Archive for the ‘Express 160’ Category

Don’t mention the war – or climate change!

Posted by admin on February 6, 2012
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Don’t mention the war – or climate change!

This is the work of Tom Toles, who has been The Washington Post’s editorial cartoonist since 2002. It says it all really. But not quite. Read on through the articles in this issue from around the world. The State of the Union and the state of island states. What it takes for the world’s biggest navy to go green and how bad is black carbon. Who’s on the list of the top 100 most sustainable companies – and who’s not! There is a green shift going on around the world and Kraft Foods is one good example. The UK puts smarts meters in the home. Singapore is realising that its high time to face up to higher tides and the new map of South East Asia shows what will happen if temperatures rise by 4 degrees. Electric vehicles in focus and GM cars come clean. There are words on behaviour change, social media, communication and leadership. From the World Economic Forum and closer to home. – Ken Hickson

Profile: Ellen MacArthur

Posted by admin on February 6, 2012
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Profile: Ellen MacArthur

The round-the-world yachtswoman has left behind her first love to become an advocate for change in the way business operates. Her Ellen MacArthur Foundation just launched a report called “Towards the Circular Economy”, which analyses the global economic benefits of sustainability, where products are designed to be reused through refurbishment, remanufacturing and redistribution; where the cycle is endless and mirrors nature.

Jenny Purt for the Guardian Professional Network (1 February 2012):

Ellen MacArthur: ‘When you sail you gain an understanding of the definition of finite.’

In 2009, Dame Ellen MacArthur took a radical change of direction and left competitive sailing to focus on environmental issues. The move, prompted by a trip to the Atlantic Island of South Georgia to investigate the plight of the albatross, lead to her founding the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which aims to help rethink and rebuild a more sustainable future.

This week, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation launched a report called “Towards the Circular Economy”, commissioned to analyse the global economic benefits of shifting to a circular economy.

As Ellen discusses on the Guardian Sustainable Business Blog, the economy currently works on the linear model of “take, make and dispose”, which creates a culture of excessive consumerism and generates more waste than is sustainable.

The report calls for a new way of thinking – one that offers a different business model whereby products are designed to be reused through refurbishment, remanufacturing and redistribution. This cycle is endless, and mirrors nature, where resources flow continuously, with waste generated from one species becoming food for another.

Significantly the report suggests that, through adopting this circular model, companies could see both immediate and long-term economic growth.

The transition will need to be at a global scale to take the world from the current dysfunctional, linear economic model to one that is able to decouple growth from resource constraints. The report also stresses that cross-sector collaboration will play a key role in this.

In a previous article, Jo Confino wrote for the Guardian Professional Network last year:

Dame Ellen MacArthur is not so much a breath of fresh air in the world of sustainable business as a force 10 gale.

She is bringing to bear on the transformation of business the same single-minded determination and courage that won her acclaim for her round-the-world solo sailing skills.

What sets the 35-year-old apart from mainstream sustainability professionals is that she is not shy about speaking her mind and does not feel bound by normal business conventions.

That generally means that she does not take no for an answer and has a way of getting what she wants. Every one of the five companies she targeted for support for her new Ellen MacArthur Foundation fell into line – Kingfisher, BT, Cisco, Renault and National Grid.

While sustainability has its stable of stars such as Leonardo Di Caprio and more recently Rio Ferdinand, there is no-one else so well known who has given up their career to dedicate their time and energy fully to the cause of a sustainable future.

But that’s the point. MacArthur is not someone who does things by halves, as demonstrated by fulfilling the dream she had when she was just four years old to sail around the world.

While she shows a toughness borne of months spent alone facing only herself and the elements, she also reveals occasional flashes of a touching vulnerability as she questions whether she is navigating the most effective path through the choppy world of corporate affairs.

The spur to her radical change of direction was recognising that while she was out at sea, she was bound by the resources she had on board, whether food or fuel. If she did not shepherd them well, then she would be in trouble.

Back on dry land she had a Damascene moment of recognising that the human race has the same issue with planet Earth and that we are being profligate and putting future generations at risk.

“I was not looking for this, and leaving sailing behind was the hardest decision I’ve had to make but I have absolutely no regrets,” says MacArthur.

“When you sail, you take the minimum of resources and you gain an overwhelming understanding of the definition of finite. When you are 2,500 miles from the nearest town you are not going to phone someone up and ask them to drop off a few litres of diesel.

“I had never connected this to a definition of finite on land, but when I stepped off the boat after the round-the-world race, I started to think out of the box and that our world is no different.

“That began a journey of discovery. I talked to CEOs, went to sit on the government taskforce on zero carbon schools, visited landfill sites, power stations and farmers. It was an incredible journey right across the country, soaking up information and trying to learn about efficiency and resources.”

The result was the creation of her foundation, which is taking a twin-track approach, energising young people through inspiring education to rethink and redesign the future, and encouraging business to move away from its traditional wasteful approach of built-in obselesence and towards the concept of a “circular economy”.

The primary objective of the circular economy is to eliminate waste by ensuring that the biological and technical component parts (nutrients) of any product should be designed for disassembly and re-purposing. The biological parts are non-toxic and can be simply composted. The technical – polymers, alloys and other manmade materials – are designed to be used again with minimal energy.

The other key elements are a greater reliance on renewable energy and that the pricing of products should reflect the real cost of our activity, such as the use of natural resources such as water.

The cradle-to-cradle approach to manufacturing is increasingly moving from the fringes into the mainstream of debate within companies as they start to explore how to continue to grow while decoupling themselves from resource use.

Ian Cheshire, chief executive of Kingfisher, and one of MacArthur’s key supporters, is already looking at how to develop this concept in its manufacturing of products such as power tools, as well as looking at other innovations such as fractional ownership.

Richard Gillies, director of Marks & Spencer’s Plan A, is also experimenting, for example by creating a system for recycling old cashmere jumpers into new products.

MacArthur also points out that Renault is looking to rent out batteries, and the carpet manufacturer Desso has designed its products so the materials can be recovered and reused.

MacArthur says that companies’ current concentration on simply using less resources will serve only to buy us time, but is not a solution.

This linear thinking can also end up causing more problems. She gives the example of one car manufacturer which reduced the copper in its window winding mechanism so much that it became uneconomic to recover it when the motor was replaced. The company ended up by putting more copper back in the production process.

That is why MacArthur is calling for nothing less than a systems level change: “The way things are made, the way business is run, needs to fundamentally change. We work in a linear system that will never work long-term and we are seeking to develop an idea of what business will look like in 15 years.

“This is in part about creating a very positive agenda that young people can latch on to. It says this is what you can do and it works.

