Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The End of Fossil Fuel Subsidies

Providing handouts to the wealthiest corporations on earth does not make much sense, particularly when their activities are the leading driver of climate change. Ending fossil fuel subsidies is the most obvious next step in our efforts to tackle the climate crisis. In the wake of the Paris Climate Agreement forged at COP21, continuing fossil fuel subsidies is an oxymoron.

These subsidies take many forms including, tax breaks, cheap loans, price controls, purchase requirements, purchasing equipment, royalty breaks and direct spending. According to some reports there are over 800 ways that taxpayers support the fossil fuel industry.

Monday, May 30, 2016

How Corporate Transparency can Save the World

Transparency is a central tenant of sustainability. There are powerful social, environmental and economic implications associated with transparency. Corporations are not the only ones that should be concerned about transparency; governments, employees, consumers and the whole of civil society all have a stake.

Transparency is about open access to an organization’s activities and this has implications for everything from climate change to the bottom line.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Event - World Hydrogen Energy Conference (WHEC)

This event will take place June 13, 2016 - June 16, 2016 at the Palacio de Congresos Expo Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain. WHEC 2016 is the twenty-first World Hydrogen Energy Conference and it is being organized by the Spanish Hydrogen Association (AeH2).

WHEC is the world's most well-known conference in the field of hydrogen energy and fuel cells of the IAHE (International Association for Hydrogen Energy.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Tidal Power: Renewable Energy Panacea or Environmental Pariah (Videos)

In June 2016 turbines will be installed to capture the incredible power of Nova Scotia's Bay of Fundy. With the largest tides in the world, the Bay of Fundy also has the world's largest tidal energy potential. On its own the bay could supply all of Nova Scotia's energy needs.

Tidal power (tidal energy), is a form of hydro-power that converts the energy obtained from tides into useful forms of power, mainly electricity. This fledgling emissions free renewable technology has vast potential. It may even prove to be superior to traditional sources of renewable energy because it is far more predictable than wind or solar power.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Second Shell Oil Spill in Less than Two Weeks

For the second time in less than two weeks pipelines belonging to Shell have leaked oil. The most recent spill has leaked 21,000 Gallons (500 barrels) of oil near Tracy in San Joaquin County, California. This time the culprit was the company's underground San Pablo Bay Pipeline which transports crude oil from California’s Central Valley to the San Francisco Bay Area. The spill took place on May 20th but Shell did not report the leak until the evening of Monday May 23.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Obama Begins to Reign-in Methane Emissions from Fracking

Through the Environmental Protection Agency the Obama administration is cracking down on methane associated with the extraction of fossil fuels. Fugitive emissions are unintended or irregular gas leaks, however most of the emissions associated with fracking are intentional. Releases of gas are part of the standard operating procedure of the extraction process.

Methane is main ingredient in natural gas and one of the world's most potent greenhouse gases. The Obama administration’s new rules to curb methane come in the wake of two reports that illustrate the dangers of fracking. These reports show that methane is seeping into that atmosphere throughout the fracking process from extraction to the end users.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Fracking Contaminates Drinking Water

Despite the secrecy of the fracking industry and the protections afforded by some states there is mounting evidence that hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" contaminates drinking water. Fracking is a fossil fuel extraction process that consists of injecting chemicals deep underground to break up shale formations.Conservative estimates indicate that there have been at least 260 documented examples of wells contamination due to fracking in Pennsylvania alone. As reported in Scientific American, a 2013 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA found widespread examples of methane laced drinking water In Pennsylvania. The researchers showed that the closer you are to a fracking site the more likely that your well will be contaminated.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A Trump Presidency Would Kill Climate Action and Push us Past Irreversible Tipping Points

The fate of climate action and by extension the health of the planet and all its inhabitants depends on who Americans choose as their next President. The choice is between two unpopular candidates, however the leading Democratic candidate has indicated she will stay the course of the Obama administration's climate leadership while the Republican nominee has vowed to end President Obama's slate of green policy initiatives.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Natural Gas versus Renewable Energy

Natural gas, particularly gas from fracking cannot hold a candle to renewable energy. Nonetheless, the positive spin associated with fracking for natural gas persists. Natural gas is anything but clean but it continues to be sold as such.

This American made technology has been shipped all around the world. So has US natural gas. As the first load of American gas was being shipped by Cheniere Energy, the company’s vice president of marketing, Meg Gentle, told industry and government officials that natural gas should be rebranded as renewable energy.

