Thursday, January 21st, 2010
Following the lead of PepsiCo, Tesco, and Quaker Oats, food purchased in UK supermarkets will soon be labeled to show its carbon footprint , including country of origin, how much carbon was produced in its manufacturing and transportation, and compliance with animal welfare standards.
The Carbon Trust, an independent company established by the British government in response to the impact of climate change, is working with businesses as well as the private sector to help reduce carbon emissions and develop low-carbon technologies. The Carbon Trust is working with the UK food industry to help manufacturers determine and label the carbon footprint of various items.
In 2007, Walkers Crisps, a PepsiCo product, became the first consumer brand in the world to carry Carbon Trust’s Carbon Reduction Label in the UK. Quaker Oats and Quaker Simple, also part of PepsiCo, based in Purchase, New York, also carry the Carbon Trust Reduction Label. (more…)
Thursday, January 21st, 2010
A new book touts energy efficiency as one possible environmentally and economic solution for solving the global energy crisis. In Crossing The Energy Divide, authors Robert and Edward Ayres argue that we need to reform the way we manage our existing energy systems to double the amount of “energy service” we get from every drop of fossil fuel we use. They claim the resulting improvements in energy efficiency can bridge the global economy until clean renewables can fully replace fossil fuels.
CleanTechies put three questions to the authors:
CleanTechies: Is the U.S. government listening to you on your energy efficiency/waste-to-energy arguments? If so, where are we at in terms of implementation of your proposals?
Tuesday, January 19th, 2010
Economy versus the Environment. This is a slogan for many when they consider the challenges of dealing with Climate Change and the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
In 2007, McKinsey issued Reducing US Greenhouse Gas Emissions: How Much at What Cost? that provided a a significant contribution to this discussion. McKinsey’s conclusion: at an “affordable” cost of well below $50 per ton, in aggregate, the United States can meet necessary 2030 targets for GHG emission reductions. All-in-all, this was quite good news for those advocating acting to deal with Climate Change.
There was (and is) reason why the original study and McKinsey’s continuing work in this arena have been widely discussed / cited over the past two years. And, variants of the graphic on cost abatement have shown up in briefing after briefing, article after article, book after book. Good news.
Or, well, is it? McKinsey’s work provides significant data that addressing the environment will have economic cost. Even if a low number, with many actions providing economic benefit, the McKinsey work has a serious underlying thematic: it will cost to address climate change.
Saturday, January 16th, 2010
The reason international negotiations to tackle climate change are not working is because they have been premised on long-established norms of state sovereignty and states’ rights.
Consequently they are characterised by “diplomatic delay, minimal action -– especially relative to the scale of the problem – and mutual blame between rich and poor countries, resulting in a ‘you-go-first’ mentality that has prevailed even as global greenhouse gas emissions have exploded.”
This is Paul Harris’s perception in his book World Ethics and Climate Change: From International to Global Justice . He argues that the communitarian principle which underlies the concept of the sovereign state is too limiting to be able to deal adequately with environmental issues which extend beyond state borders. It’s not that states have completely ignored the problem of dangerous climate change.
They have recognised that collective action is required, and have agreed that climate change is a common but differentiated responsibility, with developed states obligated to act first before developing countries are expected to limit emissions. (more…)
Friday, January 15th, 2010
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Global investors representing $13 trillion in assets called on the United States and other countries on Thursday to adopt policies to fight climate change they said would unleash a potential flood of private money into renewable and efficient energy.
“Without policies that create a stable investment environment our hands are tied,” Anne Stausboll, chief executive of the California Public Employees Retirement System, a pension fund with more than $205 billion in assets, said at a meeting called the Investor Summit on Climate Risk.
“We are ready and willing to up the ante to finance the transition to a low carbon global economy but you need to have the courage to act,” said Mindy Lubber, the president of Ceres, a coalition of investors and environmentalists which was hosting the meeting.
Thursday, January 14th, 2010
Citing the “chaotic” Copenhagen climate talks, Jonathan Pershing, the U.S.’s deputy special envoy for climate change, said the UN must relinquish the central role in future climate negotiations to major nations such as the U.S., China, and India.
Pershing, who participated in the Copenhagen talks, said in a speech in Washington that it was virtually impossible to conduct a serious negotiation with 192 nations present in Copenhagen and called for giving more power in future climate talks to the world’s major CO2 emitters.
Wednesday, January 13th, 2010
Faced with a faltering economy, fatigue over the health care fight, and the prospect of congressional elections this November, proponents of a carbon cap-and-trade bill in the U.S. Senate face high hurdles when Congress returns from its winter recess next week.
The Obama administration and Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, the lead author on the climate bill, insist that they are proceeding with plans to pass climate and energy legislation this year.
Wednesday, January 13th, 2010
The AFCOM association recently revealed the results of a survey of 436 data center sites that showed the following trends: Cyber terrorism is an increasing concern, mainframe deployment is declining, storage deployment is increasing, and “green” technologies are definitely happening.
AFCOM found that there is a shift in data centers away from mainframe computers and toward other types of servers. That makes total sense as virtualization is the mantra of the day for those companies that are interested in optimizing their power by having several operating systems function within just one server. Data processing and storage is done within one server as opposed to a traditional system where the network is distributed in an elaborate design comprising of several servers and workstations all attached to their own separate hardware components. Similar to a virtual environment, all the physical resources such as additional servers, PCs, storage, hard drives, processors, and mother boards are totally eliminated. That way, not only are we saving big time in hardware investment (good for the planet!), we are also avoiding excess maintenance costs. That’s a big thumbs up!
Tuesday, January 12th, 2010
A state panel recommended that most of the proceeds from a proposed carbon tax in California, set to take effect in 2012, should be given back to consumers. The 16-member Economic and Allocation Advisory Committee, charged with figuring out the most cost-effective way to implement a tax on carbon emissions, threw its support behind a so-called “cap-and-dividend” approach.
Such a plan would set a steadily decreasing limit on CO2 releases by major emitters, place a price on carbon dioxide emissions, and then give most of the revenue back to citizens.
Tuesday, December 29th, 2009
Mike Hulme’s “Why We Disagree About Climate Change” came out in May and was recently listed as one of the “Best Books of 2009″ by The Economist.
A former member of the Climate Research Unit at East Anglia University – home to the infamous “ClimateGate” e-mails – Hulme has been a polarizing figure for all sides in the climate debate.
“Too often, when we think we are arguing over scientific evidence for climate change, we are in fact disagreeing about our different political preferences, ethical principles and value systems,” Hulme told the Wall Street Journal about the leaked e-mails. “Climate scientists, knowingly or not, become proxies for political battles.”
With “Why We Disagree About Climate Change,” Hulme argues how the inevitable gaps and ambiguities of science have laid open a wellspring of emotion, rendering it impossible to disentangle scientific insight from politics and culture.
Hulme spoke with CleanTechies on December 18, shortly before Copenhagen closed.