Archive for the ‘Express 80’ Category

Profile: Ross Garnaut

Posted by admin on October 17, 2009
Posted under Express 80

Profile: Ross Garnaut

The Australian government’s own climate change advisor has described the carbon pollution reduction scheme as “one of the worst examples of policy making we have seen on major issues in Australia”. Ross Garnaut makes some observations on how he sees China handling its shift to a low carbon economy and what should happen down on the farm.

First this week’s report The Age:

The federal government has dismissed criticism of its planned emissions trading scheme by the man who helped develop Labor’s model.

Ross Garnaut has described the carbon pollution reduction scheme as “one of the worst examples of policy making we have seen on major issues in Australia”.

Professor Garnaut, the government’s former climate change adviser, said it was extraordinary how political debate about emissions trading had broken down.

But Climate Change Minister Penny Wong says the government will focus on what it believes is in the national interest.

“When you are putting forward a reform that is this big… there are going to be a range of views,” she told ABC Radio on Tuesday.

Legislation setting up emissions trading will be reintroduced to parliament in November following its rejection by the Senate in August.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd admits the emissions trading debate has become a “very unpretty process to watch”, but says the blame sits squarely with the opposition.

He says Labor firstly had to consult community groups, before secondly talking with industry.

“And then thirdly, try and herd into a single room all the factions which currently make up the divided rabble otherwise called the federal coalition and the federal Liberal Party.”

Mr Rudd told ABC Radio in Hobart “it’s a very unpretty process to watch”.

Meanwhile, Treasurer Wayne Swan says opposition claims that the price of electricity will jump by 30 to 40 per cent under a carbon pollution reduction scheme are alarmist.

Opposition climate change spokesman Ian Macfarlane said on Monday his party has been unable to get an honest assessment from the government of exactly what is going to happen to electricity prices.

“From what we can see from Treasury modelling, the price of electricity to industry and households will rise by 30 to 40 per cent,” he told ABC Radio.

However, Mr Swan told reporters in Hobart on Tuesday that Mr Macfarlane’s comment was the sort of “alarmist” rhetoric he expected to hear from the coalition.

“All of the time, we have published extensive modelling which makes forecasts about impacts on electricity prices.

“And, of course, it is the case that as you deal with dangerous climate change there will be impacts on prices.

“But that sort of alarmist talk is simply put forward by the Liberal party to camouflage the fact that they are climate change dinosaurs who are not genuine in their desire to see a carbon pollution reduction scheme in place.”


Garnaut discusses China’s take on climate change

Transcript of the Broadcast by Australian Broadcasting Corporation late last month.

Lateline Reporter: Tony Jones

TONY JONES, PRESENTER: Professor Ross Garnaut, who holds senior economic positions at both the ANU and Melbourne University and last year conducted the Government’s review of climate change. He’s also a former Ambassador to China. He’s currently in the Chinese capital where he’s delivered a paper at a conference on the low carbon economy.

Professor Garnaut joins us now live from Beijing. Ross Garnaut, thanks for being there, and I should say at the outset, we’ll get to what some of those farmers are saying and their concerns later. But first of all, your report says that Australia would be damaged more than any other developed country by unmitigated climate change. Does China face comparable risks?

ROSS GARNAUT: Yes, I think there’s several developing countries and countries that matter a lot to Australia that are very vulnerable, and that’s one of the ways that Australia would be hurt by climate change. Proportionately, probably South Asia, Bangladesh, but also to some extent India, parts of South East Asia, the river delta’s of Vietnam and coastal cities of Indonesia are very vulnerable. China: very vulnerable in parts, perhaps not quite as much as the others, but proportionately perhaps almost comparable to Australia.

TONY JONES: Do you think the Chinese leadership understands those risks as you’ve spelt them out? I mean, you’ve talked of the deglaciation of the Tibetan Plateau, the risk to the rivers, to the North China plain and its irrigation systems, and of course to low-lying industrial areas of China.

ROSS GARNAUT: Yes, there’s a lot of good science in China and the President and the Premier are engaged with that good science. So there’s a lot of awareness of the issue at senior levels in China, and that’s broadly spread through the policy-making communities. So there’s a strong base here of knowledge about the realities from which China can work.

TONY JONES: In New York last week, the Chinese President Hu Jintao pledged to reduce China’s carbon intensity by what he called a notable margin by 2020. No figures. How far and how fast do you believe the Chinese leadership will be willing to reduce its greenhouse emissions?

ROSS GARNAUT: Well, maybe a long way. Maybe further than I was anticipating in the review last year as being necessary. There were three main elements in the changes that the President referred to last week. One is a big reduction in the energy intensity of economic activity. They’ve put a target of four percentage points per annum reduction in the amount of energy used per unit of GDP through the current plan, which ends in 2010. They had a slow start, but they’ve been doing well lately. There’s a lot of discussion in China, and that’s been shared with me in the last couple of days, about whether it will be possible to continue that through to 2020. If it is continued through to 2020, and I think there’s a good chance that it will be, then that is important on a global scale.

The second is the strong commitment to low emissions energy. All of the renewable sources of energy, plus nuclear – very heavy investments in all of those and that’s been accelerated through the financial crisis.

And the third element, which can be quite important over the next few decades, is a very heavy commitment to reforestation of parts of China where woodlands and forests have been denuded. The President referred to, in the next period, planting an area equivalent to a couple per cent of the Chinese territory.

Add those things together and you’re looking at reductions in emissions in China by 2020 by something towards 40 per cent from the business-as-usual levels that I’d calculated for the review. So that’s a very big story if it comes through. What China hasn’t done yet is commit internationally to those numbers. They’re cautious about that because they’re not sure that they’ll be able to deliver, but also they’re expecting the developed countries to do what they promised to do and to move first, and I think that they’ll be ready to follow, and that’s what the President had in mind when he talked about significant developments.

TONY JONES: I don’t know if you’ve had any chance to talk to the officials you’ve been speaking to about the new approach that’s being talked about for negotiating by Penny Wong and the Australian Government. What they call “national schedules” for developing nations, where only some sectors of their economies will have to be – will have to commit to substantial targets. There won’t be overall – under this system anyway, there would not be overall, economy-wide targets that the developed countries have to live with. Is that resonating in Beijing and among policy-makers?

ROSS GARNAUT: That hasn’t been raised with me, Tony, and I’d be hopeful that in China we’ll see a bit more than that, that we’ll go further than that. But in many developing countries that would be an important step forward and it may not be possible in the near term to go further than that in many developing countries, but I don’t think China’s one of them.

TONY JONES: Have you seen any signs at all that China is willing to rein in its production of giant coal-fired power generators, which is the thing that’s primarily driving their carbon dioxide emissions?