Webinar - Cost Competitive Large-Scale Solar Projects

This webcast will take place on Thursday, June 2, 2016, 11:00 am Pacific / 2:00 pm Eastern. As news articles tout record low utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) prices in a handful of places across the country, many utilities are considering adding solar to their resource portfolios. The reality is that not all solar projects are created equal. Utility-scale solar project economics vary widely and are dependent on a number of factors. To procure high-value, cost-competitive projects, utilities must understand the drivers that impact the overall cost and value of a utility-scale solar project.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Event - ASEAN Sustainable Energy Week 2016

This event will take place on June 1 - 4, 2016 in Bangkok, Thailand. The ASEAN region presents huge opportunities for the use of Renewable Energy and member states are increasingly focusing on Renewable programs in order to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels. ASEAN Sustainable Energy Week, ASEAN’s largest and most comprehensive renewable energy, environmental & energy effi ciency exhibition will showcase cutting-edge machinery, equipment and technology – including the latest wind and solar power systems.

Event - Innovation Day: The Age of Renewable Energy

This event will take place on May 26, 2016 in Abu Dhabi the United Arab Emirates. In conjunction with IRENA’s eleventh council meeting, Innovation Day is intended to highlight the results of IRENA Innovation Week, which took place earlier this month in Bonn, Germany. The one-day event in Abu Dhabi will also offers an opportunity for input on IRENA’s planned Renewable Energy Innovation Landscape report. Two technology case studies will be presented and discussed. The Agency will also seek strategic guidance from its member-countries on its work related to innovation.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

NEB's Approval of the Transmountain Tarsands Pipeline is "Outrageous"

On May 19, 2016, National Energy Board (NEB) approved Texas oil giant Kinder Morgan's Transmountain pipeline expansion. The news prompted some climate activists to call the approval "outrageous". First Nations, municipalities, academics, scientists and the majority of British Columbians have come out against this pipeline.

If it proceeds the expanded Transmountain project will triple the capacity of heavy tar sands oil being transported by pipeline from Alberta to Burnaby. The volume of oil transported will increase from 300,000 to just under 900,000 barrels a day, there will also be a corresponding increase in oil tanker traffic in and out of Vancouver.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Get Ready for Long Overdue Toxic Substances Reforms

Reforms are long overdue as the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) has not been updated in almost 40 years. This is about to change as the US congress is poised to pass new chemical legislation in the coming days. Currently the Environmental Protection Agency requires toxicity testing for only 200 of the more than 80,000 chemicals permitted for use. Omitted from the list are a number of known carcinogens. There are more than 12,000 chemical facilities in the US producing more than 8,000 chemicals.

"People believe when they go to the grocery store and go to the hardware store and they get a product, that product’s been tested and that product’s safe," Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), one of the key authors of the legislation, said at a news conference in front of the Capitol. "Well, that isn’t the case."

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Fracking and Earthquakes go Together like Sodom and Gomorrah

Earthquakes caused by fracking are a common occurrence in the US. We have seen a 4000 percent increase in earthquakes in the US in the last 8 years. Earthquakes caused by natural causes can be both destructive and deadly but they are unavoidable, whereas earthquakes caused by fracking for climate change causing natural gas are both lamentable and avoidable. Fracking related earthquakes are caused when the heavily polluted water used for fracking is disposed of by injecting it deep underground below aquifers near fault lines.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Nations Discuss Details of the Paris Climate Deal in Bonn

Now that we have secured an agreement at COP 21, nations are meeting in Bonn, Germany to iron out the details of the plan. We know what the goal is but now we must do the work to find pathways to get to that objective and beyond it. The stated goal in the Paris Climate Agreement is to keep temperatures from rising no more than 1.5 - 2.0 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial norms. However the carbon reduction pledges that have been submitted so far will not achieve this objective. At present we are on a trajectory towards three degrees of warming. The scientists believe that more robust pledges could allow us to reach the Paris goal. However, we must act and we must act soon. To have a shot we must see emissions peak no later than 2020.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Paying Homage to Ceres and their New Roadmap for Corporate Sustainability

Ceres continues to lead and provide guidance to help businesses navigate the labyrinth of sustainability. Ceres understands business, they know that unlocking the power of sustainability is not only about altruism. They have published reports that show sustainability enhances competitiveness and contributes to the bottom line.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Leaking Methane Associated with Fracking

A close examination of the facts exposes unconventional gas as anything but a cleaner bridge fuel. The gas obtained from hydraulic fracturing (fracking) leaks at every step in the process from extraction to the transportation and distribution. New research suggests these leaks cancel out the emissions reduction efforts of the Obama administration.

While it was known that fracking operations leak, the extent of those leaks is far worse than anyone, including the EPA had expected. Leakage of as little as 4 percent makes fracking a dirtier source of energy than coal. As Colm Sweeney, the head of the aircraft program at NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory, told the journal Nature, leakage makes the climate value of natural gas highly questionable.