“From a business perspective, this moves the conversation away from the CSR department, which is looking at issues such as cycling to work, to the boardroom and the long-term future of the company.”

MacArthur says she gave a workshop on the circular economy to 1,000 managers at National Grid. “We looked at redesigning aspects of their business and the feedback was that this was the first time they had the opportunity to think beyond just CSR and what they should be doing and look at real business opportunities,” she says.

At the last foundation board meeting with the CEOs of its corporate partners, MacArthur says there was a very strong sense that there can be a business advantage in moving towards a circular economy but also a recognition of the enormous scale of change across society that is needed to embed it.

The CEOs recognise that to move to the next level needs not only business collaboration but a different set of skills for young people coming out of school and university.

“I have never sat with a CEO who says he does not get this or says it does not make sense,” says MacArthur. “But they are not saying this is a quick fix. This is about putting a process in place to drive long-term change. This is exactly what business leaders need to think about.”

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Island Nations Seek Climate Change Justice

Posted by admin on February 6, 2012
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Island Nations Seek Climate Change Justice

Small island nations, whose very existence is threatened by the rising sea levels, are seeking to take the issue of climate change before the International Court of Justice. Johnson Toribiong, President of Palau, said his country and other island nations had formed an expert advisory committee to bring the issue before the UN General Assembly in a move to determine the legal ramifications of climate change under international law.

By Michael Astor, Associated Press (4 February 2012):

UNITED NATIONS — Small island nations, whose very existence is threatened by the rising sea levels brought about by global warming, are seeking to take the issue of climate change before the International Court of Justice.

Johnson Toribiong, president of Palau, said Friday his country and other island nations had formed an expert advisory committee to bring the issue before the U.N. General Assembly. That would allow the world court in the Hague to determine the legal ramifications of climate change under international law.

“If 20 years of climate change negotiations have taught us anything, it’s that every state sees climate change differently. For some, it is mainly an economic issue … for others it’s about geopolitics and their past or future place in the global economy, but for us it’s about survival,” Toribiong said.

“Pacific countries are in the red zone, a swell of ocean where waters have risen two or three times higher than anywhere else in the world. That differential might explain why we speak about climate change so urgently and we look to everyone in every corner of the United Nations to find a solution,” he added.

Michael Gerrard, director of the Center for Climate Change Law at Colombia University and a member the advisory committee, said the idea is to have a court determination compelling developed nations to control emissions of the greenhouse gases believed to cause global warming in the absence of an international treaty.

Gerrad said that the big emitter nations could then be found liable under the international law principles of transboundary harm, when physical activities in one country impact adversely upon another, and the preservation of statehood — something that becomes exceedingly difficult if a country is submerged between the rising oceans.

Palau’s announcement comes just months before the United Nations is scheduled to hold a major international environmental conference in Rio de Janeiro, “Rio plus 20,” referring to the 20 years since the U.N. Earth Summit was held in that tropical city.

Unlike the 1992 Earth Summit that was devoted to climate change the June conference will discuss sustainable development, a change diplomats have said has to do with the difficulty of advancing emissions reductions in today’s political environment.

Dr. Dessima Williams, Grenada’s U.N. ambassador, said the idea of bringing the issue before the world court was to raise the level of international consciousness ahead of the Rio conference.

“We (the island nations) cannot meet the challenge of sustainable development goals if climate change is not addressed,” Williams said.


US Uncovering a Great Green Fleet

Posted by admin on February 6, 2012
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US Uncovering a Great Green Fleet

Australian companies could benefit from a radical policy switch by the US Navy to wean itself off fossil fuels and tank up instead on renewable energy. One outcome of the new policy which has the backing of President Barack Obama will see a bio-fuel powered “Great Green Fleet” of US warships heading down under in 2016. Michael Richardson says the United States military is dead serious about being able to fly its planes on jet fuel derived from algae and plants and to power many of its warships on biodiesel.

Mark Dodd  in The Australian (1 February 2012):

AUSTRALIAN companies could benefit from a radical policy switch by the US Navy to wean itself off fossil fuels and tank up instead on renewable energy, a visiting US energy expert says.

Details of the US Navy’s alternative fuels strategy were unveiled yesterday at the Pacific 2012 Maritime Conference in Sydney.

One outcome of the new policy which has the backing of US President Barack Obama will see a bio-fuel powered “Great Green Fleet” of US warships heading down under in 2016.

But unlike the Great White Fleet of 1907 coal burners, these US warships will be running on green energy.

The US Navy wants half its fleet powered by sustainable energy by 2020.

Speaking during a conference session on maritime fuels sponsored by the US Studies Centre, Tom Hicks, Deputy Assistant Secretary, for Energy for the US Department of Navy, told The Australian that annual fuel consumption for the US Navy was 30 million barrels worth US$4 billion (A$3.7b).

However, price volatility affecting Middle-East fuel supplies had prompted a switch to green energy, Mr Hicks said.

Qantas and Virgin Airlines are also closely examining alternative fuel sources for their respective aircraft fleets.

And earlier today, Defence Materiel Minister Kim Carr announced that the RAAF’s C-130 fleet would begin a trial program aiming to improve fuel efficiency.

Mr Hicks said altruism was not a factor in seeking clean energy alternatives to power its warships.

“We’re not doing this to be cleaner and greener we (US Navy) need to be more effective in the use of our fuels and that provides us a tactical and strategic advantage,” he said.

Fuel price volatility affected the navy’s ability to maintain its fleet of 285 warships and 3700 aircraft, the energy specialist said. While the US was seeking to tap into a homegrown renewable energy sector, big opportunities existed for American allies including Australia, said Mr Hicks.

Alternative fuel sources currently under examination have been developed from algae, wood and paper waste, and surplus feedstock.

Encouraging results are also being obtained from ‘Camelina’ a close relative of mustard seed, a plant with a low requirement for water.

It all adds up to a potentially big market for non-US manufacturers, Mr Hicks said.


US Armed Forces wage campaign to go Green

By Michael Richardson in the Straits Times (30 January 2012):

This is not a drill; the United States military is dead serious about being able to fly its combat and cargo planes on jet fuel derived from algae and plants, and to power many of its warships on biodiesel from used cooking oil and non-food-grade animal fats.

The home-grown biofuel program, which has been underway for several years, is part of a broader strategy to increase US military fuel security and reduce reliance on foreign oil by raising energy efficiency levels in the armed forces and finding cost-effective alternatives to fuel refined from oil.

To test progress, the US Navy says it will demonstrate a “green strike group” when the US and partner navies gather later this year for the biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise, the world’s largest international maritime manoeuvres.

The last RIMPAC in June and July 2010 in the central Pacific off Hawaii brought together units and personnel from 14 countries, including Singapore. It involved 32 surface ships, five submarines, over 170 aircraft and 20,000 service men and women.

