Archive for the ‘Express 154’ Category

Go with the Flow

Posted by admin on October 23, 2011
Posted under Express 154

Go with the Flow

Thailand is experiencing its worst flooding
in 100 years. Why? We don’t need an excuse to draw attention to John Elkington,
but as he’s back in Singapore why not also get his comments on Newsweek’s
latest global green rankings of businesses. The Economist has new evidence that
the heat is definitely on – temperatures are rising. We make an impassioned
plea for action by Indonesia to stop logging, to cut emissions, to help save
the planet and boost its economy concurrently. For Australia, the carbon price
and a clean energy future is a fait
– or is it? The UK brings energy efficiency into law for homes and
businesses, while Singapore start-ups in the clean and green space get welcome
recognition. The green jobs outlook is looking more promising for the Asia
Pacific, particularly now Amida is on the scene. If we can blame Christopher
Columbus for the Little Ice Age, who do we hold accountable for the Age of
Carbon and global warming? Living architecture puts green back in the city where
it belongs, while coffee and chocolate are now on the threatened species list
due to a changing climate.  Sunpower goes
sustainable in more ways than one, while there’s hope that one coal powered
power station might turnover to the sun. Solar also makes its mark at sea and
on land, while the global energy landscape gets viewed from Singapore. Let the
sunshine in! – Ken Hickson

Profile: John Elkington

Posted by admin on October 23, 2011
Posted under Express 154

Profile: John Elkington

It would have been very hard to predict the
future of the aerospace industry when watching the Wright Brothers wobble
fleetingly into the air above the sand dunes at Kittyhawk just over 100 years
ago, says visionary John Elkington, who speaks in Singapore on 28 October, but
that’s the nature of our task now in terms of identifying the pioneers of a
profoundly different – and more sustainable – global economy. Perhaps we should
let the green dust settle a little, but let’s not wait until 2021 to do this
again: how about a ranking of emerging green disruptors for 2012?

The National University of Singapore (NUS)
Business School invites you to a sustainability leadership talk by Mr John
Elkington on Friday, 28 October 2011 from 3pm to 5pm.

Mr John Elkington is a world authority on
Corporate Responsibility and Sustainable Development.  He is also the Founding Partner and Executive
Chairman of Volans and Co-founder of SustainAbility.

Sustainability ‘definitions’ are numerous and
John Elkington will explain the elements of true sustainability activities.
Through examples, John will show what constitutes sustainability and some of
the processes that need to be embedded in a company’s strategic DNA.

John will also present the drivers as well as
the leadership requirements that are critical to a successful sustainability
programme. There will be discussions on how companies have successfully
addressed the issues in starting and expanding their sustainability
initiatives. John will also share his experiences as a member of Unilever’s
groundbreaking 10-year sustainability plan.

Green Leaders of the Future

Newsweek (16 October 2011):

The green game changes so quickly that
today’s top environmental companies could be surpassed in a heartbeat.  John Elkington on the race to sustainability.

When it comes to going green, a decade can be
an eternity. So, as I join my colleagues on Newsweek’s advisory group for Green
Rankings in celebrating the achievements of the leaders spotlighted in the 2011
surveys, I can’t help wondering who will be in the top slot ten years from now,
in 2021, or even 2031?

Don’t get me wrong. Having worked in the
field of what is now labeled sustainability for four decades, it has been
extraordinary to see what some of the world’s biggest publicly traded companies
have done to become more transparent; shrink their environmental footprints;
perform against the triple bottom line of economic, social and environmental
value-added; and link their brands to powerful social causes.

It’s great to see IBM topping the rankings.
How times have changed. I recall working with the Chairman of IBM UK in the
late 1980s, for example, and being partly responsible for the virtual
crucifixion of one of his directors when he went to the company’s Armonk
headquarters in New York State and tried to pitch the idea of sustainable
development. Like a number of U.S. corporations at the time, IBM viewed the
embryonic sustainability agenda as a distinctly European affliction, rather
than as an emerging strategic imperative for business.

Now we find ourselves in a world where things
we have done since the Industrial Revolution (e.g. burning fossil
fuels)–indeed since the dawn of agriculture (e.g. cutting down forests and
rice paddy farming, which generates a great deal of methane)–have created a
monster environmental challenge. Once again, business is being blamed, but
business is also responding; these days we look to the corporate world not just
for clean-ups but also for solutions that can help our national economies in
the growing global market for greener technologies, products, and services.

America’s Greenest Companies

In case you doubt it, take a look at the
latest survey launched by the World Economic Forum (WEF). To measure the impact
of sustainability on economic competitiveness, WEF is developing a new
analytical framework—the Sustainable Competitiveness Index (SCI). Covering 100
countries, the SCI will supplement the WEF’s flagship Global Competitiveness
Report with a focus on elements required to make competitiveness sustainable
over the longer run, in economic, social, and environmental terms.

When I was working with IBM UK, despite the
early resistance to the sustainability agenda, I found that various of their
scientific centers were using environmental challenges to force the evolution
of their computer modeling technology—for example, modeling air quality
problems in Mexico City as a way of stretching current computer models to their
limits–and in the process finding ways to improve them. When I visited their
scientific centers in California, Norway, and Switzerland, I found research
teams feeding data into their supercomputers that represented a range of
environmental challenges. Later, as their need to model ever more complex
systems grew, they switched to biomedical imaging.

Now, with the global population touching 7
billion and headed toward 9 billion by mid-century, the time has come to
embrace the environmental challenge–not as a citizenship issue but as a core
element of the business agenda in the coming decades—as IBM is doing with its
Smarter Planet initiatives.

The next decade could see an intense weeding
out of even some of the companies at the very top of the latest Newsweek

In our deliberations, our Green Rankings
advisory group raised questions about the make-up of the list, and where
certain companies ended up on it. For instance, why did Google, which has been
trying to tackle some great social and environmental challenges, not appear
higher in the listings? (Google has approached the issue both in its core
activities, for example, with Google Earth, and in the investment activities of
its co-founders and with the activities of In this case, a key
part of the answer is transparency—or a relative lack of it to date.

But I think there’s potentially a bigger
issue here. Another factor shaping the results of the Green Rankings has been
our conscious focus on today’s giant companies, which inevitably forces a
concentration on incumbent businesses, business models and technologies—rather
than on potentially disruptive ventures at the edge of today’s economic system.
There are clearly pitfalls in this approach.

True, there’s nothing wrong with focusing on
incumbent companies when the rules of the game are clear and change is moving
along broadly predictable trajectories. But I don’t think that’s where we now
find ourselves. Far from being in a longish recession, we are headed into an
era of what economist Joseph Schumpeter called creative destruction. And every
time that this happens, many incumbent companies fail. Simply put, the next
decade could see an intense weeding out even of some of the companies at the
very top of the latest Newsweek rankings.

Increasingly, I believe that we are going to
have to look in rather unusual places to find the future. As science fiction
author William Gibson put it: “The future is already here—it’s just not very
evenly distributed.” So a week or so before Newsweek published its 2011 Green
Rankings, my company, Volans, and global ad agency JWT launched a follow-up
report to 2009’s The Phoenix Economy, this one called The Future Quotient, and
focusing on pioneers in seriously long-term innovation. You can take our beta
version of the Future Quotient test here, thanks to our collaboration with
MindTime Technologies, Inc.

It would have been very hard to predict the
future of the aerospace industry when watching the Wright Brothers wobble
fleetingly into the air above the sand dunes at Kittyhawk, but that’s the
nature of our task now in terms of identifying the pioneers of a profoundly
different—and more sustainable—global economy. Perhaps we should let the green
dust settle a little, but let’s not wait until 2021 to do this again: how about
a ranking of emerging green disruptors for 2012?

Source: and

New Analysis Confirms: The Heat is On

Posted by admin on October 23, 2011
Posted under Express 154

New Analysis Confirms:  The Heat is On

The Economist says a new analysis of the
global average temperature record leaves little room for the doubters. Berkeley
Earth’s results, which were released on 20 October, offer strong support to the
existing temperature compilations. Over the past 50 years the land surface
warmed by 0.911°C: At a time of exaggerated doubts about the instrumental
temperature record, this should help promulgate its main conclusion: that the
existing mean estimates are in the right ballpark. That means the world is
warming fast.

The Economist (22 October 2011):

FOR those who question whether global warming
is really happening, it is necessary to believe that the instrumental
temperature record is wrong. That is a bit easier than you might think.

There are three compilations of mean global
temperatures, each one based on readings from thousands of thermometers, kept
in weather stations and aboard ships, going back over 150 years. Two are
American, provided by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA), one is a collaboration between Britain’s Met Office and
the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (known as Hadley CRU).
And all suggest a similar pattern of warming: amounting to about 0.9°C over
land in the past half century.

