANSION

RGGI is hoping to expand its programs to tackling economy-wide carbon emissions. It would make those cuts by going beyond regulating pollution from power plants to carbon from transportation, said David Littell, chair of the RGGI board of directors and commissioner of Maine's Department of Environmental Protection.

The 10 states, plus Pennsylvania, are trying to set up a trading system that would reward polluters for using low carbon fuels. They also hope to build regional charging facilities for electric cars that could help development of cars that are more efficient.

In addition, RGGI states mostly agree that they may need to tighten the cap on power plants to raise prices, though may take until 2011 or 2012 to enact.

"You have to constantly reevaluate and readjust to remain vital in climate markets," said Eileen Claussen, the president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.

California has a legal mandate to start cap and trade in 2012, and it plans to work with 11 U.S. states and four Canadian provinces in a group called the Western Climate Initiative.

The group plans to start trading in the pollution from power plants and other big emitters in 2012 and expand to cover 90 percent of gases in 2015, when transportation fuels and other sources are included.

That plan could face a one-year delay if moderate Republican Meg Whitman wins the state's race for governor this November. The law allows a one-year moratorium, and Whitman said she would do it in order to study the economic consequences of the 2006 law.

Whitman also has the power to rescind a Schwarzenegger order requiring utilities get a third of their power from clean sources by 2020.

California has already made a number of tough decisions, such as deciding what industries will be affected and outlining the cap and trade program broadly. But plenty of important details have to be nailed down, including how many polluting permits should be auctioned and who gets the money.

The debate in California often boils down to whether the state gains more by fostering clean technology -- it is the leader in venture capital -- or loses more as other states with less regulation steal jobs and businesses, and the weak economy has increased voters' concerns.

RGGI's Littell said if the federal climate plan fails, all of the forward looking states should try to link their cap and trade markets to make them more robust. It could also spur more companies to lobby Congress to shape a national carbon market, which remains the ultimate goal for carbon market backers, he said.

http://www.environmentalleader.com/2010/01/20/firms-using-enterprise-carbon-accounting-to-grow-500-by-2011/

Five Times as Many Firms to Use Enterprise Carbon Accounting by 2011
Posted By Environmental Leader On January 20, 2010 @ 1:43 am In Carbon ManagementChartsFinance & ReportingReporting | No Comments
ECAvendorpiechartMore than $46 million in venture capital was invested in enterprise carbon accounting (ECA) startup companies in 2009, while software giants Computer Associates and Microsoft entered the market and EnerNOC, IHS and SAP made acquisitions, according to a new report from Groom Energy Solutions.

The number of organizations using ECA software is expected to increase five fold by 2011, partly driven by companies that have not traditionally invested in environmental software.

Eight companies were named 2010 ECA Emerging Leaders in the report: Enablon, Enviance, Hara, IHS, Johnson Controls, PE International, ProcessMAP and SAP. Groom Energy says both Enablon and Hara are newcomers to the list, while the others were named 2009 ECA Emerging Leaders

The research report, "2010 Enterprise Carbon Accounting: An Analysis of Corporate-Level Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emission Reporting and a Review of GHG Software Products [1]," finds that more businesses are now disclosing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), which increased [2] significantly in 2009. Researchers predict that ECA software purchases will increase 600 percent by 2011.

The driving factors behind growth in the ECA market include increased pressure from customers and investors for companies to create a "greener" public image, cost and energy savings from sustainability investments and supply chain initiatives, such as theWalmart Supplier Sustainability Assessment Program [3], says Groom Energy.

Another key finding shows that market consolidation is expected in the emerging ECA market in the next two years.

The 2010 report identifies a total of 60 vendors and profiles 20 of them in four category types: environmental health and safety vendors (EHS), new products from large firms, startup companies, and energy management firms.

Another recent report [4] shows that the carbon management software and services market exceeded $380 million in 2009 and is expected to achieve a heady 40 percent compounded annual growth rate through 2017, according to Pike Research [5].

The software market for carbon management was estimated at $132 million in 2009.


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

URL to article: http://www.environmentalleader.com/2010/01/20/firms-using-enterprise-carbon-accounting-to-grow-500-by-2011/

URLs in this post:
[1] 2010 Enterprise Carbon Accounting: An Analysis of Corporate-Level Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emission Reporting and a Review of GHG Software Products:http://www.groomenergy.com/carbon_consulting.html#research
[2] increased: http://www.environmentalleader.com/2009/01/16/companies-disclosing-ghg-emissions-on-rise/
[3] Walmart Supplier Sustainability Assessment Program: http://www.environmentalleader.com/2009/07/15/wm-move-to-grade-suppliers-on-sustainability-affects-other-retailers/
[4] report: http://www.environmentalleader.com/2010/01/19/carbon-management-software-and-services-to-grow-40-annually-through-2017/
[5] Pike Research: http://www.pikeresearch.com/

http://www.environmentalleader.com/2010/01/19/carbon-management-software-and-services-to-grow-40-annually-through-2017/print/

Carbon Management Software and Services to Grow 40% Annually Through 2017
Posted By Environmental Leader On January 19, 2010 @ 1:59 am In Carbon FootprintCarbon ManagementChartsLogisticsResearch & Technology | No Comments
Pike Research - Carbon Management Services Spending by Segment (15-Jan-09)The carbon management software and services market exceeded $380 million in 2009 and is expected to achieve a heady 40 percent compounded annual growth rate through 2017, according to Pike Research [1].

The software market for carbon management was estimated at $132 million in 2009, according to the Carbon Management Software and Services [2] report.

The market should reach $1.2 billion by 2017.

The services market, including consulting, implementation and outsourcing services, was estimated at $248 million in 2009, and is projected to grow to $3 billion by 2017.

In other carbon management news, logistics provider Damco developed a new model for measuring the carbon footprint of ocean logistics.

Damco's method, which relies on operational insights, live data and more detailed emission standards and calculations, results in a 25 percent better emissions calculation than previous generic calculators, reports AirCargoWorld [3].

The method was studied by MIT, using the example of carbon footprint measured from a factory in Asia to a U.S. distribution center. Damco is a subsidiary of shipping giant Moller-Maersk.


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

URL to article: http://www.environmentalleader.com/2010/01/19/carbon-management-software-and-services-to-grow-40-annually-through-2017/

URLs in this post:
[1] Pike Research: http://www.pikeresearch.com/
[2] Carbon Management Software and Services: http://www.pikeresearch.com/research/carbon-management-software-and-services
[3] AirCargoWorld: http://www.aircargoworld.com/News/January-2010/MIT-study-can-improve-carbon-emissions


http://www.edie.net/news/news_story.asp?id=17544&channel=0&title='Make+carbon+reporting+mandatory'

'Make carbon reporting mandatory'



'Make carbon reporting mandatory'


A powerful pro-environment lobby group is calling on Business Secretary Peter Mandelson to force big business and other large organisations to bring forward the timetable for compulsory reporting of their emissions. 

The 
Aldersgate Group has published an open letter to Lord Mandelson calling for compulsory reporting as soon as possible. 

The incoming Carbon Reduction Commitment will make the energy use of thousands of larger organisations a matter of public record and will give indications of how much of this energy comes from renewable sources. 

But a spokesman for the organisation told edie that while the CRC would force the hand of many organisations when it came to on-site energy use, the Aldersgate Group was looking for something more comprehensive. 

He said the letter commends the Government for publishing voluntary guidance on reporting GHG emissions to help UK companies manage and reduce their carbon footprint, but points out that, despite this voluntary guidance being in place, only around half of all FTSE350 companies actually disclosed their carbon emissions. 

