25 January 2010

Chinese negotiator slips? Carbon offsets criticized, Beijing re-cycles, and more company, industry, and government news

Top Stories

Climate change: Chinese adviser calls for open mind on causes.reliability high.
"China's most senior negotiator on climate change said today he was keeping an open mind on whether global warming was man-made or the result of natural cycles. Xie Zhenhua said there was no doubt that warming was taking place, but more and better scientific research was needed to establish the causes." The remarks were made at a meeting of China, India, Brazil and South Africa which "called on rich nations to ensure that $10bn pledged to combat climate change was handed over before the end of the year." From The Guardian. [What is Mr. Xie thinking? If he lets rich countries off the hook by saying maybe they didn't cause climate change, how is he going to get them to cough up $10 bln to make up for their past sins? Now the U.S. can say, "Well if we didn't cause it why should we pay for it?"]

A mistaken claim about glaciers raises questions about the UN’s climate panel.reliability high.
There were some mistakes in one of the IPCC's 2007 reports, concerning how fast Himalayan glaciers would melt away. This article has a good analysis of where those errors came from and what they mean. The glaciers will not be gone by 2035, but there is evidence for melting and retreat. The biggest lesson is that the IPCC's editorial process needs tightening up, which it now humbly admits. See The Economist.

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

Nike Shrinks GHG Footprint to 2007 Levels and Dumps Carbon Offsets.reliability high.
"Nike has brought its footprint for greenhouse gas emissions back to 2007 levels and reports progress in other climate and energy areas, but has revisited its carbon neutrality goals and no longer purchases carbon offsets, the firm says in its latest corporate responsibility report." More details of report. The company decided last year to "stop buying carbon offsets and concentrate instead on curbing business travel through increased use of tele- and videoconferencing, boosting energy efficiency initiatives and taking a hard look at the embedded energy in materials and energy consumed in the manufacturing process." From GreenBiz. Access report here.

ComEd Signs Up Silver Spring, Tendril for Smart Grid Pilot.reliability medium.
Chicago-based ComEd will "be starting a pilot project with 8,000 customers that would be getting four different pricing structures and various technology options by which to monitor and manage their energy consumption. Silver Spring Networks will be providing the network infrastructure and Tendril will be supplying its home energy dashboards for the pilot" to see what encourages consumers to reduce energy use. See earth2tech.

Carbon Offsets Come Under Fire.reliability medium.
"Mark Shapiro, of Berkeley, Calif.'s Center for Investigative Reporting, has written a scathing report on the carbon offset industry in the February edition of Harper's. . . . Shapiro, who traveled to Brazil and Europe and interviewed a legion of experts to write this piece, argues that the system is fraught with pitfalls, from grossly inaccurate readings on the emissions reduced by projects to conflicts of interest from the third-party firms hired to 'verify' offsets." From earth2tech. Harper's article here (subscription required).

Government and Regulation

How the FCC Will Promote Open Smart Grid Networks & Real Time Energy Data.reliability medium.
"Nick Sinai, the FCC’s new Energy and Environmental Director, said that the FCC will make specific recommendations for how to bring broadband to the smart grid through the National Broadband Plan due to the U.S. Congress on March 17 (it was delayed by a month). Those recommendations will include how to promote open standards and commercial networks, how to use policies to encourage utilities to provide their customers with real-time open access to energy data and potential ways to use federal spectrum bands for utilities' smart grid deployments." Comments on the implications of these potential recommendations. From earth2tech. [There is an element of the FCC wanting to plant its flag on the smart grid, in competition with the Department of Energy and other agencies.]

Campaign to boost cycling in Beijing.reliability high.
"Twenty years ago, four out of five residents in the Chinese capital pedalled to work through one of the world's best systems of bicycle lanes. But the modern passion for cars has made two-wheeled transport so treacherous, dirty and unfashionable that barely a fifth of the population dares to use lanes that are now routinely blocked by parked cars and invaded by vehicles attempting to escape from the jams on the main roads." Government is looking at policies and incentives to shift more commuters back to bicycles. "According to the Xinhua news agency, the government hopes to improve the infrastructure for cyclists, including restored bicycle lanes and new rental programmes providing 50,000 bikes for hire by 2015. The authorities plan more bike parks near bus and subway stations in the expectation that half the city's residents will travel to work by public transport in five years." See The Guardian.

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