To most scientists, that is consistent with
the manifold other indicators of warming—rising sea-levels, melting glaciers,
warmer ocean depths and so forth—and convincing. Yet the consistency among the
three compilations masks large uncertainties in the raw data on which they are
based. Hence the doubts, husbanded by many eager sceptics, about their
accuracy. A new study, however, provides further evidence that the numbers are
probably about right.

The uncertainty arises mainly because weather
stations were never intended to provide a climatic record. The temperature
series they give tend therefore to be patchy and even where the stations are
relatively abundant, as in western Europe and America, they often contain
inconsistencies. They may have gaps, or readings taken at different times of
day, or with different kinds of thermometer. The local environment may have
changed. Extrapolating a global average from such data involves an amount of
tinkering—or homogenisation.

It might involve omitting especially awkward
readings; or where, for example, a heat source like an airport has sprung up
alongside a weather station, inputting a lower temperature than the data show.
As such cases are mostly in the earlier portions of the records, this will
exaggerate the long-term warming trend. That is at best imperfect. And for
those—including Rick Perry, the Republican governor of Texas and would-be
president —who claim to see global warming as a hoax by grant-hungry
scientists, it may look like a smoking gun.

To build confidence in their methodologies,
NASA and NOAA already publish their data and algorithms. Hadley CRU is now
doing so. A grander solution, outlined in a forthcoming Bulletin of the
American Meteorological Society, would be to provide a single online databank
of all temperature data and analysis. Part of the point would be to encourage
more scientists and statisticians to test the existing analyses—and a group
backed by Novim, a research outfit in Santa Barbara, California, has recently
done just that.

Inconvenient data

Marshalled by an astrophysicist, Richard
Muller, this group, which calls itself the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature,
is notable in several ways. When embarking on the project 18 months ago, its
members (including Saul Perlmutter, who won the Nobel prize for physics this
month for his work on dark energy) were mostly new to climate science. And Dr
Muller, for one, was mildly sceptical of its findings. This was partly, he
says, because of “climategate”: the 2009 revelation of e-mails from scientists
at CRU which suggested they had sometimes taken steps to disguise their
adjustments of inconvenient palaeo-data. With this reputation, the Berkeley
Earth team found it unusually easy to attract sponsors, including a donation of
$150,000 from the Koch Foundation.

Yet Berkeley Earth’s results, as described in
four papers currently undergoing peer review, but which were nonetheless
released on October 20th, offer strong support to the existing temperature
compilations. The group estimates that over the past 50 years the land surface
warmed by 0.911°C: a mere 2% less than NOAA’s estimate. That is despite its use
of a novel methodology—designed, at least in part, to address the concerns of
what Dr Muller terms “legitimate sceptics”.

Most important, Berkeley Earth sought an
alternative way to deal with awkward data. Its algorithm attaches an automatic
weighting to every data point, according to its consistency with comparable
readings. That should allow for the inclusion of outlandish readings without distorting
the result. (Except where there seems to be straightforward confusion between
Celsius and Fahrenheit, which is corrected.) By avoiding traditional procedures
that require long, continuous data segments, the Berkeley Earth methodology can
also accommodate unusually short sequences: for example, those provided by
temporary weather stations. This is another innovation that allows it to work
with both more and less data than the existing compilations, with varying
degrees of certainty. It is therefore able to compile an earlier record than
its predecessors, starting from 1800. (As there were only two weather stations
in America, a handful in Europe and one in Asia for some of that time, it has a
high degree of uncertainty.) To test the new technique, however, much of the
analysis uses the same data as NOAA and NASA.

Heat maps

In another apparent innovation, the Berkeley
team has written into its analysis a geospatial technique, known as kriging,
which uses the basic spatial correlations in weather to estimate the
temperature at points between weather stations. This promises to provide a more
nuanced heat map than presented in the existing compilations, which either
consign an average temperature to an area defined by a grid square or, in the
case of NASA, attempt a less ambitious interpolation.

It will be interesting to see whether this
makes it past the review process. Peter Thorne, a climatologist at the
Co-operative Institute for Climate and Satellites, in North Carolina, describes
it as “quite a hard sell in periods that are data sparse”. He adds: “That
doesn’t mean you can’t do it. It means you’ve got to prove it works.”

Two of the Berkeley Earth papers address
narrower concerns. One is the poor location of many weather stations. A
crowd-sourcing campaign by a meteorologist and blogger, Anthony Watts,
established that most of America’s stations are close enough to asphalt,
buildings or other heat sources to give artificially high readings. The other
is the additional warming seen in built-up areas, known as the “urban
heat-island effect”. Many sceptics fear that, because roughly half of all
weather stations are in built-up areas, this may have inflated estimates of a
temperature rise.

The Berkeley Earth papers suggest their
analysis is able to accommodate these biases. That is a notable, though not
original, achievement. Previous peer-reviewed studies—including one on the
location of weather stations co-authored by Mr Watts—have suggested the mean
surface temperatures provided by NOAA, NASA and Hadley CRU are also not
significantly affected by them.

Yet the Berkeley Earth study promises to be
valuable. It is due to be published online with a vast trove of supporting
data, merged from 15 separate sources, with duplications and other errors
clearly signalled. At a time of exaggerated doubts about the instrumental
temperature record, this should help promulgate its main conclusion: that the
existing mean estimates are in the right ballpark. That means the world is
warming fast.


Carbon Price & Clean Energy Future Finally a Formality

Posted by admin on October 23, 2011
Posted under Express 154

Carbon Price & Clean Energy Future Finally a Formality

A decade after it was first seriously
discussed in Australian politics, and on its fourth attempt to make its way
through a hostile parliament, Australian is now poised to finally implement a
carbon pricing regime. There is no doubt that this signals the start of one of
the greatest transformations of the Australian economy, ranking alongside the
floating of the currency, the introduction of the GST and other major policy
initiatives. But will this transformation be sudden and dramatic, or will it be
a slow burn? Climate Spectator asked leading business people, advisors,
politicians and lobbyists for their take.

Giles Parkinson in Climate Spectator (12
October 211):

A decade after it was first seriously
discussed in Australian politics, and on its fourth attempt to make its way
through a hostile parliament, Australian is now poised to finally implement a
carbon pricing regime.

The passage of 19 bills through the House of
Representative on Wednesday, propelled and finally approved by two country
independents and a single Greens member, means that the passing into law of
Clean Energy Future package is now a mere formality, as the government and the
Greens have the numbers in the Senate.

There is no doubt that this signals the start
of one of the greatest transformations of the Australian economy, ranking
alongside the floating of the currency, the introduction of the GST and other
major policy initiatives. But will this transformation be sudden and dramatic,
or will it be a slow burn? Climate Spectator asked leading business people,
advisors, politicians and lobbyists for their take. This is what they said:

Nathan Fabian, CEO at Investor Group on
Climate Change: It’s a significant step. Investors are starting to get the
regulatory certainty they’ve wanted for years. For the first time, emissions
intensity and carbon liability will become part of the regular financial
conversation between investors and companies. Expectations for reporting
timeliness and assurance from companies will increase, as will expectations
that companies find emission reduction opportunities.

The financial impact of the scheme is small
for most companies in the early years, so there will be little change in
investment allocations right away. Few if any stocks will be re-rated because
of the carbon price, but investors will carbon footprint their portfolios and
carbon liability will become a portfolio exposure to manage along with exposure
to different asset classes or sectors.

On low-carbon investments, a round of
research projects and due-dilligence will kick off, but commencement of the
scheme and complementary policies will be what gets investment funds flowing.

Rob Murray-Leach, CEO of the Energy
Efficiency Council: This is a historic day for Australia – the carbon price
package will unleash a wave of investment and make our economy fighting-fit for
the 21st Century. Improving the energy efficiency of homes and businesses will
save Australians over $5 billion a year.

Global prices for coal, gas and oil are
rising due to economic growth in Asia, which means that companies need to
become more efficient to stay competitive. Australian businesses currently
waste huge amounts of energy, and that puts our economy at risk. A carbon price
has a relatively small impact on energy prices, and actually helps businesses
by providing the certainty they need to invest in changes that are long

The carbon price won’t damage the economy –
it will make Australian businesses more efficient and boost their global
competitiveness. …[It] will unleash billions of dollars of investment to
improve businesses’ efficiency. …Forget what some companies have been telling
the papers – behind the scenes they’re gearing up to become lean and efficient.
Companies might lobby for special deals, but many of them are getting on with
the job of responding to the carbon price.

