Thursday, April 17, 2014

Latest IPCC Report on the Viability of Fast Actions to Limit Climate Change Including SLCP

The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report indicates that many fast actions for addressing climate change are proving to be more affordable than previously imagined. The report is entitled Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change, it is the third of three Working Group Reports, which make up the IPCC's fifth Assessment Report.

The report addresses the viability of restricting short lived climate pollutants (SLCP) and also indicates that there are a number of other fast actions that can be taken that will have a dramatic impact on global warming without adversely impacting people's quality of life. They include efforts to improve energy efficiency through new building codes, vehicle efficiency standards and increases in renewable energy. The economic viability of clean energy sources like wind and solar are becoming increasingly obvious as they are becoming cheaper to produce and deploy.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Infographic - Exxon Valdez Timeline of Recovery (NOAA)

Latest IPCC Report Indicates the World is Headed Towards Unacceptable Temperature Increases

If we continue with business as usual we will see a temperature increase of more than 4ºC above preindustrial temperatures by the end of the century. This is more than double the internationally agreed upon upper temperature limit increases of 2ºC.

According to a new report released this week by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions increased by the equivalent of ten billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) between 2000 and 2010. The report entitled Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change, is the third of three Working Group Reports, which make up the IPCC’s fifth Assessment Report on climate change.

BC Town Rejects the Northern Gateway Pipeline

A British Colombia town has rejected the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline project that would ferry 525,000 barrels of tar sands bitumen each day from Alberta to the west coast.

On Saturday April 12, voters in Kitimat said "no" to Enbridge and the Canadian Conservative's proposed oil pipeline, terminus and super-port that would subject the west coast to hundreds of oil bearing supertankers each year.

White Paper - Sustainable Investing: Imperative and Opportunity

This whitepaper was produced by Morgan Stanley. As they explain on their Sustainable Investing website, they believe that private sector capital can play a key role in driving large-scale solutions to the most critical challenges to global prosperity and well-being.

Their Institute for Sustainable Investing seeks to help businesses, institutions and individuals direct capital to these challenges in scalable ways.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Three Most Revealing IPCC Charts

"Green" Innovation and the Economic Importance of Fossil Fuels in Canada

Fossil fuels are the cornerstone of the Canadian economy and many companies are developing technological processes to help minimize their environmental impacts. Fossil fuels and the tar sands in particular are powerful economic drivers of the Canadian economy. The tar sands generate $91 billion for the Canadian economy. Oil and refined petroleum products are responsible for 25 percent of Canadian exports. The oil sands have seen substantial growth in the last couple of decades and they have provided a corresponding number of jobs. As reported in the Financial Post, a February 2014, IHS CERA study, showed that in 2012, oil sands generated almost a half a million jobs in Canada (478,000) Canadian jobs or 3 percent of all jobs in the country and

We are seeing "green" innovation in the Canadian fossil fuel industry including investments in carbon capture and storage. This type of innovation could reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 20 percent or more, tailings could be reduced by 80 percent and river water could be diminished by 25 percent.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Infographic - Climate Denial is Anti-Science

Cleantech is Following Technology's Downward Spiral

Declines in the Nasdaq are capturing headlines and cleantech composite indexes appear to be following suit. Despite being a top performer over the past two years, cleantech is being dragged down with the rest of the market. In 2013 the cleantech index was up 58 percent but there were plenty of stocks that doubled and even tripled.

Technology stocks have taken a big hit over the course of the last few weeks and this is directly impacted cleantech stock performance. Technology is one of the biggest drivers of sustainability. While cutting-edge green technologies have the potential to improve quality of life, reduce environmental impact and generate profits, the reverse is also true. A slowdown in cleantech can also slow technological efforts to address the environmental challenges we face.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Event - Energy East: Our RISK Their REWARD

This event is focused on the reasons why the Energy East pipeline is not in the interest of people in Ontario. It will take place on Tue Apr 15, 2014, at 7 pm at the North Grenville Municipal Centre in Kemptville, Ontario. This is one of several events from the Council of Canadians and Sustainable North. From April 7-16, they will be visiting communities across Ontario to talk about why TransCanada’s proposed Energy East pipeline is all risk and little reward.

