Archive for the ‘Express 129’ Category

A river runs through it

Posted by admin on October 7, 2010
Posted under Express 129

A river runs through it

Yes, more than 80% of the world‘s population relies on rivers for livelihood and yet they’re in a mess. A classic example of what we humans have done – or not done – to affect our environment and our climate. Action on that front gets the headlines this week, as does discussions in China and action Indonesia to recognise the importance of forests and trees as a means to cut emissions. We can all learn from the mistakes – and well-meaning intentions – of others, like how Europe has attempted to tackle emissions and manage energy. But more attention needs to be on incentives for clean tech and clean energy investment. This applies to Australia, where we are seeing our wave energy innovators go the way of our solar power pioneers – to greener pastures! Australia is showing some leadership in Green IT or is it ICT. Enough to rescue us?  And there’s some good advice on how to get Government aid for environmental projects, as well as news of attempts to innovate and act from unlikely places, like the Sunshine Coast with its Clean Futures event. October in Queensland promises to be fruitful – with a big outing for the Beyond Zero Emissions plan and Guy Pearse’s assault on the Smart State. Before that we have Victoria’s Premier extolling the virtues of his even smarter state and acting as host for the bigger than ever Carbon Expo in Melbourne next week.  For a clean diversion we have algae as automotive fuel, a new Nissan cleaner than ever and bamboo continues to makes a sustainable mark. Sara Phillips looks at the UK controversy over the overly-dramatic film encouraging climate change action. Is this seriously funny? Ken Hickson

Profile: John Brumby

Posted by admin on October 7, 2010
Posted under Express 129

Profile: John Brumby

Victoria leads Australia in the carbon/climate change stakes and it is fitting that John Brumby, the State premier should reinforce his commitment to 20% reduction in emissions by 2020 (compared to 2000 levels), when the Federal Government is going after a pathetic 5% reduction. Victoria is also   driving solar energy, energy efficiency measures and planning for the impacts of climate change. It amounts to $10 billion in new investment.  He welcomes all comers – even from Federal Government and other states – to the Carbon Expo which starts in Melbourne on Monday 11 October.

 Message from Victoria Premier to the Carbon Expo:

I welcome you to Melbourne, Victoria, for the Carbon Expo Australasia 2010, which is Australasia’s premier Trade Fair and Carbon Conference. This Expo assists industry to better manage its emissions and allow businesses to exhibit their low-carbon products and services.

Climate change is the greatest challenge of our generation and there has never been a stronger case for action – we know that climate change poses big risks for our economy, our environment and our way of life. Taking action now to cut emissions will not only help our environment but will also create new economic opportunities through the development of new industries, technologies, markets and jobs.

Taking Action for Victoria’s Future, Victoria’s Climate Change White Paper – The Action Plan, strengthens Victoria’s leadership in responding to climate change and creates a climate of new economic opportunity for our State. The Action Plan sets a solid target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20 per cent by 2020 (compared to 2000 levels), as well as driving solar energy, energy efficiency measures and planning for the impacts of climate change. These actions not only position Victoria as the leading Australian State in tackling climate change – they will also drive around $10 billion of new investment in the State.

As part of our commitment to act on climate change, the Victorian Government is supporting the growth of Victoria’s carbon market services industry and establishing Victoria as a leading regional centre for carbon market services. Victoria has conducted a feasibility study into a Carbon Market Institute, will continue to publish the Melbourne Carbon Market Services Guide, will establish an export cluster to participate in Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects, and is developing international trade and investment linkages to assist companies to engage in global carbon markets. In addition, we are establishing the Victorian Carbon Exchange to drive the creation and purchase of Victorian offsets.

I consider Victoria to be well placed to become a leading carbon market services centre in the Asia-Pacific region. We have a concentration of over 100 carbon market businesses and have made significant investment in the clean technology sector. Victoria also has well established business relationships with developing countries eligible to host CDM projects, supported by the Victorian Government’s international business offices.

The Victorian Government is proud to sponsor the Carbon Expo Australasia 2010 which, with your contribution, will lead to the discovery of new carbon business opportunities, and products and services, that will help our region successfully transition to a new low carbon economy.

The Hon John Brumby


As momentum builds again for serious national emissions reform, don’t miss the biggest Australian carbon business networking event of 2010 - Carbon Expo Australasia 2010 – starting NEXT MONDAY.  There will be carbon wargames, an Oxford-style debate and doubtless worms.  Direct from the newly established ‘Climate Change Committee’ Australian Climate Change Minister Greg Combet and Professor Ross Garnaut will headline an outstanding conference program that also includes THE global and domestic carbon business leaders.  The Trade Fair features the leading Australian and Asian businesses involved in the business of emissions reductions.  Clean development projects from a dozen Asia-Pacific countries will be featured in the Trade Fair - with project managers looking to do CDM deals. 

Delegates can register here with our online registration form

A NEW version of Expo’s Program can be downloaded here or from Expo’s website at

Expo delegates will hear and interact with international and domestic carbon business leaders to;

  • gain the latest insights regarding international climate policy – what will happen at Cancun ?
  • understand the likely future of carbon markets – internationally & domestically
  • understand the opportunities for Australian business in the Asian Green Revolution
  • get a handle on the issues around raising finance for low carbon projects
  • get a sense of the scope and likely emphasis for Australia’s role in climate change action
  • learn of the likely role of energy efficiency & renewables
  • get the latest on the best approaches to carbon reporting & accounting
  • hear of the opportunities in forests & reduced deforestation
  • get the fair dinkum story on soil carbon opportunities
  • hear the opportunities and how big a role transport & biofuels can play in reducing emissions
  • learn of the latest science and how it is to be communicated

Should you wish to further clarify any aspects of delegate and/or exhibitor registration, please contact Merrin McAuley at the Expo Secretariat at or on 07 5528 2501


Michael Whitehead
Carbon Expo Australasia 2010

Moderator – Tony Jones

Keynote – Dr Graeme Pearman, Fellow, Academy of Science; former Chief of Atmospheric Research, CSIRO

• An outline of the latest international climate data and what it means for countries, communities, policy-makers and business sectors

• What does this suggest GHG reduction targets should be?