ROSS GARNAUT: Oh, yes. The huge reductions in the energy intensity of economic activity and the investment in low emissions energy sources both have big implications for the rate of growth of coal-fired power generation. That’s implicit in all of the planning that’s going on.

TONY JONES: Indeed, there’s still a deadlock, though, isn’t there, between developing and developed countries and it is over who pays for the tremendous cost of transforming developing economies in the way that they will need to be transformed. China was calling for one per cent of GDP from all developed countries to be put aside to create a giant fund to help developing or poor countries pay for all these things. Are they still pushing along those lines?

ROSS GARNAUT: Well, China, in taking that position is thinking more about what’s necessary to get the whole developing world committed to emissions reduction, rather than having high expectations of itself of huge transfers to China. The evidence of that is what they’re doing unilaterally right now in reducing the energy intensity of economic activity and investing in renewables. But I think that idea, that there needs to be strong commitment by the developed countries to development of the new technologies and facilitating access to them for lower income countries, has to be an important part of the solution. I discussed that extensively in the review last year.

TONY JONES: Let me go back to the other things you discussed in the review and it’s what’s going to happen in Australia with an emissions trading scheme. You talked earlier this month about the damage that political argy bargy, as you called it, over the ETS is doing to Australia’s international reputation leading up to the Copenhagen talks. Now the Coalition is putting up serious amendments to the legislation, how much should the Government be prepared to compromise to make sure that some sort of ETS, even a much weaker one, goes through?

ROSS GARNAUT: There’s been a lot of compromise already, Tony. I think that there’s a valid case for transitional assistance for trade-exposed industries. And you can calculate the level of support that’s justified on economic and environmental grounds to prevent carbon leakage. On average, we’ve already gone beyond that, well beyond that in some industries, and there’s the separate question of payments to domestic generators who are supplying the domestic market and who will pass on a lot of their cost increases and who aren’t competing in an international market and I don’t think there’s any case at all for support there. So, to the extent that the calls for amendment of the emissions trading scheme involve larger payments to trade-exposed or domestic generating industries, I think it’s a step in the wrong direction. There are other changes that would actually help the scheme, but unfortunately, the things that would make it a better scheme are much less discussed than the things that would make it worse.

TONY JONES: You think the Opposition or the Coalition’s amendments would make it worse, is that what you’re saying?

ROSS GARNAUT: Well, I haven’t seen a list of amendments, Tony, but – so I’m not commenting on the Opposition’s position. I don’t know what that will be. But I’m saying additional payments to domestic generators, additional payments to the trade-exposed industries would make it worse. Not necessarily environmentally. The world is starting to move towards commitments towards – for strong mitigation, which would justify the 25 per cent reduction in Australia. And if we commit to that in international negotiations, then we’re doing our part environmentally. But if we’re making all of these payments that distort the process of transition to the low carbon economy, we will greatly increase the cost of doing what we commit to environmentally.

TONY JONES: We know that some of the areas around which compromises are being sought by the Coalition, so let’s start with this: can you take agriculture out of the scheme and leave farmers untouched by it?

ROSS GARNAUT: Well, the main emissions from agriculture are not to be part of the Government’s current scheme for five years and decisions on that will be made in 2013. There are real issues of measurement and management of the scheme in relation to direct farm emissions, so I think that some delay while the work is done on measurement is justified. I’d like to make sure that there’s very high priority given to the research that’s necessary to – to allow early inclusion of agriculture. I’d also like to see large commitments to research development and commercialisation of biosequestration technologies, which are potentially enormously valuable to the Australian farm and rural communities. Putting that right in the middle of the emissions trading scheme, the support for research development and commercialisation of biosequestration is one of the things that would make it a better scheme.

TONY JONES: You’re already seeing some rural politicians putting forward the alternative which is out there which they can point to, and that’s in the United States with the Waxman- Markey bill, which is basically the American version of an emissions trading scheme, and it leaves farmers out completely on the penalty side. It enables farmers to actually take benefit from things like biosequestration, but leaves them out of the penalty side of the equation. Now why couldn’t  that be done in Australia, if it can be done in America?

ROSS GARNAUT: Oh, of course it could be done, but the more things that you exempt from the scheme, the higher the cost to the whole economy, the higher the costs of reaching our targets. If you’ve got comprehensive carbon accounting, where you are systematically providing incentives for biosequestration on the farm and systematically taxing emissions, that will give you your lowest cost scheme for the country as a whole, but it will also provide lots of opportunities and benefits for farmers.

TONY JONES: Yes, but do you sympathise with farmers on the political position here, and indeed with the Government, because the heat is now being turned up in the rural sector because there’s scepticism about the science on the one hand, and a great deal of scepticism about being dragged into a scheme which will cost them money potentially for burping cattle and so on. So it looks to them like a huge bureaucratic imposture.

ROSS GARNAUT: Well, there’s two separate issues there: one is the exemption of some sectors of the economy. Now, every sector will benefit itself if it is exempted. An investor in any sector will be better if it doesn’t pay a tax. If you exempted any part of the economy from income tax, they’d benefit from it. And in a lot of our history, we did a lot of that sort of exemption, but that just pushes costs on the rest of the economy and makes the whole scheme more expensive than it otherwise it would be. The question of scepticism in the countryside is a different thing. That’s a sad thing. There you’ve got climate sharks praying on the vulnerability of people who aren’t in a position to be well-informed themselves. That’s a tragedy. The exploitation of people who would benefit from greater knowledge. I’m afraid that’s what’s going to happen in rural Australia is that the well-informed will make a lot of money out of the ignorant. And the ignorant include a lot of people who can’t afford to be skinned in that way.

TONY JONES: A final question then: who are these climate sharks that you refer to? Do you mean the politicians that are leading their voters in different directions? Or are you talking about academics who take the view that there is no such thing as climate change? I mean, what sort of people are you referring to there?

ROSS GARNAUT: I’m referring to anyone who plays on the natural human instinct, who hope that there’s some – that when there’s bad news, it’s not true. That’s a very natural thing. I’m very sympathetic for it. I spent a lot of my life in rural Australia myself and I see that going on. It’s the sort of denial we see in relation to a lot of tragic circumstances, but you never make a problem easier to handle by pretending it doesn’t exist.


Ice-Free Arctic in 20 Years

Posted by admin on October 17, 2009
Posted under Express 80

 Ice-Free Arctic in 20 Years

What is seen as the biggest impact global warming is having on the physical appearance of the planet, the earth will lose its white cap that can be seen from space. Ships will be able to sail in open water to the North Pole in the summer of 2020, according to a study that confirms a rapid acceleration in the loss of sea ice.

