Archive for the ‘Express 96’ Category

Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright!

Posted by admin on February 17, 2010
Posted under Express 96


Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright!                              

                                                   Ken Hickson

What will the Year of the Tiger mean for the climate and the country? In spite of so much negative reporting on the subject in the traditional media (mostly in the News Limited dailies), the Australian public continue to show a strong  73% “belief” in climate change, even if a growing number don’t support the Government’s CPRS.

Believe it or not, Australia could move to 100% renewable energy within a decade, just like one research centre has achieved already in the Antarctic. Bill Gates enters the climate change debate to propose a “terrapowerful” solution and finance professional Jennifer Lauber Patterson is profiled to provide perceptive post-Copenhagen thoughts. We acknowledge the Year of the Tiger and WWF’s important global focus on saving the threatened striped feline.


The US is creating a new agency to advance climate change information and action, while in the UK a conservative speaks up for a higher carbon price. Peter Crosier takes the stage to start the Wentworth Group series of talks and David Suzuki reflects on whether the Winter Olympics are as green as they should be. Plus we have all the latest on developments in solar, hydrogen, algae, energy efficiency and the need for consumers to give business the green light.


Paddy Manning has the lucky last spot with a mine of information on a certain sceptic and in the end there’s a Green Tag unveiling at Green Cities.

Profile: Jennifer Lauber Patterson

Posted by admin on February 17, 2010
Posted under Express 96

Profile: Jennifer Lauber Patterson

While the Copenhagen process proved it is difficult for governments to agree on global targets, the desire to prevent climate change was shared by the majority of representatives from across both private and public sectors, says Jennifer Lauber Patterson. She also urges finance professionals interested in sustainability issues to make a contribution. “This is the right time to transition as opportunities in carbon accounting are growing as the number of specialists will need to expand.”

Jennifer Lauber Patterson has a track record of 20 years experience in the energy, renewable and carbon markets. Jennifer is a highly respected specialist in environmental markets and is a thought leader in sustainability strategy and low carbon product solutions.

From CPA’s In the Black Magazine (February 2010):

While the United Nations Climate Change Conference may not have come up with the binding international agreement to reduce carbon emissions that many had hoped for, Jennifer Lauber Patterson CPA says that the global gathering nevertheless produced some positive outcomes that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Lauber Patterson, the director of Australian-based consulting firm Innovative Carbon, was nominated by the International Emissions Trading Association to attend the conference as a non-government organisation observer.

Lauber Patterson is a consultant specialising in advising industry on sustainability, carbon, and renewable and energy efficiency markets, and is a non-executive director of the London-based company Frontier Advisory that develops clean energy and carbon projects in devel­oping and developed countries.

“It’s true that Copenhagen didn’t achieve initial expectations, which is disappointing,” she notes.

“Those objectives were difficult as a few countries made negotiations challenging. However, other than a few countries, there was a lot of synergy in the way that the issues were discussed and the majority of the countries shared a common vision in combating climate change.”

The involvement of American and Chinese leaders is an impressive accomplishment alone, she notes, in addition to estimated 117 other heads of states who attended, making it the larg­est gathering of heads of states and governments in the history of the UN. While the Kyoto Protocol had established some measures to bind countries to reducing their own carbon emissions, this is the first time developing countries have been involved in making reduction commitments.

“A significant proportion of the increases in carbon emissions are going to come from developing countries in the future,” Lauber Patterson says. “We are not going to achieve our global targets with the involvement of developed countries alone. We need to have international mitigation targets.”

Going into the conference, many developing countries described how they were more than ready to go low-carbon, but were limited by their access to funding and technology. In this respect, Lauber Patterson says the conference made some major advancements, pledging US$30 billion a year for poor countries to 2012, rising to US$100 billion a year by 2020.


Moving forward

Lauber Patterson was most impressed with the general global momentum towards preventing climate change, saying that it was far stronger than she had initially expected. While it proved difficult for governments to agree on global targets, the desire to prevent climate change was shared by the majority of representa­tives from across both private and public sectors.

“While different policies exist in different countries, I was actu­ally quite excited by the fact that countries are moving forward towards lower carbon economies,” says Lauber Patterson. “From an economic perspective, the majority recognise that the longer you wait to implement carbon reduction schemes, the more it will cost your economy in the long run.”

Lauber Patterson notes that a number of heads of state outlined steps that they are already taking to reduce emissions, even without a legally binding, global agreement.

China pledged to reduce its carbon intensity (being the level of greenhouse gases it emits per unit of economic activity) by 40–45 per cent by 2020 relative to its 2005 carbon intensity, while Japan said it would reduce its emissions by 25 per cent of 1990 levels.

South Korea recently announced it would reduce emissions by 30 per cent of business as usual levels. The US pledged a 17 per cent reduction of 2005 levels by 2020, and by more than 80 per cent by 2050. The EU had already committed to a target of 20 per cent of 1990 levels by 2020 with the potential to increase this target to 30 per cent within the framework of an international agreement.

While Lauber Patterson has traditionally considered economic growth an important reason to support climate change, in addition to saving the planet, meeting delegates from all over the world gave her a fresh perspective on other potential positive outcomes.

“What was most outstanding for me was understanding the issues of developing countries, and understanding the opportunities that climate change can present to alleviate poverty,” she says. On the flight from London to Copenhagen, she sat next to a delegate from Kenya, who told her about his vision to use the initiative as a way to empower women.

“He explained to me that women who lose their partners and are not educated do not have the capability to support their families. Jobs created through climate change mitigation provides these women with the opportunity to learn new skills and obtain employment, which can save precious children’s lives,” says Lauber Patterson.


Leading change

As for the role of finance professionals in all of this, Lauber Patterson embodies the leading role they can play. She started off her own career preparing financial reports and business plans, and later moved into energy trading, where she started to focus on green energy. Prior to her current role as a consultant, she worked for the ANZ Banking Group as the director of electricity, renewables and emissions.

She credits much of her current success to her background as a finance professional and her CPA Australia training.

“A CPA Australia background has been so valuable in providing me with the analytical and numerical skills that are important to apply in energy and carbon trading,” she notes. “I can understand the implications of carbon to a business and these are all factors to consider when establishing strategies on how to create a competitive advantage and manage risks effectively.”

