24 September 2010

Carbon reporting trends, Calif. up renewables goal, problems with heat pump and ocean shipping math, and more green business news

Top Stories

"The future of carbon reporting"reliability medium.
Liz Logan and Doug Kangos of PricewaterhouseCoopers post: "Carbon reporting by U.S.-based companies today has broad similarities to financial reporting before the enactment of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934. Just as market forces and regulation evolved then, so too now are we seeing a similar trend. See Reuters Environment Forum blog.

"Calif. board adopts most aggressive energy standard"reliability high.
The California Air Resources Board has set the state's renewable electricity standard to 30% from renewables by 2020, up from the 20% required now. Utilities have been hurrying to achieve the 20% standard by the looming deadline next year. At MSNBC from AP. According to a story at businessGreen, "The new target has been broadly supported by the state's energy firms, many of which have emerged as some of the leading US investors in renewable energy projects." Related Reuters story says solar stocks "were mostly higher" after the ruling. But gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman says she will suspend for one year the law authorizing the standard if she is elected, and Proposition 23 would roll back the authorizing legislation indefinitely.

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

"GE teams with Better Place on charging network"reliability high.
General Electric will partner with Better Place to "develop a battery financing program, beginning with a project to finance 10,000 batteries in Israel and Denmark." See Reuters. [GE makes an EV charging station called WattStation, which it will make compatible with Better Place's technology. GE also has a huge commercial lending and leasing arm, GE Capital.]

"Grocers cut food waste but not packaging"reliability high.
UK grocery chains have met targets to reduce food waste, but have not reduced packaging waste over the past five years according to a report from the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP). The results "show 670,000 tonnes of food waste and 550,000 tonnes of packaging have been avoided since the agreement began in 2005. However, while the industry has managed to prevent an increase in packaging waste, it has failed to reduce it. Total packaging has consistently remained at approximately 2.9 million tonnes between 2006 and 2009." From GreenWise. More details at WRAP site.

"UK’s shipping emissions six times higher than expected says new report"reliability high.
A new report from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research finds that previous estimates of carbon emissions from ocean shipping to an from the UK were way off. As international shipping grows the carbon emissions of ocean transport will become a greater share of national carbon budgets and cuts will have to be made elsewhere to achieve GHG reduction targets, the report says. See Tyndall Centre. PDF of report here.

Government and Regulation

"The Battle of the Bulbs"reliability medium.
Leora Broydo Vestel posts: "Three House Republicans, Joe Barton and Michael Burgess of Texas and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, have introduced the Better Use of Light Bulbs Act, which would repeal the section  of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 that sets minimum energy efficiency standards for light bulbs and would effectively phase out most ordinary incandescents." More about the competition between incandescents and compact fluorescents, most of which are manufactured outside the U.S. See New York Times Green blog. [Similar to the "gas jet preservation act" of 1902 (which I just made up)? Reminds us that companies that make plans based on major legislation can risk having those plans upset by legislative rollback.]

"Environment key to U.S. security: Congress briefing"reliability high.
Article quotes retired General Anthony Zinni, former chief of U.S. Central Command, at a congressional briefing: "We can't just send in the Army and the Marines and the Air Force and the Navy to resolve these problems, and they can't all be security problems. ... Whether it is climate change, whether it is disruption of the environment in other ways ... we're going to see more failed and incapable states." "Zinni cited a report from the non-profit Center for a New American Security that linked depletion of fish stocks off Somalia, the drop in water and oil resources in Yemen, frequent droughts in Afghanistan and scarce and polluted water in Pakistan to instability and security." Additional comments from Lieutenant Colonel Shannon Beebe, a senior Army Africa analyst. From Reuters.

Science and Economics

"Rate of Groundwater Depletion Has Doubled Since 1960, Study Says"reliability medium.
"Relying on a global database of groundwater use and demand, the researchers from Utrecht University calculated that the rate of withdrawal of groundwater stocks jumped from about 30 cubic miles annually (126 cubic kilometers) in 1960 to about 68 cubic miles (283 cubic kilometers) in 2000, a rate they said was clearly unsustainable." From Yale Environment 360. American Geophysical Union press release here.

"Study says heat pumps are not environmentally friendly"reliability high.
"Emissions of powerful greenhouse gas, hydro fluorocarbon (HFC) add another 20 per cent to the carbon footprint of UK air source heat pumps, according to a study released today from Atlantic Consulting. The study finds that the overall carbon footprint of a heat pump is approximately the same or higher than the footprint of using a gaseous fuel. ... The report’s findings may impact some UK and EU policies in the area of heat pumps, especially the UK’s proposed Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) ... . ... Under the proposed RHI, home and office owners in the UK would be subsidised to replace gas or LPG heating with heat pumps. According to the study, though, the installation of heat pumps would cause a very minor reduction in carbon emissions, if at all." See GreenWise.