Archive for July, 2011

Peace by any other name

Posted by admin on July 24, 2011
Posted under Express 148

Peace by any other name

Despite the difficulty of getting the right
words to appeal to all, the UN Security Council admitted that global security
and peace are threatened by climate change. If that’s not enough, we get some
helpful reminders by the UK’s former chief scientist that most countries are
not doing half enough to deal with emissions of greenhouse gases. There are some
messages about the role of coal and trees, as well as some tips on careful carbon
accounting and an update on Australia’s carbon tax go-slow. Not many international
airlines go along with Europe’s aviation emission controls, while Japan is
seeing economic and health impacts from its energy reduction measures. There’s
news about the Climate Change & Business conference coming up in New
Zealand and Sustainable Cities event on the way to Singapore, plus reports from
the World Leadership Conference and the Clean Technology Investment event. Sustainability
and environment winners take a bow in Singapore and Australia, with Veolia figuring
prominently. Dr James Barnard sets out his water and waste award winning ways,
while we get a little distracted by ramifications of the media hacking business
in the UK. Of course, we know how essential bees are, but elephants are also learning
to take account of the sting in the tail. And this is your last chance (30
July) to get your nominations in for the 100 Global Sustain Ability Leaders list.
– Ken Hickson

Profile: Dr James Barnard

Posted by admin on July 24, 2011
Posted under Express 148

Profile: Dr James Barnard

How sustainable is this? Save water and save
chemicals says the winner of this year’s Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize. Dr James
Barnard is seriously advocating the use of urine as a fertilizer to bump up food
production for the world, because the body’s liquid waste contains large amounts
of phosphorus. Reports from Maree Norton for Ecopoint, Feng Zengkun for Straits
Times and from Water World International.

Commentary from Maree Norton, representing
Ecopoint and Envirofriendly, who met Dr James Barnard at Singapore
International Water Week:

In December 1967 Dr Christian Barnard became
an overnight superstar after he preformed the world’s first successful heart
transplant in South Africa. His own brother had died at the age of 5 from a
heart condition so it is not surprising that he was assisted by another
brother, Marius, in the land mark surgery. Together the Bernard’s changed the
face of cardiothoracic surgery.

This month in Singapore, a much lesser known relative
of the heart surgeon, also from South Africa, was acknowledged for his efforts.
Dr James Barnard, who is considered the father of Biological Nutrient Removal,
or BNR, was awarded the fourth Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize. In the 1970′s he was
visiting a weir outside of Johannesburg with his daughter and was shocked to
see that the city’s water supply was chocked with Blue green algae and that the
wild life was dying from microcystis poisoning.

Removing the nitrogen and phosphorous, that
was casing the condition, was traditionally done with chemicals and the cost
was horrendous. Dr Barnard was inspired by this experience to experiment with
the introduction of naturally occurring micro- organisms to eliminate the
nitrogen and phosphorous.

The forward thinking government were so
impressed with his results that three months later they commenced the
construction of the first BNR water purification plant in Goudkoppies. There
are now over one hundred BNR plants in operation around the world taking waste
water and purifying it for reuse. He has adapted the technology to different
climates, environmental limitations and water infrastructures.

Mr Tan Gee Paw, chairman of the Lee Kuan Yew
Water Prize Nominating Committee said of Dr Barnard: “his restless pursuit
of adaptable solutions to resolve the challenge of water reclamation has led to
a highly sustainable technology which protects the quality of precious water
resources and the environment, and delivers immense benefit to mankind”

Dr Barnard is currently exploring the
possibilities of large scale urine separation to recover the phosphate and
nitrogen to use as fertiliser. Phosphate is a non-renewable resource found
naturally in Morocco and China, but supplies are fast running out.

Dr Barnard’s ideas have been far reaching and
have been developed and expanded by others too. About 15 years ago a Brisbane
engineer, Neil Christie, began experimenting with microbes to eliminate wastes.
Today he business – Envirofriendly – has over 4500 commercial and retail clients
using his microbial products in a wide range of applications including
industrial kitchens and associated grease traps, sewage treatment plants, waste
dumps and bins, urinals and toilets.

His clients include McDonalds Restaurants,
the Brisbane Convention Centre, Dunk and Lizard islands, Royal Brisbane
Hospital, Westfield shopping Centres and a number of Jones Lang Lasalle managed
buildings throughout Australia including Riverside Centre in Brisbane and The
MLC and Australia Square buildings in Sydney to name a few. His products have
just been accepted for use in Singapore and are currently on trial and are
being monitored by the Public Utilities Board (PUB) and other environmental

Mr Christie identified 14 different microbes.
By combing them in different intensities and training them to adapt to
different environments he was able to create ‘ designer bug” solutions to
specific problems.

Our best hope for mankind is that we continue
to be blessed with minds like the Dr Barnard’s and the people they influence.
These are the people that explore into the realms of the bizarre for the
answers to our greatest issues.


Feng Zengkun in Straits Times & K Jakarta
Globe (6 July 2011):

The winner of this year’s Lee Kuan Yew Water
Prize has his eye on urine.

Dr James Barnard, 75, is a dogged advocate of
using it as a fertilizer to bump up food production for the world, possible
because the body’s liquid waste contains large amounts of phosphorus, a

“I know it’s a strange idea that gets
lots of laughs, but it’s really serious,” said the South Africa-born civil

He was awarded the Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize
last night by Singapore’s former prime minister Lee himself, for his work in
recycling used water. Dr Barnard’s technology recovers phosphorus from used
water such as urine, converting it into pellets or crystals.

The Water Prize recognizes outstanding
contributions towards solving global water problems through technology,
policies and programs. The prize presentation is the highlight of each year’s
Singapore International Water Week.

At the Water Lecture traditionally given by
the winner, Dr Barnard said yesterday afternoon that he would use his position
as the latest winner of the prize to promote the use of urine as fertilizer.

Already, in cities like Kampala in Uganda,
half the food consumed is grown using urine, he said.

Using this waste as a fertilizer could avert
a food crisis caused by natural disasters, changing weather patterns and
speculation in crop prices. Global food prices shot up 30 per cent in the last

With the world population growing, especially
in developing countries, it is crucial to raise food production, Dr Barnard

Research institutes in Sweden and Switzerland
are trying to get developing countries to save and use urine as a fertilizer
for food crops. Sweden is implementing “urine-separation toilets”,
which are toilets with separate channels to collect urine.

“I’m told the only problem is getting
the men to sit down,” Dr Barnard quipped.

He noted that 90 per cent of the world’s
phosphorus mines are found in just five countries – Morocco, China, South
Africa, Jordan and the United States.

Fertilizer from these countries is only going
to get more costly as the supply shrinks, so it is important for developing
countries to find a cheap, sustainable way of producing it themselves, he said.

He plugs the “urine-as-fertilizer”
message wherever he goes, from conventions to lectures – and even on board

Laughing, he said: “Sometimes the person
next to me asks me what I do for a living. I tell them you’re going to be sorry
that you asked. But they always end up finding it fascinating.”

The Water Prize attracted a record 72
submissions from 29 countries this year. It includes an award and a $300,000
cash prize.

Dr Barnard said he would donate part of the
money to the University of Stellenbosch, his alma mater, and the University of
Texas and the University of Johannesburg, which supported his work. He will
also launch programs for young scientists.


Article from WaterWorld:

The Godfather of Biological Nutrient Removal

The widespread adoption of BNR-based processes
in thousands of water plants around the world, including the developing nations
of China and Brazil, has been helped by one man: Dr James Barnard. A look at
how the winner of this year’s Lee Kuan Yew Prize helped to develop the
technology and protect water resources and the communities that depend on them.

This year’s Lee Kuan Yew Prize winner may be
seen as the pioneer of Biological Nutrient Removal (BNR) technology but he
originally had his heart set on a career as a structural engineer. It was only while
working at a sewage treatment plant near Johannesburg that the South
African-born technologist was steered towards a career in water treatment.

Working with water quality challenges in
South Africa and arid Namibia in the 1970s, Dr James L. Barnard conceived the
idea of using naturally-occurring micro-organisms to remove phosphorus and
nitrogen from used water and pioneered the BNR technology.

The Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize

Named after Singapore’s first Prime Minister
and present Minister Mentor, Lee Kuan Yew, this international award recognises
outstanding contributions towards solving global water problems by either
applying technologies or implementing policies and programmes which benefit
humanity. Past winners of the prize include the Yellow River Conservancy
Commission, honoured in 2010 for its outstanding accomplishments in integrated
river basin management which has brought about widespread and sustainable
social, economic and environmental benefits; Professor Gatze Lettinga from the
Netherlands whose ground-breaking development of anaerobic technology for used
water treatment won him the prize in 2009; and Canadian researcher and
technopreneur, Dr Andrew Benedek who received the inaugural prize in 2008 for
pioneering the development of low-pressure membranes.

Prior to Dr Barnard’s development of BNR
technology, used water reclamation plants commonly used chemicals to remove
nitrogen and phosphorus. Left to accumulate, nitrogen and phosphorus can lead
to excessive algae growth, which adversely affects the ecology in water bodies
and contributes to poor water quality in rivers and lakes. Dr Barnard’s led the
sustainable alternative to conventional chemical processes, which make it
possible to return treated used water to rivers and lakes with minimal detrimental
impact on the environment.

Dr Barnard’s discovery of BNR

By the mid-20th century, used water treatment
plants were successful in removing organic pollutants, ammonia, suspended
solids and pathogens using the biological method. However, nutrients such as
nitrogen and phosphorus could only be removed with use of chemicals. After
completing his doctorate work in Water Resources and Environmental Health
Engineering at Vanderbilt University in the United States, Dr Barnard returned
to his native South Africa, where water shortages and poor water quality as a
result of algae blooms were already serious problems. Conventional chemical
treatment methods for used water were costly and generated large amounts of
sludge that has to be disposed. As senior chief research officer at the
National Institute for Water Research in Pretoria, Dr Barnard began to consider
ways in which micro-organisms – biology – could be used to remove nitrogen and

By 1972, he had achieved a four-stage process
that removed nitrogen from water at a rate of more than 92%, without the
addition of chemicals. Within just three months of this achievement, Dr Barnard
had convinced the city of Johannesburg to use his design for the new
Goudkoppies Nitrogen Removal Plant. Two years later, by 1974 Barnard had
developed the foundation for Enhanced Biological Phosphorus Removal (EBPR).

More research followed – through small-scale
experiments and full-scale plant studies – until eventually, Dr Barnard
achieved simultaneous nitrogen and phosphorus removal through the creation of
the process that came to be known as Biological Nutrient Removal. Over the last
40 years, he has adapted his BNR technology to suit different climates,
environmental limitations and water infrastructure around the world. This has
led to the widespread implementation of BNR-based processes in thousands of
water treatment plants around the world such as in the US, Europe, Canada,
Australia and New Zealand. In recent years, the technology has also been
adopted in developing countries such as China and Brazil. BNR is widely
regarded as one of the most important innovations in used water treatment of
recent times.

The future of BNR

In the quest for smaller footprint plants
with improved efficiency, Dr. Barnard believes that membrane assisted BNR
plants [MBNR] will benefit from the extensive research in improving membrane
characteristics. The same biology could be used with membranes acting as a superior
solids/liquid separation.

BNR also helps reverse the dwindling supply
of phosphorus – something that Dr Barnard is passionate about. Referring to
phosphorus as “the battery of life”, he shares the concern that the
limited deposits of phosphorus rock in the world would drive prices of
phosphorus fertilizer up. Even at current prices, half of the world’s
population cannot afford it. Some estimate that the supply of high grade
phosphorus will be exhausted in 50 years.

A welcome by-product of the BNR process is
the collection of phosphorous. Phosphorus and magnesium absorbed in the
biological process is released to a concentrated form solution, from which it
is possible to recover struvite, an excellent slow-release fertilizer.



About Dr James Barnard

Dr James Barnard is a Global Practice and
Technology Leader for Black & Veatch Corporation in Kansas City, Missouri.
He studied civil engineering at the University of Stellenbosch in the Republic
of South Africa before obtaining an M.S. in Environmental Health Engineering at
the University of Texas at Austin, followed by a PhD in Environmental
Engineering and Water Resources at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee.

He also served as Senior Chief Research
Officer at the National Institute of Water Research in South Africa, where he
pioneered BNR to conserve scarce water resources in the 1970s. He is at the
forefront of the recovery of phosphorus, a vital nutrient on which all life


Climate Change Threatens Peace

Posted by admin on July 24, 2011
Posted under Express 148

Climate Change Threatens Peace

United Nations Security Council members this
week agreed to a watered down text which spoke of the “possible security implications”
of climate change. But UNEP’s Aichim Steiner warned that an increase in the
frequency of natural disasters across the globe could prove a major challenge
in the coming decades. Scientists have come up with a possible explanation for
why the rise in Earth’s temperature paused for a bit during the 2000s – its
from sulphur pollution in the air from China’s massive coal-burning. But help
is at hand: trees are an incredibly effective climate change weapon given the
amount of greenhouse gases they absorb, according to a new study in the journal

BBC Report (21 July 2011):

Climate change poses a major threat to future
peace and security, a senior UN official has warned.

Achim Steiner from the UN Environment
Programme said climate change would also “exponentially” increase the
scale of natural disasters.

His comments followed a UN declaration of
famine in parts of Somalia.

Meanwhile, Russia rejected a Security Council
statement backed by Western nations which asserted the link, but later agreed
to a weaker text.

The Russian envoy Alexander Pankin said he
was sceptical about the implications of putting climate change on the security
council’s agenda.

Security Council members finally agreed to a
text which spoke of the “possible security implications” of climate

‘Exponential growth’

Steiner warned that an increase in the frequency of natural disasters across
the globe could prove a major challenge in the coming decades.

He said recent crises, such as in Somalia,
illustrate that “our capacity to handle these kinds of events is proving a
challenge, particularly if they occur simultaneously and start affecting, for
instance, global food markets, regional food security issues, displacing
people, creating refugees across borders”.

German Ambassador

“Clearly the international community -
if the scenarios in climate change for the future come true – will face an
exponential growth of these kinds of extreme events,” he added.

His comments came as the Security Council
formally debated the environment for the first time in four years, with Germany
pressing for the first-ever council statement linking climate change to global
peace and security.

Diplomats said there were intense
negotiations between Germany and Russia, which initially opposed any council
action, before a statement on the issue was agreed to.

Speaking as negotiations were continuing, Mr
Pankin argued that the move was unnecessary and opposed by many countries.

“We believe that involving the Security
Council in a regular review of the issue of climate change will not bring any
added value whatsoever and will merely lead to further increased politicisation
of this issue and increased disagreements between countries,” he said.

However US Ambassador Susan Rice said that
the council had an “essential responsibility to address the clear-cut
peace and security implications of a changing climate” and said all countries
should be demanding action.

She also called failed attempts to reach
consensus earlier in the day “pathetic” and “shortsighted”.

Somalia famine

The final statement expressed “concern
that possible adverse effects of climate change may, in the long run, aggravate
certain existing threats to international peace and security”.

It also requested UN Secretary-General Ban
Ki-moon to include information on possible climate change impacts in his
regular reports on global trouble-spots.

German Ambassador Peter Wittig welcomed the
outcome, describing it as a “good day today for climate security”.

“We had quite extensive
discussions,” Mr Wittig said. “We wanted to get everyone on board.
And we did.”

The council had failed to agree on whether
climate change was an issue of world peace in 2007, when Britain brought up the

The move came after two regions of Somalia
were declared a famine, after the worst drought in six decades.

Conditions for famine include more than 30%
of children being acutely malnourished, and four children out of every 10,000

dying daily.

More than 10 million people have been
affected by the crisis across east Africa.


AFP reports (15 July 2011):

Forget wind power and extra efficient
lightbulbs — trees are an incredibly effective climate change weapon given the
amount of greenhouse gases they absorb, according to a new study in the journal

Trees are natural sponges, or “carbon
sinks.” The study found that they cumulatively absorbed almost a third of
annual fossile fuel emissions, or nearly 2.4 billion tons of carbon. And
tropical forests that have been allowed to grow back after deforestation are
removing an astounding 1.6 billion tons of carbon from the atmosphere,
co-author Josep Canadell told Agence-France Presse.