When emissions reporting requirements were first established, Lauber Patterson says that they traditionally fell under the responsibility of the head of sustainability. However, the complexity of emissions reporting and its implications to annual reporting naturally lends itself better to someone in a financial position, and in an increasing number of companies the responsibility is falling to the CFO.

“The CFO is best placed to ensure that the systems and processes are in place to ensure that the information is accurate,” says Lauber Patterson.

With few specialists in the field, she notes that now is a key time for finance professionals interested in sustainability issues to make a contribution.  “If you are a CPA and passionate about the environment, this is the right time to transition as opportunities in carbon accounting are growing as the number of specialists will need to expand.”

This appeared in the February issue of CPA’s In The Black magazine. Read other articles:

The Green Space Race; Green Profits; Natural Resources; What’s in a Word – Sustainability; Emissions trading


Jennifer  Lauber Patterson commenced her career in the Utilities Sector. During this time Jennifer developed and managed derivative operations for Southern Hydro Partnership (A hydro generator) and Edison Mission Energy (Coal/gas generation company) It was 13 years ago at Southern Hydro that Jennifer executed her first green energy transaction.

In 2001 Jennifer moved to the Banking Industry as the Director, Electricity, Renewable and Emissions at ANZ Bank, one of Australia’s largest banks. At ANZ she established the electricity, renewable and carbon sales business. ANZ had a strong focus on Corporate Social Responsibility and was awarded as the Most Sustainable Bank in the World as rated by the Sustainability Dow Jones Index during 2007 and 2008. Jennifer assisted customers in Australia and abroad in managing their carbon and renewable risks and identifying opportunities that existed with a global move towards a lower carbon economy.

Jennifer left ANZ this year and is consulting to a number of large corporations, government departments and green companies in the fields of the Australian Renewable Energy Target and the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.

Jennifer is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, CPA, Bachelor of Business & Diploma in Financial Services.

Source: and

Is “Terrapower” the Energy Miracle the World Needs?

Posted by admin on February 17, 2010
Posted under Express 96

Is “Terrapower” the Energy Miracle the World Needs?

“The formula is a very straight forward one,” Bill Gates said. “More carbon dioxide equals temperature increase equals negative effects like collapsed ecosystems. We have to get to zero.” Microsoft co-founder has broken from philanthropic work fighting poverty and disease to take on another threat to the world’s poor — climate change.

By Glenn Chapman  for AFP (13 February 2010):  

LONG BEACH, California — Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has broken from philanthropic work fighting poverty and disease to take on another threat to the world’s poor — climate change.

“Energy and climate are extremely important to these people,” Gates told a TED Conference  audience packed with influential figures including the founders of Google and climate champion Al Gore.

“The climate getting worse means many years that crops won’t grow from too much rain or not enough, leading to starvation and certainly unrest.”

Gates said he is backing development of “terrapower” reactors that could be fueled by nuclear waste from disposal facilities or generated by today’s power plants.

He broke down variables in a carbon-dioxide-culprit formula, homing in on a conclusion that the answer to the problem is a source of energy that produces no carbon.

“The formula is a very straight forward one,” Gates said. “More carbon dioxide equals temperature increase equals negative effects like collapsed ecosystems. We have to get to zero.”

To dramatize his point, Gates pulled out a large jar of fireflies in playful flashback to when he unleashed mosquitoes on a TED audience a year earlier while discussing battling malaria.

“They won’t bite,” Gates joked of the fireflies. “As a matter of fact, they might not even leave this jar.”

Gates touted terrapower as more reliable than wind or solar, cleaner than burning coal or natural gas, and safer than current nuclear plants.

“With the right materials approach it could work,” Gates said. “Because you burn 99 percent of the waste, it is kind of like a candle.”

Nuclear waste fed into a terrapower reactor would potentially burn for decades before being exhausted.

“Today we are always refueling the reactor so lot of controls and lots of things that can go wrong,” Gates said. “That is not good. With this, you have a piece of fuel, think of it like a log, that burns for 60 years and it is done.”

Researching and testing terrapower will cost hundreds of millions of dollars, with the building of a test reactor likely to cost in the billions. Once the technology is proven, market forces will drive down costs, Gates predicted.

Work on terrapower has been done in France and Japan, and there has been interest in India, Russia, China and the United States, according to the famed philanthropist.

Gates said that if he were allowed a single wish in the coming 50 years, it would be a global “zero carbon” culture.

“If I could pick a president or a vaccine, which I love, this is the wish I would pick,” he said.

“We need energy miracles. The microprocessor and Internet are miracles. This is a case where we have to drive and get the miracle in a short time-line.”

Gates dismissed climate change skeptics, saying terrapower would render arguments moot because the energy produced would be cheaper than pollution-spewing methods used today.

“The skeptics will accept it because it is cheaper,” Gates said. “The might wish it did put out CO2, but they will take it.”

The world is at “an extraordinary moment” in the struggle to save the climate balance, according to former US vice president Al Gore.

A vital step will be to put a price on carbon dioxide emissions so the cost of polluting the air gets factored into the global economy.

Legislation to do that has cleared the US House of Representatives and must fight its way through the Senate, where it needs only a few more supporters to send the law on to the willing pen of President Barack Obama, Gore said.

“A price on carbon dioxide emissions can help us make the right decision, not only on nuclear, solar, and wind but on the gamut of energy alternatives available to us,” Gore said.

Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection has organized groups in 22 US states with “swing senators” in the hope getting the legislation passed “before the political season gets completely wild.”

“These next few months represent the last feasible political window for quite some time to get this done,” Gore said. “So much is at stake we have to double down.”


The Percentage Game for Climate Change, Energy & Emissions

Posted by admin on February 17, 2010
Posted under Express 96

The Percentage Game for Climate Change, Energy & Emissions

The latest Newspoll shows there is little change in the percentage of Australians who believed climate change was either partly or entirely a result of human activity, down from 96% in 2008 to 94% now, but they have been turning off Kevin Rudd’s emissions trading scheme at a faster rate. While the nation could move to 100% renewable energy within a decade if it spent heavily on cutting-edge solar thermal and wind technology, says Beyond Zero Emissions in its Transition Decade plan.

Adam Morton in The Age (15 February 2010):

AUSTRALIA could move to 100 per cent renewable energy within a decade if it spent heavily on cutting-edge solar thermal and wind technology, according to an analysis released as part of a community bid to redirect the flailing climate policy debate.