John Valastro, head of environment, Qantas:
With the passage of the carbon price legislation the priority must now be joint
government and industry action to advance technologies that reduce emissions
and can help companies meet their environmental obligations. Top of the list
for Qantas is the development of sustainable aviation fuels – an area where
Australia has all the ingredients to be a global leader.  The recent MOU signed between the Australian
and US governments was a good start, but questions of taxation, funding and
infrastructure need to be addressed soon if progress is to be made. Putting Australia
at the forefront of this emerging industry would, over the long term, help
shift our aviation-dependent economy to a lower carbon footprint, create green
jobs and drive investment. Other important issues for Qantas include
improvements to airspace management and access to credible and competitive
carbon markets (both within and outside Australia).

Grant King, managing director of Origin
Energy: As a long-time supporter of an emissions trading scheme, we welcome the
passage today of the bills necessary to make it happen. The trading scheme at
the heart of the Clean Energy package benefits from years of work by
Australia’s experts in designing a market based approach to reducing emissions,
and is very solid in itself.

Surrounding the trading scheme are a number
of related policy choices. With large amounts of money available to some parts
of the energy industry through the Clean Finance Corporation and other new
sources, a lot of the success of the package in the long term will depend on
setting up tight governance and clear principles for spending that money. In
the electricity market, the biggest driver of change over the next ten years
will be whether or not the government reaches a deal for closure of a
coal-fired power plant. The Review processes established in the Package are
very important and we look forward to more detail on these as they are
established, especially in so far as they relate to compensation for EITEs.

Steve Sargent, President and CEO of GE
Australia & NZ: The vote …is a significant milestone for Australia and an
important step for our country to transition to a low carbon economy. This
transition is already underway around the world – as we’ve seen with an ETS
already in place in 32 countries. The passage of the Clean Energy Future
legislation will provide businesses with certainty and in turn, unlock
investment, stimulate innovation, and grow cleaner industries.

What we hope to see now is a greater focus on
energy efficiency and improvement in carbon-intensive business processes. A
report we commissioned earlier this year by the Economist Intelligence Unit
found that 70 percent of Australian businesses already have a carbon reduction
strategy in place – this will move higher up on the agenda for more and more

Within our own business, GE has priced carbon
into our operations since 2005. Our approach has been to mitigate the risks
while maximising the upside. We launched a business strategy called
ecomagination in 2005 which has seen GE reduce our own carbon emissions by 22
per cent, achieve cost savings of $130 million and revenue growth of lower
carbon products & services by $85 billion to 2010. Putting a price on
carbon is a good start, but a well-designed mix of policies with a few broad,
complementary measures such as the Renewable Energy Target, will further secure
Australia’s economic prosperity and encourage technology innovation in a carbon
constrained future.

Martijn Wilder, head of climate change
practice, Baker & McKenzie: Past experience has shown us that until
legislation is actually law, majority of companies will not start to engage.
But once it gets passed Senate, you will see an acceleration of a lot of
activities. At the moment there is a lot of discussion about what can be done,
investing in the carbon farming initiative,
investment in renewables. Some of the very sophisticated players are
moving quite quickly to secure their offsets and suppliers. But the majority of
corporates will probably not engage on this before July next year. Those who
understand the opportunities will be moving much more quickly, focusing on what
it means, what are the penalties  for non
compliance, how they look at purchasing offsets.

Anthony Hobley, global head of climate change
at Norton Rose: The passing of today’s bill is not the end of the story. It
still needs to pass a vote in the Upper House. Many might say we have been here
before with the CPRS. But this time it is different. The Greens control the
balance of power in the Senate and this time they have been part of the process
which negotiated the final carbon package.

If all goes according to plan, the
legislation could be law by early December. Then the fun begins. Many in the
business community are perhaps not as prepared as they should be – and that is
quite understandable. There has for some time been sentiment in the business
community that “I will believe it when I see it”.  As a result there is not a detailed
understanding of the latest carbon pricing package and many businesses will
need to come up to speed quickly. Today’s vote should be a wake up call to
those businesses who think Australia will not put a price on carbon.

Jon Jutsen, founder, Energetics: We expect
more investment in efficiency programs because the psychological effect of the
legislation should prompt many companies to act on carbon mitigation now. This
is likely to be the beginning of ongoing reductions in carbon emissions across
the Australian economy. The combined impact of the carbon price with the
escalation in electricity network (and environmental) charges is significant.

Energetics conducted a study of the payback
period from electricity savings projects over the period from 2008 to 2012/3,
and this has shown that projects with a payback of 8 years in 2008, could have
a payback of 2 years by next year based on electricity price escalation, the
carbon price, the improvement in the exchange rate for imported equipment since
2008, and the potential to gain a 25% grant from the carbon package.  Work on biogas-to-energy projects in the food
processing industry should accelerate with the double impact of the carbon
legislation, making electricity from the grid more expensive, as well as
increasing charges for organic waste disposal.

Matthew Wright, executive director of Beyond
Zero Emissions and 2010 Young Environmentalist of the Year: The passing of the
government’s Clean Fnergy Future bills reflects the politics of climate change,
not the science. …It is small first step towards transitioning Australia from
a 19th Century fossil fuel economy to a 21st Century renewable-powered cleantech
economy. …But the heavy lifting needs to be done by policies that have been
shown to work globally in getting significant amounts of renewable energy

The Australian government must establish a
feed-in tariff for large-scale renewables – which has delivered 80 per cent of
non-hydro renewables globally. Without a feed-in tarriff, the main result of
the Clean Energy Future bills will be a large increase in new gas power plants.
Besides locking in an unacceptable level of emissions for the next 50 years, it
will tie Australian electricity prices volatile and increasing global gas
prices as the huge LNG developments come on line over the next few years.

A national FiT will help Australia catch up
with the rapid pace of renewable energy deployment in the world’s powerhouse
economies like Germany and China. It will result in meaningful cuts in our
emissions, and lock in lower energy costs for Australian consumers.  Now that the carbon price has passed,
political leaders must get onto the real job of a strong larg-scale renewable
energy feed-in tariff.

Neil Hereford, head of Carbon Solutions
Group, Commonwealth Bank of Australia: We have been talking to a number of our
institutional and corporate customers about the impacts of a carbon price and
the range of carbon financial products and services the Bank has developed in
anticipation of entering a low carbon environment.  Our clients see the implications of carbon
emissions just like any other operational or financial risk, and we will
continue to work closely with them in the management of the cash-flow and price
impacts associated with the carbon price mechanism.

The Bank is working with a number of its
customers in relation to hedging and financing opportunities associated with
carbon farming projects.  Through early
engagement, we can give our clients the full spectrum of services that will not
only help them manage risks, but importantly take advantage of the
opportunities in a new low carbon economy and reinforce the Commonwealth Bank’s
position as the leading provider of total capital solutions.

Emma Herd, director, emissions and
environment, Westpac: The passing of the Clean Energy Futures package through
the House of Representatives is an important step towards delivering the
investment certainty that business has been looking for. Market expectations
are that the legislation will now pass through the Senate and come into effect
on 1 July 2012. We are seeing significant interest from companies looking to
understand what their liability is, how they can effectively manage it, and
ultimately how they will reduce it over time. This includes potential trading
strategies as well as opportunities for involvement in renewable energy
projects, the Carbon Farming Initiative projects, fuel switching, energy efficiency,
process improvements or clean technology application for example.

We would expect this trend to continue
following the passage of the legislation as business moves to understand their
obligations, identify opportunities for competitive differentiation and move to
implement an operational response. Westpac is focused on delivering practical
products and solutions for business and the community to help facilitate this

Tim Jordan, analyst, Deutsche Bank: The
carbon price will slowly transform the Australian economy over coming decades.
The finance sector will help with the renewal of Australia’s infrastructure
capital stock and help businesses take advantage of opportunities in the global
carbon market.  But as with all major
structural reforms, it will take time for the carbon price to become properly
embedded in the economy. I suspect that the carbon price will only be
confidently factored into investment decisions when the new institutions have
proved themselves and the political risk has abated.

Geoff Ward, managing director of Geodynamics:
[The CEF] legislation provides vital long-term support for the transformation
of the Australian energy market. It is a major initiative that clearly
addresses energy security and foreshadows a necessary transition, likely to
take place over several decades. The legislation gives Australia the policy
backbone it needs to build renewable energy alternatives while continuing to
provide affordable electricity on reliable, high quality networks.

As well as the clear pricing signals this
legislation offers industry, the establishment of the Australian Renewable
Energy Agency (ARENA) and Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) is crucial to
ensure that as a nation we invest in new technology now. This will allow us to
deliver globally competitive clean energy on the commercial scale that will be
needed to power our economy in the decades ahead.

Nick Armstrong, CEO of COzero: “Today’s vote
is a significant step towards pricing carbon through an Emissions Trading
Scheme.  Australian business today has
been given every reason to be more competitive in the global market place,
where the true price of carbon is increasingly becoming a procurement
consideration. The Australian Government has succeeded in putting carbon on the
business agenda.  The next urgent step is
to relieve business from yet another tax by establishing the true cost of
carbon through an open market Emissions Trading Scheme.

