Archive for November, 2011

Sun Shines for Bigger Solar Future & Arab Spring Boosts Sahara’s Desertec

Posted by admin on November 27, 2011
Posted under Express 156

Sun Shines for Bigger Solar Future & Arab Spring Boosts Sahara’s Desertec

Renewable energy guru Professor Joachim Luther advances  that solar is the clear leader in the renewable
energy race, predicting it could be the majority energy source for the world by
2100, providing more than 65% of all energy, leaving fossil fuels languishing
at no more than 20%. Recharge News reports that the Arab Spring could be the
best thing to happen to the planned big scale Desertec solar in the Sahara.

Singapore, 24 November 2011

Solar Rises to the Top of the Renewable Fuel Gauge

Ken Hickson reports on “Meeting Our Future Energy Needs:
What Role Will Renewables and Energy Efficiency Play? organised by Institute of
South East Asian Studies, Energy Studies Institute, Innovation Norway and
Norwegian Embassy in Singapore.

It was billed as an event to get people thinking and acting.
And with the line-up of experts from around the world, it certainly did that.

The organisers acknowledged: “Renewable energy will play an
increasingly important part of the global energy mix in the years to come.
However, additional efforts are needed to make these forms of energy more
commercially competitive. Such efforts may include technological advances, regulatory
efforts, financial mechanisms and public-private partnerships.

Featuring renewable energy and energy efficiency expertise
from industry and academe, this seminar certainly looked at current and
developing thrusts in renewable energy production and use, energy efficiency
and new ways to reduce future carbon emissions.

While energy efficiency and all renewables had a good share
of time and space at the half day event, it was solar which rose to the top of
the renewable pile, thanks to an insightful overview by none other than global
solar guru Professor Joachim Luther named by Time Magazine in 2008 as a “hero
of the environment”.

Singapore is fortunate to have him now as the CEO of the
Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS). He is also a visiting
Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, at the
National University of Singapore. He was a member of the International Panel of
Experts (IPE) on Sustainability of the Built Environment for the Building and
Construction Authority of Singapore (BCA) in 2008 and of the Steering Committee
on Environmental Sustainability (CES) of Singapore’s Housing and Development
Board (HDB).

For someone who is grounded in nuclear physics – Professor
Luther holds a PhD degree in atomic physics from the University of Hannover,
Germany and was professor of applied physics at the University of Oldenburg in
the 1974 to 1993 – he has moved totally away from the nuclear option, in the
same way the Government of his homeland has.

Germany is now the among the biggest users of solar energy
from photovoltaic (PV)  panels in the
world, largely due to leadership from the Government, advances in research and
development in solar in the country and due to a the incentives of a feed in
tariff for homeowners and business who install solar.

Professor Luther sees incredible growth in production of
solar PV energy and adoption of solar. More than anything, this will be helped
by price. He foresees the price of conventional electricity going up and solar
electricity coming down. Studies done in Singapore show that by 2020 the cost
per kWh of electricity (largely produced from gas) could be 5% higher from a
2011 base, while solar PV sourced electricity could be between 7% and 13% less
per kWh.

Where does the cost reduction come from? According to the

  • Higher efficiency of energy conversion
  • Less material consumption
  • Low-cost materials
  • Optimised manufacture, mass production
  • Optimised module technologies
  • Optimised grid integration (smart grids)
  • New concepts of photovoltaic energy conversion

While he concentrated in his talk on solar PV, he also sees
tremendous opportunity for large scale solar thermal plants to help meet future
renewable energy demand.

He uses a colourful graph produced in 2003 by the German
Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) which dramatically shows a predominant
role for solar – PV and thermal – in the future. In fact, by 2050 solar appears
as the largest chunk in the renewable energy mix, which makes up close to 50%
of energy from all sources.

But from the projections to 2100, the predominant colour in
the graph is yellow (for solar PV and thermal) making up more than 65% of all
energy, with other renewables amounting to 15%, while the fossil fuels are
yesterday’s energy, reduced to around 20% of the total.

At the time, 2003, when the WBGU report entitled  “Towards Sustainable Energy Systems” – came
out, it clearly said: “Over the long term, the rising primary energy
requirement can only be met through vigorous utilization of solar energy – this
holds by far the largest sustainable potential. To tap this potential in time,
installed capacity will need to grow ten-fold every decade – now and over the
long term. The proportion of renewable energies in the global energy mix should
be raised from its current level of 12.7 per cent to 20 per cent by 2020, with
the long-term goal of more than 50 per cent by 2050.”

As you would expect for a seasoned solar expert, Professor
Luther clearly supports that view and uses the graph to illustrate the role
that solar can play in the future. Not as an “also-ran” among a mix of existing
and potential renewable energy technologies, but as the clear leader in the
field, by far the predominant clean energy of the future.



Recharge News:  18
November 2011

Backers of the €400bn ($550bn) Desertec solar project are
growing increasingly bullish over its prospects, with the political landscape
across the Middle East and North Africa shifting towards more democratic

As the Arab Spring consolidates, the vision of building
concentrating solar power plants across North Africa’s deserts to supply
electricity to the region, as well as Europe, is gaining credibility. It has
struck just the right note at the right time in many quarters.

Fast progress is being made in Morocco, the starting point
for the ambitious project. Agreements have been reached ­between the Desertec
Industrial Initiative and the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy to start
building a 150MW array that will later be expanded to 500MW. Construction is
due to start next year.

In the long term, Morocco will be a key first “reference
point” for the overall Desertec vision. The country’s existing transmission
interconnection with Spain, established many years ago, already allows energy
to be exported to Europe.

It is hoped the success of the Morocco-Spain link can be
built on, with additional projects planned in Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt, where
discussions and framework studies have ­begun. Egypt, which connects the North
African Sahara with the ­Middle East, will play a crucial role in the years

With Libya set to embark on a massive post-conflict
reconstruction effort, it is hoped that projects such as Desertec could
contribute to rebuilding its war-torn economy and provide much-needed jobs.

A product of the Desertec Foundation, a global network of
governments, companies and think-tanks, the project has corporate backers from
the energy, technology and construction sectors, as well as banks and a

Many big challenges lie ahead — not least from cash-strapped
Greece, which is promoting its Helios project to export solar electricity to
Germany, claiming that this is more politically and economically feasible than

However, the Arab Spring offers a real chance for Europe and
North Africa to develop stronger political, economic and social ties. What
better way to represent the dawning of a new relationship than by moving ahead
with a visionary project to bring clean energy to Europe.

Expectations surrounding the forthcoming climate change
summit in Durban are low, but it may be possible to make progress on issues
such as the establishment of an international Green Climate Fund, which was
agreed in Copenhagen in 2009.

The fund has proved hugely contentious, with governments
from developing and developed countries alike split over its size, and how the
cash will be raised and distributed.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appealed for a
concerted effort in South Africa to establish the $100bn-per-year fund, warning
that an empty shell is not sufficient, and that even in the current economic
climate, the world cannot afford delays.

Although UN climate
chief Christiana Figueres is playing down the likelihood of a successor
agreement to Kyoto being agreed at Durban, Ban has been much more upbeat —
suggesting a compromise might still be possible.

Fears are growing that failure to agree a new deal could see
the Kyoto Protocol lapse, removing binding emissions targets from many
countries and the regulatory regime that supports an international carbon
market. Governments must come to Durban willing to compromise to stop that


Asia Businesses Could Save 20 – 40% with Energy Efficiency Investments

Posted by admin on November 27, 2011
Posted under Express 156

Asia Businesses Could Save 20 – 40% with Energy Efficiency Investments

Asia’s best bet for reducing energy demand and carbon
emissions – energy efficiency – receives only a fraction of the investment
needed. Energy efficiency topped the rankings as the most cost-effective
measure to tackle climate and energy security in Asia, yet investments in this
sector are not nearly enough, said the United States Agency for International
Development’s Regional Development Mission for Asia (USAID/RDMA).

Jenny Marusiak in (25 November 2011):

Asia’s best bet for reducing energy demand and carbon
emissions – energy efficiency – receives only a fraction of the investment

Energy efficiency topped the rankings as the most
cost-effective measure to tackle climate and energy security in Asia, yet
investments in this sector are not nearly enough, said an international
development agency on Wednesday.

The United States Agency for International Development’s
Regional Development Mission for Asia (USAID/RDMA) has launched a report which
found that of 152 possible actions to push Asia towards a low-carbon energy
supply, the top six were energy efficiency-related.

Yet, the Asian countries studied are coming up with only a
small fraction of the necessary investment in energy efficiency, noted the
report authors.

“There is a large disconnect between the potential of energy
efficiency and its actual implementation,” they wrote.

