Far be it for us to promote a personality parade or celebrity cult – we are after all beyond Hollywood and You Tube – but we are indulging in a lot of people power, particularly putting honourable and capable people in the pride of place. Following the release last issue of our 100 Global Sustain Ability Leaders – which resulted in more “opens” and hits than we’ve seen in a long time – we have had a flurry of congratulations and thanks both from those we recognised and readers who appreciated that we had gone to some trouble to honours the leaders in the world of sustainability. And a mathematical lesson is obviously needed for sustainability editors and readers. There was someone “missing in action” as we only showed 99. So the 100th which accidentally slipped off the list is back on. It’s Sidonie Carpenter, a leader in the Green Roofs movement in Australia and Asia Pacific. This issue we feature a few of our select bunch of leaders in the news – Amory Lovins, Lee Eng Lock, Freddy Sharpe – as well as give acknowledgement to the UNFCCC leader Christiana Figueres, who we met when she visited Singapore this week. We also pay tribute to a leader in the Australian sustainability business movement – Fiona Wain – who sadly passed away after months of troubling illness. – Ken Hickson
Archive for October, 2012
Impressed by the commitment by 33 countries and 18 regions to start emissions trading schemes and heartened that more major companies are investing in renewable energy and working towards a low carbon future, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres is hopeful that a “multilateral solution” to climate change impacts will come about sooner than later. ABC Carbon Express and Eco-business.com were there to listen to and talk to Ms Figueres. Read More
Last week, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres was in Singapore. ABC Carbon Express Editor Ken Hickson listened intently to her forthright and unemotional plea for recognition of the importance of a “multilateral solution” to climate change.
At the same time, she acknowledged the positive moves by many countries and regions to introduce emission trading schemes – to put a price on carbon – in addition to those already in place in Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
She noted that next year, 33 countries will have committed to, or have in place, emission trading schemes, along with 18 sub-regional or regional schemes – including the state of California – which will regulate 20 per cent of global emissions.
She was quoted earlier this month saying Asia is now “the new centre of the universe” concerning emission reduction efforts. During the Carbon Forum North America event held in Washington D.C., she said the region currently leads the push toward the cutting of emissions through cap-and-trade and other market-based mechanisms, which is seen to be growing in the coming years.
In Singapore, she was quick to point out that there was a definite increase in investments – in Asia and elsewhere – in renewable energy production and other emission reduction programmes. She was pleased to see countries and companies taking action, particularly on energy efficiency measures– “because it makes perfect business sense” – will at the same time reducing fossil fuel emissions.
When questioned on the current carbon price – through the European Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) – and the impact this was having on genuine investments in renewable energy and other emissions reduction projects, Ms Figueres recognised the price was low and considered this was because of low demand – or lack of willing buyers – and a supply surplus of carbon credits, through the “successful” introduction of so many CDM projects.
The next UNFCC conference (in Doha end November this year) will see the much hoped for “second commitment” to the Kyoto Protocol and at the same time give greater confidence that the CDM can deliver what it was intended to. Meaningful mitigation measures/projects in developing economies and a suitable return by way of carbon price for the investors.
It was only last month, when the independent high-level panel established to take stock of the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) released its eagerly awaited recommendations by urging nations to intervene forcefully to address the crisis in the carbon market and substantially increase their level of ambition when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. http://cdm.unfccc.int/press/releases/2012_19.pdf
It pointed out that the “ability under the CDM to earn a saleable credit for each tonne of GHG emissions reduced has spawned more than 4,500 project in 75 developing countries, everything from wind energy and efficient cook-stove projects to land-fill gas and large industrial projects.
However, the CDM, the report continued, “credited with creating the first global environmental currency, is now under threat due to the current low prices paid for credits, the result of low demand and uncertainty over the timing and level of future demand, which is tied to countries’ emission-reduction commitments”.
According to the high-level panel, “if nations permit the CDM mechanism to disintegrate, the political consensus for truly global carbon markets may evaporate. Therefore, the panel calls on nations to increase their mitigation ambition by strengthening the pledges that have been made under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and by adopting corresponding domestic policies and measures.”
Ms Figueres is hopeful for the continued success of the CDM as well as a continuation of Kyoto Protocol, but urges all parties to acknowledge three very important factors:
- Climate change is global problem and no respecter of regional or national boundaries;
- Every country can contribute in its own way towards a low carbon future;
- We need to have a global accounting system in place to monitor emissions and climate change mitigation and adaptation progress.
While she makes no prediction in these volatile political and economic times, she maintains there is significant progress – even momentum – in the climate change negotiations for global commitments and expects the year end meetings in Doha to produce continued forward movement.
Here’s the report from Jenny Marusiak on Eco-Bsiness.com (19 October 2012) who collected a little more from Ms Figueres talk and interview:
Climate negotiations: Minding the gaps
UN climate chief Christiana Figueres told a Singapore audience that climate action was heading the right way, but lacks the urgency it requires.
Multilateral climate negotiations are “cumbersome but absolutely crucial” to responding to global warming, said the United Nations climate chief in Singapore on Thursday.
UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) executive secretary Christiana Figueres said at a lecture hosted by the Rajaratnam School of International Studies that the world faced a big gap between commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the reductions that scientists say will be needed to minimize catastrophic effects.
“I have no doubt that the clean energy revolution is underway, and the tipping point (toward a low-carbon economy) is inevitable. But I am concerned about the timing and the speed,” she added.
Current commitments from governments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions account for only 60 per cent of the amount to keep global warming within the commonly accepted target window of 2 degree Celsius.
To reach that target will take a combination of international government efforts and simultaneous action on national and regional levels from all sectors, said Ms Figueres to the 200-strong group of policymakers, academics and other professionals at the Shangri-La Hotel.
The global climate negotiation process has helped spawn an “endless number of efforts on the ground pioneered by an increasing number of sectors and stakeholder”, and has added climate change to the very short list of issues to which a truly universal response will be made, she added.