TransCanada’s Energy East project would be the largest oil pipeline in North America. It would ship 1.1 million barrels of oil every day through Ontario towards Saint John, New Brunswick. Join us to find out why this massive tar sands pipeline puts our water, land and air at risk.

Event - California Energy Storage: Cost Effectiveness and Beyond

California Energy Storage: Cost Effectiveness and Beyond will take place on Thursday, April 17, 2014, 1:00pm - 3:30pm PST/ Streamed Panel Discussion 1:30pm - 3:00pm PST/ 4:30pm - 6:00pm EST. Meeting in San Francisco.

In October, 2013, the California Public Utilities Commission issued the unprecedented Decision requiring the state’s utilities to meet energy storage procurement targets of 1.3 gigawatts of storage by 2020. The Decision is intended to:

1. Assist in optimizing California’s electricity grid, including peak demand reduction, improving reliability, and deferring investments in transmission and distribution upgrades
2. Facilitating integration of renewable energy onto the grid
3. Contributing towards the state’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

Event - Impact Capitalism Summit

The Impact Capitalism Summit will take place on April 29 - 30, 2014, at the Union League Club of Chicago. At this event you will learn how to deploy capital to make a positive impact while still maximizing returns. This summit presented by the Watershed Capital Group.

Event - Green Building Benchmarking & the Role of Data in EE (Roundtable Discussion)

This event will take place on Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014, 9:30am - 11:30am EDT / Streamed Panel Discussion: 7:00am - 8:30am PDT / 10:00am - 11:30am EDT / 16:00 - 17:30 (Paris-Brussels). Meeting in New York, 10 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, New York.

In 2009 Mayor Bloomberg enacted the most comprehensive energy efficiency policy through the Greener, Greater Building Plan (GGBP) in which he mandated four local laws (Local Law 84,85,87,88). Local Law 84 requires buildings 50,000 sq ft or larger to publically disclose their energy and water use in order to create a comparative online platform called the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager to analyze data. The report has already shed light on some aspects of energy use such as NYC buildings as a whole are more efficient than their counterparts around the country, and the ENERGY STAR score has increased already from 64 to 67. As more years are cataloged and compared New York City will pin point what projects must take precedence over others and what strategies are successful.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Video - Action4Climate Competition Submission by Montgomery College Students

This video was submitted to the Action4Climate Video Competition it is the result of a spontaneous 5 day extracurricular project of 30 sociology students of Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland, USA. With the inspiration of our professor, Dr. Leszek Sibilski, and his former students Yaqi Liu, and Ma Ying, during the 2014 Winter session of Introduction to Sociology, the entire class agreed to produce a video clip to raise awareness and spread the message about climate change. The video addresses the potential of 8 million undergraduate students in the United States, who attend 1,200 community colleges nation-wide to make a difference. The budget for this project was zero dollars and we had at our disposal only semi-professional cameras. The video is dedicated to the late Nelson Mandela, who once said: "It always seems impossible until it is done". We did it! Thank you, Madiba! We truly hope that this video clip will be watched, shared, and will inspire many community college students in the US to tackle climate change and act on behalf of our planet.

Video - Years of Living Dangerously (Premiere Full Episode)

Watch the world premiere of the new series, "Years of Living Dangerously" which involves celebrities and respected journalists as they span the globe to explore the issues of climate change and cover intimate stories of human triumph and tragedy. The "Years of Living Dangerously" takes you directly to the heart of climate change issues in an awe-inspiring, cinematic documentary series event.