• Arming society with foresight – why climate scientists must improve the way they communicate their knowledge and what it means

09.30 to 10.30




Welcome and introduction

Moderator – Tony Jones

Robert Purves, Chairman, Environment Business Australia

The Hon Gavin Jennings MLC, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Innovation, Victoria

Opening address – The Hon Greg Combet AM MP, Australian Minister for Climate Change and Energy Effi ciency

Vote of thanks to Minister Combet – Paul Verschuer, Managing Director, Foreign Exchange & Commodities, Carbon, Energy (FX & CCE),

Westpac Institutional Bank

10.30 to 11.00 Morning tea/coffee – in trade fair area

Trade fair walkabout, accompanied by key sponsors, discussion with exhibitors

11.00 to 12.15




and Panel


International policy progress

Moderator – Tony Jones

An overview of the latest developments and trends in international policy responses to GHG abatement and mitigation. What are the

challenges and opportunities for setting emissions reduction objectives, emerging carbon markets and investment in the low-carbon

economy? This session will consider:

• emerging national and international policy action in the USA, Europe, Asia, Australia & New Zealand

• prospects for meaningful international policy action post-2012

• which way to go? Bilateral, multi-lateral or global?

• why delay national action in Australia? Action is being spearheaded elsewhere and opportunities will be lost

• how to strengthen Australia’s contribution to the Mexico COP?

Keynote address – Peter Young, Chairman, Aldersgate Group (Green Investment Bank), London


Dr Hu Tao, Senior Environmental Economist, Policy Research Centre, Ministry of Environmental Protection, People’s Republic of China;

Member, China Carbon Forum Advisory Board

Martijn Wilder, Partner and Head of Global Environmental Markets and Emissions Trading Practice, Baker & McKenzie

Stuart Calman, Director, Climate & Risk, Ministry for the Environment, New Zealand

Joanne Evans, Assistant Secretary, Finance, Markets and Forests Branch, International Division, Australian Department of Climate Change

& Energy Effi ciency

Robert Hill, Chairman, Australian Carbon Trust; Former Australian Environment Minister; Former Australian Ambassador to the UN

Wayne Sharpe, CEO and Founder, Carbon Trade Exchange


Europe Could Do Better for Investors

Posted by admin on October 7, 2010
Posted under Express 129

Europe Could Do Better for Investors

Europe, widely regarded as the pace-setter in climate and energy policies, has failed, according to a new report, to provide a strong enough signal to encourage private investment to switch away from carbon-intensive technologies. France, the UK and Germany have become alarmed by the speed of transition taking place in key Asian markets, particularly China, which is able to effect change without a carbon price because it simply drives investment through government mandates and with finance from state-owned banks. Now in Australia with Norton Rose, Anthony Hobley produced research for the IIGCC report.

Avoiding Europe’s mistakes

Giles Parkinson in Climate Spectator (5 October 2010):

Europe is widely regarded as the pace-setter in climate and energy policies. It has had an emissions trading scheme for more than five years, it has championed the most ambitious emissions reduction targets, and individual countries have made enormous investments into renewable energy technology.

But a survey has found that, for all its policy initiatives, Europe has failed to provide a strong enough signal to encourage private investment to switch away from carbon-intensive technologies: investment has been deterred not just by a weak price signal from the emissions trading scheme, but by the mish-mash of complimentary policies across the region.

The failure of the EU ETS to deliver a meaningful price on carbon was initially due to a massive over-allocation of allowances, and then because of a slump in industrial production caused by the financial crisis. Now it is thought to lack ambition, particularly in light of the massive shift in capital in Asian countries such as China, South Korea and Japan.

The European carbon price is currently trading at around €15.40 ($A21.80), but even that is insufficient – a price close to €30 or more is considered necessary to drive the scale of change required.

The report, “Shifting private capital”, conducted on behalf of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, which represents more than 50 pension funds and other asset managers responsible for some $8 trillion under of investments, suggests that this is only part of the problem: despite having a regional trading scheme, the EU policy on climate and energy is piecemeal, and unless the mix of policies on energy efficiency, renewable energy, grids and fossil fuel subsidies are crafted with a long term vision, then private capital will not come to the party.

And private capital is essential. The report notes that it will need to provide 85 per cent of the hundreds of billions of dollars required to cut greenhouse gas emissions at the scale required to achieve climate goals, but will only do so if low-carbon investments, projects and assets offer sufficiently attractive risk-adjusted returns.

The IIGCC report is designed to increase pressure on the EU to raise its unilateral greenhouse reduction targets, and to encourage it to develop some policy certainty in other areas, particularly on renewables, and to avoid the retrospective cuts in subsidies that are now occurring in Spain, for instance.

But it also has relevance to Australia, which is now embarking on a new process, via the climate committee, to evaluate what models and measures should be adopted to set Australia, belatedly, on its path to emission reductions.

Anthony Hobley, the head of the climate change practice at Norton Rose, which did much of the research for the IIGCC report, says it highlights the pitfalls of a piecemeal approach to legislation: not only is it ineffective, but it doesn’t produce the least cost solution. “This shows the importance of long term signals … so that investors can understand what the economic drivers are.”