Mandatory GHG reporting would ensure greater accountability and transparency to help companies identify cost and carbon savings, says the Aldersgate Group. 

It would also create a level playing field, argues the organisation, allowing investors and consumers to make more meaningful comparisons, thus driving further emissions reductions. 

Steve Waygood, Head of Sustainability Research and Engagement, Aviva Investors and one of the signatory members of the Aldersgate Group letter, said: "We believe that climate change represents a profound market failure. 

"There is a clear need for much tougher policy measures on the international stage, as well as at the national level. While Copenhagen failed to deliver internationally, the UK is well placed to make carbon reporting mandatory in the UK. 

"This would allow investors to more easily identify climate change risks and opportunities. If we conclude that climate change is potentially material then we have an informed basis on which to make our investment decisions." 

Over 50 MPs, including Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg and Conservative Shadow Climate Change Minister Greg Barker MP, have signed the letter, along with a diverse range of organisations including Aviva, BSkyB, The Cooperative, Barratt Homes, National Grid, United Utilities, BIFFA, Friends of the Earth, WWF and Reed Elsevier. 

Sam Bond 

https://cfo.executiveboard.com/Public/ResearchAlerts/HeardSuite/HeardintheSuite.html#climate1
  • Three Effects of Climate Change Legislation on Companies
Regardless of your views on climate change, the world's biggest governments accept it and will legislate accordingly, business needs to respond

January 19, 2010

As the first part of this blog argued, climate change legislation is one of the most transformative trends affecting business in the next 20 years – regardless of industry – as it underpins customer, investor, and regulator behavior.

Even companies that dedicate fully-staffed teams to climate change find it difficult to keep on top of the changing agenda. Broadly speaking there are three effects stemming from climate change legislation in the U.S. and elsewhere that will affect firms across industries. Read more from page 15 onwards* or listen to a replay of our teleconference on preparing for energy legislation and increased energy costs.*

The Hot List
1.        Energy Cost Increases: Energy prices are projected to rise considerably in the next decade, yet at the same as time firms' energy efficiency investments are diminishing. Between 2007 and 2009, the percentage of global firms planning to invest in energy efficiency as part of the operating budget fell from 64% to 55%, and from 57% to 46% for those planning capital investments. Some of this is a result of the recession but it is unlikely that all of this spending will return in the near term as economic conditions improve.

Underinvestment in energy initiatives is driven by a few main factors: typically, firms fail to apply investment filters that capture the true potential of energy investments; they don't invest enough in the right skills; and they don't craft comprehensive climate change strategies: only 17% of companies surveyed by The Economist have a climate strategy that includes business partners and their supply chain.
2.        Anticompetitive Behavior: In the current version of the U.S. legislation, there is a provision for domestic firms in carbon intensive industries to receive rebates to cushion the effects of legislation but, by 2020, imports from carbon-intensive industries in countries that don't comply with standards will in effect face a carbon tariff. Similar rules are being debated in other developed countries and this could create (as so often with international trade) tit-for-tat lawmaking across the globe. It could also in effect mean an international energy tax on global trade.
3.        The "Greening" of Investor and Consumer Preferences: Socially responsible investing (SRI) is expected to grow in the next decade, reaching between 15% and 20% of total global assets under management in the U.S. by 2015; in Europe the trend is even more pronounced. Investors are interested either in positively putting money into socially-responsible companies or just avoiding any with a poor social and environmental record. A Nielsen survey found that 53% of global consumers actively look for energy efficient products and 27% try to purchase those with a low carbon footprint. This is important: Marketing Leadership Council research tells us that as consumers adjust to new realities, it is the emotional part of a brand that will most change buying preferences. "Green" products most definitely have an emotional appeal.

Use these resources to keep on top of climate change and the fallout from Copenhagen:

  • Why You Should Care About Climate Change
HINT: It's got nothing to do with ethics…

January 19, 2010

If you asked any intelligent manager at your firm to tell you what the most transformative trend facing your industry was, you'd get a range of answers. Some might suggest changes in consumer behaviour, some the rise of emerging markets, and others the slew of legislation likely to bend and contort businesses in new ways

However, there's really no contest, climate change underpins all of these (disclaimer: saying this in response may make you look like some kind of annoying Socratic questioner eliciting the 'real truth'). It is the most transformative trend all managers will face in the next few decades; regardless of industry.

Climate change will affect the preferences of rich-world and emerging-market consumers demanding green products and services, it will drive a lot of new legislation – from the growth of carbon trading, to rules that stop what's considered wasteful behavior, and it will present unique risks and opportunities of its own.

This two-part blog will look at the current climate change agenda (part one, below), and the three effects of legislation that managers should most care about (part two).

Didn't Copenhagen Prove that Climate Change is More about Talk than Action?

There is still debate, both in the scientific community and outside on climate change. But what's not under discussion is that the world's big governments believe in man-made global warming.

Barack Obama's lead scientific adviser, John Holdren supports the view that global warming is man-made and solvable. The European Union has run a cap and trade emissions program since 2005 (and does much more besides); and, post-Copenhagen, the influential BASIC group of developing countries (that's Brazil, South Africa, India, and China – makes a nice change from BRIC, huh?) is working tofind a legally-binding agreement on global environmental policy.

There is no doubt that the industrial world is committing, gradually, to climate legislation that changes the way we do business.

In the U.S.

More recent financial industry reform and health care system overhaul have taken some momentum out of a U.S. climate change bill. However, based on the debate thus far, and on the President's commitment to components of climate legislation, it is possible to draw a tentative line between measures that will likely find their way into the final legislation, and measures that will likely require some adjustment (see table below) if they are to pass into law.


Key Areas of Agreement
  • Commitment to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction standard for the United States
  • A nationwide GHG emissions cap
  • Renewable energy and energy efficiency targets for businesses
  • Indirect energy subsidies for consumers (e.g., free emissions allowances for electrical distributors)


Key Areas of Agreement
  • Commitment to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction standard for the United States
  • A nationwide GHG emissions cap
  • Renewable energy and energy efficiency targets for businesses
  • Indirect energy subsidies for consumers (e.g., free emissions allowances for electrical distributors)

Use these resources to keep on top of climate change and the fallout from Copenhagen:

http://www.environmentalleader.com/2010/01/12/72-of-uk-consumers-give-us-carbon-footprint-labels-on-food/

72% of UK Consumers: Give Us Carbon Footprint Labels on Food
Posted By Environmental Leader On January 12, 2010 @ 2:52 am In Clean Energy | 2 Comments
level of carbon demand[1]New research from the Newcastle Business School at Northumbria University [1] suggests that nearly three-quarters of UK shoppers are in agreement with government plans to go forward with a voluntary carbon footprint label [2] on food items.

The survey of more than 400 supermarket shoppers was conducted across all major UK supermarket chains. It queried people on their demand for carbon footprint labeling (72 percent want it) and knowledge of their own personal carbon footprint (83 percent don't know).

A government-supported body, the Carbon Trust, is currently working with the food industry, including big brands like Boots and Innocent [3], to help manufacturers determine and display the carbon footprint of different items.