Ben Webster for The Times and reported in The Australian (16 October 2009):

SHIPS will be able to sail in open water to the North Pole in the summer of 2020, according to a study that found a rapid acceleration in the loss of sea ice.

The Arctic will be ice-free in summer within 20 years, the study found, while Earth will lose its white cap that can be seen from space.

The Polar Ocean Physics Group from Cambridge University compared measurements of ice thickness recorded by a British Royal Navy nuclear submarine with those taken two years later by explorer Pen Hadow.

The sets of measurements were consistent, revealing the findings by HMS Tireless in 2007 were not an aberration caused by a particularly warm year.

Peter Wadhams, professor of ocean physics at Cambridge, said cargo ships would no longer need to rely on special ice-breaking vessels to cross from the Pacific to the Atlantic via the Northwest Passage. The route would be ice-free for months every year, cutting more than 4800km from the normal journey from East Asia to Europe via the Suez canal.

“The North Pole will be exposed in 10 years. You would be able to sail a Japanese car carrier across the North Pole and out into the Atlantic,” Professor Wadhams said. “The ice will retreat to a zone north of Greenland and Ellesmere Island by 2020 and that area will be less than half the present summer area. The change in the Arctic summer sea ice is the biggest impact global warming is having on the physical appearance of the planet.”

This month, the National Snow and Ice Data Centre, which is part of the University of Colorado, said Arctic ice coverage was the third-lowest since satellite records began in 1979. The coverage was greater than in 2007 and last year largely because of cloudy skies during late summer. Each of the past five years has been one of the five lowest years.

Professor Wadhams, who was on board the submarine supervising sonar measurements of the ice, said Mr Hadow’s findings confirmed the underlying trend was towards increasingly thin and patchy ice cover.

Mr Hadow and his two team members spent 73 days between March 1 and May 7 this year walking 450km across the Arctic while taking measurements. They drilled 1500 holes and found the average thickness of ice floes was 1.8m. This was too thin to have survived the previous year’s summer melting and indicated the ice had been formed in open sea during the winter.

Mr Hadow said future expeditions to the Arctic in summer would need to change their techniques and equipment to cope with more frequent stretches of open water. “A hundred years ago, explorers used dogs to haul sledges and then we went through the stage of people hauling sledges,” he said. “Now we have people wearing immersion suits and needing to swim, with the sledge floating. I foresee a time when the sledge will become more of a canoe.”

Martin Summerkorn, climate change adviser to the WWF Arctic Program, said the loss of sea ice predicted by the study would have profound consequences beyond the polar region.

Without ice to reflect sunlight, the Arctic Ocean would warm faster, resulting in the release of greenhouse gases stored in the Arctic permafrost soils. These soils contain twice as much carbon as is in the atmosphere.

Mr Summerkorn said the warming of the Arctic surface waters would accelerate the melting of the Greenland ice sheet, speeding up the sea-level rise.

“This could lead to flooding affecting one quarter of the world’s population and extreme global weather changes,” he said.


China, Climate Change World Leader?

Posted by admin on October 17, 2009
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China, Climate Change World Leader?

Long been labelled a global climate change villain for being the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide, China is making rapid progress in clean energy development. In fact, in many aspects China is leading the world in the fight against climate change.

Mathew Murphy in Sydney Morning Herald (15 October 2009):

CHINA has long been labelled a global climate change villain – unwilling to commit to a firm emissions reduction target and rigid towards reducing its carbon footprint to the same level as developed countries despite being the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide.

But to paint this picture in black and white ignores the rapid progress China is making in clean energy development. In fact, in many aspects China is leading the world in the fight against climate change.

As the Climate Change Minister, Penny Wong, arrives in Beijing for high-level talks with policy makers, the Climate Group’s recent report China’s Clean Revolution II highlights what the Asian powerhouse is doing, not just for the sake of the climate, but for its own sake.

Changhua Wu, the China director for the Climate Group, said the country’s climate change image was undergoing a makeover.

”We are definitely a good guy now. Where have people been?” she said. ”For a long time China was painted as a bad guy. Countries like China and India have been in that category, but starting this year, with more and more information being disclosed to the international community, they are starting to recognise the contribution that China has been making.

”The top leadership in China decided to take an alternative paradigm for the sake of the country. Renewable energy is now considered as a strategic element in the country’s future competitiveness internationally,” Ms Wu said.

One of the first signs that China was choosing a greener path was its 4000 billion yuan ($646 billion) stimulus package. Almost 40 per cent was directed towards green initiatives. That compared with the US’s injection of $US787 billion ($867 billion), where 12 per cent was aimed at renewables, building efficiency and low carbon vehicles. Australia’s commitment falls further back, with $US26.7 billion spent across the country but only 9 per cent committed to climate change investment. This came largely from the Government’s pink-batt policy to insulate 2.7 million homes.

The United Nations climate chief, Yvo de Boer, said China’s stimulus package would position it as a world leader in fighting global warming, and well ahead of the US in dealing with climate change.

While China eclipsed the US as the largest national emitter of greenhouse gas in 2007, its 1.3 billion citizens emit less per capita than do those of the US and European Union, and below the global average. To help bring that figure down further, energy efficiency is ”the number one priority of the Chinese Government”, Ms Wu said.

”China’s energy efficiency has improved dramatically but still if you compare energy efficiency levels to other countries China is still lagging behind,” she said.

The Chinese Government had adopted a multi-faceted approach to climate change. Its attention to renewable energy has come about because it has found a market to sell into.

The Climate Group report shows that 44 per cent of the world’s solar photovoltaic was produced by China last year.

”With the global financial crisis the international solar market almost disappeared, so that had a major impact on the industry,” Ms Wu said. ”About 70 per cent of the industry in China was consolidated by larger companies like Suntech. What is left in the market are only the leading solar companies.”

In fact what is happening in China is affecting Australian solar. Last month Solar Systems went into receivership. Its planned solar power station destined for Victoria’s north-west has been mothballed, priced out by a country that is manufacturing solar products at a staggering rate and cheaply.

Growth in installed wind turbines is faster in China than in any other country. Wind power in 2008 topped 12 gigawatts – a figure that is doubling every year. The country has committed to a renewable energy target of 15 per cent by 2020.

This week China Daily quoted a senior energy official as saying China would have 100 gigawatts of wind-power capacity by 2020 – more than three times the 30 GW target the Government has proposed. China wants to increase its wind power capacity to 20 GW by next year, suggesting it will smash the 2020 target.

As the road leads to Copenhagen, and potentially a new global climate change deal, China is in an interesting position. If the world signs up to a post-Kyoto emissions reduction target, China will assist in bringing down the world’s emissions with a big role in manufacturing.

Ms Wu said the Copenhagen deal needs to offer technology transfer agreements, more robust than in Kyoto, to get China on board.

