Friday, November 27th, 2009
As the keynote speaker at the Singapore Energy Lecture, Dr. Daniel Yergin was toeing his usual line of optimism on the subject of oil and energy. As the Founder and Chairman of Cambridge Energy Research Associate (CERA), Dr. Yergin has a long career in the energy industry, though one some challenge as upholding the status quo of business and industry.
“The century ahead of us will be defined by energy innovation,” he said in his keynote address. “We need availability and security of energy, and a depth and diversification of energy sources.”
He spoke of the odd timing of the Copenhagen agenda of lowering carbon emissions (of which fossil fuel energy sources are a key contributor) by 2050, as well as projections that by 2030, there would be a substantial growth of energy needs worldwide. Some 80% of which these energy demands are to be met by hydrocarbon sources. Indeed, humanity faces some difficult decisions and conflict in the years ahead: development at what cost?
Friday, November 20th, 2009
Don’t expect climate change to get fixed by the governments of the world. Don’t expect that, however noble in intention, the efforts of Gore, McKibben, Stern, and their many cohorts will succeed either. Not on any large scale. It won’t be clean tech or green products saving the day either.
Climate change, like energy scarcity, water pollution, and other serious global issues is merely one symptom of a larger global problem. Tackle the symptoms individually, and at best you might get lackluster results. Tackle the source of the problem, and everything attached to it will be positively affected.
Thursday, November 19th, 2009
Major corporations in the U.S. have shown an increased willingness to voluntarily reduce their impact on climate change despite a sluggish economy, according to a new scorecard produced by the nonprofit group Climate Counts.
Eighty-one of the 90 major companies assessed saw an average increase of 22 percent from last year’s scorecard, with Nike topping the list with a score of 83 out of a possible 100 points.
Scores are based on 22-criteria in four general areas: measurement of impact on global warming; reduction of impact; engagement in climate-related public policy; and transparency.
Wednesday, November 18th, 2009
A recent event sponsored by the British High Commission on climate change and low-carbon business drew out into the open a serious issue. As many are aware, should the temperature rise as much as 4 degrees Celsius (or about 7 degrees Fahrenheit) due to climate change, some serious problems for countries around the world will emerge.
One of the keys to keeping carbon emissions, and therefore climate change, in check is getting reductions in place. One of the easiest and most palatable ways to sell this to business is through energy efficiency measures.
Saturday, November 14th, 2009
The Obama administration, faced with the failure of Congress to pass climate legislation before global talks in Copenhagen next month, may endorse a more limited interim agreement and defer stronger U.S. commitments until next year, according to the Washington Post.
While the scaled-back agreement would fall short of what European leaders wanted from the U.S., administration and congressional leaders say it will at least prevent the global talks from being seen as a failure.
Friday, November 13th, 2009
As debate heats up around the proposals for clean energy legislation in Congress, one of the main points of contention is the amount of money it will cost. More specifically, everyone wants to know how the average American household will be impacted by the respective energy bills in the House (Waxman-Markey’s American Clean Energy and Security Act) and the Senate (Kerry-Boxer’s Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act). This article will investigate the change in energy prices one can expect from legislation that could be passed within the coming months, and try to sift through the wide discrepancy in figures that are being tossed around. Then some recommendations will be presented as to how energy usage can be reduced, to preempt any anticipated rises in cost.
Thursday, November 12th, 2009
In spite of leaps and bounds in technology, investment capital, political support and public will over the past decade – much less the past year – there is one element of a revolution that has not emerged in the clean tech movement: an icon. Sure, standard-bearers of the green movement that began in the 1960’s are still visible and active and there are brilliant scientists, entrepreneurs and politicians out there who might be candidates. But, as greens cast about for their own JFK in government, or a Green Gates in the private sector, what they really need is their own Green Gandhi. He may be emerging.
Monday, November 9th, 2009
Al Gore, who barely lost (or won) the US Presidential election in November 2000, and vowed never to return to US political life, appears to have come out a winner for not doing so. The former Vice President for 8 years under the Clinton Administration decided to devote his time afterwards to teaching as well as making the world aware of the dangers of global warming, a warning that has been noted several times on Green Prophet, including a more recent article tying global warming and climate change with what is happening in the Middle East.
Thursday, October 29th, 2009
A study by Robert Goodland and Jeff Anhang of the World Bank looked at the relative importance of anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gasses from oil, natural gas, and coal compared to the life cycle and supply chain emissions of domesticated animals raised for food. They conclude that greenhouse gases (GHGs) from the lifecycle and supply chain of animals raised for food account for 51% of annual emissions caused by humans and should be given higher priority in global efforts to fight climate change.
While livestock are already known to contribute to GHG emissions, their levels have been underestimated or simply overlooked, former and current World Bank environmental experts Robert Goodland and Jeff Anhang.
The authors recognize that the 51% figure put forward “is a strong claim that requires strong evidence,” but stress that if their argument is right, “it implies that replacing livestock products with better alternatives” would have far more rapid effects on the climate than actions to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy.
Friday, October 23rd, 2009
Amid a growing call for reducing atmospheric concentrations of CO2 to 350 parts per million, a group of economists maintains that striving to meet that target is a smart investment — and the best insurance policy humanity could buy.
The climate change news from Washington is cautiously encouraging. No one in power is listening to the climate skeptics any more; the economic stimulus package included real money for clean energy; a bill capping U.S. carbon emissions emerged, battered but still standing, from the House of Representatives, and might even survive the Senate. This, along with stricter emission standards in Europe and a big push for clean energy and efficiency standards in China, provides grounds for hope for genuine progress on emissions reduction.
But while climate policy is finally moving forward, climate science is moving faster. One discovery after another suggests the world is warming faster, and climate damages are appearing sooner, than anyone had expected. Much of the policy discussion so far has been aimed at keeping the atmospheric concentration of CO2 below 450 parts per million (ppm) — which was until recently thought to be low enough to prevent dangerous levels of warming. But last year, James Hansen, NASA’s top climate scientist, argued that paleoclimatic evidence shows 450 ppm is the threshold for transition to an ice-free earth. This would imply a catastrophic rise in sea levels, eventually flooding all coastal cities and regions.