Called Energy Trends in Developing Asia: Priorities for a
Low-Carbon Future, the report compared the current and projected energy demands
with the clean energy investment outlook of developing Asia’s highest energy
consumers, including China, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, and
Vietnam. It also studied data for the Asean nations of Brunei, Cambodia, Laos,
Malaysia, Singapore and Myanmar.

It then assessed the potential for different clean energy
initiatives including increasing renewable energy sources, carbon, capture and
storage (CCS) options and energy efficiency actions, for reducing overall
carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

By analysing the costs and effectiveness of low-carbon
measures, the report authors aimed to provide Asia’s policy-makers, businesses,
academics and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) with the necessary data to
prioritise investment in a cleaner, more secure energy supply.

Investment in renewable energy has been steadily ramping up.
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) has said that power from renewable
energy sources is growing fastest in developing Asian countries, led by China
and India.

Yet, even with the
rapid growth in renewable energy investement, the EIA predicts that by 2035
electricity from renewable energy – most of which will be hydropower – will
only make up 20 per cent of the region’s overall power supply.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) warned in its World
Energy Outlook 2010 that energy efficiency would have to provide the bulk of
the world’s future carbon dioxide (C02) emissions reductions through 2030. To
avoid a global temperature rise of more than two degrees Celsius, the world
would need to increase energy efficiency to make up 57 per cent of its overall
emissions reductions.

“There is a lack of capacity in the region to plan, design,
and finance energy efficiency on a scale commensurate with the urgency of the
risks posed by energy insecurity and climate change,” wrote the report’s

China alone has identified US$43 billion in yearly
investments that will be needed if it is going to meet its energy savings

Much of the region’s needed investment could come from the
private sector if it can take advantage of the potential savings, say experts.

The USAID/RDMA report found that the six most cost-effective
energy efficiency investments were in lighting, residential appliances and
equipment, residential building efficiency, commercial building efficiency,
motor-systems efficiency, and in more efficient passenger vehicles.

Earlier this month, a study published by global consultancy
Roland Berger Strategy Consultants and the European Chamber of Commerce
(Eurocham) found that in Southeast Asia alone, energy efficiency investments
such as these could save US$15 billion to US$43 billion in energy costs and
result in a 12 to 30 per cent decrease in energy consumption by the year 2020.

The same study found that, for the most part, the private
sector was failing to tap into that potential market.

Global sustainability
expert Dr Martin Blake, who is executive director of The GreenAsia Group
consultancy, told Eco-Business in a phone interview that the key to generating
investment from the private sector was to focus on the business case for energy

“Bringing carbon into the argument only creates confusion,”
he said.

Dr Blake added that energy savings was one of the greatest
opportunities facing companies today, and that most businesses could save from
20 to 40 per cent after recouping energy efficiency investments.

“Once they realise that, the carbon emissions reductions
will follow,” he said.

The biggest opportunities for increasing energy efficiency
are in Asia’s growing cities,where energy demand is rapidly expanding for
buildings, industries and transport, according to the USAID/RDMA report.

In China, for example, the daily operations of residential
and commercial buildings consume about a quarter of China’s total energy use –
this is more than its iron, steel and cement industries combined.

Asia’s cities will contain more than half of the world’s
urban population by 2030.

According to the report, the combination of rapid
urbanisation and growing per capita incomes, which raise people’s consumption
levels, are driving a massive increase in the region’s energy demand.

Currently, developing countries within Asia consume only 28
per cent of global energy supplies, despite being home to nearly 50 per cent of
the world’s population.

China, Asia’s largest consumer, uses 17 per cent of the
total global output of energy. On average, the largest six Asian countries
studied in the report consume about one tenth of the energy of the United
States on a per capita basis.

But, the report notes, power generation in Southeast Asia,
China and India is expected to double from 2008 to 2030.

Electricity from coal, which emits the most CO2 per unit of
energy of all the fossil fuels, will grow by 77 per cent. Nuclear power will
grow by a multiple of twelve; over 30 new nuclear power plants are planned for
the region.

Electricity from natural gas will triple, and power from
biomass is set to increase by 50 times, while hydroelectric power will increase
by 44 per cent.

Of the major electricity sources, only crude oil is
projected to decrease – by 15 per cent – but its use as a fuel for
transportation will increase dramatically.

USAID/RDMA predicts that the region’s growing energy
consumption will result in a 55 per cent increase in CO2 emissions from the six
focus countries within the next 20 years – mostly from India and China, which
together contribute 91 per cent of developing Asia’s energy-related emissions.

The study further found that the region’s rising energy
demands are causing a growing reliance on fossil fuel imports, and thereby
increasing threats to the energy security of developing Asian nations.

Oil imports into Asia have increased by 140 per cent in the
past decade, and the amount of oil demand met by imports is projected by the
IEA to increase from 55 per cent in 2009 to 85 per cent in 2030.

The percentage of natural gas imports to Asia is also
predicted to rise dramatically. In 2008, Asia exported more gas than it
imported. By 2030, the region will have to import 30 per cent of its natural
gas supplies.

USAID/RDMA’s study was a project of its recently completed
Environmental Cooperation-Asia Clean Development and Climate Program (ECO-Asia


To Business: Change Habits to Meet the Sustainability Challenge

Posted by admin on November 27, 2011
Posted under Express 156

To Business: Change Habits to Meet the Sustainability Challenge

Sustainability needs to be ‘part of the business model’,
says Unilever CEO Paul Polman and businesses need to promote sustainability in
order to fill the commitment gap from governments that fail to deliver. This
and other reports on the business of sustainability as reported by the grapevine
magazine, incuding Sainbury’s and the University of Exeters new One Plant MBA.


Sustainability needs to be ‘part of the business model’,
says Unilever CEO

Businesses need to promote sustainability in order to fill
the commitment gap from governments that fail to deliver, says Paul Polman,
Unilever’s chief executive.

Unilever has launched its ‘Five Levers for Change’
guidelines, which provide advice on how to change habits to meet the
sustainability challenge.

Mr Polman explained that, despite the current economic
instability, now is the “moment to get a different type of growth” by making
sustainability “a part of the business model”.


To coincide with a public debate on mainstreaming
sustainable living, Unilever has today published the behaviour change model its
marketers use to encourage sustainable changes in consumer living habits: ‘Five
Levers for Change’.

Based on Unilever’s long history of research and insights
into consumer behaviour, the tool is based on a set of key principles, which,
if applied consistently to behaviour change interventions, increases the
likelihood of having an effective and lasting impact. Unilever is sharing the
model in the hope that others will find it helpful and use it to inspire people
to turn their concerns about sustainability into positive actions.

The model outlines five techniques to apply when looking to
encourage new behaviours based on five key insights.  The ‘Five Levers for Change’ are:

  1. Make it understood. Sometimes people don’t know
    about a behaviour and why they should do it. This Lever raises awareness and
    encourages acceptance.
  2. Make it easy. People are likely to take action
    if it’s easy, but not if it requires extra effort.  This Lever establishes convenience and
  3. Make it desirable. The new behaviour needs to
    fit with how people like to think of themselves, and how they like others to
    think of them.  This Lever is about self
    and society.
  4. Make it rewarding. New behaviours need to
    articulate the tangible benefits that people care about.  This Lever demonstrates the proof and payoff.
  5. Make it a habit.
    Once consumers have changed, it is important to create a strategy to
    help hold the behaviour in place over time. This Lever is about reinforcing and

“We have been working hard to distil those critical areas of
behaviour change insight that we all need to use to engage consumers,” said
Unilever CEO Paul Polman. “We are publishing our approach because we think that
there are wider benefits from sharing our work with others.”

“A huge part of our environmental impacts come from how
people use our products; two thirds of the greenhouse gas impacts across the
lifecycle and about half of our water footprint is associated with consumer
use. So inspiring consumers to adopt new sustainable products and behaviours is
fundamental to achieving the goals set out in the Unilever Sustainability
Living Plan,” added Polman.

‘Five Levers for Change’ is published in a booklet which
also contains a series of personal perspectives on sustainable living by
leading experts on sustainability and behaviour change from around the world,
including Forum for the Future Founder Jonathon Porritt, Akatu Institute for
Conscious Consumption President Helio Mattar, and behaviour change specialist
Val Curtis from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.



Global companies pledge support for new University of Exeter
One Planet MBA

A raft of major corporations have announced their support
for the new One Planet MBA programme, exclusively offered at the University of
Exeter Business School in collaboration with WWF.

Companies including Canon, Coca Cola, the Cooperative Group,
IBM, IKEA, Lafarge, Lloyds TSB, Nokia, Sony, Atos and Thomson Reuters are
backing scholarships for MBA students. They are also providing guest speakers
for the programme and offering students the opportunity to work with them on
projects as part of their MBA.

