Monday, December 31, 2012

Top Environmental Documentaries and Movies

Here is a list of some of the best documentaries and movies with an environmental theme. Many of these films deal with fossil fuels and they all deal with the environmental implications of human activity. Some of the older movies like "Baraka" and "Koyaanisqatsi" date back more than two decades while others like "Promised Land" and "Chasing Ice"  were released in 2012.

All films are linked to sites that offer a review and a trailer, some of the links go to the full length video. Here are 42 of the best movies and documentaries related to the environment:

Promised Land: A Review by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Written by costars Matt Damon and John Krasinski, this Gus Van Sant film shows how farmers hit hard hit by recession must decide whether they are going to take the money offered by gas companies that want to employ hydraulic fracturing (fracking) on their lands. In this article Robert F. Kennedy Jr. offers his comments on the movie.

A December 2012 Siena College poll shows that upstate New Yorkers oppose fracking by an astounding margin of 45-39. Those numbers surprise New York politicians who can generally count on the support of upstaters for virtually any industrial or commercial enterprise that promises even the faintest chance of economic development for New York’s impoverished rural communities.

Matt Damon and John Krasinski’s new film Promised Land answers the question of why even the poorest rural communities are standing up against fracking. Damon and Krasinki both co-wrote and star in the film. At a screening Tuesday night, Matt told me why the pair undertook this enterprise:

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Infrastructure Planning: The Planning Inspectorate, Hybrid Bills and Community Engagement (Event)

This event will take place on Tuesday, 22nd January 2013 at the Johnnie Walker Room, The Caledonian Club, 9 Halkin Street, London. This seminar will provide a timely opportunity to discuss how planning for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) is being handled under the new system. This event is CPD certified.

Water Industry Customer Conference (Event)

This event will take place on January 24th 2013 in Birmingham, UK. The conference will address the role of the customer in the changing water industry. No longer a silent service provider, the sector has to realign as customer-facing, not only in the call centre, but throughout the supply chain. The rewards for successful engagement are multi-fold, including resource demand reduction, smoother project delivery, improved revenue collection and better environmental management.

Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2013 (Events)

Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2013 includes five major events that will take place January 13-17th in the United Arab Emirates. These five events offer a significant platform for international dialogue and cooperation. Together they are expected to welcome over 30,000 participants from 150 countries, including world leaders, policy makers, thought leaders, decision makers, experts, scientists, business leaders and academics, in an effort to:
  • Tackle the world’s pressing issues in energy, water and environment 
  •  Accelerate the global adoption of renewable energy 
  •  Address water challenges in arid regions Elevate the water - energy nexus topics on the global agenda 
  •  Encourage the dialogue between broad industry stakeholders to strengthen strategic partnerships 
  • Stimulate investment in water, energy and environment projects 
  •  Empower the young generations and entrepreneurs Conferences and Events

Ninth International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic & Social Sustainability (Event)

This event will take place on January 23-25 2013 in Hiroshima, Japan. Opportunities will be provided for conference participants to interact, converse, and learn from each other. Built in to the conference program are a number of sessions and events that are designed specifically to promote interactions among the on-site members of the knowledge community. These range from more formal plenary sessions, through parallel presentations, to informal coffee breaks and optional activities. Some of these, like Talking Circles and Garden Sessions, may be new experiences for participants. Our approach to organizing Parallel Sessions has some unique features, as well. Learn more about these session types under On-site Presentations.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Children and the Future of Sustainability

As the most vulnerable members of our societies, environmental destruction impacts children first and foremost. Children are also those who are most likely to endure the impacts of a polluted environment over the longest period. Climate change is already killing one thousand children every day. The importance of educating children about the environment was addressed at the Rio+ conference. There are some basic sustainability issues that must be addressed. Things like clean water and clean air are basic concerns that are fundamentally important to many children all around the world.

