20 September 2010

Top firms disclose carbon, ozone hole stops growing, Walmart and Kohl's PV expansion, high-speed rail and other green business news

Top Stories

"Ozone Hole Has Stopped Growing, Should Be Restored By Mid Century According To UN Scientists"reliability medium.
Since the Montreal Protocol to reduce CFCs was signed in 1987 and the greatest extent of the antarctic ozone hole was observed in 2006, this year's "Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion 2010" report says the ozone layer has stopped thinning. "The scientists say the area of the ozone that has thinned out should largely be restored by mid century". See Huffington Post. PDF of the executive summary of the report here. [Touted as a great success, the Montreal Protocol took years to get passed, and now 23 years to begin to reverse the destruction of the ozone layer, with another several decades before it will be fully restored. What does this say about potential international action to deal with increasing atmospheric CO2 levels?]

"Blue Chips won't wait on politicians to deliver carbon targets"reliability high.
Business Green reports "Blue-chip firms are surging ahead with their green business plans, despite political uncertainty on climate change and the unsteady global economy." The Carbon Disclosure Project "annual survey of the world's 500 largest firms shows that green issues are steadily climbing the corporate agenda with 85 per cent of respondents now having board-level or other executive-level responsibility for climate change – up from 68 per cent last year." However, "only 19 per cent revealed significant emissions reductions." See Business Green. Another article headlined "U.S. companies lag global ones on carbon disclosure" at Reuters. PDF of the report here.

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

"Auf Wiedersehen jet: London to Frankfurt by train"reliability high.
Deutsche Bahn is planning 200mph high-speed rail service between London and Frankfurt. The trip will take four to five hours. Eurostar service London to Brussels and Paris is already "taking three-quarters of the air and rail market between London and the French and Belgian capitals." DB hopes to make similar inroads on the popular London-Frankfurt journey among business travelers. The service may open by 2013. From The Guardian. [This reveals why high-speed rail is a non-starter in the U.S. Which has more political power, railroads (i.e. Amtrak, a money-losing government-owned corporation), or the airlines, one of the biggest industries in the country?]

"Yahoo opens doors to self-cooled data center"reliability high.
A new Yahoo! server facility in upstate New York uses the firms "chicken coop" design which depends of outside air for passive cooling. It will use only one percent of its total energy bill for cooling. Article has photo. See CNET News.

"Kohl’s Expands Solar Program into [Pennsylvania]"reliability high.
"Kohl’s Department Stores has activated solar panels at its 100th solar location in Mays Landing, N.J. The retailer also announced plans to expand its solar program into Pennsylvania. ... On average, the 1,400 panels per location will supply nearly half of each store’s energy". The company is trying to become carbon neutral by the end of this year. From Environmental Leader.

"Walmart Uses Innovative Thin Film Solar Technology to Increase Renewable Energy Use"reliability high.
"The company plans to add solar generating systems to another 20 to 30 sites in California and Arizona, and the majority of these locations will feature the new technology. ... When complete, this project is expected to: supply up to 20 to 30 percent of the total energy needs for each location; produce up to 22.5 million kilowatt hours of clean energy per year". At Wal-Mart site.

"Where there's bugs, there's brass: UK firm lands $500m biofuel contract"reliability high.
TMO Renewables has signed a a 20-year, $25m-a-year deal with US firm Fiberight to commercialize TMO's genetically engineered bacteria for making ethanol from compostable waste. See The Guardian.