Commentators expect a tough fight to get China over the line at Copenhagen but the President, Hu Jintao, appears to be listening. Last month he vowed to reduce China’s greenhouse gases by a ”notable margin” by 2020 but warned his country’s economic growth would not be sacrificed and that cuts would be measured in units of gross domestic product.

He would not lock in a firm commitment on how much China plans to cut emissions by.

Senator Wong will meet China’s key climate change policymaker today, the National Development and Reform Commission vice-chairman, Xie Zhenhua, to discuss the country’s strategy leading into Copenhagen.

China will not forgo economic prosperity for the sake of global warming but it has recognised a business opportunity in greening its economy. Recent signals from its leaders show that China could be amenable to a global climate change deal although on its terms.

It is set to play a lead role at Copenhagen – not least in showing the world how to position itself to take advantage of the upside.


Lomborg’s Copenhagen Climate Solution

Posted by admin on October 17, 2009
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Lomborg’s Copenhagen Climate Solution

Copenhagen Consensus Centre’s panel of experts identified that global carbon taxes would be the worst option to deal with climate change. Instead, recommended focusing investment on research into climate engineering as a short-term response, and on non-carbon-based energy as a longer-term response. The Skeptical Environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg reports:

Bjorn Lomborg in The Australian (15 October 2009):

A SENSE of panic is setting in among many campaigners for drastic cuts in global carbon emissions. It is becoming obvious that the highly trumpeted meeting set for Copenhagen this December will not deliver a binding international treaty that will make a significant difference to global warming.

After lofty rhetoric and big promises, politicians are starting to play the blame game. Developing countries blame rich countries for the lack of progress. Many blame the US, which will not have cap-and-trade legislation in place before Copenhagen.

The UN Secretary General says, “it may be difficult for President Obama to come with strong authority” to reach agreement in Copenhagen. Others blame developing countries – particularly Brazil, China and India – for a reluctance to sign up to binding carbon cuts. Wherever you turn, somebody is being blamed for Copenhagen’s apparent looming failure.

Yet, it has been clear for a considerable time that there is a more fundamental problem: immediate promises of carbon cuts do not work. Seventeen years ago, industrialised nations promised with great fanfare in Rio de Janeiro to cut emissions to 1990 levels by 2000. Emissions overshot the target by 12 per cent. In Kyoto, leaders committed to a cut of 5.2 per cent below 1990 levels by 2010. The failure to meet that target will most likely be even more spectacular, with emissions overshooting by about 25 per cent.

The plan was to convene world leaders in Copenhagen and renew vows to cut carbon while committing to even more ambitious targets. But it is obvious that even a last-minute scramble to salvage some form of agreement will fare no better in actually helping the planet. With such a poor track record, there is a need for soul-searching and openness to other approaches.

A realistic “Plan B” does not mean plotting a second meeting after Copenhagen, as some have suggested. It means rethinking our strategy. This year, the Copenhagen Consensus Centre commissioned research from top climate economists examining feasible ways to respond to global warming. Their research looked at how much we could help the planet by setting different levels of carbon taxes, planting more trees, cutting methane, reducing black-soot emissions, adapting to global warming, or focusing on a technological solution to climate change.

The centre convened an expert panel of five of the world’s leading economists, including three Nobel Prize winners, to consider all of the new research and identify the best – and worst – options.

The panel found that expensive, global carbon taxes would be the worst option. This finding was based on a groundbreaking research paper that showed that even a highly efficient global CO2 tax aimed at fulfilling the ambitious goal of keeping temperature increases below 2C would reduce annual world GDP by a staggering 12.9per cent, or $US40 trillion ($43.7trillion), in 2100. The total cost would be 50 times that of the avoided climate damage. And if politicians choose less-efficient, less-co-ordinated cap-and-trade policies, the costs could escalate a further 10 to 100 times.

Instead, the panel recommended focusing investment on research into climate engineering as a short-term response, and on non-carbon-based energy as a longer-term response.

Some suggested climate engineering technologies – in particular, marine cloud-whitening technology – could be cheap, fast, and effective. (Boats would spray seawater droplets into clouds above the oceans to make them reflect more sunlight back into space, reducing warming). Remarkably, the research says that a total of about $US9 billion spent implementing marine cloud-whitening technology might be able to offset this entire century’s global warming. Even if one approaches this technology with concerns – as many of us do – we should aim to identify its limitations and risks sooner rather than later.

It appears that climate engineering could buy us some time, and it is time that we need to make a sustainable and smooth shift away from reliance on fossil fuels. Research shows that non-fossil-fuel energy sources will – based on today’s availability – get us less than halfway towards a path of stable carbon emissions by 2050, and only a tiny fraction of the way towards stabilisation by 2100.

If politicians change course and agree this December to invest significantly more in research and development, we would have a much greater chance of getting this technology to the level where it needs to be. And, because it would be cheaper and easier than carbon cuts, there would be a much greater chance of reaching a genuine, broad-based – and thus successful – international agreement.

Carbon pricing could be used to finance research and development, and to send a price signal to promote the deployment of effective, affordable technology alternatives. Investing about $US100 billion annually would mean that we could essentially resolve the climate change problem by the end of this century.

While the blame game will not solve global warming, the mounting panic could lead to a positive outcome if it meant we reconsider our current approach. If we want real action, we need to pick smarter solutions that will cost less and do more. That would be a result for which every politician would be happy to accept responsibility.

Bjorn Lomborg is director of the Copenhagen Consensus Centre, author of Cool It and The Skeptical Environmentalist, and adjunct professor at Copenhagen Business School.


Media & Message for Responsible Change

Posted by admin on October 17, 2009
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Media & Message for Responsible Change

Environmental reporters from Africa, Asia, and Latin America met in Mauritania this week to discuss how the developing world can best make its case for responsible change at December’s U.N. climate-change conference in Copenhagen.  The African Network of Environmental Journalists wants to develop a unified media strategy which pays proper attention to the needs of the developing world.

By Scott Stearns for Voice of America News in Dakar (15 October 2009):

Environmental reporters from Africa, Asia, and Latin America are meeting in Mauritania to discuss how the developing world can best make its case for responsible change at December’s U.N. climate-change conference in Copenhagen. 

The African Network of Environmental Journalists organized this meeting with colleagues from Asia and Latin America to develop a unified media strategy to ensure the Copenhagen summit pays proper attention to the needs of the developing world.

When leaders meet at the U.N. conference in December, they will be discussing how to move forward on climate change when the Kyoto Accords expire in 2012.

Sidi El Moctar Cheigeur chairs the African Network of Environmental Journalists.

