27 October 2010

Asian cities threatened, sustainability and M&A, building energy savings, arctic thaw and more green news

Top Stories

"Asian Megacities Threatened By Climate Change – Report"reliability high.
"Asia’s coastal megacities will flood more often, on a larger scale, and affect millions more people, if current climate change trends continue, a new report warns. The report Climate Risks and Adaptation in Asian Coastal Megacities examines the impact of climate change on Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, and Manila, under a range of different scenarios through to 2050.  ... The report finds that costs from major flooding events on infrastructure and the economy could run into the billions of dollars, with urban poor populations likely to be the hardest hit. It concludes that all three cities need to take targeted, city-specific and cutting edge approaches to meet these challenges." See World Bank site. Access the report here.

"Asian cities more vulnerable to natural disasters"reliability high.
"The disparity between well-planned and well-built wealthy cities, and poorer ones, - called the "urban risk divide" by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in its 2010 World Disasters Report - is especially acute in Asia", where millions of poor people crowd into exposed parts of cities where nobody else wants to live. "where are some of the most dangerous cities to live if a natural disaster strikes?" Lists five, including Mumbai. The Guardian story.

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

"India aims to add 35 GW clean energy by 2015"reliability high.
Debashish Majumdar, head of Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency, says India wants to add about 35 GW of renewable power generation capacity by 2015 at a cost of about $55 billion, mostly from private investment. "The renewable energy sector policy is giving healthy returns with the preferential tariff regime, attracting investments from the private sector," he said. "India already makes loans to companies building alternative energy power plants and provides tax breaks and tariff subsidies to encourage the renewables industry". From Economic Times. [It is not clear if nuclear capacity is included in this projection. "There are also plans to scale up solar and nuclear power generation to 20 gigawatts each by 2022." Whether government incentives will create this level of private investment remains to be seen.]

"Sustainability Should Come Into Play During Merger Talks"reliability high.
"A new whitepaper from consulting firm Deloitte provide a primer on how sustainability comes into play during mergers and acquisitions". It "covers the reasons why sustainability is an M&A issue, looks at how sustainability is shaping M&A strategies and provides a number of questions related to sustainability that companies should ask." See GreenBiz. Access the white paper here.

"And the Winner Is … a Very Frugal Dorm"reliability medium.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ran a competition as part of its EnergyStar program to compare building energy-savings improvements. Fourteen buildings competed, and the winner was a 45-year-old dorm building at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which made $30,000 worth of modifications to reduce its energy score 36%, leading to savings of $250,000 on its energy bills. "The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has already made big strides toward energy efficiency in recent years, with modifications of more than 100 buildings that reaped savings of nearly $4 million last year. The average savings per building was $33,000, on an average investment of about $7,000." From The New York Times Green blog. More about the contestants here. [The details indicate that not all dorm residents are entirely happy with the level of heating/cooling they get with the new system. Maybe students can't be as choosy as residents of commercial apartments. On the other hand, central heating and air conditioning was only installed in 2007. Who expected dorms to be air conditioned back in the day? On the third hand, students can be mobilized and motivated to conserve as tenants cannot.]

"Massive corruption undermines forest protection plan"reliability medium.
John Vidal posts that "Tropical forestry is dominated by big companies close to some of the most corrupt governments on earth" who stand to gain a windfall from REDD and other forest-protection carbon-trading programs. "over a few years there could be $35bn a year flooding into forestry protection". More on current and potential corruption in forest protection credits. See The Guardian blogs.

"Algae-Based Biofuels Production to Reach 61 Million Gallons per Year by 2020"reliability high.
Pike Research has published a new commercial report that says algae biofuels production will grow rapidly over the next decade, reaching 61 million gallons per year and a market value of $1.3 billion by 2020.  This is a rate of growth similar to that of the early development in the biodiesel industry. See Pike Research site. Access to sample content (registration required) here. [U.S. road vehicles consume roughly 170 billion gallons of motor fuel per year. So 61 million gallons is 0.03%. Also, 61 million gallons for a value of $1.3 billion is $21 per gallon. Something doesn't compute.]

Science and Economics

"As Arctic warms, increased shipping likely to accelerate climate change"reliability high.
"Growing Arctic ship traffic will bring with it air pollution that has the potential to accelerate climate change in the world's northern reaches. And it's more than a greenhouse gas problem -- engine exhaust particles could increase warming by some 17-78 percent, the researchers say. ... 'Arctic Shipping Emissions Inventories and Future Scenarios,' is published in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics." From EurekAlert. Abstract and access to paper here.