“This is the first complete and global
evidence of the overwhelming role of forests in removing anthropogenic carbon
dioxide,” Canadell said. “If you were to stop deforestation tomorrow,
the world’s established and regrowing forests would remove half of fossil fuel

An international team of climate scientists
compiled data spanning nearly two decades, from 1990 to 2007, to present the
findings. The central implication, given the capacity of forests to act as
safeguards against rising CO2 emissions, is that “forests are even more at
the forefront as a strategy to protect our climate,” Canadell said.

The report also noted the toll aggressive
deforestation has taken, pointing out that razed trees allowed more than three
billion tons of carbon to remain in the atmosphere. That means that
deforestation rivals the burning of fossil fuels as a chief driver of climate
change — last year, emissions grew by 5.8 percent to 33.16 billion tons.a

Canadell noted that the findings could also
add an economic incentive for Latin American countries to sign onto a United
Nations program known as Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation
that allocates credits to tropical countries that take measures to slow the
rate of deforestation.


By Randolph E. Schmid for Associated Press (4
July 2011):

Scientists have come up with a possible
explanation for why the rise in Earth’s temperature paused for a bit during the
2000s, one of the hottest decades on record.

The answer seems counterintuitive. It’s all
that sulfur pollution in the air from China’s massive coal-burning, according
to a new study.

Sulfur particles in the air deflect the sun’s
rays and can temporarily cool things down a bit. That can happen even as
coal-burning produces the carbon dioxide that contributes to global warming.

“People normally just focus on the
warming effect of CO2 (carbon dioxide), but during the Chinese economic
expansion there was a huge increase in sulfur emissions,” which have a
cooling effect, explained Robert K. Kaufmann of Boston University. He’s the
lead author of the study published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy
of Science.

But sulfur’s cooling effect is only
temporary, while the carbon dioxide from coal burning stays in Earth’s
atmosphere a long time.

Chinese coal consumption doubled between 2003
and 2007, and that caused a 26 percent increase in global coal consumption,
Kaufmann said.

Now, Chinese leaders have recognized the
effects of that pollution on their environment and their citizens’ health and
are installing equipment to scrub out the sulfur particles, Kaufmann said.

Sulfur quickly drops out of the air if it is
not replenished, while carbon dioxide remains for a long time, so its warming
effects are beginning to be visible again, he noted. The plateau in temperature
growth disappeared in 2009 and 2010, when temperatures lurched upward.

Indeed, NASA and the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration, have listed 2010 as tied for the warmest year on
record, while the Hadley Center of the British Meteorological Office lists it
as second warmest, after 1998.

Sulfur’s ability to cool things down has led
some to suggest using it in a geoengineering feat to cool the planet. The idea
is that injecting sulfur compounds very high into the atmosphere might help
ease global warming by increasing clouds and haze that would reflect sunlight.
Some research has concluded that’s a bad idea.

Using enough sulfur to reduce warming would
wipe out the protective Arctic ozone layer and delay recovery of the Antarctic
ozone hole by as much as 70 years, according to an analysis by Simone

Tilmes of the National Center for Atmospheric
Research in Boulder, Colo. This is the ozone layer that is high above Earth and
protects against harmful UV rays, not the ground level ozone that is a harmful

“While climate change is a major threat,
more research is required before society attempts global geoengineering
solutions,” said Tilmes.

Overall, global temperatures have been
increasing for more than a century since the industrial revolution began adding
gases like carbon dioxide to the air. But there have been similar plateaus,
such as during the post-World War II era when industrial production boosted
sulfur emissions in several parts of the world, Kaufmann explained.

Atmospheric scientists and environmentalists
are concerned that continued rising temperatures could have serious impacts
worldwide, ranging from drought in some areas, changes in storm patterns,
spread of tropical diseases and rising sea levels


Who’s Paying the Price of Pollution?

Posted by admin on July 24, 2011
Posted under Express 148

Who’s Paying the Price of Pollution?

A new peer-reviewed report released by the
Economics and Equity for the Environment (E3) network found that each ton of
CO2 emitted in the atmosphere results in as much as US$893 in economic damages,
far greater than the government’s current estimate of $21 per ton. Yet
international airlines are objecting to the European plan to “tax” airline
emissions. Says the Environmental Defence Fund: “Airlines should be racing to
comply with this law and deliver cleaner low-carbon travel to the flying
public, instead of racing to the courthouse to try to block a reasonable and
well-designed law.”

Reuters (16 July 2011):

With all eyes riveted on the debt talks and
efforts to avert an economy-busting government default, little attention is
being paid to another debt that is similarly ballooning out of control and
threatening to spur its own economic chaos.

The carbon debt. Those pesky greenhouse gas
emissions that we spew to power our businesses, drive our cars and heat and
cool our homes are accumulating in the atmosphere like an unpaid bill with
compounding interest.

Economists now say that the bill for all that
unchecked carbon pollution is a lot bigger than previously thought — and that
the longer we wait to pay it, the more it’s going to cost us.

A new peer-reviewed report released this week
by the Economics and Equity for the Environment (E3) network found that each
ton of carbon dioxide emitted in the atmosphere results in as much as $893 in
economic damages, far greater than the government’s current estimate of $21 per

This figure, known as the “social cost
of carbon,” is used by federal agencies when weighing the costs and
benefits of carbon-reducing regulations, such as appliance efficiency standards
or fuel economy standards for cars and trucks. It’s an estimate of the monetary
damages caused by higher global temperatures, such as extreme weather events,
rising sea levels, agricultural losses and wildfires.

The government’s substantially lower social
cost of carbon — which E3 calls “fundamentally flawed” and a
“gross underestimate of the potential impacts of climate change” –
means that it is much harder to justify more stringent regulations to limit
carbon pollution.

E3′s new report further concludes that,
“it’s costing us more to do nothing about climate change than it would to
adopt mitigation measures.”

“Investing in reducing our emissions is
clearly the prudent option,” says Frank Ackerman, an economist with the
Stockholm Environment Institute and a report author. “It’s the difference
between servicing your car, or waiting for it to break down on the

A second report released the same day by the
World Resources and Environmental Law institutes similarly agrees that the
government’s model for estimating a social cost of carbon oversimplifies
assumptions about climate change and discounts the costs of future mitigation,
resulting in an underestimate of true costs.

But look no further than recent headlines for
real-world proof that government economists may be low-balling the costs of
climate change.

Earlier this week The New York Times reported
that unprecedented drought and heat across 14 states from Florida to Arizona is
creating huge agricultural losses expected to exceed $3 billion in Texas alone
and exacerbating long-standing water feuds between southern states.

La Nina may be the underlying cause of the
drought in the South, but rising temperatures from global warming make that
drought more severe.  Moreover, extreme
drought and heat are precisely the impacts scientists tell us we can expect to
see more of in the U.S. Southwest in a warming world.

Meanwhile, insurers have already declared
2011 a year for the catastrophe record books, with losses from thunderstorms
and twisters topping a record-setting $23.6 billion from just January to June.

Peter Hoppe, head of Munich Re’s Geo Risks
Research, has no qualms about associating these record losses with climate
change. Hoppe says that even when the role of rising population in storm paths
is removed from the accelerating trend in losses, climate change emerges as a
clear factor in the increased losses.

Scientists, and now economists, are telling
us that we are long past due for a more honest accounting of the true costs of
carbon dioxide, which is being emitted into the atmosphere largely at zero
cost. Our accounting mistake is wreaking ecological and economic damage across
the U.S. and the world.

“We are literally rewriting the economic
and financial history of disasters on a global scale,” Robert Hartwig,
chief economist and president of the Insurance Information Institute, told a
ClimateWire reporter.

Beyond an upward revision of the U.S.
government’s social cost of carbon — which will more accurately capture the
benefits of emissions-cutting measures like tighter fuel economy standards –
we must eventually move to an economy wide price on carbon to spur innovation
in clean technologies.

Just as we now face painful choices on the
bill come due from deficit spending, we can expect painful choices the longer
we delay reconciling the bill for our carbon debt.



Stephanie Bodoni and Ewa Krukowska for
Bloomberg News (5 July 2011):

Luxembourg and Brussels

UNITED Continental, American Airlines and the
Air Transport Association of America (ATA) would challenge the EU’s plans for
emission curbs on aviation, it emerged yesterday.