As the Kyoto Accords end in 2012, Cheigeur says political leaders must adapt to changing climatic conditions and develop strategies to lower the effect on the environment. That is one of the biggest issues to be discussed in Copenhagen.

Cheigeur says the Copenhagen summit will be a test of the responsibility and engagement of world leaders, especially those in the northern hemisphere who he says will show whether they have the vision and commitment to meet historic responsibilities.

While the roles of reporters and government leaders are different, on this issue Cheigeur says their goals are the same: to protect the rights of those most vulnerable to climate change.

The U.N. Environment Program helped establish the African Network of Environmental Journalists to raise awareness of environmental issues through better reporting for the public and better information sharing between reporters.

The meeting in Mauritania is meant to focus African, Asian, and Latin American environmental journalists on reporting that reflects the need for the fair and transparent distribution of Copenhagen funds to ensure that money is spent properly.

Maria Duvali Ribero is the U.N. Representative in Mauritania. Ribero says the climatic clock is ticking fast, and all eyes are looking to the future of the planet and the health of future generations.

Negotiations leading up to the Copenhagen summit have made progress toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But there are still questions about how much money industrialized countries are willing to spend to help developing countries adapt to the impact of climate change on water resources, urbanization, food security, and biodiversity.

Janos Pasztor is the director of the U.N. Secretary General’s Climate Change Support Team:

“Clarity is still lacking on the issue of finance that developing countries need in order to undertake additional actions to limit their emission growth and adapt to the inevitable effects of climate change,” Pasztor said.

Those attending the Mauritania meeting say the Copenhagen summit must address the impact of deforestation and forest degradation, especially given the role that forests in Africa, Asia, and Latin America play in regulating global climate.

Idrissa Diarra is Mauritania’s environment minister:

Diarra says the developing world’s strategy on climate change aims to protect the environment while preserving sustainable development to reduce poverty.

Pasztor says U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is encouraging parties to the Copenhagen summit to negotiate in a spirit of flexibility and enlightened self-interest to focus on the benefits that a fair, ambitious, and comprehensive deal would provide for future generations.


The African Network of Environmental Journalists (ANEJ) is an organisation that seeks to promote public understanding of environmental issues in Africa by improving the quality, accuracy, and intensity of environmental reporting. The organisation aims to increase the coverage of environmental issues in the media in Africa and to enhance the capacity of African journalists to report on environmental issues through workshops, networking, information sharing, and institutional development. Specific objectives include:

  • mainstreaming environmental journalism in Africa;
  • enhancing the capacity of African journalists to deal with existing and emerging environmental challenges;
  • disseminating relevant information on environmental issues in Africa;
  • promoting web journalism on environment and sustainable development in Africa;
  • influencing decision making processes with regard to environmental policies in Africa; and
  • disseminating information on the activities implemented by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and other relevant institutions, organisations, and governments.

ANEJ was conceived at the first workshop for African Environmental Journalists that was held at the UN Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, November 26-28 2002.


Waves of Renewable Energy Investment

Posted by admin on October 17, 2009
Posted under Express 80

Waves of Renewable Energy Investment

Carnegie Wave Energy has pushed the button to build the first commercial wave energy project in Australia, while BP has signed a deal with Carbon Conscious to plant 10 million trees in Australia’s wheat belt. And industry superannuation funds have launched a A$1 billion-plus Clean Energy Fund to take a big stake in Pacific Hydro for renewable energy developments.

Rachel Donkin, in The West Australian (15 October 2009):

Carnegie Wave Energy has pushed the button to build the first commercial wave energy project in Australia.

The renewable energy hopeful, which has been working to commercialise its CETO renewable wave energy technology developed by Fremantle inventor Alan Burns, confirmed it would use a A$12.5 million grant from the State Government’s Low Emissions Energy Development Fund to help finance the 5MW project off Garden Island.

The project will produce enough power for 3500 homes, and Carnegie said yesterday it would create 30 jobs and save more than 500,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions over its lifetime.

In January, Carnegie announced a memorandum of understanding with the Defence Department to assess the feasibility of powering the department’s Garden Island operations. It has also conducted feasibility studies at other sites off WA as well as off the Victorian and South Australian coast over the past 12 months.

The group, which has also been shortlisted for a grant from the Federal Government’s $435 million Renewable Energy Demonstration Program, hopes to build a second, 50MW project which would produce enough electricity for 30,000 homes.

Carnegie shareholders last week signed off on a deal to buy the global rights to the CETO technology from AIM-listed shareholder Renewable Energy Holdings, of which Mr Burns is a director.

Shares in the West Perth-based group gained 1¢ to 23¢ at 12.33pm.

Source: and


Mathew Murphy in The Age (14 October 2009):

Petroleum giant BP has signed a deal to plant 10 million trees as part of a large scale bio sequestration project in Australia’s wheat belt.

The deal, struck with Perth-based Carbon Conscious, will see BP pay the Australian Securities Exchange-listed company $2.5 million plus licensing fees to plant Mallee Eucalypt trees across Australia over a 15-year period starting next year.

BP and Carbon Conscious will share in the value of the carbon offsets. BP has the added option of investing further for plantings in 2011 and 2012 once the Federal Governments Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme is finalised.

It comes three months after Carbon Conscious signed a deal worth up to $170 million with Origin Energy to plant millions of trees on less viable agricultural land in return for carbon permits.

Rajeev Suri, BPs regional director of emissions offsets, said the deal with Carbon Conscious was in a bid to secure capacity in the Australian carbon forest sink industry.

“We see this contract as potentially the initial stage or pilot of what could be a very significant part of BPs carbon management in Australia”, he said. This deal offers BP an investment structure and additional environmental benefits and it provides the foundation for an ongoing and mutually beneficial relationship with Carbon Conscious.


Rod Myer in Sydney Morning Herald (14 October 2009):

AUSTRALIA’S industry superannuation funds have launched a $1 billion-plus Clean Energy Fund that plans to take a big stake in Pacific Hydro and support future renewable energy developments.

Garry Weaven, chairman of Industry Funds Management, an umbrella management group for 36 industry super funds, said investors were being offered a substantial stake in Pacific Hydro through the new Clean Energy Fund. Industry Funds Management put up to 49 per cent of Pacific Hydro up for sale last month, managed by investment bank Lazard.

Initially it was expected the Pacific Hydro stake, valued at about $1 billion, would be taken up by foreign investors or those from the Australian power industry such as AGL and Origin Energy.

However, the move to launch the Clean Energy Fund means the asset could stay wholly or largely in the hands of the industry funds sector.

Mr Weaven said international investors would be influential in the Pacific Hydro sale regardless of the ultimate outcome. ”The global players will tend to set the price I think.” However, a range of Australian industry and public sector super funds which ”don’t have size to be large-scale direct equity investors but have a desire to be investors in renewable energy” would be able to buy in through the new fund, he said. The sale is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.