The shift would require the annual investment of up to $40 billion – roughly 3.5 per cent of national GDP – with the largest chunk going towards solar thermal power plants that used molten-salt heat storage to allow power generation to continue without sunlight.

The plan by advocacy group Beyond Zero Emissions was outlined at the launch of the Transition Decade, or T10, a grassroots campaign hoping to garner support for dramatic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. Pitched as a response to the failure to introduce national and state policies to substantially reduce emissions, T10 won support yesterday from the City of Melbourne, the Australian Greens and Victorian Governor David de Kretser.

Launching the campaign, Professor de Kretser said Australia had a responsibility to act.

”If every person in the world generated greenhouse gas emissions per person equivalent to those of each Australian today, the levels would quickly exceed those predicted to cause very dangerous global warming,” he told more than 1000 people at the Melbourne Town Hall. ”The consequences for planet Earth … would be disastrous.”

Under the Beyond Zero Emissions model, concentrated solar thermal plants at 12 sites across the country would meet 60 per cent of national energy demands. They would be supplemented by wind and photovoltaic solar panels, with existing hydroelectricity and biomass from burning crop remains as back-up.

Beyond Zero Emissions spokesman Mark Ogge said developments overseas had shown the claims that renewable energy could not provide baseload power had no basis.

Spain plans to install enough concentrated solar thermal in the next three years to power half of Victoria, with capacity six times greater than this in development.

Mr Ogge conceded the estimated investment was huge, but said it should not seen as just a cost.

”All these power plants pay themselves off over their lifetime,” he said. ”When you finish we’ve got a brand new renewable energy system that is going to last 50 years at least and have no fuel costs.”

Greens climate change spokeswoman Christine Milne said the government and opposition were too invested in ”business-as-usual” politics to support the change needed to combat climate change.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said the government was continuing to negotiate with all parties in a bid to have the scheme passed. He again alluded to a possible double dissolution if the bill was defeated.

”Whenever the next election is held, and whatever form that election takes, both emissions trading and action on climate change will be front and centre,” Mr Rudd told Network Ten’s Meet the Press.


Dennis Shanahan, Political editor  for  The Australian (16 February 2010):

VOTERS have been turning off Kevin Rudd’s emissions trading scheme at a faster rate than they have stopped believing in the existence of climate change.

Although Australians overwhelmingly believe climate change exists and it is at least partly a result of human activity, there has been a sharp rise in the percentage of people who do not believe in climate change.

The shift follows the collapse of the UN’s climate change conference in Copenhagen in December and widespread publicity of false claims in the UN’s 2007 climate change report.

In the week when the Rudd government made its latest attempt to pass an ETS through parliament, public opposition to the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme jumped.

The Prime Minister remains committed to the ETS as a central part of the government’s election strategy and continues to attack Coalition opposition to the CPRS.

According to the latest Newspoll survey, taken exclusively for The Australian last weekend, support for the CPRS fell from 67 per cent two months before the Copenhagen summit and before Tony Abbott became Opposition Leader, to 57 per cent.

In October 2008, support for the CPRS was at 72 per cent.

Since Copenhagen and the release of climate change scientists’ emails casting doubt on their research and false claims being exposed in the UN’s 2007 climate report, opposition to an ETS jumped from 22 to 34 per cent.

Since mid-December, Mr Abbott has been campaigning against the ETS as a “great big new tax on everything”, while Mr Rudd has accused the Opposition Leader of believing climate change science is “absolute crap”.

Under Mr Abbott’s predecessor, Malcolm Turnbull, the Coalition supported the government’s ETS.

There has also been a fall in the percentage of people who believe in climate change. In July 2008, 84 per cent of those surveyed believed climate change was happening and only 12 per cent did not believe it existed at all. Last weekend, the number who believed climate change existed had dropped to 73 per cent, down 11 points, and those who did not believe in it rose 10 points to 22 per cent.

Overall there was little change in the percentage of people who believed climate change was either partly or entirely a result of human activity, down from 96 per cent in 2008 to 94 per cent.

However, the percentage of voters who thought humans entirely responsible for climate change was down eight points to 24 per cent, while there was a rise among those who thought humans partly responsible, from 64 to 70 per cent.

Young people were the most strongly convinced of humanity’s part in climate change and those most supportive of an ETS to cut greenhouse gas emissions by establishing a carbon market.

Those least convinced of humanity’s role in climate change were aged over 50.


New US Climate Service Good for Business & Jobs

Posted by admin on February 17, 2010
Posted under Express 96

New US Climate Service Good for Business & Jobs

 “By providing critical planning information that our businesses and our communities need, NOAA Climate Service will help tackle head-on the challenges of mitigating and adapting to climate change,” said US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke. “In the process, we’ll discover new technologies, build new businesses and create new jobs.”

New office would target nation’s fast-accelerating climate information needs

NOAA launches as portal for climate science and services

NOAA announcement (8 February 2010):

Individuals and decision-makers across widely diverse sectors – from agriculture to energy to transportation – increasingly are asking NOAA for information about climate change in order to make the best choices for their families, communities and businesses.

To meet the rising tide of these requests, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced the intent to create a NOAA Climate Service line office dedicated to bringing together the agency’s strong climate science and service delivery capabilities.

NOAA responds to millions of annual requests for climate data vital to planning and operations. In vulnerable areas, infrastructure can be designed with a better understanding of projected sea-level rise, flooding and/or changes in hurricane frequency and intensity.

More and more, Americans are witnessing the impacts of climate change in their own backyards, including sea-level rise, longer growing seasons, changes in river flows, increases in heavy downpours, earlier snowmelt and extended ice-free seasons in our waters. People are searching for relevant and timely information about these changes to inform decision-making about virtually all aspects of their lives.

“By providing critical planning information that our businesses and our communities need, NOAA Climate Service will help tackle head-on the challenges of mitigating and adapting to climate change,” said Secretary Locke. “In the process, we’ll discover new technologies, build new businesses and create new jobs.”

“Working closely with federal, regional, academic and other state and local government and private sector partners, the new NOAA Climate Service will build on our success transforming science into useable climate services,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator.

 “NOAA is committed to scientific integrity and transparency; we seek to advance science and strengthen product development and delivery through user engagement.”

Leaders from numerous public and private sector entities support the creation of NOAA Climate Service.