Lisa Wade, executive director, Change
Management Investment: This is a great step forward. The  removal of uncertainty will enable investment
in industries which transition us to a more globally efficient economy.

Greg Combet, federal Minister for Climate
Change and Energy Efficiency: The passage of the clean energy future legislation
by the House of Representatives after more than a decade of debate over
tackling climate change and putting a price on carbon is a historic
development. The government’s immediate focus is on securing passage of the
legislation through the Senate which we expect to achieve before the end of the

Then we will get on with the job of
finalising administrative and regulatory arrangements for the carbon price
mechanism to commence from 1 July 2011 next year, including establishing the
new Clean Energy Regulator and Climate Change Authority. The government will
consult closely with business and other stakeholders in the lead up to the
start of the carbon price mechanism.

A key focus for the government will also be
on the international process under the UNFCCC with the coming conference in
Durban and on bilateral discussions to facilitate access to international
carbon markets. This reform will drive the transformation of the Australian
economy to a low-carbon future. Coupled with the government’s Renewable Energy
Target it will stimulate new waves of investment in cleaner sources of energy
like gas, wind and solar power and provide a powerful incentive for innovation
in low pollution technologies.

Christine Milne, Deputy Leader of the
Australian Greens: These bills are only a start and much remains to be done,
both here in Australia and in global negotiations, but the package has been
designed specifically so it can be strengthened over time, with annual
opportunities to lift our ambition, increase our targets and invest more in
clean, renewable energy than in dirty old energy.

Once the bills pass the Senate next month,
the next step is the global climate meeting in Durban in December, where
Australia’s decision to put a price on pollution and invest in renewable energy
will make a big impact. Global climate negotiations need a shot of optimism,
and what we have achieved here in Australia can deliver that and help build
momentum towards an ambitious, science-based climate treaty in the years ahead.

Michael Hitchens, CEO of Australian Industry
Greenhouse Network: The passing of the Clean Energy Bills through Parliament,
means that the over 100,000 manufacturing, mining and energy transformation
business that bear most of the costs of the $23/t tax will have two key tasks
ahead of them for the next 12 months.

First, they will continue to argue for the
changes to the legislation that are required to deliver on the Government’s
promises of least-cost and reduced uncertainty. To deliver least-cost, the
legislation needs to lower the $23/t starting price to the expected
international price of around $15/t; increase the default scheme caps by 50
million units over the first 5 years; make all trade exposed industry eligible
for unit allocation; and put in place a plan to phase out the over 200 other
programs that the Productivity Commission has identified as high cost.

To deal with the uncertainty created by the
legislation, and hence encourage investment in emission reduction, amendments
will be needed to ensure that the 7 reviews by the Productivity Commission and
the Climate Change Authority over the next 5 years do not undermine the jobs
and competitiveness program or the energy security program. Second, liable
companies will be investing millions of dollars in new or upgraded systems to
meet all the administrative requirements of the regulations, many of which may
not be known much before 1 July 2012.

John Connor, CEO, Climate Institute: For the
first time in Australian history, our largest businesses will soon have to
operate under a limit on the amount of carbon pollution they produce. This vote
creates the potential for a win-win of a cleaner, less wasteful, more
competitive economy and greater credibility to help boost the efforts of
Australia and other countries taking action.”

The domestic task now is to ensure Government
and private sector investments connect with climate solutions in clean energy,
like solar, wind and geothermal power, and other opportunities like carbon
farming and energy efficiency. The existing Renewable Energy Target and
policies that come with these laws, like the $10 billion Clean Energy Fund and
Carbon Farming Initiative, can develop the technologies, skills and jobs
crucial to reducing our economy’s dependence on carbon pollution.”

Two top priorities now are to follow through
on the Government’s commitment to develop a national energy savings scheme and
to ensure long term investors, like superannuation funds and the Future Fund,
better factor in systemic climate risks and low carbon economic opportunities.
Internationally, we can now credibly join other nations in addressing the risks
and costs of accelerating climate change to which Australia is so exposed.”


Bringing Home Energy Efficiency & Putting Carbon Footprinting to Work

Posted by admin on October 23, 2011
Posted under Express 154

Bringing Home Energy Efficiency & Putting Carbon Footprinting to Work

A UK energy act has come into law which aims
to boost energy efficiency in residential homes. The Department for Energy and
Climate Change (DECC) said more than half of UK homes have insufficient insulation
and around 50% more energy is used to heat and power homes than is used to power
UK industry. Meanwhile, the UK Carbon Trust has launched Footprint
Verification, a new service that will provide companies and organisations with
independent verification of their corporate carbon footprints.

Reuters, London (20 October 2011):

A UK energy act came into law on Wednesday
which aims to boost energy efficiency in residential homes, the Department for
Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said.

More than half of UK homes have insufficient
insulation, and around 50 percent more energy is used to heat and power homes
than is used to power UK industry, according to DECC.

“It is vital, therefore, that action is
taken to address home energy efficiency,” the department said.

“The coalition is doing all it can to
bear down on energy prices, but insulation will provide the long-term help to
manage bills,” energy and climate change secretary Chris Huhne said.

DECC also said that the energy act would set
in stone the legal framework for the ‘Green Deal’, which will be launched in
autumn next year.

“The Green Deal will help people
insulate against rising energy prices, creating homes which are warmer and
cheaper to run,” DECC said.

Climate change minister Greg Barker said that
the Green Deal is “expected to attract capital investment of up to 15
billion pounds in the residential sector alone by the end of this decade and at
its peak support around 250,000 jobs.”

The key elements to the energy act will
remove the upfront cost of energy efficiency measures (like loft, cavity and
external wall insulation, draught proofing and energy efficiency glazing and
boilers) making expensive home improvement affordable.

DECC said that the energy saving work will be
repaid over time through a charge on the home’s energy bill.

The act aims to provide financial help for
the most vulnerable and hardest-to-treat homes by getting energy companies to
fund work like basic insulation and boiler upgrades.

The act also aims to improve at least 682,000
privately rented homes.

“From April 2018 it will be unlawful to
rent out a house or business premise which has less than an ‘E’ energy
efficiency rating,” DECC said.

“The Green Deal scheme is innovative.
Historically, Energy Performance Certificates have been seen as a white
elephant. However, today’s regulations provide a strong incentive for landlords
to pay attention to their building’s energy efficiency,” David Symons,
director at consultancy WSP Environment & Energy, said.

But Symons said there were still hurdles to
overcome before the legislation would be a success.

“Early indications are that customers
may still have to provide an up-front payment to make the scheme work” and
that the “scheme will struggle if high demand leads to shoddy


Carbon Trust launches new service to verify
company carbon footprints

Footprint Verification service gives
assurance for annual reporting and disclosure to stakeholders

Carbon Trust, London, (12 October 2011):

The Carbon Trust launches Footprint
Verification, a new service that will provide companies and organisations with
independent verification of their corporate carbon footprints.

The service has been launched to help
companies and organisations manage the increasing demand for robust carbon
emissions data in CSR & annual reports and websites, as well as to support
the disclosure of emissions to third party stakeholders, such as shareholders
and investors. Using the new service, organisations can display a Footprint
Verification logo, in conjunction with the carbon footprint data, showing that
their emissions have been verified. The verified carbon footprint provided is
compliant with both the internationally recognised GHG Protocol, as well as the
Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP).

Harry Morrison, Director, Carbon Trust
Certification, says:

“With the prospect of mandatory carbon
reporting on the horizon and increasing pressure from shareholders for carbon
disclosure, more companies and organisations are seeking independent assurance
that their carbon footprint has been measured robustly and accurately. Most
companies understand now that what you can’t measure, you can’t manage. And
Footprint Verification is a key service for those wanting to build a robust
foundation for their carbon management strategy.”

The news follows new findings from the Carbon
Trust that 50% of multinationals look set to select their suppliers based upon
carbon performance in the future.

Harry Morrison added:

“The business case for measuring and reducing
carbon emissions stretches beyond internal cost efficiency and improving
environmental reputation. Effective carbon management also offers significant
rewards for businesses seeking to secure their places on enterprise supply
chains, which nowadays increasingly look to their suppliers to play an active
role in cutting emissions.”

The Aldersgate Group is an alliance of
leaders from business, politics and society that aims to drive action for a sustainable

Andrew Raingold, Executive Director, The
Aldersgate Group, said:

“Businesses have been very vocal in
pressing for mandatory carbon reporting to create a level playing field and
drive greater transparency of their energy footprint. With a decision expected
imminently, the development of verification is vitally important to ensure data
is both robust and reliable.”

The new Footprint Verification service
comprises a two-stage process. Firstly, a gap analysis is undertaken to
understand whether there are omissions or discrepancies in footprint data. If
these arise, an organisation can address them before seeking full verification.
Secondly, the final footprint data is verified.