Quaker Oats [4] and Quaker Simple, part of PepsiCo, was the first cereal brand to carry the Carbon Trust Carbon Reduction Label


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

URL to article: http://www.environmentalleader.com/2010/01/12/72-of-uk-consumers-give-us-carbon-footprint-labels-on-food/

URLs in this post:
[1] Northumbria University: http://www.northumbria.ac.uk/
[2] voluntary carbon footprint label: http://www.environmentalleader.com/2010/01/07/uk-government-calls-for-food-labels-to-show-carbon-footprint/
[3] Boots and Innocent: http://www.environmentalleader.com../2008/10/30/uk-launches-carbon-footprint-standard/
[4] Quaker Oats: http://www.environmentalleader.com../2009/10/05/pepsico-reveals-method-for-calculating-carbon-footprint-of-products/

http://www.nytimes.com/cwire/2010/01/19/19climatewire-silicon-valley-rocks-climate-world-with-new-19922.html?emc=eta1

Silicon Valley Rocks Climate World With New Breed of Software
By CHRISTA MARSHALL of ClimateWire

Only a few years ago, businesses wanting to track their greenhouse gas emissions had few choices. Their main option was a simple spreadsheet with pages and pages of numbers.

Now, companies and governments can turn to software that allows them to input emissions data, analyze it in fancy charts and receive recommendations on how to cut heat-trapping gases from operations large and small.

Take the example of Palo Alto, Calif. With the help of software from a California-based startup named Hara in 2009, the city determined that it could slash emissions by cooling off canine units in police cars with fans rather than vehicle air conditioning, among other things.

The University at Buffalo, in the State University of New York system, similarly is planning to measure emissions at the building level for the first time using a new product called Carbon Impact from computing giant SAP. According to university environmental educator Jim Simon, the school is contemplating a carbon footprint competition among various university departments -- a task that would have been virtually impossible a year ago.

"We are in a new age of carbon computing," said Stephen Stokes, an analyst at AMR Research.

The driver of the new age is more commonly known as carbon management, or carbon accounting, software. In the last year alone, more than $46 million in venture capital poured into the space and the number of companies offering products surged by 50 percent, according to a report being released today by Groom Energy Solutions.

The possibility of federal action on climate change is spurring the growth, along with pressure for corporations to present a "green" image and cut energy costs generally. Just as the Internet era started with a large number of companies that failed in the shadow of Microsoft Corp. and Intel Corp., analysts predict businesses will fight it out in the next 18 months to determine which is the carbon software king.

A booming product sends a message. Will it be heeded?

The battle for market share is spawning a lobbying frenzy and generating speculation from analysts about whether the new products will truly slash emissions or get tossed aside when companies face the prospect of making difficult choices.

"When the rubber meets the road, some companies may not be able to deliver when they find out how hard it is to cut emissions," said Nigel Melville, an assistant professor of business information technology at the University of Michigan.

According to Groom Energy, eight companies currently are considered emerging leaders in carbon management software, while some 60 total vendors exist in the sector, a jump from 40 a year ago. By 2011, the market is expected to grow 600 percent and include as many as 800 sellers, the study said.

The current leaders are a mix of longtime software players like SAP, which acquired a smaller carbon management software company in May, and startups like Hara and Carbonetworks. In 2009, software giants Computer Associates and Microsoft entered the market, as well.

"The people who are going to win at the end of the day are the people who integrate a whole bunch of different variables," Stokes said.

He said companies offering a "one size fits all" package that not only tracks greenhouse gases but performs sophisticated analysis of things like water consumption were most likely to succeed. Otherwise, companies that excel at one niche aspect of emissions management, such as in the transportation sector, likely will gain an edge, analysts say.

In an online demonstration of Carbon Impact last week, a representative from SAP showed just how far the carbon tracking world has come from the days of spreadsheets.

A world beyond spreadsheets beckons

An array of options and dropdown menus allow users to track greenhouse gas output companywide or in one division through various time ranges and through colorful pie charts and bar graphs of fossil fuel sources. It labels activities on a given day such as "employee driving" and "industrial wastewater" with a distinctive ID number and matching greenhouse gas output number.

The software ultimately offers recommendations on how customers can cut heat-trapping gases by a specific amount through activities such as replacing light bulbs. Similarly, Hara founder Amit Chatterjee described in an interview how his product might suggest after a thorough analysis that a restaurant replace its boiler system so it burns less fossil fuels.

For now, companies are in a race to try and tailor their product to both the public and private sectors.

Chatterjee, for example, is in Washington, D.C., this week meeting with executive branch officials to determine "what our software might need to do" to meet the demands of the federal government.

"We are trying to determine what their agenda on climate change will look like," said Chatterjee about the Obama administration. His company launched its product publicly in 2009 after receiving more than $6 million in financial assistance from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a venture capital firm that counts former Vice President Al Gore as a partner.

When and if a mandatory cap on greenhouse gases gets put into place, vendors will be racing to stamp their software as climate law "compliant," Melville said. The likelihood of climate regulations from U.S. EPA or a mandatory cap enacted by Congress is driving the market's growth, according to Groom Energy and others, but it is not the only factor.

For one thing, EPA regulations would only require entities spewing 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent or more a year to report to the agency in most cases. The 25,000-ton threshold covers about 10,000 facilities that generate the majority of domestic greenhouse gases but are owned by a fraction of U.S. businesses.

Rattling the supply chain

"If you're a huge software company, that's not enough of a market," Stokes said.

A bigger factor could be Wal-Mart, which asked its 60,000 suppliers in 2009 to answer 15 basic questions on the environmental impact of their operations. That move "singlehandedly" prompted firms to invest more in environmental products in 2009, Groom Energy's report said.

A lot of companies are buying software in anticipation of a "second order" from Wal-Mart in 2010 that could be even more specific about what the retail giant wants from its suppliers on carbon emissions, Chatterjee said.

That could create a ripple effect as Wal-Mart's suppliers and competitors vie to keep pace in the green marketing game.

Companies stand to "lose a lot of brand" if they do not have a comparable emissions tracking system to their competitors, Stokes said.

Already, more than 2,000 global companies and organizations report basic emissions data to the Carbon Disclosure Project, or CDP, a nonprofit founded in 2000 in the United Kingdom. With CDP data now flowing to Wall Street via subscriber databases owned by Bloomberg, additional pressure to track emissions in a more sophisticated way could come from investors and investor research firms, Groom Energy noted.

For Melville, there is a concern that the carbon software boom could end in a bust, much in the way that some firms abandoned financial accounting software in the 1990s when the recommendations proved too difficult or costly to implement.

He offered the hypothetical example of a midsize bank that does not ship many goods around the world and must rely on changing the behavior of its employees and core business practices at headquarters to make a dent in emissions.

"That's not easy to do," Melville said.

A side benefit of the software, though, could be to get everyone measuring emissions the same way in the first place, Melville said. Currently, many companies generate their own raw data for the software using different measurement methodologies, raising questions about the reliability of the input numbers.

But Stokes said it was useful for businesses to measure against the same numerical baseline from the start, even if their original input on emissions might be less than accurate in some cases.

"As long as you keep measuring the same way, the year-on-year improvement tells you something," Stokes said.

Copyright 2010 E&E Publishing. All Rights Reserved.

http://www.climatebiz.com/blog/2010/01/14/10-climate-trends-will-shape-business-2010

10 Climate Trends That Will Shape Business in 2010
By Ryan Schuchard
Created 2010-01-14 00:06

[Editor's note: This article was authored by BSR, a global business network and consultancy focused on sustainability.]

As 2010 begins, there are looming questions about climate change action: Will the political agreement made in Copenhagen in 2009 be developed by the next "COP" meeting to include detailed targets and rules? Will those targets and rules be binding?

What will happen with the U.S. Senate's vote on cap-and-trade? Will U.S. public opinion about climate change -- which has a major impact on how the Senate votes -- ever begin to converge with science?

