02 July 2010

Asia's impact, Shell wants global carbon price, VC green investment record, what eco-labels really mean, more sustainability news

Top Stories

Shell CEO Calls for Global Carbon Market to 'Level' the Field.reliability high.
"Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s chief executive officer called on lawmakers and investors to move toward a global carbon market and a 'level playing field' in the fight against climate change. Investors have yet to get the signals they need to set long-term strategies for cutting emissions and participating in an integrated global market, CEO Peter Voser said in an interview today at the European Business Summit in Brussels. 'In Europe, we have the emissions-trading system, which is a viable way forward, but ultimately we need a global mechanism,' he said. 'I think it will take longer than a couple of years, but the important thing is that we start, and we can adjust during the time.'" From Bloomberg Businessweek.

IEA demands halt to business-as-usual approach to curbing carbon emissions.reliability high.
"Governments must take immediate action to facilitate the development of low-carbon technologies or face much higher bills in the long run, according to a major new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA). Released yesterday, the Energy Technology Perspectives 2010 report warns that if greenhouse gas emissions do not peak by around 2020 and decline steadily towards the 50 per cent cut in carbon emissions by 2050 recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), tackling climate change will become much more costly and even impossible." Other highlights. Story at BusinessGreen. Access report here (expensive). [The IEA, an intergovernmental organization which operates within the financial framework of the OECD with a 2010 budget of EUR 26 mln from contributions from its member nations, wants you to pay EUR 80 to download a PDF of this report. Their work is so important  that they don't want anyone but bureaucrats and big companies to read it.]

Climate Scientist Cleared of Altering Data.reliability high.
"An investigative panel at Pennsylvania State University, weighing the question of whether the scientist, Michael E. Mann, had 'seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community for proposing, conducting or reporting research or other scholarly activities,' declared that he had not. Dr. Mann said he was gratified by the findings, the second report from Penn State to clear him. An earlier report had exonerated him of related charges that he suppressed or falsified data, destroyed e-mail and misused confidential information." Story in The New York Times. [Deniers certainly got a lot of mileage out of the "climategate" emails, but all inquiries so far have found the scientists whose emails were purloined did nothing wrong. "A lie will fly around the whole world while the truth is getting its boots on."--attributed to Mark Twain (and others).]

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

Clean tech VC investment bounces back to record levels.reliability high.
"According to new preliminary figures from analyst Cleantech Group and consultancy Deloitte, venture capital clean tech investment across North America, Europe, China and India narrowly beat the previous record of $4.02bn set in the first half of 2008, reaching $4.04bn." More highlights of analysis. See BusinessGreen. Press release on study here.

Asia's alarming cities.reliability high.
"the world’s hopes of putting carbon emissions on a manageable path depend upon on how developing Asia urbanises in the coming decades. The scale is staggering. According to the Asian Development Bank, 44m people join city populations each year. Every day sees the construction of 20,000 new dwellings and 250km (160 miles) of new roads. ... Developers are ill-versed in thinking about energy, water and sewage as a seamless whole. Utilities think like central planners. Government agencies struggle to operate beyond their traditional remits. What is more, the costs are up to a fifth higher for such developments, though they more than pay for themselves in the long run." See column in The Economist. [Excellent overview of the challenges of urbanizing without increasing emissions more than absolutely necessary.]

Looking Behind the Scenes at Ecolabels' Green Claims.reliability medium.
"in the self-regulated ecocertification industry, how can consumers and institutional buyers really know what these stamps of approval mean? Enter the 2010 Global Ecolabel Monitor, a collaboration between the World Resources Institute and ecolabelling.org founders Big Room Inc. that gives a behind-the-scenes look at how different ecolabels certify their products. ... The results are housed at ecolabelindex.com, a web resource that gathers ecolabels onto a common platform to make it easier for consumers and institutional buyers alike to interpret and compare them." See GreenBiz blog. Access the database here.

PG&E Claims Industry First with Supply Chain Footprint Project.reliability high.
"The company is joining forces with the University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco-based Climate Earth to measure the full carbon footprint of products and services in its supply chain. The move makes the Northern California utility the first in its sector to measure these so-called Scope 3 emissions, PG&E said Tuesday in a presentation announcing the research project to its employees." From Greener World Media. [Suppliers take note. Note "and services". Scope 3 is important.]

Government and Regulation

Britain Curbing Airport Growth to Aid Climate.reliability high.
"In a bold if lonely environmental stand, Britain’s coalition government has set out to curb the growth of what has been called 'binge flying' by refusing to build new runways around London to accommodate more planes. ... The government decided that enabling more flying was incompatible with Britain’s oft-stated goal of curbing emissions." See The New York Times.

Science and Economics

Per-Capita Emissions Rising in China.reliability high.
"Carbon dioxide emissions per person in China reached the same level as those in France last year, the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency said Thursday. ... the hefty increase in emissions from fast-developing parts of the world like China and India had the effect of canceling out the sharp decline in emissions elsewhere. Emissions from China and India 'completely nullified CO2 emission reductions in the industrialized world,' the report said. ... India surpassed Russia last year as the fourth largest emitter after China, the United States and the EU-15, Mr. Olivier said." More highlights of report. See New York Times Green blog. Access the report here. [Western economies caused the problem so far, but booming Asian nations are the major source of emissions from here on out. See "cities" item above.]