20 August 2010

Some companies account for carbon while many foresee carbon price; no climate winners; RIP CDM? And other green news

Top Stories

Three quarters of UK finance heads do not measure carbon footprint.reliability high.
"Research by The Carbon Trust Standard Company found 74 per cent of finance decision makers do not measure their carbon footprint, just six weeks ahead of the registration deadline for the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency Scheme. ... Conversely, 72 per cent do think the UK’s largest companies anticipate that all businesses will be required to measure their carbon footprint and more than three-quarters, 76 per cent, said they think they will have to pay a price for the carbon they emit." Other highlights of survey results. See NewNet. Press release with more details here. [On the other hand, this says that a quarter of the 400 finance chiefs surveyed at firms with 500 or more employees say they do measure their carbon footprint.]

Global firms applaud new greenhouse gas yardsticks.reliability high.
"Sixty-two firms from 17 countries, including household names such as 3M, Deutsche Telekom and IKEA, tested blueprints for two new GHG protocol reporting and accounting standards. ... According to WRI and WBCSD, the majority of firms involved in the testing encountered little difficulty when using the protocols and were able to produce reports detailing their supply chain, or Scope 3, emissions. ... 'We're really looking forward to having a standard that can be used globally, for communication across a broad range of stakeholders,' said Robert ter Kuile, senior manager of energy and climate change at PepsiCo, one of the companies in the trial." See story at BusinessGreen.

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

Russian heat wave dents hopes of climate 'winners'.reliability high.
"Canada, Nordic countries and Russia have been portrayed as among a lucky few chilly nations where moderate climate change will mean net benefits such as lower winter heating bills, more forest and crop growth and perhaps more summer tourism. Russia's two-month heat wave ... is likely to shift the perceptions of risks." Reuters article. [Although far-northern countries may see some benefits from global warming, those may be outweighed by the negative impacts of climate change. Russia has been a laggard in thinking about climate change, and Putin has even said it would be good for the country. Expect no quick turn-around, but this summer's disasters will strengthen the hands of any factions that could benefit from emissions reductions or greater participation in international climate change programs.]

China renewables to power ahead without CDM: report.reliability high.
"Investors are sidestepping the Clean Development Mechanism in China because of uncertainties over its future, a Citibank carbon executive told Reuters in an interview in Singapore. 'CDM investment in China has pretty much dried up,' said Nan Li, head of Asian environmental markets for Citi, who sources carbon offsets for trading products to manage price risk. 'People are betting on the future of renewable energy without CDM.' ... Globally, clean energy investments are expected to grow 25 percent to $200 billion in 2010, the U.S.-based trust said." See Reuters. [China, having brought in billions, is moving beyond CDM financing just as Russia is taking its first hesitant steps to approve sale of carbon credits from a few projects.]

Europe's Brisk Energy Transition.reliability medium.
"Europe’s evolution toward a heavier reliance on renewable energy is nicely documented in a report released this week by Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics agency. ... Renewable energy now accounts for 18.4 percent of energy production in the European Union, just behind natural gas, which provides 19.3 percent. Energy intensity – a measure of how much energy is used to make a unit of economic output – dropped for the sixth straight year. That means member nations are learning to use energy more efficiently." From New York Times Green blog. PDF of report here. [Or it could mean Europe is offshoring energy-intensive industries.]

Government and Regulation

Japan to subsidize energy-efficient plants: report.reliability high.
"Japan's government plans to subsidize domestic plants producing clean-energy and energy-efficient goods under steps to support the slowing economy, the Nikkei newspaper said". From Reuters. [Another stimulus program with a green angle.]

Law requires Illinois utilities to buy solar power.reliability high.
"Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has signed a law requiring utilities to buy a percentage of their power from solar energy sources by 2015. The law says utilities must purchase a half-percent of solar power by June 2012. The mandatory percentage doubles each year, until reaching 6 percent in 2015." See Bloomberg Businessweek. [The Governor, running for reelection, says this will boost jobs in the state.]

Science and Economics

Rising temperatures reducing ability of plants to absorb carbon, study warns.reliability high.
"Rising temperatures in the past decade have reduced the ability of the world's plants to soak up carbon from the atmosphere, scientists said today. ... NPP increased from 1982 to 1999 as temperatures rose and there was more solar radiation. But the period from 2000 to 2009 reverses that trend – surprising some scientists. ... these rising temperatures instead caused droughts and water stresses, particularly in the southern hemisphere and in rainforests" See The Guardian. Abstract of Science paper here (full report behind pay wall).