29 July 2010

Floods raise insurance rates, how big firms go green, "Geek Corner" and other sustainability info

Top Stories

UK house insurance premiums to rise dramatically as climate change increases flood risk.reliability high.
"Climate change will increase the risk of flooding in the UK, which could lead to dramatic rises in insurance  premiums for homeowners and businesses and make some areas of the country uninsurable, the Association of British Insurers has warned. ... The insurance industry  has already warned that it may not insure new developments in flood plains if the properties were granted planning approval against Environment Agency advice." Story at The Guardian. [This is a bigger relative problem in Great Britain, where famously no point is more than about 75 miles from the sea, but a bigger absolute problem in the U.S. or China which have more coastline and more people living on it. In addition to flooding connected to sea level rise, increasing rainfall intensity is real, and is expected to increase with further warming. River flooding results.]

Report: oil company carbon liabilities are huge risk for investors.reliability high.
"BP’s £11 billion loss is only part of the financial damage facing oil companies, according to a report published by the WWF and the Co-operative Financial Services (CFS). Oil companies such as BP and Shell could be facing billions of pounds in future carbon liabilities as the cost of carbon rises, says the report, but lack of carbon reporting means many investors are unaware of these liabilities and the risk they pose. Carbon liabilities, currently undisclosed, could become the sub-prime toxic assets of the future, says the report." See BusinessGreen story. PDF of report here.

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

Energy Efficiency Still the Primary Focus of Green-Minded Firms.reliability high.
"The report, "Sustainability in business today: A cross-industry view," is based on surveys of 48 sustainability executives at companies across five sectors, and finds that there is no single way that firms are looking to go green. Definitions, methods and even levels of engagement vary from company to company, according to the survey; but what the report finds is that businesses are taking sustainability to heart more than ever before." Highlights of report. See GreenBiz story. Access the full report here.

Wind Power Installations Drop to 2007 levels.reliability high.
"The U.S. wind industry added only 700 megawatts (MW) in the second quarter of 2010 for a total of 1,230 MW during the first half of 2010, according to a mid-year 2010 market report  from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). This translates into a drop to date of 57 percent and 71 percent from 2008 and 2009 levels, respectively. ... The report also indicates that even with more than 5,500 MW under construction and a more active second half of year, AWEA projects that 2010 installations will likely be 25 percent to 45 percent below 2009 installations, depending on policy developments. ... According to AWEA, power purchase agreements are difficult to obtain due to the drop in overall electricity demand, lower natural gas prices, and no clear national renewable energy policy." New coal and natural gas capacity may exceed new renewable capacity in 2010 for the first time in three years. Story at Environmental Leader. PDF of AWEA report here.

Science and Economics

Ten key indicators show global warming 'undeniable'.reliability high.
"Melting glaciers, more humid air and eight other key indicators show that global warming is undeniable, scientists said on Wednesday, citing a new comprehensive review of the last decade of climate data. ... Released by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as "The 2009 State of the Climate Report," the new report draws on the work of 303 scientists from 48 countries, including data from last year." See Reuters story. Access the report here. [The 10-page "Report at a Glance" (PDF) summary is very accessible -- recommended reading.]

Geek Corner

Phone Apps for Energy Conservation.reliability medium.
"Below is a list of apps for smart phones that could help you control and save energy used in your home.  Let us know if you've found some that are worthy of adding to the list.  I’m staying away from apps that require too much manual entry, as I've found from personal experience that people just don’t use them." Seven listed, one of which is itself a list of apps. From mapawatt.