EU countries such as France, the UK and Germany have become alarmed by the speed of transition taking place in key Asian markets, particularly China, which is able to effect change without a carbon price because it simply drives investment through government mandates and with finance from state-owned banks.

These three countries, aware that their technologies are in danger of being shunted out of the market by the sheer weight of Chinese capital, have called for a tougher emissions reduction target – a unilateral move to 30 per cent by 2020 from the current target of 20 per cent – to provide a stronger carbon price, greater investment and a quicker transition. This has been fiercely resisted by emissions-intensive industries, who warn of carbon leakage.

Australia will juggle the same considerations: How to provide the incentive for investment in low carbon technologies while offering a shield to those industries waiting for their international competitors to be subject to similar costs. You can see where this might be heading – an interim carbon tax followed by a trading scheme that is able to be adjusted to more ambitious emission reduction targets down the track, or an ETS with a floor price.

The greater challenge will be to square this proposal away with other legislative measures that encourage quick and effective investment in energy efficiency, and can provide the right sort of long-term signals for renewables, while at the same time allowing those subsidies to be eased as the carbon price ramps upwards.
The IIGCC wants the EU to make a decision soon on whether to unilaterally set a more ambitious emissions reduction target for 2020, and also wants the EU to set an ambitious medium-term target for 2030 or 2035.

It is also pushing for mid- and long-term targets for increased energy efficiency in the buildings sector; for better coordinated European climate and energy policy; infrastructure development that would facilitate cross-border trade in energy and the development of renewable energy; and the phasing out of fossil fuel subsidies.

The research found that 90 per cent of investment managers were deterred from investing in low carbon projects by the lack of long-term policies and by retrospective changes to member states’ climate change guidelines, while grid access and grid infrastructure issues were seen as a deterrent by 45 per cent.

Nearly two thirds of the fund managers said setting tougher targets and sending the carbon price higher would incentivise low-carbon investments, while 50 per cent saw a long-term and detailed roadmap out to 2030, even in the absence of international action, as one of the most important drivers for incentivising a shift in investment sentiment.


Global Approach Needed to Clean Up Rivers

Posted by admin on October 7, 2010
Posted under Express 129

Global Approach Needed to Clean Up Rivers

Multiple environmental stressors, such as agricultural runoff, pollution and invasive species, threaten rivers that serve 80% of the world’s population, around 5 billion people, according to a US research paper published in Nature.   Monitoring the world’s fresh water would yield huge returns in terms of avoiding costly conflicts, providing food security, preserving unique life forms and a host of other valuable benefits.

Reported in Earth & Climate (29 September 2010):

 Multiple environmental stressors, such as agricultural runoff, pollution and invasive species, threaten rivers that serve 80 percent of the world’s population, around 5 billion people, according to researchers from The City College (CCNY) of The City University of New York (CUNY), University of Wisconsin and seven other institutions.

These same stressors endanger the biodiversity of 65 percent of the world’s river habitats and put thousands of aquatic wildlife species at risk. The findings, reported in the September 30 issue of Nature, come from the first global-scale initiative to quantify the impact of these stressors on humans and riverine biodiversity. The research team produced a series of maps documenting the impact using a computer-based framework they developed.

“We can no longer look at human water security and biodiversity threats independently,” said the corresponding author, Dr. Charles J. Vörösmarty, director of the CUNY Environmental CrossRoads Initiative and professor of civil engineering in The Grove School of Engineering at CCNY. “We need to link the two. The systematic framework we’ve created allows us to look at the human and biodiversity domains on an equal playing field.” The framework offers a tool for prioritizing policy and management responses to a global water crisis.

Many stressors threaten human water security and biodiversity through similar pathways, but influence water systems in distinct ways. For example, reservoirs convey few negative effects on human water supply but they significantly challenge aquatic biodiversity by impeding migration routes and changing water flow regimes.

Understanding and responding to the myriad threats to water security requires new methods to make diagnoses and to act on these findings. “As is the case with preventive medicine, our study demonstrates that diagnosing and then limiting threats at their local source, rather than through costly remedies and rehabilitation, is a more effective and sensible approach to assure global water security for both humans and aquatic biodiversity, ” notes Professor Vörösmarty.

“We’ve integrated maps of 23 different stressors and merged them into a single index,” said study co-leader Dr. Peter McIntyre, assistant professor of zoology, University of Wisconsin. “In the past, policymakers and researchers have been plagued by dealing with one problem at a time. A richer and more meaningful picture emerges when all threats are considered simultaneously.”

Among the stressors analyzed were the effects of pollution, dams and reservoirs, water overuse, agricultural runoff, loss of wetlands and introduction of invasive species. The authors said their findings are “conservative,” since there is insufficient information to account for additional stressors like pharmaceutical compounds and mining wastes.

High incident threat levels to human water security were found in developed and developing nations around the world. Affected areas include much of the United States, virtually all of Europe and large portions of Central Asia, the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent and eastern China.

“We uncovered a broad management principal operating at the global scale,” Professor Vörösmarty said. “In the industrialized world, we tend to compromise our surface waters and then try to fix problems by throwing trillions of dollars at the issues. We can afford to do that in rich countries, but poor countries can’t afford to do it.”

The researchers noted that causes of degradation of many of the developing world’s most threatened rivers bear striking similarities to those of rivers in similar condition in wealthy countries. However, going down the path of instituting highly engineered solutions practiced traditionally by industrialized nations, which emphasize treatment of the symptoms rather than protection of resources, may prove too costly for poorer countries.

There are many more cost-effective solutions, they point out. For example, engineers, can re-work dam operating rules to achieve economic benefits while simultaneously providing water releases downstream that preserve habitat and biodiversity.

