07 July 2010

EPA cuts carbon by back door, cleantech IPOs disappoint, other business sustainability news

Top Stories

EPA proposes tougher air rules on power plants.reliability high.

"The Environmental Protection Agency said the rules, part of a series
of steps to control emissions from power plants, would overturn and
toughen clean air regulations issued by former President George W.
Bush's administration. The agency hopes they would begin taking effect
in 2012. ... Companies heavily reliant on coal for power generation,
such as Southern Co, Duke Energy, and American Electric Power, could
face additional costs under the rules. Many firms are looking to invest
in cleaner natural gas. ... Companies heavily reliant on coal for power
generation, such as Southern Co, Duke Energy, and American Electric
Power, could face additional costs under the rules. Many firms are
looking to invest in cleaner natural gas. ... Utilities may seek to get
relief from some air and water pollution controls from regulations in a
climate bill in exchange for shutting down their least-efficient plants
fired by coal, which emits more carbon dioxide than any other fossil
fuel." "The EPA estimated the rules would cost industry $2.8 billion a
year, but yield $120 billion to $290 billion a year in public health
and welfare benefits by 2014. Those benefits included the value of
avoiding 14,000 to 36,000 premature deaths, the EPA said." Story at Reuters.
[Since these clean-air rules would make some old coal plants uneconomic, power companies might seek to get credit under some type of climate legislation since they are going to have to close them anyway. If there is no climate legislation that side benefit will be thrown away. In the meantime of course they will fight to stall these regulations. People downwind should hold their breath.]

Germany could kick fossil fuel habit by 2050: study.reliability high.

"Germany could derive all of its electricity from renewable energy
sources by 2050 and become the world's first major industrial nation to
kick the fossil fuel habit, the Federal Environment Agency said on
Wednesday. ... Flasbarth said the Environment Agency's study found that
switching to green electricity by 2050 would have economic advantages,
especially for the vital export-oriented manufacturing industry. It
would also create tens of thousands of jobs. "The costs of a complete
switch to renewables are a lot less than the costs to future
generations that climate change will cause," he said." From Reuters.
Press release and access to report (in German) at Umweltbundesamtes site. [Headline writer went too far: still leaves transport and heating emissions, and emissions embodied in imports.]

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

Businesses push for decisions on EU carbon scheme.reliability high.

"The European Union is under pressure to finalize details on its
emissions cap for industry from 2013, how carbon permits will be
auctioned and the amount to be given to airlines when they join the
EU's scheme in 2012. ... 'There is no clarity after 2012. No
installations in Europe know how many carbon permits they will get and
this is adversely affecting their investment decisions,' said Folker
Franz, a senior advisor at Europe's biggest lobby group
BusinessEurope." Reuters story.

Green stocks sputtering out on public markets.reliability high.

Discusses poor stock performance of cleantech firms that have gone
public. "Nick Hodge of Green Chip Stocks has taken a deep dive into
exactly how bad the situation is — and it’s pretty bad with solar and
clean energy stocks spearheading the decline. In the last 24 months,
green equities have lost as much as 72 percent, making prospective
investors very nervous about future sales." From GreenBeat.
[Tesla stock has sunk below its recent IPO price. Underlying Green Chips Stocks post is here]

KFC, Walmart contributing to destruction of Indonesia's rainforests, says Greenpeace.reliability medium.

"Major U.S. companies are contributing to the destruction of
Indonesia's rainforests by sourcing paper from Asia Pulp and Paper
(APP), a subsidiary of Indonesia-based conglomerate Sinar Mas, alleges
a new report from Greenpeace. ... Greenpeace called out Walmart,
Auchan, and Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) as companies that continue to
buy from APP despite its role in deforestation and peatlands degradation." From Mongabay. Access Greenpeace report here.

Software Tracks Food Waste, Saves Thousands.reliability high.

"A solution for the billions of pounds of wasted food in the
restaurant industry could be as easy as three clicks on a touch screen.
LeanPath’s WasteLOGGER  is a new software that minimizes
pre-consumer food waste for restaurants, caterers and hotels.
Commercially available this summer, the PC-based software could save
businesses up to 4 percent on food purchases by tracking pre-consumer
items – food that has been dropped, burned, spoiled or expired. The
system, however, does not take into account leftover food from diners.
... For restaurants that are not yet ready to implement these types of
systems, the EPA offers a Food Management Waste Cost Calculator free of
charge." From Earth911.

Fleets more likely to track emissions.reliability high.

"Trucking fleets are paying more attention to their emissions
footprint than ever, according to an annual fleet managers survey
conducted by PHH Arval. Almost half of fleets are measuring emissions,
compared with 40 percent in 2009 and 28 percent in 2008, according to
the survey, which was designed to gauge fleet managers' insights into
environmental issues. Of those fleets that are measuring emissions, 65
percent are using actual fuel data to measure, a more than 10 percent
increase over last year." See article at Today's Trucking. [Should make it easier to get data on supply chain emissions.]

Science and Economics

UK inquiry finds emails do not undermine climate science.reliability high.

"Emails stolen from one of the world's leading climate change research
centers contained no evidence to undermine the case for manmade global
warming, a report found on Wednesday. An investigation into the British
research unit cleared its scientists of serious wrongdoing, but
criticized their lack of openness and said some of their data was
misleading." More at Reuters.