Stop the Logging, Cut Emissions, Boost the Economy

Posted by admin on October 23, 2011
Posted under Express 154

Stop the Logging, Cut Emissions, Boost the Economy

Indonesia is losing about 1.1 million
hectares of its forests each year. Most of it is due to unsustainable logging,
converting forests to plantations for palm oil and the pulp and paper industry.
Large-scale illegal logging costs Indonesia about US$4 billion annually. And
deforestation accounts for between 15-25% of all human generated greenhouse gas
emissions, according to the UN. But in Indonesia that figure is up to 85%,
making the country one of the highest emitters in the world.

An Unhappy Tale of Loss and Destruction

by Ken Hickson on attending the Forests, Biodiversity and Climate Change in
Southeast Asia organised by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in
Singapore on 17 October: 

When you sit through a whole day of people
talking about deforestation – in Indonesia and elsewhere – you cannot but
wonder if we are ever going to get this right and stop the wanton destruction
which is not only destroying lives, wildlife and the environment, but is one of
the major contributors to global warning.

FACT: According to the UN Forum on Forests
Director Jan McAlpine, deforestation
contributes 15-25% of all human generated greenhouse gas emissions.

So many earnest and intelligent people, representing
some of the world leading NGOs, businesses and Governments, attempting to do so
much good to provide alternative economic benefits to the people, while
seemingly unable to stop the logging companies from having their own way. No
matter how many Government statements there are and assurances from the President
down that the “rainforests will be safeguarded”, the destruction continues and
the burning of farmland and peat forests continue.

In Indonesia we cannot be expected to think
otherwise: the situation is out of control. Forest policy is not being managed
by the Government, but at the mercy of logging companies.

FACT: One speaker at the conference on Forests, Biodiversity
and Climate Change in Southeast Asia organised by the Institute of Southeast
Asian Studies last week pointed out that in the last ten years the world has lost forever 130 million hectares of
. This is since the world has been aware of the need to keep
rainforests intact to preserve biodiversity and the planet. For more go to:

A procession of do-gooding organisations –
NGOs and businesses – tell of their efforts to rein in the “enemy” and maintain
forests and peatlands;  to keep
biodiversity intact and to provide clean, green alternative sources of income
for villagers throughout Indonesia and other threatened South East Asian

FACT: Degradation of South East Asian tropical
peat swamps result in huge emissions, from peat soil carbon oxidation and from
fires, amounting to 6% of global emissions. Peatlands around the world store
30% of all terrestrial carbon. For more go to

The Governments of the world agreed at the UN
Climate Change conference Bali in 2007 to establish REDD – Reduced Emissions
from Deforestation and Degradation – many held out great hopes that this would
meet its objectives, simply to enable governments, companies or forest owners
in the South should be rewarded for keeping their forests instead of cutting
them down.

Yet time after time, we hear that it is not
working. In spite of the best intentions and endeavours by many. Time after
time, at this one day conference, I heard speakers talk about what they are
trying to do to make a difference and about the obstacles put in their way.

FACT: Five years after various REDD projects have
been initiated, only one of them has met the full requirements of the Verified
Carbon Standard (VCS) and is able to trade in carbon credits. For mre go to

Nothing will change unless governments steps
in to control logging companies and palm oil plantation owners who seem to
hell-bent on destruction as they reward villagers far more than they can
possibly receive through managed REDD avoided deforestation projects.

I wish I could present all the material
presented and interview all the speakers at the conference to give readers a
full picture, but here’s a few more sites you could go to  learn more of what’s happening – the good and
the bad – in regards to South East Asia and “Forests, biodiversity and Climate

WWF’s Heart of Borneo Initiative –

BirdLife International’s Forests of Hope
project –

There is always hope, and we also give you a
positive story from Fauna and Flora International on their REDD BioCarbon
project. See below.

We also include – with an even higher, but
perhaps unwarranted expectation of hope – an article from the Jakarta Globe
quoting Indonesian President, who vows to safeguard the countries rainforests.

Has he left it too late?  Has the damage been done?

  • As
    we continue to experience the smoke haze in Singapore from Indonesia’s out of
    control burning after many years of far-too-polite “complaints”;
  • As
    we continue to learn that Indonesia is losing about 1. Million hectares of
    forest each year;
  • As
    we continue to hear of Government promises and moratoriums and vows, we can
    only say:

speak louder than words. The time for talking about it has passed. Show that
Indonesia can make a positive contribution to its own economy and the planet’s
health, by dealing with the scourge of deforestation. 

If you want to read a deforestation horror
story, you should go to the excellent Reuters special report by David Fogarty –

For more go to:


News Release: SBY Vows to Protect Indonesia’s
Rainforests (27 September 2011)

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono delivering
his opening address at the Forests Indonesia Conference in Jakarta. Yudhoyono
promised to dedicate the last three years of his administration to safeguarding
Indonesia’s rainforests — a pledge that received broad support at a major conference
in Jakarta.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono promised
to dedicate the last three years of his administration to safeguarding
Indonesia’s rainforests — a pledge that received broad support at a major
conference in Jakarta.

Hosted by the Center for International
Forestry Research (CIFOR), the conference provided a platform for 1,000 leaders
of Indonesia’s government, business community and civil society, as well as
foreign donors, to discuss the future of the forests, the third-largest
tropical forest in the world.

“I will continue my work and dedicate the
last three years of my term as President to deliver enduring results that will
sustain and enhance the environment and forests of Indonesia,” Yudhoyono said
at the conference. “If it weren’t for the benefits that our forests provide,
then our way of life, our people, our economy, our environment and our society
would be so much the poorer.

“Our success in managing our forests will
determine our future and the opportunities that will be available to our children.”

A CIFOR news release says Indonesia is losing
about 1.1 million hectares of its forests each year. Most of it is due to
unsustainable logging that includes the conversion of forests to plantations
for palm oil and the pulp and paper industry. It is also partly due to
large-scale illegal logging, which is estimated to cost Indonesia about $4
billion annually.

“We must change the way we treat our forests
so that they are conserved even as we drive hard to accelerate our economic
growth,” Yudhoyono said. “I do not want to later explain to my granddaughter,
Almira that we, in our time, could not save the forests and the people that
depend on it. I do not want to tell her the sad news that tigers, rhinoceroses
and orangutans vanished like the dinosaurs.”

In his speech, the president reiterated a
2009 pledge to cut Indonesia’s greenhouse gas emissions by up to 41 percent
from business-as-usual levels by 2020 — a vow only achievable if the forests
are safeguarded.

Globally, deforestation accounts for up to 20
percent of greenhouse gas emissions. In Indonesia, however that figure is up to
85 percent, Yudhoyono said. This makes the country one of the highest emitters
in the world.

Norway has committed up to $1 billion to help
Indonesia meet its emissions reduction target, and in May this year the
Indonesian government issued a two-year moratorium on new forestry concessions.

“Norway is proud of the partnership with
Indonesia,” Erik Solheim, Norway’s minister for the environment and
international development, said at the conference.

“We strongly encourage other countries to
support the work that President Yudhoyono and the government of Indonesia is
doing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. President Yudhoyono is now one of the
foremost statesmen leading the international fight to combat climate change.”

It is predicted that up to $30 billion could
flow from developed to developing countries each year to help facilitate
significant reductions in deforestation, and Indonesia could potentially claim
a significant share of these funds through REDD+, a global mechanism for
Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation, as well as the
conservation and sustainable management of forests, and the enhancement of
forest carbon stocks.

Indonesia is one of the countries with the
most REDD+ demonstration activities in various stages of development, and
Indonesia has been an early participant in various bilateral and multilateral
initiatives to prepare for REDD+ implementation at the national level.

In addition to potential funding
opportunities through REDD+ in coming years, Indonesia has a range of options
available to reduce the pace of deforestation, while at the same time expanding
agricultural production to guarantee food security targets and promote economic

This includes focusing future agricultural
development on so-called degraded land, rather than clearing rainforest to make
way for plantations or developing carbon-rich peatland. The government could
also support a push for agricultural intensification – increasing yields per
hectare, which are currently relatively low.

“While there are some ‘win-win’ opportunities
to reconcile forest management to meet both global and domestic objectives,
there will also be some trade-offs that will require leadership from
government, business, and civil society to determine the best way forward for
Indonesia in a manner that is transparent and fair,” said Frances Seymour,
CIFOR director general.

As part of his push to safeguard the forests,
Yudhoyono called on Indonesia’s captains of industry to adopt more sustainable
forests management practices.

“I call upon our business leaders,
particularly those in the palm oil, pulp wood and mining sectors, to partner
with us by enhancing the environmental sustainability of their operations,” he
said. “I ask you to join me in pledging to safeguard this national treasure for
the sake of our children.”