In the world today there are 2.6 billion people are without access to basic sanitation; 67 million children of primary school age are out of school. A lack water and sanitation services which is a leading cause of mortality for both children and their mothers. Indoor air pollution from particulate matter is responsible for 900,000 deaths in children under the age of five.

EPA Chief Forced Out By Dirty Industries and Anti-Environment Republicans

Late in December, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson announced that she will be stepping down after a little less than four years in the job. From the outset Jackson, a chemical engineer, was plagued by conservative critics who did not want the EPA to play a prominent role in environmental protection. Jackson was repeatedly and ruthlessly criticized by Republicans and industry groups for her efforts to protect the health of Americans and reduce the country's contribution to climate change. Given that environmental protection is at the core of the EPA's mandate, their opposition illustrates, yet again, the GOPs anti-environment agenda. It also illustrates how industry controls the Republican party.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Help Support the Training of Climate Leaders

There are few things we can do on this Earth that are more important than supporting environmental education. The Climate Reality Project is an organization of more than 4,000 volunteers who travel the country to deliver Al Gore's climate change presentation to hundreds of thousands of people in schools, community centers, businesses, and places of worship.

"Doing these presentations has led me to the realization that we are all leaders in some way. And we all need to rise to the challenge and fight against climate change.Together." said Harriet Shugarman, one of the Climate Leaders.

Sustainable Learning Online: UNESCO's Young Masters Programme

In 2011 UNESCO inaugurated a global online education programme for 16–18 year-old students to learn about sustainability issues and solutions. The Young Masters Programme (YMP) is a free global web-based education and learning network about sustainable development. The programme is open for secondary students and their teachers from all over the world.

Extensive on-line teaching material gives the students a thorough understanding of sustainability issues and preventive environmental strategies. The students can also put their knowledge into practical use by starting sustainability projects in their local community.

Documentary: On Coal River

In the words from Mother and Director Francine Cavanaugh: We are documentary filmmakers but parents first. I was four months pregnant when we began filming over 6 years ago in Coal River Valley WV. Our first visit was to the local elementary school and we were blown away by its proximity to a large coal facility plant and looming sludge pond. We were also blown away by the spirit of resistance and resolve of a few individuals who took on the mission to have the school moved to a safer ground as well as taking on the coal industry that has been entrenched in their community for over a hundred years.

Judy Bonds whose story we follow says “I am first a mother and a grandmother and to the young people in the world today I have to say I am sorry for what we have done to your world because this is your planet first”. I feel her words today as our son is now seven and I continue to feel the responsibility to do as much as I can to make this a better world for him and all of the worlds children to live in and I continue to receive inspiration from people like Judy Bonds, Maria Lambert, Ed Wiley, and Bo Webb who are all parents and grandparents first.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Climate Skeptics Try to Use Leaked IPCC Draft to Vindicate their Irrational Stance

A leaked draft of a major report is erroneously being used by climate skeptics to suggest that cosmic rays are responsible for global warming rather than human activity. To make their case they cherry-pick one sentence of a 14-chapter draft report to try to undermine the scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change. One of the report's lead authors described this attempt as "completely ridiculous."

Professor Steve Sherwood, a director of the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of New South Wales, told ABC Radio in Australia: "You could go and read those paragraphs yourself and the summary of it and see that we conclude exactly the opposite, that this cosmic ray effect that the paragraph is discussing appears to be negligible … It's a pretty severe case of [cherry-picking], because even the sentence doesn't say what [climate sceptics] say and certainly if you look at the context, we're really saying the opposite."

The Days of Overconsumption

Everyone is well acquainted with the twelve days of Christmas, in the modern era, that is being replaced by 6 days of overconsumption. The period around Thanksgiving is the busiest U.S. shopping period of the year. Thanksgiving has long been a spectacle of consumer overindulgence, but now this rampant consumerism extends well beyond Black Friday. Marketers are finding more ways to entice consumers, but they ignore the fact that we cannot sustain our current rate of consumption.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

If We Want to Protect our Children from Gun Violence Shouldn’t We Also Want to Protect them from Deadly Pollution?