Video - Republican Senator Explains Why the PTC is Important

In this video Republican Senator Charles Ernest "Chuck" Grassley explains the importance of renewing the wind energy production tax credit (PTC) which expired at the end of 2013. Democrat Max Baucus and Republican Dave Camp, allowed the PTC to lapse in favor of working on a broader tax code overhaul. The extension of the PTC has a good chance of passing, although it will likely be opposed by the Republican-dominated House of Representatives. The PTC extension will be championed by the Democratic Senator from Oregon, Ron Wyden, the incoming chair of the powerful Senate Finance Committee.

Video - Obama's Top Aids and Democratic Donors Oppose the Keystone XL

President Obama's advisers and Democratic donors are part of the growing resistance to the Keystone XL pipeline. Those who oppose the pipeline now include business leaders, scientists, economists and people around the world. The chorus calling for the President to reject the Keystone XL is getting harder to ignore.

Video - Two Million Comments Rejecting the Keystone XL Pipeline

More than 2 million comments were delivered to President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry calling for rejection of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Millions of Americans and people around the world oppose the Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline. As the opposition to the KXL continues to grow President Obama is expected to make the final decision in the coming months. Although the decision may be politically contentious, from an ecological point of view there really is no choice. The KXL will increase greenhouse house gases and expedite our already perilous trajectory. As those who delivered the comments on March 7th said, the KXL is not in the national interest and must be rejected. One of the speakers who addressed the crowd was met with a thunderous ovation when he said, "we say no to the Keystone XL Pipeline and we say no right now." If the President is serious about combating climate change he must reject the KXL.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Report - Sustainability and the Finance Sector's Views on Opportunties in Extractives

Ethical Corporation has recently published a complimentary analysis on ‘How sustainability affects the way the finance sector views opportunities in extractives’. This report analyzes the financial pressures that oil, gas and mining companies face from three key perspectives: the commercial and multilateral lenders, with J.P. Morgan and the IFC, and the investor perspective with asset manager F&C.

The report gives a great insight into the evolving expectations and priorities of different financial stakeholders to the extractive industry and how this will affect extractive companies’ social performance and communication practices.

Harvard's New Responsible Investing Guidelines do not Include Divestment from Fossil Fuels

The exclusion of divestment from fossil fuels is an important contradictory caveat in Harvard University's newly adopted code of investment principles. Harvard's investment policies are far more than symbolic as the university oversees the world’s largest college endowment valued at $33 billion.

Shortly after hiring Jameela Pedicini as Harvard’s first vice president for sustainable investment in 2013, the university announced that it would not divest from fossil fuels despite a groundswell of protest both on and off campus.

Harvard is ignoring a trend that is sweeping across institutes of higher learning in much of the western world. A total of 500 university campuses and other institutions across America and Europe have divested from fossil fuels. While the new Harvard investment code will address a wide range of environmental and social issues, it does not oblige the school to sell off its existing fossil fuel investments.

Will the PTC be Resurrected from the Grave yet Again?

The Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit (PTC)has died and been resurrected a total of five times and it looks as though it may yet again be brought back to life. On April 3, 2014, the Senate Finance Committee approved a bill that would resurrect the expired tax provisions including the PTC which expired at the end of 2013.

Plastic Waste in Our Oceans: Problems and Solutions

The sheer volume of plastic and other trash that is floating in our oceans made the hunt for Malaysia Airlines flight 370 far more difficult. The search for the missing airliner has been a harrowing affair. After weeks of sifting through ocean refuse, the armada of ships combing the Indian ocean now claim to be zeroing in on pings that may be emanating from the missing airliner's black boxes. However, this search was hampered by the tons of garbage that are strewn across our oceans.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Renewables Bright Future Despite 2 Consecutive Years of Clean Energy Declines

While some are suggesting that clean energy may be in decline, others are saying the future of renewables has never been brighter. After a record investment of $318 billion in 2011, they have declined steadily over the course of the last two years. In 2013 alone they decreased by 11 percent to $254 billion. The wind industry has seen declines in installed capacity. As reported in Cleantechnica, there were 35,467 megawatts (MW) of new wind turbine capacity installed globally in 2013, this represents a decrease of nearly 10,000MW compared to 2012’s installed totals.