The President’s pledge received widespread
support from conference attendees.

“I am pleased to be here at the Forests
Indonesia Conference because the UK recognizes the importance of climate change
in Indonesia. We are pleased to be supporting the government of Indonesia’s
work to meet its internationals climate change commitments,” said Jim Paice, UK
Minister of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.


Fauna & Flora International (July):

Investment from International Finance
Corporation and Global Forest Partners set to enable largescale REDD projects

Macquarie Global Investments (Macquarie) have
announced that BioCarbon Group Pte Limited (BioCarbon) has agreed to terms with
investors for a combined investment of $US25 million to target global forest
carbon projects known as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation

The investments, provided by a timber
investment fund managed by US based Global Forest Partners LP (GFP), IFC, a
member of the World Bank Group, and Macquarie, which also established the
company, will enable BioCarbon to identify and invest in large scale REDD
projects. The first project is expected to be in Indonesia, one of the first
countries to establish a legal framework for REDD.

Macquarie Global Investments Associate
Director, Brer Adams, said bringing together global leaders in sustainable
forestry investment and investment in developing countries means BioCarbon is
very well placed to create and sustain significant REDD investments.

“BioCarbon is a pioneering company that is demonstrating
the ability to link carbon finance to forest conservation, aiming to reduce
carbon emissions, protect biodiversity and provide returns for its investors,”
Mr Adams said.

“This investment will enable BioCarbon to
develop large scale REDD projects and meet demand for forest carbon credits,
which we believe will be an increasingly important part of global carbon

Peter C. Mertz, Chief Executive Officer of
GFP noted that, “GFP’s investment in BioCarbon continues our 25 year commitment
to investing in sustainable forestry projects that meet the highest
environmental standards and support local economies. We look forward to our
collaboration with Macquarie and IFC in this important and developing sector
within our industry.”

BioCarbon will also benefit from a
collaboration with Fauna & Flora International (FFI), a relationship
established by Macquarie Group in 2008. FFI CEO Mark Rose said that this unique
partnership is central to the organisation’s REDD programme.

“Fauna & Flora International is delighted
to be a part of this groundbreaking initiative, which demonstrates how FFI and
Macquarie Group have been at the forefront of commercial investment in REDD.
Together we will be demonstrating the potential to reduce deforestation,
conserve biodiversity and combat climate change, while providing significant
benefits to communities living in or near forests,” Mr Rose said.

BioCarbon will be seeking to accredit its
forest carbon projects with leading international standards including the
Verified Carbon Standard and the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard.


Climate Change Impacts: Coffee and Chocolate to Go!

Posted by admin on October 23, 2011
Posted under Express 154

Climate Change Impacts: Coffee and Chocolate to Go!

The sustainability director for Starbucks
said its coffee farmers were already seeing the effects of a changing climate,
with severe hurricanes and more resistant bugs reducing crop yields.The company
is now preparing for the possibility of a serious threat to global supplies. Meanwhile,
the world’s cocoa supply could be in danger from climate change, according to a
new study from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), which
says that prices are likely to skyrocket if preventative measures aren’t taken.

Suzanne Goldenberg, US environment
correspondent for  (13 October

Forget about super-sizing into the Trenta a
few years from now: Starbucks is warning of a threat to world coffee supply
because of climate change.

(Note: The Trenta, available only for iced
drinks, will be in every U.S. Starbucks by May 3. The 31oz addition to the
Starbucks lineup is 325mL larger than Starbucks’ previous largest size, the
Venti. At 916 mL, the Trenta is actually larger than the average capacity of
the adult human stomach (900mL).)

In a telephone interview with the Guardian,
Jim Hanna, the company’s sustainability director, said its farmers were already
seeing the effects of a changing climate, with severe hurricanes and more
resistant bugs reducing crop yields.

The company is now preparing for the
possibility of a serious threat to global supplies. “What we are really
seeing as a company as we look 10, 20, 30 years down the road – if conditions
continue as they are – is a potentially significant risk to our supply chain,
which is the Arabica coffee bean,” Hanna said.

It was the second warning in less than a
month of a threat to a food item many people can’t live without.

New research from the International Centre
for Tropical Agriculture warned it would be too hot to grow chocolate in much
of the Ivory Coast and Ghana, the world’s main producers, by 2050.

Hanna is to travel to Washington on Friday to
brief members of Congress on climate change and coffee at an event sponsored by
the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The coffee giant is part of a business
coalition that has been trying to push Congress and the Obama administration to
act on climate change – without success, as Hanna acknowledged.

The coalition, including companies like Gap,
are next month launching a new campaign – showcasing their own action against
climate change – ahead of the release of a landmark science report from the

Hanna told the Guardian the company’s
suppliers, who are mainly in Central America, were already experiencing
changing rainfall patterns and more severe pest infestations.

Even well-established farms were seeing a
drop in crop yield, and that could well discourage growers from cultivating
coffee in the future, further constricting supply, he said. “Even in very
well established coffee plantations and farms, we are hearing more and more
stories of impacts.”

These include: more severe hurricanes,
mudslides and erosion, variation in dry and rainy seasons.

Hanna said the company was working with local
producers to try to cushion them from future changes.

“If we sit by and wait until the impacts
of climate change are so severe that is impacting our supply chain then that
puts us at a greater risk,” he said. “From a business perspective we
really need to address this now, and to look five, 10, and 20 years down the



Planet Getting Too Hot for Chocolate? Study
Finds Climate Change Could Threaten Cocoa Farmers

by Rachel Cernansky, Boulder, Colorado on

The world’s cocoa supply could be in danger
from climate change, according to a new study from the International Center for
Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), which says that prices are likely to skyrocket if
preventative measures aren’t taken. The report predicts that the expected
annual temperature increase of more than two degrees Celsius by 2050 will leave
many cocoa-producing areas in West Africa—the source of more than half the
world’s chocolate—too hot to continue growing the crop. And the report says the
decline could begin as soon as 2030.

In the report, Predicting the Impact of
Climate Change on the Cocoa-Growing Regions in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire [PDF],
CIAT predicts that in warmer conditions, heat-sensitive cocoa trees will
struggle to get enough water during the growing season. Drier-than-ever dry
seasons won’t help the trees, either.

More from CIAT:

By 2050, a rise of 2.3 degrees Celsius will
drastically affect production in lowland regions, including the major
cocoa-producing areas of Moyen-Comoe, Sud-Comoe and Agneby in Cote d’Ivoire,
and Western and Brong Ahafo in Ghana. Farmers in these areas are particularly
vulnerable since cocoa production is often their primary source of income.

“Many of these farmers use their cocoa
trees like ATM machines,” said CIAT’s Dr. Peter Laderach, the report’s
lead author. “They pick some pods and sell them to quickly raise cash for
school fees or medical expenses. The trees play an absolutely critical role in
rural life.”

Why Not Just Plant New Cocoa Trees Elsewhere?

report’s findings show that the ideal conditions for cocoa-growing will shift
to higher altitudes—but most of West Africa is relatively flat, so there is not
a lot of land at higher elevation to move to.

But even where there is higher land,
establishing new cocoa-producing areas could trigger the clearing of forests
and important habitats for flora and fauna. Which means, yes, exacerbating
climate change even further.

Planning Ahead

is pushing for a focus on improving the resilience of existing production
systems. It makes such recommendations as using larger shade trees to keep
cocoa trees cool (which many smallholder farmers already do); diversifying
crops grown for both export and food crops to spread the risk of one crop
failing; developing hardier cocoa crops capable of tolerating warmer, drier
conditions; and stepping up research into suitable irrigation systems.
Government-level policies will also be crucial to help cocoa farmers and the
industry adapt.

Laderach said, “The good news is that
the report quantifies the risks, and pinpoints particularly vulnerable areas in
good time for effective action to be taken.”

The study is the first in a series that in
the coming months will also look at the impact of climate change on cashews and


SunPower Reports Sustainably & Playford Could Convert Coal to Solar Thermal

Posted by admin on October 23, 2011
Posted under Express 154

SunPower Reports Sustainably & Playford Could Convert Coal to Solar Thermal

SunPower has produced the first sustainability
report in the solar industry. 80% of the world’s largest companies now disclose
environmental, social, and corporate governance data in Sustainability Reports,
up from only 52% in 2005, according to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). Meanwhile,
the owners of Australia’s most polluting coal-fired power station, the Playford
plant in South Australia, are considering converting it to a solar thermal
facility if it is closed as part of the government’s proposed buyout of
brown-coal generators.

SunPower Releases First Sustainability Report
in the Solar Industry (6 Octber 2011):

SunPower (SPWRA) has produced the first
sustainability report in the solar industry.