In a hearing at the region’s highest court
today, they will dispute a law expanding the EU carbon market to encompass
flights that depart from or arrive at an EU airport.

The EU system, “as applied to international
aviation, violates international law and is bad policy”, Steve Lott, a
spokesman for the ATA, said yesterday. “It also clearly stands in the way of an
appropriate and effective global solution.”

The EU’s first attempt to extend the world’s
largest carbon cap-and-trade programme beyond its borders has sparked
international opposition. China’s airline association said that the measures,
which start next year, were “unreasonable and illegal” and warned of a
potential trade conflict.

Willie Walsh, the head of British Airways
parent International Consolidated Airlines Group, said last month that the
airline “fully expect(s)” other states to retaliate.

The move, which follows a doubling of
greenhouse gas discharges by airlines in Europe over two decades, was a
“practical example” of necessary action to prevent global warming, EU Climate
Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said last month.

“This legislation is fully consistent with
international law and we are confident that the court will side with us and
understand our arguments,” said Isaac Valero-Ladron, a spokesman for Hedegaard
at the European Commission, the EU’s executive agency.

The Emissions Trading System, started in
2005, covers more than 11 000 utilities and manufacturers and is the
cornerstone of the EU’s climate plan. It requires companies that exceed their
carbon dioxide emissions quotas to pay a fine or buy spare permits from
businesses that emit less.

The US carriers are claiming that the plan
violates international law, the Kyoto Protocol, an EU-US aviation accord and
the Convention on International Civil Aviation, the so-called Chicago

“Airlines should be racing to comply with
this law and deliver cleaner low-carbon travel to the flying public, instead of
racing to the courthouse to try to block a reasonable and well-designed law,”
said Annie Petsonk, international counsel at New-York-based climate campaign
group Environmental Defence Fund.

Airlines would be the second-largest sector
in the system, after power generators.

Under the legislation, 82 percent of the
emission allowances making up the airline-industry cap would be allocated for
free and 15 percent would be auctioned. The remaining 3 percent would be put
into a special reserve for later distribution to fast-growing airlines and new

The High Court in London referred the case to
the EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg last year.

The ATA, the largest US airline trade group,
has said that it had been “compelled” to file its lawsuit in the UK because the
country was the first to implement the EU law into its national rules and there
were “looming” deadlines to act.

While the legislation offers an option to
exclude incoming flights if the source nation implements “equivalent” measures
to cut airplane pollution, the US contended the scheme did not apply to its
airlines, a government official said last month. Equivalent measures were “the
only avenue” that the EU would explore when considering an exemption,
Valero-Ladron said. – Bloomberg




Power Cutbacks Fuel Heatstroke & Economic Foes

Posted by admin on July 24, 2011
Posted under Express 148

Power Cutbacks Fuel Heatstroke & Economic Foes

Faced with power cutbacks and worried that
the shortages could get worse, many Japanese companies that are big consumers
of energy are moving their operations overseas. The March 11 earthquake and
tsunami, which devastated large parts of north-eastern Japan and severely
disrupted the industrial supply chain, have taught companies that it is unwise
to focus all their output in one area. Heatstroke cases in Japan have shot up in the
early summer as many air-conditioners have been switched off amid an energy
saving campaign following the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Kwan Weng Kin in The Straits Times (15 July

Energy cutbacks following nuke crisis add to
woes like strong yen, high taxes

Faced with power cutbacks and worried that
the shortages could get worse, many Japanese companies that are big consumers
of energy are moving their operations overseas.

This latest push factor comes on top of
existing deterrents to domestic production such as the strong yen, high
corporate taxes and slow trade liberalisation.

The March 11 earthquake and tsunami, which
devastated large parts of north-eastern Japan and severely disrupted the
industrial supply chain, have taught companies that it is unwise to focus all
their output in one area.

At the urging of customers to spread its
bets, Renesas Electronics, a leading maker of microcomputers used in cars,
plans to outsource up to 25 per cent of its production to companies in Taiwan
and Singapore.

Electronic firms, which depend on a large and
stable supply of electricity, are especially concerned about the shortage of
power resulting from damage to nuclear reactors. Nuclear energy made up 30 per
cent of Japan’s electricity needs before March 11.

Mitsui Mining and Smelting, which has a 90
per cent share of the global market for ultrathin copper coil used in
smartphone circuits, is opening a factory next year in Malaysia to supplement its
only plant north of Tokyo.

Nidec, the world’s leading maker of miniature
motors for hard disk drives, is planning to move a key motor-testing facility

Referring to the prospect of moving abroad,
Nidec president Shigenobu Nagamori told a press conference last month: ‘I can
see it coming.’

Utility companies say they have enough
capacity from thermal plants to meet peak demand this summer, provided users
shave about 15 per cent off last year’s peak usage levels.

But there is no telling when the power shortage
will end.

The government’s latest insistence on using
‘stress tests’ to assess the safety of all nuclear reactors only clouds the
picture further, raising concerns that no reactor may be allowed to be restarted
unless it passes the tests.

Japanese business leaders have vowed to
remain in Japan to rebuild their country.

Toyota Motors president Akio Toyoda said his
company “is committed to manufacturing in Japan”.

But with his company reeling from the impact
of the strong yen, which rose as high as 78 yen to the US dollar this week, and
now faced with the additional problem of power shortages, Mr Toyoda’s commitment
appears to be wavering.

Hinting that the company might be forced to
move some production overseas, he told reporters recently: “We want a
stable supply of electricity. I feel manufacturing in Japan may have already
exceeded the limit.”

The government is aware that the hollowing
out of Japanese industry will slow economic growth, including the
reconstruction of the country’s quake-ravaged north-east.

The ministry of economy, trade and industry
is putting together measures to persuade Japanese companies to remain at home.
These include subsidies to companies that build backup plants in Japan, and
cheaper power rates.

Nearly 70 per cent of companies surveyed by
the ministry said they plan to accelerate the movement of their supply chain

In a White Paper released last week, the
ministry stressed the need for Japan to boost its competitiveness.

It said the country must seek to forge more
trade liberalisation deals, including joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership
multilateral free trade agreement (FTA), so as to increase the attractiveness
of manufacturing in Japan.

Many Japanese companies are prompted to
locate production plants abroad to get around import tariffs. Such tariffs
would be removed in countries that establish FTAs with Japan.

Many foreign countries see the latest crisis
in Japan as an opportunity to welcome Japanese investments.

Earlier this month, a delegation from China’s
Hebei province conducted investment seminars here for Japanese firms interested
in moving to the mainland.

Seoul is reportedly also keen to see Japanese
companies relocate to South Korea.

In Viet Nam, some industrial parks have
decided to waive rentals for Japanese companies affected by the March 11
disaster. Thirteen Japanese business missions visited one industrial park
outside Ho Chi Minh City last month, three times the usual number.


By AFP Staff Writers Tokyo (14 July 2011):

Heatstroke cases in Japan have shot up in the
early summer as many air-conditioners have been switched off amid an energy
saving campaign following the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

More than 13,000 people were rushed to
hospital by ambulance in June and the beginning of July, data from the Fire and
Disaster Management Agency showed. Twenty-six of them died.

The rise for June alone was three-fold from
last year. Of all the heatstroke cases, more than half were over 65 years old.

The sharp rise came amid a sweltering
heatwave, when the average temperatures in late June in eastern and western
Japan hit their highest levels since such data were first kept in 1961, the
agency said.

The mercury in late June topped 35 degrees
Celsius (95 Fahrenheit) in hundreds of spots across Japan, and the average
temperature was about 3.5 degrees Celsius higher than usual, the country’s
meteorological agency said.

The Fire and Disaster Management Agency is
urging people to keep room temperatures no higher than 28 degrees Celsius and
drink plenty of water. It warned that elderly people need to be cautious even
when they stay indoors.

Only 19 of Japan’s 54 nuclear reactors are
operational four months after the March 11 quake and tsunami disaster sparked
the world’s worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl 25 years ago at the
Fukushima Daiichi plant.