While there is growing agreement surrounding the need to protect children from gun violence, we continue to ignore another heinous issue that kills 1000 children every day. Protecting children from harm is a cultural universal, but we must concede that we failed to do so at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14th 2012.  We must also admit that we are failing to protect our children from the deadly impacts of an ever more polluted planet.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

WaterEX World Expo 2013: Water Management in India (Event)

This event will take place on January 15 - 18 in Mumbai, India. It is one of the largest international events concerning the issue of water management. The economic outlook for India is positive. India is today one of the six fastest growing economies & one of the most exciting emerging markets in the world with a GDP growth rate of over the 8 percent.

In India, the scarce water resources at present will intensify with the ever-growing population, industrialization and agricultural usage. The availability and quality of water has to be improved and measures for water conservation expedited. The Indian water sector consists of: a) drinking water/ bottled water segment and, b) wastewater treatment equipment segment; and both are growing at a high pace due to increasing health awareness and scarcity of clean water. The total Indian water market is estimated to be about USD 4 billion, growing at a rate of 15-20 percent every year. The water requirement for industrial use will increase from the current 30 billion cubic meters to 120 by 2025. The bottled water market is growing at 55 percent annually.

Open Innovation for a Low Carbon Economy (Event)

Open Innovation for a Low Carbon Economy is an event by Entrepreneurship Ventures, Inc. It will take place on Friday, January 11, 2013 from 2:00 PM to 8:00 PM at ECCI, 15 South College St. Delivering a low carbon economy is a complex challenge that requires vast levels of investment and tremendous change within and across multiple industries. This challenge is not something that a single company, and indeed a single nation, can achieve alone.

Sustainable Foods Summit: New Horizons for Eco-Labels and Sustainability (Event)

For the third consecutive year, the North American edition of the Sustainable Foods Summit will be hosted in San Francisco. The 7th edition of this international series of summits will take place on 22-23rd January 2013. Focal themes of this new edition are food security & waste, marketing best-practices and new technologies.

Poor agricultural harvests are leading to another bout of food inflation, raising questions about food security. How can the food industry be more efficient and raise production yields? What role does organic and sustainable agriculture play in improving food security? What is the role of organic and other eco-labels in a food industry that is increasingly focusing on the triple bottom-line?

Friday, December 21, 2012

Greedy Lying Bastards: A Documentary about the Fossil Fuel Industry

Greedy Lying Bastards is a feature length documentary that exposes the insidious domination of the fossil fuel industry. In this documentary filmmaker Craig Rosebraugh pursues a trail of environmental destruction, illness and death.

What happens when an industry has too much power? Greedy Lying Bastards presents a searing indictment of the influence, deceit and corruption that defines the fossil fuel industry. From the Gulf Coast to the tiny nation of Tuvalu, from Nigeria and Uganda to Peru and Alaska, filmmaker and political activist Craig Rosebraugh documents the impact of an industry that has continually put profits before people, waged a campaign of lies designed to thwart measures to combat climate change, used its clout to minimize infringing regulations and undermined the political process in the U.S. and abroad.

Chasing Ice: A Documentary about Vanishing Ice and Evidence of Climate Change

In the spring of 2005, acclaimed environmental photographer James Balog headed to the Arctic on a tricky assignment for National Geographic: to capture images to help tell the story of the Earth’s changing climate. Even with a scientific upbringing, Balog had been a skeptic about climate change. But that first trip north opened his eyes to the biggest story in human history and sparked a challenge within him that would put his career and his very well-being at risk.

Chasing Ice is the story of one man’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of our changing planet. Within months of that first trip to Iceland, the photographer conceived the boldest expedition of his life: The Extreme Ice Survey. With a band of young adventurers in tow, Balog began deploying revolutionary time-lapse cameras across the brutal Arctic to capture a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers.

