15 March 2010

Shale gas revolution? C footprint of orange juice, and other company, industry, government and science news you can use

Top Stories

Energy: A foot on the gas.reliability medium.
Excellent commentary and overview of the effect of shale gas growth on everything from European dependence on Russian gas to low-cost reduction of carbon emissions. Switching from coal to gas could reduce GHG emissions at a cost of €0.50 per ton, compared to €10.50 per ton for building nuclear capacity or €37.50 per ton for coal with CCS, if that can even be done. See Financial Times. [A "must read". Hope for China? Notes shale gas has some environmental issues as well.]

Adonis unveils £30bn high-speed rail plans.reliability high.
"The government unveiled plans for a £30bn high-speed rail network, with the first phase between London and Birmingham opening in 2026. Lord Adonis, the transport secretary, said building work on the 250mph route could begin in 2017 once a formal public consultation was completed." The Conservative opposition said the Government's plans were not ambitious enough. Story in The Guardian.

Climate report shows Australia getting warmer.reliability high.
"Australia's top scientists on Monday released a "State of the Climate" report at a time of growing scepticism over climate change as a result of revelations of errors in some global scientific reports. ... "We are seeing significant evidence of a changing climate. We are warming in every part of the country during every season and as each decade goes by, the records are being broken," said Megan Clark, head of Australia's state-backed Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO)." Highlights of report. From Reuters. PDF of report here.

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

World Class Flowers to Add 178 kW Solar Energy System.reliability high.
"World Class Flowers in New Jersey plans to install  a 178-kW solar energy system that will supply nearly 30 percent of the florist’s electrical needs, cutting its electricity costs by more than $130,000 and generating close to $600,000 in solar renewable energy certificate (SREC) revenue over the next five years. The floral wholesaler expects a return on investment in about three years." See Environmental Leader.

Tropicana: Trying to Make a Greener Orange Juice.reliability high.
"A couple of years ago, PepsiCo, which owns the orange-juice brand Tropicana, tried to size up the carbon footprint of the popular morning tonic. It found that each half-gallon carton of OJ is responsible for 3.75 lb. of CO2. ... A great deal of natural gas is used to make nitrogen fertilizer, and a great deal of fertilizer is used on citrus trees — so much that fertilizer accounted for 35%, the largest share, of the carbon footprint of orange juice. ... PepsiCo will test low-carbon fertilizers at one of its producer farms in Bradenton, Fla. If successful, the greener fertilizers could lower the carbon footprint of PepsiCo's citrus growers by as much as 50% and reduce the total carbon footprint of Tropicana orange juice by up to 20%." See story in Time.

VW Cuts Office Equipment Energy Use 86%.reliability high.
"The Volkswagen Group expects to increase its energy efficiency, saving 9.26 million kilowatt hours annually, by replacing its office equipment with fewer energy-efficient lines, reports Autoblog Green. The four-year project, completed last year, has enabled  the company to reduce its energy requirements for office equipment by 86 percent compared to 2005 levels." And how they did it. From Environmental Leader.

Canada's Largest Supermarket Chain to Install Solar Panels on 100+ Stores in Ontario.reliability medium.
"Loblaw is announcing today that it will put solar panels on the roof of 4 supermarkets in a pilot program, with the ultimate goal of installing solar arrays on more than 100 stores in Ontario. This is not surprising considering how insanely generous the feed-in tariffs for solar power are in the province (between 53.9 and 80.2 ¢/kWh, with 20-year contracts)." From treehugger.

Government and Regulation

Climate change adverts draw mild rebuke from advertising watchdog.reliability high.
A UK-Government-sponsored advertisement warning about climate change generated some controversy last year. Now the UK agency that holds advertisers to account has dismissed nearly all the complaints received, saying only that "a claim that "flooding, heat waves and storms will become more frequent and intense" should have be phrased more tentatively." "The environment secretary, Ed Miliband, said the authority had "comprehensively vindicated" the accuracy of the department's TV advert and had rebuffed those who attempted to use the advertising standards process to question the reality of man-made climate change." Includes video of ad. From The Guardian.

Science and Economics

Health Costs of California Air Pollution.reliability high.
"Filthy air in California cost federal, state and private health insurers $193 million in hospital costs, according to a RAND Corporation study released last week. ... Air pollution led to almost 30,000 hospital admissions and emergency room visits for asthma, pneumonia and other respiratory and cardiovascular ailments from 2005 to 2007. Three quarters of the complaints were related to fine particulate pollution, or small pieces of soot that get trapped in the lungs, and the remainder were caused by ozone." Story in New York Times Green Inc. blog. Press release here. [Mapping tool shows how unevenly costs (and presumably pollutants) are distributed. Rural areas are heavily affected.]

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