There's no doubt that the year's most interesting stories could turn out to be "
black swans" that we can't currently foresee. But even amid the uncertainty, there are some clear trends that will significantly shape the business-climate landscape.

Upcoming Climate Events
World Economic ForumJan. 27-31 (Davos)
Winter Olympics with sustainability on display, Feb. 12-28 (Whistler)
GLOBE conferenceMarch 24-26 (Vancouver)
Easter:
 April 4, Result likely from U.S. Senate vote on domestic climate change legislation
 
Earth DayApril 22, 40th Anniversary
World Environment DayJune 5 (Pittsburgh)
UN Global Compact 10th Anniversary Summit:June 24-25 (New York
UN Commission for Sustainable Development update of the Marrakech Process with Sustainable ConsumptionSummer 
International Day of Climate Action: 
Oct. 24
 
BSR conferenceNov. 2-5 (New York
G-20 Leaders Summit: 
November (Seoul

Greenhouse Gas Protocol to publish Scope 3 guidance, December  
COP16 (tentative): December (Mexico City)  
China's 12th Five-Year Plan unveiled: TBD

1. A Better Dashboard

Carbon transparency isn't easy -- it takes science, infrastructure, and group decisions about standards to allow for more accurate information. We have started moving in that direction. Web-based information services provide illustrations: 
country commitments needed for climate stabilization, indications of where we are now, and the critical path of individual U.S. policymakers

Meanwhile, more attention is being paid to 
real-time atmospheric greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations, remote sensing technology that tracks atmospheric GHGs, and a new climate registry for China. As these data tools become more available, business leaders should begin to see -- and report on -- a clearer picture of their company's real climate impacts. 

2. Enhanced Attention to Products 


There are signs that more consumers will demand product footprinting -- that is, a holistic, lifecycle picture of the climate impacts of products and services ranging from an ounce of gold to a T-shirt or car. Fortunately, a new wave of standards is coming. The gold-standard corporate accounting tool, the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, aims to issue 
guidance on footprinting for products and supply chains late in the year, and groups like theOutdoor Industry Association and the Electronics Industry Citizenship Coalition plan to publish consensus-based standards for their industries in the near future.

Related News & Blogs

Targeting Energy Efficiency
League of Conservation Voters Gives Obama a 'Solid B+' on His First Year in Office
Investment in Carbon Accounting Software Hit $46 Million in 2009
Nearly 60 Companies Test New Product, Supply Chain Emissions Measuring Tools
Golden State Warriors Hook Up with The Solar Company to Green Practice Facility  GreenerBuildings.com


3. More Efforts to Build Supplier Capacity to Address Emissions 


With more attention on products comes an appreciation of product footprinting's limitations. Many layers of standards are still needed, from the micro methods of locating carbon particles to time-consuming macro approaches defining common objectives through group consensus. Accurate footprinting that avoids greenwashing requires statistical context, especially related to variance and confidence levels, that companies often think stakeholders don't want to digest. 

Progressive companies such as Hewlett Packard, Ikea, Intel, and Wal-Mart are therefore pursuing partnerships with suppliers for carbon and energy efficiency, and they are focusing their public communications on the qualitative efforts to build supplier capacity--as opposed to pure quantitative measurements, which can imply more precision than really exists. 

4. Improved Literacy About the Climate Impacts of Business 


The bulk of companies' climate management falls short of directly confronting the full scale of effort required to address climate change. That's partly because organizational emissions accounting tends to treat progress as change from the past, as opposed to movement toward a common, objective planetary goal. But companies are becoming more aware of the need to be goal oriented. Firms such as Autodesk and BT have begun bridging this gap by illustrating that there is a common end--which is measured in atmospheric parts per million of emissions--and that company metrics can be mapped to their share of their countries' national and international policy objectives toward them. 

5. More Meaningful Policy Engagement 


Related to the previous item, more companies realize that pushing for the enactment of clear and durable rules to incentivize low-carbon investment is one of the most direct things they can do to stabilize the climate. Therefore, more companies are engaging earlier -- and in more creative ways -- in their climate "journey." There is growing realization that you don't have to "reduce first" before getting involved.
<!--pagebreak-->There is also a general awakening to the fact that strong climate policy is good for jobs and business. Already, more than 
1,000 global companies representing $11 trillion in market capitalization and 20 million jobs (PDF) agree that strong climate policy is good for business. There has never been a better time to get involved, especially in the United States, where the Senate is expected to vote on domestic legislation by Easter. Effective corporate action can help fence-sitting senators (PDF) gain the support they need by educating the public in their districts about the importance of strong climate policy.


6. Higher Stakeholder Expectations

As climate management enters the mainstream, stakeholders expect companies to do more, and watchdogs will find new soft spots. Companies should be prepared for new stakeholder tactics, such as the profiling of individual executive officers, who are perceived as having the greatest impact on company positions, and heightened policy advocacy efforts. The media's role in promoting public climate literacy will continue to rank as an important part of stakeholder expectations. Currently, the U.S. public, which plays an important role in the critical path to a global framework, has far less confidence about the importance of acting on climate than scientists do, and the media can help educate them.

7. Increased Power of Networks

Economists see energy efficiency as a solution to 40 percent or more of climate mitigation, and with the technology and finance already available globally, companies can play a significant role in accelerating progress. While the price makes the energy market, and policy helps to set the price, companies like Walmart have shown that creating expectations for performance improvement, while providing tools and training, can help suppliers and partners clear the economic hurdles they need to get started. After this initial "push," experience shows that suppliers take further steps on their own. As more companies take on supply chain carbon management, watch for lessons on how to do it effectively.

8.    More Climate Connections 


Energy efficiency, which constitutes the core of many companies' climate programs, offers a platform for broader resource-efficiency efforts. We expect to see many companies expand their programs this year to address water. Given that this is the "
Year of Biodiversity," we can also expect more movement related to forestry and agriculture. The nexus between climate change and human rights is also likely to become a hot topic, building on momentum developed during the run-up to Copenhagen.

Finally, watch for the climate vulnerability of mountain regions to gain attention, due to increased environmental instability, disruption of natural water storage and distribution systems, and stress on ecosystem services in regions near human populations.

9. Greater Focus on Adaptation 


Climate management has already broadened to include 
adaptation, and this will receive increasing attention in 2010. This is already evident in company reporting, as evidenced by responses to the Carbon Disclosure Project (see answers to questions 2 and 5 about physical risks and opportunities). Companies are addressing many adaptation-related issues, including insurance, health, migration, human rights, and food and agriculture. It is important to note that adaptation efforts can--and must--also support mitigation, as in the case of resource efficiency. 

10. More Political Venues Up for Grabs 


The 
Copenhagen Accord (PDF) was produced only during the last few hours at COP15, as part of a last-ditch "friends of chair" effort involving around 25 countries. This nontraditional process proved to be an effective way to move swiftly in getting broad support, yet still failed to achieve consensus in the general assembly, with a small handful of nations vetoing due to a few apparently intractable disputes. In consideration, there are growing calls for additional forums beyond the regular United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change process, to offer more responsive action in developing the global climate agreement needed.

Most notably, attention is on the G-20 countries, a group that comprises the vast majority of emitters and has shown that it can move efficiently, even while avoiding the troublesome distinction between developed and developing nations. Country associations are also changing. For example, instead of "BRIC" (Brazil, Russia, India, and China), we are more often hearing about BASIC  (BRIC minus Russia plus South Africa) and BICI (BRIC minus Russia plus Indonesia). The point is, before Copenhagen, most thought updating Kyoto meant developing a global treaty through the formal U.N. structures. Now there is growing appreciation of the opportunity for complementary efforts, and new countries are coming to the fore in multilateral engagement.