Is there More to the Mayan Prophecy than Meets the Eye?

It looks as though we have survived what has been called the Mayan prophecy, however, the absence of brimstone does not mean that the myth is entirely without merit. Doomsday scenarios date back to the dawn of civilization and December 21, 2012 gained notoriety because it is the end date of a 5,125 year long cycle in the Mayan calendar. While the world did not come to a cataclysmic close, we may be on the cusp of serious civilization altering changes.

The most recent apocalyptic prophecy predicted that the end of the Mayan Calendar would herald a cataclysm. While it does signal the end of an era there is no evidence to indicate that it heralds the end of the world.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Supply Chain Report 2012: Sustainability Offers a Competitive Advantage

According to an article in Forbes careful measurement and management of sustainability provides short-term, hard-nosed business advantages, especially when it comes to logistics. This is the finding in Supply Chain Report 2012 (pdf) from the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). In this report researchers asked companies about their sustainability initiatives and those of their suppliers, and found an increasing expectation that suppliers take a genuine interest in sustainability.

Canada's Mystery Biodiesel Train

As reported by CBC News, between June 15 and 28, 2010, biodiesel tanker cars have been sent back and forth numerous times between Canada and the US by CN Rail but were never unloaded. Ostensibly the purpose of these mystery rides may be attributable to efforts to benefit from incentives offered by Natural Resources Canada's $1.5-billion biodiesel program.

Extreme Weather is Causing More Americans to Accept Climate Change and Call for Government Action

A new Associated Press-GfK poll finds that amost 4 out of 5 Americans now think the globe is warming and they further believe that this constitutes a serious problem for the US if we continue with business as usual. What is most noteworthy about this study is the fact that there is increasing awareness about global warming from people who do not normally subscribe to a science driven world view. Amongst people who trust scientists only a little or not at all, (one third of those surveyed) 61 percent now say temperatures have been rising over the past 100 years. That's a substantial increase from 2009, when the AP-GfK poll found that only 47 percent of those with little or no trust in scientists believed the world was getting warmer.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

North America is Last in Sustainability Integration

North American companies continue to be laggards when it comes to the integration of sustainability. Whem compared to their counterparts in other regions of the world, North American companies have the lowest level of sustainability-focused business model innovation compared. They also had the fewest business model innovators who said that “sustainability activities added to their profit.”

These are the early findings of a survey from MIT Sloan Management Review and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

EPA's New Soot Rule Approved by the White House

On Friday December 14th the White House stood up to industry and announced its plans to significantly tighten air pollution limits on soot from exhaust pipes and smokestacks. The rule is similar to the one that the EPA submitted for White House review in the summer. The EPA sent the final rule to the White House Office of Management and Budget on December 4th where it was quickly reviewed and approved.

In Friday's announcement, EPA set a new annual air quality standard for soot -- also known as fine particulate matter or "PM2.5" -- at 12 micrograms per cubic meter. That's significantly tighter than the standard of 15 that the agency had established during the Clinton administration, which EPA's science advisers have called too weak, given recent studies, to prevent heart attacks, stroke, cardiac arrest, congestive heart failure and exacerbated symptoms of asthma and other respiratory problems.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Globally 2012 is One of the Hottest Years on Record

According to the UN weather agency, the early cooling from La Nina, will not prevent 2012 from being one of the hottest years on record. As global emissions continue to rise this situation is destined to get worse.

The WMO said there were major heat waves in the US and Europe. Average temperatures in January-October were the highest on record in the continental US, and the ninth highest worldwide.