NOAA researchers collect climate data throughout the world. This data yields important clues about long-term global changes, improving predictions of climate variations in the shorter term, such as during cold spells and periods of drought, and over centuries.

 “Addressing climate change is one of our most pressing environmental challenges. Making climate science more easily accessible to all Americans will help us gain the consensus we need to move forward,” said Jim Rogers, CEO of Duke Energy.

“The new NOAA Climate Service is a welcome addition. It will help bring people together so we can also bring about an economic recovery by more rapidly modernizing our nation’s energy infrastructure.”

“NOAA has consistently led the world in climate research and observation,” said Carol Browner, assistant to the president for energy and climate change.

“Businesses, communities and governments will rely even more on its expertise and the critical information it provides to make informed decisions based on the best science available. Through NOAA’s improved climate services we will be better able to confront climate change, and the many challenges it presents for our environment, security, and economy.”

“The establishment of NOAA Climate Service will be an important step forward in helping the nation better understand and forecast the changing climate. The Navy’s Task Force Climate Change looks forward to working closely with NOAA Climate Service to ensure that both the nation and the Navy are best prepared for the future challenges posed by climate change,” said RADM Dave Titley, oceanographer of the Navy and director of the Navy’s Task Force Climate Change.

“NOAA’s reorganization to consolidate its formidable capabilities relating to climate science and services in a single office is an important step forward in the larger effort of harnessing relevant capabilities across all the executive branch agencies to help citizens and businesses plan for and cope with climate change,” said Shere Abbott, associate director for environment and energy at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Unifying NOAA’s climate capabilities under a single climate office will integrate the agency’s climate science and services and make them more accessible to NOAA partners and other users. Planning has been, and continues to be, shaped by input from NOAA employees and stakeholders across the country, with close consideration given to the recommendations of the NOAA Science Advisory Board, National Academies and National Academy of Public Administration.

NOAA Climate Service will encompass a core set of longstanding NOAA capabilities with proven success. The climate research, observations, modeling, predictions and assessments generated by NOAA’s top scientists – including Nobel Peace Prize award-winners – will continue to provide the scientific foundation for extensive on-the-ground climate services that respond to millions of requests annually for data and other critical information.

Thomas R. Karl, director of NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, will serve as transitional director of NOAA Climate Service. New positions for six NOAA Regional Climate Services Directors will be announced soon and will provide regional leadership for integrating user engagement and on-the-ground service delivery within the Climate Service.

NOAA Launches Landmark Portal

NOAA is also unveiling today a new Web site – – that serves as a single point-of-entry for NOAA’s extensive climate information, data, products and services. Known as the NOAA Climate Portal, the site addresses the needs of five broadly-defined user groups: decision makers and policy leaders, scientists and applications-oriented data users, educators, business users and the public.

Highlights of the portal include an interactive “climate dashboard” that shows a range of constantly updating climate datasets (e.g., temperature, carbon dioxide concentration and sea level) over adjustable time scales; the new climate science magazine ClimateWatch, featuring videos and articles of scientists discussing recent climate research and findings; and an array of data products and educational resources.

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.


Year of the Tiger: Only Good For Some!

Posted by admin on February 17, 2010
Posted under Express 96

Year of the Tiger Only Good For  Some!

Some conservationists worry that the coming year could be a bad one for tigers. During the Year of the Tiger there could be an increased use of tiger body parts in traditional Chinese medicine, a practice that’s now illegal but continues on the black market. So WWF has launched a new campaign to protect tigers.

ABC AM programme  (13 February 2010):

ELIZABETH JACKSON: Tonight it’s New Year’s Eve in China and Chinese people all over the world will usher in the Year of the Tiger with food, fun and plenty of fireworks. 

But some conservationists worry that the coming year could be a bad one for tigers. The fear is that during the Year of the Tiger, there could be an increased use of tiger body parts in traditional Chinese medicine, a practice that’s now illegal but continues on the black market. So a new campaign has been launched to try and use this year to protect tigers.

Our China correspondent Stephen McDonell reports.

STEPHEN MCDONELL: In the forests along the Chinese borders with North Korea and Russia, wild tigers move through the deep snow but their numbers are ever dwindling – some say there could be as few as 15 or 20.

Tonight Chinese people will welcome the Year of the Tiger celebrating with their family and friends but this might not be such a great 12 months for this endangered animal. Traditionally ground up bone and other tiger body parts were used in Chinese medicine. But in 1993 it was made illegal. Yet a black market for tiger parts still thrives, meaning poachers get big money for catching and killing tigers.

The fear is that during the Year of the Tiger some people will especially want to use tiger medicine.

Dr Zhu Chunquan is biodiversity conservation director for the Worldwide Fund for Nature in China. 

(Zhu Chunquan speaking)

He told the ABC that there’s a real problem in parts of Chinese tradition and history that’s led some people to believe in the medicinal qualities of tiger bones when genuine medicine manufacturers and hospitals here don’t use them.

(Stephen McDonell speaking Chinese)

I asked if he expected to see an increase in black market demand for tiger body parts during the Year of the Tiger?

(Zhu Chunquan speaking)

“There is that possibility,” he said, but added, “We hope that through Government, media and NGO publicity this could reduce the use of tiger products and hence reduce the pressure on wild tigers”.

(Sound of tiger growling)

Conservationists, scientists and Government officials have come together here to try and use the Year of the Tiger to preserve the animals rather than threaten them. Apart from public awareness campaigns there has been renewed scientific research into the remaining wild tigers – especially those in the north-east. The feeling is that the North East has the best hope for increasing wild tiger numbers. 

If forest habitat destruction can be turned around, corridors could be preserved to allow Chinese tigers to link up with much larger populations in Russia. This would protect the animals with a wider gene pool. Government officials have also made it illegal to hunt the deer and boar that tigers eat but not many people have been prosecuted for breaking this law.

Xie Yan is a tiger researcher in China for the Wildlife Conservation Society.

XIE YAN: For the tiger conservation, actually the law is quite enough because anything related with tigers is illegal and in the north-east of China any hunting of the prey of tigers are illegal. The problem is the law enforcement is very weak.

(Sound of tiger growling)

STEPHEN MCDONELL: The overall goal is for there to be more wild animals here by the time the next Year of the Tiger comes around in just over a decade. The other alternative…

(Sound of tiger growling)

STEPHEN MCDONELL: …is that there are no wild tigers left here.

This is Stephen McDonell in Beijing for Saturday AM.


