Thursday, March 26, 2015

Wetlands Resources LLC Wins the Water Challenge Business Pitch

On Monday March 23, Wetland Resources LLC was announced as the winner of the fifth annual Water Challenge business pitch at New Orleans Entrepreneur Week. Their winning pitch focused on planting trees to protect Louisiana's coastline. The competition sought high-potential entrepreneurial solutions for wetland and marshland restoration, storm protection and rain harvesting.

Wetland Resources has set the ambitious goal of planting one million trees in ten years. Their plan is to plant Bald cypress and Water Tupelo trees in the Central Wetlands in Violet. In addition to being hurricane resistant, these trees also absorb water which reduces the impact of storm surges. The trees are grown in waste water from the city of Hammond and they have a 1000 year lifespan.

Apple Proves its Never too Late to Go Green

Apple's successful adoption of a host of sustainability initiatives demonstrate that it is never too late to go green. The conventional wisdom suggests that to be recognized as a sustainability leader you have to get there first and be green to the core. However, Apple has made some profound changes in recent years which have taken the company from the fringes where it was singled out as a sustainability laggard to its current incarnation as a sustainability leader.

A 2013 Green Market Oracle article asked whether Apple's sustainability efforts where too little too late. It would appear that the answer to that question is apparently not.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Event - The Energy Show

The Energy Show will take place on March 25 10am - 6pm and March 26 10am - 6pm in RDS, Dublin.

The Energy Show, presented by SEAI, is an annual two-day business exhibition showcasing the leading sustainable energy technologies and practices. Entry to the Show is free to business professionals.

The Energy Show is the flagship event for professionals in the energy sector. This two day event is a business only exhibition showcasing leading suppliers of sustainable energy products and services from Ireland and Europe.

Low Oil Prices Offer an Opportunity to Combat Climate Change

The plunge in the price of oil makes this an ideal time to deploy market disincentives that can cut emissions and combat climate change. We know that if we are to stave off the worst impacts of climate change we must substantially reduce our emissions. As the leading cause of climate change fossil fuels are the most obvious focal point.

All but the willfully ignorant understand that the economic costs of inaction far outweigh the costs of engagement. We have seen a number of studies which suggest the longer we wait the more it will cost.

Carbon Budgets: Time for Science Based Policy

Scientists have made it abundantly clear that we must leave most of the world's known fossil fuel reserves in the ground if we are to stay within our carbon budget. This is essential if we are to keep temperatures from rising more than the internationally agreed upon 2 degree Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), upper threshold limit. This means that if we are to get serious about efforts to combat climate change we must do more than stabilize our use of fossil fuels we must see radical reductions.

The idea of a carbon budget was first introduced by a group known as the Nobel Laureates Symposium. In 2009 this group of scientists, including 20 Nobel Prize winners, signed a memorandum calling for a carbon budget that set limits on global emissions for 2020 and 2050.

Since the dawn of the industrial revolution we have emitted around 531 billion metric tons of carbon from the burning of fossil fuels, cutting down forests and making cement. A 2013 UN report estimated that we can burn no more than a total of 840 billion tons of carbon to have a 50 percent chance of keeping temperature increases within the upper threshold limit.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Lessons Learned from Harper's Reliance on Fossil Fuels

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Canada's ruling federal Conservatives went all in on fossil fuels and now that the price of oil has plummeted they are feeling the heat from the economic fallout.

Canada offers an energy policy case study. Rather than best practices, this is a cautionary tale of energy mismanagement on a national scale. Not only are fossil fuels the primary contributors to climate change, they are also increasingly less profitable.The combination of low oil prices and an impending low carbon regulatory regime make fossil fuels a very risky and volatile resource in 2015 and beyond. This is especially true of Alberta's vast tar sands reserves which are some of the most dirty and expensive fossil fuels on the planet.

Last Winter was the Warmest Ever

Despite some unseasonably cold temperatures in Canada and the northeastern portion of US, the winter of 2014/2015 was the warmest winter ever recorded in the Northern Hemisphere. Year to date temperature statistics reveal that 2015 is on track to be the warmest year in recorded history according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). According to NASA February 2015 was ranked as the second-warmest such month on record in its database, behind February 1998.

The trend of warmer weather continues adding to 30 consecutive years of above average temperatures. The globally-averaged land surface temperature during this past December to February was 2.63 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th-century average, tying with 2007 as the highest for that period since instrument records began in 1880.