Infographic - Climate Change: Threat or Opportunity

EDF President Discusses CEO Inaction on Climate Change, Coal, Natural Gas and Renewables

Here are some excerpts from a Wall Street Journal interview with Fred Krupp, the President of the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). Despite the unequivocal evidence from the IPCC, Krupp says that CEOs are not doing what they must to confront the reality of climate change. He also talks about energy including natural gas and coal. Krupp indicates that the shale gas (fracking) boom has generated some powerful headwinds that are inhibiting the growth of renewables in the US. 

MR. BUSSEY: CEOs of the establishment energy companies, power distributors and food companies have shared with us their outlook for the energy picture over the next few years. I didn't hear a lot of mentioning of climate change. Are they discounting the effects climate change and other impacts will have on their business? MR. KRUPP: I was surprised that I did not hear the CEOs saying they were going to navigate the profound changes. I didn't hear much talk about profound changes. I didn't hear talk about the report released last week from the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] that said we are already seeing widespread, unequivocal, consequential effects of climate change that are growing. The report talked about the fact that human health problems are going to increase, among other things, because of food-borne and waterborne diseases; the fact that we can expect the severity and frequency of extreme weather events to increase.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Environmental Justice on the 50th Anniversary of the Passage of the Civil Rights Act

Today is the anniversary of the passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act which was signed into law 50 years ago. The half century celebration pays homage not only to race, but also to progress on gay rights and the equality of women. To that list of civil rights we should be adding environmental issues.

As reviewed in an August 2013 article in the Guardian, Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, the chief executive officer of Green For All made the point the Hurricane Katrina highlighted issues of injustice and inequality.

As he explained, "Climate change isn’t just an environmental issue; it’s about keeping our communities safe. It’s a matter of justice. Because when it comes to disasters — from extreme temperatures to storms like Katrina — people of color are consistently hit first and worst."

Workshop - Greenhouse Gas Measurements from Space (IWGGMS-10)

The 10th International Workshop on Greenhouse Gas Measurements from Space (IWGGMS-10) will take place on May 5 - 7, 2014, in the Netherlands.

Infographic - Modern US Environmental Movement

Campaign Succeeds in Pressuring P&G into Sourcing Sustainable Palm Oil

Procter and Gamble (P&G) has responded to public pressure and agreed to stop thier environmentally destructive palm oil sourcing practices. This is yet another story about how the dangers of irresponsible and unsustainable practices make a company vulnerable to public shaming campaigns that can prove very harmful to a firm's reputation. A total of 400,000 people emailed P&G to express their outrage at the company's harmful activities.

On April 8th, the Washington Post reported that P&G has agreed to purchase 100 percent of their palm oil products from sustainable sources by 2015 and 100 percent of their paper products from recycled or third-party certified sources by 2020. A P&G spokesman explained that the company is now committed to a new "No Deforestation policy" and it intends to provide full traceability for all the palm oil and derivatives it uses by the end of next year.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Webinar - The Current & Future State of EH&S Regulatory Compliance

The Current & Future State of EH&S Regulatory Compliance: How to Implement Compliance Programs that Reduce Risks & Increase Performance will take place on Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - 11am CT/12pm ET. This one hour webinar will be presented by Enablon, RegScan, and Environmental Leader.

Most companies today manage operations globally, across national borders. Regulatory requirements are constantly evolving and it’s becoming more & more challenging to understand which regulatory changes may impact your company.

This webinar will be hosted by experts from RegScan and Enablon.

Business Leaders, Scientists, Economists and Ordinary People Reject the Keystone XL

On March 7th 200 business leaders joined over 2 million people to tell President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Exactly one month later (April 7th) more than 100 scientists and economists sent a letter saying that the Keystone is not in the national interest and they further demanded that it must be stopped.

Not only will rejecting the pipeline send a powerful symbolic message, it will achieve the all important objective of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. If it is allowed to go through, the keystone would ship 830,000 barrels per day of carbon intensive tar sands from Alberta to refineries on the US Gulf Coast. According to some scientific assessments if the tar sands are exploited to their full capacity this will mean "game over" for efforts to address climate change.