For example, she noted that in 2013, carbon prices in 33 countries and 18 sub-national regions will regulate 20 per cent of global emissions.
Ms Figueres said that governments were making progress on closing the three gaps that were identified at last year’s talks in Durban, South Africa, and that would help provide the policy certainty necessary to drive private sector action and investment.
The first gap is the time between the expiration of the only existing legally binding agreement on carbon emissions – the Kyoto Protocol – at the end of this year, and a new global agreement slated for adoption in 2015 and implementation in 2020.
In an unusual step for the negotiations, she said, governments have managed to come up with a preliminary draft text for a second period of the Kyoto Protocol – called the Doha Amendment – which will be used at the upcoming talks in Doha, Qatar.
Ms Figueres told Eco-Business in an interview after the lecture that –while the countries that commit to the second period of the Kyoto Protocol initially will account for only 10 to 12 per cent of global greenhouse emissions – the agreement would be an important reference point for work taking place on the new global agreement through 2015.
“In and of itself, it is limited in what it can do with respect to the trajectory of global emissions. It is, however, very important in terms of its rules and maintaining the environmental integrity of the process,” she said.
The second gap is the gap in financing to help developing countries cope with climate change. In 2009, wealthy countries committed to provide ‘fast-start’ funding in the form of US$30 billion annually by 2012. The following year in Cancun, negotiators agreed to establish a $100 billion Green Climate Fund by 2020, and have since been struggling with how to implement the fund.
However, the climate fund committee is making progress, noted Ms Figueres. “We have much better traction to launch the Green Climate Fund” and are working on resolving differing viewpoints and defining funding mechanisms, she added.
The committee in charge of the fund is currently meeting in South Korea, and is expected to announce which country will host the new fund on Sunday.
Negotiations for the 2020 global agreement, known as the Durban Platform, aim to close the third gap – the lack of sufficiently ambitious emissions reduction targets and the need for more countries to commit to making the required reductions.
In that too, governments are making progress after having received input from governments, NGOs, businesses and other groups, noted Ms Figueres.
“We have some preliminary ideas…and first thoughts on how to deal with the very, very different national circumstances of countries in shaping an effective, fair and ambitious agreement that would be applicable to all,” she said.
Climate talks involving every country and many negotiators – while frustrating – were essential to achieving a plan that was cost effective and durable, said Ms Figueres, adding that climate change was a universal problem to which every country could contribute in some way.
The expanding numbers of ministries and sectors adding input to the process has also increased the complexity of the talks, she noted, explaining that climate change was no longer a small environmental issue involving only environment ministers.
“This is a development challenge the likes of which the world has never seen,” she said.
Yet, while climate change could wipe out decades of development progress and threatens future sustainability, the challenge also pushes people towards improved ways of living and doing business that are in their own best interests, she noted.
“There is barely any measure you can take to address climate change that does not make sense to our development,” she told the audience.
In spite of policy lags, renewable energy investment is growing fast – much of it in Asia – with a 40% rise globally expected over six years to 2017. But don’t ignore the multiple benefits of energy efficiency, says the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) Maria van der Hoeven, as she delivered the keynote address on the first day of Singapore International Energy Week events. Read more
Singapore International Energy Week opening day (22 October 2012):
Developments such as the emergence of unconventional gas, safety concerns with regard to nuclear energy and rising importance of climate change considerations are challenging long-held assumptions about the world’s future energy mix. Maria van der Hoeven, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), shares her perspective on “Shaping a New Energy Landscape.
For the keynote address, go to: http://www.siew.sg/energy-perspectives/siew-2012/opening-keynote
Global energy leaders from the public and private sectors assembled in Singapore for a week of high-level dialogue, networking and deal-making at the 5th Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW).
SIEW 2012, which runs from 22 to 25 October, is taking place amidst a rapidly evolving energy landscape. Long-held assumptions about the future energy mix are being re-examined, as countries and communities work towards ensuring a secure, sustainable and diverse energy supply.
Ms Maria van der Hoeven, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, in delivering the SIEW Opening Keynote Address to start the series of strategic discussions for the week. She will speak about the ongoing transformation of the energy landscape, and the policy actions that governments and business leaders can adopt to map a successful pathway in this new emerging paradigm.
Energy luminaries such as Dato’ Sri Peter Chin, Minister of Green Technology, Energy And Water of Malaysia, H.E. Soulivong Daravong, Minister of Energy and Mines of Lao PDR, Dr Adnan Z Amin, Director General of the International Renewable Energy Agency, and Mr Jose Maria Figueres, President of Carbon War Room and the former President of Costa Rica, will address participants in an interactive, high-level dialogue at the Singapore Energy Summit (SES).
These eminent energy leaders will share their insights in four panel discussions. They will debate on the energy mix for the world in the coming decades, implications of these developments on climate change and energy markets, and efforts to diversify energy supply to achieve energy security. They will also examine the intricate interdependencies between food, water and energy. The list of experts and dignitaries also include:
Mr Masakazu Toyoda, Chairman and CEO of the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan
Mr Peter Schwartz, Senior Vice President of Global Government Relations and Strategic Planning at Salesforce.com
Ms Ruth Cairnie, Executive Vice President of Strategy and Planning at Royal Dutch Shell
Mr David D.B. Morrison, Chairman of Wood Mackenzie’s energy practice
Mr Martin J. Houston, COO and Executive Director of BG Group
Mr Yoshiyuki Miyabe, Managing Director and Chief Technology Officer at Panasonic Corporation
Mr Arthur Hanna, Global Energy Industry Managing Director, Accenture
Hon. Eileen Claussen, President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
Dr Nawal Al-Hosany Director of Sustainability, Masdar
Other VIPs attending SIEW include H.E. Pehin Haji Mohd Yasmin bin Haji Umar, Minister of Energy of Brunei, H.E. Suy Sem, Minister of Industry, Mines and Energy of Cambodia, H.E. Dr Farooq Abdullah, Minister for New and Renewable Energy of India, H.E Dr Wichianchot Sukchotrat, Vice Minister of Energy of Thailand, H.E Le Duong Quang, Vice-Minister, Ministry of Industry and Trade of Vietnam and senior representatives from Indonesia and Japan.