UN's 2015 World Water Development Report

The UN's 2015 World Water Development report, released by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said the planet will face a 40 per cent shortfall in water supply in 2030 unless the international community “dramatically” improves water supply management. diarrhea

The report indicates that the demand for water is slated to skyrocket 55 percent by 2050 while 20 percent of global groundwater is already over exploited.

The report urges the international community to devote an entire sustainable development goal to water itself – from issues of water governance and quality to wastewater management and the prevention of natural disasters.

Fighting the War Against Climate Change Online

The front lines in the war against climate change are forming and much of the organization is taking place online. We are witnessing an era of unparalleled ecological action. Corporations are inculcating environmental sustainability into their DNA. Grassroots protests and petitions are emerging from every quarter of the real and virtual worlds. We appear to be undergoing a paradigm shift away from the wasteful ways of the past and towards an emerging low carbon economy.

The Internet has been a key driver of collaboration and social media has played a pivotal role helping people and organizations to share constructive solutions.

Al Gore is among those who think that the Internet could play a salient role in the war against climate change. In a recent speech at the South by Southwest Interactive conference the former US vice president called on people to use the power of the social media. Gore advised people to use the Internet to organize their efforts for a healthy environment and to call out politicians who deny climate change.

The Importance of Water for Sustainable Development

Better water management is essential to sustainable development. World Water Day was celebrated on March 22 and the theme for 2015 is, "Water and Sustainable Development." Water covers 71 percent of our planet's surface it is vital to life. Water is a crucial to human health, nature, urbanization, industry and energy production. This year the UN has launched a campaign focusing on water and sanitation. By 2030 the demand for water is expected to grow 40 percent and this burgeoning demand is compounded by increasing scarcity due to climate change.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Sustainability Combats the Culture of Corruption

Corruption is an anathema to sustainability. Corruption also makes it that much more difficult to marshal the economic and social capital required to combat climate change. Corruption eats away at the fabric of our economy and whittles away at the public's trust. This is particularly true for social enterprises.

Fraud, bribery, extortion and embezzlement may be rampant but they are antithetical to the new form of capitalism that is beginning to take shape. Although socially responsible business is not new concept, we are developing more sophistication methods that allow us to better articulate the mechanics of an ethical enterprise. We are also creating a wealth of tools that are giving us the ability to measure and assess such efforts. The growth of sustainability, social business and cause marketing is providing a wealth of data that translates into a best practices regime.

Infographic - The Perils of Plastic and What to Do About it

Infographic - Unburnable Carbon (Guardian Graphic)

Graphs - Energy Consumption 1990 - 2040 (EIA)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Event - Power Transmission Tech 2015

Power Transmission Tech 2015 will take place on Wednesday March 25 and Thursday March 26 in Vienna, Austria. The two day conference will once again bring together senior executives and experts from the utilities industry, TSO’s, DSO’s, technology providers, energy researchers as well as other influential stakeholders to the power transmission industry to examine current and upcoming technologies.

Event - Sustainable Brands San Diego (SB '15 San Diego)

Sustainable Brands San Diego (SB15sd) will take place on June 1 - 4, 2015 in San Diego, California. Reinvent yourself in response to changing norms and dive deep into the brand innovation trenches at SB '15 San Diego and find detail-rich case studies, practical know-how and specific implementation tips to accelerate your business success.

Event - Renewable Energy Finance Forum (REFF) Wall Street

The 12th Annual Renewable Energy Finance Forum-Wall Street June 24-25, 2015 at the Grand Hyatt in New York City, NY. REFF-Wall Street is the premier renewable energy financing event. With a program designed by the industry for the industry, this event affords the opportunity to network with the best and the brightest.  

Attendees of this event include CEOs and other senior company officials, lenders, investors, investment bankers, private equity investors, venture capitalists and other top transactional professionals in renewable energy finance. The event draws an especially senior audience, comprising of senior decision makers, financiers and professionals in the renewable energy finance field.

Event - Sustainable Brands Istanbul Conference

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Sustainable Brands Istanbul will take place on May 26 and 27, 2015 at the Park Bosphorus Hotel in Istanbul, Turkey. Join Sustainable Brands Istanbul community with more than 680 participants, 92 speakers, 42 sessions and 3 work-shops. Supported by more than 50 sponsors and contributors. This event is a platform for brands to share their experiences, best practices, road maps, inspiring ideas and strategies

Why Attend?