Report from WWF International on its Save the Tiger Campaign:

WWF outlines the current top 10 trouble spots for tigers in a first-time interactive map that provides a unique overview of threats faced by wild tigers.

The map comes as many Asian countries and the world prepare to celebrate the start of the Year of the Tiger, which begins on Feb. 14.

However, there are only an estimated 3,200 tigers left in the wild, and they face increasing threats including habitat loss, illegal trade and climate change, according to the map.

There is hope though, as tiger range countries, conservation groups and organizations such as The World Bank will gather in Russia in September to lay out an ambitious agenda for saving wild tigers at a special summit.

“Tigers are being persecuted across their range – poisoned, trapped, snared, shot and squeezed out of their homes,” said Mike Baltzer, Leader of WWF’s Tiger Initiative. “But there is hope for them in this Year of the Tiger. There has never been such a committed, ambitious, high-level commitment from governments to double wild tiger numbers. They have set the bar high and we hope for the sake of both the tiger and people that they reach it. Tigers are a charismatic species and a flagship for Asia’s biological diversity, culture and economy.”

In the lead up to the summit, all 13 tiger range countries recently committed to the goal of doubling tiger numbers in the wild by 2022 at a 1st Asian ministerial conference on tiger conservation in Hua Hin, Thailand.

The map is designed to raise awareness of these issues and help tiger range states achieve this crucial goal.

Additional threats to wild tigers highlighted in the map include:

Pulp, paper, palm oil and rubber companies are devastating the forests of Indonesia and Malaysia with critical tiger populations; Hundreds of new or proposed dams and roads in the Mekong region will fragment tiger habitat; Illegal trafficking in tiger bones, skins and meat feeds continued demand in East, Southeast Asia and elsewhere; More tigers are kept in captivity in the U.S. state of Texas than are left in the wild — and there are few regulations to keep these tigers from ending up on the black market; Poaching of tigers and their prey, along with a major increase in logging is taking a heavy toll on Amur, or Siberian, tigers; Tigers and humans are increasingly coming into conflict in India as tiger habitats shrink; Climate change could reduce tiger habitat in Bangladesh’s Sundarbans mangroves by 96 percent.

Already, three tiger sub-species have gone extinct since the 1940s and a fourth one, the South China tiger, has not been seen in the wild in 25 years.

Tigers live in 40 percent less habitat since the last Year of the Tiger in 1998, and they occupy just seven percent of their historic range. But they thrive in the wild when they have strong protection from poaching and habitat loss and enough prey to eat.“We know that wild tigers need protection, prey and secure habitat, but these alone will not save the big cats”, said Amanda Nickson, Director of the Species Programme at WWF International.

“What is also needed is sustained political will from the highest level of government in the tiger range states and this Year of the Tiger, and at the summit, these countries will have the chance to commit to making tiger conservation work.”

A glimpse of hope

Although the map shows many trouble spots, there is still hope for wild tigers. New camera trap photos of a tigress and one of her cubs obtained from a selectively logged-over forest in Malaysia show that tigers may be able to persist in such altered habitats.

The photo shows the tigress checking out a WWF camera trap with one of her two cubs. Researchers from WWF-Malaysia working in the area have caught the same female tiger on camera several times during the last several years, but this was the first time they saw that she had become a mother.

The photos, taken around September 2009, were from a camera trap retrieved last month, and set on a ridge of about 800 meters in elevation.

“This is really encouraging to see a mother with her cub,” said Mark Rayan Darmaraj, senior field biologist, WWF Malaysia. “Such rare photographic evidence of breeding success magnifies the importance of this habitat for tiger conservation in Malaysia.”


Pollution Price Rise Needed to Drive Clean Investment

Posted by admin on February 17, 2010
Posted under Express 96

Pollution Price Rise Needed to Drive Clean Investment

The price of emitting a tonne of carbon would have to rise from E15 (A$23) to about E100 a tonne to discourage pollution and drive new investment in low-carbon technology, according to a UK all-party committee chaired by senior Conservative MP Tim Yeo. It did confirm that emissions trading was still the best way to reduce carbon emissions but it needed tighter targets, backed by other measures, such as a carbon tax or minimum prices.

Peter Wilson, Europe correspondent From: The Australian February 13, 2010

THE only large-scale “pollution trading” system in the world, run by the European Union, is failing to deliver green energy investment and will not succeed without a radical hike in the price imposed on polluters, British MPs say.

The price of emitting a tonne of carbon would have to rise from E15 ($23) to about E100 a tonne to discourage pollution and drive new investment in low-carbon technology, according to an all-party committee chaired by senior Conservative MP Tim Yeo.

The British MPs’ conclusion that the EU’s emissions trading scheme is too soft on polluters is a stark warning to the Rudd government, which is proposing an emission trading system even more generous to heavy polluters.

The Rudd government’s reliance on market-based emissions trading is the biggest difference between the Labor and opposition climate change policies.

A lengthy review of Europe’s 27-nation ETS by the House of Commons’ environment audit committee concluded that emissions trading was still the best way to reduce carbon emissions but it needed tighter emissions targets and may have to be backed by other measures, such as a carbon tax or minimum prices.

“If the government wants to kick-start serious green investment, it must step in to stop the price of carbon flatlining,” Mr Yeo said.

As many carbon permits as possible should be auctioned instead of being issued free to heavy polluters, the British MPs said. The Rudd government has sought to placate industry opponents by promising large-scale allocations of free permits to heavy polluters such as power generators.

The most potent lesson from Europe for countries considering carbon trading schemes is that it is not worth doing unless it imposes enough rigour on the market to change the behaviour of investors and polluters.

Mr Yeo, an environment minister in the government of John Major, said emissions trading “should be helping us to combat climate change, but at the moment the price of carbon simply isn’t high enough to make it work”.

“The recession has left many big firms with more carbon allowances than they need and carbon prices have collapsed.”

Mr Yeo said the European scheme should one day join up with Australian and other schemes to form a global system but the looser standards of the foreign proposals would create the need for safeguards to protect the rigour of the European scheme.

A carbon “exchange rate” would be necessary to stop more freely available foreign credits from undermining the European prices, he said.

“Only a global effort will make a real difference in tackling climate change. Other countries outside Europe are developing emissions trading schemes, and these need to be joined up.