Singapore government leaders, including Mr S. Iswaran, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade & Industry, will speak at SIEW 2012 and its co-located partner events. Mr Iswaran will also host the inaugural “In Dialogue with Youth” on energy issues for over 100 students.
Co-located together with SIEW 2012 are six best-in-class B2B conferences and exhibitions. Spanning all key energy verticals, they will host a stellar line-up of speakers, and showcase top manufacturers and suppliers in their industry. New under the SIEW 2012 marquee are the Asia Future Energy Forum and Gas Asia Summit. Returning again are Asia Smart Grid, Downstream Asia, EMART Asia, and PV Asia-Pacific Expo and Conference.
Five energy Thinktank Roundtables – intensive, moderated discussions among industry peers and market participants – will also be held as part of SIEW. They are the Singapore Electricity Roundtable; LNG in Asia: At the Crossroads; Energy Technology Perspectives; Natural Gas Uses in Transportation: Liquid? Gas? Electric; and Offshore Renewable Energy.
In addition, there will be evening Networking Receptions for delegates to make new contacts and strengthen existing relationships. Platts will also hold its 2012 Platts Top 250 Asia Awards Dinner on 23 October to recognise the outstanding achievements of Asia’s most influential energy executives.
SIEW will run from October 22 to 25 at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Marina Bay Sands. Last year, SIEW was attended by more than 21,000 policymakers, industry leaders, practitioners, thought leaders and commentators from over 80 countries, and featured 550 exhibitors. Visit http://www.siew.sg/ for full programme details, updates, registration information and a repository of energy-related content in the form of academic research and thought provoking articles.
About Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW)
The 5th Annual SIEW 2012 is the foremost platform for top policymakers, energy practitioners and commentators to discuss energy issues, strategies and solutions. SIEW brings together the world’s leading conferences, roundtables, exhibitions, workshops and networking events from across the energy spectrum of oil & gas, clean and renewable energy, smart grids, carbon abatement and energy trading in one week, in one location. Please visit www.siew.sg for further information.
About the Energy Market Authority
The Energy Market Authority (EMA) is a statutory board under the Ministry of Trade and Industry. Our main goals are to ensure a reliable and secure energy supply, promote effective competition in the energy market and develop a dynamic energy sector in Singapore. Through our work, we seek to forge a progressive energy landscape for sustained growth.
For showing the rest of the world how much energy can be saved through good engineering, innovative design, and attention to details, Lee Eng Lock is made a Champion of Energy Efficiency Award by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) presented at its 17th biennial Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings last month. He was a popular speaker at this month’s Internatonal Green Building Conference. With Trane Singapore for many years, he is an Associate with The Green Asia Group and one of the 100 Global Sustain Ability Leaders. Read more
In the line of fire:
Energy reduces and words fly when Engineer Lee Eng Lock’s in full flight
By Ken Hickson
Being with international award winning energy engineer with the firepower of Lee Eng Lock can be compared to being caught in an electrical storm. You need protection from the lightning strikes. The sounds of fury. The criticism and the barbs. Avoid the angry lashes.
It’s not aimed at you the audience or the interviewer. You sense it is directed at his fellow engineers whether they work for Government agencies, industry, energy service companies (ESCOs) or consultancies. No-one is immune.
Lee Eng Lock, with Trane Singapore for many years, is an Associate with The Green Asia Group and one of the 100 Global Sustain Ability Leaders.
The Singapore-born British-educated engineer with a growing international reputation for an iconoclastic approach to the design and construction of Heating, Ventilation, and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) systems. Lee says there is “no special magic” needed to cut HVAC costs, just a “return to basic value-for-money thinking, careful measurement and analysis, openness to new ideas, and willingness to do hard work.”
It is an understatement to say Lee Eng Lock is entertaining and engaging. He is also respected. He is listened to not only at home but aboard. He wins awards – the latest being the prestigious “Champion of Energy Efficiency Award” from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) presented at its 17th biennial Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings last month.
“To Eng Lock Lee, Trane Singapore” the inscription reads, “for world-leading HVAC design and engineering that shows the rest of the world how much energy can be saved through good engineering, innovative design, and attention to details”.
He’s had accolades before. Amory Lovins, the renowned energy advocate at the Rocky Mountain Institute, in the book “Natural Capitalism” crowned Eng Lock as “the world’s master of the new design mentality in fluid-handling and air-conditioning systems.”
Not only does he fire off criticism like an angry young man – even though he says he’s ready for retirement this year – but he peppers his talk with expletives left, right and centre. He might not fully answer one question, before jumping on to another topic.
Outbursts, criticism of authority, of companies, of consultants, of media, of technology, of useless “tools”.” He also fires off facts and figures with machine gun rapidity. He shows pictures of mistakes in the installation of chillers and piping. He produces quotes and reams of paper to support his claims.
If he was an expert witness in a court case, you would have to pity all – proponents and opponents, defence and prosecution alike – as well as the judge.
Is he a loose cannon? No. He is just a passionate advocate of change. He knows what’s best and he gets annoys when others cannot see it that way.
It is hard for him to find good in anything, he will admit. When I once asked him to give me a good example of a well-managed green building, he quickly came back: “Good is a four letter word”!
He is the acknowledged energy efficient exert – a perfectionist, yes – but when pressed he can give out some deserving accolades to buildings where valuable results were achieved. Of course, he had something to do with them. A lot. And because he knows what was done and what was achieved he can fully value the results.
That’s one of the big problems he sees. Lack of transparency.
“Some will say that can achieve certain energy savings, or has already, but they cannot verify that. No-one knows for sure.