This time, planes on the US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, along with two escorting destroyers and a cruiser, will run on a 50-50 blend of biofuel and regular petroleum fuel during the sea exercises.

“We think that this represents a major step in energy independence for the US,” said Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, when he announced the move last month. He added that it was also a step towards “reducing our dependence on unstable sources of foreign energy, as well as reducing the budget shocks that come with buying fuel from potentially or actually unstable” countries.

The Navy plans to follow the RIMPAC demonstration by sending a carrier group on a multi-month deployment in 2016 using 50 per cent biofuel for surface ships and aircraft.

Dubbed the Great Green Fleet, after the famous Great White Fleet that the US sent around the world in the early 1900s to vaunt its growing military power, the long-haul despatch is intended to underscore the Navy’s determination to cut its oil use in half by 2025.

The US Air Force, the Pentagon’s biggest jet fuel user, is certifying fighters, bombers and cargo jets to run on a 50 per cent biofuel mix. It aims to switch half of the continental US jet fuel requirements to alternative fuels by 2016.

Combat and non-combat vehicles are next in line for biofuels and increased efficiency. The US military is also introducing solar power in place of diesel generators to provide electricity at its bases at home and abroad

The stated aim is to turn a profligate energy waster into the world’s most energy efficient major military force. The task is huge, but so is the patronage and buying power that the military can bring to bear.

The US armed forces guzzle far more petrol, diesel and jet fuel than any other organisation in the world.

Three-quarters of the Defence Department’s energy use supports military operations at home and in more than 100 countries around the world where US forces are active, including many in Asia and the Pacific.

In 2010, the Pentagon used nearly 5 billion gallons oil-based fuel in military operations. The bill amounted to US$13.2 billion, a 255 per cent rise on 1997 prices.

In 2008, when oil prices reached a record of US$147 per barrel, the US military spend nearly US$20 billion to secure the energy it needed. Every dollar per barrel rise in the oil price adds US$30 million a year to the Navy’s budget alone.

One of the most promising biofuel feedstocks of immediate interest to the US military is camelinasativa, an oilseed plant that comes from Europe. It belongs to the mustard family, along with broccoli, cabbage and canola, which yields a widely-used cooking oil.

Both US military planes and civilian airliners have made successful test flights using a blend of regular kerosene jet fuel and camelina biofuel.

Camelina is now being increasingly widely planted in the US by farmers using genetically engineered high-yield seeds.

It is an attractive crop because of growing demand, low fertiliser and water requirements, and growth of profitable co-products such as camelina meal and biomass as well as biofuel. The plant also grows well in Australia, Canada and Europe.

But if camelina is to become a well-established and reliable source of renewable aviation fuel, it will have compete on price with oil-based fuels. It will also have to be grown in commercial-scale quantities for refining.

Whatever the outcome, the US military’s search for alternative cost-competitivefuels to oil will continue because enhanced energy security is critical to power projection and military superiority.

The writer is a visiting senior research fellow at the Institute of South East Asian Studies.


What Comes First: Black Carbon or Carbon Dioxide?

Posted by admin on February 6, 2012
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What Comes First: Black Carbon or Carbon Dioxide?

Did you know that three billion people around the world use cooking stoves that cause up to 2 million premature deaths every year and contribute to global warming? Black carbon – or soot- is the big problem.  In fact, it accounts for about 18% of all global warming emissions, second only to CO2. The beauty of eliminating black carbon is that it deals with multiple threats afflicting the developing world, from the long-term loss of water from disappearing glaciers to out-of-control child mortality to declining yields from agriculture. Read More


See also article about Black Carbon on the UK Met Office website by Jonathan Leake, Science Editor for the Sunday Times:

By George Black on (27 January 2012):

Three billion people around the world use cookstoves that cause up to 2 million premature deaths every year and contribute to global warming.

Listening to President Obama’s State of the Union address, I found myself thinking about black carbon — even though he never once used the phrase. Until recently, in fact, I doubt that many people had even heard of it.

Black carbon? Maybe it’s the stuff that’s left over on the barbecue after you’ve finished grilling the hot dogs?

But the reduction of black carbon emissions has suddenly moved to the center of the climate debate — and the beauty of it is that it’s unnecessary to utter the word climate at all, because getting rid of black carbon brings so many other benefits.

Even the egregious John Tierney, who can never resist a swipe at the advocates of a global carbon treaty, has come on board. In his regular column last week in the New York Times, Tierney was one of the many commentators to draw attention to an article about black carbon emissions by two dozen distinguished scientists from around the world in the January 13 issue of Science magazine.

So what is black carbon? The easy shorthand is that it’s soot, and in the developing world it’s largely the product of burning wood, animal dung, or crop residues in primitive cookstoves. It isn’t a greenhouse gas; it comes in the form of countless billions of tiny, dark particles that absorb sunlight — and that means that the net effect on atmospheric temperatures is much the same.

By depositing dark soot on white snow and ice and increasing their absorption of sunlight, black carbon accounts for a substantial amount of the melting of glaciers and ice sheets from the Arctic to the Himalayas.

In fact, it accounts for about 18 percent of all global warming emissions, second only to carbon dioxide.

The nastiest thing about this newcomer to the climate debate is that its effects are not limited to the warming of the atmosphere. Visit a poor household in South Asia or Africa, and you’ll see blackened kitchen walls and women choking over the smoke from their stoves. Go to the local clinic, and you’ll find children dying of preventable respiratory diseases. As the authors of the report in Science point out, getting rid of black carbon could save anything from 0.7 to 4.7 million lives a year. And that’s not all. The stoves that generate black carbon also generate ozone, a ground-level pollutant that causes billions of dollars in crop losses in the developing world.

The beauty of eliminating black carbon, then, is that it deals with multiple threats afflicting the developing world, from the long-term loss of water from disappearing glaciers to out-of-control child mortality to declining yields from agriculture. This is where Tierney has to get in his obligatory swipe: environmentalists don’t care about the huddled masses struggling to grow rice, because of their “lack of glamour.” The plight of the poor, he says, “is less newsworthy than negotiating a global treaty on carbon at a United Nations conference.”

Ah, those glamorous U.N. conferences on climate change! All those long, pre-dawn hours spent wrangling over every comma in resolutions taking note of this, and cognizant of that, and gravely concerned by the other, and calling for steps to facilitate the effective implementation of appropriate mechanisms to… whatever. Personally I’d rather have a root canal.

Tierney’s argument, aside from being spiteful, is based on totally false premises. First of all, why are we worried about climate change in the first place? Because we want the planet to remain habitable. In other words, we want people to have sufficient water, produce food in a sustainable way, and minimize the escalating threats to their health. Second, the decision to take action against black carbon emerged from the highest levels of the climate treaty crowd that Tierney so disdains.