Professor Malcolm Kirkup, Director of the One Planet MBA
commented, ‘We’ve been overwhelmed by the level of interest and support
received from the corporate community. These particular companies are
demonstrating real leadership on sustainability and it is great to have them on
board. We are delighted they have already recognised the value of the programme
and the quality of our students. These scholarships will ensure that we
continue to attract high quality cohorts of students from a diverse range of

The One Planet MBA has recently been highlighted as ‘good
practice’ at the 2011 Principles of Management Education Summit in Brussels.
More details can be found on the PRME Summit website.


Sainsbury’s also unveiled a £1billion plan to bring the
agenda to the foreground of their business practice, creating 50,000 jobs in
the process.

The planet is under strain and the choices we make about the
products we buy have never been more important. The global population is rising
at a time when natural resources are decreasing. As such, there is increasing
pressure on the global food system. The earth’s capacity to provide food is
threatened by climate change, water scarcity and unsustainable farming
practices. We need to find ways to make land more productive and to protect the
biodiversity on which all food production ultimately depends. That means
building resilient supply chains to ensure long term security of sustainable

The 20 by 20 Sustainability Plan comes at exactly the right
time for Sainsbury’s. One only has to pick up the daily newspapers to see the
challenges facing our society, economy and planet to understand why.

Following consultation with NGOs and other stakeholders,
we’ve set ourselves 20 ambitious goals, which will help our customers make more
nutritious, sustainable and ethical purchasing decisions week in, week out, on
a journey to 2020. We want to transform the marketplace for greener, fairer and
healthier products. We want to help shift our customers’ everyday behaviour in
favour of sustainability but still provide the value and quality that they have
come to expect.

20 by 20 is our roadmap towards making this vision a
reality, and through our scale and these commitments, we can make a positive
difference throughout the value chain.

For example, Deforestation is responsible for around 20 per
cent of global greenhouse gas emissions (UNEP).

It causes irreversible damage to the natural habitat of many
species vital for sustaining life on earth. Unsustainable logging practices and
the destruction of forests for farming threaten to remove the earth’s natural
breathing system. The challenge is not only to stop this damage but also help
to restore forest cover.

By 2020, our own brand products won’t contribute to global


Flying into Cloud: Will EU’s Emission Scheme Get Off the Ground?

Posted by admin on November 27, 2011
Posted under Express 156

Flying into Cloud: Will EU’s Emission Scheme Get Off the Ground?

A new European Union (EU) scheme gets
introduced from 1 January 2012 which will punish airlines for polluting the
skies. Airlines object as it could lead to higher airfares for passengers and
fewer direct flights to Europe. The EU has refused to compromise so far, setting
the stage for a showdown. British Airways said the airline intends to comply
with the scheme, but the nightmare scenario would be a tit-for-tat seizure of
planes across countries.

By Feng Zengkun  in Straits Times (24 Noveber 2011):

A BREATH of fresh air could
become more expensive from next year for anyone visiting Europe. But for
Singaporean travellers, an air ticket to the continent could come at an even
higher price, given the longer distance.

This is because a new fee will
kick in on Jan 1 to punish airlines for polluting the skies. Airlines have been
coy about it, but analysts said the extra cost could well be passed on to

Only flights that use European
Union (EU) airports are affected. On a Singapore-Jakarta-Frankfurt flight, for
example, only the Jakarta-Frankfurt leg will be counted.

Keeping airlines in check

FROM Jan 1, a new European Union
(EU) scheme will punish airlines for polluting the skies. This could lead to
higher airfares for passengers and fewer direct flights to Euro

When it was introduced: 2007

When it takes effect: Jan 1, 2012

How long it will last: Until
2020, but could be extended after that time

What is affected: All flights
that take off or land at EU airports

How much it is expected to cost
airlines: US$18 billion (S$23 billion) over the eight years, although the EU
disputes this.

How it works:

•Airlines calculate their total
pollution each year by multiplying the fuel used on affected flights by a
carbon dioxide emissions factor.

•They submit the figures to the
EU, which independently verifies them.

•Each airline is given an annual
free emissions ‘allowance’. They will have to pay if they exceed this

•To do this, they have to buy
‘carbon credits’ from other airlines which have not exceeded the cap; airlines
can ‘bank’ unused credits.

•They can also buy these credits
from other industries; the EU scheme has already been rolled out to other
sectors such as the paper industry.

•If the airlines fail to pay the
owed fees, they will be fined €100 (S$175) for each tonne of carbon dioxide on
top of what they owe.

•The scheme is administered by
different EU states, which have additional penalties for continued
non-compliance. These include banning airlines from entering EU airspace or
seizing their planes.

The fuel used on these flights is
multiplied by a standard carbon dioxide emissions factor to calculate the total

The EU will monitor airlines’
emissions each year between next year and 2020. The scheme could be extended
after that time.

While each airline will be
allowed to emit some carbon dioxide for free each year, they will have to buy
‘carbon credits’ from other airlines or industries to pay off the pollution if
they exceed the allowance.

Since the scheme was announced by
the EU in 2007 as part of a larger green plan, it has been heavily opposed by
the aviation industry.

The International Air Transport
Association (IATA) estimated that the scheme will cost airlines US$18 billion
(S$23 billion) over the next eight years, but the EU disputes this.

An IATA spokesman told The
Straits Times that the industry is already being battered by rising fuel costs,
which have increased by 60 per cent since last year.

In a bid to counter the EU
scheme, airlines set its own target to reduce emissions by 50 per cent by 2050,
compared to 2005. But EU lawmakers were not persuaded.

The industry now emits 2 per cent
of all carbon dioxide. But in Europe alone, the number of flights is expected
to treble in the next four decades, to around 25 million flights per year in

Lufthansa, Europe’s largest
airline, said it will have to pay up to €300 million (S$528 million) next year
under the scheme, a third of its profits for last year.

The free emissions allowance will
also be lowered by three percentage points in 2013, which means airlines will
have to pay more between 2013 and 2020.

Flights from Asia to Europe will
be affected more because of the longer distance; Singapore Airlines (SIA)
declined to provide a dollar figure but said 9,000 of its flights will be
affected each year.

Cabins without toilets?

WITH the new fees being
inevitable, passengers could end up absorbing them, said Mr Paul Ng, global
head of aviation at law firm Stephenson Harwood.

Airlines such as British Airways,
Lufthansa and SIA told The Straits Times they have not ruled out doing that.
But at the same time, airlines have been on a drive to find ways to cut
emissions to avoid paying the fees.

One way is to offer fewer direct
flights. A Singapore-London flight, for example, could be broken up into two
separate flights with a stopover just outside the EU.

This would reduce the amount of
fuel that falls under the scheme, since only the shorter, latter leg would be

But Mr Ng said such actions
carried risks.

‘No one wants to be the first to
inconvenience passengers or charge higher prices. Passengers would just go to
another airline,’ he said.

Mr Ng added that airlines cannot
collude to charge higher prices together as this is illegal.

Another way is to cut short-haul
flights if other transportation methods are available.

Lufthansa cut its
Frankfurt-Cologne flight in 2007 because there was a faster high-speed train
route. It now operates a carriage on the train

This will mean that Singaporeans
travelling abroad may find fewer short-haul flights within the EU in the future

Mr Ng Chin Hwee, SIA’s executive
vice-president for human resources and operations, said airlines can also
reduce the fuel used by making the planes lighter.

The airline is currently
conducting a trial on electronic magazines and newspapers, which are installed
on its in-flight entertainment systems.

The paper versions can weigh up
to 1,000kg on flights, according to trade magazine Enviro Aero. It also
estimated that a plane could save 34,000 litres of fuel a year by reducing the
weight of each passenger seat by 1kg.

Mr Jonathan Galaviz, chief
economist at Galaviz and Company, which does consultations for airlines, said
the industry is also looking into lighter food carts and seats.

He said airlines could consider
lowering baggage limits, ‘but there has to be a balance between customer
satisfaction and airline profitability’.

In an extreme example of
cost-cutting, Ryanair last month announced that it would remove two out of
three toilets on its planes to add more seats. While the additional seats may
not make the plane lighter, it will earn the airline more money.

Planes powered by biofuel

BUT these short-term measures may
not be enough.

The potentially hefty price tag
has led some airlines to look into other, more long-term measures, such as
changing their fleet of planes.

Newer planes such as the Airbus
A-380 and Boeing-787 Dreamliner transport more people and use up to 20 per cent
less fuel per passenger compared to older models, but each plane takes years to

Many airlines, including Lufthansa,
Continental, Qantas and SIA, are also investing in biofuels, which are not
counted under the scheme.