“The government and the rest of Europe should actively push for this, while ensuring that in doing so action is taken to at least maintain the carbon price.”

The committee reported that Britain, “with its European partners, should ensure that schemes are not merged without a well-founded `exchange rate’ in place.”

Britain’s main business lobby, the Confederation of British Industry, backed the committee’s warning that carbon prices were too low.

CBI deputy director-general John Cridland said emissions trading “remains the best way to reduce carbon emissions cost-effectively, and is currently helping to achieve Kyoto Protocol and EU 2020 emissions targets”.

The House of Commons committee heard evidence from a fund manager specialising in low-carbon investments that part of the problem was the success of major polluters in pleading for a soft start to emissions trading.

Climate Change Capital executive director James Cameron said it was crucial “not to have gentle sloping starts” despite “the evidence you generally get from industry, who tell you, be gentle on us to begin with”.

Mr Cameron said such pleading “has been very successful recently in Australia: don’t touch us now that the economy is in trouble”.

“Actually the reverse is true. You really want emissions trading to confront you right away with a significant challenge to make you face up to the obligation to reduce” emissions and make the consequent investment decisions.


Climate & Biodiversity Join Forces in the Economics of Nature

Posted by admin on February 17, 2010
Posted under Express 96

Climate & Biodiversity Join Forces in the Economics of Nature

Because rainforests and restored river basins store vast quantities of carbon, we can design

the carbon economics of the 21st century so that for the first time in human history we can

grow the world economy without destroying nature. Here’s an edited version of Peter Cosier’s Wentworth Talk at the Sydney Theatre Company, hosted by Cate Blanchett, part of which was also shown on Sky Business Eco Report.

The international Copenhagen conference was supposed to be the great defining moment when the world leaders were to agree on how to solve the world’s climate change problem. They failed.

Peter Cosier, Executive Director and Founding Member of the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists, asks why can’t we agree to take action that is so patently in our own self interest?  What is the science telling us we need to do to manage the risk of runaway climate change?  What are the solutions?  How feasible is it to do?  What can we do as individuals do to break the impasse?

Here is an edited version of Peter Cosier Wentworth Talk on Monday 8 February at the Sydney Theatre Company:

Thank you Cate for your wonderful introduction, for your personal commitment to conservation, and for hosting the first of what I hope will become a regular fixture of talks at the Sydney Theatre Company.

The world’s climate scientists tell us that we need to keep greenhouse gas concentrations in our atmosphere below 450ppm CO2e if we are to have a 50% chance of keeping global warming below 2 degrees (above pre-industrial levels)15.

To have any chance of achieving that target, highly industrialised economies such as Australia, on a per capita basis, will have to reduce our existing greenhouse gas emissions in the order of 97 percent by 2050 (based on a 15% probability).

All the world’s industrial and industrialising economies will need to reduce their emissions by similar amounts: Europe by 93%, the United States by 97%, China 79%. The implication of a global stabilisation target of 450ppm is simple, but profound.

No matter which phase in the industrial revolution countries are in, we are going to have to completely decarbonise the world’s energy production systems and we are going to have to restore a positive carbon balance in the world’s natural landscapes – our forests and our agricultural lands – and we have 40 years to do it.

The argument against action is founded on the cost of action: the cost to economic growth and jobs.

So let’s just leave that aside for the moment that “the cost of action is less than the cost of inaction” and simply look at the cost of action.

In 2008 the Australian Treasury released what has been described as the most comprehensive analysis of the economic impact of deep cuts to greenhouse gas emissions on the Australian economy.

There is economic pain, because as Treasury says, demand will shift from emission intensive products such as coal, aluminium and road transport, towards lower emission products such as renewable energy, wood products and rail.

The solution to climate change has not one, but two components: yes, we do need to decarbonise the world’s energy production systems, but we are also going to have to restore a positive carbon balance in the world’s natural landscapes – our forests and our agricultural lands.

It is in this second component that lies at the heart of what humanity is capable achieving: what I call the economics of nature in the 21st century.

Because rainforests and restored river basins store vast quantities of carbon, we can design the carbon economics of the 21st century so that for the first time in human history we can grow the world economy without destroying nature.

This is an unbelievably important concept.

A 15% increase in the world’s terrestrial carbon stock would remove the equivalent of all the carbon pollution emitted from fossil fuels since the beginning of the industrial revolution.24

Carbon economics of the 21st century present our generation with the opportunity to not only stabilise the world’s climate system, but to also create an economic system that will conserve the world’s biodiversity.

Healthy landscapes store vast quantities of carbon. Biodiversity is carbon.

Let me give you just two of hundreds upon hundreds of examples of how terrestrial carbon can help solve the world’s climate problem: conserving the world’s tropical rainforests, and repairing degraded landscapes across the Australian continent.

Conserving the World’s Tropical Rainforests

Tropical rainforests cover 7% of the world’s land surface, yet they contain almost half of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity.

The Amazon, the African Congo, and just to our north, the Indonesian archipelago. Over half of these forests have already been cleared, and current clearing rates are staggering – 13 million hectares of tropical rainforest is cleared every year.

But tropical deforestation is not only destroying nature, it is also directly releasing the equivalent of 2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year. This represents a staggering 20% of all global carbon emissions.

If the western industrial economies of Europe, Australia and America are prepared to invest, it will not only help the world address climate change, it will for effectively no additional cost, also finance the conservation of vast tracts of tropical landscapes, and, in the process, open up new economic opportunities for people in the developing world. It will be one of the great legacies of our generation.

Repairing Australia’s Degraded Landscapes

A price on carbon can also be the catalyst for driving a new generation of economic reforms that will transform the way we farm in Australia and the way we manage our natural landscapes.

We have been struggling in Australia for decades with land and water degradation, and the

loss of our unique biodiversity.

We have built great institutions, the Landcare movement, the Catchment Management Authorities, conservation groups such as Bush Heritage and the Australian Wildlife Conservancy, but we have never had the financial resources even within an order of magnitude to deal with the problems we are confronting.

Action on climate change will change all that.

CSIRO has assessed the biophysical potential of the Australian landscape to store carbon. If Australia were to capture just 15% of this biophysical capacity, it would offset the equivalent of 25% of Australia’s current annual greenhouse emissions, every year for the next 40 years.

This represents a gross investment potential of terrestrial carbon in Australia of between $3 billion and $6 billion per annum.