Industry Funds Management put the Pacific Hydro stake on the market to help fund the renewable energy producer’s rapid growth plans. ”The company has got bigger and the project pipeline has got bigger and our capacity to keeping the funding up to it has been severely tested,” Mr Weaven said.

In 2005, after a bidding war with the Spanish infrastructure group Acciona, Industry Funds Management bought the 68 per cent of Pacific Hydro it did not own. Its final bid valued the company at about $950 million. At the time, Mr Weaven said IFM ownership would allow much faster growth because of the super fund’s massive and guaranteed annual inflows and its lack of a need to pay dividends to investors.

Pacific Hydro has invested $1.5 billion in Chile in recent years, including raising $200 million from the debt markets at the height of the global financial crisis.

That reflected the attractiveness of renewable energy investments to world markets, driven by the limited supply of good projects and regulatory support for the sector, Mr Weaven said.

The adoption of a 20 per cent renewable energy target in Australia and growth in the Chilean economy is expected to double Pacific Hydro’s generation capacity in both countries in the next few years.


Five Climate Change Champion Projects

Posted by admin on October 17, 2009
Posted under Express 80

Five Climate Change Champion Projects

Environment Business Australia’s CEO Fiona Wain has proposed that all countries develop a ‘five project’ approach alongside targets and timelines to deal with climate change, thereby recognising, championing and investing in the value that post-carbon economies offer.

By Fiona Wain, CEO of Environment Business Australia in the Gold Coast Business News (October 2009):

The challenge of climate change is immense. Combined with other converging economic and security issues, such as peak oil or ocean acidification, the problems can appear overwhelming. But according to the CEO of Environment Business Australia (EBA) Fiona Wain, it’s exactly why now is the time that Australia should be recognising, championing and investing in the value that post-carbon economies offer.

ENVIRONMENT Business Australia has proposed to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and the United Nations that each country develops a ‘five project’ approach alongside targets and timelines.

This has evolved from concerns here in Australia and internationally that what is on the drawing board to curb and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions is too little, too late to avoid an average global temperature increase of two degrees Celsius or more.

Climate scientists are saying that the ‘peak’ in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases will be with us for the next 1000 years. Time is of the essence if we are globally to peak at the lowest possible concentration.

At EBA we believe there is commercial opportunity in this commercial project approach — in 2008 the global value of the low carbon and environmental goods and services sector was more than $6 trillion (UK Government report on low carbon and environmental goods and services sector) and recently the clean-tech market has surpassed IT.

Tackling climate change and re-establishing value in the global economy go hand in hand. Australia is better positioned than any other country to take an economic development perspective on tackling climate change because of our vast resources and stable economy.

By showing that an energy intensive economy can make the transition to new markets, Australia will open up new opportunities and can help developing countries at the same time. It’s not a question of either or.

But for solutions to be deployed in time and at sufficient scale requires a sensible price for carbon and regulated targets, timelines and standards for greenhouse gas emissions reduction. Without these key drivers and incentives it is unlikely that solutions will be unleashed quickly enough.

Corporate Australia must build new value and resilience into the economy. That is what will be on show and up for discussion at Carbon Market Expo on the Gold Coast from October 26-28.

I encourage everyone to participate in Carbon Market Expo, it is Australia’s biggest think tank and showcase of solutions where investors, bankers, consultants, policy makers, project developers and technology companies openly exchange cutting edge ideas and compare the benefits of new action. This compares with approaches that have been in use for many decades and have benefited from ‘artificially deflated prices’.

Negative impacts on society and the environment need to be properly priced if big visions and new technologies are to take their place in the market.

Last year’s event attracted more than 1100 people from 27 countries and in spite of the global financial crisis, participants have told us that millions of dollars of in deals were negotiated nationally and internationally because of contacts made at Expo.

This year sees fraught negotiations internationally in the lead up to the Copenhagen meeting in December. In Australia there is still much work to be done to get the emissions trading scheme passed in the Senate and the Waxman-Markey Bill still has to pass the US Senate. So this year’s Carbon Market Expo comes at a critical time in the decision-making process and points to ways that the market can help governments deliver real outcomes.

Five projects for Australia

1.         Energy, resources and materials efficiency –  implement systemic and economy-wide energy efficiency programs

2.         Major renewable energy projects linked  with a smart and HVDC grid – position  Australia as a regional hub for minerals  processing, manufacturing and electricity  supply using solar thermal, geothermal,  marine and wind energy that also provides base load electricity

3.         Drawdown ‘legacy’ carbon from the atmosphere – create terrestrial and biological carbon sinks to draw ‘legacy’ CO2 from the atmosphere, rebuild degraded soils and  improve agricultural productivity

4.         Capture and use CO2 emissions from large point-sources such as coal-fired power plants – with algae photosynthesis CO2 can be  turned from a pollutant waste into a valuable feedstock for biodiesel, animal meal, and fertiliser

5.         Smarter cities and better transport systems  – commercial scale roll-out of electric vehicle technology and re-development of public  transport systems; energy efficiency  standards for new commercial building and  retrofits.

Source: and

It Takes Brains to be Energy Efficient

Posted by admin on October 17, 2009
Posted under Express 80


 It Takes Brains to be Energy Efficient

Since its launch last month, Australia’s Little Green Genie has won customers in 39 countries and has started a computer reseller program, which allows computer manufacturers, resellers and recyclers to sell carbon neutral equipment. And a study published in Science Journal reveals that our brains have the amazing ability to be energy efficient.


The creators of software that automatically purchases carbon credits to offset a computer’s emissions have extended a challenge to businesses to play a major part in cutting carbon emissions worldwide.

The Zero Carbon Computing Challenge (ZCCC), launched by the creators of the Little Green Genie, are encouraging businesses to spread the word about zero emissions computing in a bid to try and lower a portion of global carbon emissions.

Entrants in the ZCCC offset the emissions created through the manufacture and use of their computers, making them a zero carbon computer user. They then promote their own online competition page to their network that then take up the challenge to do the same.

Every company (and person) who offsets through an entrant’s page is then added to their carbon total allowing them to compete with others from around the world.

Australian politicians have already come out in support of the challenge including Queensland Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Kate Jones and Federal Shadow Minister for Climate Change Greg Hunt.

Ms Jones says the Queensland Government supports businesses that are making sustainable choices, because reducing our carbon footprint is everyone’s responsibility.

“The Zero Carbon Computer Challenge is a great way for companies to compete against each other for the title of ‘greenest’ computer user within their network,” Ms Jones says.