These are fuels made from plants
such as jatropha and canola seeds. But some are controversial because
environmentalists say forests could be razed to make way for them, harming the
planet even more than conventional fuel.

In July, Lufthansa started
testing a jet fuel made up of 50 per cent biofuel on a flight between Frankfurt
and Hamburg. The findings will be ready only in a few years.

Dr Alexander Zschocke,
Lufthansa’s senior manager for biofuels, added that alternative fuels are still
too expensive to help airlines in the next few years.

‘They now cost two to three times
more than conventional fuel, which would wipe out any savings under the scheme,’
he said.

Other airlines told The Straits
Times that more can be done to shorten flight routes between countries.

Mr Petteri Kostermaa, Finnair’s
sales director for Singapore and South-east Asia, said: ‘Right now, many flight
routes zigzag due to restrictions imposed by air traffic control. This is not

Even changing the planes’ noses
to reduce wind resistance and inventing smoother paint – both being researched
now – would shave precious tonnes off the airlines’ fuel use.

Nightmare scenario

BUT the greatest and most
immediate threat to passengers and airlines is what will happen if airlines do
not pay the fee.

The scheme includes clauses to
revoke airlines’ operating licences in the EU and to seize their planes if they
do not pay owed fees. This would cause chaos for airlines and passengers.

The United States last month
voted to ban its airlines from paying the fee. It said the EU scheme was

The Air Transport Association of
America is also suing the EU in the European Court of Justice over the scheme,
saying it violates international aviation law. A ruling is expected by the end
of the year or early next year.

Several Chinese airlines plan to
bring a similar suit by year end.

But the EU has refused to
compromise so far, setting the stage for a showdown.

Mr Jonathan Counsell, head of
British Airways’ environment department, said the airline intends to comply
with the scheme, but the nightmare scenario would be a tit-for-tat seizure of
planes across countries.

‘We all hope that a compromise
can be reached. But there’s not much time left,’ he told The Straits Times.


Last word…. Media is the Message: Sustainability in the News

Posted by admin on November 27, 2011
Posted under Express 156

Last word…. Media is the Message: Sustainability in the News

If we continue to live unsustainably, we will by definition
fail to sustain our societies – our, societies will crumble. There is growing
irrefutable evidence of this creeping fact all around us. Everyone, especially
the young, needs to be educated about this simple fact. About what the problems
are and how we can deal with them and what we may expect if we fail to deal
with them.

A role for the media? Certainly says Brisbane’s Dr Geoffrey
Chia, who leads Doctors and Scientists for Sustainability and Social Justice
(D3sj), who would ike to see a TV channel dedicated entirely to sustainability

Then there’s the Media Alliance at the Asia
Television Forum at Marina Bay Sands  in
Singapore on 7 December, looking at Corporate Social Responsibilty and Climate
Change, where “Media and Multi-Sector Partnerships in Achieving Positive Social
Change”. Ken Hickson and Martin Blake will be among those taking part along
with media bosses and represenatves from the UN and Asian Development Bank.
Read More

Media leaders Forum at the Asia Television Forum at Marina
Bay Sands  in Singapore on 7 December,
looking at Corporate Social Responsibilty and Climate Change, where “Media and
Multi-Sector Partnerships in Achieving Positive Social Change”.

The Media Leaders’ Forum will discuss the role and
responsibility of media companies in affecting positive social action and
behaviour change on the critical issues relating to climate change.

UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the UN
Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-ESCAP), Dr Noeleen
Heyzer, will deliver a keynote address, followed by a panel discussion of
senior media, advertising and development community representatives who will
discuss the use of media relationships and tools for advocacy, awareness and behaviour
change in accomplishing companies’ corporate social responsibility (CSR)

The Media Leaders’ Forum will explore how partnerships with
international development and donor agencies and private-sector companies with
strong CSR initiatives can affect public engagement on issues relating to
climate change. It will encourage invited media heads to support broad and
extended campaigns to raise awareness and achieve behaviour change on climate
change by providing advertising inventory, entertaining program content and
editorial space to explain the issues.


11.00 am –           Opening
remarks:  David Astley, Executive
Chairman, The Media Alliance

11:05 am –           Keynote
Address:  UN Under-Secretary-General and
Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the
Pacific (UN-ESCAP), Dr Noeleen Heyzer

11:25 am –           Introductory
presentations by panelists:

Robert Van Zwieten, Director of Capital Markets and
Financial Sectors Division, Private Sector Operations Department, Asian
Development Bank, Manila

Martin Blake, Executive Director, The GreenAsia Group,
Singapore, and Executive Chairman, Carbon Zero Solutions Ltd, London

Dan Gibson, Managing Director, Ogilvy & Mather,

Thepchai Yong, Managing Director, Thai Public Broadcasting
Service, Bangkok

Ken Hickson, Author of ‘The ABC of Carbon’ and Governor of
WWF Australia

Arya Gunawan Usis, Advisor for Communication and
Information, UNESCO

12.10 pm –          Panel
discussion and input from invited media leaders

Moderator:  Sharanjit Leyl, BBC World

12.50 pm –          Summary
and closing remarks:

1.00 pm –             VIP
luncheon for panelists and invited media leaders

TV Channel

From  Dr Geoffrey
Chia, Brisbane, Australia, who leads Doctors and Scientists for Sustainability
and Social Justice (D3sj):

An idea whose time has come: A 24 hour ABC TV channel
dedicated entirely to sustainability issues

When Ted Turner came up with the idea of a 24 hour news
channel, people at the time derided it as crazy and unworkable. But it proved a
resounding success. It was the naysayers who had to eat humble pie. CNN’s success
bred a whole host of imitators and now we regard, say, BBC 24 hour News as just
one of many such channels. Furthermore this idea spawned the mushrooming of
many other specialty channels such as the history channel, national geographic
channel, even the weather (!) channel.

There are now a profusion of individual sustainability
programs and documentaries available, but they are widely scattered about in
time and place. Such programs, gathered together, can easily fill several 24
hour dedicated channels. Let us in Australia start with just one sustainability

Why? Because if we continue to live unsustainably, we will
by definition fail to sustain our societies – our, societies will crumble.
There is growing irrefutable evidence of this creeping fact all around us.
Everyone, especially the young, needs to be educated about this simple fact.
About what the problems are and how we can deal with them and what we may
expect if we fail to deal with them.

How? It should be funded from the public purse with no
commercial advertising. There will be few other projects more worthwhile, more
cost effective and more important, the best bang for the taxpayers buck. There
is absolutely no doubt that the pursuit of sustainability is in the public
interest, hence this channel should be a free to air public broadcasting

Who? Those who select programming should choose material on
the basis of scientific validity, on the basis of whether the assertions made
have the backing of evidence and reason.

BBC Horizon documentaries related to sustainability would be
ideal material. This does not preclude an entertaining approach (such as
channel ten’s Scope program, one of the few commercially produced science based
programs). There will be no place for lunatic ideas or for deceit perpetrated
by sources such as the Marshall institute (who are the original tobaccocancer deniers
and global warming deniers) or the “Institute of Public Affairs”, an
industry funded pseudo thinktank which promotes commercial interests under a
bogus banner.

The chief scientist of Australia should be on the board of
our ABC sustainability channel, perhaps chair the board. This board should
mainly consist of experts in specific fields related to sustainability:
conservation biology, climate science, resource depletion, steady state sustainable
economics etc. Only those actively publishing / researching / teaching in their
fields should be allowed on the board. Industry funded trojan-horse
“scientists” such as those from the IPA must be screened for and actively
excluded. Other board members should include those who work towards social
justice initiatives and selected community leaders, because sustainability
issues are intimately tied in with social justice measures.

When? The sooner the better. Yesterday.


1. We should start a letter writing and email petition
campaign for an ABC sustainability TV channel. Swamp the government with strong
demands for this channel: an antidote to the mindless, voyeuristic, consumeristic,
gossipy drivel we see on the commercial “buy, buy, buy” channels.
Write to your local MP, to your federal representative, to the Prime Minister.
If you personally know any ABC executives, speak to them about it, write to
them about it. If you don’t have time, simply copy this letter and add your signature
endorsing it.

2. ABC3 at present is not a 24 hour channel, it is off air
much of the time. This free airtime should be filled with sustainability programming
right now. It does not matter if good programs happen to be aired at 3am,
sensible viewers will select and record their preferences anyway for later
viewing. There will be no concerns about filling a children’s TV channel with
sustainability programs because firstly they are G rated programs and secondly
the young audience are the most important audience to address in any case.

