16 June 2010

Obama's green "national mission", food and biofuel tighten, carbon footprinting guide and other news for business

Top Stories

In Oval Office Speech, Obama Calls for New Focus on Energy Policy.reliability high.
"President Obama summoned Americans on Tuesday to a 'national mission' to move away from reliance on oil  and develop alternative sources of energy, casting the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico as an imperative for Congress to act quickly to overcome 'a lack of political courage and candor.' ... He said progress had been blocked time and time again by 'oil industry lobbyists,' and he suggested that achieving energy independence was an issue of national security, saying the time has come for the United States to 'seize control of our own destiny.' " More on speech. From The New York Times. [Speech was short on specifics, targets or goals. Charitable commentators called it a "call to arms", but that call was faint. I remember President Kennedy's May 25, 1961, "Special Message to the Congress on Urgent National Needs" speech setting out specific national goals, including "First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth." That was clear and specific.]

Food prices to rise by up to 40% over next decade, UN report warns.reliability high.
"Food prices are set to rise as much as 40% over the coming decade amid growing demand from emerging markets and for biofuel production, according to a United Nations report today which warns of rising hunger and food insecurity." See The Guardian. Access report here.

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

VC, PE firms line up $1bn for India green energy.reliability high.
"Global venture capital and private equity companies will invest up to $1bn by the end of the current fiscal in high-growth, incentive-driven renewable energy companies, according to industry estimates. ... The sector has received nearly $200 mln from fund houses over the past six months compared with $175 mln in 2009. Companies like, Moserbaer, London-based Swaraj Paul’s Caparo Energy and state-owned companies are planning to raise funds for clean energy projects. 'The sector has enormous potential for investment on the supply side and large-sized projects are still to take shape,' said Kuljit Singh, partner, transaction advisory services of Ernst & Young." See story at Economic Times.

37% of Retail Products Sold in Sustainable Packaging by 2015.reliability high.
"In 2010, 27% of products at major US retailers are estimated to have sustainable packaging. By 2015, this figure is projected to reach 37%, according to the latest issue of EL Insights." From Environmental Leader.

Carbon Trust launches new footprinting guide.reliability high.
"The Carbon Trust yesterday launched a new guide designed to provide businesses with clear instructions on how to calculate the carbon footprint of their operations and products. The free publication, entitled Carbon Footprinting: The next step to reducing your emissions, outlines the key steps firms should take to measure their carbon emissions and ensure their carbon data is independently verified. It also provides an introduction on how to measure an individual product's carbon footprint throughout its entire life cycle and details how to use emission data to develop a wider carbon management programme." Article in BusinessGreen. Access guide here (registration required).

Government and Regulation

EPA analysis: Senate energy bill would lower electric bills.reliability high.
"The EPA study of the proposed American Power Act, sponsored by Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut independent, said that energy bills for the average household - not including gasoline - would decrease by 10 percent by 2020, rise by 1 percent in 2030 and rise by 16 percent in 2050. The increases after 2030 largely would be offset by rebates, protective plans for low-income households and other measures, the analysis said. ... The EPA also estimated that the overall cost of the legislation would be an average of $79 to $146 more per household per year through 2050, including higher energy costs and increased prices of goods and services." See Miami Herald story.

Study finds American Power Act creates jobs while decreasing household energy expenditures.reliability medium.
"A new analysis of the American Power Act (APA), comprehensive climate and energy legislation released mid-May by Senators Kerry and Lieberman, points to an economy with healthy growth in GDP and jobs, and significant savings in household energy expenditures. The analysis uses a new and highly innovative tool developed by McKinsey & Company ..." More highlights and discussion of results of some other analyses of the impact of the legislation. From NRDC blogs. PDF of study here. [This is a different analysis from the EPA study mentioned above.]

U.S. Mayors Tell Manufacturers to Pay Up for Product Recycling.reliability high.
"The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) has thrown its weight behind the concept of expended producer responsibility, calling on Congress to support state governments in making the producers and consumers of certain products responsible for their disposal. Extended producer responsibility, or product stewardship, says that the companies that make products and packaging that are hard to recycle, toxic or problematic in current waste systems should be the ones responsible for the costs associated with collecting and disposing of those products." See story in Greener World Media. [More regulations coming, especially on e-waste.]

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