The government has asked the nation to save
power, and homes and companies in the northeast are being asked to cut back
usage by 15 percent in the summer, leading many to cut down on power-guzzling


Damn Lies in Australia & Damning Indictment from Oxford

Posted by admin on July 24, 2011
Posted under Express 148


The report by the Oxford
University’s Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment is a damning
indictment of the efforts of Australia, along with the US and Canada and a
couple of Middle East countries, as doing the least in the world on deviating
from business-as-usual emissions. This analysis of international climate change
negotiations by the former chief scientist of the UK, Sir David King, rather
than setting targets and gradually winding them down, this method sets the
ultimate goal (seeking to limit global warming to 2°C) and works backwards.

Giles Parkinson in
Climate Spectator (19 July 2011):

Julia Gillard enjoyed
a special treat Monday last week. She spoke to a large group of people who
actually agreed with her climate change policy and applauded her with genuine

Given the polls that
were released that morning, this is a rare event and does not reflect the
nation’s mood. And the question the audience of 400 or so gathered at the Green
Capital event wanted answered most of all – in their discussions with the PM
and in private discussions afterwards – was “why?”

The answer lies as
much in the past as it does in the present. The manner of Gillard’s ascendancy,
the ditching of the CPRS, and whoever advised the PM to agree with the
proposition that the carbon price is a tax rather than an ETS with a fixed
price have played into the hands of opponents.

All that is well understood
and unchangeable, but what is exasperating in the current climate debate is the
ability of Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and his entourage to successfully cut
through with crap – the word he once used to describe the climate science, and
which Gillard has adopted to describe much of the public debate.

Abbott may pretend
not to be a climate denier, but he certainly sings from their song-book. Many
of his one-liners, like yesterday’s about the rate of increase in China’s
emissions, and its comparisons with Australia’s meagre reduction efforts, come
straight from climate sceptics’ blogs.

But Abbott
understands all too well that if you produce enough crap, as incoherent and
contradictory as it might be, enough of it will stick. And in this media environment
it only needs to last five minutes to be effective. As the Climate Institute’s
John Connor told the audience on Monday, “it’s like trying to nail jelly to the

Abbott’s comment
about China, and his dismissal of Australia’s bipartisan reduction target of 5
per cent as “crazy”, reveals his true instincts on climate change. He doesn’t
believe it, and he doesn’t accept the need for action: anything that Australia
does is too much in the context of global efforts.

This is not how
things are viewed outside Australia’s conservative fishbowl. The map and report
published by Oxford University’s Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment
is a damning indictment of the efforts of Australia, along with the US and
Canada and a couple of Middle East countries, as doing the least in the world
on deviating from business-as-usual emissions. China is ranked among the
“good”, along with Europe and the other key nations of the powerful “BASIC”
nationals – Brazil, India, South Africa, as well as Indonesia.

The report comes from
an analysis of international climate change negotiations by the former chief
scientist of the UK, Sir David King, who is part of a growing and influential
chorus that is rekindling a version of the “contract and convergence” theory on
global abatement efforts. Rather than setting targets and gradually winding
them down, this method sets the ultimate goal (seeking to limit global warming
to 2°C) and works backwards.

That translates into
a per capita allocation of just 2t of CO2-e by 2050, which means Australia
would need to cut its emissions of 26t per capita by more than 90 per cent.
Whether you are aiming for a 60 per cent target, an 80 per cent target or a 92
per cent target, a 5 per cent cut over the next decade would seem to be the minimum
effort required.

Unless, of course,
you don’t believe in climate change. Or unless, like Abbott, you’ve
“twigged” to the fact that CO2 is invisible, it’s weightless and it’s
odourless. “How are we going to police these emissions,” he asked on
radio a fortnight ago. Probably in the way the John Howard designed when he
introduced the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act in 2007. It’s
nearly as easy as counting votes.

The other scare
campaign from Abbott and his loyal servant, the climate change spokesman Greg
Hunt, has been on international permits, and the supposed handing out of
billions of dollars each year to carbon traders in Equatorial Guinea and
Kazakhstan. Best not to let facts get in the way of a good scare campaign, but
just for the record there are no carbon traders in those countries, because
they do not have any approved emissions abatement projects.

And rather than
handing out money to carbon traders in dark and foreign lands, the Coalition’s
Direct Action policy has altogether more worthy recipients of its largesse –
the French government and a Hong Kong billionaire, the owners of two of our
most polluting coal plants that they propose to buy out.

But the real bottom
line of politicising the use of international credits and ruling them out of
Direct Action, is that while Labor’s plan can source cheaper abatement
overseas, the Coalition is locked into more expensive domestic abatement. That
means, if ever a Coalition government was forced to pursue a higher target, it would
simply would not able to allow growth in some emissions-intensive industries
where Australia has a comparative advantage, such as coking coal or LNG. On
this aspect, Abbott’s policy comes close to that of some of the more radical
green groups.

Cost, though, is the
Achilles heel of Abbott’ policy. His own allies tell us so. Malcolm Turnbull
did it effectively enough in May and on Monday got some help from the Victorian
Energy Minister Michael O’Brien, who launched a virulent attack against the
proposed closure of the Hazelwood coal fired plant and replacing such capacity
with gas, saying it would cause a huge rise in energy prices.

“If the Gillard
government was honest about this, it would be telling Victorians how many jobs
will be lost, how much their electricity bills will be going up by, and where
the gas is going to come from,” O’Brien said. Oops! Isn’t that also the
Coalition’s policy? Perhaps the question would be better put to Abbott and
Hunt, who have repeatedly claimed their policy will not lead to a rise in
energy prices.

The Abbott scare
campaign has enlisted the help of several compliant industry groups. The Food
and Grocery council has been the most hopelessly complicit, parroting Abbott’s
scares about rising food costs and then admitting it had actually done no modelling.
The same is true of the housing body.

Many at the Gillard
breakfast wondered why business was not more vocal in supporting the
government’s climate change policy, given that taking action is inevitable at
some point, and the sooner that the rules are known, the easier it is for
everyone. The response is all too depressing: some have been placated but many
are still lobbying for that extra dollar of compensation, and will do so until
the legislation is passed. As Ross Garnaut said when lambasting the vested
interests in his final report in late May: “As soon as the parameters of
the scheme are settled, business will focus on making money within the new
rules, rather than on securing rules that make them money.”

For that reason, the
passage of the legislation cannot come soon enough. First, however, it needs to


The Smith School of
Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford has today, (18th
July) published a report that recommends that individual governments must take
more action to curb their own emissions and put pressure on other governments
to do the same.

The ‘International
Climate Change Negotiations: Key Lessons and Next Steps’ report, a detailed
analysis of international efforts to address the impacts of climate change,
also found that many of the current actions pledged by countries are still a
long way from what is necessary and that we need a refocus on the issue from
heads of state at G20 level, in parallel with the UNFCCC process, which should
focus on bilateral and national actions.

The report also puts forward a series of
actions that should be considered:

Limit emissions from deforestation through
incentive-based policies.

Increase R&D spend, particularly within
the energy sector, with public sector funding leveraging significant private
sector investment.

A significant price on CO2 emissions to
encourage investment in the green economy.

Bringing developing countries into the carbon
markets in order to encourage low carbon development, provide finance and make
the most of mitigation opportunities.

Professor Sir David
King, Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, said:

climate negotiations can only go so far. Systems such as pledge-and-review set
up in Copenhagen and Cancun are a useful way forward in the absence of an
internationally legally-binding agreement, but individual Governments must
provide urgent political leadership – that is not happening at present.

It is simply not
acceptable that major developed nations such as the US are not behind a global
agreement. The US, despite some good rhetoric and with the exception of
California, is still a blocker when it comes to reaching a global agreement,
with other nations, namely Japan and Russia, becoming increasingly vocal in
their resistance to a second commitment phase (post 2012) to the Kyoto

Dr Kenneth Richards,
Visiting Fellow at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, said:

“A strong move
towards a green economy and global equity is central to the debate.  According to the IEA global energy demand is
predicted to grow by 55 per cent by 2030. Just over 90 per cent of the increase
in the energy demand from 2007 to 2030 is projected to come from non-OECD

Ideally, we would
have a global cap and trade system to engage the business and financial
community and generate financial flows from the developed to the least
developed world.  We would have a
seamless system to address forest carbon in both industrialised and developing
countries.  To reach that goal, strong
decisive steps are required from key governments to place us on a path to
long-term, stable and appropriate prices on greenhouse gas emissions. This will
send a clear signal to the corporate sector and stimulate investment to produce
innovative solutions”.

