10 September 2010

DB says ignore climate skeptics; wind power, green leasing and more business sustainability news

Top Stories

"Deutsche Bank: 'Human-Made Climate Change Is A Serious Long Term Threat'"reliability medium.
Brad Johnson posts: "Global financial giant Deutsche Bank has crushed the climate skeptics in a new paper released today". The research paper, "Climate Change: Addressing the Major Skeptic Arguments", says "Simply put, the science shows us that climate change due to emissions of greenhouse gases is a serious problem. Furthermore, due to the persistence of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the lag in response of the climate system, there is a very high probability that we are already heading towards a future where warming will persist for thousands of years. Failing to insure against that high probability does not seem a gamble worth taking." The paper gives specific responses to skeptics' arguments. See The Wonk Room. The DB research paper is available here. [Though the skeptics' arguments may confuse the public debate, the science is clear enough. Companies and investors should rely on it.]

"Chinese Offshore Development Blows Past U.S."reliability high.
The Donghai Bridge Wind Farm near Shanghai has become the first operational offshore wind farm outside of Europe. The article notes that the U.S. is far behind. More on China's offshore wind plans.  "'What the U.S. doesn't realize,' said Peggy Liu, founder and chairwoman of the Joint U.S.-China Collaboration on Clean Energy, is that China 'is going from manufacturing hub to the clean-tech laboratory of the world.'" See The New York Times from ClimateWire. ["You don't need a weatherman . . . ." And note story on European wind power below.]

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

"Frito-Lay Adds Electric Trucks to Its Fleet"reliability medium.
Jim Motavalli posts: "Frito-Lay North America announced on Wednesday that it would field a fleet of 176 battery-powered delivery trucks made by Smith Electric Vehicles. In the first wave, five each will be operated in New York City, Fort Worth and Columbus, Ohio. Six will be in Canada." Frito-Lay has the nation's third-largest truck fleet with 18,000 vehicles. Mike O’Connell, the national director of fleet capability, "said the trucks are 'a key component of the sustainability strategy' at Frito-Lay and PepsiCo, a strategy that would include a 50 percent reduction in fleet fuel use by 2020." From New York Times Wheels blog.

"U.S. Steps Up Its Effort Against a European System of Fees on Airline Emissions"reliability high.
The New York Times reports that authorities from the United States, Canada and Mexico have urged the International Civil Aviation Organization to pass a nonbinding resolution asking countries that are "seeking to implement an emissions trading system that applies to other contracting states’ aircraft operators" to do so only "on the basis of mutual agreement." This move targets EU laws requiring airlines flying in Europe to obtain carbon credits to cover their emissions. U.S. carriers have objected strongly to the law. At the same time they are taking steps to comply and obtain credits. More on the controversy. See The New York Times.

"Wind power's growth is blowing Europe toward green goals"reliability high.
Interview with Christian Kjaer, CEO of the European Wind Energy Association. Wind already supplies about 5% of Europe's electricity, but "For the past two years, 40 percent of all new electricity generating capacity in Europe came from wind turbines. From Spain to Sweden, so many new turbines are being erected that Europe is on target to produce 15 percent of its electricity from wind by 2020. By 2050, half of Europe's electricity is expected to come from wind." Fossil fuel plants will be retired. Significant increase in jobs. Asian competition. In The Guardian from Yale Environment 360.

"The Business Case for Green Leasing"reliability medium.
EDF Climate Corps fellow Rich Tesler posts that One of the projects he is involved in at SunGard Data Systems, Inc. is creating a primer for its  finance and facility managers outlining the business case for green leasing. "In addition to the many traditional strategies employed to capitalize on the real estate decision opportunity, integrating sustainability considerations and sustainability personnel into the site selection, RFP and lease negotiation processes is increasingly becoming an industry best practice, and typically leads to cost and performance benefits." He lists and discusses the three principal benefits. See Greener World Media. PDF of green leasing primer here.

Government and Regulation

"China blacks out factories, homes in drastic move to meet energy-saving targets"reliability high.
In China some local government are imposing power cuts to meet energy-conservation targets imposed by the central government. The AP piece quotes a spokeswoman for Greenpeace China: "You could say local governments are trying to blackmail the central government: If you order me to do something I can't deliver, I will pass on the pressure to ordinary people." "What they [the central government] are doing now is relying too much on harsh administrative orders." See Los Angeles Times from AP. [Of course such cuts won't reduce the energy intensity of production, since when power stops production stops. Nobody said managing energy efficiency improvements by command and control from the center would be easy. On the other hand, in most big cities in India such cuts might pass unnoticed.]

"E.P.A. to Study Chemicals Used to Tap Natural Gas"reliability high.
The U.S. E.P.A. has sent letters to nine drilling companies requesting information on the chemicals they use in the hydraulic fracturing method of natural gas extraction, according to this NYT story. "The move is part of the federal agency’s preparations for a long-term scientific study of the effects of the practice ... on drinking water and public health." More about the controversy over environmental impact of this increasingly important energy technology. Story at The New York Times from Climatewire.

"UK government told to cut 2020 biofuels target"reliability high.
Britain's Committee on Climate Change has recommended that the nation's target for biofuels, currently set at 10% of transportation fuels, be cut back to preserve tropical forests. "This target should be lowered unless new evidence shows that it can be achieved sustainably," it said. It recommended an 8% target. More on the committee's recommendations. See Reuters story.