In person collaborative conversation not only leads to a better understanding of business challenges and opportunities, it also amplifies productivity and improves business outcomes as well. Extraordinary results occur when organizations and their ecosystem partners come together to share ideas, inspiration and learn from each other. Find inspiration, tools and partnerships to drive business success and positive impact. Participate in the thought-provoking breakout sessions, facilitated discussion groups and plenaries and learn:

Event - Energy World Europe and POWER-GEN Europe Conference & Exhibition

Energy World Europe and POWER-GEN Europe will take place on June 9 - 11, 2015 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Europe’s energy transition is placing renewables at the forefront of that change. The delivery of ambitious energy policies and climate change targets will depend on the successful integration of wind, solar, hydro, biomass and tidal power into Europe’s energy mix.

Renewable Energy World Europe, co-located with POWER-GEN Europe, offers the largest and most comprehensive conference and exhibition for the European electricity and power technology sector.

Attracting over 12,000 professionals, the combination of conferences and exhibitions across the entire spectrum of power generation is unique and is serving the vital move towards integrating the traditional fossil fuel and fast-growing renewable generation sectors.

Renewable Energy World Europe and POWER-GEN Europe deliver the industry’s most influential decision makers under one roof.

To access the event guide click here.
To register click here.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Video - Merchants of Doubt: Fossil Fuel's Devious Climate Denial Strategy



A new documentary exposes how the fossil fuel industry is flexing their corporate might and enlisting devious spin doctors to delay responsible political action on climate change. This film exposes the ways in which science is undermined by pseudo science to advance corporate profits at the expensive of people's well being. Many of these tactics are the same ones used by the tobacco industry to convince the public that cigarettes don't cause cancer or that nicotine is not addictive. These manipulative techniques are now being used to undermine the science of climate change. While the science of climate change is clear, public attitudes are divided. This is because of deceptive campaigns financed by the oil industry. The Merchants of doubt is a documentary from Robert Kenner, the same filmmaker who made the Oscar nominated film Food Inc.

Merchants of Doubt, which was produced by TakePart's parent company, Participant Media, rolled out in select cities on March 6 and nationwide on March 13. Click here to find out more or get the latest updates.

Video - Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability and Innovation at Nike



At Ceres 25th Anniversary Conference Nike's Hannah Jones talks about the role innovation plays in Nike's sustainability strategies and how the Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability has influenced the company's journey.

Video - Vanuatu's Devastation is Yet Another Global Warning


As the world continues to warm the kind of devastation that we saw recently in Vanuatu will become more frequent. Half of the quarter million people that live on the 80 islands that make up the South Pacific state have been left homeless. The Category 5 cyclone known as Pam brandished winds of 185 mph flattening buildings and washing away roads and bridges. So far 16 people are known to have been killed by this extreme weather event. The absence of clean water, sanitation and food could extract a far more deadly toll.

Video - Six Sustainability Profiles: International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP)

Video - Why We Must Keep Fossil Fuels in the Ground



As the primary source of climate change causing emissions most of the known fossil fuel reserves must be left in the ground. If we want to have a chance of staving off the worst impacts of climate change we have to radically reduce our emissions. We must keep temperatures from rising above the upper threshold limit of 2 decrees Celsius above pre-industrial times. Our current trajectory is rapidly burning through our carbon budget and pushing us towards a 4 to 6 degree temperature increase. The only sane response is to stop ongoing exploration for new reserves and limit the extraction of known reserves.

Click here to sign the Keep it in the ground petition.

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Fossil Fuel Industry has Reason to be Nervous

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."

- Mahatma Gandhi


Concerns about climate change, the demise of coal and the rise of renewable energy are making the fossil fuel industry nervous. While the fossil fuel industry initially dismissed the divestment movement, the growing strength of the movement give them reason to be fearful. The fossil fuel industry has a lot of skin in the game, in 2013 alone they spent $670 billion looking for more coal, oil and gas reserves. All of this will be worthless as we begin to seriously decrease our consumption of fossil fuels.

Infographic - Solar over Fossil Fuels

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Opportunities in Sustainability Finance Highlighting Renewables & Energy Efficiency

Reports about the strength of renewable energy and energy efficiency are coming from all quarters even places where oil reigns supreme. A new report from the epicenter of the fossil fuel world explains the significant opportunities in renewable energy and energy efficiency. The report suggests that institutional investors and banks should push governments to support policies that are more amenable to sustainability.