If they by accident happen to view a program on renewable
energy instead of Sponge Bob Squarepants, so much the better. The biggest
mistake we can make is to underestimate the potential intelligence and wisdom
of the youngest members of our community. The greatest task we can undertake is
to nurture their intelligence and wisdom. These children can then engage their
parents in discussion and teach the adults a thing or two.

3. As momentum picks up, transfer the sustainability
programs from ABC3 to a dedicated 24 hour ABC sustainability channel.

4. Other (sensible) countries of the world will then follow
suit when they realise what a good idea this is.

Our ABC can then take credit for being the pioneer.

Let’s get on with it! Please support this initiative. Please
send this note out to everyone else in the sustainability network nationwide.
Thanks for your attention.

Geoffrey Chia, October 2011

Doctors and Scientists for Sustainability and Social Justice
(D3sj) Our group invites participation from all members of the public who agree
with these medical and scientific principles: that we should use evidence,
reason and fairness as the principal means to address the issues facing
society, in order to achieve the greatest amount of good for the greatest
number of people on a long term basis.

We are located in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Next meeting December 7, 2011.



A Day to Remember

Posted by admin on November 12, 2011
Posted under Express 155

A Day to Remember

The date was thought to be propitious.
11.11.11. For many it continues to be Remembrance Day or Armistice Day, marking
the end of the First World War. For others, a great mark on the calendar for a
wedding day or birthday. Some of us hoped it would draw attention to the 11th
Hour – the urgency and the necessity – time to make big decisions about our
future world, which is headed on the path to disaster. Significantly, the
International Energy Agency chose this time to give a dire warning that we must
change our energy ways or we are all doomed. Amony Lovins gives us hope and
says it is possible to run a much bigger US economy without oil, coal or
nuclear.There’s a new global list of the world’s most vulnerable countries in
line for climate change impacts and recognition for Munich Re for setting out
the genuine climate risks and leading investment in the Sahara solar scheme.
But we are not doing so well so far…global emissions are still on the rise,
but one way to quickly change things is starring us in the face. Stop chopping
down trees. The UN tells us what we know to expect – more extreme weather and
disasters. Thailand  knows what that
means.Island states want more say and hope the upcoming Durban Climate Change
conference delegates take note, while Africa hopes for a multi-billion dollar
green fund. Australia has a new hope along with its finally legal Carbon Price and
a Clean Energy Future. Singapore comes clean with a new plan for a floating
solar island and an innovative solar charging device. There’s a lot of money to
be made and saved with greater energy efficiency measures in South East Asia,
says Roland Berger, while there’s a warning – again – of an eco-disaster with a
global population out of control.Seven billion and growing fast. How about some
close encounters of a clean energy kind?
Ken Hickson

Profile: Amory Lovins

Posted by admin on November 12, 2011
Posted under Express 155

Profile: Amory Lovins

No ivory-tower scientist, Amory Lovins of the
Rocky Mountain Institute in his latest book “Reinventing Fire”, has a winning
prescription for all four energy-using sectors – transportation, buildings,
industry and electricity – by integrating four kinds of innovation –
technology, policy, design and strategy. Put it all together in a plan for
running a 158%-bigger US economy by 2050 with no oil, coal, or nuclear energy.

Amory Lovins’ Burning Quest to ‘Reinvent

By Joel Makower in Green Biz (27 October

Amory Lovins has a new book out today. That’s
worthy of a news story in itself, since many of his previous works — books and
papers going back to the 1970s — have spurred radical new thinking in energy,
transportation, and building systems. And not just thinking: an impressive list
of companies and governments around the world can trace some of their more
innovative products, processes, and business models to the thinking of Lovins
and his colleagues at the Rocky Mountain Institute, of which he is co-founder,
chairman and chief scientist.

Lovins’ new book, Reinventing Fire: Bold
Business Solutions for the New Energy Era, pulls from the last 30 years of
Lovins’ and RMI’s work. In it, he and his team offer a plan for running a 158
percent-bigger U.S. economy in 2050 with no oil, coal, or nuclear energy.

I recently talked with Lovins about the book,
its implications for companies, and what it will take to make its vision a

Joel Makower: Amory, let’s start with the
title. Tell me about where the idea of “reinventing fire” came from?

Amory Lovins: Well, fire made us human, fossil fuels made us modern and we now need a new fire that makes us secure, safe and durable. The old fire of fossil fuels has served us very well and created our wealth and enriched the lives of billions. It also has costs to our economy, health, environment and security that are starting to erode the prosperity and security it created, so it’s time for a new fire. Because this is the biggest infrastructure change perhaps in the history of our species, we wanted to give it a suitably expansive title.

JM: And what did you find?

AL: Reinventing Fire shows how to run a very
prosperous 2050 U.S. economy — 2.6 times today’s — with no oil, no coal, no
nuclear energy, one-third less natural gas and a $5 trillion lower
net-present-value cost than business as usual. We also found the transition
requires no new inventions and no Act of Congress and can be led by business
for profit.

JM: Many of us, and especially you, have been
talking about some of these things for a long, long time. How is Reinventing
Fire different from past efforts to push renewables and efficiency?

AL: I think in three main respects and several
minor ones. The first two come from a remark attributed to General Eisenhower:
“If a problem cannot be solved, enlarge it.” That is, the reason you
couldn’t solve it wasn’t that it wasn’t small enough to be bite-sized, but
rather the values were drawn so narrowly that it didn’t encompass enough
options, degrees of freedom and synergies to make it solvable.

So, in that spirit, we integrated all four
energy-using sectors – transportation, buildings, industry and electricity –
and having spent the last three or four decades deeply immersed in practical
work in all four of those, we were in an unusually good position to do that
integration. So we found, as you’d expect, for example, that it is much easier
to solve the automotive and electricity problems together than separate

Secondly, we integrated four kinds of
innovation, not just the usual two – technology and policy – but also design –
that is, how technologies are combined — and strategy — that is, a new
competitive strategies and new business models, which turn out to be even
richer in innovation than technology and policy. And the four together are much
more than the sum of their parts, especially in creating deeply disruptive
business opportunities.

A third point of departure is that this work
is trans-ideological. It doesn’t matter whether you care most about profits,
jobs and competitive advantage or about national security, or about health and
environmental stewardship. We ought to do the same things anyway for whatever
reasons. So, if we focus on outcomes not motives, and do the things we agree
ought to be done from whatever perspective, then the stuff we don’t agree about
tends to become superfluous.

There are many other unusual features of this
work that you will have noticed. It’s about solutions not problems. It’s about
transformation not incrementalism. And it’s about practice not theory. It does
not assume internalization. In fact it explicitly assumes all positive or
negative externalities are worth zero — a conservative estimate. Of course, if
we counted them, the net present value surplus would be a lot bigger than the
$5 trillion that we found just in private internal costs. It’s also a very
collaborative effort — over 60 of us, about three-quarters of our total staff
and I were engaged in this during a year and a half. And we were blessed with
terrific collaboration and support from industry in all four sectors in sharing
data and insights and in peer review. So, we think it’s a fresh, rigorous and
coherent alternative vision that, so far, has been lacking and that we hope
will change the national energy conversation.

JM: Speaking of transforming markets, people
often talk about three big levers that one needs to pull to bring technologies
to scale. One is the technologies themselves, another are the policies and a
third are the markets. Obviously it’s never a matter of pulling any one of
those levers really hard, it’s a matter of pulling them all in sequence. It
seems that the technologies exist that we can do a lot of this as you’ve pointed
out many times; that we can do a lot of this with existing technologies. The
markets are emerging. I’m wondering how much of this is all about policy –
sending the right signals and getting the prices right — and how much of this
is just helping the markets to develop.

AL: We put much more emphasis on
barrier-busting and we did find that certain policy innovations are needed to
enable or speed the transition on the business adoption. But we also found that
none of those required an Act of Congress. They could all be done administratively
or at a state level.

For example, rewarding utilities for cutting
the bill and not sell you more electricity has to happen at a state level,
where utilities are regulated. Allowing fair interconnection and competition on
the grid is partly a state and partly a federal matter, but the federal part is
done administratively by the FERC [Federal Energy Regulatory Commission].
Again, no act of Congress required. For light-duty vehicles, the key missing
element is size and revenue-neutral feebates for efficient new autos, but those
can perfectly well be done at a state level.

None of the results that we describe require
carbon pricing or other internationalization, even though that would be very
helpful and correct. But it’s not essential; it’s certainly not sufficient,
because if you get the prices right but don’t bust barriers then not much
happens. And, in the long run, it’s probably not as important as one might
suppose, because given the very large cheap potential we found on the demand
side, an efficient carbon market will ultimately clear low, so carbon would be
a long-term short.