With the high price tag for bringing water quality and supply in the developing countries to levels found in industrialized economies, Professor Vörösmarty argues that a more economical approach is called for. A strategy called integrated water resource management, which balances the needs of humans and nature, would best meet the dual challenge of establishing human water security and preserving biodiversity in the developing world.

It would be more cost effective, he contends, to ensure that river systems are not impaired in the first place. This could be accomplished through better land use management, better irrigation techniques and emphasis on protecting ecosystems. Healthy ecosystems provide many valuable, and free, services to society by providing clean water, flood control, and food supplies. The value of such freshwater services is in the trillions of dollars per year.

One of the project’s goals is to support international protocols to be used for water system protection since rivers maintain unique biotic resources and provide critical water supplies to people. An international approach is critical since more than 250 river basins cross international borders.

“It is absolutely essential to have information and tools that can be shared across nations,” Professor Vörösmarty stressed. “Our knowledge of these systems is progressively worsening as nations fail to invest in basic monitoring, true for both water quantity and quality. How can we craft protocols on biodiversity protection and human water security without good information?

“Monitoring the world’s fresh water would yield huge returns in terms of avoiding costly conflicts, providing food security, preserving unique life forms and a host of other valuable benefits. These benefits would cost pennies on the dollar.”


Saving Forests May Fast Track Climate Resolutions

Posted by admin on October 7, 2010
Posted under Express 129

Saving Forests May Fast Track Climate Resolutions

As the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) delegates meet this week in Tianjin, China to iron out technical issues and overcome differences between developed and developing nations, the real news may be coming from the parallel discussions on avoided deforestation. And from Indonesia comes the report that a major avoided deforestation project, led by Carbon Conservation’s Dorjee Sun, is going ahead to save 15,600 hectares of rainforest.

Report from Steve Zwick in Eco system Marketplace (4 October 2010):

Most Parties to the UN Climate-Change Convention agree that we can slow climate change in the short term by saving tropical rainforests and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD).  They don’t, however, agree on how to finance that reduction in a fair and equitable way.  The REDD+ Partnership is supposed to unveil its proposals this week at Climate-Change talks in China.

Negotiators from all 194 Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) are meeting this week in Tianjin, China.  It’s the last major meeting before year-end talks in Cancun, and officially they’re trying to iron out technical issues and overcome differences between developed and developing nations.

The real news, however, may be coming from the REDD+ Partnership, which is meeting in a parallel track in close cooperation with the UNFCCC.

The Two Official Tracks

Differences between developed and developing nations were institutionalized in 2006, at talks in Bali, which split negotiations into two tracks.  One track, the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex 1 Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP), focuses on tweaking the existing Kyoto Protocol.  The other, the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long Term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA) , focuses on creating a completely new protocol to replace Kyoto once it expires in 2012. 

The two tracks were supposed to converge in Copenhagen, but each has instead taken on a life of its own.  Generally speaking, developing countries support the AWG-KP, under which they have no obligations, while developed countries support the AWG-LCA, which aims to bring  developing countries into the process.

Because Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) was not included in the Kyoto Protocol, its role in policy is discussed in the AWG-LCA, which formed a “subsidiary body”, the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), to discuss the technical aspects of REDD.  Under the Kyoto Protocol, industrial countries can write off emissions captured through Land Use, Land-Use Change, and Forestry (LULUCF) against their industrial emissions.  Because LULUCF is covered by the Kyoto Protocol, talks take place in the AWG-KP track.

The Copenhagen Accord recognized the need to create funding mechanisms for REDD+, a contentious concept that combines REDD with biodiversity protection and safeguards for local livelihoods.  By some definitions, REDD+ also incorporates aspects of LULUCF.

The REDD+ Partnership

As negotiations stalled, Norway took the lead in establishing the REDD+ Partnership, which aims to develop funding mechanisms that will complement evolving UN procedures.  In June, the Partnership released its interim partnership agreement, and co-chairs Junya Nakano of Japan and Federica Bietta of the Coalition for Rainforest Nations told Ecosystem Marketplace that they would spend the summer developing financing schemes and working on a plan that incorporates the needs of indigenous people.

Since then, however, details have been hard to come by, and scores of indigenous rights groups say they’ve been excluded from the process, while a Partnership spokesperson says it’s the groups that have shunned the process.

Either way, the Partnership is holding its own meeting parallel to formal negotiations this week, and promises to address critics before the event wraps up on Saturday.

Indeed, as the week progresses, it’s likely that more attention will focus on the REDD Partnership proceedings than on formal negotiations – even as UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres spoke of a growing convergence between the two tracks, but seemed intent on tempering enthusiasm.

“The agreements that can be reached in Cancun may not be exhaustive in their details,” she said.  “But as a balanced package they must be comprehensive in their scope and they can deliver strong results in the short term as well as set the stage for long term commitments to address climate change in an effective and fair manner.”

Steve Zwick is the Managing Editor of Ecosystem Marketplace. 


Radio Australia report (6 October 2010):

One of Indonesia’s most notorious logging companies has teamed up with a Time Magazine environmental hero to set up a carbon reserve on the island of Sumatra. Asia Pulp and Paper will join forces with Carbon Conservation, a company headed by Dorjee Sun, whose campaign to save Indonesian forests was the subject of the documentary ‘The Burning Season’. But some environment groups say the Kampar Carbon Reserve is all part of an ongoing process of ‘greenwashing’ at APP.

Presenter: Liam Cochrane
Speakers: Dorjee Sun, chief executive officer, Carbon Conservation; Aditya Bayunanda, coordinator for World Wildlife Fund, Indonesia Pulp & Paper

COCHRANE: For years, Asia Pulp and Paper has been seen as one of the environmental bad guys in Indonesia.