“We are not going to get anywhere unless we get total transparency”. That’s his campaign call.
In his talk at the recent International Green Building Conference in Singapore – peopled by Government officials, industry fellows and energy managers keen to sit at the master’s feet and get a measure of his expertise – he fired off critical shots like these:
• Energy use readings which cannot be trusted
• Installed things that don’t work
• Correct tools are needed to measure accurately
• Wrong data leads to wrong decisions
• There’s an acceptance of lower standards
• Data must be shared
• Admit mistakes to learn from them
If that’s not enough to chew on, he reminds the audience, mostly engineers, he suspects, that those professionals in the building industry need to be more like doctors, who learn medicine by cutting up bodies! Is that what we should be doing to fix buildings? Maybe.
But whatever it is, Eng Lock knows we must not bury our mistakes.
“We must be more transparent. We have to see what works and how it works”.
He makes it clear that if we are serious about producing greener buildings. If we are serious about energy efficiency in the build environment, we must have total transparency.
This is necessary from Government agencies, as it is from building developers and owners, and from the engineers and consultants doing the job.
When asked for examples and case studies of where energy efficiency has been put into practice and shown improvements, or to name buildings which have honesty and effectively achieved significant energy savings, he becomes very thoughtful after being at first dismissive.
After a while, when pressed, he will give some examples. “Of course there’s the Grand Hyatt in Singapore, but that was a few years ago. Yes, we have some good information on that.”
The Green Energy Management (GEM) project, which won the Bronze in the 2004 Asian Innovation Awards, involved the hotel spending almost S$2.6 million, covering the heating, ventilating and air-conditioning system. The redesign produced annual savings of more than S$1.1 million, paying for itself in just over two years. Most of the savings are in reduced use of electricity and water, which means less carbon dioxide is being pumped into the air.
“Then there was the SingPost building. That worked”. It won an ASEAN Energy Award in 2008.
He explains that the main objectives of this project were to reduce energy consumption by 20% without compromising comfort and the service level provided to the tenants and occupants. The key focus of this initiative is in the central chill water plant room. In fact it achieved a 23.17% energy saving year on year.
In addition to the energy cost savings, this project also saves an estimated 2,694 tons of Carbon dioxide per year being discharged by the power plants into the atmosphere.
This project clearly shows that commercial buildings can cut greenhouse gas emission by reducing energy consumption.
Besides the technology and equipment that was installed to bring about improvements in energy efficiency, SingPost also embarked on an education programme to inculcate the correct practices of energy conservation. These initiatives included:-
- Appointment of higher management Energy Conservation Committee
- Organisation of energy conservation talks
- Inclusion of energy conservation in department KPI
- Publication of articles and materials for energy conservation
- Organization of energy conservation between delivery bases and between post offices
The latest that he is most proud of is the United World College new campus at Tampines. It has been touted as one of the best examples around of integrated design and application to achieve genuine results. And it is being measured and managed in real time when results can be monitored, where mistakes can be detected and fixed.
He will admit tings are improving. According to Eng Lock, there are positive moves underway from all quarters. The Building Construction Authority (BCA) has come up with higher standards and better management of the Green Mark process.
Property developers are paying greater attention to “genuine greening” of their buildings and better systems are being introduced to measure and manage energy.
But Lee Eng Lock won’t stop making pointed observations and handing out brickbats ahead of bouquets.
He’s still not prepared to admit to using the word “good”. That’s one four letter word not in his colourful vocabulary.
Good for Lee Eng Lock!
Climate change has taken the backseat on the American presidential campaign trail this year, with nary a mention during the two presidential debates. This is in contrast with the campaign four years ago when both candidates acknowledged the seriousness of the issue. On the back of this year’s show of the effects of climate change, including devastating wildfires and record-breaking temperatures, it has become even more urgent for the future leader of the United States to lay out his vision of the path that the nation will take towards a sustainable future. Read more
Will Obama and Romney Address Climate Change in Florida Debate?
By Elliott Negin, Director of News & Commentary, Union of Concerned Scientists, for Huffington Post (19 October 2012):
What a difference four years makes.
In 2008, during the second presidential debate–a town hall format similar to what we witnessed a few days ago–an audience member asked the two candidates: “I want to know what you would do within the first two years to make sure that Congress moves fast as far as environmental issues, like climate change and green jobs?”
In response, John McCain and Barack Obama both acknowledged the reality of global warming. Obama said it is “one of the biggest challenges of our times” and called for investments in solar, wind and geothermal technologies.
Last Wednesday, both presidential candidates were asked a less direct question. It was an ill-informed one about the Department of Energy’s role in lowering gasoline prices, but it opened the door for both candidates to discuss energy issues–and climate change. But instead of reminding Americans about the threat posed by continuing our reliance on fossil fuels, Gov. Romney and President Obama jousted over the price of gasoline–which a president can’t control–and bickered over who would do a better job promoting coal, oil and natural gas.
Yes, Obama did mention “clean” energy technologies as part of his “all of the above” strategy, and Romney said he “believe[s] very much in our renewable capabilities.”
And yes, although the first two presidential debates and the vice presidential debate skirted the climate change issue, Romney and Obama did have a brief, heated exchange on it at their respective party conventions and have mentioned it sporadically on the campaign trail.
But given the audience nationally televised debates attract–and the importance of this issue to the economy, public health and the future of the planet–scientists, environmentalists and public officials have been urging debate moderators and the two candidates to address it directly.
So far, that hasn’t happened.
There is one more debate, however, and appropriately, it will be held in Florida.
Why do I say “appropriately”?
When Romney gave his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in Tampa in August, he criticized Obama for promising “to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet.”
“My promise,” he continued, “is to help you and your family.”
The line was a reference to a statement Obama made in 2008 after winning the Democratic presidential nomination. “I am absolutely certain that generations from now,” he said, “we will be able to look back and tell our children … this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”
As it turns out, Florida is already struggling with rising sea levels from global warming.
