13 May 2010

Senate climate bill unveiled, gauging sustainability from chart of accounts, U.S. emissions plunge, and other green news

Top Stories

Details of new Senate climate bill emerge.reliability high.
"Besides bringing down emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases blamed for global warming, it would expand offshore oil drilling and nuclear-power production in a move to appeal to a broader number of senators. Here are highlights of the bill, called the "American Power Act," according to a summary of the legislation being circulated to senators and obtained by Reuters" At CNET News from Reuters.

U.S. Senate climate bill sees big cut in oil imports.reliability high.
"A climate change bill being unveiled in the U.S. Senate envisions a reduction in U.S. imports of foreign oil of 40 percent by 2030 as vehicles are forced to become more energy-efficient and oil refiners would face new federal requirements, Senate aides said on Wednesday." From Reuters.

The American Power Act: 'First Read' of the Kerry-Lieberman Climate and Energy Legislation.reliability medium.
"Here is NRDC’s 'first read' of the American Power Act discussion draft, compiled with the assistance of our staff experts in each of the areas that the legislation addresses." See NRDC blog.

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

Light bulb war? New LEDs by GE, Home Depot compete.reliability high.
"Competition for the U.S. light bulb market intensified Monday as Home Depot said it's begun selling a "breakthrough" LED, only a month after General Electric and Cree announced similar products. ... Home Depot says the new 9-watt, $20 ECOSMART LED bulb, made in the United States, uses about 80% less energy than a 40 watt incandescent and contains no mercury as do most CFLs. It's also recyclable and dimmable." See USA Today.

Cornell Researchers Develop Standard Measurement of Expenses for Energy, Supplies.reliability high.
"A team of three researchers has developed a standard measurement of expenses for energy and supplies that can be used as a sustainability gauge for the hotel industry." From Green Lodging News. Access the report at this Cornell site.

Electric motorcycles kick gas at Minimoto SX Energy Crisiscross.reliability medium.
Gas and electric dirt bikes competed at the 2010 Minimoto SX Energy Crisiscross. E-bikes dominated. "It wasn't just the successful hole-shot to checkered flag performance of the Swiss-built bike that makes the case though. For that we turn to exhibit B: a pack of five Zeros in hot pursuit filling the remaining spots on the podium as well as 4th, 5th and 6th place. A rather convincing finish to the first AMA-sanctioned 'electric vs. gas-powered' race, we think." See Autoblog Green. [If they win races, everyone will want e-bikes.]

Walmart's green goals will impact chemical supply chain.reliability high.
"Walmart's sustainability goals might mean an added cost burden all the way up to the chemical supply chain. But so far, the chemical industry as a whole is giving its approval to the US retailing giant's various green initiatives. On top of the US-based hypermarket chain's Packaging Scorecard program, which started in early 2008, and its Sustainability Product Index, which started on July 2009, Walmart announced on February 25 its goal of eliminating 20m tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from its global supply chain by the end of 2015." From ICIS.

Government and Regulation

Patent Pending: The Fast Track.reliability medium.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office "struggles with a major backlog. But inventors of green technology may have a leg up. Under a program that started in December, they can request that their patents be put through an accelerated queue. The purpose of the program is to help them raise money, start up businesses and bring products to the market more rapidly." From New York Times Green blog. [An innovative kind of government subsidy that costs taxpayers nothing and might improve competitiveness.]

Science and Economics

U.S. Carbon Dioxide Emissions in 2009: A Retrospective Review.reliability high.
"In 2009, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in the United States saw their largest absolute and percentage decline (405 million metric tons or 7.0 percent) since the start of EIA’s comprehensive record of annual energy data that begins in 1949, more than 60 years ago. ... even with the reduction in economic growth since 2000, emissions would nonetheless have grown by 0.6 to 0.7 percent annually had the proportional relationship between economic and emissions growth remained the same as during the 1990s. ... The downturn of the economy caused per capita GDP to fall (3.3 percent) resulting in a total GDP decline of 2.4 percent.  Energy intensity and the carbon intensity of the energy supply also both fell more than 2 percent.  These three factors (GDP, energy intensity, and carbon intensity) combined in roughly equal proportions to cause emissions to fall by 7.0 percent." More analysis and details at EIA site. [Economic recession accounted for only one-third of the steep decline in emissions in 2009.]

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