28 July 2010

Climate policies to boost Brit home energy bills 1%, Rajasthan bans bags, carbon tax accepted in BC and other green news

Top Stories

B.C.'s carbon tax is looking like a winner.reliability high.
"During 2008 and 2009, the tax raised $846 mln. However, the province tied the carbon tax to reductions in personal and corporate income taxes, as well as tax credits to offset impacts on low-income individuals. The total value of these offsetting cuts was nearly $1.1 bln over those two years, meaning a net tax reduction for B.C. taxpayers of about $230 mln. ... And the initiative is drawing global praise. Harvard business professor Michael Porter -- a world-renowned competitiveness guru -- recently stated: 'The right policy regime is a carbon tax, and the province of British Columbia has pretty much got it right.' The director of the U.K.'s Green Fiscal Commission, Dr. Paul Ekins, went even further, calling B.C.'s policy 'a model for the world.'" From Ottawa Citizen. [Now the question is whether this tax is doing anything to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Some evidence of slight reductions. The tax will rise over time, and begin to change behaviors at some point.]

MPS and businesses call for mandatory UK carbon reporting.reliability high.
"A powerful coalition of MPs, business leaders and environmentalist has written an open letter to three coalition ministers insisting that the government fulfil its pre-election pledge to make carbon reporting mandatory for all large organisations. ... Signatories include Aviva, AXA Investment Managers, Biffa, BT, Centrica, Jupiter, Lend Lease, Microsoft, National Grid, Pepsico, Siemens, Scottish and Southern Energy, The Co-operative, Veolia, Willmott Dixon, the WWF, the RSPB and over 25 MPs. See BusinessGreen.

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

VF 247 Solar Powered Phone Unveiled By Vodafone In India.reliability high.
"Vodafone Essar Ltd. has unveiled a solar-powered mobile handset in India to better serve the nation's energy-starved rural masses. India has been adding nearly 20 million mobile subscribers each month, many of them in rural areas, where electricity supply can be patchy at best. ... The VF 247 Solar Powered phone, priced at 1,500 rupees ($32), should be available in stores next month. It needs eight hours of direct sunlight to be fully charged and can support more than eight days of use on standby and four hours of talk time. It also comes with an electronic charger, an FM radio and a powerful torch light." Story at Huffington Post from AP.

2011 Chevrolet Volt to be priced at $41,000, $350/month lease for 36 months.reliability medium.
"General Motors ... finally revealed that the 2011 Chevrolet Volt will have a base price of $41,000 (including the $720 destination charge) before federal and state tax incentives. While GM hasn't gone as aggressive as most people had hoped on the sticker price, the real deal appears to be the $350 per month for a 36-month lease. That matches the monthly payment that Nissan is charging for the Leaf electric car." See Autoblog Green.

Government and Regulation

Rajasthan bans plastic carry-bags.reliability high.
"the Rajasthan Government on Monday announced a complete ban on use of plastic carry-bags all over the State from August 1. A notification declared the entire State a 'plastic carry-bag-free zone'. According to an official release here, the prohibition will also apply to manufacture, storage, import, sale and transport of plastic carry-bags. No shopkeeper, retailer, trader, hawker or vendor will be allowed to supply goods to consumers in these carry-bags." See article in The Hindu. [Presumably plastic bags were used because they were cheaper than paper, so prices may go up a bit. The costs of the externalities of plastic bags will be reduced. Go long on paper?]

Science and Economics

Carbon cutting measures will add just £13 to UK household energy bills.reliability high.
"By the end of the decade, average households bills for both gas and electricity would be £1,239 a year, just £13 higher than estimated bills without the policies, though nearly £200 a year higher than current combined bills. The impact on businesses would be much steeper, however, the government estimates show. ... Energy prices would rise much more steeply, but most of the increases for households would be offset by improvements to insulation and grants to encourage more home generation of renewable energy such as solar and wind power, some of which can also be sold to the National Grid." Story at The Guardian environment blog. Dept. of Energy and Climate Change press release here.