Earlier this month, more than 120 Florida public officials, scientists, engineers and economists sent a letter to the two leading presidential candidates urging them to explain at campaign stops in the state and during the October 22 debate, which will take place in Boca Raton, what they will do about the problem.
The sea level jumped more than 8 inches along Florida’s coast over the last century, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects a 9- to 24-inch rise by 2060, and roughly 40 percent of the U.S. population most at risk from storm surges driven by sea level rise lives in the state. This presents a major headache for local officials. Cities and counties in South Florida likely will have to spend billions of dollars to deal with flooding and drinking water contamination, according to a recent Miami Herald story.
Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Miami Beach and other South Florida municipalities have struggled with seawater backing up into stormwater pipes, flooding streets and neighborhoods. Their stormwater pipes are designed to funnel water, which accumulates on city streets in heavy rains, into the ocean. But during seasonal high tides and extreme high tides like the one that occurred earlier this week, the pipes can become submerged by seawater. The seawater then backs up into the pipes onto city streets. To try to alleviate this problem, Miami Beach officials are considering a $206 million overhaul of their drainage system. Hallandale Beach, meanwhile, just spent $10 million on new drinking water wells because saltwater seeped into six of them located near the coast.
“Florida is ground zero when it comes to sea level rise,” said Broward County Commissioner Kristin Jacobs, one of the officials who signed the letter. “Residents see this first hand, which is why local governments are leading the way in establishing policies to minimize and adapt to climate change.”
Local attention to such climate change impacts as flooding is all well and good, but we also need a concerted federal response, and that has not happened. The federal government currently provides no funding for cities and counties to prepare for climate change, and attempts in Congress to place a cap on carbon emissions have failed. The letter, circulated by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), calls on the next president to take action to mitigate sea level rise and help state and local governments adapt to it.
The upcoming debate is supposed to focus on foreign affairs, but global warming, as the term plainly states, is indeed a global problem. Last week, UCS contacted CBS News anchor Bob Schieffer, the moderator of the Boca Raton debate, urging him to pin Obama and Romney down on climate change. Tune in on Monday to see if Schieffer rises to the occasion.
Elliott Negin is the director of news and commentary at the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Singapore is in for a triple treat in November: National Environment Agency has invited Amory Lovins of Rocky Mountain Institute to talk on “Reinventing Fire: Bold Business Solutions for the New Energy Era” in Singapore on 15 November, and the second chance to catch him is at the Global Leadership and Technology Exchange (GLTE). Then, for the first time, the International Energy Centre is holdings its Asia Energy & Carbon Training Week 19-23 November. Read More
National Environment Agency (NEA) invitation:
National Environment Agency is honoured to invite Mr Amory B Lovins, Cofounder, Chairman and Chief Scientist of Rocky Mountain Institute, to give a talk on “Reinventing Fire: Bold Business Solutions for the New Energy Era”. Mr Lovins is widely considered among the world’s leading authorities on energy—especially its efficient use and sustainable supply—and a fertile innovator in integrative design.
You and your colleagues are invited to hear from Mr Amory B Lovins how you can achieve better energy efficiency. Details of the seminar are as follows:
Date: 15 November 2012 Time: 9.30am to 11.00am
Venue: MEWR Hall, Level 25 Environment Building, 40 Scotts Road Singapore 228231
Amory Lovins is also a speaker at the Global Leadership and Technology Exchange (GLTE) which will meet in Singapore on 14-15 November 2012 to explore the theme “Engines of Growth: Innovative Cities in the Wider World”.
Already more than half the world’s population live in urban spaces and over the next 20 years that number will grow by some 600 million in China and India alone. Business leaders, policymakers and strategic thinkers will meet at GLTE Singapore to discuss the implications and opportunities surrounding our growing cities and the associated need for a new kind of growth that deals efficiently and sustainably with resources.
GLTE is a partnership created to help companies navigate the risks and opportunities of a resource-constrained economy. Through GLTE business leaders build their knowledge of the changing economic landscape, forge strategic networks and pursue practical collaborative projects. GLTE partners span a multitude of key industries and operate in virtually every country around the world.
Confirmed speakers so far include:
•Robert Viana Batista, Chairman, Petra Energia
•Harry Brekelmans, Executive Vice President for Russia and the Caspian Region, Royal Dutch Shell
•N. Chandrasekaran, CEO, Tata Consultancy Services
•Xavier Chen, President, Beijing Energy Club
•Kai Johan Jiang, Chairman and CEO, China State Power Group
•John Knight, Executive Vice President, Global Strategy & Business Development, Statoil
•Dr Amory Lovins, Chairman and Chief Scientist, Rocky Mountain Institute
•Tan Chong Meng, Group Chief Executive Officer, PSA International
•Shyam Saran, Former Foreign Secretary of India
•Andreas Sohmen-Pao, CEO, BW Group
•Sunny Verghese, Group MD and CEO, Olam International
•Liu Zhenya, President and CEO, State Grid Corporation of China
Announcement from the International Energy Centre (IEC):
Asian Energy & Carbon Training Week 2012
Energy is a key economic, environmental, social and security issue for Asia. Challenging industry and government to think and act in innovative ways is a necessary and constructive way forward, if the growing needs of the region are to be met while ensuring long-term sustainable development.
The 2012 Asian Energy & Carbon Training Week (AECTW) is an exciting 5-day Professional Development program, designed to equip executives and policy makers with practical skills, knowledge and experience, and networks to manage carbon and energy issues in an increasingly complex policy and business environment.
The Training Week is for participants from organisations who recognise and wish to build capacity and strategies to respond to the emerging risks and opportunities presented by domestic and global carbon and energy markets. As an “end-to-end” management course it is valuable for participants from all backgrounds and of all levels of knowledge.
