20 July 2010

Coordinating ocean policy, "a new epoch", EV news, environmental courts in Asia, and other green news for business

Top Stories

Without Carbon Emissions Cuts, the 'Anthropocene' Looms as an Ugly Epoch -- Study.reliability high.
"Choices the world makes about whether to cut man-made carbon dioxide emissions will determine the severity of climate change over the next thousand years -- or longer, according to a new report by the country's leading scientific advisory body, the National Academy of Sciences." Item in The New York Times from ClimateWire. Access study here. [Serious implications. See more detailed post here.]

How Obama wants to protect oceans: White House unveils new plan.reliability high.
"The White House Monday unveiled the nation's first national oceans policy, which intends to cut through a growing mish-mash of competing interests – from offshore drilling to fishing to shipping – and create a comprehensive, integrated stewardship approach toward oceans, coastal areas, and the Great Lakes. To accomplish that, the new policy mandates no new federal rules but instead sets up a new National Ocean Council (NOC) made up of federal agencies, state, and regional groups. The goal is to have them work together to create a degree of unity in what has been a highly fragmented area of governance." More details. From The Christian Science Monitor. [Based on report of The Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force, PDF of report here.]

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

Walmart and the Sustainability Index: One Year Later.reliability medium.
One year after Wal-Mart launched its Sustainability Index, "Walmart’s sustainability dreams don't appear to have diminished, though I'm pretty sure the company has been humbled by the fiendish complexity of it all. Having watched this unfold and having spoken with those inside Walmart, the Consortium, and several of its major suppliers, it seems clear that the reality of a comprehensive and simple rating of products and companies remains elusive." More discussion. See GreenBiz blog.

Volkswagen says 3 percent of sales to be electric cars.reliability high.
"Volkswagen plans to launch all-electric vehicles in 2013 and expects these zero-emission vehicles to account for 3 percent of its sales by 2018, Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn said on Monday." From Reuters. [Joining the throng.]

Honda to sell plug-in hybrid and electric cars in 2012.reliability high.
Honda Motor Co plans to launch a plug-in hybrid and battery electric model in 2012 as part of its strategy to push to the front of a race by global automakers to develop more fuel-efficient cars. Also from Reuters. [Trying to catch up.]

Inside Tesla and Toyota’s deal to co-build the all-electric RAV4.reliability high.
"According to the companies, two prototypes already exist, and the car could be ready for mass production as soon as 2012 — tying Tesla's all-electric sedan, the Model S, to market. The new RAV4 will be distributed and sold by Toyota, but Tesla will be providing the secret sauce: its electric powertrain, including the battery pack." More details. See VentureBeat. Underlying press release here. [Fast follower.]

Government and Regulation

Environment tribunals hammer polluters with legal accountability.reliability high.
By threatening managers with jail new environmental tribunals are getting results. "the company's immunity from the law came to an end in 2007 when the People's Court of Qingzhen City, under the jurisdiction of Guiyang, set up a tribunal for environment protection. ... Cai says the lawsuit against Tianfeng was a civil case. If the company failed to stop the pollution by the deadline, Dai would have faced criminal prosecution and a possible jail sentence. ... Guiyang's success in curbing pollution through environment protection tribunals has become a model for the rest of the nation in the fight against pollution. Cities facing pollution in lakes or reservoirs such as Kunming, Yuxi, Qingdao and Wuxi have also set up tribunals. Yunnan Provincial Higher People's Court announced that tribunals for environmental protection will be gradually established." See story at Xinhua.

Bangladesh plans new court to take on polluters.reliability high.
"Bangladesh has proposed the setting up of an environment court with powers to jail polluters for up to five years, officials said Tuesday. ... Any citizen would be allowed to file a case in the court -- with its headquarters in Dhaka and branches across the country. Targets could include factory owners and builders who illegally grab land and waterways. ... 'It is a good initiative to have a court with wider powers to save the endangered environment,' said Syeda Rizwana Hasan, leader of Bangladesh Environment Lawyers Association. 'But how effective it will be remains to be seen.'" Concerns expressed that corruption will undercut any court's effectiveness. From Reuters.