Infographic - Wind Energy Top 10 Nations: Installed Capacity for 2013 and Cumulative Capacity

Source: Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC)

The Leading Clean Energy Nation in Terms of Both Investment and Installed Capacity

Many nations are moving boldly forward with clean energy investments and installations, but there is one nation that has shown unparalleled leadership for the last several years. The clean energy global investment total for 2013 is about $254 billion and one nation is responsible for more than one fifth of this amount. This nation is leading renewable energy investments and dominating solar and wind installations. They installed more solar and wind capacity in 2013 than any other nation on Earth.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Infographic - Sanitation: The Private Sector and the Poor

Webinar - Valuing Natural Capital Assets in the Supply Chain

This Webinar will take place on Thursday, April 10th 2014, 9:00am - 10:00am PDT/12:00pm - 1:00pm EDT/ 6:00pm - 7:00pm Paris- Brussels Online Meeting.

The 21st century has seen the rise of a globally connected community and with it comes additional layers of what will need to be measured and managed for all companies to succeed. Business leaders will still focus on the basics of profit, revenue and market share, but also required is broader visibility into how natural capital assets are consumed in the supply chain to build brand and manage risk.

Heavy Rains Link Climate Change and Landslides

The recent deadly landslide in Washington state has led a number of publications to explore the possible influence of climate change. A landslide, defined as the downward movement of slope under the influence of gravity, can be triggered by a number of changes including weaknesses in composition or structure of the rock or soil and high precipitation. Rainfall, particularly heavy rainfall is the causal element that connects climate change to landslides and it is the focus of this article.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Event - Concentrated Solar Thermal Power Conference & Expo (CSP Today USA)

This year marks the 8th Concentrated Solar Thermal Power Conference & Expo. It will take place on June 5 - 6, 2014, at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino 3950 Las Vegas Blvd. South 89119 Las Vegas, Nevada United States.

This event affords a unique opportunity to define your future strategy and network with financiers, developers, EPCs and those at the cutting edge of technological development.

Event - State of the World 2014 Book Launch & Symposium

State of the World 2014 Book Launch & Symposium will take place on Tuesday, April 29th, 2014 from 1:00pm - 5:00pm on the 1st Floor Conference Room, 1400 16th st. NW, Washington, DC.

At this event the Worldwatch Institute will formally release its latest edition of the annual publication State of the World 2014: Governing for Sustainability. This year's edition marks the Worldwatch Institute's 40th anniversary and discusses the importance of reclaiming legitimate governance as a means to reach a more sustainable world.

See below for details about attending the event in person or streaming it live.

Event - Mastering Materiality: Getting the Most Value out of a Materiality Process (Panel Discussion)

This event will take place on Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 1:30pm - 4:00pm PDT / Streamed Panel Discussion 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm PDT / 5:00pm - 6:30pm EDT. Meeting in San Francisco.

As stakeholders increasingly request more information and transparency on environmental, social and governance issues, companies are strengthening their non-financial reporting processes by leveraging materiality analyses in an effort to disclose only the most material, or relevant, issues to their business and stakeholders.

Additionally, several leading reporting standards (SASB, GRI, IIRC) have come out with frameworks that provide a platform for sustainability reporting and how to leverage the strategic benefits of materiality. Companies are faced with the challenge of understanding these different guidelines and determining how best to apply them.

Event - CleanEnviro Summit Singapore (CESS)

CleanEnviro Summit Singapore (CESS) will take place on June 1-4, 2014 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. With waste volumes of all kinds increasing in the Asia Pacific region, Singapore believes that it is timely for a serious dialogue to begin on how the region's cities will overcome the challenges of waste management. While much of the current focus is on water and energy issues, waste is an important part of the equation. We cannot solve one part of this equation without solving the other parts. The water-waste-energy nexus will therefore be a key challenge for Asia's growing urban regions.