07 January 2010

America has enough cars, apparently. And other company, industry, supply chain and government info

Top Stories

Top British firms drag their feet to reduce carbon footprints.reliability high.
"Greenhouse gas targets set by many of Britain's largest companies are too weak to meet UK commitments on climate change, a new analysis shows. A report from the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) says a lack of ambition from companies in the energy, materials and utilities sector threatens government plans to cut emissions by 2020. The CDP report found that 77% of FTSE 100 companies said they have a target to reduce emissions, with an average annual reduction rate of 2.5%. That compares well with the 2.4% annual reductions on overall emissions that Britain needs to make to achieve a legally binding target of 34%-42% reductions by 2020, relative to 1990 levels. However, the average annual emissions reductions planned by the firms in the energy, utilities and materials sectors total 1.2%. There are only 24 of these companies in the FTSE 100, but they account for 87% of all FTSE 100 reported emissions." From The Guardian.

The Shrinking American Car Fleet.reliability medium.
"The auto fleet in the United States shrank by an estimated 2 percent in 2009, as 14 million cars were scrapped and only 10 million new cars were sold, according to a new report by the Earth Policy Institute, . . . . The decline – the first seen since World War II – was driven in large part by the recession, which sharply curbed new car sales. But broader social and economic forces were also at work, including the saturation of the American market and a declining interest in cars by the latest generation of young Americans, Mr. Brown argued." From The New York Times Green Inc. blog. Access report here. ["Japan may offer some clues to the U.S. future. Both more densely populated and highly urbanized than the United States, Japan apparently reached car saturation in 1990. Since then its annual car sales have shrunk by 21 percent. The United States appears set to follow suit." As the nation becomes more urbanized, more people can get along without cars.]

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

Building Retrofit Results in 70% Drop in Energy Use, 70% Increase in Staff Utilization.reliability high.
"After a radical retrofit, a dilapidated 1960s-era office building in Winchester, England, boasts a 70 percent drop in energy consumption, a 70 percent increase in staff utilization and a 30 percent reduction in overall office space needed, meaning that excess office space can be leased out. . . . The project cost more than $65 million. Whereas it previously housed more than 600 workers, it now is occupied by 1,100 workers after the space was reallocated more efficiently." More about this "Sustainable Project of the Year". From Environmental Leader. [Reveals an obvious truth: making your people more efficient (so you need fewer) improves your energy efficiency (since you need less space). Productivity = energy efficiency.]

Carbon Market Grew as Prices Fell in 2009.reliability high.
"In spite of the global economic slowdown, the market for trading carbon dioxide jumped by 68 percent last year compared with the previous year, but the value of the market remained roughly unchanged after carbon prices fell. The global carbon market rose to 8.2 billion metric tons — or gigatons — of carbon dioxide equivalent, according to the consulting firm Point Carbon, mainly because of an increase in trading activity in Europe." See New York Times Green Inc. blog. [Economics 101: law of demand. When the price of a good goes down, people buy more of it.]

Best Practices in Sustainability at Foodservice.reliability high.
The IFMA Foundation and ARAMARK have put together a report on best practices for "Sustainability in the Food Service Environment". "t’s estimated that up to 80 percent of the $10 billion spent in energy at U.S. restaurants is wasted." See Environmental Leader. PDF of report here. [Could have big impact: Small businesses consume a major fraction of energy, and restaurants are among the most common types of small business. Also, every big company has a canteen.]

Government and Regulation

EU launches wide-ranging battery recycling rules.reliability high.
"Manufacturers of batteries will for the first time be legally required to provide collection and recycling facilities for their disposal under new European Union regulations to be introduced in the UK at the end of this month. Modelled on the EU's existing Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), the legislation shifts the bulk of responsibility for safely disposing of batteries from the user to the manufacturer. The legislation covers the disposal of all batteries, including industrial and automotive batteries, of which 190,000 and 800,000 tonnes respectively enter the EU market each year, as well as consumer batteries, of which 160,000 tonnes are disposed of annually." From BusinessGreen.

The 14 Winners of the DOE Data Center Efficiency Funds.reliability high.
"While it’s only $47 million, the 14 data center efficiency projects that won grants from the DOE and the stimulus package this morning, hold the keys to some real computing power innovation." Lists the recipients, from IBM and Yahoo to Federspiel Controls, and gives funding amounts and thumbnails of their IT energy saving projects. See earth2tech.

Air board, port truckers agree on upgrading.reliability high.
"A last-minute deal between California air pollution regulators and Port of Oakland truckers Monday will allow hundreds of big rigs to operate at the port for two weeks while they work to meet stricter requirements on diesel emissions that officially took effect for the new year Friday. . . . Under the agreement, brokered by Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums, drivers whose grant applications were turned down through this fall have two weeks to apply for the new funds, which will provide $5,000 toward a new filter or $50,000 toward a new truck." $11 million in new funds will be made available. From San Francisco Chronicle. [This will save lives.]

[Crossposted from HaraBara.com courtesy of HaraBara, Inc. Copyright © 2010 HaraBara, Inc.]