30 December 2009

French carbon tax shot down, and other government, company, industry and related news

Top Stories

Humiliation for green convert Sarkozy as carbon tax ruled unconstitutional.reliability high.
"In an unexpected and embarrassing blow, the court responsible for ensuring the validity of French legislation rejected the reform as ineffective and unfair. It ruled that rather than being the revolutionary measure Sarkozy promised, the tax would have let off many industrial polluters, while placing a disproportionately heavy burden on ordinary households." Opposition Socialists expressed "glee", while the government vowed to re-introduce a revised law. From The Guardian.

Reflections from Copenhagen: The Accord and the Way Forward.reliability medium.
Summary of what the Copenhagen Accord actually is and what it may become. Covers what was decided, and what is to be decided later. "The Accord could provide a new forum that represents not just the largest and wealthiest as the G20 and Major Economies Forum (MEF) do. Seeing that most small island developing states (SIDs), Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and African countries indicated support, the Accord could form a new North-South basis for climate cooperation, freed from the blocking tactics of some oil producing nations and single issue countries." See WRI site. [One of the best summaries of the real results from Copenhagen. Also see a good article in The Economist here.]

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

Walmart, others make money on Oregon's energy tax credits.reliability high.
"Walmart took advantage of a provision in Oregon's Business Energy Tax Credit that allows third parties with no ties to the green power industry to buy the credits at a discount and reduce their state income tax bills. State records show Walmart paid $22.6 million in cash last year for the right to claim $33.6 million in energy tax credits. The cash went to seven projects, including two eastern Oregon wind farms and SolarWorld's manufacturing plant in Hillsboro. In return, Walmart profits $11 million on the deal because that's the difference between what it paid for the tax credit and the amount of its tax reduction." More about "pass-through" tax avoidance. From The Oregonian.

Haworth Progresses Toward Zero-landfill Waste Status.reliability high.
"The 10 U.S. manufacturing facilities of furniture-maker Haworth Inc. have achieved zero-landfill status, meaning that all waste is reused or recycled. . . . What can’t be recycled at each individual factory is stuffed into the empty spaces of a truck going back to the Holland facility. What can’t be recycled or reused is incinerated to produce energy at a Grand Rapids, Mich., alternative energy plant." See Environmental Leader. Original Holland Sentinel article here.

Air Force To Spend $2.3B on Energy, Water Conservation.reliability high.
"The US Air Force plans to spend $2.3 billion over the next six years on energy and water conservation and an expanded use of renewable energy projects. The capital investment strategy, created earlier this year, is expected to reduce energy intensity at air force facilities by 30% by 2015, according to a release. . . . The Air Force said in 2009 it reduced the amount of energy used per square foot (i.e., energy intensity) by 13% from a 2003 baseline." See Sustainable Business.

You Have to Pay the Piper to 'Save the Earth™'.reliability medium.
"Honda Motor Co. is at the receiving end of a lawsuit filed by the Save the Earth Foundation, a tiny nonprofit group that apparently holds a trademark to the phrase 'save the earth.' The suit, filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, resulted from a Honda Civic commercial in which an actor wears a T-shirt that says 'Save the Earth.'" "If 'Save the Earth' can be trademarked, what other common admonitions can be legally bound up and licensed only by permission of the owners: 'Clean Your Plate™'? 'Wash Your Hands™'? 'Call Your Mother™'? 'God save the Queen™'?" From GreenBiz blog.

Government and Regulation

Copenhagen green lights plan to streamline CDM.reliability high.
"While much of the attention in the final few days of the meeting was focused on the emergence of the Copenhagen Accord, the UN also released a number of technical documents, including an agreed set of changes to the CDM titled Further Guidance Relating to the Clean Development Mechanism. Under the agreement, the CDM Executive Board has been granted permission to streamline registration and issuance procedures for emission reduction projects, and provide new funding to accelerate the development of CDM projects in countries with fewer than 10 CDM approved projects in operation." More on the reforms. From BusinessGreen. PDF of agreement here.

Quebec adopts California's auto emission standards.reliability high.
"Quebec will become the first province in Canada to adopt California's strict auto [greenhouse gas] emissions standards, the province's environment ministry said on Tuesday. The new rules will come into effect on January 14 and will impose increasingly stringent limits on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from cars and light trucks made between 2010 and 2016 that are sold in the province." "Fourteen other U.S. states have also adopted the California plan, including Vermont, Maine, and New York state, all of which border Quebec." See Reuters.

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