The International Energy Centre (IEC) is a network of three of Australia’s leading universities in the energy domain – The University of Queensland, The University of Western Australia and The University of Newcastle – and leading foundation industry partner Xstrata Coal.
The IEC’s vision is to play a critical role in equipping leaders with the skills, knowledge and expertise to address energy challenges and devise solutions for a sustainable future.
This goes beyond the immediate resource focus and includes clean technology, integration in areas such as regional and developing country processes, climate change, carbon management, sustainability, economics and international policy as well as other areas where energy forms an important part of the future.
This 5-Day course will feature a set of highly interactive lectures, workshop discussions, field trips, and, networking and dinner events featuring talks by industry experts.
On completing the Training Week, participants will be competent in:
- Understanding the fundamentals of energy and carbon;
- Understanding the various energy systems and technologies ;
- Applying key concepts related to international and national energy and carbon policy and markets;
- Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of different energy and climate policy options, including case studies from other jurisdictions such as China, Chile, the EU, Australia and California;
- Identifying, conceptualising and evaluating cost-saving energy management and low-carbon generation opportunities within their organisations;
- Appraising different energy technologies and other emission reduction projects according to the capital budgeting process and a robust risk framework;
- Developing carbon offset methodologies and projects (such as under the Clean Development Mechanism) and opportunities to sell these onto international markets;
- Building skills in developing carbon and energy management strategies for organisations including: Compiling a carbon footprint; Identifying energy and climate change related regulatory risk; Understanding energy systems and technologies; Learning to set organisational goals and objectives to reduce energy consumption and emissions; Building a greenhouse gas marginal abatement cost curve (MACC); Putting into practice carbon and energy management strategies; and Building a portfolio of options to reduce energy costs and maximise carbon market opportunities.
For full information on the Asian Energy and Carbon Training Week, you can download the brochure here:
Songdo International Business District in South Korea has been selected by the board of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to hold its secretariat. This fund was launched last year with the aim to channel aid to poor, vulnerable countries through public and private investments. South Korea was also in the news recently for new legislations limiting the emissions of carbon dioxide and introducing a cap-and-trade scheme. Read more
S. Korea to host secretariat of UN climate fund
20 October 2012:
SEOUL: South Korea on Saturday won a bid to host the secretariat of a United Nations fund aimed at helping fight global warming, President Lee Myung-Bak announced.
The 24-member board of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) selected Songdo International Business District in the western port city of Incheon to house its secretariat.
“We’re very pleased to host the GCF secretariat,” Lee told journalists, adding the GCF has the potential to grow into “one of the world’s largest international agencies”.
The vote came at the end of a three-day GCF board meeting in Incheon.
The fund was launched at a UN climate conference in Durban, South Africa, last year to help channel up to US$100 billion a year in aid to poor, vulnerable countries by 2020 via investments from both public and private sources.
South Korea had been competing with five other countries — Germany, Switzerland, Mexico, Namibia and Poland. Five rounds of voting were held to decide who would host the secretariat.
(Songdo, 20 October 2012) – The Board of the Green Climate Fund selected by consensus Songdo,
Incheon City, Republic of Korea as the host city of the Green Climate Fund. Six countries made
high quality bids. The Board expressed its appreciation to the six countries for submitting their
This decision of the Board was adopted at the second Board meeting that will conclude today in
Songdo and was adopted by consensus following a confidential ballot process. The decision is the
outcome of an open and transparent process that the Board had initiated at its first meeting in
Geneva, Switzerland, in August 2012. The decision will be presented for endorsement to the
Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
(UNFCCC) at its upcoming eighteenth session to take place on 26 November–7 December 2012 in
More information about the Green Climate Fund is available on the Fund’s website
South Korea doubles 2013 emission cut target
16 October 2012:
South Korea will ask companies to cut greenhouse gas emissions by a combined 17.2 million metric tons next year, equivalent to a 3 per cent reduction and twice as much as this year’s target.
The guidelines assume that the 377 companies subject to quotas would emit 570.6 million tons of carbon dioxide next year if there is no program to curb emissions, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said in an e-mailed statement. The government has asked companies to reduce emissions by 8 million tons this year.
Posco, Asia’s third-biggest steelmaker by output, was given the largest reduction target at 2.48 million tons, followed by Hyundai Steel Co. with 487,000 tons and Ssangyong Cement Industrial Co. with 443,000 tons, according to the statement. The government plans to impose fines from 2014 on companies that fail to meet their quotas.
South Korea, the world’s eighth-largest greenhouse gas emitter, is mapping out regulations to boost participation by companies in curtailment efforts. The government pledged in 2009 to limit the country’s total emissions by 2020 to 30 per cent below the estimated level it would have reached with no reduction plan.
The government also passed a bill in May to establish a cap-and-trade program in 2015, a market-based system that requires companies exceeding their emission quotas to buy permits from those that discharge less.
Former President of Green Roofs Australasia (GRA) Sidonie Carpenter retains her position in the 100 Global Sustain Ability Leaders list as she continues to specialise and consult on green roof and wall design at home and abroad. GRA hold its “Greening Cities” conference in Melbourne next month. She is joined on the 2012 by Freddie Sharpe, CEO of Climate Friendly, the pioneering business that helps households and businesses do their part to combat climate change and has won the prestigious City of Sydney Business of the Year Award for 2012. Read More
Announcement of inclusion of Green Roofs champion in 100 Global Sustain Ability Leaders list
Former President of Green Roofs Australasia, Sidonie Carpenter has run her own design and construction business (Green Canopy Design Pty Ltd) in Sydney and Brisbane for the last 18 years, with a focus on residential and small commercial projects.
She retains her position in the 100 Global Sustain Ability Leaders list for the second year in a row. (She was inadvertently missed in the listing announced earlier this month.)
She specialises and consults on green roof and wall design, and construction and maintenance, specifically for Australia’s unique climate and plant species. She has studied green roof design and construction around the world.