The report also
emphasizes that funding for mitigation and adaptation in the least developed
countries is critical. The Green Climate Fund set up in Cancun marked one way
in achieving this. Equity is also critical and needs to be properly considered
in any proposed solutions.



This Climate Change Business is No Storm in a Teacup

Posted by admin on July 24, 2011
Posted under Express 148

This Climate Change Business is No Storm in a

New Zealand’s approach to climate change
adaptation and Australia’s clean energy package will come into focus at the 7th
Climate Change and Business Conference in Wellington, commencing 1 August.
Meanwhile disastrous floods, heat-waves, storms and droughts are becoming more
frequent because of climate change, and will continue to do so. This from New
Zealander Kevin Trenberth, who heads the climate-analysis section at the
National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado.

The Clean Energy Package contains a range of
measures including the proposal to close around 2000 megawatts of coal
generation by 2020. It proposes deploying a wide range of renewable energy
projects supported by a new Clean Energy Finance Corporation with $10 billion
to invest. And around $1 billion will be invested in initiatives in the farming

The proposed carbon tax set initially at $23
per tonne will target 500 of the biggest emitters all of which will be looking
at how to mitigate that cost. The intention is to transition to an ETS by 2015.

So the conference is an extremely timely
opportunity for Australian and New Zealand businesses to understand the
implications of this comprehensive reform package and explore the fresh
opportunities that it creates.

And this is all happening as New Zealand
prepares to release its review of its Emissions Trading Scheme which we
anticipate will also be profiled and discussed at the conference.

Given the interest in comparable effort
between New Zealand and Australia, just what impact might the Australian
announcements have on that review outcome? Might we eventually see linked
Emissions Trading Schemes in both countries?



Kiran Chug
In The Dominion Post (15 July 2011):

Disastrous floods, heatwaves, storms and
droughts are becoming more frequent because of climate change, and will
continue to do so.

Scientists say the world can no longer ignore
the link between climate change and extreme weather events, and they are urging
countries to face up to the growing risks ahead.

New Zealander Kevin Trenberth, who heads the
climate-analysis section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in
Colorado, said events of the past 18 months had been extraordinary. “It’s
as clear a warning as we’re going to get about prospects for the future.”

Last year was the warmest on record and that
warming was directly related to increases in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere,
he said. It brought with it devastating floods in Pakistan and a heatwave in
Russia, which resulted in riots around the world because of increased food

Subsequent floods in Sri Lanka, Brazil and
Queensland also brought deaths on a huge scale, and Dr Trenberth said scientists
were now considering how such extreme events were linked.

Although some aspects of extreme weather were
due to natural variation, global warming was now contributing too, with
disastrous consequences. “There’s this 5-10 per cent contribution that may
be thought of as the straw that breaks the camel’s back.”

The world would experience less snow and more
rain, more floods, more heatwaves and consequent wildfires, and more storms
featuring hurricanes and tornadoes.

Professor Lionel Carter, of Victoria
University’s Antarctic Research Centre, said the effects were being seen on New
Zealand’s doorstep, with the Tasman Sea getting warmer, and that warming
shifting south.

Antarctica was losing mass, and the West
Antarctic ice sheet in particular was causing concern as much of it was below
sea level. A change to its mass could see the ice sheet lift off and raise the
sea level by three to five metres.

This year was likely to be significant for
extreme events such as floods, tornadoes and droughts, he said.

Dr Trenberth said increased temperatures had
led to more water staying in the atmosphere. “What we are seeing
throughout the world is when it rains, it pours.”

Over the oceans there was now 4 per cent more
water vapour than in the 1970s, and sea surface temperatures had increased by
about 0.55 degrees Celsius.

“The environment in which all storms
form now is different to 30 or 40 years ago because of climate change.”

Professor Martin Manning, of Victoria’s
Climate Change Research Institute, said humans were a primary driver for
climate change, and the question now was how we dealt with the problem.

Insurance companies were beginning to
recognise the trends in extreme weather and pay attention. “They’re
getting extraordinarily concerned. They don’t really think what we’re doing at
the moment is risk management.”

The world had “pushed way past” the
point where local adaptations to climate change were going to be enough, as
patterns of extreme events were too widespread. “We’re starting to see
global risks being dealt with. It’s a global problem.”

ACT candidate and agriculture spokesman Don
Nicolson said communities needed to make themselves resilient against the
variety of problems natural variations in climate could bring. “No-one can
give me conclusive proof that mankind is actually having an effect on the


Young Asia Pacific Leaders Consider Climate Issues and Opportunities

Posted by admin on July 24, 2011
Posted under Express 148

Young Asia Pacific Leaders Consider Climate
Issues and Opportunities

Rio+20 next year is set to become the platform
for creating a deal on climate change and sustainable development. The failure
of international meetings to date to establish an enforced, legally binding
agreement on emissions was subject seriously considered at this month’s World Leadership
Conference in Singapore. And although climate change has many negative effects,
one positive outcome is the opening of new sea lanes in the Arctic. This can
reduce transit times between destinations and has implications for Singapore.


Young people attending the World Leadership
Conference 2011 in Singapore this month set out to build up a strong momentum
in the Asia-Pacific region towards Rio+20 and to train young people to become
leaders of today.

Rio+20 is set to become the platform for
creating a deal on climate change and sustainable development. The failure of
both the Kyoto Protocol and the Copenhagen Accord to establish an enforced,
legally binding agreement towards the protection of the environment and adaptation
to climate change was seriously considered at this Leadership Conference.

Ken Hickson attended the Conference and ran a
workshop on “Communicating Climate Change:

Towards a Green Economy to Eradicate Poverty”

The enthusiasm and determination of the young
leaders involved – as organisers and delegates – was admirable.

We will bring you more of the papers and
people of the conference in future issues. Here’s the fist in a series by Jill
Chin of CSR Asia:

Environmental Governance in the Corporate

On 15 July, I attended the World Leadership
Conference organised by ECO Singapore, an event which brought together youths
from Asia Pacific to learn and share ideas on sustainable development. I gave a
presentation on environmental governance in the corporate sector, which
received some interesting questions from the participants. In this article, I
would like to address one of the key issues raised – whether environmental
governance is solely defined as fulfilling legal obligations.

According to the United Nations Environment
Programme, environmental governance “comprises the rules, practices, policies
and institutions that shape how humans interact with the environment”. While
environmental governance is often associated with governments, it also takes
into account the role of other stakeholders that have an impact on the
environment, including the private sector, NGOs and civil society. For the
private sector, environmental governance can be understood as an internal
system of policies and frameworks to manage the environmental impacts of the
business and measure performance against set targets.

Is corporate environmental governance about
complying with the law? Yes and no. Certainly the governance system must
address all domestic and international environmental laws applicable to the
business operations; however environmental governance goes beyond compliance to
include voluntary actions to meet environmental standards that are above the
minimum requirements of the law. By taking proactive voluntary actions,
companies can demonstrate their environmental responsibility, which may lesson
the likelihood of stringent regulations in the future. Companies can also
differentiate themselves from competitors as environmental leaders in their
sectors, and respond to stakeholders demanding for greater environmental

As an example, the climate change agenda of
most Asian countries do not impose mandatory emission reduction targets on the
private sector; nonetheless it is not uncommon to find companies, usually the
leaders in their industry sectors, with climate change strategies and
self-determined targets. The airline industry in Hong Kong launched the first
voluntary, sector wide carbon intensity reduction pledge in the country. As
part of the industry effort, Cathay Pacific joined the Hong Kong Airport
Authority’s Carbon Reduction Campaign to reduce the airport’s carbon emissions
collectively by 25 percent per workload unit by 2015 compared to 2008 levels.
Cathay Pacific has also identified emission reduction targets in line with the
climate change targets of the International Air Transport Association.

Singapore-based property developer City
Developments Limited (CDL) adopts the ISO 14001 Environmental Management System
to provide a systematic process of managing CDL’s impacts on the environment.
CDL also draws reference from the Singapore Sustainable Development Blueprint
on energy intensity reduction targets, and sets a target of achieving a minimum
BCA Green Mark GoldPLUS rating for all new developments. (The BCA Green Mark is
a green building rating system to evaluate a building for its environmental
impact and performance. It is endorsed and supported by the Singapore National
Environment Agency.) In the area of climate change, CDL aims to reduce carbon
intensity emissions by 22 percent by 2020, which exceeds the nation’s reduction
target of 16 percent below business-as-usual (BAU) levels.