Spokesperson for Little Green Genie James Skinner says the challenge is a great way for industry sectors, companies and individuals to compete against each other to vie for the title of the most green computer user within their network.

“With two typical Internet searches using the equivalent energy of boiling an electric kettle (according to a Harvard University study) the benefits eclipse the small financial annual outlay,” Mr Skinner says.

“Computers, which are now critical to personal and business communications worldwide, account for around five percent of the world’s total carbon emissions, which is about the same as the airline industry.

“We believe some healthy competition between individuals and organisations is a great way to get the message across, and already we have major companies such as Audi on board.”

Little Green Genie is part of a growing number of social entrepreneur businesses that recognise a social problem and uses entrepreneurial principles to organise, create and manage a venture to make social change.

Enquiry about the program has already been received from over 78 countries including Bangladesh, Slovenia and Lebanon, with subscribers already on board from 39 countries, proving the broad international appeal of carbon offset initiatives.

As computers become more and more crucial to the running of our everyday lives, Mr Skinner sees the LGG as an excellent opportunity to keep the green message in front of people’s faces.

“We’re already seeing other by-products of the initiative such as users reporting that the program is causing them to look at improving their environmental behaviours in other parts of their life,” Mr Skinner says.

“The ZCCC will only further bolster the importance of the zero emissions message, whilst reinforcing the fact that we can all do something to help the planet.”

Source: and www.

Brain power goes green

Our brains, it turns out, are eco-friendly. A study published in Science and reviewed by F1000 Biology members Venkatesh Murthy and Jakob Sorensen reveals that our brains have the amazing ability to be energy efficient.

Brain cells generate and propagate nerve impulses, or action potentials, by controlling the flow of positive sodium and potassium ions in and out of the cells. Re-establishing the ion equilibrium after an action potential requires energy.

The amount of energy needed for action potentials was previously estimated using a giant nerve cell from squid. Now, researchers at the Max-Planck Institute for Brain Research in Germany show that squid cell studies overestimated the amount of energy necessary to generate an action potential by almost a factor of four, suggesting human brains have the same potential to be energy efficient.

The researchers used a novel technique to record the voltage generated by nerve cells to “show that a rather subtle separation between the timing of sodium entry and potassium exit during action potentials can determine how much energy is expended to maintain the ionic gradients,” Murthy says.

Murthy goes on to say that “[these results] are important, not just for a basic understanding of brain metabolism, but also for interpreting signals detected by non-invasive brain imaging techniques.” Sorensen concludes that “the amazing thing is that we didn’t realize the result a long time ago!”


Getting Houses & Ships Out of Hot Water

Posted by admin on October 17, 2009
Posted under Express 80

Getting Houses & Ships Out of Hot Water

Global leader in the manufacture and distribution of renewable energy systems, Conergy is the first supplier to sign on to the Queensland Solar Hot Water Program – a key component of Queensland’s Renewable Energy Plan, while cutting CO2 emissions from ships will be easier and more profitable following the launch of The Funnel Exchange, a new carbon program for the international shipping industry.

Funnel seeks to exchange maritime carbon rights

Cutting CO2 emissions from ships will be easier and more profitable following the launch of The Funnel Exchange, a new carbon program for the international shipping industry.

Funnel Exchange Manager, Mr. Guy Lane, says that any technology that reduces a ship’s CO2 emissions may create saleable carbon rights.

Innovative technologies such as solar and wind assisted propulsion systems and techniques to reduce drag, not only reduce bunker consumption, but also deliver carbon savings.

The benefit of reducing bunker costs is well understood, however, until now, the financial value associated with the carbon savings has not been fully developed.

Using a proprietary methodology, Funnel seeks to purchase the rights to maritime carbon savings and convert them into saleable carbon credits.

These carbon credits are then made available to counteract the CO2 emissions from other ships – a process called voluntary carbon offset

“The parties that purchase Funnel carbon offset will be those who wish to develop capacity in carbon management, fulfil CSR obligations, or can see the marketing advantages of a carbon-neutral supply chain,” said Mr. Lane.

“In the shipping industry, there are pioneers developing innovative projects that deliver significant reductions in carbon emissions, plus, there are shippers seeking to reduce the carbon footprint of their cargoes.

“By connecting these two parties together, The Funnel Exchange rewards shipping innovators, provides a much needed carbon solution, and keeps the carbon financial resources within the shipping industry,” he said.

Following intensive industry-wide discussions, Funnel is on track to complete the first full-cycle transaction ahead of the UNFCCC meeting in Copenhagen in December.

The Funnel Vision is for international shipping to be carbon neutral by 2014 and fossil fuel free by 2019. 




Conergy Australia appointed to Queensland Solar Hot Water Program


Managing Director of Conergy Australia, Rodger Meads, has applauded the Queensland Government’s implementation of the Solar Hot Water Program which aims to support householders to install up to 200,000 solar hot water systems over the next 3 years.


“As a global leader in the manufacture and distribution of renewable energy systems, Conergy is proud to be the first supplier to sign on to the Queensland Solar Hot Water Program – a key component of Queensland’s Renewable Energy Plan,” Mr Meads said.


“We anticipate major growth within the Queensland solar hot water market and huge public interest as the Queensland Government’s Program will make it easier for households to reduce their carbon emissions and save real money.


“This appointment is certainly encouraging for Conergy’s continued growth and expansion in Australia, and in Queensland in particular,” Mr Meads said.


The Queensland Government have stated that this program is one of the largest and most complex industry transformation projects of its kind.


Queensland Energy Minister Stephen Robertson said “I thank Conergy for their support. It is through their innovation and vision in joining with the government that the solar industry has taken another step forward.”


“Under the Program, eligible participants will have access to a solar water heater at a more affordable price than what is currently available on the market,” Mr Meads said.


The Program encourages the replacement of energy intensive electric storage hot water systems with greenhouse friendly solar water heaters.

Installing a solar water heater will offer households’ energy savings of up to 25 per cent and cut household greenhouse gas emissions by up to 30 per cent every year.


“Already 40,000 Queenslanders have registered their interest in the program, which will make a considerable difference to the environment and their family budget – given that around 27% of electricity used in the average Queensland household is for heating water,” Mr Meads said.


Traditional hot water systems have been one of the highest single energy users and greenhouse gas contributors in Queensland homes.


Conergy AG is one of the leading solar enterprises in Europe, and with over 70,000 solar systems installed also a global market leader in the field of solar system integration. Listed since 2005 on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, the group pursues a global growth strategy: it produces, installs and plans solar systems for its customers in more than 20 countries. The Conergy Group is represented by branch offices on five continents.