The Myth that Fracked Natural Gas is a Bridge Fuel

Now that the EPA is beginning to reign in methane emissions, we need to expose the myth that natural gas is a bridge fuel that will help us to transition to renewable sources of energy. The logic supporting fracking is based on the fact that there are lower carbon emissions associated with the burning of gas compared to coal.

However, a number of studies clearly demonstrates that when you factor the leaks, fracking for gas, is not clean and it may even have a more destructive climate impact than coal.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Event - World Conference on Climate Change (Climate Change 2016)

This event will take place on October 24-26, in 2016 Valencia, Spain. The theme is Updating our Understanding:Earth's Climate is Warming.

Meet Inspiring Speakers and Experts at our 3000+ Global Conference series Events with over 600+ Conferences, 1200+ Symposiums and 1200+ Workshops on Medical, Pharma, Engineering, Science, Technology and Business.

The ‘World Conference on Climate Change (Climate Change 2016)’ includes prompt keynote presentations, Oral talks, Poster presentations and Exhibitions.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Shell Downplays Crude Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico (Video)

On May the 12th Shell claims that its offshore Brutus platform spewed 88,200 gallons of crude (2,100 barrels) into the Gulf of Mexico. The spill in Shell's Glider field created a 13 mile long by 2 mile wide oil slick in an area 97 miles south of Port Fourchon, Louisiana. Shell offered the standard commentaries as dictated by their post-spill public relations protocols. The incident has been contained the said and "cleanup operations are underway." Shell spokesperson Kimberly Windon added, "no release is acceptable, and safety remains our priority as we respond to this incident."

Friday, May 13, 2016

Trump Could Win and We All Could Lose

Anyone who cares about the environment, the economy, business, responsible governance, civility or basic human decency is quite right to be terrified by the prospect of a Trump presidency.

Many people think that the combination of deep political divisions within the GOP and Trump's own lunacy will make the Republican nominee unelectable. However, as Van Jones has cautioned, he could still win. The divisions will be smoothed over and the powerfully machinery of the GOP will add to the horrifying prospect that Trump could actually be elected President.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

In Australia Climate Policy is a Political Football

Climate change has been a political football that has been a factor in Australian politics for some years now. In 2010, Labor party leader Julia Gillard was elected on a platform that included climate action. She subsequently lost the leadership of her party in 2013.

Thanks in part to factual misrepresentations about in the popular media,  Gillard's climate leadership was succeeded by the climate-denying-coal-loving leadership of Tony Abbott.

One of the first things that Abbot vowed to do was kill the nation's green dream. Under Abbott Australia put forward one of the weakest carbon reduction plans in the world. Abbott's Direct Action climate plan even gave big business a number of ways they could increase their emissions without incurring a penalty. The government provided $4.5 billion in subsidies to the coal industry.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Suspected Assassins of Berta Cáceres Arrested in Honduras

On May 11th the Honduran government arrested four men and charged them with the murder of indigenous environmental activist Berta Cáceres. She was killed because of her opposition to the Agua Zarca hydropower project in the Gulacarque river basin. Men affiliated with Desarrollos Energéticos S.A. (DESA), the Honduran company building the dam, are implicated in her murder.

The shots that killed Berta echoed around the globe. The world was outraged that the winner of the 2015 Goldman Environmental Prize, was savagely gunned down for what can only be described as her noble efforts to defend the rights of her people and protect the land on which they live.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Panama Papers Highlight the Need for Sustainability

The release of the Panama Papers touches upon a number of themes that are at the heart of sustainability. Among them are corruption, transparency and environmental and social governance (ESG)issues. These papers also highlight the need to address the growing problems associated with wealth disparity that threaten our economic and social system.

The Panama Papers include a summary of the clients of the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca which has sheltered trillions of dollars of assets. They bring to light some of the obstacles that undermine the realization of the lofty aspirations contained in the Paris Climate Agreement and the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Carbon Capture and Storage is Essential Post Paris

Interest in carbon capture and storage (CCS) has intensified in the wake of the Paris Climate Agreement. CCS refers to a suite of technologies that pull CO2 from a smokestack before it escapes into the air. It is then sequestered in some fashion, most commonly by burying it deep underground. CCS is a much needed technology, if for no other reason than the fact that fossil fuels are likely to be with us for years to come.

There have been a number of notable achievements in the area of CCS in recent years. According to Victor Der, executive advisor and acting general manager – the Americas, Global CCS Institute:

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Enter the 7th Annual Responsible Business Awards

The 7th Annual Responsible Business Awards are the world's leading Awards for CSR, sustainability, supply chain and business executives. The internally-renowned Awards recognize genuine, truly innovative and meaningful approaches to making responsible business a reality.