At the most recent U.N. climate conference, in Durban, South Africa, in December, the head of the United Nations Environment Programme, Achim Steiner, declared that black carbon would be the centerpiece of the agency’s “fast-action agenda” against climate change.

The most ambitious effort in the world to curtail black carbon emissions is in India, and it grew directly out of conversations between one of the world’s leading climate experts, Veerabhadran Ramanathan (who is also one of the authors of the article in Science), and Rajendra Pachauri, the chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

It’s called Project Surya (the word surya means sunlight in Hindi), and it involves the replacement of traditional mud stoves with clean-burning stoves. (I went to see the project just a couple of days after meeting with Pachauri in New Delhi last November, and I’ll be writing more about it in the next issue of OnEarth magazine.)

Ramanathan’s reasons for launching Project Surya, and Pachauri’s enthusiasm for working with him, were twofold. One, Ramanathan is a world-class climate scientist who saw a way of sidestepping the obstacles to a global carbon treaty. (And because black carbon only remains in the atmosphere for a matter of days — CO2 lingers for more than 100 years — getting rid of it brings almost instant results. Two, he’d been haunted since childhood by the image of his grandmother coughing and wheezing over the dung stove in the smoke-blackened kitchen of the family home in South India. Slowing climate change and protecting public health were inseparable goals for him, in other words.

While the president never used the words black carbon on Tuesday night, two things brought it to mind: first, his acknowledgment that, “The differences in this chamber may be too deep right now to pass a comprehensive plan to fight climate change,” and second, the moment when the camera panned briefly across the grim visage of Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, the most obdurate of all climate deniers.

The beauty of eliminating black carbon is that it can bring a smile even to Inhofe’s face. Because it’s a local matter, and has such obvious humanitarian benefits, it avoids the political third rail of a carbon treaty at the U.N. and legislation in Washington. Surprising as it may seem, Inhofe was one of the co-sponsors of a bipartisan bill in 2009 (on Earth Day, no less!) directing the EPA to study the impact of black carbon emissions on public health and global warming.

So does it matter what words we use? Public health or climate change? Cynics or purists will probably say it does: that talking about dying babies in Asia and Africa is a weasely cop-out, an act of political surrender, an evasion of our responsibility to educate the public about the coming apocalypse. But surely it’s the results that count, and we need to buy as much time as we can to bear down on the ultimate problem of rallying the public, and the world, once and for all against CO2. Attacking black carbon does that. Public health, climate change: to me, the rose, by either name, smells just as sweet.

George Black, OnEarth’s executive editor, has reported from five continents, chronicling civil war in Central America, the democracy movement in China, and climate change in countries from Bangladesh to Peru. His next book, Empire of Shadows, to be published by St. Martin’s Press in March 2012, is on the 19th century exploration of Yellowstone.


Ranking Corporate Ambassadors for a Better, Cleaner Kind of Capitalism

Posted by admin on February 6, 2012
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Ranking Corporate Ambassadors for a Better, Cleaner Kind of Capitalism

The number one ranked company in the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the world for 2012 was Novo Nordisk, the Danish pharmaceutical firm. Property pioneer City Developments Limited (CDL) emerged as the only Singapore company listed for three consecutive years. The list includes companies from 22 countries encompassing all sectors, with collective annual sales in excess of US$3.02 trillion and 5,285,645 million employees. Who’s listed and who’s not? Read More

CDL reports:

Property pioneer City Developments Limited (CDL) emerged as the top Singapore corporation to be listed in the prestigious Corporate Knights Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations 2012. It is the only Singapore company listed on this global ranking for three consecutive years.

This was announced at Davos World Economic Forum, at a private dinner hosted by Corporate Knights and Inflection Point Capital Management, on 25 January 2012. Listed for the third consecutive year, CDL’s ranking improved from 100th position in 2011 to 62nd place this year. This accolade is a testament to CDL’s ongoing and concerted sustainability efforts over the years. It is also significant as it places Singapore on the global map for sustainability.

“We are excited to be part of Global 100 for the third consecutive year. This recognition benchmarks us against the very best global sustainability leaders and affirms that we are moving in the right direction. Our improved ranking reflects our concerted effort to integrate sustainability into our corporate DNA. This global inclusion serves as an encouragement that spurs us to make further improvements in our sustainability journey,” said Mr Kwek Leng Joo, Managing Director of CDL.

For years, CDL has set the benchmark as Singapore’s leading green developer, attaining its financial objectives with responsible corporate citizenry through its Triple Bottom Line approach: balancing financial performance with environmental stewardship (championing the development of green buildings in Singapore) as well as social and community engagement (through key signature programmes that are focused on helping society’s less fortunate, championing youth development and promotion of the arts). These efforts have made CDL the only Singapore developer listed on both FTSE4Good Index Series since 2002 and the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes (globally and regionally).

CDL is also honored to be the developer with the most number of Green Mark awarded properties, and accorded the Built Environment Leadership Platinum Award in 2009 as well as Singapore’s only Green Mark Platinum Champion in 2011 by Building and Construction Authority.

A champion for sustainability reporting in Singapore, CDL was the first local company in 2008 to publish a report that was successfully checked by Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), using its G3 Guidelines. GRI is the world’s most widely-used sustainability reporting framework for organisations to measure and report their economic, environmental and social performance.

In CDL’s Sustainability Report 2010, the Company also achieved the AA1000AS (2008) Assurance Standard, making it the first local company to be assured under this internationally accepted standard which not only establishes the credibility and reliability of CDL’s sustainability performance, but also raises the bar in CSR reporting in Singapore.

Last year, CDL became the first Singapore corporation to address the international ISO 26000 framework in its latest Sustainability Report. CDL’s current and previous Sustainability Reports are available online.


Corporate Knights Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations Announced in Davos

Report by Corporate Knights from Davos, Switzerland (25 January 2012):

Corporate Knights, the company for clean capitalism, announced its eighth annual Global 100 list of the most sustainable large corporations in the world.

Toby Heaps, CEO of Corporate Knights, says, “in a year in which Wall Street was occupied and capitalism became a bad word, the Global 100 companies serve as ambassadors for a better, cleaner kind of capitalism which, it also turns out, is more  profitable.” From its inception on February 1 2005 to December 31, 2011, the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations has achieved a total return of 41.70%, outperforming its  benchmark,  (the MSCI All Country World Index at 29.30%) by more than 11%.

The Global 100 was recently recognized for its industry-leading standard of transparency and objectivity by a meta-study of corporate sustainability rankings (Rate the Raters by  the consultancy SustainAbility).