Greenpeace has been sharply critical of its logging operations, and the paper produced by APP was taken off the shelves at Woolworths, Staples and Office Depot because they thought APP’s claims of sustainability were dubious.

At the other end of the spectrum is Dorjee Sun, the charismatic environmental crusader who started the company Carbon Conservation as a vehicle to protect Indonesian forests.

Together, the unlikely partners have announced a plan to protect a 15,000 hectare area of peat forest in Riau province of Sumatra.

The forest was set to be cleared, drained and planted with fast growing timbers for pulping into paper products.

But Dorjee Sun has encouraged APP to rethink its approach.

SUN: They’ve made the commitment, working with us, to stop the logging and stop the plantation development. And in exchange, protect it and develop the local community for preservation rather than exploitation. And that creates carbon credits from protecting that carbon, which we trade to create the financial transaction.

COCHRANE: The idea is that major carbon emitters – that’s big companies in the developed world – should buy carbon credits, based on the amount of carbon that would have been lost if forests had been cleared and burned.

Europe already has a UN sanctioned carbon credit market that sells a one carbon credit – which is equal to one tonne of CO2 emissions – for around US$17.

Other carbon trades operate on a voluntary basis with much cheaper carbon credits – sometimes just US$2 per tonne.

Dorjee Sun says the Kampar Carbon Reserve has value beyond just trees.

SUN: The area that we’re protecting has tigers, it has tapirs, it has a lot of endangered plant species. So, to us, we’re hoping to be able to sell it for an amount obviously much higher, as high as possible, because the more money we get into the project, the more resources we have to protect that land.

COCHRANE: The project is billed as the world’s first privately funded carbon reserve initiative and a test of the concept’s financial viability.

But it has also attracted scepticism.

Aditya Bayunanda is the Indonesia Pulp & Paper coordinator for World Wildlife Fund.

He says the project might just be part of an ongoing public relations campaign to improve the environmental reputation of APP.

BAYUNANDA: This could be part of a greenwashing [at] APP because at the same time they’re opening natural forest and draining peat lands with an area that is larger than the area they set aside for this carbon reserve.

COCHRANE: Mr Bayunanda says many companies in Australia, the US and Europe have boycotted APP products because of their environmental record.

But other buyers do still source their paper from APP.

BAYUNANDA: Markets that are insensitive, or not yet sensitive to environmental issues, are still open to do business with them, mostly maybe in China, India, those other countries where environment issues are not yet mainstream.

COCHRANE: Dorjee Sun acknowledges there were, initially, deep doubts within his company about working with APP.

SUN: What we realised, from a pragmatic perspective, is that if you want to change the economy, there’s no denying you have to engage, you have to change the biggest multinationals, the biggest companies in the world. And if you want to change the multinationals, you have to work with them. You can’t just yell at them alone.

COCHRANE: He says he has great respect for the work done by Greenpeace and WWF, but wants to try a different approach.

SUN: In these circumstances, you need to get the poacher, to know the ways of the poacher, to become the protector.


The Great Australian Wave: Goodbye to Clean Energy Innovators

Posted by admin on October 7, 2010
Posted under Express 129

The Great Australian Wave: Goodbye to Clean Energy Innovators

Renewable energy advocates say wave power could experience the same brain drain that hit the Australian solar industry over the past decade. Australian scientists and their solar technologies left for California and China, driven away by a lack of research and development support. Now the Clean Energy Council says young innovative wave energy companies have missed out on Federal Government renewable energy funding and are heading overseas.

Bronwyn Herbert reported for ABC PM programme (4 October 2010): 

MARK COLVIN: Renewable energy advocates say wave power could experience the same brain drain that hit the Australian solar industry over the past decade.

Australian scientists and their solar technologies left for California and China during that time – driven away by a lack of research and development support.

Now the Clean Energy Council says young innovative wave energy companies have missed out on Federal Government renewable energy funding and are having to head overseas.

Bronwyn Herbert reports.

BRONWYN HERBERT: The CSIRO recently produced a wave atlas that found if just 10 per cent of the energy generated from waves along Australia’s southern coast line were harnessed, it could meet half the nation’s current electricity consumption.

TOM DENNISS: The coasts that border the Southern Ocean are pretty much the best in the world for wave resource. With a resource like that it makes it that much easier to be commercially viable, too, if initial funding to get things built is available.

It’s a little bit of a mismatch. Australia has got a great resource, but not necessarily a good program for fostering these technologies.

BRONWYN HERBERT: Australian wave energy companies say they’ve missed out on local funding and have to head offshore for support.

Dr Tom Denniss is the chief technology officer at Ocean Linx.

TOM DENNISS: We almost have to rely on overseas money if it’s not forthcoming here because there’s no way we can get these technologies fully commercialised without actually putting full scale projects in the water. And those projects cost money and we really need to implement them where that money is available.

BRONWYN HERBERT: Carnegie Wave Power faces similar challenges.

The Perth-based company has just signed a three year agreement with Ireland’s Sustainable Energy Authority to test its technology over there.

A company spokesman says they would like to develop their technology domestically, but the Australian Government isn’t providing a lot of incentives.

Matthew Warren is the chief executive of the Clean Energy Council.

MATTHEW WARREN: It’s a real threat. There are other economies in the world – in Ireland, in the USA – that are already offering very attractive mechanisms and schemes to develop technologies. And companies like Carnegie have a responsibility to their shareholders. If they can’t develop in Australia, they’ll develop where they can develop. 