In 2010, business leaders will be considering their best next steps after Copenhagen. At the same time, as BSR President and CEO Aron Cramer has written, while an overall framework agreement is important, we need to look beyond forums like Copenhagen for real results on climate -- and that means looking to business. Business is important for two reasons: By engaging in policy, business can help increase the likelihood that policymakers will develop a strong framework. And by innovating and committing to progress, business will help a treaty achieve desired results.

At BSR, we will be tracking the opportunities related to these trends and working with business to focus on innovation, efficiency, mobilization, and collaboration for low-carbon prosperity. For more information about how your company can contribute, contact me at 
rschuchard@bsr.org.

Ryan Schuchard is BSR's manager of environmental research and innovation.

http://www.climatebiz.com/news/2010/01/06/global-investment-portfolios-filled-hidden-climate-risks

Global Investment Portfolios Filled with 'Hidden' Climate Risks
By ClimateBiz Staff
Created 2010-01-06 11:47

BOSTON, MA — Investment portfolios around the world are filled with "hidden risks" because their managers do not consider climate change when making investment decisions -- largely because asset owners aren't asking them to. 

In a 
survey of some of the world's largest asset managers, nearly half said climate change was either not on their client's radars, or had just surfaced as a concern. A trend toward short-term financial performance also make climate change assessment -- a long-term threat -- less likely. 

"Despite the growing recognition of the far-reaching impacts climate change will have on the global economy, only a handful of asset managers are integrating climate risks and opportunities throughout their investment practices," Mindy S. Lubber, president of 
Ceres and director of the Investor Network on Climate Risk, which commissioned the survey, said in a statement Wednesday. "These findings make clear that the investment community is overly focused on short-term performance and ignoring longer-term business trends such as climate-related risks and opportunities. The recent subprime mortgage meltdown is a painful reminder of the fallout for investors who ignored 'hidden' long-term risks."

Nearly 75 percent of asset managers in the survey expressly exclude climate change in their overall due diligence. This is despite the fact that nearly half see significant climate change risk exposure for some sectors. 

Yet not all asset managers are ignoring climate change investment risks. The 
California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS), the second largest public pension fund in the U.S., said Wednesday it would engage its active equity managers on their climate change analysis and push each manager to cultivate climate change and sustainable investment expertise and also tweak corporate governance voting processes to consider and address climate change.

"As a long-term investor, CalSTRS wants to invest in well-managed companies that can address the physical risks of climate change and adapt to the changing regulatory and market realities of a carbon-constrained economy," CalSTRS CEO Jack Ehnes said in a statement. "Our asset managers need to ask the right questions and critically evaluate how companies are positioned so that we're sure that our investments will produce outstanding risk-adjusted returns for our members."  

More than 80 asset managers responsible for $8.6 trillion in assets completed the survey, which was conducted in early 2009 at the request of INCR.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jan/14/business-low-carbon-economy

Investors urge governments to take immediate action on climate change
First major gathering of business leaders since Copenhagen warn of lost opportunity to create low-carbon economy
Suzanne Goldenberg, US environment correspondent
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 14 January 2010 18.17 GMT
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 the Summit on Climate Change at the United Nations  UN in New York
Climate talks at the United Nations in New York last year. Photograph: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images
Over 450 investors controlling $13tn of assets yesterday urged world governments to pre-empt an international climate change treaty and take immediate action on global warming, or risk losing the opportunity to establish a clean and sustainable low-carbon economy.
At a conference at the United Nations in New York, the first gathering of business leaders since the disappointment of last month's Copenhagen climate summit said governments — even in the absence of a treaty — must adopt policies that give a clear sense of direction towards a new clean energy economy. Copenhagen made only "incremental" progress, the investors said in a statement and governments worldwide needed to act now to reset their domestic agendas, with policies to limit greenhouse gas emissions and to lay the foundations of a carbon market.
"Given that Copenhagen was a missed opportunity to create one fully functional international carbon market, it is more important than ever that individual governments implement regional and domestic policy change to stimulate the creation of a low carbon economy," said Peter Dunsombe, chairman of the IIGCC, a network of European investors. "Leaders from both developed and developing countries need to act now to compensate for the lack of progress."
The Obama administration, like other governments of industrialised countries, has acknowledged the private sector will provide the majority of funding for the transition from fossil fuels to renewable, low-carbon energy sources.
"Investors remain committed to taking action," the group of 450 investors from Europe, America and Australia said. "But for us to deploy capital at the scale needed to truly catalyse a low-carbon economy, policy makers must act swiftly." Before the Copenhagen conference, the economist Lord Stern, and the head of the UN Environment Programme Achim Steiner, told the Guardian that a failure would be "very damaging" to investor confidence.
The cautious assessment on the outcome of the Copenhagen climate change summit was echoed by the Obama administration's top climate change envoy, Todd Stern. He told the conference, which was organised by the Ceres green investment network, thathis year would be crucial in determining whether the world was truly on course towards reaching a fully fledged treaty to deal with climate change.
He said America and other countries would be working hard to flesh out a 12-paragraph accord brokered by Obama and the leaders of China, India, Brazil, and South Africa, especially on sharing of clean energy technology, and the mobilising of a global fund to help poor countries adapt to climate change. "We have an accord that is lumbering down the runway, and we need to get it enough speed so that it can take off," Stern said.
The investors said it was critical that governments – including the US – adopt rigorous targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade as well as for the distant date of 2050. In addition to renewable energy, they also called for policies to speed the development of green building practices, cleaner cars and public transit systems.
"What we need most is government action both in the US and throughout the world," said Anne Stausboll, the chief executive of the California Public Employees Retirement System (Calpers) America's largest public pension fund. Calpers has $1bn of its $205bn assets in green investment, and was ready to do more, but Stausboll — like others — said that Congress first needed to put in place a climate change law.


guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


CSR newsclips for 22 January 2010: Davos 2010 crisis of ethics, Diversity, and Equator principles

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financetopics/davos/7019964/Davos-2010-Survey-highlights-crisis-of-ethics.html

Davos 2010: Survey highlights 'crisis of ethics'
More than two thirds of people believe the current economic crisis is also a crisis of ethics and values, according to a World Economic Forum (WEF) opinion poll.

 
By Angela Monaghan
Published: 9:27PM GMT 18 Jan 2010

Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, will lead the closing session at Davos.
Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, will lead the closing session at Davos.