In the US 2012 is the Hottest Most Extreme Year Ever

A warm November and record-breaking early December means 2012 will be the warmest year ever for the U.S. As Jeff Masters reports:

…the U.S. heated up considerably in November, notching its 20th warmest November since 1895, said NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) in their latest State of the Climate report. The warm November virtually assures that 2012 will be the warmest year on record in the U.S. The year-to-date period of January – November has been by far the warmest such period on record for the contiguous U.S.–a remarkable 1.0°F above the previous record. During the 11-month period, 18 states were record warm and an additional 24 states were top ten warm. The December 2011 – November 2012 period was the warmest such 12-month period on record for the contiguous U.S., and the eight warmest 12-month periods since record keeping began in 1895 have all ended during 2012.

Climate Change is Already Killing 400,000 People Annually

Climate change is killing 400,000 people per year including 1,000 children a day and costing the global economy $1.2 trillion a year (which amounts to 1.6 percent of economic output). These are the findings of a September 2012 study called "Climate Vulnerability Monitor" (PDF).

Monday, December 17, 2012

Greenpeace Toxics Campaigner John Deans Talks Campaign Strategy

In an interview with Brandchannel, Greenpeace Toxics Campaigner John Deans made it abundantly clear that there is a new highly effective approach that is taking businesses to task for their irresponsible practices. These Greenpeace campaigns are putting the extraordinary power of social media to work for the environment.

“We’re not your grandfather’s Greenpeace anymore," Deans told Brandchannel. "We’re part of a new, building movement with a new set of people who are social media denizens. Brands see it’s not going away and that Greenpeace is communicating directly with their customers."

Deans remarked about how quickly social media messages can be disseminated, “Social media tools have let Greenpeace latch on to the viral nature of online society – and find where people are in order to spark their interest.”

Greenpeace's Consumer Powered Pressure Campaigns

Greenpeace is waging very effective pressure campaigns that reach out directly to customers. Greenpeace encourages their supporters to take direct action and voice their concerns. Greenpeace has come a long way from their beginnings in the early 70s; in addition to protests and demonstrations, they are now using digital technologies to widely disseminate their message. Social media figures prominently in the Greenpeace strategy. These Greenpeace campaigns co-opt the brand message of the companies they are targeting.

Waitrose Bows to Greenpeace Pressure

In less than 2 weeks Greenpeace succeeded in getting UK supermarket Waitrose to rethink its partnership with Shell. The Greenpeace campaign targeted Waitros' stores in Shell gas stations because of the oil company’s plans to drill in the Arctic. This decision means Waitrose has shelved plans to expand on the number of  stores in Shell gas stations. Waitrose currently has two pilot stores and had planned on adding more in 2013. Yet again this underscores the power of consumer driven campaigns to influence the business practices of major brands.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

EPA Approved Lead Safe Course (Event)

On Friday, December 28, 2012 from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM (EST), the Environmental Solutions Association in Williamsport, PA will present an eight hour EPA approved Lead Safe Course. If you work in homes, child-care facilities, or schools built before 1978, you must certify in EPA Lead Safe Practices. As of April 22nd, 2010, the work you are performing may be regulated by the EPA. Violations of this new law can be up to $37,500 and imprisonment if you have not taken a class by Dec. 31st, 2010.

Federal law now requires that painting in housing (residence, apartments, and condominium), child care facilities and schools built before 1978 must take and successfully complete an approved eight hour EPA Certified Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) course.

Keys for Optimizing Large Scale Solar Thermal Systems (Event)

This event will take place on December 19, 2012 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. at Metuchen Country Club (244 Plainfield Road, Edison, NJ). Keys for Optimizing Large Scale Solar Thermal Systems is the subject of the December meeting of thee New Jersey Association of Energy Engineers. The Presenter will be Michael DiPaolo, President Ritter Group USA.

The presentation will begin with a brief update on where we are today with Solar PV but the main focus will be on Solar Thermal. Renewable energy – energy from wind, sun and geothermal – has received a lot of attention as of late. There is another value to solar energy other than electricity – thermal. Solar thermal energy has a broader application than just in sunny regions, only in the summer or at low temperatures.