Conergy Australia supplies a broad range of solar thermal, grid connect & off grid solar as well assmall wind power solutions for individual homes, small community projects or large commercial and industrial applications through a dedicated network of professional installers and dealers. With head office in Sydney and other sales and warehouse facilities located in Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth Conergy Pty Ltd offers the biggest range of quality renewable energy products through its comprehensive dealer and installer network around Australia.



Allies To Make Energy Saving Count

Posted by admin on October 17, 2009
Posted under Express 80

Allies To Make Energy Saving Count


As many Australians were already taking steps to reduce their own carbon emissions, these cuts should be made in addition to any cap set under a proposed carbon pollution reduction scheme (CPRS), while a group of organisations committed to progressing energy efficiency in Australia have created a new Australian Alliance to Save Energy (A2SE) modelled on the US-based Alliance to Save Energy. In addition, the Pew Center focuses on corporate energy efficiency.


The commitment of nearly a million households who voluntarily buy green power or install solar panels to reduce their emissions needs to be better recognised in the design of a national emissions trading scheme.

Clean Energy Council chief executive Matthew Warren said many Australians were already taking steps to reduce their own carbon emissions and these cuts should be made in addition to any cap set under a proposed carbon pollution reduction scheme (CPRS).

“Many Australians voluntarily buy green power and install solar panels because they want to make a difference to Australia’s carbon emisisons. The danger is that the CPRS in its current form does not reflect the importance of these actions and properly account for them, eroding the incentive for customers to purchase clean energy,” he said.

GreenPower has been an important driver of additional renewable energy deployment since its introduction in 1997. The government’s current proposal only acknowledges voluntary GreenPower purchases above a baseline of 2009 sales, with a five year time lag in the tightening of caps.

Mr Warren said the CPRS cap should be tightened each year according to the amount of clean energy bought or generated by these consumers, regardless of the 2009 baseline. 

Mr Warren said further delays to the CPRS only served to increase uncertainty for businesses and investors.

“There is a lot of uncertainty in the clean energy sector at the moment as businesses watch and wait for clarity on the shape of the carbon market in Australia,” Mr Warren said.

“The CPRS is not perfect, but let’s get a system in place as soon as possible and we can improve it as we go.  The renewable energy target (RET) was a great example of collaboration between the two major political parties, but we need an emissions trading scheme to recognise the environmental cost of energy and drive instment in clean technology.

“We would like to see more of the bipartisan spirit that was evident in the passage of the RET to help address one of the defining challenges of this generation.”

The clean energy industry also wants to see a significant proportion of the revenue from the auction of carbon permits reinvested in research, development and demonstration for renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies, including infrastructure and grid upgrades.

For media enquiries please call Mark Bretherton +61 413 556 981

The Clean Energy Council, the peak body for the clean energy sector, is working with all Australian governments to ensure a secure and diversified energy sector; a reduction in energy waste including the take up of solar water heating and insulation and more clean energy sources in our stationary energy mix from solar, wind, geothermal, hydro, wave, bioenergy and gas.






A group of organisations committed to progressing energy efficiency in Australia have created a new Australian Alliance to Save Energy (A2SE) to further their shared goal of cost-effective greenhouse gas reductions through smarter energy use.


The new alliance is modelled on the US-based Alliance to Save Energy. The two alliances recently signed a memorandum of understanding stating their recognition “that Australia needs a stronger voice for energy efficiency that can advance the case for saving energy through nonpartisan, collaborative work”.


“Improving energy efficiency to cost-effectively reduce greenhouse emissions is a goal shared by all sides of government and many business leaders in Australia,” said A2SE interim CEO Mark Lister.


“A²SE is being formed because, despite this near universal recognition, the enormous potential of energy efficiency still lacks profile in the debate.”


Planned A²SE activities will include research, outreach activities, and the facilitation of stronger partnerships for energy efficiency, demand management and distributed energy activities among government, industry and the community.


Alliance to Save Energy President Kateri Callahan said “We are eager to work with the A²SE to raise the profile of energy efficiency in Australia, to advance energy efficiency in both of our countries, and to help address climate change, energy security and economic well being around the world.”


Private and public entities already involved in discussions on the formation of A²SE include members of the Australian business community, including Siemens and Schneider Electric, Australian government officials, members of Australia’s Federal Parliament from both sides of the house, and foundation representatives.


Australia’s Environment Minister Peter Garrett and Shadow Minister Greg Hunt both signed an endorsement letter for the formation of the new organisation in July. The A²SE plans to outline its program of first year activities and formally launch in November.


The new organisation’s website is already up and running.


The A2SE will follow the same model as the US Alliance to Save Energy – a coalition of business, government, environmental, and consumer leaders working together to inform and promote the efficient use of energy


Source: and

About the Project

The Pew Center’s Corporate Energy Efficiency project is a multi-year research and communications effort to identify and highlight the most effective methods used by companies today to reduce their energy consumption and lower their related greenhouse gas emissions. The Pew Center will publish a report in early 2010 summarizing key findings, and additional materials will be posted on this web site. The project is funded by a three-year, $1.4 million grant from Toyota.

Particular emphasis is given to management approaches that companies have implemented to improve their energy performance across five categories: Internal Operations; Buildings; Supply Chains; Products and Services; and Cross-cutting Issues.

Project Activities

Project activities include a survey on corporate energy efficiency strategies, workshops, a comprehensive report, major conference, and this web portal to continuously inform on corporate energy efficiency strategies. To help guide the overall research effort, the Pew Center assembled an 11-member expert advisory committee.

About the Survey

In early 2009, the Pew Center distributed a 65-question survey to nearly 100 leading companies. The survey was designed to gather key quantitative data, identify trends, and gauge current activities in corporate energy efficiency.

About the Workshops

To help inform the report, the Pew Center held four workshops of its Business Environmental Leadership Council (BELC). The workshops brought together presenters from leading companies to discuss their efforts on different aspects of energy efficiency: Internal Operations and Facilities, Supply Chains, Products and Services, and Integrated Approaches.

About the Report

In April 2010, the Pew Center will publish a comprehensive report on best practices in corporate energy efficiency strategies. The report will summarize key findings from the survey and workshops, and will also feature six in-depth case studies of particularly effective company programs. The report is being authored by William R. Prindle, vice president at ICF International.

About the Conference

The Pew Center will release the report at a major conference in Chicago, April 6-7, 2010. Please check back for details on the conference, as well as additional events that will take place following April 2010. 

About the Web Portal

This web site is intended to be a portal to the best information available on corporate energy efficiency strategies. This is a compilation of resources for business leaders, policy makers, journalists and others interested in learning more about corporate energy efficiency. The web portal features a searchable database of energy efficiency strategies undertaken by companies in the Pew Center’s BELC, energy efficiency resources by topic, and information on relevant external reports, news and events.