14 September 2010

UK change in emphasis, Toyota vs. Daimler, China in negotiations, and other green business news

Top Stories

"Climate change is inevitable, says Caroline Spelman"reliability high.
In her maiden speech as UK Environment Secretary, Caroline Spelman will say "It is vital that we carry on working to drastically cut our greenhouse gas emissions to stop the problem getting any worse. But we are already stuck with some unavoidable climate change. Because of this, we need to prepare for the best and worst cases which a changing climate will entail for our country." More on the new emphasis on adaptation. See The Telegraph. Another article in The Independent, with reactions. A series of illustrations from DEFRA of how sectors might adapt to climate change are in BusinessGreen. [The apparent shift from mitigation (reducing emissions to minimize climate change) to adaptation (deal with the consequences of climate change) is interesting. Throwing in the towel? Or just budget constraints? Or Conservative Party philosophy? Maybe connected with recognition of the apparent futility of international negotiations (see items below)?]

"The US Power Sector is Changing -- Even Without a Climate Bill"reliability medium.
Mindy Lubber posts that "the US power sector is undergoing a dramatic transformation to decarbonize its energy offerings and sell less, not more, electricity. ... Even without climate legislation, other market forces are compelling the industry to change." Gives examples from recent news. See GreenBiz blog.

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

"Toyota readies electric car offensive"reliability high.
According to Reuters Toyota says it will have a plug-in version of the Prius on the market by 2012, along with two battery-electric cars and six new hybrid vehicles. The plan is to price the plug-in Prius at a $3,000-$5,000 premium to the hybrid Prius, making it cheaper than the Leaf's current price and much cheaper than the Volt. More on Toyota's plans. Reuters story.

"Daimler intensifies push for electric cars"reliability high.
Reuters reports on an interview with Daimler AG research chief, Thomas Weber, who says "We won't be able to meet the target of 95 grams CO2 in 2020 without electric vehicles with batteries and fuel cells." "But the new technology is still in its infancy and 'it won't be easy to then also earn money with these cars.'" Daimler's "cooperation with Renault and Nissan 'will be expanded to include all three partners as far as electric motors, batteries and powertrains are concerned.'" More on Daimler's plans. From Reuters. [Still far behind Toyota.]

"Whole Foods to label seafood's sustainability"reliability high.
Whole Foods Market Inc. is to introduce a labeling scheme for wild-caught seafood in its stores based on that of the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Blue Ocean Institute. Green, yellow or red symbols will indicate the health of the fishery from which the product came and the environmental impact of its extraction. ""There has been a huge increase in attention and energy and enthusiasm (on sustainable seafood) from customers and buyers and fishermen," said Carrie Brownstein, coordinator of seafood quality standards for Whole Foods." See MSNBC from AP. [Note only wild-caught seafood will be labeled this way, and seafood that is unsustainably harvested (red label) will still be offered. Grocery chains are struggling with seafood labeling.]

"Save what? Southern California Edison launches rate calculator for plug-in vehicles"reliability medium.
Eric Loveday posts that "Southern California Edison (SCE) has launched an intuitive plug-in rate calculator that allows current and potential electric vehicle (EV) owners to assess the costs of "fueling" battery-powered vehicles. SCE customers input information like location, daily power usage, vehicle type (i.e., plug-in hybrid or battery-electric vehicle), mileage and expected time of day use (on- or off-peak hours) and the Plug-in Car Rate Assistant spits out an estimated monthly charging fee. It's an easy way to get a savings comparison with a conventional gasoline-powered vehicle." See Autoblog Green. [Check out the tool here. You have to enter a SCE-service-area zip code. Rancho Cucamonga City Hall's zip code is 91730.]

Government and Regulation

"Greece approves over €2bn of renewable energy projects in attempt to attract investment"reliability high.
"Greece approved a number of green energy schemes worth more than €2bn in an attempt to attract investment to its fragile economy. The projects, with a total capacity of 840MW and worth €2.1bn, have been approved by the country’s Regulatory Authority for Energy. The move comes alongside a pledge to fast-track approvals and licensing of clean energy projects as it attempts to hit a 40 per cent renewables share of its electricity consumption by 2020" See NewNet. [Green stimulus lives.]

"Europe's climate chief scolds and praises China"reliability high.
Reuters quotes European climate chief Connie Hedegaard regarding China's commitment to climate negotiations at a recent meeting: "China was represented by an undersecretary from the local embassy -- that was not a good sign. China is a key player and they have to commit strongly." At the same time, she said, "I really strongly believe that it's very foolish if one mistakes the way they (China) are slow around the negotiating table with what is happening in reality in China. Coming from Denmark where it took 30 years to build the world brand Vestas, I'd say that's quite astonishing how you can build three companies in the top 10 globally in less than 10 years. It tells us something about how fast they are moving when they are moving." See Reuters article. [We are beginning to see China's strategy on negotiations and especially its management of news out of China on international agreement issues, as before Copenhagen (see below).]

"China says rich-poor divide still dogs climate pact talks"reliability high.
Reuters cites comments by Su Wei, the head of the climate change office at China's National Development and Reform Commission, that appeared in China Today: "Right now there are still huge differences between developed and developing countries in the negotiations on climate change problems." The two factions are still far apart on who should pay how much for mitigation and adaptation, and whether developing countries like China should target emission reductions. From Reuters.