Environmental and Clean Energy Inaugural Ball (Event)

The 7th Environmental and Clean Energy Inaugural Ball will take place on Monday, January 21, 2013 at Sequoia Restaurant located on the Washington Harbour waterfront in Georgetown from 8-12:00 midnight. This bi-partisan celebration has become a Washington tradition over the past 24 years as the environmental and clean energy communities gather to welcome a new Administration and make headway towards a more sustainable future.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Greenpeace's Consumer Powered Pressure Campaign Targets Levi's (Video)

Greenpeace activists in over 20 countries took to the streets, joined by over 175,000 people online, to demand Levi's make fashion without pollution. Despite hazardous chemicals being found in Levi's clothing items, and investigations revealing that Levi's suppliers in Mexico and elsewhere are releasing toxic chemicals into public waterways.

ZARA Mannequins Revolt! (Video)

As part of Greenpeace's global "Detox" campaign, more than 700 people, in over 80 cities, in 20 countries around the world protested, staged street theatre and conducted "mannequin" walk-outs to demand ZARA commit to eliminating the use of all hazardous chemicals throughout its supply chain. The participants, from Bangkok to Buenas Aires, also called on ZARA store managers to forward Greenpeace's Detox demands to their headquarters, after new research found traces of hazardous chemicals in ZARA clothing items, some of which can break down in the environment to become hormone-disrupting or even cancer-causing substances.

Greenpeace International Representative Kumi Naidoo on the Failure of COP 18 (Video)

Kumi Naidoo from Greenpeace gives a brief at the end of the COP 18 negotiations in Doha. As he reviews in this video, the science is clear, we must act now! It will cost 60 billion to clean up after Hurricane Sandy but delegates are reluctant to pony up the same amount of money for climate change finance. Sandy is but one extreme weather event and these events will become much more frequent in a world ravaged by climate change.

Why We Did Not Make More Progress at COP 18: A Short History of Climate Change Negotiations (Video)

This amusing, albeit grotesquely simplified summary of the history of climate change negotiations illustrates why a binding agreement on climate change has proven so illusive.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Why a Dozen Clothing Giants Have Bowed to Greenpeace

There are powerful financial incentives that drive corporations to agree to the demands of organizations like Greenpeace. The customers moral concerns can undermine sales and thus it is very directly impacts the bottom line. A dozen clothing brands have now accepted Greenpeace demands to detox and before this there were campaigns directed against KFC, Shell, Mattel and Lego. Through its “Toxic Threads: Under Wraps” report, Greenpeace spurred a global movement that is succeeding in detoxing some of the major players in the clothing industry.

At least twelve clothing companies have decided to heed Greenpeace demands and reduce their environmental impacts including Mango, Esprit, Nike, H&M, Adidas, Puma, M&S, C&A, Li-Ning, Zara and now Levi’s.

Levi's Bows to Greenpeace Pressure

After a mere 8 days of pressure from Greenpeace, Levi's has agreed to become more environmentally responsible. Greenpeace alleged that Levi’s suppliers are some of the worst water polluters in the Mexican textile industry. The denim behemoth has said it will stop polluting Mexico's rivers and the company further agreed to eliminate the release of all hazardous chemicals in its manufacturing process by 2020.

There have been a number of Greenpeace actions that have encouraged Levi's change of heart. Hundreds protested outside Levi’s shop fronts in 80 cities around the world and in one demonstration at Levi's headquarters in Mexico, Protesters covered the area in foam to symbolize the toxic effluents that Levi's released into the country's rivers.

