11 March 2010

Municipal cap/trade, growth during recession, and other company, supply chain and industry items

Top Stories

China May Start Its First City-Wide Carbon Market.reliability high.
"The northeast port city of Tianjin  plans to impose a mandatory limit on energy used to heat buildings in the first half of this year, John Shi, chief executive officer of the carbon credit trader Arreon Carbon U.K. Ltd., said in an interview. Property managers able to reduce energy use to below the limit will earn credits they can then sell, he said. ... Beijing and Shanghai are also working on carbon trading programs and are in a 'horse race' with Tianjin to develop emissions trading systems for the nation, Shi said. ... Citigroup and Russia’s Gazprom bought energy-intensity credits from three heating utilities that had beaten efficiency targets in what Shi called 'strongly brokered' deals. The energy savings were packaged as carbon-emissions allowances that could be sold to other utilities or to buildings in the city that can’t yet meet municipal goals." See Bloomberg story. [Just one city, right? But Tianjin has more people than many countries--more than Denmark in its center and inner suburbs. Twice as many people as Denmark if you count the whole municipality.]

Woot! Bike There Feature Added to Google Maps!.reliability medium.
"Google Maps has finally added a Bike There feature. They've been plugging away for awhile now on ways to get directions for cyclists that avoids hills, excessive traffic, and points you in the best directions for pedaling to your destination. After a long time of lobbying by grassroots groups (it was all the way back in 2008 that we saw the petition circulating to add the feature), we finally have a thorough set of directions for alternative transportation, rounding out the walk there and public transit features." Video demonstrates. Read treehugger post.

UK's low carbon market defies recession to clear £110bn mark.reliability high.
"The UK's low carbon market defied the recession throughout 2009, exceeding expectations to grow 4.3 per cent during the year to £112bn, according to new figures to be released later today. The data, which was compiled by consultancy firm Innovas on behalf of UK Trade & Industry (UKTI), also revealed that over 900,000 people are now employed by businesses providing environmental goods and services. In a further indication of the burgeoning strength of the carbon market, the carbon finance sector enjoyed the fastest growth rate of 7.9 per cent, followed closely by the wind energy industry which grew 6.5 per cent, and the solar market which grew six per cent." Story at BusinessGreen.

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

Los Angeles Electric Rate Linked to Solar Power.reliability high.
"the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the largest municipal utility in the United States, is poised to pass a roughly 5 percent rate increase on electricity use. The proceeds would be earmarked for renewable energy purchases and programs, including one that would repay people or businesses that use solar panels to contribute to the power grid. ... 'A well-crafted carbon surcharge achieves two goals,' Los Angeles’s chief deputy mayor, Jay Carson, said. 'The first is a drastic reduction in fossil fuel usage for energy, but the second, and more important for Los Angeles, is the creation of thousands of green-collar jobs.' " More at The New York Times.

Chicago to Launch Nation's Largest Smart Grid Energy Pilot Program.reliability medium.
"Local utility ComEd, a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation, will use $5 million in Recovery Act funding to institute the program, which will initially outfit 8,000 homes with advanced smart meters in order to test how well consumers manage their energy consumption when monitoring and programming are available. ... The first $8,000 will test a small range of smart meters for comparative purposes. 3,100 customers will receive a basic energy use display meter, 1,500 will get a touch-screen version that allows for electricity monitoring and internet access, and 400 will also receive programmable thermostats that allow remote control of heating and cooling systems. The program will also enact an unprecedented pricing program in which pilot participants will be offered a six-tiered pricing approach." See The Energy Collective post.

Are your 'green,' 'fair-trade' jewelry ads legal?reliability high.
Gives examples of jewelry ads that made unsubstantiated, thus illegal, claims. "Claims of "green" or "fair trade" are further complicated by the fact that each jeweler along the supply chain knows only some of the sourcing and manufacturing details for each piece of jewelry. If the FTC ever inquired, few retailers would know how to answer questions about the "green" manufacturing process, such as which chemicals were used in solders and fluxes, or about waste disposal and mining methods. Specific claims are much easier to substantiate and are less likely to be deceptive than general claims. Since there is no universally accepted definition of either "green" or "fair trade," the best way for companies to comply with the law is to narrow the claims made, using appropriate qualifiers. Doing so lessens the likelihood that a company will face FTC enforcement action or a Lanham Act lawsuit from a rival alleging unfair marketing practices." From National Jeweler. [Good advice for any industry.]

SunChips Stacks First Compostable Bags on Canadian Shelves.reliability high.
"Last year, Frito Lay announced that it would release a SunChips bag that could degrade in home and industrial compost settings by Earth Day 2010. ... Made with NatureWorks' Ingeo plant-based polylactic acid, the bags are certified though the Biodegradable Products Institute to break down in hot, active compost piles within 14 weeks." See GreenBiz story.

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