31 December 2009

Happy New Year! Last green news of 2009

Top Stories

Greenhouse Gases: Who's Cheating?reliability high.
On the problem of getting accurate figures on greenhouse gas emissions. "Relying on self-reported emissions and paper audits 'seems to be asking for misdeclaration or even fraud, at all levels from local emitter to great nation,' says geologist Euan Nisbet at the University of London, who heads the European Union's methane monitoring program." "Consider sulfur hexafluoride . . . . They calculate emissions using information on how much SF6 manufacturers sell to customers and estimates of how much escapes to the atmosphere from devices or production facilities. If you believe the reports, emissions of SF6 are declining. The reports are wrong. When researchers actually measure the chemical in the air, they find it in quantities more than three times greater than what the reported amounts would indicate—and levels are increasing, not declining." Other examples and discussion. From BusinessWeek.

Business comes to terms with a disappointing [Copenhagen] outcome.reliability high.
"Many [business leaders] shrug off events in Copenhagen on the grounds that national, regional and local regulations are the main drivers of clean-tech investment, not international deals. Paul Holland of Foundation Capital, a venture firm, points out that many municipalities in America have promised to reduce carbon emissions to 1990 levels. This is driving strong demand for smart grids, green building materials and the like. Many states have green initiatives too." But some observers see a slowing of momentum for greening companies and green investment. From The Economist.

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

VC Investment in Greentech Approaches $5B in 2009.reliability high.
"VC investment in green technologies totaled $4.85 billion in 356 deals in 2009, down from 2008's $7.6 billion, though the number of deals in 2009 exceeded the previous year" "According to data from GTM Research, solar power was once again the leading investment segment at more than $1.4 billion in 84 deals followed by biofuels at $976 million in 44 rounds. Investment in smart grid, energy storage and automotive technologies gained momentum along with wind, water and lighting technologies. 'Water has finally made it onto venture capital radar screens with more than $130 million invested in 33 deals,' the firm noted." Lists some notable deals. "Also noteworthy was the increasingly global nature of greentech investment during 2009. Approximately one-fifth of greentech deals came from outside the United States, many from the U.K. and France." From GreenBiz.

Fact Sheet: Are You Ready for the Lacey Act?reliability high.
Highlights of the Lacy Act which prohibits commerce in illegally sourced plants and their products—including timber, wood, and paper products. "the Lacey Act sets a precedent for the global trade in plants and plant products, acknowledging and supporting the efforts of other countries to govern their own natural resources and putting in place powerful incentives for companies trading in these commodities to do the same." See WRI site. PDF of fact sheet here. [Every business uses paper and plant-based packaging materials, so every business needs to be sure it is in compliance. Does the Act also apply to most biofuels?]

Lightspeed's 2010 Cleantech Predictions.reliability medium.
Peter Nieh of VC firm Lightspeed shares his four major predictions for the cleantech sector for 2010. See Renewable Energy World.

Government and Regulation

U.S. states strive to regulate shale gas industry.reliability high.
"As U.S. energy companies scramble to mine natural gas from shale deposits, state regulators are struggling to keep pace amid criticism that they lack the resources to enforce environmental laws." Many homeowners, farmers and others complain that state agencies are favoring energy companies rather than responding to pollution problems. From Reuters.

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