Infographic - Wind Power Europe and the US

The Beginning of the End for Coal

New research reveals that the coal boom is over and we are nearing the end of coal's power sector dominance. Coal was once the power source of the world. It fueled the industrial revolution, powered our trains and warmed our homes. In the process it made us sick and brought life forms on our planet to the brink of extinction. Coal contributes to the deaths of almost one million people per year and a typical coal plant adds 4.4 million metric tons of CO2 annually.

Wind Power Can Supply One Third of US Energy Demand if Republicans Get Out of the Way

Wind can supply more than one third of US energy demand by 2050. Renewables are surging in the US and the fastest growing is wind power. According to a Department of Energy (DoE) Wind Vision report, wind power currently supplies 4.5 percent of US energy by 2016 that will rise to 7 percent. Wind energy has declined in price by almost 60 percent in the last five years and the DoE report predicts that it will be "directly competitive" by 2025.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

States with Green Energy have the Cheapest Electricity

States that use renewables to generate energy have the least expensive electricity costs in the US. This shatters the myth that green energy costs more. Instead of increasing the price of power, renewables have been shown to drive down the price. These findings are extrapolated from a recent study which compared states with green energy and states that get their power from fossil fuels.

Infographic - BP's Energy Trends Report

Charts from BP's Energy Trends Report

BP Issues Climate Warning and Calls for Carbon Pricing

One of the world's largest oil companies has stated that we have to price carbon to curtail carbon emissions.

The science is clear and there have been a vast number of warnings coming from a wide variety of sources including, AGU, IEA, IPCC, PwC, World Bank, and the World Meteorological Organization stating that our current trajectory is catastrophic. Now even those responsible for the problem are coming forward with warnings of their own.

In a February 2015 report titled, "Energy Outlook 2035," BP says that to keep carbon dioxide emissions within upper threshold limits the world must take coordinated action. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Brewers are Making St Patrick's Day Greener

Thanks to sustainability initiatives from a number of brewers, St. Patrick's Day is more than a celebration of conspicuous consumption. The mountains of food waste and tons of decorations that end up in landfills make it easy to believe that the only thing green about St. Patrick's Day is the color. However a growing number of the 13 million pints of beer that will be consumed on this day are from responsible brewers.

Two dozen brewers from across the US have signed the climate declaration in which they pledge to reduce their GHGs. They are also promising to advocat for strong political leadership on climate change. One of those companies is Guinness, this is particularly prescient as it is the most popular been on St. Patrick's day. Around five and a half million pints of Guinness will be consumed on this day, that represents between one third and one half of all beer consumed on March 17th.

GSI to Locate its Headquarters in Ireland

The Global Sustainability Initiative ("GSI") has announced that they will put their headquarters in Mayo, Ireland due to the region's technological sustainability competencies. GSI is an innovative global impact investment project that also combats climate change. They support sustainable production and consumption of food, water and energy in some of the poorest parts of the developing world. The GSI initiative is part of extensive co-operation between developed and developing countries that includes a number of institutions, organizations and businesses

The GSI site selection was done by OpenSparkz in consort with Mayo County Council Enterprise and Investment Unit. OpenSparkz and partner companies will develop a technology hub within the Castlebar facility to be called the "Global Sustainability Centre. " The facility is expected to generate more than 250 new jobs.

Infographic - Money Spent on St. Patrick's Day in the US

Ireland is Green and not just on St. Patrick's Day

As a global leader in sustainable energy, Ireland is one of the greenest countries in the world. The government is engaging a number of sustainability related programs and they rank very favorably on a number of green indices.

Although Ireland's green economy is booming, it has not achieved the recognition it deserves. According to the The 4th edition of the Global Green Economy Index (GGEI), produced by private US-based consultancy Dual Citizen LLC, Ireland's performance exceeds its perception. The GGEI ranked 60 countries on how they are developing more environmentally friendly economies, both in terms of actual performance and expert perception of their performance.Ireland occupies the top spot on the Good Country Index which measures how much each country contributes to the planet. Ireland ranked 9th on the list of 58 countries in the Climate Change Performance Index.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Course - Advanced Renewable Energy Project Finance and Analysis

Advanced Renewable Energy Project Finance and Analysis will take place on April 13 and 14, 2015, at the Marines Memorial Club and Hotel in San Francisco California.

This course enables participants to learn techniques to structure and analyze renewable energy projects to optimize financing.

Infographic - US Wind Energy 2014