Whilst there will be many issues affecting whether this potential is converted into reality, the implications are that a price on carbon presents an economic opportunity of almost unimaginable scale to pay our farmers to help us to fix a raft of major environmental challenges facing Australia:

• restoring native vegetation along the nation’s rivers, wetlands and estuaries;

• expanding habitat to create viable populations of threatened species, which is a

foundation stone for the long-term conservation of biodiversity; and

• improving soil carbon in agricultural landscapes, which have been in slow decline over

the past two centuries.

Our landscapes are built from carbon and the new carbon economy would fundamentally transform the way we farm in Australia and the way we manage the Australian environment.

We must stand up and challenge our friends to think about the consequences of inaction, rather than use uncertainty as an excuse for putting off hard decisions. But most importantly, we need to stop seeing climate change as a threat to economic prosperity and see it as the great opportunity of our generation to set humanity up for the next industrial revolution of the 21st century.

We now know that a modern economy can provide the means for protecting life on earth and still deliver spectacular economic growth, so it’s no longer a question of money. It’s not the machines that are the problem, it’s us.

Our parents invested in the economic future of their world with spectacular success. Now it is our turn. We must invest in the future of our natural world. This is the great challenge of our generation.

In 2010, Sydney Theatre Company is joining with the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists to present The Wentworth Talks, a series of free bi-monthly presentations and panel discussions at The Wharf led by guest speakers addressing a wide range of topics relating to climate change and the environment.

The Wentworth Talks: Professor Bruce Thom

Professor Bruce Thom
COASTS: how best can we adapt to the challenges of climate change?
The Next date for the Wentworth Talk

Monday 19 April at 6.30pm
Wharf 1

Source: and

Solar & Wind Drive Fully Functional Smart Microgrid

Posted by admin on February 17, 2010
Posted under Express 96

Solar & Wind Drive Fully Functional Smart Microgrid

By bringing together international technology and expertise, the Antarctic research station “Princess Elisabeth” combines eco-friendly construction materials, clean and efficient energy use (sourced from wind and solar), optimization of the station’s energy consumption and the best waste management techniques to achieve a major global first, while Australian green technology company, Solar-Gem, is winning awards and contracts for its revolutionary approach to solar generation.

 A Historical Handover in Antarctica

The International Polar Foundation and partners Laborelec and Schneider Electric bring the Princess Elisabeth Station to “zero emission”

We are pleased to announce the handover of the fully functional smart microgrid inside the Princess Elisabeth Station to the International Polar Foundation (IPF). After successful completion of the final tests of all systems, the Princess Elisabeth Station now operates solely on renewable energies, achieving a major first.

This innovative energy management system, designed and implemented by Laborelec, a subsidiary of Electrabel and one of the research centres of GDF SUEZ Research & Innovation division, rests on a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC), the “brain” of the station, developed by Schneider Electric.

By continuously managing energy offer and demand, and prioritizing energy needs within the station, the PLC helps achieving best energy efficiency.

Princess Elisabeth Antarctica can meet its energy needs with an installed power only one-tenth of commonly accepted standards. This feat allows it to rely solely on renewable energies and thus achieve its “zero emission” operational target.

Using available technologies to produce and control energy, the IPF and partners Laborelec and Schneider Electric have succeeded in designing a new way to manage power in an energy autonomous building. Their joint achievement sets new standards in terms of energy efficiency and management.

It redefines the concept of energy consumption by devising a system distributing available resources according to priorities, instead of endlessly supplying energy to meet an uncontrolled demand.

At the end of this Antarctic summer season, a new satellite link will grant remote access to the PLC. The Princess Elisabeth Station will then be monitored online. All its energy-related systems will be managed and adjusted remotely throughout the winter season.

Achieving this milestone in energy management for Antarctic research stations has been made possible by the joint efforts of the International Polar Foundation, Laborelec-GDF Suez, and Schneider Electric.

International Polar Foundation (IPF):

The International Polar Foundation is a public utility foundation, which aims to promote polar research as a tool for raising public awareness and fostering understanding of the fundamental mechanics of our climate.

The IPF also encourages the adoption of innovative solutions that will enable us to respond in a sustainable manner to the challenges associated with climate change.

This project is a major first: the only polar base operating entirely on renewable energies! Wind and solar.  This represents a technical achievement blending the best both science and technology can offer.

By bringing together international technology and expertise, “Princess Elisabeth” will combine eco-friendly construction materials, clean and efficient energy use (sourced from wind and solar), optimization of the station’s energy consumption and the best waste management techniques.

These leading techniques and facilities will aim to reduce the station’s ecological footprint on the pristine environment of Antarctica, following the principles set forth by the Antarctic Treaty..

Source: and

Also appeared on Sky Business Eco Report:

Australian green technology company, Solar-Gem, has been given a major boost in the US after it took first place honours at an Innovation Shootout competition held at Microsoft’s Silicon Valley Campus.

The Shootout, which is aimed at showcasing Australian technologies to venture capitalists for global commercialisation, saw Solar Gem win out over six Australian competitors — Digisensory, Intelliguard, Mid-Comp International, MultiTrode, Synengco, and Zarloc.

Solar Gem’s technology seeks to provide affordable off-grid energy based on clean solar power systems, particularly to developing nations without electricity and lighting for their rural and regional populations.

Under the Shoot-Out participants were allotted five minutes to convince a panel of Microsoft staff, Silicon Valley venture capitalists and industry analysts that their technology had potential for success in the US.

The Shootout is part of the G’Day USA week. Austrade’s San Francisco-based senior trade commissioner, Nigel Warren, said the event showcased the Australian innovation and promoted business collaboration between Australia and the US.

In January 2010, Solar-Gem the Australian Solar Powered Off-Grid Lighting Company announced it had shipped product samples to the democratic Republic of Congo for use as emergency lighting in hospitals and clinics.

The systems consists of Solar-Gem  SGL-1 high-efficiency LED lighing modules coupled to the SGC-1 12V maximum power point tracking charge controller and SGP-32 32W flexible solar panels.

The system will initially be deployed in Kinshasa for testing and training and then relocated to a regional medical facility. The system will provide emergency lighting for operating theatres.  

In June 2009 Solar-Gem announced that it had Australian Solar Technology lights up village life at Indian heritage site: 

Sydney based company, Solar-Gem Pty Ltd, has won the rights to light up a village at the world famous Indian heritage site of Elephanta Caves off the coast of Mumbai with its unique solar powered LED lighting technology.

