30 March 2010

Corporations hesitate, Greenpeace presses, coal and the cloud, and other green news

Top Stories

Corporate carbon reduction efforts put at risk by climate scepticism, finds new report.reliability high.
"The past year has seen an upsurge in public scepticism about climate change, following the perceived failures of December’s Copenhagen summit and rising concerns about the accuracy of climate science. This is one of several factors that has stalled corporate progress on carbon reduction over the past year, as highlighted in After Copenhagen: Business and climate change, the latest in an annual sustainability research series from the Economist Intelligence Unit. ... More than one-half (52%) of executives agree that conflicting evidence on climate change means the jury is still out on how serious this issue is. Just 31% disagree. ... Nearly half (45%) of executives agree that their companies see carbon emission reduction as a way to gain competitive advantage by cutting costs." Other highlights of report. From Economist Intelligence Unit. PDF of report here.

Bowing to Pressure, Trader Joe's Adopts Sustainable Seafood Policy.reliability high.
"Trader Joe's will only sell seafood from sustainable sources by the end of 2012, following a months-long Greenpeace campaign that dubbed the retailer 'Traitor Joe.' Trader Joe's vowed to remove red-listed fish in all formats from its shelves, including frozen, fresh and canned seafood items. Trader Joe's will also begin adding more information to its seafood labels, including catch or production method and species' Latin names. Seafood labels are currently required to list country of origin and whether the product is wild or farm raised. ... Greenpeace took Trader Joe's to task for its seafood procurement practices, even launching a mock website called 'Traitor Joe's'. In its most recent report ranking the nation's top 20 retailers on their seafood sourcing policies, Trader Joe's came in in 17th place. ... Wegmans, Ahold USA, Whole Foods, Target and Safeway placed in the report's Top 5 last year. Meijer, Price Chopper and H.E. Butt rounded out the bottom of the roster after Trader Joe's." Story at GreenBiz.

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

Five Things to Learn From Texas About the Smart Grid & Consumers.reliability medium.
Texas has a deregulated electricity market where consumers can shop among suppliers. "That means the state will potentially be able to provide us with an early look at how consumers will react to new smart meter and smart grid services, as electricity service providers in the state will be experimenting with offering new services as a competitive edge." Additional comments about smart grid issues. See earth2tech.

Colorado gas-coal fight could preview national battle.reliability high.
"A plan to clean up Colorado's air is pitting two powerful industries — natural gas and coal — against each other in what could be a warm-up for a national fight over how to confront climate change. The plan, moving quickly through the Legislature, would require Xcel Energy Inc., the state's largest utility, to either replace several aging coal-fired power plant units in the northern Front Range with cleaner natural gas plants by 2018 or refit those smokestacks with emissions-restricting technology or other green fuels before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency imposes tougher air quality rules." Story at CNBC from AP.

Coal fuels much of Internet 'Cloud', says Greenpeace.reliability high.
"The 'cloud' of data which is becoming the heart of the Internet is creating an all too real cloud of pollution as Facebook, Apple and others build data centers powered by coal, according to a new Greenpeace report. A Facebook facility will rely on a utility whose main fuel is coal, while Apple Inc, expecting its Web-browser iPad launch on April 3, is building a data warehouse in a North Carolina region powered by coal, the environmental organization said in the study to be released on Tuesday." See Reuters.

Genomatica bags $15M as green chemicals trounce biofuels.reliability high.
"Despite a rosy outlook early on, biofuels have hit a wall. Too expensive and unwieldy to scale, most projects have stalled in the demonstration stage, unable to make the leap to market. Several of the companies that make them, however, have discovered a lucrative loophole: green chemical manufacturing. Going a step further, Genomatica, a company that scuttled biofuel ambitions in favor of full-time chemical production,  has just raised $15 million in a third round of funding to make the industrial chemical business at large more sustainable." From GreenBeat.

ArcelorMittal Saves $200,000 Annually By Idling Machinery During Production Delays.reliability high.
"ArcelorMittal's specialty rolling mill plant in Conshohocken has implemented efficiency improvements such as automated systems that idle electrical machinery during production delays, saving the plant more than $200,000 a year on energy bills while reducing carbon emissions, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. ... The company replaced the high energy consumption 3,500-horsepower motor that powers the descaling pumps with a $300,000 variable-frequency drive that allows the motor to idle when the pumps are not in use, according to the article. Although descaling occurs only about 2 percent of the time, the 3,500-hp motor was running constantly before the upgrade." See Environmental Leader.

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