So that threat is real and the problem is, we need to get the strategy in place in time to prevent losing some of our critical IP, because if a company like Carnegie goes offshore, that sends a very bad signal to investors and other technology developers in that space, in that when you get through all the hard bits and when you’re getting close to succeeding, that’s when you have to start leaving.

BRONWYN HERBERT: Renewable energy advocates say wave power could experience the same sort of brain drain that has hit the Australian solar industry over the past decade.

Successful solar company Ausra – led by the former Sydney University Professor David Mills – went to California for funding.

Suntech was another company to migrate offshore, and it’s now one of the world’s biggest solar companies, based in China.

The Federal Government’s Energy Minister Martin Ferguson last year launched the $300 million Renewable Energy Demonstration Program at Carnegie’s pilot plant but that company eventually missed out on funding, as did Ocean Linx.

Tom Denniss again.

TOM DENNISS: There was one wave energy company that did receive quite a substantial grant for $66 million. That company is actually US-based, although the project that they would be developing is in Australia. 

If the handful of Australian companies were to have shared that money I think it would have been enough for all of us to have really made some substantial progress in the development of all our technologies.

BRONWYN HERBERT: The Federal Minister for Resources and Energy Martin Ferguson was unavailable to speak with PM.

In a statement a department spokeswoman says funding under the program was based on merit and the advice of the renewable energy committee.

MARK COLVIN: Bronwyn Herbert


ICT Boost for Sustainability, Economy & Efficiency

Posted by admin on October 7, 2010
Posted under Express 129

ICT Boost for Sustainability, Economy & Efficiency

Boosting the economy by between $35 to $80 billion. Cutting Australia’s carbon emissions by 116 Mega tonnes (annually).Creating up to 70,000 jobs. Three critical advantages identified in the  Information Communication Technology (ICT) White Paper just released, which shows how substantial economic benefits, increased efficiency and improved sustainability can be achieved.

29 September 2010

The Australian Information Industry Association today released a White Paper examining the critical role that technology will play in the reduction of CO2 emissions and the development of a low-carbon economy. The Paper, ICT’s Role in the Low Carbon Economy, was released in Sydney.

“AIIA believes there is a pressing need to focus on the economic benefits of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as we examine the case for high-speed broadband in Australia,” said AIIA CEO Ian Birks.

“This White Paper consolidates a wide range of leading research into the application of technology to a low carbon economy.”

“Green technology will play a huge role in the return we make on any investment in broadband not only economically, but also in the delivery of environmental benefits,” Mr Birks said.

The report, ICT’s Role in the Low Carbon Economy, provides a series of recommendations to the Australian government for the development of a policy framework to reduce the nation’s carbon footprint.  It identifies five major areas of focus for government activity, then examines the net benefits of Green IT to seven key economic sectors and provides key recommendations in each area.

“Transitioning to a low carbon economy is a national priority and becoming increasingly important across both the public and business sectors,” continued Mr Birks.  “However the ICT sector has only played a marginal role in this debate up until the present time. ICT will have a critical role to play in delivering the right outcomes and will be central to conversations that seriously examine the low carbon economy in the future.”

The technologies outlined in the whitepaper can assist the government in meeting the commitment of a five per cent carbon emission reduction by 2020 and could, by the same deadline, bring about huge net benefits, in terms of Australian economic, environmental and social factors including:

-           Boosting the economy by between $35 to $80 billion

-           Cutting Australia’s carbon emissions by 116 Mega tonnes (annually)

-           Creating up to 70,000 jobs

“With a specific focus on sustainability and use of ICT to drive efficiency gains, a number of studies cited in this paper show how substantial economic benefits can accrue to an economy through the usage of ICT to improve sustainability,” concluded Mr Birks.

This Paper represents an increasing focus by AIIA and our members of the reality of the economic and social benefits that a digital economy in Australia will deliver. It joins the AIIA Green IT eBook – now with over 30,000 downloads – as a leading resource for the abatement of greenhouse emissions through technology.

Additional information about this White Paper

Over the last two years a number of significant research papers have been published, in Australia and internationally, that clearly identify the role ICT can play in reducing an economy’s carbon footprint. AIIA has identified over 30 reports from 20 different organisations that address these issues. These go far beyond a reduction in ICT’s own carbon emissions, which constitute around 2.7 per cent of Australia’s total[i]. Far more important is ICT’s enabling effect – its ability to reduce carbon emissions in other industries through greater efficiencies in their operations.

This White Paper references six of these reports, and draws less extensively on many others. It is also based on extensive input from key stakeholders in the Australian ICT industry – suppliers, users and consultants, putting the role of ICT and sustainability in an Australian context. The overall message is clear and consistent. Without ICT, it will be impossible to achieve the carbon emissions reductions Australia needs to achieve to prevent, or at worst mitigate, the consequences of climate change.

Where ICT Can Have the Greatest Effect

AIIA believes there are seven key areas where the intelligent application of ICT can make significant enabling contributions to reducing Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions and improving the country’s social and economic fabric. While we acknowledge there are other areas, the potential enabling effects relating to these seven areas will provide the highest and quickest return on investment:

•                  Green ICT. The ICT industry ‘s products need to be sustainably designed and, in many cases, managed to impact less on the environment.

•                  Energy Production and Distribution. Smart grids and smart metering will become increasingly important as energy costs increase over time.

•                  Transport and Logistics. Supply Chain Management (SCM) has long been a target for ICT-enabled efficiencies, particularly in facilitating open communication channels between each of the different transportation networks using a standardised platform.

•                  Building Management Systems. Inefficient heating and cooling systems of commercial, industrial and domestic buildings is one of the key areas of potential improvement in this area.