Of course, this independent view that we
don’t need to wait for Congress to command what unnatural act we should commit
in the marketplace is alien inside the Beltway. But about 2,000 miles west of
the Beltway and have no trouble imagining that the dynamism of our most
effective institutions — namely free enterprise and co-evolution with civil
society — accelerated by military innovation could be used to end-run our
least effective institutions, notably Congress.

JM: What role does the current economy play
and — assuming it’s gonna persist for some while, does it make it easier or
harder to reinvent fire?

AL: Both. Easier because it gives time to
rethink. Typically, a slump is when you look for the next wave of innovation
that will bring you out of it in a more commanding competitive position. And at
a time of fiscal stringency it might be easier to get rid of some of the deeply
distorting energy subsidies.

Also, the heightened competitive pressure of
a recession puts more focus on bringing down costs and risk and. You could
interpret our book as being about design for risk management.

JM: A lot of mainstream companies have been
doing some of these things — or, at least, they feel they’ve been doing these
things. They’ve been gradually ratcheting up the energy efficiency of their
operations – lighting, buildings and the like . They’ve been bringing in
renewables in some fashion, either directly or indirectly. Is that enough?
Assuming not, how do you push companies to go further? What do you find the
best motivators in getting them to step this up in some significant way?

AL: Companies tend to be motivated by
increased revenue, competitive advantage and decreased risk, so we describe all
three in detail at the end of the sectoral chapters — Chapters 2 through 5:
who should do what, depending on the level of adventurousness and how advanced
your practice already is.

I would like to see coming out of the
conversation about reinventing fire, a lot more attention to integrative
design, which, on the demand side is the key to the results we got for
transport and building industries. Integrative design optimizes whole systems
for multiple benefits rather than isolated components for single benefits. And
it often makes very large energy and resource savings cheaper than smaller-dose
savings, so it often deals expanding, not diminishing, returns to investments
in energy productivity and that is a bigger game-changer than any single

Having now applied integrative design in over
1,000 buildings and $30 billion worth of factories and various vehicle designs,
we’re confident that it’s replicable, scalable, teachable and revolutionary in
its competitive implications.

We suggest some different ways of looking at
supply and supply-demand integration than are commonly done. For example, in
the electricity sector, we use NREL’s ReEDS model to examine business-as-usual,
a new nuclear and so-called clean-coal scenario, centralized renewables and
distributed renewables. And the surprise to many will be that we found these
four electricity futures for 2050 differ immaterially in cost but profoundly in
risk, so it’s very much a risk-management play.

I think some of the novel competitive
strategies will also surprise people — for example, with help from the former
head of McKinsey’s automotive practice we were able, finally, to nail the
production economics and show that ultra-lighting autos is free because it’s paid
for by simpler manufacturing and smaller power trains. But it then makes
electrification affordable. So, by combining very light, slippery but safe
vehicles with electric traction, you’re bringing into play three very steep
learning curves — one in the advanced composite materials, another in the
structural manufacturing and a third in the electric power train. And those three
are strongly synergistic.

The result is as game-changing as switching
from electric typewriters to Moore’s Law-driven computers. And, indeed, BMW has
already confirmed that in their i3 — one of three carbon-fiber electric cars
announced for mass production by three German automakers in the next two years
– the carbon fiber is paid for by needing fewer batteries.

JM: You mentioned BMW, and that’s the first
company you’ve mentioned in this conversation. It gets me to where I wanted to
go next: Are there any poster-child companies that you would say represent
Reinventing Fire?

AL: Not comprehensively. The nearest would
probably be Interface. But there are many others that we mention for
outstanding achievement in particular areas. For example Dow, in efficiency.
Certain real estate developers, like the way Tony Malkin adopted integrated
design for the Empire State Building retrofit.

In automotive, the three companies that are
starting 2012 or 2013 volume production of electrified carbon fiber cars are
BMW, Volkswagen and Audi, but there others making important progress and by my
count, somewhere between four and seven automakers have adopted or are moving
notably toward the strategy we outline. In the United States, I’d say Ford is
probably in the lead but there’s plenty of competition emerging and there’s a
lot happening behind-the-curtain in Japan and in Korea.

In electricity, it’s a much more fluid and
diverse field of players. This is the sector that’s facing the most numerous,
diverse and profound disruptions of any sector as 21st-century technology and
speed collide with 20th- and 19th-century institutions, business models, cultures
and rules. Generally, when you have a complex system dependent on fast and slow
variables it doesn’t end well, so this is one of these inflection points at
least as big as the internet where vast fortunes will be made or lost and we
need to keep the lights on meanwhile.

Some utilities are starting to realize that
the threat of radical bypass from unregulated products that can amount to a
virtual utility is worse than what cell phones did wire-line phone companies,
but that this doesn’t have to be treated as a competitive threat. There are a
half-dozen business models that could make it into an important opportunity.
And of all the alternative strategies, the one that’s clearly unwise is
Ostrich, which is where some companies still find themselves frozen, like deer
in the headlights, with all this turbulence coming at them.

So we’re starting to work with a number of
utilities to think through new business and regulatory models and their
strategic implications. Certainly there are very important hardware vendors and
service providers and aggregators on both the supply and the demand side and
clean electricity is about a $200 billion-a-year business, and growing
explosively worldwide.

JM: After all these years, are more or less
helpful that we can get this right?

AL: I think the talent and the business
leadership are certainly there to do it, with or without help from Congress.
Our hope in putting out this coherent alternative vision, very rigorously
grounded in the existing technologies and meeting the sectors’ normal hurdle
rates, but with less risk, is going to stimulate the more bold and foresighted
business leaders to be early adopters on a scale that will create competitive
pressure for emulation because that’s how we do our outreach at RMI.

JM: I’ll take that as “hopeful.”

AL: We certainly wrote this in a spirit of
implied hope. And I think the scope for driving it from the C suite, not from K
Street, is going to be attractive across the political spectrum because
everybody’s tired of gridlock. And the notion that business can lead the energy
transition may be novel but it’s rapidly gaining credence and momentum.

Short Biography of Amory Lovins:

Physicist Amory Lovins is Chairman and Chief
Scientist of Rocky Mountain Institute ( and Chairman Emeritus of
Fiberforge Corporation (

His wide-ranging innovations in energy,
security, environment, and development have been recognized by the Blue Planet,
Volvo, Onassis, Nissan, Shingo, and Mitchell Prizes, MacArthur and Ashoka
Fellowships, the Benjamin Franklin and Happold Medals, 11 honorary doctorates,
honorary membership of the American Institute of Architects, Fellowship of the
Royal Society of Arts, Foreign Membership of the Royal Swedish Academy of
Engineering Sciences, and the Heinz, Lindbergh, Right Livelihood, National
Design, and World Technology Awards.

He advises governments and major firms
worldwide on advanced energy and resource efficiency, has briefed 20 heads of
state, and has led the technical redesign of more than $30 billion worth of
industrial facilities in 29 sectors to achieve very large energy savings at
typically lower capital cost.

A Harvard and Oxford dropout, he has
published 29 books and hundreds of papers and has taught at eight universities,
most recently as a 2007 visiting professor in Stanford University’s School of

In 2009, Time named him one of the 100 most
influential people in the world, and Foreign Policy, one of the 100 top global


Where Does Your Country Rank on the Climate Change Vulnerability Index 2011?

Posted by admin on November 12, 2011
Posted under Express 155

Where Does Your Country Rank on the Climate Change Vulnerability Index 2011?

Some of the world’s largest and
fastest-growing economies, especially those in South Asia, are most at risk
from climate change, finds a new global ranking that calculates the
vulnerability of 170 countries to the impacts of climate change over the next
30 years. The 2011 Climate Change Vulnerability Index, which evaluates 42
social, economic and environmental factors to assess national vulnerabilities,
has Bangladesh topping the list of countries at extreme risk. India is close
behind in second place, Madagascar is third, Nepal fourth, Mozambique fifth and
the Philippines sixth.

The index is mapped in Maplecroft’s Climate
Change Risk Atlas 2011

ENS Report from BATH, UK, (28 October 2011):

Some of the world’s largest and
fastest-growing economies, especially those in South Asia, are most at risk
from climate change, finds a new global ranking that calculates the
vulnerability of 170 countries to the impacts of climate change over the next
30 years.

The 2011 Climate Change Vulnerability Index,
released by global risks advisory firm Maplecroft, evaluates 42 social, economic
and environmental factors to assess national vulnerabilities across three core

The index is mapped in Maplecroft’s Climate
Change Risk Atlas 2011, which evaluates the risks to business relating to
emissions, unsustainable energy use, regulation and climate change

The countries at the greatest risk are
characterized by high levels of poverty, dense populations, and exposure to
climate-related events, as well as their reliance on flood-prone and
drought-prone agricultural land.