Samsung Electronics states its policy on the
use and phase out of target substances, which clearly outlines the commitment
and actions taken above and beyond legal requirements. By considering cases
where the scientific evidence is conflicting or not yet absolute and engaging
in ongoing dialogue with stakeholders, Samsung Electronics incorporates the
precautionary principle into its approach for managing target substances.

The above examples illustrate how
environmental governance can comprise both internal systems as well as external
initiatives. Most companies begin with setting in place internal policies and
systems. After getting the house in order, companies may consider external
initiatives to further their environmental commitments and actions. An example
is Unilever, which in 2009 announced a moratorium on the destruction of
rainforest and peat land areas in Indonesia to grow palm oil. Together with Greenpeace,
the company established a coalition of companies and NGOs to support the
moratorium and set public targets for purchasing certified sustainable supplies
of palm oil. Unilever also contributed to the development of the Roundtable on
Sustainable Palm Oil’s Greenhouse Gas Working Group’s proposals.

Effective environmental governance requires
top-level management commitment to develop, plan and implement policies and
systems that deliver the organisation’s environmental commitments. As the
environmental governance landscape of Asia evolves, companies must lose no time
in preparing themselves for stricter regulations in the future. Taking a
forward-thinking stance on environmental governance beyond legal compliance
will be critical for long-term business continuity and success.


Joshua Ho Straits Times (14 July 2011):

ALTHOUGH climate change has many negative
effects, one positive outcome is the opening of new sea lanes in the Arctic.
This can reduce transit times between destinations and has implications for

Global warming may cause the ice-logged
Arctic Ocean to be ice-free in the summer in the future. Estimates on when this
will occur vary, ranging from as early as 2015 to beyond 2040.

When it does occur, the opening of Arctic
routes will result in tremendous shipping benefits. Transiting the Northern Sea
Route above Russia between the North Atlantic and the North Pacific would trim
about 5,000 nautical miles – a week’s sailing time – as compared with passing
through the Suez Canal and Malacca Strait.

Financial savings associated with using this
shorter route are estimated at US$600,000 (S$740,000) a vessel.

This may have an adverse impact on existing
regional hub ports which have long been a nexus of east-west shipping, like

But despite the threats that could be
presented to a transit hub port like Singapore, there are also opportunities
which could be capitalised on.

First, with the opening of the Arctic routes
and the Arctic in general for oil exploration, there would be an increasing
need for new offshore rigs, special-purpose offshore facilities and vessels
which can withstand the cold and harsh Arctic environment. Singapore
shipbuilders which have already attained world-class standards are in a
position to capitalise on this new market.

Already, Keppel Offshore & Marine has
signed an agreement with Lukoil to cooperate on building new platforms. It has
already delivered two ice-breakers, two ice-class, anchor-handling tug supply
vessels, two ice-class rescue vessels and an ice-class floating storage and
offloading vessel in 2009, which were built according to the standards and
rules of the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping.

More Singapore shipbuilders can start to capitalise
on this opportunity as Russia has released plans to build a total of 40
ice-resistant oil platforms, 14 offshore gas terminals, 55 ice-resistant
tankers and storage tankers and 20 gas carriers in the future.

Second, new opportunities in research and
development and shipbuilding will spring up for Singapore. The rather clean
Arctic environment is very susceptible to marine pollution. This will prompt
the Arctic Council to impose stringent marine environmental regulations for
ships that transit the waterway to protect the marine environment.

This will require cleaner ships that have low
carbon emissions and are more energy efficient. Some research and development
could be undertaken. These may include improvements in hull design to reduce
underwater resistance, special coatings to cut fuel use and the development of
new ship engine technology fuelled by liquefied natural gas and hydrogen.

There is also a need for stronger and more
powerful vessels to transit the Arctic as well as to extract natural resources
which lie beneath the Arctic basin – this lends itself to further research and
development. An example of such ships would be the double-acting ship, which is
able to use both its stern and bow interchangeably while navigating through
different ice conditions.

Another example would be the development of
oblique ice-breakers with azimuth propulsion that could rotate and break ice
sideways. As Singapore is home to world-class shipbuilders, these firms could
capitalise on the development of new types of ships to meet the projected

Finally, with the opening of the Northern Sea
Route, there would be an increasing need for ports to service ships that ply
the route as the existing ports have rather rudimentary infrastructure.

PSA International is one of the leading
global port groups, with investments in 28 port projects in 16 countries across
Asia, Europe and America. With its extensive experience in port development, it
is well placed to develop ports along the Northern Sea Route in cooperation
with partners in Russia.

While the opening up of the Arctic sea
routes, in particular the Northern Sea Route, could have an adverse impact on
Singapore as a hub port, it also presents opportunities in new shipbuilding,
research and development into ship technology, as well as port development.

Firms operating in these areas should quickly
capitalise on the new opportunities that arise as the Arctic routes may well
open earlier than expected due to the unexpected and accelerated rates of
global warming.

The writer is a senior fellow with the
Maritime Security Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International
Studies, Nanyang Technological University.


More Funds for Clean Tech & Awards for Sustainability

Posted by admin on July 24, 2011
Posted under Express 148


More Funds for Clean Tech & Awards for

Singapore’s clean energy industry will
receive $195 million over five years to sharpen its capabilities in areas such
as smart grids, green buildings and carbon capture and utilisation. EDB
chairman Leo Yip announced the injection of funds yesterday at the second Clean
Technology Investment World Asia. Meanwhile, some of the country’s biggest
corporate names were in the winner’s circle when awards for clean and green
firms were handed out. The Singapore Sustainability Awards judged the 68
entrants on the levels of sustainability, innovation and commercial potential
of their business practices.

Feng Zengkun in Straits Times (13 July

The clean energy industry will receive $195
million over five years to sharpen its capabilities in areas such as smart grids,
green buildings and carbon capture and utilisation.

More than that, it will also push the
industry closer to its 2015 targets of $1.7 billion in economic value-add and
7,000 skilled jobs.

The sum will be granted to the inter-agency
Energy Innovation Programme Office (EIPO), led by the Economic Development
Board (EDB) and the Energy Market Authority.

The $195 million will support ‘competitive
grants’ for ‘bottom-up innovations’; strengthen public research centres in
industry-oriented innovation; and help boost the commercialisation of research
and development (R&D) results and develop postgraduate talent working on
new research.

EDB chairman Leo Yip announced the injection
of funds yesterday at the second Clean Technology Investment World Asia conference
held at the Grand Hyatt Singapore.

The investment follows a ‘top-up’ amount of
$140 million to the water sector announced by Deputy Prime Minister Tharman
Shanmugaratnam last week, earmarked for water R&D.

Mr Yip, in his opening address at the conference,
said that Singapore offers global cleantech companies ‘four key ingredients all
in one place’: technology, markets, talent and capital.

The injection of state funding will further
elevate Singapore’s technological competency. Public research centres such as
the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS) can expect to receive
some part of the funding.

SERIS and other centres have been able to
attract ‘peak talent and deep talent who may be business, research and practice
leaders in cleantech specialisations’. Mr Yip cited Joachim Luther, former
director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems and current SERIS
CEO, as one such name.

Singapore has also overcome its small size as
an energy market to offer itself as a ‘test-bed’ market for companies peddling
new green solutions. The upcoming eco-business park, Cleantech Park, ‘will
provide platforms for companies to showcase systems-level cleantech solutions’,
said Mr Yip. Singapore has also a ready pool of ‘cleantech investors’ in the
form of banks, corporate investors, leading venture capitalists and private
equity firms.

Furthermore, EDBI – the investment arm of EDB
– has been investing in ‘innovative companies with globally competitive
technologies’ keen to grow their companies through Singapore. CEO of EDBI Chu
Swee-Yeok said that it has to date invested about US$100 million in 10
cleantech projects around the world over the last few years. Two Singaporean
projects have benefited from EDBI’s monetary support.