•                  Industrial Processes. Additional efficiency gains are now available through advanced process control initiatives, utilising intelligent ICT analytics to provide real-time feedback for maximising overall equipment effectiveness.

•                  Health. ICT-enabled improvements in health care, often called “e-health”, are an obvious area of improvement, through the use of such technologies as remote diagnostics and electronic patient records. Reducing travel, emergency department visits, and hospital admissions, maximising the usage of ICT will contribute to a more environmentally friendly and sustainable health industry.

•                  Education. Offering the ability to deliver, assess, and monitor educational training in a more efficient and effective manner, ICT provides the education industry with the ability to provide a more sustainable model for meeting the growing challenges of the industry.

About AIIA:

The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) is the nation’s peak industry body for the technology sector. AIIA sets the strategic direction of the industry, influences public policy and provides members with productivity tools, advisory services and market intelligence to accelerate their business growth.

AIIA member companies employ 100,000 Australians, generate combined annual revenues of more than $40 billion and export more than $2 billion in goods and services each year.

Source: and

Sunshine Coast Clean Tech Version of Silicon Valley

Posted by admin on October 7, 2010
Posted under Express 129

Sunshine Coast Clean Tech Version of Silicon Valley

Strolling around the post-modern buildings at Sippy Downs and you could be in any world-class university or technology park – until you stumble across the wild kangaroos lazing around the campus grounds. Welcome to Australia’s no-worries-answer to Silicon Valley. So went the story on CNBC Europe. Now the Innovation Centre, along with the University of the Sunshine Coast and a healthy bunch of clean tech businesses, is putting on Australia’s first Clean Futures conference (21/22 October).

JULY 2010

CultureInvestmentReal EstateTravel & Leisure

Hotspot: Sippy Downs, Queensland

Strolling around the postmodern buildings at Sippy Downs and you could be in any world-class university or technology park – until you stumble across the wild kangaroos lazing around the campus grounds. Welcome to Australia’s no-worries-answer to Silicon Valley

Located on the fringes of the Mooloolah River National Park, the 100ha site that is home to the University of the Sunshine Coast is about to become Australia’s first dedicated university town. Under an approved master plan, Sippy Downs will see its population double over the next decade as 2,500 dwellings get built around a self-contained business and technology precinct that will employ 6,000 knowledge workers in the information and green technology sectors.

Around 90km north of Brisbane, the country’s third largest city with two million people, Sippy Downs is a short hop down the Bruce Highway (seriously) to Australia Zoo, the wildlife park that was run by crocodile hunter Steve Irwin until his death in 2006. Further north are the idylls of Noosa Heads, Fraser Island and the pristine coastline near the southern reaches of the Great Barrier Reef. But Queensland wants to be known for more than just sun, surf, sand and dangerous creatures. In a bid to diversify the economy beyond seasonal tourism and property speculation, the state has earmarked this balmy hinterland as a hothouse for innovators and entrepreneurs.

The fact that southern Queensland is such a desirable location has its advantages. Th e region has attracted a surging community of highly-skilled professionals and managerial executives who either vacation here or else have decided to flee the urban stresses of Melbourne, Sydney and countless other cities abroad. All that was missing to perfect their new-found work/life balance was a business-support infrastructure attuned to the needs of home-brewed start-ups.

Which is where the already thriving Innovation Centre enters the equation. Founded in 2002 as a subsidiary of the University, the Centre comprises both a Business Incubator, to help nurture new ideas from their most embryonic stages, and also a Business Accelerator, for those that show the greatest commercialising potential or are in need of expansion. Th e support extends well beyond just office space, shared facilities and a communal pool table; fledgling companies get mentoring advice, professional and legal services and introductions to potential customers, partners and investors.

Under the stewardship of its founding CEO, Colin Graham, the Centre has played midwife to numerous businesses spanning such sectors as software development, electronics and nutraceuticals. Just recently, Big Ant studios, one of Australia’s largest game developers, announced plans to initiate a 30-person development team at the Centre’s Business Accelerator offices; taking advantage of the gaming community flourishing in nearby areas such as Fortitude Valley, Big Ant wants to hire 84 more gamemakers in the next four years alone.

Born in Northern Ireland before making his reputation in Scotland as the guiding force behind the Business Incubator for the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen and the author of EPeople: Engaging Talent in the Entrepreneurial Age, Graham typifies the dynamism of many of the expats here.

“Australia has always been a very entrepreneurial country,” says Graham, “initially by necessity, since you needed to be innovative and make use of whatever resources you had to get by and survive. These days, the Australian economy is dominated by the resources industry but there is also a new stream of entrepreneurs – often recently arrived immigrants who have chosen to live in Australia for its quality of life, and have brought their talents and international business networks with them.”

The net result has the makings of a new enterprise hub that is increasingly wired into the global economy. “When I came over from the UK to start the Centre, I thought we had all the ingredients for success but wasn’t totally sure everyone else would recognise this,” reflects Graham. “We are now one of the largest innovation centre’s in Australia – not bad for an area that was a paddock in the mid-90s. We have helped to start over 60 businesses and helped thousands of people connect with each other through high-level business networking events. I think the greatest success is showing that a regional area can compete for talent and ultimately show a new way of working that is more balanced, innovative and effective than what many people experience working in a big city.”


The Clean Futures conference, to be held on 21 – 22 Oct, is a practical event primarily aimed at entrepreneurs and business managers in the Cleantech sector – including areas such as as building materials and design, wind, solar, water, waste and energy management. It will also be of interest to business advisors, investors, government, educators and students.

