2008 was a good year for enviros in the boardroom. A record 57 climate related shareholder resolutions were filed this year – a figure that has doubled over the past 5 years. Support for these measures averaged more than 23% among shareholders– another all time high. These figures come from Ceres, a leading coalition of investors and environmental groups. “Growing investor pressure is prompting more companies to see the value of making environmentally sound products,” said Mindy S. Lubber, president of Ceres. “By re-thinking their strategies with high energy prices and climate change in mind, these companies will have a distinct competitive advantage in the years ahead.”Click to continue reading »
Japan will soon pilot a national carbon footprint labeling system. While the carbon footprint calculation system is still in the development phase, corporations are voluntarily committing their participation. Emphasizing the importance of implementing a uniform method of calculation, the trade ministry is working in collaboration with the participating corporations. According to the Guardian, some of the big name corporations involved include Sapporo, Lawson and Seven-Eleven.
The labeling system will track carbon emission from a product’s manufacture, through distribution, to disposal. As 3P reported earlier this summer, the European Parliament has approved carbon footprint labeling as part of the Climate Change Interim Report. Takuma Inamura, speaking for the Japanese trade ministry, told the Guardian: “We believe our labeling will be even more detailed, to allow consumers to make the best possible choice.”
But when it comes to carbon labeling standards, skeptics abound. A recent article from BusinessGreen, asserts that, “supply chain analysis is the toughest challenge for would-be carbon labelers.” With numerous inputs in the manufacturing process, tracking carbon emissions demands inter-vendor collaboration.
Today marks the beginning of the Democratic National Convention in Denver. The DNCC plans to make this convention, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi puts it,
“…the greenest, most sustainable, most successful political convention in history.”
As part of that plan organizers are implementing the “Green Delegate Challenge”, an incentive to encourage delegations to commit to offsetting their carbon footprint from attending the convention.
The delegation (or delegations) with the highest percentage of delegates offsetting their carbon get fun and (and presumably green) prizes and special recognition on the convention floor. Of course the point of the challenge isn’t winning a prize or a special mention, but to encourage awareness and action from delegates to reduce their carbon footprint.
To help in that effort Native Energy Inc. has partnered with the DNCC to provide offsets for several domestic, community-based alternative energy projects.Click to continue reading »
Greenbiz writer Dana Sanchez reported this week about the risks associated with claiming “green-ness” at national political conventions, a claim made by both Democrats and Republicans.
The first blunders have already been measured out in the media. The tone has been biting but issues raised have up to now been relatively harmless. For instance, initially the Democrat Convention drew only a lackluster response from delegates to their carbon offsetting challenge. But the negative press worked out positively in the end because the number of delegates participating in the challenge appear to have been rather impressive. Just over half of all the attendees offset their carbon footprint 100% or more and all the attendees reportedly were participating to some degree. They purchased renewable energy from a portfolio of U.S. projects run by NativeEnergy ofsetting costs for flights at $24 for 2,500 miles (to the convention and back). The $24 also included staying for five nights in a Denver hotel.
Designers enrich our lives in a myriad of ways. From furniture to coffee mugs, a designer is part of the production team. The pervasiveness of design gives designers an important role and an opportunity to use design to call attention to important social issues.
Socially responsible design addresses social, environmental, economic, and political issues through the use of design, according to the website Sociallyresponsibledesign.com. The design and merchandise company Felissimo believes in socially responsible design so they partnered with the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to create the Design 21 Award. Design 21 then became a biannual competition, and in 2006 an online community.
Food crops for the use of biofuels are massively controversial but the so-called second generation biofuel crops have massive side effects as well. These more recent crops are non food, but experts are warning that many of them are ‚Äòinvasive species’. In other words, they’re weeds which have huge potential to escape the biofuel farms where they’re grown and overrun natural land and other areas.
The problem has the attention of UN scientists. At a recent meeting in Bonn, Germany, specialists from the Global Invasive Species Program, as well as scientists from the Nature Conservancy and the International Union for Conservation of Nature published a scientific paper about invasive species warning about their effects.
Byogy Renewables Inc., a Texas company, has licensed the production of what it says is the Holy Grail of biofuel and will open a plant in the near future to create 95-octane gasoline from biomass.
The company expects the biomass gasoline market to be 2.5 billion by 2022. The first such gasoline will be available by 2010, Byogy says. The company worked with academics from Texas A&M University System and the Texas Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) to create the technology. Its plant will have raw garbage going in one end and 95-octane gasoline coming out the other.
“The advanced process is possibly the only integrated system that converts biomass directly to gasoline”, according to Byogy. “Most other emerging processes convert the biomass into alcohol and then blend it with gasoline. The system is relatively inexpensive and focuses on using biomass waste streams and non-food energy crops rather than food products such as corn”, the company said.
Pacific Organizations Urge Australia And New Zealand To Attune Immigration Policies To Global Warming Related Causes
The Australian and New Zealand governments have been inundated with requests from over 100 organizations urging it to relax its immigration policies so that people from small islands in the Pacific that are under threat from global warming stand a better chance to emigrate.
The organizations, which are from across the Pacific Islands region wrote an open letter addressed to Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark requesting them to increase permanent immigration numbers. They also called for more extensive resettlement services.
Manitoba Hydro, the Canadian gas and electricity company, has started a large scale project to get its customers to use biomass to fuel both heat and power systems. The company targets 250 of its agricultural and industrial customers with the Bioenergy Optimization Program. All of these customers have access to readily available, low cost sources of biomass and the capability to operate biomass to energy conversion systems.