“Our aim is to provide an accurate
account of our sustainability performance, set a baseline for improvements and
contribute to advancing sustainability in the solar industry,” the report

80% of the world’s largest companies now disclose
environmental, social, and corporate governance data in Sustainability Reports,
up from only 52% in 2005, according to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI),
which provides the globally accepted framework for sustainability reporting.

Smaller companies, however, lag considerably
in such reporting. Only four companies on the Russell 2000 index of small- to
mid-cap companies reported on their greenhouse gas emissions last year, says
Pax World, a sustainable asset management firm.

Most solar firms are small to medium-sized
companies. Perhaps, because solar is considered a “clean” industry,
companies don’t feel the necessity produce such a report. The electricity from
solar is clean, but the processes and some materials needed to produce it,
aren’t. We recently saw evidence of this when protests followed when Jinko
Solar dumped hazardous waste into a river. And solar manufacturing is quite
water intensive.

Report Details

In 2010, SunPower deployed 545 MW of solar
capacity, bringing its total cumulative capacity to 1.45 GW. By the end of
2011, the company expects it to exceed 2 GW. They have established solar panel
recycling partnerships in the US and Europe, and is advancing an industry-wide
take-back and recycling system in Europe.

Perhaps most importantly for a report of this
kind, SunPower says it’s reduced carbon emissions 45% per megawatt (MW) of
solar capacity. It’s target is to lower carbon emissions 50% by 2016.

With a wide range of energy efficiency
improvements at SunPower facilities and innovations in manufacturing processes,
the company says it’s made significant progress on reducing its carbon
intensity and is on track to continue this trend.

Also of critical importance for an industry
whose manufacturing process is water-intensive, SunPower reported it has
reduced water consumption by 450 million gallons of fresh water each year
relative to conventional water treatment systems, and plans to reduce total
water consumption per MW of solar produced 5% annually.

SunPower is pursuing LEED certification for
its headquarters, and says all new buildings will be LEED certified. It also
plans to retrofit its existing buildings to meet LEED guidelines.

Last year, the company established the
SunPower Sustainability Council to ensure focus, integration and accountability
across the business and to provide overall direction for its sustainability

We know that one of the key challenges we
face is managing the full lifecycle of our products,” says CEO Tom Werner
in the report. “As a result, our vision is to establish a fully LEED
certified “poly to panel” supply chain. We’ve already identified the
major risks, opportunities and impacts from our supply chain activities and we
have worked closely with our polysilicon, ingot, wafer, cell and manufacturing
suppliers as they seek LEED certification for their facilities.

SunPower plans to introduce a comprehensive
supply chain code of conduct in 2012 that will set out the principles of a
sustainable solar supply chain.

Source:  and

Giles Parkinson in Climate Spectator (7
October 2011):

The owners of Australia’s most polluting
coal-fired power station, the Playford plant in South Australia, are
considering converting it to a solar thermal facility if it is closed as part
of the government’s proposed buyout of brown-coal generators.

Jeff Dimery, the head of the now privately
owned Alinta, said solar thermal technology was one of two options being
considered after the closure of the 240MW Playford, and may be an easier option
than trying to source gas for a gas-fired peaking generator, as there is no gas
pipeline to Port Augusta.

“We’re exploring the idea of building a
renewable facility and integrate that with baseload (from the remaining northern
station) and solar thermal would be ideal, as there a good sun resource in the
region,” Dimery told Climate Spectator in an interview. “The technology
requires funding, and it’s a case of needing to convince government that it is
one of better projects. We intend to explore it.”

Playford is one of four brown coal generators
eligible to make a tender for the government’s proposed buyout, which intends
to remove 2000MW of brown coal generation from the grid by 2020 in order to
reduce emissions, and create room for gas-fired generation or renewables to be
built in their place.

The solar thermal idea will not form part of
Playford’s submission – apparently it matters not what the owners of the
retiring generation plant intend to do with the funds (and some may be expected
to expatriate those funds overseas), but Dimery is confident that Playford
would be an attractive option in any case. For a start, it’s the most
polluting, at 1.7t of Co2e/MWh, the early closure of 240MW would have little
impact on the National Energy Market, and the workforce could be absorbed at
the neighbouring 520MW Northern Power Station without any forced redundancies.
That could save on government funds.

The other attraction of solar thermal is that
it could be integrated into the Northern Power Station, pre-heating boilers in
the same way that a solar booster plant will be designed to do at the Kogan
Creek power station in Queensland, and/or putting electricity directly into the

Retail revolution?

Meanwhile, Alinta also has designs on the
retail market in the eastern states, and is currently applying for a new retail
licence in NSW, Victoria and Queensland, where it plans to establish a new
retail business under its home brand, integrated with its retail platform in
WA. It is negotiating the sale of Neighbourhood Energy.

Dimery, a former AGL executive, says he
expects Alinta to be competitive with the big three utilities – AGL, Origin,
and TruEnergy – in both the retail market and the wholesale market. More
interestingly, Dimery is one of those who subscribes to the theory that the
retail market will be turned on its head in the next few years by new
technologies, and it’s the smaller players that will be better placed than the
large incumbents.

He says the future business is inside the
house, rather than just delivering electrons to the front door. “There is a lot
of talk about smart meters, but I think they will be redundant before they come
in,” he says. He notes that many white goods manufactures are already
installing Zigbee chips in their appliances, which can offer the same
communications ability, without a smart meter.

“I think you will see retailers jump in with
the likes of Harvey Norman and have their energy plans sold through them, or an
internet service provider. The retail shop could change quite dramatically. But
we are open to all of that, and we’re having discussions with all of these
people.” Dimery says such developments could be occurring soon.

Grand plans for the Pilbara

Dimery also expanded on his company’s plans
for a transmission line in the Pilbara that would connect its gas-fired peaking
power station at Newman to Port Hedland and effectively “close the loop,”
creating a sort of mini grid that would open up options for other energy
sources as the Pilbara invests in massive new energy infrastructure.

The Pilbara interconnector – which would link
the transmission lines operated by BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, and end the
almost feudal arrangements for energy supply in the region – has been on the
drawing board for many years, and was one of the favoured projects of
Infrastructure Australia.

However, in a surprise move it was knocked
back by the WA government, but Alinta sees plenty of advantages in investing in
the transmission line, not least of all ensuring that its 178MW facility at
Newman is not stranded when its contract with BHP runs out in 2017, and because
of all the other projects that are seeking energy supplies and are finding it
almost impossible to source gas, and prohibitive to install diesel.

Dimery says energy demand in the Pilbara is
phenomenally strong. With a new grid, Alinta will consider converting its open
cycle plants into more efficient combined cycle generators, particularly with
the new carbon pricing regime. It would also create opportunities for
renewables, such as solar PV or solar thermal, to be built as part of the grid.
With the numerous gas plants in the region, many of them peakers, there is a
built in redundancy, and the Pilbara could be one of the first areas where
solar costs match that of gas.

As it is, Dimery notes, the profits that the
miners are making from their operations make them worry less about energy costs
than reliability.


Dimery says he is a “bit of a fan” of
renewables, given he was head of the merchant group at AGL that was responsible
for the purchase of the Southern Hydro business and was a key player in many of
their wind farm projects, including the massive Macarthur wind farm that has
begun construction.

“I think they have a very important role to
play in the market,” he says. “One of benefits of building a new retail base in
NEM, is that it will have a (renewable energy target) liability, and we will be
in a position to support projects. We are getting lots of traffic through here
looking for our support.”

But how important a role will they play?
“It’s a bit like asking how long a piece of string is,” he says. “There are a
number of factors that will influence renewables: new planning laws in Victoria
have made it very hard to commercialise wind farms, and that will limit the
rollout. There are similar noises coming out of NSW. There is not a whole lot
of wind in Queensland, and until there is an upgrade to the interconnector,
there is a limit to what wind can do in South Australia.

“On the upside, gas prices are going further
north – so cost of renewables are more competitive in a carbon constrained
world. The cost curve for renewables is coming down. We are seeing the cost of
PV fall at a rapid rate, solar thermal is also coming down, and then we’ll see how
successful new technologies like wave and geothermal turn out to be.”


Solar all at Sea & on land: Setting Records for Distance & Speed

Posted by admin on October 23, 2011
Posted under Express 154

Solar all at Sea & on land: Setting Records for Distance & Speed

On its round-the-globe voyage, the world’s
largest solar power vessel, the Turanor PlanetSolar arrives in Phuket,
Thailand, pioneering the use of sustainable energy technology on water.
Meanwhile, the Tokai University Solar Car Team which used HIT solar cells that
boast the world’s highest level of energy conversion rate and supported with
high-capacity lithium-ion batteries provided by Panasonic, won the 2011 Veolia World
Solar Challenge – from Darwin in the north of Australia and travels down to
Adelaide in the south, a total distance of 3,021 km – ahead of the Dutch Nuon

Solar challenge

Veolia World Solar Challenge, pioneered by
the South Australian Tourism Commission (22 October, 2011):


Tokai Solar Car Takes 2011 World Solar Challenge

Osaka PanOrient News (20 October 2011):

Tokai University Solar Car Team which used
HIT solar cells that boast the world’s highest level of energy conversion rate
and supported with high-capacity lithium-ion batteries provided by Panasonic,
won the 2011 World Solar Challenge ahead of the Dutch Nuon Team. WSC is one of
the world’s largest solar car races held in Australia since 1987.