If you are looking to bring awareness to your recent ground-breaking sustainability or CR project that took so much of your effort and dedication, or would you like to boost your broader corporate reputation, or you’d like to challenge yourself and your company’s sustainability and CR efforts, or benchmark against your peers, these awards are for you.

Event - Carbon Underground 2016 Conference

This event will take place in Costa Rica in September. The four day conference will include both classroom elements and real-world demonstrations. All of this will be filmed and made part of a larger curriculum being developed for online education that will made available to the public.

In 2015 The Carbon Underground co-produced (along with Mercola, Organic Consumers Association, Finca Luna Nueva and Regeneration International) a first-of-its-kind conference that brought together experts, NGOs, and business leaders from 23 countries. The result of the 3 day event in Costa Rica was not simply a sharing of information but the creation of regional and global partnerships aimed at restoring and maintaining healthy soil.

Event - Retail Sustainability & Environmental Compliance Conference 2016

This event will take place on September 27 - 30, 2016. The retail industry needs to be ALL IN when it comes to sustainability and environmental compliance. The Retail Sustainability & Environmental Compliance Conference (​RSECC) is the only event bringing every retail format and footprint together to share best practices, new thoughts and inspiring stories from those retailers leading the charge.

Engage and interact with more than 250 leaders in retail sustainability and environmental compliance at RSECC 2016!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Carbon Air Capture and Storage (Videos)

We need technologies that draw carbon dioxide from the air and either re-use or store it. While we must curtail our carbon emissions we must also find ways to reduce existing levels of atmospheric carbon. Climate change is caused by the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, especially carbon. Prior to the dawn of the industrial revolution atmospheric carbon levels were below 300 ppm, they are currently above 400 ppm and climbing.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Trump Wants to Mine Coal Frack for Gas and Drill for Oil

Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump is not only invested in the fossil fuel industry he is seeking to expand its role in American energy production.

Coal is among the dirtiest sources of energy, as a consequence coal plants and mining operations are being shut down in the US and around the world. Against this backdrop Trump is promising a revival of the American coal industry.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

We Need to Ask Why Fort McMurray is Burning

Fort McMurray Alberta, the center of Canada's oil industry is on fire and climate change is the most likely suspect. The wall of flames that engulfed the town has forced residents to flee. Thousands of homes and businesses have been destroyed and 80,000 people are now homeless. They have found refuge in nearby towns and cities but they remain uncertain about the fate of their homes and their belongings.

Although there are no reports of any injuries or fatalities at this point, it is nonetheless a terrible situation for residents of the town.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Climate Doomsday Clock Advances as Trump Wins the Republican Presidential Nomination

For many Democrats and supporters of climate action, Trump's victory was heralded with a grin and a nod. "He will be easy to beat," they say. But all thinking people everywhere are just a little bit uneasy today. The prospect, however distant, that The Donald could be the next president of the United States warrants concern, if not outright terror.

Despite his overt racism, misogyny and climate confusion, millions of Americans support Trump. Even the Koch brothers have said that Trump is unelectable. Nonetheless a trifecta of nefarious forces have coalesced to create the right conditions to make this possible.  The GOP, and of course Trump himself, along with a large number of Americans are all inadvertently complicit in this iniquitous drama.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Persistant Ongoing Heat is Rewriting the Record Books

Every month we are breaking new heat records. It is not just the consistent regularity of new temperature records it is also the speed at which the planet is warming as evidenced by the growing deviations from the norm. Historically, climate changes usually take place over centuries and these changes are measured by variations in fractions of a degree. In a relatively short span of time we are seeing consistent temperature increases exceeding 1 degree Celsius above the mean.

Meteorologist Eric Holthaus points to NASA data which indicates that April was a record hot month. This follows the hottest March on record according to global satellite data. The hottest February on record prompted climate scientists to declare a state of emergency. Temperature records were also broken in January, December, November, October, September, August, July, June and May. That makes 12 consecutive months of above average global heat records. To make matters worse there is a trend of increased departures from the mean suggesting accelerating warming.

Monday, May 2, 2016

A Post-Sustainability World

In the wake of COP21 the world may finally wake up to the necessity of sustainability, however, this is only the beginning of a long journey and we should start thinking about what comes next. Despite the advances we have made an impartial analysis reveals that we must do more. We must do more than sustain the status quo. On climate change this means moving beyond carbon neutrality.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Event - IRENA Innovation Week

This event will take place from May 10 - 13, 2016 in Bonn Germany. Falling technology costs, mounting investments and renewable energy capacity additions outpacing nuclear and fossil energy are all signals that the global transition towards a renewable power sector is underway. To accelerate this growth, electricity systems worldwide must transition to frameworks that embrace new business models and promote the deployment of innovative technologies.