Bangladesh residents struggle to cope with
floodwaters, October 21, 2011 (Photo by trucbk99)

Bangladesh tops the list of countries at
extreme risk, and India is close behind in second place. Madagascar is third,
Nepal fourth, Mozambique is in fifth place and the Philippines comes sixth.

Haiti, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe and Myanmar
(Burma), in that order, round out the top 10 countries listed as at extreme
risk. Vietnam and Pakistan are also listed in the extreme risk category,
although not in the top 10.

“These countries are attracting high
levels of foreign investment from many multinational organizations,” said
Dr. Matthew Bunce, principal environmental analyst at Maplecroft.

“However, over the next 30 years their
vulnerability to climate change will rise due to increases in air temperature,
precipitation and humidity,” he said.

“This means organizations with
operations or assets in these countries will become more exposed to associated
risks, such as climate-related natural disasters, resource security and conflict,”
said Dr. Bunce.

Risk factors include exposure to
climate-related natural disasters and sea level rise.

Woman carries firewood across a dry riverbed
in Bodhgaya, India, the site of Buddha’s enlightment. May 7, 2010. (Photo by JC

Risks such as human sensitivity in terms of
population patterns, development, natural resources, agricultural dependency
and conflicts are also factored into the assessment.

Future vulnerability was determined according
to the adaptive capacity of a country’s government and infrastructure to
withstand climate change.

“Understanding climate vulnerability
will help companies make their investments more resilient to unexpected
change,” said Dr. Bunce.

Throughout 2010, changes in weather patterns
have resulted in a series of devastating natural disasters, especially in South
Asia, where heavy floods in Pakistan killed more than 1,700 people and affected
more than 20 million, over 10 percent of the population.

“There is growing evidence climate
change is increasing the intensity and frequency of climatic events,” said
Dr. Anna Moss, an environmental analyst at Maplecroft.

“Very minor changes to temperature can
have major impacts on the human environment, including changes to water
availability and crop productivity, the loss of land due to sea level rise and
the spread of disease,” she said.

In this Maplecroft map of climate change
vulnerability, the darker the color, the higher the risk. (Map courtesy

Maplecroft rates Bangladesh as the country at
greatest risk due to extreme levels of poverty and a high dependency on
agriculture, while its government has the lowest capacity of all countries to
adapt to predicted changes in the climate.

In addition, Bangladesh has a high risk of
drought and the highest risk of flooding. This was evident during October 2010,
when 500,000 people were forced from their homes by flood waters.

But despite the country’s problems, the
Bangladesh economy grew 88 percent between 2000 and 2008 and is forecast to by
the International Monetary Fund to grow 5.4 percent over 2010 and up to 6.2
percent over the next five years.

“India, ranked second, is already one of
the world’s power brokers, but climate vulnerability could still adversely
affect the country’s appeal as a destination for foreign investment in coming
decades,” said Maplecroft in its analysis.

Vulnerability to climate-related events was
seen in the build up to the 2010 Commonwealth Games, where heavy rains affected
the progress of construction of the stadium and athletes’ village.

“Almost the whole of India has a high or
extreme degree of sensitivity to climate change, due to acute population
pressure and a consequential strain on natural resources. This is compounded by
a high degree of poverty, poor general health and the agricultural dependency
of much of the populace,” according to the Maplecroft analysis.

China, Brazil and Japan are classed as high
risk countries.

Countries at medium risk include the United
States, the United Kingdom, Russia, Germany and France.

There are 11 countries considered low risk,
with Norway, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Sweden and Denmark, in that order,
performing the best.

Source: and

Pole position for Munich Re in Global Green Rankings

Posted by admin on November 12, 2011
Posted under Express 155

Pole position for Munich Re in Global Green Rankings

Munich Re topped Newsweek’s recently
published Green Rankings as the leading company worldwide. With a Green Score
of 83.6 out of 100, Munich Re came out above last year’s winner IBM (82.5) and
far ahead of other insurers. Munich Re has been handling global risks for 128
years and has been measuring climate change impacts since 1973. It set up the
Munich Climate Insurance Initiative and initiated the Desertec Solar Thermal
project in the Sahara.

Pole position for Munich Re in Newsweek’s
Green Rankings

Munich Re topped Newsweek’s recently
published Green Rankings as the leading company worldwide. The rankings focus
on actual environmental performance and involve a high-profile assessment of
environmental impact and management. With a Green Score of 83.6 out of 100,
Munich Re came out above last year’s winner IBM (82.5) and far ahead of other
insurers. Munich Re has been handling global risks for 128 years and has been
measuring climate change impacts for

Thomas Braune, Head of Group Development for
Munich Re, said: “Sustainable thinking and action is our DNA, as we offer our
clients a promise for the future. This applies to all our activities, whether
in our core business or in investments. This ranking therefore also applies to
each of us in our specific sphere of responsibility. In particular, I am very
pleased in view of the global comparison, also with other industries.”

Newsweek started this rating in 2009, not
only focusing on the American market, but also taking into account the global
one. The rankings are the result of a comprehensive research process undertaken
by two leaders in sustainability analysis, Sustainalytics and Trucost,
supported by a high-level panel of advisors. This outstanding performance is
certainly related to the fact that Munich Re also heads the Sustainalytics
ratings in the insurance category.

The sustainability performance has a long
tradition at Munich Re, having been included since 2001 in the Dow Jones
Sustainability and FTSE4Good indices. Munich Re’ ranking in this year’s DJSI
has also improved remarkably, with Munich Re now only three percentage points
behind the sector leader.

Further information about the Green Rankings:




By Matthew Wheeland in (17
October 2011):

The annual Newsweek Green Rankings, which
have become perhaps the most anticipated green ratings in the world, are
published this morning, bringing a new methodology to bear, and bringing a few
surprises with it.

IBM has moved into the top spot from its
third place finish last year, while Hewlett-Packard stays in second place. Dell
moves down the list to fifth place after last year’s third place rank, and
Sprint moves up to third from sixth place last year.

Newsweek’s list this year looks not just at
the 500 largest U.S. companies, but the 500 largest in the world; German
reinsurance firm Munich Re has earned the title of the world’s greenest

Newsweek editor Ian Yarrett explains why each
firm took the top spot on its respective lists:

IBM, in the No. 1 spot on the U.S. list, has
been measuring, managing, and voluntarily reporting on its environmental impact
for more than 20 years. It says it has conserved 5.4 million kilowatt-hours of
electricity over that time, cutting its CO₂ emissions and saving
the company more than $400 million in the process. Energy efficiency and
conservation is a “business no-brainer,” says Wayne Balta, a vice
president who oversees sustainability at IBM. But the company has extended its
eco-savvy far beyond its own operations — for instance, providing software
that helps customers identify energy-saving efficiencies at an office campus.

With no manufacturing operations and only a
limited supply chain, banks and insurance companies tend to be relatively low
impact, and Munich Re, a German reinsurance company, came in first on the
global list. But a high ranking isn’t a given for financial firms. Some of
their investment portfolios include companies that have environmentally
damaging activities, such as coal mining or gas drilling. For the first time
this year, the rankings took those risks fully into account, consistent with
the latest Greenhouse Gas Protocol standard. That is partly why companies like
T. Rowe Price (No. 500 in the U.S.) didn’t rank higher.

The rankings also highlight which sectors are
performing best — as with Munich Re, companies in finance and technology are
predominant at the top of both lists; in eighth place, Office Depot is the only
retailer — and the only firm not in technology, communications or healthcare
– to make the top 10. Staples, the other big office supply retailer in the
U.S., is the next retail firm on the list, in 17th place.

Globally, the list is even more skewed away
from manufacturing and heavy industry: Walmart de Mexico, with its 14th place
rank, is the first firm not in tech or finance to make the list.

It’s important to note that Newsweek
undertook a major shift in its procedures for this year’s list; swapping out
reputational metrics for transparency metrics in its rankings.

As executive editor Joel Makower
writes in his analysis of the list:

What’s changed? Newsweek — which itself went
through two management handoffs during 2010, ultimately merging with the news
and opinion website The Daily Beast — revamped its methodology. Specifically:

a provider of decision support tools to investment institutions, opted out of
the 2011 rankings after participating the first two years. It was replaced by
Sustainalytics, bringing a new set of criteria and analysis to the rankings.

•This year’s disclosure score replaced a
“reputation survey score” used during the two previous years, which
was based on an opinion survey of corporate social-responsibility
professionals, academics, and other environmental experts. That means this
year’s analysis is largely devoid of thought-leader opinion about companies,
focusing instead on more tangible measures of performance.