Boxer's Climate Change Caucus Breeds Hope for Legislation on Emissions Reduction

Although very few believe that the US will pass legislation that addresses global warming there is a glimmer of hope appearing on the horizon. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said on December 11th, that she’s forming a climate change caucus. This move suggests that Democrats may be preparing the way for legislation that addresses greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Boxer believes that extreme weather, particularly Hurricane Sandy has helped Americans to understand the urgency of addressing climate change. As reported in The Hill, Boxer said:

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Global CO2 Emissions Data for 2011 from the CDIAC

The Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC) have published the provisional CO2 emissions data for 2011, which provides more detail than the figures released by the Global Carbon Project. While the data in the US, UK and some parts of Europe are encouraging, in Asia, particularly China and India we are seeing unsustainable increases in carbon emissions.

The Future of Integrated Sustainability Reporting

Corporate transparency is moving towards an integrated report in which financial and non-financial performance are tied together and articulated in a single document. Although as yet there is no formal standard as to what constitutes an integrated report, it is becoming clear that the sustainability reporting benefits a company. Research shows that financial markets reward those companies that engage in sustainable behavior and comprehensive disclosure.

Corporate Sustainability Reporting: To Disclose or Not to Disclose

Although there is more public pressure to disclose information, that does not mean everyone wants to comply. While many companies have committed to greater transparency, others believe greater transparency provides too much information to detractors and competitors.

As explained in a triple Pundit article by Robert Ludke, the Managing Director of Public Strategies, sustainability reporting is the better option.

While there are undeniably risks associated with disclosure, by presenting reports, a company or organization is able to set the terms of the discussion about how these materials are provided to the public.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Stock Exchanges Increasingly Recommending Sustainability Reporting

A growing number of stock exchanges around the world are recommending sustainability reporting. A number of diverse groups support sustainability reporting including the Rio+20 (negotiating text) and the U.N. (secretary general’s High Level Panel on Global Sustainability).

The Brazilian stock exchange (BM&FBOVESPA), also recommends that its listed companies either publish sustainability reports or explain why they do not. The initiative is intended to create a public database of reporting which was made available at Rio+20. BM&FBOVESPA says it was the second exchange in the world and the first in the Americas to use the GRI sustainability reporting model in its own annual report, starting in 2010.

Alternative Energy Stocks After Obama's Election Victory

After the election of Obama, many believed that we would see a surge in alternative energy stock prices, but this did not happen. As reviewed in a Renewable Energy World article “of the approximately 250 alternative energy companies that the Roen Financial Report tracks, only 21 companies, or less than 9%, were gainers. In other words, losers beat gainers by a 10:1 ratio! On average, alternative energy companies were down 5.8%, with 35 companies showing double-digit losses for the week. Of the 21 gainers, fully half were volatile penny stocks with market caps less than $100 million, so those gains may change very quickly.”

“Of the six alternative energy industries — wind, solar, smart grid, efficiency, fuel alternatives and environmental companies — wind fared the worst. Only two wind companies posted a gain for the week, Pike Electric Corporation (PIKE) and the highly speculative Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies (QTWW). Otherwise, the average wind company lost 6.0% for the week.”

The Implications of the US being a Global Leader in Fossil Fuel Production

The US is expected to be the global leader in fossil fuel production by 2020. On November 12 the International Energy Agency (IEA) released the 2012 edition of its World Energy Outlook. The report indicated that this is being driven by advances in drilling technology, particularly hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” and exploitation of the continent’s tar sands.

While there are many that hail this fact as desirable, it is anything but. Despite the fact that this will provide jobs and diminish reliance on foreign oil, it will also have a very destructive environmental impact. The upsurge in fossil fuels will radically increase the continents GHG emissions. It will also have a negative impact on the market driven growth of renewables. This excessive reliance on fossil fuels will impact the clean energy equation by adversely impacting investment in renewable energy.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Green Chemistry Bridging the Divide by Seetha Kammula

Green chemistry is an increasingly important player in global efforts to find more sustainable ways to minimize our impacts on the Earth. Green chemistry is the branch of chemistry concerned with developing processes and products to reduce or eliminate hazardous substances. One of the goals of green chemistry is to prevent pollution at its source, as opposed to dealing with pollution after it has occurred.

