04 December 2009

Copenhagen or no Copenhagen: More green investment, costlier carbon, greater efficiency, new business models; and other news

Top Stories

[There are some interesting implications from several of the items that appear today and in recent issues. In spite of the clotted state of negotiations toward a global agreement to limit, and eventually reduce, the output of greenhouse gases, many seem to be assuming such reductions will become significant economic drivers in the near future. Companies are adjusting their strategies (Panasonic, Wednesday), traders see carbon prices increasing (below), thousands of companies are investing in emission reduction technologies or demanding them of their suppliers (e.g. Coca-Cola, below), investors are amassing funds (below) and hundreds of companies are investing in renewable energy production (below).]

Copenhagen Failure Defied by $200 Billion in Green Investments.reliability high.
"Renewable-energy investment may climb to a record $200 billion worldwide next year as companies from Hong Kong’s CLP Holdings Ltd. to American Electric Power Co. start projects that don’t depend on a new climate-change treaty." Article quotes many companies, investors and consultants who say that local, state and national regulations and ordinary business forces will drive investment in green. See Bloomberg. [Politics is better at protecting the status quo (including the positions of businesses threatened by change), and its ability to respond to crisis is limited. Businesses a) have more money than governments, and b) are strongly motivated by change-driven opportunities to maximize returns to their investors.]

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

Coke Ices Use of 'Super Greenhouse Gases'.reliability medium.
"The soft drink giant announced today that it is phasing out hydrofluorocarbons — potent "super greenhouse gases" — by requiring that all new vending machines and coolers be HFC-free by 2015. CEO Muhtar Kent told reporters he hopes the move will catalyze a shift away from HFCs in the wider commercial refrigeration market." "Coca-Cola’s currently installed 10 million coolers around the world are responsible for the lion’s share of its greenhouse gas emissions — 40 percent of the 15 million metric tons the company emits each year." From SolveClimate.

EU carbon up as banks buy ahead of summit.reliability high.
"The benchmark price for European Union carbon emissions futures rose almost 3 percent toward a three-week high on Thursday as banks increased buying ahead of a U.N. climate summit next week, traders said. . . . A U.N. summit in Copenhagen starts on December 7 and financial institutions are building up positions, in case more stringent emissions reduction targets are announced there and prices rise." See Reuters.

Hudson raises more than $1B clean energy fund.reliability high.
"private equity firm Hudson Clean Energy Partners said today it closed a debut fund with commitments of more than $1.02 billion to invest in the clean energy sector." See Cleantech Group.

Government and Regulation

Mumbai water protests turn ugly.reliability high.
"Police and protesters have clashed over water cuts in the Indian city of Mumbai, leaving one dead and dozens injured. The city is experiencing sever water shortages and the authorities have imposed forced rationing in water supply in many districts, with cuts of around 15% to 30%." From edie.net. [This story doesn't reflect the role of Mumbai's violent, populist political parties, which is no doubt substantial. Mumbai is the only big city in India where you can expect to get electrical power from the mains 24/7. In other cities people grumble about power cuts, and sometimes protest, but rarely riot. There is a difference between not having electricity and not having water. Everyone in Mumbai is used to doing without water for hours at a time, but further cuts may be unbearable. The monsoon is many months away.]

'Adapt or die' becomes mantra against warming.reliability high.
"Until the past couple of years, experts avoided talking about adjusting to global warming for fear of sounding fatalistic or causing countries to back off efforts to reduce emissions." "Cities, states and countries are scrambling to adapt or are at least talking about it and setting aside money for it." "That means elevating buildings, making taller and stronger dams and seawalls, rerouting water systems, restricting certain developments, changing farming practices and ultimately moving people, plants and animals out of harm's way." "The World Bank estimates adaptation costs will total $75 billion to $100 billion a year over the next 40 years. . . . It may even be $200 billion a year or $300 billion a year". Lists more examples of specific projects. At MSNBC from AP. [The cost of such adaptations is why experts have been telling us for many years that it is much cheaper to cut emissions to try to reduce the magnitude of climate change than to wait until they have done their damage and try to fix things later. On the other hand, a billion dollars that one group spends is a billion that someone else earns.]

Clean Energy Push Rivals Manhattan Project: WSJ.reliability medium.
"this level of science funding truly is generation-changing", like the Manhattan Project. Quotes Wall Street Journal: "The government’s multi-billion-dollar push into energy research is reinvigorating 17 giant U.S.-funded research facilities, from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory here to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California. After many years of flat budgets, these labs are ramping up to develop new electricity sources, trying to build more-efficient cars and addressing climate change." From CleanTechnica.

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