The number one ranked company in the Global 100 the world for 2012 was Novo Nordisk. The Danish pharmaceutical firm, which had revenues of DKK 60.7 billion  (US$10.5 billion) in 2010, is on record that access to essential medicines is a human  right, and sells human insulin (the most basic kind) to 33 of the world’s poorest countries,  at no more than 20 per cent of the average price in the western world.

On the key clean capitalism metrics measured by Corporate Knights, Novo Nordisk scored top quartile performance in energy productivity ($4,851 in revenue generated per unit of energy  consumption, compared to a pharmaceutical sector average of $3,603), carbon  productivity ($68,585 in revenue generated per unit of carbon emitted, compared to a  pharmaceutical sector average of $56,414) and pay equity (CEO/average employee  remuneration ratio of 15 vs. a pharmaceutical sector average of 93). Novo Nordisk is the  only pharmaceutical company within the Global 100 to report linking CEO remuneration  to corporate performance on clean capitalism KPIs.

The 2012 Global 100 tapped intelligence from the world’s largest sustainability research alliance put together by Legg Mason’s Global Currents Investment Management and  Phoenix Global Advisors LLC to isolate the top ten per cent of companies from a  universe of 3,500 global stocks, which were then transparently ranked based on 11  indicators, with data collected by Corporate Knights Research Group and verified with  The BLOOMBERG PROFESSIONAL® service.

The Global 100 includes companies from 22 countries encompassing all sectors of the  economy, with collective annual sales in excess of $3.02 trillion, and 5,285,645 million  employees. Among the 22 countries, the United Kingdom led the way with 16 Global 100 companies  (five more than they had in 2011). Japan followed with 11 (down from 19 in 2011).

France and the United States tied for third place with each claiming the headquarters of  eight Global 100 companies. Rounding out the top ten scoring countries with at least  three Global 100 companies were: Australia (seven), Canada (six), Germany (five)  Switzerland (five), Denmark (four), Netherlands (four), Norway (four), Sweden (four), and  Brazil (three). Sixty-eight per cent of the 2011 companies remained on the list in 2012.

2012 Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World

Rank  Company Name  Country  Sector

1  Novo Nordisk A/S   Denmark   Health Care

2  Natura Cosmeticos S.A.   Brazil   Consumer Staples

3  Statoil ASA  Norway   Energy

4  Novozymes A/S   Denmark   Materials

5  ASML Holding NV   Netherlands   Information Technology

6  BG Group Plc   United Kingdom   Energy

7  Vivendi S.A.   France  Telecommunication Services

8  Umicore S.A./N.V.   Belgium   Materials

9  Norsk Hydro ASA   Norway   Materials

10  Atlas Copco AB   Sweden   Industrials

11  Sims Metal Management Ltd   Australia   Materials

12  Koninklijke Philips Electronics NV   Netherlands   Industrials

13  Teliasonera AB   Sweden   Telecommunication Services

14  Westpac Banking Corp.  Australia   Financials

15  Life Technologies Corp.   United States   Health Care

16  Credit Agricole SA   France   Financials

17  Henkel AG & Co. KGaA   Germany   Consumer Staples

18  Intel Corp.   United States   Information Technology

19  Neste Oil Oyj   Finland   Energy

20  Swisscom AG   Switzerland   Telecommunication Services

21  Toyota Motor Corp.   Japan   Consumer Discretionary

22  Centrica Plc   United Kingdom   Utilities

23  Koninklijke DSM N.V.   Netherlands   Materials

24  Geberit AG   Switzerland   Industrials

25  Roche Holding AG   Switzerland   Health Care

26  Schneider Electric SA   France   Industrials

27  Sap AG   Germany  Information Technology

28  Hitachi Chemical Company Ltd.  Japan   Materials

29  Anglo American Platinum Ltd   South Africa   Materials

30  POSCO   South Korea   Materials

31  Vestas Wind Systems A/S   Denmark   Industrials

32  Dassault Systemes SA   France   Information Technology

33  BT Group Plc   United Kingdom   Telecommunication Services

34  Tnt N.V.   Netherlands   Industrials

35  Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd.  Japan   Industrials

36  Scania AB   Sweden   Industrials

37  Acciona SA   Spain  Utilities

38  Adidas AG   Germany   Consumer Discretionary

39  Tomra Systems ASA   Norway   Industrials

40  Aeon Co. Ltd.  Japan   Consumer Staples

41  Siemens AG   Germany   Industrials

42  AstraZeneca Plc   United Kingdom   Health Care

43  Kesko Oyj   Finland   Consumer Staples

44  Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd   Japan   Consumer Discretionary

45  L’Oreal S.A.   France   Consumer Staples

46  Logica Plc  United Kingdom   Information Technology

47  Corporate Express Australia Ltd   Australia   Industrials

48  Suncor Energy Inc.   Canada   Energy

49  Repsol YPF S.A.   Spain   Energy

50  Prudential    United Kingdom   Financials

51  Renault SA   France   Consumer Discretionary

52  Unilever Plc   United Kingdom   Consumer Staples

53  Allianz SE  Germany   Financials

54  StoreBrand ASA   Norway   Financials

55  Iberdrola S.A.  Spain   Utilities

56  Omv AG   Austria   Energy

57  Daiwa House Industry Co. Ltd.  Japan   Financials

58  Industria De Diseno Textil S.A.   Spain   Consumer Discretionary

59  Agilent Technologies Inc.  United States   Information Technology

60  Danone SA   France   Consumer Staples

61  Banco Bradesco S.A.   Brazil   Financials

62  City Developments Ltd   Singapore   Financials

63  Stockland Australia   Australia   Financials

64  Johnson Controls Inc   United States   Consumer Discretionary

65  Vodafone Group Plc   United Kingdom   Telecommunication Services

66  Procter & Gamble Co.   United States   Consumer Staples

67  H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB   Sweden   Consumer Discretionary

68  Swiss Reinsurance Company   Switzerland   Financials

69  International Business Machines  Corp.  United States   Information Technology

70  Kingfisher Plc  United Kingdom   Consumer Discretionary

71  Enbridge Inc.  Canada   Energy

72  Ricoh Co. Ltd   Japan   Information Technology

73   Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd   South Korea   Information Technology