The survey, based on 130,000 Facebook members from ten G20 economies, also found that only a quarter of people believe that large, multi-national companies have a "values-driven" approach to their sectors. The proportion rose to 40pc for small and medium-sized businesses. Half of respondents - in France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey and the US - believed that universal values exist.
Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the WEF, said the report underlined the need for a set of values which must be applied to global economic institutions. "Our present system fails to meet its obligations to as many as 3bn people in the world. Our civic, business and political cultures must be transformed if we are to close this gap."
He said the WEF's annual summit in Davos next week, which will be attended by many of the world's leading businessmen and politicians, would be a platform to rethink the values underpinning the "global system of cooperation."
When asked to identify which values were most important for the global political and economic system, almost 40pc chose honesty, integrity and transparency, 24pc chose others' rights, dignity and views, 20pc chose the impact of actions on the well-being of others, and 17pc chose the preservation of the environment.
Almost two-thirds of respondents felt that people do not apply the same values in their professional lives as they do in their private lives. When asked whether businesses should be primarily responsible to their shareholders, their employees, their clients and customers, or all three equally, almost half of the respondents chose "all three equally".
Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, will lead the closing session at Davos and said in response to the WEF report: "We have to ask what an economy would look like if it were genuinely focused on making and sustaining a home – a social environment that offered security for citizens, including those who could not contribute in obvious ways to productive and profit-making business..."

https://cfo.executiveboard.com/Public/ResearchAlerts/HeardSuite/HeardintheSuite.html#climate1
  • Make Diversity a Reality
How to move beyond lip service and make diversity part of how you do business

By Amy Gallo

January 20, 2010

As the country becomes more diverse, smart companies are keeping pace to reflect the consumers they serve. Companies have realized that diversity is not a moral issue but a business one: it is a valuable way to drive growth, attract and retain talent and differentiate your company strategically. Most companies have made a commitment to diversity: the word "diversity" appears on the recruiting pages of their website, they have diversity metrics included in their strategic plan, and they may even have a function or FTE dedicated to diversity initiatives.

Unfortunately, few companies have truly attained the results that diversity and inclusion promises and the espoused commitment is little more than lip service. The reality is that minorities are stilloverrepresented at unskilled levels and sorely underrepresented at most senior levels. This may be especially true of many finance departments. Furthermore, many leaders who have managed to achieve diversity in their departments or companies still struggle to manage it.

Here are three steps to develop a diversity program that works:

  • Articulate the case for diversity. Everyone knows it's the "right" thing to do but do the people in your organization know why diversity is important specifically for your company? Avoiding law suits is not reason enough. What are the business outcomes linked to diversity and how will diversity help you achieve them? Studies have shown that diversity can improve innovation, help companies better serve diverse consumer bases, and positively impact financial performance. Discover your company's reason for pursuing diversity and be sure everyone in your organization understands it.
  • Create a formal body. You may already have done this, but few companies have achieved diversity without a formal body driving the agenda. This may be a Chief Diversity Officer or a cross-functional task force. Diversity groups housed within HR can be successful but the most effective are often cross-functional groups that report directly to CEO. Regardless of what form it takes, it is important to demonstrate to the organization that diversity is a real business issue not just a workforce issue. Be sure your formal body is staffed with well-respected and well-connected people.
  • Integrate diversity into your culture. Putting someone in charge of diversity is not enough; and launching programs can often result in what feels like organ rejection if the company is not ready. A winning diversity program needs to start with a change management component that addresses cultural barriers to achieving and managing diversity and aligns company-wide understanding of diversity with management goals. Leaders need to embed diversity and inclusion in their day-to-day business decisions and communicate clearly and consistently the company's vision.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/jan/14/equator-principles-banks-environment-campaigners

Banks attacked for failures to meet Equator Principles on environment
Campaign groups say funding is still going to projects that damage planet
Nick Mathiason
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 14 January 2010 18.05 GMT
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Kashagan offshore oil, Kazakhstan
Artificial island of Kashagan offshore oil field in the Caspian sea, western Kazakhstan. There are environmental worries about the scheme. Photograph: Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters
The world's biggest banks are continuing to lend money to some of the most environmentally damaging energy and infrastructure projects despite a supposed groundbreaking protocol they agreed to seven years ago that was meant to prevent such abuses.
The claim is in a letter sent to 60 banks, including Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland, by 86 campaign groups from 27 countries pouring scorn on the Equator Principles, signed to great fanfare in 2003. It comes as banks are come under the spotlight for funding huge hydrocarbon energy projects that fuel climate change.
"We find ourselves continuing to campaign against the very same projects that we expected the principles to prevent or significantly improve," the letter states. "Supersized dams blocking life-supporting rivers, driving thousands of people from their submerged villages and lands; huge mining projects scarring entire mountains and polluting rivers and seas with their waste; oil and gas pipelines carrying their toxic load straight through devastated forests and threatening marine sanctuaries; coal power plants belching out millions of tons of greenhouse gases into our already fatigued atmosphere; enormous paper mills with insatiable appetites that devour the last wilderness areas, etc. Much to our disappointment, the principles allow for all of these disgraces to proceed, only now in an 'Equator compliant' mode."
Banks are to meet campaign groups in Zurich next month to discuss possible reform that would limit the funding of energy projects that exacerbate climate change and make funding decisions more transparent. Among the projects causing concern is the Kashagan oil field in Kazakhstan, which is estimated to hold 13bn barrels of oil, making it the largest new find worldwide in more than a decade.
Bank insiders reject criticism of the principles arguing they provide a common standard to guide project finance decisions to which more than 60 institutions have signed up. Further reform of the principles would be a matter for individual bank groups which could destroy the existing consensus, the source added.
But campaigners state: "We are disappointed with the lack of transparency, accountability, effectiveness and true compliance with the principles and lack of progress in their development."

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010



Alternative Energy newsclips for 22 January 2010: Ontario lures Samsung while a bloodbath prepares in Germany and the US ramps up wind, Electric cars in the snow, and Shell faces (another) shareholder revolt on tar sands

http://planetark.org/wen/56449

Ontario Says Samsung Deal To Make It Green Leader
Date: 22-Jan-10
Country:
 CANADA
Author:
 John McCrank

Ontario Says Samsung Deal To Make It Green Leader

TORONTO - A C$7 billion ($6.7 billion) green energy investment by a consortium led by South Korea's Samsung C&T Corp will make Ontario a leader in renewable energy technology, the Canadian province said on Thursday.
The project to build four wind and solar power clusters in Ontario, Canada's most populous province, will have a combined power-generating capacity of 2.5 gigawatts by 2016. That's equivalent to 4 percent of Ontario's total electricity consumption.
It will include wind turbines that will generate up to 2,000 megawatts, as well as solar power facilities that will generate up to 500 megawatts.
Ontario has agreed buy electricity from the group.
The province's Green Energy Act guarantees above-market prices for green power, which has led to criticisms that the deal is effectively a subsidy to Samsung.
But the act also says Ontario must shut down all of its coal-fired power plants by 2014 and increase its ratio of renewable power generation, and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty said the project would help meet those goals.
He said that on top of the 16,000 jobs the project was expected to create, it would position Ontario as a leader in green technology manufacturing.
"We're doing more than buying a huge amount of electricity, we are doing more than just creating jobs... we are trying to lay the foundation here for economic growth," he said. "If we can build the capacity here to deliver renewable technology to the U.S. market, that's a good thing."
About 4,000 of the jobs will be permanent, an Ontario government official said.
The consortium will build four manufacturing plants in Ontario between 2013 and 2015 -- one for wind towers, one for solar inverters, one for solar module assembly, and one for wind blades. In addition to the plants, which will also make equipment for sales in the United States and elsewhere, the clusters will include wind and solar power generating farms.
Ontario is also kicking in about C$437 million in incentives to the consortium, which are tied to the manufacturing plants being built on time.
The consortium's manufacturing partners include Dongkuk Steel, and Satcon and Pattern Energy Group.
© Thomson Reuters 2010 All rights reserved

http://planetark.org/wen/56440

U.S. Says Wind Could Power 20 Percent Of Eastern Grid
Date: 21-Jan-10
Country:
 US
Author:
 Tom Doggett