As GreenRoofs Australasia (GRA) is the peak body for the promotion & dissemination of green infrastructure information in Australasia, Sidonie remains active in the organisation, now as Treasurer and a champion for the cause, which holds its active in annual Greening Cities conference next month and in 2014 she will be helping to host the World Green Infrastructure Congress in Sydney.
GRA has received funding & support from the City of Melbourne (CoM) to hold a National Conference at The Melbourne Law Function Centre 28 November to 1 December 2012.
The ‘Greening Cities” Conference themes have been chosen to reflect the diverse range of disciplines involved in the design, implementation and monitoring/maintenance of green roofs and walls. This year there will be a focus on the Australian experience to showcase how international models of green roofs and walls have been adapted for Australian conditions; demonstrated by case studies and research. We also aim to highlight studies which have quantified the benefits of green roofs and walls and how this new information could be used in policy and planning to promote their implementation.
GRA has always promoted urban green infrastructure within Australasia by incorporating international keynote speakers at the annual National Conference. In 2012 there will be four acclaimed keynote speakers and sixteen lead National & NZ speakers.
Lawrence Reed, Landscape Architect, USA. SWA group has been involved in the largest & most innovative projects with green roofs in the USA. Such projects are the Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.
Ed Snodgrass, Nurseryman president & founder of Emory Knoll Farms, USA. Ed is an authority on installation, consultancy & plant specification for green roofs. He is internationally recognised as an author, an influential advocate and a pioneer of green roof research.
John. S. Loomis, Landscape Architect, USA. John will be discussing major projects by the SWA group in China including Giant, Shanghai.
Prof Jeremy Lundholm, Plant Ecologist,Canada. Jeremy is a plant ecologist who conducts research on green roofs, restoration ecology, and urban ecosystems. He has championed the involvement of ecologists in green roof research and studies the effects of native plant biodiversity on green roof performance.
National speakers will include:
Warwick Savvas Speaking on the design, instalation & progress of the Victorian Desalination Plant.
Paul Presenting recent large commercial Australian & International green wall projects. The Oz guru of plant specification for green walls.
Graeme Hopkins Author of “ Living Architecture “. Speaking on the integration of green roofs and living walls within the metropolitan area.
Climate-change champion is Business of the Year
11 October 2012:
A pioneering business that helps households and businesses do their part to combat climate change has won the prestigious City of Sydney Business of the Year Award for 2012.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore congratulated Climate Friendly and said the Business of the Year Award was recognition of the high standard of work as well as the innovation and dedication of staff.
“The annual City of Sydney Business Awards recognise the best in local business,” the Lord Mayor said.
“Over five years they have grown to become a major event for small and medium-sized businesses in our city.
“Climate Friendly has become a market leader in their sector by engaging the community and helping a wide range of homes and business to do something about climate change. Despite challenging economic times, this business has managed solid growth.
The Business Awards judging panel praised Climate Friendly, based in Woolloomooloo, for making it easy for people from all walks of life to act on climate change by using simple online calculators and offering tips to become more energy efficient in everyday life.
The City’s 2012 Business Awards are the biggest yet with a record 883 businesses nominated and 60,000 Sydneysiders casting a vote.
This year, for the first time, winners will receive a cash prize from the City of Sydney, with $5,000 going to the overall Business of the Year and $4,000 to the Small Business of the Year.
Winners were judged by an independent panel made up of experts from government, academic institutes and the business community. This year’s panel included Greg Hayes of Hayes Knight, Starfish Consulting’s Kate Groom, and Paul Wallbank from Netsmarts.
All finalists are required to submit detailed business plans and are judged on criteria including industry innovation, community participation, strategic planning and environmental sustainability planning.
Climate Friendly offers a range of local and international carbon offsets and has also:
Launched a Climate Friendly Business Starter Kit for small business;
Developed Mainstreaming Green, a community of like-minded businesses with chef and restaurant owner Kylie Kwong and the Body Shop as ambassadors;
Developed a renewable energy certification program with WWF called GoldPower; and
Launched Flight Portal, a fully automated offset and reporting tool for business travel.
Climate Friendly’s client list includes; Qantas, News Ltd, the Green Building Council of Australia and world footballing body UEFA.
The company says their projects have carbon savings equivalent to removing over 533,000 Australian cars off the road or eliminating over 10.5 million flights from Sydney to Melbourne.
“We thank the judges and the City of Sydney for this award which recognises our efforts to make it easy for all of us, at home and at work, to take action on climate change,” said Freddy Sharpe, CEO of Climate Friendly.
“We are proud to be part of the move toward a global clean energy future and to be in Sydney, which is leading the way in Australia on taking action on climate change.”
During the past year, Climate Friendly has established an Asian presence and are looking to expand with a European office.
“We aspire to be at the heart of the global conversation about sustainability,” Mr Sharpe said.
The major awards announced last night include:
Business of the Year winner Climate Friendly. Runners-up in this category are Bikewise and Spencer Travel;
Small Business of the Year winner Glebe Medical Centre. Runners-up in this category are Café DOV and WOWCOW;
EnergyAustralia Sustainability Award winner real estate agency MARTIN;
ANZ Super Regional Award winner Climate Friendly; and
Hayes Knight Entrepreneurs Award winner Real Learning.
“I congratulate all the finalists in this year’s Business Awards. Their success comes from a huge amount of hard work and dedication,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.
The Awards are supported by major sponsors ANZ and Google Apps for Business, and sponsors EnergyAustralia, Hayes Knight Accountancy, TAFE NSW Sydney Institute, QuickClips and Central Magazine.
