11 June 2010

M&S green savings, spill effects on oil markets, glacier melt effects on Indus, and other green news

Top Stories

The Oil Supply Picture, Post-Spill.reliability high.
"in a report issued on Thursday, the International Energy Agency ... put out some preliminary projections on the disaster’s impact. The group projects that a one- to two-year delay for all planned new deepwater oilfield projects in the gulf could reduce daily production by 100,000 to 300,000 barrels a day by 2015. At the high end, that would be nearly 18 percent of current production in the gulf and 5 percent of total domestic production, but less than 2 percent of total national oil consumption. To make up the supply difference, the United States would need to drill more onshore and probably import more from OPEC and perhaps from Canada in the form of oil sands. Tighter supplies could mean higher prices too, though much will depend on the health of the American and world economies." Story in The New York Times Green blog. PDF of IEA report here. [Higher oil prices will make more dangerous, deeper and dirtier oil economically feasible. This spill will lead to more harm in the future, especially in developing countries where regulation and supervision are even weaker than in the U.S.]

M&S Says Plan A Generated $73 Million Profit This Year.reliability high.
"Marks & Spencer has achieved a 20 percent reduction in food packaging, increased energy efficiency in stores 19 percent, used 417 million fewer carrier bags last year and invested over £50 million, or $73 million at the current exchange rate, of profit from its Plan A activities back into the business, according to the company’s latest Plan A activities report". See Environmental Leader.

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

How Video Chat Can Fight Climate Change.reliability medium.
"One of the best things to happen to video conferencing in recent months wasn’t a technology breakthrough, a business merger or the emergence of a new company. It was the Icelandic volcano, which shut down a good chunk of airline travel for many weeks, prevented the emissions of millions of tons of carbon dioxide, and reminded grounded business travelers that there’s a broadband-based alternative for that transcontinental business meeting. Will the explosive growth of video conferencing over the next five years — which could rise to 29.6 billion video calls during 2015, according to a new report ... mean a significant cut in plane flights? Companies that are selling video conferencing services and gear, along with independent researchers, seem to think so." See earth2tech item. [Why consider just flights? A lot more meetings require driving. Why not use video for them too? And think of the time saved.]

Confidence in climate science remains strong, though down somewhat, poll shows.reliability high.
"Climate science's winter of discontent has not made a large impact on the British public's attitudes to global warming, according to poll of over 1,800 people. ... The survey showed that almost three-quarters (71%) of Britons are concerned about climate change. Some 78% think the climate is changing, which is down from 91% who said it was in a similar poll in 2005." See Guardian story. PDF of poll results here.

Tesla Sells Car(bon) Credits to Honda for $13.8m.reliability high.
"Tesla Motors has sold $13.8 million in ... credits to Honda Motor since 2008, despite not making a profit on its manufacturing business yet, according to a report in Automotive News. ... Under the state regulations, Honda, Toyota, Ford, GM and Nissan must sell a combined 60,000 plug-in hybrids or battery operated vehicles over a three year period. Honda lacks a plug-in model." Story at Environmental Leader.

No paper pulp fiction this?reliability high.
About efforts at Indian ministries and schools to make handmade file covers from waste paper. "On an average, nearly 30 kg of waste paper is generated daily at the Secretariat. This waste is converted into hand-made paper which, in turn, is used to make files. Since the unit’s installation in 2005, it has been making nearly 72,000 files per year. These files are consumed by the Secretariat. 'We save on the money for new files and also on waste disposal,' said the Department’s Senior Scientific Officer Dr B.C. Sabat." See story in Hindustan Times. [An interesting developing-country waste management solution. The agencies establish their own papermaking units, rather than using an industrial channel. Hand-made paper is very labor intensive because it is, well, made by hand. And maybe there is some reason to keep the recycling effort in-house. A cottage industry within a government agency. It is unbelievable that this can "save money". Makes it more difficult for a paper recycling industry to get started, though.]

Dutch study claims that 50 mph speed limit would cut CO2 by 30%.reliability medium.
"A study out of the Netherlands by consulting firm CE Delft predicts that a strictly enforced 80 kilometer per hour (50 mile per hour) highway speed limit could slash CO2 emissions by 30 percent. The study is careful to acknowledge that the results only apply to the Netherlands and that results will vary significantly elsewhere. ... The Dutch study assumes that time added to trips by such a low speed limit would push more drivers to skip trips or switch over to using public transport." From Autoblog green.

Government and Regulation

Scotland launches zero waste plan.reliability high.
"Plans to reduce almost 20M tonnes of waste produced annually in Scotland to nothing were unveiled today (June 9). In the document the Scots announce aims to stop all reusable waste or recycling being landfilled by 2020. It also plans two new targets on all of Scotland's waste, firstly a 70% target for recycling and secondly, a maximum of only 5% sent to landfill, both by 2025." See edie.net story. Access the plan here. [Headline writer got carried away: The plan calls for "no waste with reuse or recycling potential being landfilled by 2020." Emphasis added.]

Massive forest carbon scam alleged in Liberia.reliability medium.
"Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf established a commission investigate a proposed forest carbon credit deal between the West African nation's Forest Development Authority (FDA) and UK-based Carbon Harvesting Corporation ... . ... The investigation by Global Witness questioned Carbon Harvesting Corporation’s 'relevant inexperience, the lack of consultation, and the inadequate safeguards and monitoring mechanisms.' Global Witness said the project potentially exposed the Liberian government to more than $2 billion in liabilities. ... The unregulated nature of the nascent forest carbon market — whereby landholders are paid for conserving and sustainable managing forests — has sparked concern among environmental and social rights groups over land-grabbing and scams." See Mongabay.

Science and Economics

Melting glaciers put millions at risk in Asia: study.reliability high.
"Increased melting of glaciers and snow in the Himalayas and Tibetan Plateau threatens the food security of millions of people in Asia, a study shows, with Pakistan likely to be among the nations hardest hit. ... Lead author Walter Immerzeel and his team conducted a detailed analysis looking at the importance of meltwater for each river, observed changes to Himalayan and Tibetan glaciers and the effects of global warming on the water supply from upstream basins and on food security. ... They found that meltwater was extremely important for the Indus basin and important for the Brahmaputra basin, but played only a modest role for the Ganges, Yangtze and Yellow rivers." Story at Reuters. Abstract here (article behind pay wall). [The IPCC may have let an error on this subject slip into its latest report, but that does not mean that the measurable loss of ice mass in thousands of glaciers in the region is not a life-or-death issue for millions of people.]

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