10 November 2009

Costs of rising energy demand, smells like Li now, planning to create disaster as seas rise, Pachauri v. Ramesh, other company and government news, and Eco-Geek Corner

Top Stories

Energy demand to rise rapidly if no CO2 deal: IEA.reliability high.
"World energy consumption will rise rapidly over the next 20 years, pushing up costs and increasing greenhouse gases, unless a deal is reached to curb carbon dioxide emissions, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said Tuesday." From Reuters. Access IEA press release and report here. [Among other things, IEA's analysis shows that "Improved energy efficiency & technology deployment are critical and each year of delay adds $500 bn to mitigation costs between today & 2030." These costs are partly due to higher energy prices if we fail to slow demand growth for fossil fuels. The (PDF) slides from the press presentation are very revealing.]

Brazil pledges deep emission cuts in 'political gesture' to rich nations.reliability high.
"The Brazilian government is preparing to pledge a big curb in its greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 as a "political gesture" aimed at pressing rich nations into agreeing to large cuts in carbon. The country's chief of staff, Dilma Rousseff, said Brazil would take proposals for voluntary reductions of 38-42% by 2020 to the Copenhagen climate change summit next month." The reductions would be from "business as usual" projections for 2020 emissions. Half the reductions would come from reduced deforestation. From The Guardian. [HaraBara will have to figure out how this will affect our Climate Change League Tables.]

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

Lithium battery recycling facility suffers explosions, fire.reliability medium.
The only facility in North America that can recycle lithium batteries, Toxco Waste Management in southeastern British Columbia, experienced a large fire last Saturday after suffering through a series of explosions. They keep the returned batteries at -324 degrees, but still the system has problems. See Autoblog Green.

Tetra Pak supports Chinese, Swedish tree farms.reliability high.
Tetra Pak has linked one of its Swedish wood fiber providers, Korsnas, with Yong'an in southern China's Fujian province as they seek certification from the international Forest Stewardship Council."Bjorkman said Tetra Pak wants its factories to achieve 100 percent FSC certification by 2018. So far, all paperboards processed from wood fiber that Tetra Pak uses in China are imported. But the company is looking for qualified local suppliers to cut transportation costs and increase business efficiencies." From China Daily.

Fairtrade is the best hope for India's tea producers.reliability high.
Uses the example of the Chamraj tea estate in Tamil Nadu to discuss the benefits of fair trade certification. Nearly 8% of sales are Fairtrade. More about tea industry. See The Guardian.

Applied Materials grows solar business, buys Advent Solar.reliability high.
"Applied Materials has gobbled up all of the assets of Advent Solar, a photovoltaic maker with patented module assembly processes said to be more streamlined and efficient. The deal is yet another example of Applied Materials’ sprint to define itself as a formidable force in the solar industry." See Green Beat.

Government and Regulation

State and local governments plan to develop most land vulnerable to rising sea level along the US Atlantic coast.reliability high.
"Rising sea level threatens existing coastal wetlands. Overall ecosystems could often survive by migrating inland, if adjacent lands remained vacant. On the basis of 131 state and local land use plans, we estimate that almost 60% of the land below 1 m along the US Atlantic coast is expected to be developed and thus unavailable for the inland migration of wetlands. Less than 10% of the land below 1 m has been set aside for conservation. Environmental regulators routinely grant permits for shore protection structures (which block wetland migration) on the basis of a federal finding that these structures have no cumulative environmental impact. Our results suggest that shore protection does have a cumulative impact. If sea level rise is taken into account, wetland policies that previously seemed to comply with federal law probably violate the Clean Water Act." See Environmental Research Letters. PDF of full article available here.

Georgia sees glass half full: As seas rise, planning starts.reliability high.
"Sea level rise could put as much as 50-100 square miles of currently dry land - an area about 20-40 times the size of Tybee Island - under water in Georgia this century, a new report points out." Sea level rise may have less severe economic impact in Georgia than in other states because "34 percent of Georgia land within 1 meter of the high water level is in state or federal control or in some type of conservation easement. That's higher than anywhere else on the East Coast." "In Georgia, some wetlands may be able to migrate inland as the sea pushes that way. That's not necessarily the case in states where development will block the movement of marshes." In other coastal areas where development is more extensive there may be nowhere for marshes and other coastal formations to go. More on sea level rise mitigation. From Savannah Morning News.

India 'arrogant' to deny global warming link to melting glaciers.reliability high.
Rajendra Pachauri, the chairman of the IPCC, said of Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh's touting of a study denying climate change's role in shrinking Himalayan glaciers: "We have a very clear idea of what is happening. I don't know why the minister is supporting this unsubstantiated research. It is an extremely arrogant statement." "Jairam Ramesh, India's environment minister, released the controversial report in Delhi, saying it would 'challenge the conventional wisdom' about melting ice in the mountains." Ramesh said, "There is no conclusive scientific evidence to link global warming with what is happening in the Himalayan glaciers." "Ramesh said he was prepared to take on 'the doomsday scenarios of Al Gore and the IPCC'." "In response Pachauri said that such statements were reminiscent of 'climate change deniers and school boy science'." From The Guardian. PDF of the report here.

Although it buries them at the tail of the article, and headlines Ramesh's view, Times of India quotes even blunter response by Pachauri: 'No proof of Himalayan ice melting due to climate change'.reliability high.
"Dr Pachauri, when contacted by TOI for a response to the discussion paper, said, 'I'd like to find out the secret source of this divine intervention... I don't understand the logic of this... I am puzzled where this magical science has come from... This is something indefensible.' When asked if the discussion paper could be taken into consideration in the on-going round of scientific review by IPCC, he said, 'IPCC studies only peer-review science. Let someone publish the data in a decent credible publication. I am sure IPCC would then accept it, otherwise we can just throw it into the dustbin.' " From Times of India. [Harsh.]

EPA C02 endangerment finding to White House.reliability high.
"'We sent the final proposal over to OMB on Friday," Jackson said in an interview at her EPA headquarters' office. She said the OMB has up to 90 days to review the proposal, but the EPA would like a quicker timetable. 'We've briefed them a couple of times. So we're hoping for an expedited review.'" The finding is that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions pose a danger to human health and welfare and thus can be regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency under its existing statutory powers. From Reuters.

Eco-Geek Corner

Garmin Eco-Route cable will sell for $149, could appear soon.reliability medium.
"Garmin announced a new optional extra for its Nuvi GPS system. The Eco-Route adds the ability for 1xxx series Nuvis to display a variety of vehicle information about what is going on in the engine. The cable plugs into the cars OBD-II diagnostic communications port to read out an array of data including fuel and air information, throttle position, combustion mixture and more." Will also offer routes based on fuel economy, not just miles. Gallery of screenshots. From Autoblog Green.

Forests in the desert: the answer to climate change?reliability high.
Latest geoengineering idea: "planted fields of fast growing trees such as eucalyptus would cover the deserts of the Sahara and Australian outback, watered by seawater treated by a string of coastal desalination plants and channelled through a vast irrigation network." "Ornstein says: 'If sacrifices are required to stem global warming, the almost non-existent ecosystems of the central Sahara and the outback seem like reasonable candidates compared to the alternatives.'" See The Guardian. [If this is the answer, what is the question? "What can we do to prevent total disaster without actually doing anything, except to ecosystems far away where none of our constituents live?"?]

[Crossposted from HaraBara.com courtesy of HaraBara, Inc. Copyright © 2009 HaraBara, Inc.]