06 October 2010

Cleantech jobs, green spending forecast, solar beats diesel in Bangladesh and more sustainable business news

Top Stories

"The Hottest Jobs in Cleantech and Where to Find Them"reliability high.
Clean Edge has a new report "Clean Tech Job Trends 2010" that says "solar power, biofuels and biomaterials continue to hold the best cleantech job opportunities in the U.S. with the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley again topping the list of 15 metro areas in the country with the greatest job activity", according to this GreenBiz article. More highlights of the report. See GreenBiz. Summary and access to report (free, but registration required) at Clean Edge site.

"U.S. sustainability spending seen doubled by 2014"reliability high.
A commercial report from Verdantix says U.S. "spending on sustainable business will double to $60 billion by 2014 from the current $28 billion". The analysis assumes federal climate legislation could be passed by then. "The U.S. sustainable business market will exceed $32 billion in 2011, growing to $40 billion in 2012 and $49 billion in 2013, the report said." More highlights of report. From Reuters. Executive summary here.

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

"Luxury EV to lead Infiniti sales"reliability high.
Nissan luxury marque Infiniti will be rolling out more and more electric and hybrid vehicles, according to this story. "The new EV model is part of a 'CO2 strategy' that will see the majority of Infiniti sales made up of either hybrids or pure electric vehicles by the end of the decade. Although the company won’t be specific, it’s estimated that around 70 per cent Infinitis will be powered by hybrid transmissions, around 15-20 per cent will be pure electric vehicles and just 10-15 per cent powered by internal combustion engines." See Autocar. [Nearly whole line to be EV or hybrid within 10 years? Biggest change in the auto industry since the switch to the fully-enclosed all-metal body in the 1930s?]

"Grameenphone to use solar to cut costs, emissions"reliability high.
"Bangladesh's top mobile phone carrier Grameenphone signed deals with three solar power companies to run its base stations using the alternative energy, ... The deal will save ... up to 1.15 million litres of diesel a year, the company said." All off-grid stations currently use diesel generators and many more have backup generators. See Reuters story. [Grameenphone is saying solar is cheaper and more reliable than diesel in rural Bangladesh. Diesel does have its own reliability problems, plus maintenance costs and of course constant fuel deliveries.]

"Investors reveal appetite for riskier low-carbon projects"reliability high.
A new commercial report from Standard & Poors, "Can Capital Markets Bridge the Climate Change Financing Gap?", suggests that lenders can provide some of the "$80bn to $200bn that the World Bank forecasts will be needed by developing countries each year to address climate change", if offered adequate returns. Michael Wilkins, head of carbon markets at S&P, "said the current green bond offerings from financial giants such as AXA, Morgan Stanley and the IMF demonstrated how private capital flows could be harnessed to drive investment in low-carbon projects in developing countries. But he warned that the return on investment offered by such bonds needed to be raised to attract the level of investment economists believe is necessary." One of the risks mentioned is regulatory uncertainty. From BusinessGreen. A Reuters story on the same report says, "Risk transfer instruments, especially insurance, can play a huge role in offsetting the barriers faced by capital market investors".

"GE Tops Climate Innovation Index, Berkshire Hathaway Ranks Last"reliability high.
"General Electric has edged out Ford and Intel to take the top spot in Maplecroft’s Climate Innovation Index U.S. 100, while Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway comes in last, reports Bloomberg. Ranked on their efforts to manage carbon emissions and global warming as well as their profit on climate opportunities, GE topped the list of the 100 largest public companies in the U.S. for the second year in a row." More highlights. See Environmental Leader.

Government and Regulation

"U.S. says climate talks fail to make headway"reliability high.
Jonathan Pershing, the United States Deputy Special Envoy for Climate Change, said at Tianjin: "There is less agreement than one might have hoped to find at this stage," suggesting that without progress at Tianjin an agreement at Cancun might be beyond reach. He suggested that some other approach beyond the continuing UN Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations: "The consequences of not having an agreement coming out of Cancun are things that we have to worry about. It doesn't mean that things may not happen; it may mean that we don't use this process exclusively as the way to move forward." See Reuters story. [It doesn't matter what "process" you use, Mr. Pershing. If China doesn't want an agreement you won't have an agreement. If the U.S. doesn't want an agreement you might have an agreement you won't have an agreement. And it sounds like China and the USA are a long way from agreeing.]

And . . .

"Is 'Dangerous Interference' Inevitable?"reliability medium.
Recent technical studies, China and India's booming economies, and a speech by the UK's environment minister all suggest that the idea we could avoid warming beyond 2°C above pre-industrial levels is now but a fading dream. And the 2°C target was probably too high anyway. From A Very Different Earth. [More from the Docosphere.]