19 October 2010

PepsiCo to cut farming footprint, water issues in Chile and England, charging drivers for pollution, carbon competitiveness and other green news

Top Stories

"In Kansas, Climate Skeptics Embrace Cleaner Energy"reliability high.
In Salina, Kansas, activists work toward energy efficiency without trying to convince people about global warming. "'Don’t mention global warming,' warned Nancy Jackson, chairwoman of the Climate and Energy Project, a small nonprofit group that aims to get people to rein in the fossil fuel emissions that contribute to climate change. 'And don’t mention Al Gore. People out here just hate him.'" The local Project "set out to extricate energy issues from the charged arena of climate politics. ... the project ran an experiment to see if by focusing on thrift, patriotism, spiritual conviction and economic prosperity, it could rally residents of six Kansas towns to take meaningful steps to conserve energy and consider renewable fuels." See New York Times story. The project's site is here. [While the science vs. skeptic arguments get the ink, some people in Kansas know how to just get the job done. Convincing James Inhofe is not on the critical path.]

"New Tactic in California for Paying Pollution Bill"reliability high.
"Faced with a fine of at least $29 million for exceeding federal ozone limits, the San Joaquin Valley’s air quality regulators are proposing an annual surcharge of $10 to $24 on registration fees for the region’s 2.7 million cars and trucks beginning next year. ... regulators are exploring what they can do to force consumers to face up to the pollution they cause. ... it is extremely unusual, if not unprecedented, for such an agency to make a point of penalizing drivers for the smog they create." From The New York Times. [Externalities? Deposit $20 please. If your actions cost other people money, sooner or later you might expect to receive a bill. (The board still has to pass the rule, so it might not happen.)]

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

"PepsiCo aims to crunch carbon out of apples and potatoes"reliability high.
PepsiCo plans to work with its agricultural suppliers to reduce its carbon and water footprints. "Under the initiative, farmers growing potatoes, apples and oats for PepsiCo UK and Ireland have started testing internet crop management tools, low carbon fertilisers and greener machinery in a bid to halve carbon emissions and water usage across PepsiCo core crops within just five years." See BusinessGreen. PepsiCo press release on the global plan here. PepsiCo's UK/Ireland "Sustainable Farming Report" here.

"Wind Power Soars by 16GW in first half of 2010"reliability high.
The WWEA reports that global wind turbine capacity hit 175 GW in mid-2010 and is heading for 200 GW by the end of the year. Total capacity added in 2010 will be between 35 and 40 GW, they estimate, in line with the 38 GW added in 2009. The association called for more government support for the industry. See Renewable Energy World. WWEA press release with table here.

Science and Economics

"Low Carbon Competitiveness Report"reliability high.
Australian think tank The Climate Institute and European think tank E3G have published a study on "G20 low carbon competitiveness". It finds "Only two G20 countries – Mexico and Argentina – are currently improving carbon competitiveness fast enough to be on track to a 450 ppm outcome. ... In a world that limits carbon, the countries that are currently best placed to offer economic prosperity to their citizens are France, Japan, UK, South Korea and Germany. ... China has shown a strong improvement in its carbon productivity over the last fifteen years and is well placed to play a leading role globally in the future, although performance has recently lagged. Australia needs to more than double its rate of carbon productivity improvement" if it is to meet its share of the 450ppm target. See The Climate Institute site. PDF of report here. [An interesting economic analysis that reveals that China is among the leaders in making progress toward an economy in line with the 450ppm target. The USA is doing better than some, in spite of confusion in Washington.]

"Britain leads major economies on carbon pricing: survey"reliability high.
Another take on the  Economics for the Climate Institute study notes that "Britain ranked first with an implied carbon price per tonne of $29.30. ... China was second with an implied carbon price of $14.20 per tonne, followed by the United States at $5.10, Japan $3.10, Australia $1.70 and South Korea $0.70." Reuters story quotes Erwin Jackson, deputy chief executive of the Climate Institute: "Investment in clean energy in the United Kingdom reached around $11 billion in 2009. In 2009, clean energy investment in China reached $35 billion compared with $18 billion in the United States and less than $1 billion in Australia." See Reuters. Link to report in item above.

"UK crops to face water supply crunch, may relocate"reliability high.
"Agricultural crops in Britain may need to be moved to new areas as the threat of both drought and flooding rises in the coming decades, a report commissioned by the Royal Agricultural Society of England said on Monday. ... River flow was seen reducing by about 20 percent by 2020 and 40 percent by the 2050s." From Reuters. PDF of Society's press release here.

"Chile Measures Its 'Water Footprints'"reliability high.
Chile is starting to develop a database of the water footprints of agricultural and mining companies to evaluate their impacts on local watersheds. "In a pilot effort, the [Chile Foundation, formed by ITT, the government, and copper miner Minera Escondida (owned by BHP Billiton)] is measuring the water footprint of products and companies, mostly in the northern region of Atacama, which is a semi- desert area, with scarce water resources, several major mining projects, and for-export agriculture. ... With a portion of that data, the institution is calculating the situation of the entire Huasco watershed. To create a complete map, it is preparing to measure -- for the first time in the world -- the full impact of mining activity on water resources." More about footprinting, water markets and water policy in Chile. From IPS.