WASHINGTON - Wind energy could generate 20 percent of the electricity needed by households and businesses in the eastern half of the United States by 2024, but it would require up to $90 billion in investment, according to a government report released on Wednesday.
For the 20 percent wind scenario to work, billions must be spent on installing wind towers on land and sea and about 22,000 miles of new high-tech power lines to carry the electricity to cities, according to the study from the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
"Twenty percent wind is an ambitious goal," said David Corbus, the project manager for the study. "We can bring more wind power online, but if we don't have the proper infrastructure to move that power around, it's like buying a hybrid car and leaving it in the garage,"
The private sector cannot fund all the needed spending, so a big chunk would have to come from the federal government through programs such as loan guarantees, Corbus said.
The Obama administration is already dedicating billions of dollars to double the amount of electricity produced by wind and other renewables energy sources by January 2012.
The Interior Department will decide this spring whether to approve the Cape Wind project off Cape Cod, Massachusetts. That project, long delayed because of local opposition, would provide electricity to about 400,000 homes.
The amount of U.S. electricity generated by wind was up 29 percent during January-October of last year compared to the same period is 2008, according to the Energy Department.
Reaching the 20 percent threshold for wind by 2024 in the eastern electric grid would require 225,000 megawatts of wind generation capacity in the region, about a 10-fold increase from current levels, the study said.
One megawatt of electricity can provide power to about 1,000 homes.
Wind turbines would be scattered throughout the eastern grid, which extends from the Plains states to the Atlantic Coast and south to the Gulf of Mexico.
Most of the big wind farms would be concentrated off the Atlantic Coast in federal waters from Massachusetts to North Carolina and on land in Midwest states from North Dakota to Nebraska and into Kansas.
Many states already require utilities to produce a portion of their electricity from renewable energy sources, but a federal mandate covering all utilities nationwide would help create the 20 percent wind scenario, Corbus said.
Sen. Byron Dorgan said on Tuesday he thought the Senate would forgo dealing with climate change legislation this year after going through the contentious health care debate and instead focus on passing an energy bill that, in part, requires U.S. utilities to generate 15 percent of their electricity from renewables by 2021.

http://planetark.org/wen/56433


Electric Car Road Test Planned For Quebec

Electric Car Road Test Planned For Quebec Photo: Mark Blinch

Date: 21-Jan-10
Country:
 QUEBEC
Author:
 Susan Taylor


The Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid car is attached to an electric outlet at the 2010 North American International Auto Show during press days in Detroit, Michigan January 12, 2010
Photo: Mark Blinch

OTTAWA - Quebec's power utility is teaming up with Mitsubishi Motors to road test the performance of up to 50 all-electric vehicles against the rigors of the Canadian climate and measure their infrastructure needs.
The C$4.5 million ($4.4 million) project, which organizers say will be Canada's biggest trial yet of all-electric vehicles, is planned for this autumn near the Boucherville research facility of Hydro-Quebec, the provincial government-owned electricity utility.
"It will allow us to advance our knowledge of the technology and its integration into our grid, which in turn, will help us plan the necessary charging infrastructure for homes, offices and public places," said Thierry Vandal, Hydro-Quebec's chief executive.
Organizers said the road test is the first to include a car manufacturer, public utility, municipality and local businesses, which will integrate Mitsubishi i-MiEVs into existing fleets.
Mitsubishi says its Innovative Electric Vehicle, or i-MiEV, is an all-electric, highway-capable, charge-at-home commuter car.
Quebec was Canada's first province to adopt California's strict auto emission standards. The new rules came into effect January 14 and impose increasingly stringent limits on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from cars and light trucks.
(Editing by Peter Galloway)

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article6994439.ece

Roof-mounted wind turbines 'no help in reducing carbon'




B

Ben Webster, Environment Editor
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Wind turbine on David Cameron's roof

The wind turbine formerly on David Cameron's roof in West London



Roof-mounted wind turbines and solar panels are "eco-bling" that allow their owners to flaunt their green credentials but contribute very little towards meeting Britain's carbon reduction targets, according to the Royal Academy of Engineering.
Developers will waste millions of pounds installing such micro-generation devices unless the Government revises its building regulations on carbon-neutral homes and offices.
Doug King, Professor of Building Engineering at the University of Bath and the author of a report on low carbon buildings published today, said that far greater savings could be made by installing better insulation and methods of trapping the Sun's rays.
He proposed that the government target for all new homes to be carbon-neutral by 2016 should be relaxed in return for developers making equivalent contributions to wind farms and other large-scale renewable energy projects. "Wind turbines and solar cells on the roof achieve little or nothing and are what I describe as eco-bling. It's just about trying to say to the general public, 'I'm being good, I'm helping the environment'.


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"The things that save the money are not done, because they are not sexy."
Dr King said that wind turbines on urban homes often consumed more energy than they generated.
Field trials carried out last year by the government-funded Energy Saving Trust found that the most productive building-mounted wind turbines in urban or suburban areas generated only £26 of electricity a year. Many of these turbines, which cost about £1,500, were net consumers of electricity because their controls drew power from the grid when the wind was low.
David Cameron installed a wind turbine on the roof of his home in West London but was forced to remove it because he had not obtained planning permission. His spokeswoman said yesterday that the turbine had been returned to the architect. "The technology has moved on so there was no point in putting it back up," she said.
Professor King said that for wind turbines on urban homes to be effective, they would have to be so big that their vibration would damage the building. He said that installing microgeneration devices could cost £10,000 to £12,000 per home and reduce its emissions by only a few per cent. He proposed an alternative policy under which developers would offset the entire emissions of new homes by contributing £3,000 per dwelling towards a wind farm on a hilltop.
Professor King said that offices would need to be redesigned to reduce energy use and cope with regular power cuts caused by the failure to replace ageing power stations. He accused the Government of failing to practise what it preached on emissions. A recent National Audit Office report found that 80 per cent of government buildings opened since 2002 fell below minimum environmental performance standards.
Running out of puff
1.9% of homes (455,000) are suitable for building-mounted turbines
5m a second minimum average wind speed to justify the cost of a small turbine
80% by 2050: target for cut in 1990 level of greenhouse gas emissions
2016 date for all new homes to be zero-carbon under target
45% of current emissions come from buildings
80% of the buildings in which we will live in 2050 have been built
Sources: DECC, Energy Saving Trust, Royal Academy of Engineering

http://planetark.org/wen/56381

German Tariff Cuts To Spark Solar Sector Bloodbath
Date: 18-Jan-10
Country:
 GERMANY/CHINA
Author:
 Christoph Steitz and Leonora Walet - Analysis

German Tariff Cuts To Spark Solar Sector Bloodbath Photo: juwi/Handout/Files
An aerial view shows the Lieberose solar farm, which become the world's second biggest solar power plant and Germany's biggest, with an area of 162 hectares (equivalent to more than 210 football fields) in Turnow-Preilack, about 150 km (93 miles) southeas
Photo: juwi/Handout/Files