74  Glaxosmithkline Plc   United Kingdom   Health Care

75  Stmicroelectronics N.V.   Switzerland   Information Technology

76  Encana Corp.   Canada   Energy

77  Sysmex Corp.   Japan   Health Care

78  Electrocomponents Plc   United Kingdom   Information Technology

79  Insurance Australia Group   Australia   Financials

80  Nissan Motor Co. Ltd   Japan  Consumer Discretionary

81  Petrobras Petroleo Brasileiro   Brazil   Energy

82  Pennon Group Plc   United Kingdom   Utilities

83  JCDecaux S.A.   France   Consumer Discretionary

84  Coloplast A/S   Denmark   Health Care

85  Ibiden Co. Ltd   Japan   Information Technology

86  Baxter International Inc  United States  Health Care

87  CapitaLand Limited   Singapore   Financials

88  London Stock Exchange Group Plc   United Kingdom   Financials

89  Nexen Inc.   Canada   Energy

90  Prologis   United States   Financials

91  Sun Life Financial Inc.  Canada   Financials

92  HSBC Holdings Plc   United Kingdom   Financials

93  Lawson Inc.   Japan   Consumer Staples

94  J Sainsbury Plc   United Kingdom   Consumer Staples

95  Royal Bank Of Canada   Canada  Financials

96  Intesa Sanpaolo S.p.A.  Italy   Financials

97  Origin Energy Ltd   Australia   Energy

98  Dairy Crest Group Plc  United Kingdom   Consumer Staples

99  Ramsay Health Care Ltd   Australia   Health Care

100 Reliance Industries Ltd   India   Energy


Green Shift to Save the World US$2 Trillion Dollars

Posted by admin on February 6, 2012
Posted under Express 160

Green Shift to Save the World US$2 Trillion Dollars

A new World Economic Forum Report – “More with Less: Scaling Sustainable Consumption and Resource Efficiency” –  says up to US$ 2 trillion could be saved through resource-efficient measures across just three sectors – carbon, steel and iron – in the major economies alone. Industry-led action for smarter resource efficiency can be created without environmental depletion and degradation. It also reveals some sustainability efforts are stuck in “pilot paralysis”. Read More

Sustainable Competitiveness Index measures how sustainability impacts a country’s competitiveness

A new World Economic Forum Report says up to US$ 2 trillion could be saved through resource-efficient measures across just three sectors – carbon, steel and iron – in the major economies alone.

The report, More with Less: Scaling Sustainable Consumption and Resource Efficiency, outlines the opportunity and imperative for industry-led action for smarter resource efficiency through which economic value can be created without environmental depletion and degradation.

The report, produced with the support of Accenture, reveals sustainability efforts stuck in “pilot paralysis”, with slow intergovernmental progress and increasing citizen-consumer impatience as we look onto a decade of economic and societal turbulence. It suggests that industry can lead the way as efficiently, and perhaps with more immediate benefit to the consumer and the global economy, than traditional models for global action that exist today.

“The sustainability agenda is not an abstract development concept,” said Sarita Nayyar, Managing Director, Head of Consumer Industries, World Economic Forum. “There is real economic value at stake. Companies that effectively weave resource efficiency into their core strategy and operations can drive revenue growth, reduce cost and improve brand reputation.”

It is increasingly evident that the exhaustion of natural resources is a structural risk to long-term economic stability. A combination of a changing climate and increased demand in emerging economies has been pushing up costs of agricultural commodities. The price of cocoa rose by 246% and palm oil by 230% in just over the past decade. By 2030, freshwater demand will have exceeded the current capacity to supply by over 40% globally with close to 4 billion people will be living in areas of high water stress.

The business case for the “green shift” is strong. If consumer goods industries increase their energy efficiency, they could save US$ 37 billion in 2030. Given the current geopolitical stresses and rising demand, which could potentially result in a 50% increase in energy costs, the 2030 figure could be as high as US$ 55.5 billion.

A country’s sustainability also increases its competitive advantage. India, the US and China fell more than 10 places last year, while Brazil, Kenya and the Philippines rose over 10 places on the Forum’s Sustainable Competitiveness Index, which ranks the impact of natural and social wealth on a country’s competitiveness.

“Scaling resource efficiency is not just ‘nice’ to have. It is a business imperative, a new model for sustainable growth in a world where we need to do more with less,” said Peter Lacy, managing director, Sustainability Services EALA for Accenture and Project Advisor. “It means rethinking business models and supply chains. It requires fundamental shifts, both in the way we deliver the products and services people want and need, and in the relationship between consumers and consumption.”

The report‘s findings conclude that business can pave the way to securing competitive advantage in a resource-constrained world by empowering consumers and governments through the following actions:

Transform demand: The consumer is at the heart of sustainable consumption. However, consumers care more about price, performance and convenience than sustainability. About 50% of consumers surveyed in over 40 countries stated that they do everything they can to protect the environment, but only a small proportion buys ethical brands and pays more for organic food. Consumers need to be more consistent with their actions, and businesses need to engage with consumers to ensure they are able to match their actions with their desires.

Transform value chains: Many companies have specific initiatives that aim to make their business more sustainable, but these often exist in one department or in a silo. Companies need to embed sustainability across the entire organization to be more efficient, innovate to tap into new markets and collaborate within and across industries to drive scale around sustainability. This needs to happen in every company for sustainability to ever get to scale.

Transform the rules of the game: Intergovernmental processes are not delivering fast enough. Business can help shape the policy landscape to drive speed and scale. Key areas for public-private interaction will be the greening of public procurement, reform of harmful subsidies, improving regional trade agreements and enabling long-term investments.

Although none of these dimensions are new in their own right, a holistic approach is currently missing. To bring solutions to scale, there is a need for a critical mass of stakeholders to work together across sectors. At the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2012 in Davos-Klosters this month, the Forum will drive a business-led dialogue to help achieve step changes in sustainability. Along with key partners, the Forum will develop a programme of practical action in time for Rio+20 to ensure delivery on promises made.


“We’re waging war on waste, one plant at a time”

Posted by admin on February 6, 2012
Posted under Express 160

“We’re waging war on waste, one plant at a time”

Kraft sends no waste to landfill at 36 manufacturing plants in 13 countries. And manufacturing accounts for more than 99% of the solid waste Kraft generates. Waste is one of the six areas it has identified for improving the firm’s environmental responsibility and sustainability. The others are agricultural commodities, packaging, energy, water and operations related to transportation and distribution. Read More

Kraft Achieves Zero Waste at 36 Food Plants Around the World

By Leslie Guevarra in Greenb (2 February 2012):

Kraft, the maker of food products ranging from Dentyne to mac-and-cheese mix, sends no waste to landfill at 36 manufacturing plants in 13 countries, the company reported.

Waste is one of the six areas that Kraft has identified as sweet spots for improving the firm’s environmental responsibility and sustainability. (The others are agricultural commodities, packaging, energy, water and operations related to transportation and distribution.) And manufacturing accounts for more than 99 percent of the solid waste Kraft generates.

“We’re waging war on waste, one plant at a time,” said Christine McGrath, Kraft vice president for global sustainability, in a statement.