‘Singapore’s pro-business environment,
logistics connectivity, rule of law, intellectual property rights protection
and innovation capability have all helped make it a strategic location for many
cleantech companies to launch their Asian growth plans,’ said Mr Yip.


Daniel Ho in the Straits Times (12 July

SOME of the country’s biggest corporate names
were in the winner’s circle when awards for clean and green firms were handed

The Singapore Sustainability Awards judged
the 68 entrants on the levels of sustainability, innovation and commercial
potential of their business practices. The awards, which were set up by the
Singapore Business Federation (SBF) in 2009, have two strands – Sustainable
Business and the Green IT.

Frost & Sullivan, IBM and KPMG served as
knowledge partners.

Logistics giant DHL, Sembcorp Industries and
industrial landlord JTC Corporation took top honours in the enterprise category
in the Sustainable Business Awards while Greenpac, Rigel Technology and Siloso
Beach Resort were tops in the Small and Medium Enterprises group.

The National Library Board, Tak System
Integration and eBUS Media Networks won the Green IT awards.

The presentation ceremony was held at the
Grand Hyatt Singapore, and attended by Mr Teo Ser Luck, Minister of State
(Trade and Industry).

Mr Teo praised the award winners for taking
‘an important step in the right direction, which also serves as a competitive
advantage that enables our companies to capture regional and global projects’.

Mr Sharad Somani, head of climate change and
sustainability services at KPMG, added: ‘Singapore companies should take up
sustainability initiatives not only as a regulatory imperative, but for business
growth and competitiveness.

‘Leading global companies like Walmart are
extensively focused on ensuring their entire value chain adheres to best
sustainability practices – from suppliers, right through to their end
distribution touch-points.’

The Sustainability Awards attracted twice as
many entrants this year as last year, indicating the growing importance of
sustainable practices here.

SBF chief operating officer Victor Tay said
stakeholders and customers are increasingly more conscious about a business’
impact on the environment.

‘Customers will choose a product based on its
carbon footprint,’ he added.

He noted that sustainable practices are
becoming more commercially viable due to advances in technology.

‘In the past, environmental products were
much more costly. Nowadays, sustainability allows for efficiency of cost.’


Veolia in Revolutionary Wastewater Treatment & Environmental Sustainability

Posted by admin on July 24, 2011
Posted under Express 148

Veolia in Revolutionary Wastewater Treatment &
Environmental Sustainability

Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies
(VWS) is constructing a revolutionary wastewater treatment plant to reduce the
environmental impact of L’Oreal’s manufacturing facilities in Asia. This was
announced during the Singapore International Water Week. Meanwhile, Veolia
Environmental Services has been recognised among Australia’s most innovative
organisations, winning the Australian Business Award for Environmental
Sustainability in the 2011 Awards.

Veolia Water Solutions Develops Revolutionary
Wastewater Treatment Plant for L’Oréal

Singapore, July 06, 2011 – Veolia Water
Solutions & Technologies (VWS) is constructing a revolutionary wastewater
treatment plant to reduce the environmental impact of L’Oreal’s manufacturing
facilities in Asia. VWS and L’Oreal, as leaders in their respective industries,
are well poised to develop “Carbon and Water Conscious” solutions to address
the issue of sustainability.

As part of L’Oréal’s commitment towards
“Great Citizen of the World”, L’Oréal has been applying an environmentally
conscious strategy in its manufacturing facilities worldwide. By collaborating
with Veolia, a revolutionary wastewater treatment plant (Suzhou factory in
China) which is optimally designed from a carbon and water footprint
perspective has been build.

The technical solution implemented in this
L’Oréal manufacturing site is based on the unique combination of VWS’ two
patented technologies (Biothane®Biobulk CSTR and Anoxkaldnes™MBBR) and has
contributed to achieve significant environmental results*:

-           Reduction
of energy consumption by 8.5%

-           Sludge
production reduced by 58% compared to the existing process

-           Elimination
of high concentrated liquid waste which is now treated in the wastewater
treatment plant

-           CO₂  emissions related to transportable waste are
reduced by 82%

As a result the total CO₂
emissions of the wastewater treatment plant have been reduced by 43%.

This technical solution is designed for
future production expansion, and to address future water challenges, a reclaim
system could be implemented for the utilities of the manufacturing plant
(Sanitary, Cooling system) to reduce the overall water consumption of the

Mr. Yves Caouette, Executive Vice President,
Industrial Marketing and Global Strategic Accounts, VWS said: “At VWS, we
believe in actively pursuing strategies that deliver environmentally-conscious
and innovative water technologies and solutions to meet the diverse needs of
both industry and municipalities.”

Veolia’s range of technologies is dedicated
to leverage the value of water & wastewater resources, ensuring that
customers such as L’Oréal will have the best possible solutions to optimize
their wastewater treatment installations, and thereby decreasing their
environmental impact.

Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies
(VWS), subsidiary of Veolia Water, is a leading design & build company and
a specialized provider of technological solutions in water treatment. With over
9,658 employees in 57 countries, Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies
recorded revenue of €2.15 billion Euros in 2010.

Veolia Water, the water division of Veolia
Environnement, is the world leader in water and wastewater services.
Specialized in outsourcing services for municipal authorities, as well as
industrial and service companies, it is also one of the world’s major designers
of technological solutions and constructor of facilities needed in water and
wastewater services. With 96,260 employees in 67 countries, Veolia Water
provides water service to 100 million people and wastewater service to 71
million. Its 2010 revenue amounted to €12.1 billion.


Veolia Environmental Services, one of
Australia’s largest waste management, recycling and industrial services
provider wins the 2011 Australian Business Award for Environmental
Sustainability for the second consecutive year.

SYDNEY, July 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Veolia
Environmental Services has been recognised among Australia’s most innovative
organisations, winning the Australian Business Award for Environmental Sustainability
in the 2011 Awards.

The Australian Business Awards challenges the
full spectrum of private, public and non-profit sector organisations in
Australia through its comprehensive business and product award categories.

Now in its sixth year, the Australian
Business Awards program recognises organisations that demonstrate the core
values of business excellence, product excellence, corporate responsibility,
sustainability and commercial success in their respective industries. A total
of 103 recipients were honoured from the 928 organisations that participated in
the 2011 Awards.

The Australian Business Award for
Environmental Sustainability recognises organisations that demonstrate
leadership and commitment to the enhancement, preservation and protection of
the environment.

Commenting on the win, Renee Fry, National
Communications Manager, Veolia Environmental Services said, “This award is
testament to Veolia’s long-standing commitment to leadership in environmental
sustainability. This award further recognises Veolia’s investment in delivering
innovative education services for Australian businesses on the importance of
recycling and resource recovery by engaging with workplaces all across the
country to enact behavioural change in relation to reducing the environmental
impacts of waste. Veolia is very proud to be the recipient of the Australian
Business Award for Environmental Sustainability for the second consecutive

Tara Johnston, Program Director of the
Australian Business Awards, said the standard of entries for 2011 was a
testament to the strength and resilience of the Australian economy.

“Australian businesses continue to adapt
business processes, invest in product development and Australian Business
Awards provide a welcome opportunity for organisations committed to business
and product excellence to receive recognition throughout their respective
industries for driving positive business outcomes,” said Johnston.

“We are proud that the Awards continue
to promote the key values in the workplace which foster a vibrant
organisational culture and encourage enterprise, product innovation, service
excellence, marketing excellence, environmental sustainability and community
contribution. We would like to congratulate all the 2011 winners for achieving
exceptional results within the respective award categories.”

Business award entries are separated by
industry classification per award category and evaluated in accordance with the
award criteria across seven main areas, including leadership and strategy,
impact on industry, adaptability and sustainability, human resource management,
customer relationship management, process management and evidence of success.

About Veolia: Veolia Environmental Services
is Australia’s environmental services leader in all facets of waste disposal,
e-waste recycling and resource recovery, as well as industrial services such as
Industrial Cleaning and Facilities Management. Veolia has over 30 years
industry experience in implementing effective, innovative and sustainable waste
management and Industrial Services solutions.

About the Australian Business Awards: The
Awards commenced in 2005 and are open to all private, public and non-profit
sector organisations operating in Australia. This includes multi-national
subsidiaries, government departments, agencies or bodies, franchisors and
non-government organisations. Details regarding the Awards program can be
obtained at