FRANKFURT/HONG KONG - A potential deep cut in feed-in tariffs in Germany will hit solar companies around the world and increases pressure on large players to reduce exposure to the world's largest photovoltaic market.
Analysts say that lower prices could result in a shakeout in the industry that drives higher cost players out of business and dissuades new entrants.
Shares in solar firms plummeted after a Reuters report that the German government plans to chop feed-in tariffs -- prices utilities pay generators of renewable energy -- as early as April, much more deeply and sooner than the market expected.
Analysts agree that the plans, which envisage a one-off cut of 16-17 percent on top of the 10 percent already set out in the German Renewable Act, will deal a major blow to the sector, which the German government thinks is overly subsidized now.
Most of the industry's leaders -- such as Yingli and Suntech from China, Q-Cells and SMA Solar from Germany and U.S. groups First Solar and SunPower -- have big sales exposure to Germany.
"This is negative for the whole sector as the mentioned cuts are not only higher than the 10 percent expected, but in particular would also be implemented one quarter earlier," UniCredit analyst Michael Tappeiner wrote to clients.
"In addition, the subsidy cuts would initially reduce investment returns in the ground-mounted solar park segment to unattractive levels," he added.
The solar industry depends on generous feed-in tariffs as long as grid parity -- the point at which energy from solar modules costs the same as that won from fossil fuels -- has not been reached.
Large utilities must pay producers of solar power the feed-in tariffs, which have gradually fallen from 57 euro cents per kw in 2004 to 39 cents this year. The utilities then pass the higher costs to consumers.
"The biggest sufferers in our universe would be Q-Cells, Solon, SolarWorld, and SMA Solar," said DZ Bank analyst Sven Kuerten.
Germany's biggest solar companies are highly dependent on the domestic market. Q-Cells made 56 percent of its sales in the first nine months of 2009 in Germany, SolarWorld 67 percent and SMA Solar more than 70 percent.
Analysts said foreigners would suffer too.
"With a possibly disproportionate decline in demand ... we cannot exclude effects on Chinese companies as well," LBBW analysts said, calling the report "devastating news."
NO WAY AROUND GERMANY
Germany accounts for about half of global panel sales at China's Yingli and more than half at Suntech. U.S.-based First Solar, which is set to become the world's biggest maker of solar cells and has a manufacturing site in Germany, made 60 percent to 70 percent of its sales here last year.
"For the big players, there is no real way around Germany, to be honest," said SES Research analyst Karsten von Blumenthal.
"Sure, companies try to enter markets such as France, Italy, Spain and the Czech Republic. But we're talking about markets that are way smaller than Germany," he added.
European solar industry association EPIA expects that combined installation volume in those four countries will total up to 1.96 gigawatts in 2010, or 18 percent of estimated global 2010 output, compared with 2.8 gigawatts for Germany.
Blumenthal said it was doubtful whether other European countries could offset a large market slump in Germany.
Europe excluding Germany accounted for 32 percent of Q-Cells sales in the first nine months of 2009. The respective share for SolarWorld, whose chief executive, Frank Asbeck, described the planned cuts as unacceptable, was 19 percent.
"The problem for some of the German producers such as the country's No.1 SolarWorld as well as Q-Cells is that they are quite pricey and have high fixed costs," said an analyst who declined to be named.
Pricing could be decisive when it comes to snapping up orders in Germany, even though the overall market is likely to decline if a significant cut in tariffs materializes.
"The flip side to that is for the Chinese such a large cut means they'll have significant advantage in terms of pricing," said CLSA analyst Charles Yonts.
Chinese manufacturers produce at much lower prices than German peers and analysts have pointed out that they have less difficulty in securing credit lines from domestic banks.
Any significant one-off cuts, however, would have a positive effect in the short term as customers rush orders to benefit from tariffs before they fall even more.
"The steeper the digression, the more front-half loaded the year's installations will be as people take advantage of the higher feed-in tariff," said John Hardy, analyst at Broadpoint AmTech.
(Editing by Sitaraman Shankar)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/jan/18/shell-shareholders-fury-tar-sands

Shell faces shareholder revolt over Canadian tar sands project
• Investors call for review of oil production in Alberta
• Tar sands deliver less than 2.5% of total oil and gas production

Terry Macalister
The Guardian, Monday 18 January 2010
 larger | smaller
Tar sands
Royal Dutch Shell group's dissident shareholders will press for a review of its tar sands project in Canada, at the oil firm's annual meeting in May. Photograph: Jeff McIntosh/AP
Shell chief executive Peter Voser will be forced to defend the company's controversial investment in Canada's tar sands at his first annual general meeting, after calls from shareholders that the project be put under further scrutiny.
A coalition of institutional investors has forced a resolution onto the agenda calling for the Anglo-Dutch group's audit committee to undertake a special review of the risks attached to the carbon-heavy oil production at Athabasca in Alberta.
Co-operative Asset Management and 141 other institutional and individual shareholders raise "concerns for the long-term success of the company arising from the risks associated with oil sands."
Shell, which will hold its AGM in May, has been one of the lead companies in moves to develop oil reserves that are either mined or sucked out of the ground using expensive and energy-intensive techniques. BP and Total of France are also engaged in the sector.
Shell has insisted that "unconventional" hydrocarbon sources such as tar sands are all justified to ensure that the world does not run out of oil too soon.
But environmentalists have condemned their exploitation as "the biggest environmental crime in history" and said it must be stopped before it tips the planet over into runaway climate change.
Al Gore, former US vice-president and Naomi Klein, the author and campaigner, urged the Canadian government to abandon its support for tar sands at the climate change talks in Copenhagen.
Shell disputes the scale of the pollution but also says it will use carbon, capture and storage techniques to mitigate any negative impact. This argument has not stopped environmentalists – or shareholders – from opposing the plans.
"Given Shell's level of commitment to oil sands there is a greater obligation to shareholders to reassure how it would cope under a number of scenarios," said Niall O'Shea, head of responsible investing at Co-operative Asset Management.
"What if carbon capture and storage proves too costly in the oil sands? What if sustained high oil prices and carbon regulation lead to switching away from marginal, high-cost, high-carbon sources? And then there's the cost of cleaning up the locality. Companies must be more rigorous and transparent with their investors," he added.
John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK said he was pleased that the Co-op and other investors were putting the oil company on the spot.
"The exploitation of the tar sands is an environmental scandal on a massive scale, and is set to become a campaign battleground for years to come," he said.
But Shell played down the significance of the shareholder rebellion over tar sands and pointed out this unconventional source represented less than 2.5% of total oil and gas production.
"The resolution is basically a request for further information around the economics and other aspects of our oil sands operations. The resolution is submitted by shareholders representing some 0.15% of our total outstanding shares," it said in a formal response.
But Catherine Howarth, chief executive of FairPensions, which has coordinated shareholder opposition to the tar sands investments, described the move as historic. "All (shareholders) are united in registering concern with the risks involved in Canadian oil sands. We expect that Shell's 2010 AGM could prove a watershed in the history of corporate accountability," she said.

20.1.10

Climate Change Global Mining report launch

Please do attend :-)

----- Forwarded by Jean-Francois Barsoum/Markham/IBM on 2010-01-20 17:33 -----

 
I wanted to let you know that next week we will be launching the first ever Carbon Disclosure Project Global Mining report. I would like to invite you and your colleagues to its launch, a free, informative, 1 hour webinar on the 28th January 2010 at 9:00am Greenwich Mean Time (UK),  4:00am Eastern Standard Time (Canada). Please click on the following link to register and to learn more about the report. The report launch information and registration site. (http://www.acclimatise.uk.com/news/cdp-global-mining-adaptation-report-web-launch-on-28th-jan-2010 )
 
I know the time difference is against you but still please register for the event. The webinar will be recorded and you can watch it at a time that is more convenient to you. I hope you and your colleagues find the webinar and the report, informative and useful to the work you are doing. The final report can also be downloaded from our web site www.acclimatise.uk.com on the morning of the report launch.  
Please feel free to circulate this email to anyone you think may also benefit from this event. If you have any questions please feel free to give me a call or send me an email.
Kind regards,
 
 
Jean-Christophe Amado
Risk Manager
Acclimatise, Canada
 
( +44 1865292010
@ jc.amado@acclimatise.ca
Skype  jc_acclimatise
www.acclimatise.ca
 
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