The program provides incentives for participants to undertake feasibility studies and for the capital cost of the required equipment, up to a maximum of $1.250.000.
Technologies employed to produce useful energy from biomass include direct combustion – such as burning waste wood in a boiler to produce steam for powering a generator/heat exchanger at a forestry mill – and anaerobic digestion, which converts manure in a digester to produce biogas (methane) for fueling an internal combustion engine driven generator/heat exchanger. Mostly used in hog farming, anaerobic digestion can replace natural gas and other non-renewable heating fuels to power space and water heating or other industrial processes.
Manitoba Hydro expects to achieve annual load reduction savings of up to 10 megawatts and 78 gigawatt-hours of electricity and 3.8 million cubic metres of natural gas, and 65,580 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions by 2017/18.
Huge amounts of relatively clean burning natural gas lie underground across extensive stretches of the U.S., trapped in shale deposits. Raising large amounts of capital and bearing the expense and risk of developing new drilling and production technology, pioneering oil and gas companies are now reaping the rewards, as was seen in Part One of this two part series.
Record high prices have added fuel to an initial shale gas boom that began with Barnett Shale gas production around Forth Worth, Texas. Exploration and production has spread across neighboring Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma and up into western Pennsylvania and New York. It’s also made the jump across the border into Quebec, where Forest Oil’s April announcement that it had discovered what it believes is a commercially viable deposit in the St. Lawrence Valley sent share prices of companies with leases in the area soaring.
As shale gas fever spreads and drilling and production increases, the environmental costs are becoming increasingly apparent, however. Reports of contaminated water supplies, sinking water tables, explosions and drilling accidents are on the rise, even as shale gas drilling spreads into densely populated urban areas, prompting calls for greater oversight, regulation and rules to protect neighborhoods and the environment.
As part of a new effort to reach out to our friends over at GreenBiz.com, this is the first installment of our weekly Friday wrap of interesting things we’ve found this past week on GreenBiz. Follow the links to find out more and join the conversation below this post. We’re all in this together!
SoCal Edison, PG&E Make Big Alternative Energy Commitments
And we mean big. SoCal Edison and PG&E, the two largest public utilities in California, annuonced comittments to develop nearly two gigawatts of wind and solar energy.
PECO Launches Drive to Be More Environmentally Friendly
Hey, it isn’t just happening in California. The Philadelphia-based electric and natural gas utility has announced a five-year, $15.3 million plan to implement more envirornmental friendly pratices at their facilities, including efficiency measures, wind energy purchases, and seeking LEED certification for several of the utilities existing buildings.
Neenah Paper to Power Largest Mill With Waste
One man’s waste is another man’s source of power. The Alpharetta, Georgia maker of premium and speciatly papers is contracting with Vision Power to build a biomass system to power its largest paper mill with wood and fiber waste. The system should be completed and in operation by next year.
The first casualties of global warming, when its effects really set in, will be the elderly. What are governments doing to prevent the worst impact? Little is known about any strategies or contingency plans in place. That is because the plans are only in the research stage.
In the UK, the first study assessing the impact of global warming on the elderly nationwide revealed that government measures are definitely needed to better protect older people from the future effects of climate change.
The report¬¥s authors said there is an urgent need to exploit synergies between climate change policies and policies aimed at older people. “Older people must be part of the solution: we need to make it easier for them to conserve energy, use public transport and maintain crucial social networks that will help them better cope with the effects of a changing climate,” said the lead researcher, Dr Gary Haq, a university of York academic.
Environmental Building News has published a directory with products for the residential green building market. The directory is targeted specifically at homeowners and home builders and includes over 1,400 products from the GreenSpec® database which the company’s internal editors have maintained since 1998.
Products listed in the directory are selected for GreenSpec based on specific criteria including recycled content, FSC-certified wood, avoidance of toxic constituents, reduction of construction impacts, energy or water savings, and contributing to a safe, healthy indoor environment.
Manufacturers do not pay to get their products or name listed in Green Building Products directory, which means that you’ll get unbiased information. “We base selections on careful in-house review by our editorial staff,” the company says. Details on the product selection process and the full list of criteria for inclusion can be found at the company’s website.
Green Building Products includes everything you can associate with building a house. Items range from pre-cast concrete foundation systems to recycled-plastic roofing shingles or top-efficiency heating equipment. Photos of around 300 products are included. Green Building Products is published with New Society Publishers and is priced at $34.95. It’s available next December at selected booksellers and can be ordered on the company’s website too.
“Climate change is with us,” began the Honorable Mr. Kwadwo Adjei-Darko, Minister of Local Government, Rural Development and Environment of the Republic of Ghana, as he welcomed delegates to the Accra Climate Change Talks. The conference is the third in a series that constitutes the Bali Action Plan. The goal? Establish an international accord to succeed the Kyoto Protocol in 2012.
More than 1,000 delegates from over 150 countries have come together in Accra. Previous meetings, held in Bangkok in April and Bonn in June, focused on procedure and planning – making the Accra Climate Change Talks the first conference dedicated to actual climate issues.
The political obstacles are formidable. Affluent countries are resistant to policies that may pose an economic burden, while developing economies fear policies that will hinder growth. “Presenting concrete ideas and submitting real substance will be the benchmark for credible leadership in Accra,” says Kim Carstensen, Director of the WWF Global Climate Initiative.