Here is a short essay on green chemistry written by Seetha Kammula in 2011. She is one of the founding partners of Simply Sustain LLC, has over 25 years of experience first at Royal Dutch Shell, and later at Basell, a Shell BASF Joint Venture. At Basell she was Senior VP Strategic Marketing, Innovation & Asset Management and a member of the Board of Directors of Indelpro (Mexico). At Shell she was Strategy Director (Houston), Director of Technology (Belgium)- both for Epoxy Resins, and Research Scientist (Amsterdam). She received a BS degree from Osmania University, India, a PhD degree in Organic Chemistry from Auburn University, and did post-doctorate research at Princeton University.

Achievements of COP 18: The Doha Climate Gateway

 At the UN Climate Change Conference in Doha, Qatar (COP18/CMP8), governments have taken the next essential step in the global response to climate change. Countries have successfully launched a new commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, agreed a firm timetable to adopt a universal climate agreement by 2015 and agreed a path to raise necessary ambition to respond to climate change. They also endorsed the completion of new institutions and agreed ways and means to deliver scaled-up climate finance and technology to developing countries.

Sustainability in the Built Environment: Beyond Sustainability Assessment Systems (Whitepaper)

A conceptual paper on sustainability in the the built environment, Beyond Sustainability Assessment Systems. The increasing attention to sustainability worldwide asks for sustainable practices in every sector. In this scenario, the construction sector has often been indicated as a leading protagonist of sustainable development. However, sustainable buildings are still rare and requests to push a sustainable transition of the construction sector are common. Meanwhile, studies and policies are discussing what a sustainable building is and how to measure sustainability in the built environment.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The CERINA Investment Model from IWR

The CERINA plan (CO2 Emissions and Renewable Investment Action Plan) is an investment model by means of which CO2 emissions are compensated for through investments in renewable energy technologies. Since 2009, the German Based Renewable Energy Industry (IWR) has been determining global CO2 emissions and those of individual states using the fossil fuel energy consumption data of BP. On this basis, the amount of investment in renewable technology needed to stabilise global CO2 emissions at the current level is then computed for each country.

On the basis of an objective allocation key per metric ton of CO2, the level of investment can be specified according to the source. Countries with low emissions are required to make lower investments than are countries with high emissions.

Chemical Regulation that is Good for Business and the Environment

The ubiquity of chemicals and our growing environmental awareness are helping to usher a new era in chemistry. Chemicals are part of modern life, yet we are increasingly aware that even tiny quantities of toxins can have harmful health effects including asthma, neuro-developmental disorders, and certain cancers. Chemicals are also being connected with a variety of distinctively modern diseases and disorders including obesity, diabetes, autism, and ADD.

Workshop on Chemistry for a Sustainable Future (Event)

The RSC sponsored International Workshop on Chemistry for a Sustainable Future will take place on December 10, 2012, starting at 14:00 and concluding on 12 December 12, 2012 at 17:00. It will take place at the Malaviya National Institute of Technology in Jaipur, India. This event will deal with the environment, sustainability and energy, it also coincides with the Celebration of Successful Completion of 10 years of Green Chemistry Networking in India.

One of the founders of Green Chemistry, Professor John Warner and world leaders in Green Chemistry like Professor James Clark , Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence at University of York will be part of this celebration. Green Chemistry Centre in York UK and its affiliates, the Bio-renewables Development Centre and the company Starbon Technologies are also presenting an exhibition at the Workshop covering green chemistry research, education, outreach and commercialization.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

ICUSR 2012 : International Conference on Urban Regeneration and Sustainability (Event)

This event will take place in Bangkok, Thailand on December 22-23, 2012. The XXXIII. International Conference on Urban Regeneration and Sustainability aims to bring together leading academic scientists, researchers and scholars to exchange and share their experiences and research results about all aspects of Urban Regeneration and Sustainability, and discuss the practical challenges encountered and the solutions adopted.