In a significant step towards successfully entering the Indian market, Solar-Gem has signed an MOU with Science and Technology Park (STP) based in Pune, India to conduct the trial with the Solar-Gem solar powered LED lighting solution. STP is an Indian Government research and technology centre renowned for its leading role in introducing new technologies to projects in the Sub-Continent.

CEO Khimji Vaghjiani said “this was a great step forward towards providing efficient renewable energy based lighting in both developed and developing markets. The Solar-Gem solution will replace dangerous and expensive kerosene and candle lighting used in villages and assist developing nations in reducing their carbon footprint and reliance on grid connected power.”

Khimji said “the MOU with STP was testimony to the fact that the Solar-Gem solution was economically and technologically suitable for the needs of developing countries.”


The Green Consumer & Energy Efficiency Gains

Posted by admin on February 17, 2010
Posted under Express 96

The Green Consumer & Energy Efficiency Gains

Businesses say it will be consumer demand rather than tax breaks that will turn them green. More than 250 Australian businesses were surveyed on their sustainable practices and what would make them consider greener options, while an assessment of the “electric productivity” of the 50 US states by the Rocky Mountain Institute found that shoring up performance gaps through energy efficiency could cut consumption by 30%, cited in the State of Green Business Report.

Consumers drive green demand

Claire Heaney in the Herald Sun (11 February 2010):

BUSINESSES say it will be consumer demand rather than tax breaks that will turn them green.

While debate drags on about the best way to cut pollution, a new report reveals that more than eight out of 10 businesses say that they will be driven by consumers ahead of tax breaks to become more sustainable.

Surprisingly, more than 90 per cent of businesses say their green credentials did not appear to have any bearing on whether they won or lost business in the past year.

More than 250 businesses were surveyed for the Grant Thornton International Business Report on their sustainable practices and what would make them consider greener options.

While consumer demand was cited as the main driver, 77 per cent said research and development tax incentives were a factor. Rising energy bills were another motivation for 71 per cent of respondents who headed businesses with 20 to 299 employees.

Grant Thornton Australia privately held business head Tony Markwell said the biggest challenge faced was lack of consumer pressure to encourage a change in business practices.

Green business KeepCup, which makes reusable coffee cups, said consumers were keen to cut their use of disposable coffee cups.

Spokeswoman Jo Ferrari said people felt using the KeepCup was a small but tangible thing they could do to cut waste.

She said a lot of businesses were buying cups for their employees as part of their sustainability push.

Ms Ferrari said many cafe owners offered 20 to 50 discounts to reward green thinking customers and to recognise loyalty


Energy Efficiency Gains Horsepower: The State of Green Business 2010

By Joel Makower in GreenBiz (9 February 2010):

To celebrate the launch of the third annual State of Green Business report, we will be highlighting over the next two weeks the 10 big trends that are shaping the future of the greening of mainstream business. You can download the report for free here, and read all 10 trends on

As managing greenhouse gas emissions continues to rise in priority inside companies, the need to find large, cost-effective energy savings is becoming increasingly important. Some of the biggest opportunities come from basic upgrades — of lighting, air conditioning, equipment, vehicles and other energy-using things. Coca-Cola Enterprises, for example, said it would slash its electricity consumption by 5.6 million kilowatt-hours a year as a result of an energy-efficiency overhaul of just its lighting systems at 24 facilities in the state.

But that barely illuminates the opportunity. There are equally large savings to be found from a wide range of energy-management practices.

Managing energy use has become increasingly easier, thanks to a new generation of technology. The latest energy management software, for example, is helping companies get real-time information about energy consumption, making real-time adjustments as needed along the way. Since the new tools allow companies to load the local utilities’ rate schedules, they can see current energy consumption and cost by facility, minute, day, month or year.

One company, Verdiem, unveiled a “Sustainability Dashboard” feature for its Surveyor PC power management program that helps tie the energy saved from smart PC fleet policies to reductions in energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. The feature enables IT administrators to quickly measure how PCs in any part of an enterprise are making use of energy-saving software.

Another company, Engenuity Systems, said it was helping the McDonald’s chain shave 13.6 percent off the $1.5 billion the fast-food giant spends each year on cooking, lighting, heating and cooling. Engenuity is installing devices to turn off lights at certain times of day and when buildings are empty, as well as air conditioning and heating equipment that monitors temperatures and controls.

All of this is spurring companies to adjust their greenhouse gas management strategies to highlight efficiency measures. Internet giant Yahoo!, for example, said it would no longer purchase carbon offsets for its operations, focusing its climate strategy on reducing the energy used by its data centers. The move reversed its 2007 announcement that it would invest in carbon-offset projects in order to become carbon neutral. Data centers account for more than half of the company’s carbon footprint, including its global office operations, employee commuting and air travel.

Yahoo! wasn’t alone. Making data centers energy efficient has become an obsession for companies, especially technology firms that are finding that where to locate energy-guzzling data centers is becoming a choke point for their operations. The facilities — which can consume as much energy as a small city — simply aren’t feasible in areas where the electricity grid is stressed.

IT executives are upping their green game. A study conducted by AFCOM found an ever-increasing number of data center and facility managers (71.3 percent, to be precise) have already adopted at least some green IT projects. The Great Recession both helped and hindered this effort.

While the economic downturn spurred interest in saving energy, AFCOM found the biggest obstacle to implementing IT efficiency projects was that there’s not enough money to get these projects started: 39 percent said budgets were too tight to purchase more efficient servers or cooling systems.

But energy savings — in data centers as elsewhere — doesn’t necessarily mean new equipment. During a 2009 webcast, members of the Green Grid, an industry consortium, showed how good data center management practices could cut energy use by 20 percent.

That only begins to describe efficiency savings. An assessment of the “electric productivity” of the 50 U.S. states by the Rocky Mountain Institute found that shoring up performance gaps through energy efficiency could cut consumption by 30 percent.

The RMI study determined the productivity rate of each state by measuring how much gross domestic product is generated for each kilowatt-hour consumed. It found that if the rest of the country achieved the normalized electric productivity of the top performing states, the country would save roughly 1.2 million gigawatt-hours annually, about 30 percent of U.S. electricity use, or 62 percent of its coal-fired electrical output. That’s a lot of power to effect change.