•This year’s overall “green scores”
are displayed as an absolute number rather than a relative one. In the past,
the top company received a score of 100, with all other companies’ scores shown
relative to that. Now, the green score is a raw score. Under the new
methodology, a rating of 100 would apply only to a company that received a
perfect score. This year, the green score for IBM, which topped the 2011 U.S.
rankings, was 82.5%.

•The global rankings were expanded from 100
companies to 500. That dramatically affected some companies’ rankings, since
they are now competing on a much larger, more diverse playing field.

most of these technical details will matter primarily to sustainability geeks
– socially responsible investors and analysts, and the like. And, of course,
to the companies themselves.

Also among the notable findings in this
year’s report are the least-green companies. The bottom of the list is not made
up of resource-intensive firms that are trying their best to overcome the
demands of their industries, but rather companies that simply haven’t put the
effort in to measure, manage and reduce their impacts.

In the U.S., the bottom seven companies are:
Ameren Corp., Archer Daniels Midland, Consol Energy Inc., INVESCO Ltd.,
Monsanto Co., Blackrock Inc., and T. Rowe Price Group.

Globally, the lowest-ranking firms are: Bunge
Ltd. (U.S.), Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. (U.K.), Archer Daniels Midland
(U.S.), Monsanto Co. (U.S.), NTPC Ltd. (India), Coal India Ltd. (India), and
Wilmar International (Singapore).


Global Emissions up 6%: Biggest annual jump ever seen

Posted by admin on November 12, 2011
Posted under Express 155

Global Emissions up 6%:  Biggest annual jump ever seen

The global output of heat-trapping CO2 jumped
by the biggest amount on record, the U.S. Department of Energy calculated, a
sign of how feeble the world’s efforts are at slowing man-made global warming.
The new figures for 2010 mean that levels of greenhouse gases are higher than
the worst case scenario outlined by climate experts just four years ago. “The
more we talk about the need to control emissions, the more they are growing”,
says John Reilly, co-director of MIT’s Joint Program on the Science and Policy
of Global Change. While Steve Zwick in Forbes GREEN TECH says while there are
no quick fixes, there are stop-gap measures that will buy us time until we can
reduce industrial emissions. Chief among these is to stop paying poor people to
destroy our rainforests and start paying them to maintain them.

Biggest jump ever seen in global warming

By Seth Borenstein , AP Science Writer (4 November

The global output of heat-trapping carbon
dioxide jumped by the biggest amount on record, the U.S. Department of Energy
calculated, a sign of how feeble the world’s efforts are at slowing man-made
global warming.

The new figures for 2010 mean that levels of
greenhouse gases are higher than the worst case scenario outlined by climate
experts just four years ago.

“The more we talk about the need to
control emissions, the more they are growing,” said John Reilly,
co-director of MIT’s Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change.

The world pumped about 564 million more tons
(512 million metric tons) of carbon into the air in 2010 than it did in 2009.
That’s an increase of 6 percent. That amount of extra pollution eclipses the
individual emissions of all but three countries — China, the United States and
India, the world’s top producers of greenhouse gases.

It is a “monster” increase that is
unheard of, said Gregg Marland, a professor of geology at Appalachian State
University, who has helped calculate Department of Energy figures in the past.

Extra pollution in China and the U.S. account
for more than half the increase in emissions last year, Marland said.

“It’s a big jump,” said Tom Boden,
director of the Energy Department’s Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center
at Oak Ridge National Lab. “From an emissions standpoint, the global
financial crisis seems to be over.”

Boden said that in 2010 people were
traveling, and manufacturing was back up worldwide, spurring the use of fossil
fuels, the chief contributor of man-made climate change.

India and China are huge users of coal.
Burning coal is the biggest carbon source worldwide and emissions from that
jumped nearly 8 percent in 2010.

“The good news is that these economies
are growing rapidly so everyone ought to be for that, right?” Reilly said
Thursday. “Broader economic improvements in poor countries has been
bringing living improvements to people. Doing it with increasing reliance on
coal is imperiling the world.”

In 2007, when the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change issued its last large report on global warming, it used
different scenarios for carbon dioxide pollution and said the rate of warming
would be based on the rate of pollution. Boden said the latest figures put
global emissions higher than the worst case projections from the climate panel.
Those forecast global temperatures rising between 4 and 11 degrees Fahrenheit
by the end of the century with the best estimate at 7.5 degrees.

Even though global warming skeptics have
attacked the climate change panel as being too alarmist, scientists have
generally found their predictions too conservative, Reilly said. He said his
university worked on emissions scenarios, their likelihood, and what would
happen. The IPCC’s worst case scenario was only about in the middle of what MIT
calculated are likely scenarios.

Chris Field of Stanford University, head of
one of the IPCC’s working groups, said the panel’s emissions scenarios are
intended to be more accurate in the long term and are less so in earlier years.
He said the question now among scientists is whether the future is the panel’s
worst case scenario “or something more extreme.”

“Really dismaying,” Granger Morgan,
head of the engineering and public policy department at Carnegie Mellon
University, said of the new figures. “We are building up a horrible legacy
for our children and grandchildren.”

But Reilly and University of Victoria climate
scientist Andrew Weaver found something good in recent emissions figures. The
developed countries that ratified the 1997 Kyoto Protocol greenhouse gas
limiting treaty have reduced their emissions overall since then and have
achieved their goals of cutting emissions to about 8 percent below 1990 levels.
The U.S. did not ratify the agreement.

In 1990, developed countries produced about
60 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases, now it’s probably less than 50
percent, Reilly said.

“We really need to get the developing
world because if we don’t, the problem is going to be running away from
us,” Weaver said. “And the problem is pretty close from running away
from us.”



Steve Zwick, in Forbes Green Tech (4 November

The Climate Debate is Over. Let’s Tap Markets
to Save the Trees, the Planet, and Ourselves

Our economy is changing our climate in
dangerous ways, and the latest figures show it’s getting worse, with greenhouse
gas emissions up a nauseating and unforgiveable 6% in 2010, despite the global
economic slowdown. If you’re one of these self-proclaimed “skeptics” who still
deny that man caused this mess and that man must fix it, then you’ve sacrificed
your credibility as a sentient human being.

That’s the take-home message from the Berkley
Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) Study, which was funded in part by the Koch
Brothers and headed by Richard Muller, a vocal critic of the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).  BEST
examined the evidence that “Climategate” supposedly suppressed, and published
its conclusion in mid-October.

“We find that the global land mean
temperature has increased by 0.911 ± 0.042 C since the 1950s (95% confidence
for statistical and spatial uncertainties)” the authors wrote on the very first
page.  “This change is consistent with
global land-surface warming results previously reported, but with reduced

That means that everything you have heard
about “institutional bias” among scientists in the IPCC is wrong.  It means everything you have heard about the
rate of global warming slowing down in the last decade is wrong.  It means that, if anything, the earth is
warming faster than the cautious scientists of the IPCC stated, and all signs
point to mankind as the culprit.

If you still want to blame sunspots and
volcanoes, read The Discovery of Global Warming by Spencer Weart to learn how
those and other theories emerged and failed to pass scientific muster, while
the concept of a man-made greenhouse effect not only passed those tests but
evolved as new evidence came to light.

The cause is clear, and the solution is
obvious – but it’s that solution that has conservatives in a state of paralytic
denial. To fix this problem, we must fundamentally change the way our economy
prices goods and services so that the cost of environmental degradation is
embedded in the cost of production.  If
we do that, everything else will follow. That’s the basic premise of carbon
finance, and it’s a conservative idea – first proposed and then implemented by
fiscal conservatives just a few short years before the whole movement went
collectively insane.

The only thing we should be arguing about now
is how to transition to a truly new and green economy as quickly and
efficiently as possible.  There are no
quick fixes, but there are stop-gap measures that will buy us time until we can
reduce industrial emissions. Chief among these is to stop paying poor people to
destroy our rainforests and start paying them to maintain them.

Smart money is moving in this direction, as
we saw at the end of September with the publication of State of the Forest
Carbon Markets 2011: From Canopy to Currency. This survey documents a record
$175 million flowing to support forest carbon projects in 2010, representing
commitments to sequester enough carbon to offset nearly 30 million tons of
carbon dioxide emissions.

The money comes from industrial companies
that want to reduce their carbon footprint by paying poor people to act as
providers of an ecosystem service – usually by either planting trees, shifting
to sustainable forestry, or saving endangered rainforests (REDD – Reduced
Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation).

Encouragingly, the report shows that
private-sector companies aren’t just buying credits to reduce their footprints;
they are also developing and brokering projects on an ever-larger scale – a
role traditionally filled by environmental non-profits. This indicates the
market’s growing confidence in our ability as a species to do the right thing.

And, as we all know, the market never lies.