Last year, the company set a goal of reducing net waste from manufacturing by 15 percent by 2015. That target builds on Kraft’s earlier goal to cut waste by 15 percent between 2005 and 2011, which the firm handily exceeded: By the end of 2010, Kraft had slashed waste by 42 percent. The percentages represent reductions in the ratio of kilos of waste resulting from a ton of production.

As of today, waste reduction by Kraft, normalized to production, stands at 50 percent compared to 2005 levels, the company said in a recap of its efforts since revising the waste reduction goal last May.

The firm is now recycling or reusing as much as 90 percent of manufacturing waste, and at some sites byproducts from manufacturing are used to create energy. Twelve of the plants that no longer send waste to landfill are in the United States, 24 are in Europe and several other facilities have made strides in reducing rubbish.

Here are some highlights from Kraft’s progress report, which praised employees for coming up with novel ways to cut waste and new uses for byproducts:

United States

• Bakeries in Chicago and Naperville, Ill., that make Nabisco and Triscuit products became zero waste by the end of last year.

• A Philadelphia Cream Cheese plant in Beaver Dam, Wisc., worked with the city to build an anaerobic digester, which processes whey waste into biogas that is used to generate electricity for the local grid.

• Two plants in the California city of Fresno and one in San Leandro diverted more than 100 tons of food waste for use as animal feed. The facilities, which make Capri Sun, Kool-Aid, Tang, Maxwell House, Yuban and Cornnuts, have received several honors from the state’s Waste Reduction Awards Program.


• A coffee plant in St. Petersburg cut waste sent to landfill by 90 percent by reusing coffee bean shipping bags and pallets and by sending off 15,000 tons of coffee grounds to be turned into fertilizer for farms in the area.


• Plants in Cikarang and Karawang, where plastic packaging film creates most of the waste, found a recycler that turns the material into bags and buckets. The facilities cut waste by 40 percent last year.


• During the past year, a coffee plant in Vienna has sent 250 tons of used coffee bean husks to a biomass power plant that creates heat and electricity for nearby homes.


• A Philadelphia Cream Cheese plant in Fallingbostel has been a zero waste facility since 2009.



Singapore Raises Barrier to Sea Levels Linked to Climate Change

Posted by admin on February 6, 2012
Posted under Express 160

Singapore Raises Barrier to Sea Levels Linked to Climate Change

A 15-km (10 mile) stretch of crisp white beach is one of the key battlegrounds in Singapore’s campaign to defend its hard-won territory against rising sea levels linked to climate change. Stone breakwaters are being enlarged and their heights raised. Barges carrying imported sand top up the beach, which is regularly breached by high tides. Singapore, the world’s second most densely populated country after Monaco, has already reclaimed large areas, adding more than 20% to its size since 1960. Read More

By David Fogarty for Reuters (27 January 2012):

A 15-km (10 mile) stretch of crisp white beach is one of the key battlegrounds in Singapore’s campaign to defend its hard-won territory against rising sea levels linked to climate change.

Stone breakwaters are being enlarged on the low-lying island state’s man-made east coast and their heights raised. Barges carrying imported sand top up the beach, which is regularly breached by high tides.

Singapore, the world’s second most densely populated country after Monaco, covers 715 square km (276 sq miles). It has already reclaimed large areas to expand its economy and population — boosting its land area by more than 20 percent since 1960.

But the new land is now the frontline in a long-term battle against the sea.

Every square metre is precious in Singapore.

One of the world’s wealthiest nations in per-capita terms, it is also among the most vulnerable to climate change that is heating up the planet, changing weather patterns and causing seas to rise as the oceans warm and glaciers and icecaps melt.

Late last year, the government decided the height of all new reclamations must be 2.25 metres (7.5 feet) above the highest recorded tide level — a rise of a metre over the previous mandated minimum height.

The additional buffer was costly but necessary, Environment Minister Vivian Balakrishnan told Reuters in a recent interview.

“You are buying insurance for the future,” he said during a visit to a large flood control barrier that separates the sea from a reservoir in the central business area.

The decision underscores the government’s renowned long-term planning and the dilemma the country faces in fighting climate change while still trying to grow. It also highlights the problem facing other low-lying island states and coastal cities and the need to prepare.

A major climate change review for the Chinese government last week said China’s efforts to protect vulnerable coastal areas with embankments were inadequate. It said in the 30 years up to 2009, the sea level off Shanghai rose 11.5 centimetres (4.5 inches); in the next 30 years, it will probably rise another 10 to 15 centimetres.


Since it was created by the British as a trading port in the early 19th century, Singapore has turned to the sea to expand and has become one of the world’s fastest-growing countries in terms of new land area. More land is being regularly reclaimed.

In this pocket powerhouse, there is much to protect. Singapore’s recipe for success is to be a city of superlatives to keep ahead of competitors. It is a major Asian centre for finance, shipping, trading, manufacturing, even gambling, with giant casinos as glitzy as those in Las Vegas or Macau.

Much of the city centre is on reclaimed land, including an expanding financial district, a new terminal for ocean liners and a $3.2 billion underground expressway, part of which runs under the sea.

The industrial west has one of Asia’s largest petrochemical complexes, much of it on reclaimed islands.

The wealth generated from these sectors has created a $255 billion economy. Per-capita GDP stands on a par with the United States at nearly $50,000, though opposition politicians complain about growing wealth gaps within the island’s society.

The U.N. climate panel says sea levels could rise between 18 and 59 centimetres (7 to 24 inches) this century and more if parts of Antarctica and Greenland melt faster. Some scientists say the rise is more likely to be in a range of 1 to 2 metres.

Singapore could cope with a rise of 50 cm to 1 m, coastal scientist Teh Tiong Sa told Reuters during a tour of the East Coast Park, the city’s main recreation area.

“But a rise of two metres would turn Singapore into an island fortress,” said Teh, a retired teacher from Singapore’s National Institute for Education. That would mean constructing more and higher walls to protect against the sea.

Indeed, between 70 and 80 percent of Singapore already has some form of coastal protection, the government says.

The dilemma Singapore faces is mirrored by other coastal cities, such as Mumbai, Hong Kong, Bangkok and New York, though not all have Singapore’s financial muscle.

The threat underscores the limits on Singapore’s physical growth in terms of further reclamation, costs and managing long-term growth of its population, which has risen from 3 million in 1990 to nearly 5.2 million in 2011.

Topping up reclamation levels “does not fundamentally change the way we approach reclamation — while we reclaim to meet our development needs, we are cognisant that there is a physical limit to how much more land we can reclaim,” a spokesman for the National Climate Change Secretariat told Reuters.