The conference includes three main elements and people can attend one or all of these elements:

•           Practical one day workshop delivered by practitioners and industry experts, Fri 22 Oct

•           One day study tour visiting 3 cleantech business, Thurs 21 Oct

•           Green drinks – an evening business networking forum, includes business expo , features John Knaggs, CEO of Sunshine Coast Council and Bruce Napier, head of Cleantech Industry group, Thurs 21 Oct

Businesses will benefit by practical insights and ‘lessons learnt’ by some of Queensland’s leading environmental industry entrepreneurs – people like Bob and Christine Cameron of Rockcote and Gayne Emblin of Ritek, a building materials business with over 150 staff.


Big Brisbane Boost for Clean Energy & Zero Emission Future

Posted by admin on October 7, 2010
Posted under Express 129

Big Brisbane Boost for Clean Energy & Zero Emission Future

Nothing if not controversial, GCI Research Fellow Guy Pearse takes us behind the ‘Climatesmart’ branding and asks how much longer Queensland expects to tackle climate change by increasing spin rather than cutting emissions. That’s on 28 October, while the night before on 27 October, Brisbane get’s it first-hand look at Beyond Zero Emissions plan for a “Renewable” Australia by 2020. Then the EV & Smart Grid Conference is on 21 October. Phew!

The Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan, a research collaboration between the climate solutions think tank Beyond Zero Emissions and The University of Melbourne’s Energy Research Institute shows how Australia can move to 100% renewable energy by 2020, using technology that is already commercially available and home-grown resources and labour.

The plan is particularly significant to the ‘sunshine state’ given its natural solar advantage (solar thermal with storage and wind are the two primary technologies).

The Zero Carbon Australia Project has already received widespread endorsements from voices as diverse as Malcolm Turnbull, Bob Brown, Tim Flannery and Robin Batterham (former Chief Scientist of Australia). It has also received a great deal of media coverage. 

To see the report or a list of endorsements/media to date, go to: 

The event is FREE but you must register. Go to this link to secure your ticket:

Guy Pearse

Is ‘Queensland – The Smart State’ ?

Queensland’s Continuing Addiction to Carbon


Thursday 28th October

5:30pm – 6:30pm


UQ Centre

Union Road



In his GCI Insight Seminar Series presentation, GCI Research Fellow Guy Pearse takes us behind the ‘Climatesmart’ branding and asks how much longer Queensland expects to tackle climate change by increasing spin rather than cutting emissions.

Last year the Queensland government released a glossy 424 page strategy called ‘ClimateQ: Towards a Greener Queensland’. There were lots of new ‘Climatesmart’ initiatives, but no timetable for cutting the state’s greenhouse gas emissions from their current level—the highest in the country. Instead, the government acknowledged that current policy would leave Queensland’s emissions 36% higher in 2050.

Though the emissions generated by the state’s coal exports are Queensland’s biggest single contribution to climate change by far, they were not mentioned in the strategy once. Meanwhile, the government is spending billions of dollars on infrastructure to help Queensland double coal exports over the next decade or so. The legacy of that is a state generating more than 50% more greenhouse pollution at home and abroad than Australia’s current national total. Seemingly en-route to becoming the ‘greenhouse ghetto of the South Pacific’, Queensland looks determined to fuel climate change as much as it feels it.

This event is free and open to the public

Light refreshments will be provided after the event.


It’s taking place again at the Novotel Brisbane on 21 October 2010. With 2 parallel conference streams: EVs and Smart Grid!

EV Conference 2010 is even more exciting!

After the success of EV Conference 2009, this year’s conference is expanding further to explore the short and long term impacts of EVs to all stakeholders and, in a parallel conference stream, will also focus on what Smart Grid really means to us.

Both subjects are closely linked and part of the overall energy puzzle that must be progressively solved by Utilities, councils, governments, developers, suppliers, consumers and many more to deliver a more sustainable society by improving its energy efficiency and reducing its dependency on fossil fuels.

With EV and Smart Grid experts from Australia and overseas, this is a unique opportunity to network and learn about these two fast-growing industries.

In addition, to maximise your day with us, our conference is also displaying exhibition booths within our break areas.

How to Get Money for Environmental Projects

Posted by admin on October 7, 2010
Posted under Express 129

How to Get Money for Environmental Projects

There is more than $5 billion in federal and state government grants and subsidies available over the next five years for environmental improvement programs in Australia, according to sustainability strategists Equilibrium OMG, who have produced the second edition of a comprehensive guide on the grants and general assistance available to business and how to access them.

4 October 2010



There is more than $5 billion in federal and state government grants and subsidies

available over the next five years for environmental improvement programs.

Sustainability strategists Equilibrium OMG have produced the second edition of a

comprehensive guide on the grants and general assistance available to business and how

to access them.

Since the first edition in 2009, there has been a noticeable reduction in state government

funding overall but a significant increase in federal funds for water, climate change and

environmental education.

Equilibrium OMG Managing Director Nicholas Harford said the Guide is intended to help

bring businesses and government together to maximise environmental improvement.

“Knowing what these grants are, who is eligible and how to apply for them often requires

considerable time and resources that many businesses simply do not have,” he said.

“The Guide makes it easy to search for what grants are available and check eligibility


The Good Guide to Government Grants 2010 Edition provides information on $5.1 billion of

grants and a range of general assistance in the one convenient reference source, giving

details about funding programs, amounts and eligibility and linking electronically to the

source website for further information.

“Government grants are there to help business update technology and systems to achieve

environmental improvement, which can also deliver improved productivity,” he said.

“Governments have also recognised the there is a skills and knowledge gap with

organisations and people and there is increased funding for education that changes

attitudes and behaviour for greater sustainable development.”

“In short, the Guide is designed to help business make the most of government funding

and become more sustainable.”

Further information

Nick Harford +61 3 9671 3666 / 0419 993 234 / /