The WSC solar car race competition starts
from Darwin in the north of Australia and travels down to Adelaide in the
south, a total distance of 3,021 km. This year’s race started on October 16.
From the start, the team from Japan took the lead and continually increased its
leading position throughout the entire race. The solar car ran smoothly without
any trouble to finally reach the finish line 32 hours and 45 minutes later in
Adelaide today, October 20, 2011 at around 1PM local Darwin time.

Panasonic HIT solar cells are hybrids of
single crystalline silicon surrounded by ultra-thin amorphous silicon layers.
The cells are ideal for obtaining maximum power within a limited space, greatly
lifting the performance of the solar car in the WSC where regulations limit the
total area of solar cells that can be installed on the body of the car.

Panasonic also provided cylindrical 18650-type
high-capacity lithium-ion rechargeable batteries. These high-capacity,
long-enduring, and lightweight batteries utilize Panasonic’s proprietary
nickel-based positive electrodes and have the highest level of energy density
in the industry. Linked in lightweight battery pack arrays, they can operate
for long periods of time.

The Tokai team was sponsored by Panasonic
Corporation, based in Osaka, Japan. The company is a worldwide leader in the
development and manufacture of electronic products for a wide range of
consumer, business, and industrial needs. The company recorded consolidated net
sales of 8.69 trillion yen (US$105 billion) for the year ending March 31, 2011.
The company’s shares are listed on the Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and New York
(NYSE:PC) stock exchanges.


PHUKET: The Turanor, the first solar-powered
boat to attempt a circumnavigation of the globe, is scheduled to moor at
Phuket’s Ao Po Marina, on Phuket’s east coast n Sunday 22 October.

The stunning piece of technology and
craftmanship, will remain in Phuket until Wednesday and will be visited by a
delegation from the Swiss embassy in Thailand on Tuesday.

The voyage began 389 days ago – on September
27, 2010 – from Monaco and has been mapped with stopovers along the equator,
where the boat can exploit the maximum amount of sunlight as it rounds the

The four-man crew crossed the Atlantic Ocean,
navigated the Panama Canal, then sailed the Pacific Ocean and are now heading
for the Indian Ocean and the Suez Canal, en route to the Mediterranean to
complete 57,000km of ocean traveling.

Dubbed in full the MS Turanor PlanetSolar,
the multihull is topped by a large array of photovoltaic solar panels that at
full exposure cover an area of 537 square meters.

At 31 meters long, 15m wide, reaching a
height of 6.1m. and weighing in at 95 tonnes, it is the biggest solar boat ever
built, taking 14 months to complete at the Knierim Yacht Club, in Kiel,

The PlanetSolar project began in 2004 with
the idea of promoting and investigating sustainable energy sources through
future technologies.

Raphael Domjan, from Switzerland, is the
initiator and expedition leader of PlanetSolar.

“The circumnavigation of the boat is to
demonstrate the functionality and efficiency of today’s technology. I think
that the project is excellent to get into the heart of cities, to get close to
people, to convince politicians and industrialists and let them experience
solar energy,” he explained.

“On its round-the-globe expedition, the
Turanor PlanetSolar will pioneer the use of sustainable energy technology on
water. It is different from anything that has happened in the field of mobility
to date.

“This solar catamaran uses the very latest
cutting-edge technology available on the market. Our intention is to
demonstrate that high-performance solar mobility can be realized today by
making innovative use of existing materials and technology,” Mr Domjan said.

Fans of JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings will
be interested to learn that the name Turanor is derived from the fiction piece
and translates as “the power of the sun” and “victory”.


A Boost for Sustainable & Green Jobs in Singapore & Australia

Posted by admin on October 23, 2011
Posted under Express 154

A Boost for Sustainable & Green Jobs in Singapore & Australia

As Singapore actively positions itself as a
key Asian centre for clean technologies, clean energy, energy efficiency,
environmental management, green buildings, sustainability reporting, as well as
water and waste management, it will see significant growth in jobs in what is fast
becoming known as the sustainability sector.
This is the view Amida, a global recruitment business, which has set up
in Singapore. And in Australia, the government should drive job creation in the
clean energy sector with a new body to help co-ordinate skills, education,
industry and immigration policy, according to GE Energy’s Tim Rourke, who
proposes setting up a Clean Energy Jobs and Innovation Council.

Amida release:

Singapore Location for Specialist Recruitment

Firm to Manage Asian Growth in Green Jobs


As Singapore actively positions itself as a
key Asian centre for research and development in clean technologies, clean
energy, energy efficiency, environmental management, green buildings,
sustainability reporting, as well as water and waste management, it will see
significant growth in jobs in what is fast becoming known as the sustainability

This is the view of Andy Clapham, Regional
Director Asia for Amida, a London headquartered global recruitment business
dedicated to sustainable development, which has set up in Singapore to work
with governments, the private sector and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

“Globally, there is significant growth in
green jobs and we are seeing this starting to happen in Asia, where  Singapore is well positioned to not only
create new jobs but also be the centre for regional recruitment,” says Mr
Clapham, who has  a track record of
building teams and developing new markets in Europe and Asia.

The Amida business will be officially
launched in Singapore next week (25 October) when three directors from London
will also be present. They are:

Aaron George, Managing Director and
co-founder, who has over 10 years’ experience in the recruitment industry,
specialising in town planning. In his early career he developed his expertise
in a management capacity running offices recruiting into the consulting
engineering, construction and property sectors. Aaron has worked on global
recruitment campaigns with a number of large multinational clients and leads
Amida’s business in the energy and engineering sectors.

Greg Brooks, founding director, has worked
exclusively with environmental, sustainable design and multi-disciplinary
consultancies throughout his recruitment career. Greg leads Amida’s sustainable
design and energy efficiency business, and will be leading the development of a
new office in Australia later this year.

Martin Blake, Non-Executive Director, is a
sustainability expert and visionary leader, with over 25 years practical
experience, having recently deployed one of the most successful carbon
management programmes in the world. Widely travelled and in demand as a speaker
and advisor, will be spending most of his time in Asia Pacific.

Mr Clapham started setting up the Singapore
office in June this year and already has six locally employed consultants. The
key areas of specialisation in the region include recruitment for Architecture
& Design, Construction, Property Management, Sustainability and Renewable

Though perhaps unusual for a recruitment company,
Amida has a sustainability policy of its own and says it is focused on creating
a better world by facilitating talent into organisations who will create a more
sustainable future for us all.

Its client base, up to now served by its
European and South African offices, includes a wide array of firms and public
authorities, ranging from architects, environmental consultancies, engineering
firms, construction companies, large global corporations to SME’s.



Paul Osborne, AAP Senior Political Writer

October 6, 2011 – 4:14PM


The federal government should drive job
creation in the clean energy sector with a new body to help co-ordinate skills,
education, industry and immigration policy, the jobs forum has been told.

In a closed session at the forum in Canberra,
GE Energy’s Tim Rourke proposed setting up a Clean Energy Jobs and Innovation
Council to advise the government.

In his presentation, obtained by AAP, Mr
Rourke said the council could help bring the government’s clean energy future
agenda “into the mainstream”.

He said it could put business chiefs together
with representatives from fields of research, education and training, finance
and investment, generation operators and developers, as well as the states and

“The challenge to transform and innovate
for a clean energy future will require the best of our resources – human,
financial and, of course, energy – to make it happen,” Mr Rourke told the

Mr Rourke said the passing of the
government’s carbon pricing legislation alone would not secure a clean energy

“Nor will it be achieved with the
commencement of a carbon price from July next year or the initiation of an ETS
(emissions trading scheme) in 2015 – even though these things must be
done,” he said.

“It will only be secured with the
ongoing engagement of businesses and stakeholders from across the economy and
across the community with governments to pull all the policy levers to make it

“A price on carbon is critical. The
Renewable Energy Target is critical … but the government has more policy
levers such as skills and training, education, trade, infrastructure and tax

Mr Rourke said immigration policy was also
important, especially in terms of bringing in trainers from overseas to teach
Australians high-skill tasks.

He told AAP he sensed from the session -
which Prime Minister Julia Gillard attended – that there was goodwill within
the government for such a body.

The forum closes at 4.30pm (AEDT) with
speeches by Ms Gillard and Treasurer Wayne Swan.