To make more efficient use of existing land, a government agency floated the idea this month of building a science city 30 stories underground.


Climate change presents a host of other challenges.

More intense rainfall has caused embarrassing floods in the premier Orchard Road shopping area.

And the government says average daily temperature in tropical Singapore could increase by 2.7 to 4.2 degrees Celsius (4.9 to 7.6 degrees Fahrenheit) from the current average of 26.8 deg C (80.2 F) by 2100, which could raise energy use for cooling.

Here lies another dilemma. The country is already one of the most energy intensive in Asia to power its industries and fiercely airconditioned malls and glass office towers — a paradox in a country at such risk from climate change.

The government has focused on energy efficiency, such as strict building codes and appliance labelling to curb the growth of planet-warming carbon emissions and has steadily switched its power stations to burn gas instead of fuel oil.

It has also invested heavily in slick subway lines and promoted investment and research in the clean-tech sector.

But electricity demand is still set to grow. Consumption doubled between 1995 and 2010, government figures show, and long-term reliance on fossil fuels for energy is unlikely to change, given limited space for green energy such as solar.

Balakrishnan said the government is keen to do its part in any global fight against climate change and that pushing for greater energy efficiency made sense anyway in a country with virtually no natural resources.

But there was a limit to how fast it would move, opening the way for criticism from some countries that Singapore was hiding behind its developing country status under the United Nations, which obliges it to take only voluntary steps to curb emissions.

“What we want is a level playing field and unilateral moves are not feasible, not possible, for a small, tiny island state that actually is not going to make a real difference at a global level to greenhouse gases,” Balakrishnan said.

Singapore’s emissions, though, are forecast to keep growing, having roughly doubled since 1990. The government is looking at putting a price on carbon emissions and perhaps setting up an emissions trading market.

“We’re already half way there in the sense we are already pricing everything according to the market,” said Tilak Doshi, head of energy economics at the Energy Studies Institute in Singapore.

He pointed to Singapore being the world’s largest bunkering port.

“Bunkering is huge in terms of carbon emissions and Singapore can play a key role in how to handle global shipping emissions,” he said. “How to handle bunker fuels — do we tax it, do we cap-and-trade it, do we get bunkering companies to start trading emissions certificates?”

The government has a number of levers to adjust energy policies over time. Against rising sea levels, it is a campaign in progress to tame the tides.

In some cases, it might be better to let the sea reclaim the land in a managed retreat, said Teh, the coastal scientist.

“It’s like robbing Peter to pay Paul. Some areas you keep, others you let go.” For land-limited Singapore, that could prove a tough decision to make. (Editing by Ron Popeski and Sanjeev Miglani)



Climate Change Action Replaced by Clean Energy Talk

Posted by admin on February 6, 2012
Posted under Express 160

Climate Change Action Replaced by Clean Energy Talk

When the US President moves away from talking about climate change and talks more generally about energy, as he did in the State of the Union, calling for “an all-out, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy,” the impact is more than just political, says Maxwell T Boykoff  in Washington Post.  Calling climate change by another name creates limits of its own. The way we talk about the problem affects how we deal with it. And though some new wording may deflect political heat, it can’t alter the fact that, “climate change” or not, the climate is changing. Read More

By Maxwell T Boykoff, in Washington Post (28 January 2012):

The Earth is still getting hotter, but those terms have nearly disappeared from political vocabulary. Instead, they have been replaced by less charged and more consumer-friendly expressions for the warming planet.

President Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday was a prime example of this shift. The president said “climate change” just once — compared with zero mentions in the 2011 address and two in 2010. When he did utter the phrase, it was merely to acknowledge the polarized atmosphere in Washington, saying, “The differences in this chamber may be too deep right now to pass a comprehensive plan to fight climate change.” By contrast, Obama used the terms “energy” and “clean energy” nearly two dozen times.

That tally reflects a broader change in how the president talks about the planet. A recent Brown University study looked specifically at the Obama administration’s language and found that mentions of “climate change” have been replaced by calls for “clean energy” and “energy independence.” Graciela Kincaid, a co-author of the study, wrote: “The phrases ‘climate change’ and ‘global warming’ have become all but taboo on Capitol Hill. These terms are stunningly absent from the political arena.”

In 2009, the Obama administration purposefully began to refer to greenhouse gas emissions as “carbon pollution” and “heat-trapping emissions.” This change is evident in statements from top officials such as White House science adviser John Holdren, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration head Jane Lubchenco and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson. Lubchenco told a reporter that the choice of those terms “is intended to make what’s happening more understandable and more accessible to non-technical audiences.”

These choices are also reflected in news coverage around the world. My colleague Maria Mansfield and I monitor 50 major newspapers in 20countries, and we documented that explicit mentions of “climate change” and “global warming” dropped by more than a third from 2010 to 2011.

There is power in how language is deployed, and people setting policy agendas know this well. In 2002, Republican political strategist Frank Luntz issued a widely cited memo advising that the Bush administration should shift its rhetoric on the climate. “It’s time for us to start talking about ‘climate change’ instead of global warming. . . . ‘Climate change’ is less frightening than ‘global warming,’ ” the memo said.

Luntz was not alone in wanting to change the terminology. The nonprofit group EcoAmerica issued a report in 2009 arguing that the terms “global warming” and “climate change” both needed rebranding. In their place, the group recommended the phrase “our deteriorating atmosphere.”

But what do we lose when global warming and climate change get repackaged as clean energy? We wind up missing a thorough understanding of the breadth of the problem and the range of possible solutions.

To start, talking only about clean energy omits critical biological and physical factors that contribute to the warming climate. “Clean energy” doesn’t call to mind the ways we use the land and how the environment is changing. Where in the term is the notion of the climate pollution that results from clear-cutting Amazon rain forests? What about methane release in the Arctic, where global warming is exposing new areas of soil in the permafrost?

“Clean energy” also neatly bypasses any idea that we might need to curb our consumption. If the energy is clean, after all, why worry about how much we’re using — or how unequal the access to energy sources might be?

And terms such as “carbon pollution” ignore that climate change isn’t just a carbon issue. Some greenhouse gases, such as nitrous oxide, do not contain carbon, and not all carbon-containing emissions, such as carbon monoxide, trap heat.

When the president moves away from talking about climate change and talks more generally about energy, as he did in the State of the Union, calling for “an all-out, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy,” the impact is more than just political.

Calling climate change by another name creates limits of its own. The way we talk about the problem affects how we deal with it. And though some new wording may deflect political heat, it can’t alter the fact that, “climate change” or not, the climate is changing.

Maxwell T. Boykoff is an assistant professor in the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado at Boulder and the author of “Who Speaks for the Climate? Making Sense of Media Reporting on Climate Change.”