The contribution from the tourism industry to the economy of a developing nation can be quite a significant one especially to the local community. It is crucial that development in this segment of the economy be carefully monitored to ensure its sustainability from the perspective of the local environment and community. This will be addressed during the inaugural meeting of Asia Pacific Network for Sustainable Tourism in Bangkok, organised by PATA, which will see delegates from government, civil society and tourism trade groups around the region. Read more
Asia Pacific Network for Sustainable Tourism: Inaugural Meeting in Bangkok
11 October 2012:
The Global Partnership for Sustainable Tourism is now regionalizing its work. With the engagement of PATA, an inaugural planning meeting of Asia Pacific Network for Sustainable Tourism (NEST) will be held in Bangkok on November 6-7, 2012. Up to 40 stakeholder representatives from around the region are being invited to attend. UNEP is hosting the event and will cover the cost of registration and participation for all delegates. UNEP is inviting selected countries and agencies.
The Global Partnership for Sustainable Tourism had its origins from the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development, which declared that “fundamental changes in the way societies produce and consume are indispensable for achieving global sustainable development.”
The global effort to encourage sustainable consumption and production, known as the Marrakech Process, fostered voluntary task forces on specific topics, including tourism. An International Task Force on Sustainable Tourism Development, chaired by France, helped support nearly 40 projects between 2006 and 2009 and had a membership of 18 countries and 25 organizations.
The members of this Task Force recommended establishing a broader institutional and financial base to continue and expand its work and build on its momentum. That led to the Global Partnership for Sustainable Tourism. Now it is time to regionalise the work of the GPST.
This has commenced in the Caribbean and now planning is underway to determine interest and structure for an Asia Pacific network for sustainable tourism (Asia Pacific NEST) between international development organizations including those within the United Nations system, governments, civil society and tourism trade groups.
The mission of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Tourism is to foster partnerships for advancing sustainable tourism principles at destinations through the adoption of clear policies, innovative and transformative projects and the sharing of knowledge and experience, with an objective to create effective partnerships for sustainable tourism.
With the engagement of PATA, an inaugural planning meeting of Asia Pacific NEST will be held in Bangkok on November 6 and 7, 2012. Up to 40 stakeholder representatives from around the region are being invited to attend.
UNEP is hosting the event and will cover the cost of registration and participation for all delegates. UNEP is inviting selected countries and agencies.
As the longest serving former Chair of PATA’s Sustainable Tourism Committee, Noakes led the PATA Board’s acceptance of the words “responsible development” and “sustainable growth” within the PATA Mission Statement, a position that required large cross-sectoral support across the membership.
PATA’s mission statement is as follows: “The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) is a membership association acting as a catalyst for the responsible development of the Asia Pacific travel and tourism industry. In partnership with PATA’s private and public sector members, we enhance the sustainable growth, value and quality of travel and tourism to, from and within the region.”
Direct emissions from aviation contribute about 3% of the European Union’s total greenhouse gas emissions and growing. To counter the growth, strict emission standards have been imposed for flights arriving at and departing from EU airports. To meet with these standards, airlines and airplane manufacturers are looking to biofuels to provide them with a sustainable aviation fuel supply. This has received much support from airlines but faces challenges in the sustainable production of fuel and pricing. Read more
Can British Airways, Lufthansa push biofuels into the mainstream?
By Bruce Kennedy in Green Biz.com (16 October 2012):
How realistic is the concept of a passenger plane flying with biofuel? There’s been a lot of buzz around the topic lately. GreenBiz recently reported on an upcoming publicity stunt – where a small private aircraft is expected to fly the 10,000 miles from Australia to the U.K. using only fuel made from plastic waste.
But a lot of mainstream commercial air carriers are beginning to consider biofuel in earnest. British Airways will reportedly break ground on a plant in greater London before the end of the year. It had plans to begin using biofuel in its air fleet starting in 2014 when the airline announced a partnership with Solena to build Europe’s first sustainable jet-fuel plant.
Germany’s Lufthansa, meanwhile, recently signed a collaboration agreement with Australian-based Algae-Tec to build a large-scale, algae-to-aviation fuel production facility somewhere in Europe. Lufthansa is agreeing to purchase at least half of the biofuel produced.
European airlines are looking towards biofuels to help them comply with European Union standards. The EU has imposed a limit to CO2 emissions from any flights arriving at or departing from EU airports.
It’s one thing to demand cleaner fuel. But it’s another thing altogether to be able to use it effectively. This is a challenge for aircraft builders. Darrin Morgan, director of sustainable biofuel strategy for Boeing’s (NYSE: BA) commercial airplanes unit, told GreenBiz via email that his company hopes “to have these fuels available and in regular use as soon as possible.”
He adds that Boeing has set a goal of helping the greater aviation industry have one percent of its annual aviation fuel use come from biofuel sources by 2015. That sounds small, but Morgan notes that figure would be equivalent to about 600 billion gallons of fuel – and would likely need up to five production facilities.
“Boeing’s role,” he said, “is to accelerate market development along, so that aviation biofuels become a reality as quickly as possible, but sustainably and at an economic price point.”
Most of the costs of developing these alternative aviation fuels, according to Morgan, are associated with feedstock-related agronomics – and making sure those feedstocks are grown with the backing of proven scientific data. Boeing is working on projects in several countries, Morgan said, to help “guide regional roadmaps that bring the right stakeholder groups together to identify plausible feedstocks and eliminate the guessing that dominated first-generation biofuels for ground transport. We want to avoid making those same mistakes.”
And the trend towards biofuel is growing across the aviation industry. Several dozen airlines have signed on as members or affiliates of the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group (SAFUG). Morgan says the goal of developing a sustainable aviation fuel supply is being pursued at the CEO-level in these companies.
“SAFUG members now total 26 of the world leading airlines, who make up approximately 32 percent of commercial aviation’s annual fuel use,” he said. “That’s powerful. Other leading airlines are committed as well, and have signaled their willingness to use biofuels…if they can be developed sustainable and economically. If you look closely you will see that we’re working with engine companies, airlines, and NGOs to make sure we do this right.”
Bruce Kennedy is an award-winning multimedia communications professional with years of experience across a wide spectrum of media platforms. He’s covered international news, including business reportage, for CNN, NPR, Reuters Television and AOL’s Daily Finance website.