Posts filed under ‘Green Concepts Explained’
The Bonn climate negotiations which went underway this weekend for a two week period are probably the most important of all the rounds that have taken place thus far. The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting is tackling issues like commitment to CO2 levels and the creation of a worldwide carbon trading platform.
Perhaps more interesting than the very first days of the talks, the participants have been issued with a rather informative 16-page document, entitled Information Note, in which the UNFCCC makes careful guesses as to what the practicalities will boil down to of climate change policies globally.
The document is by dint of its nature geared toward the future. Despite being rather vague on the real impact of climate change policies by national governments around the globe, the document is shocking in places. Predicting the biggest overhaul of the global economy ever, the UNFCCC says world citizens ought to brace themselves for a new economic order which will see millions of people lose jobs and others gain jobs. The biggest ripples in the water will be made by industry and companies relocating to areas with more beneficial tariff regulations and/or taxes, the Information Note says.
The impact of environment related tariffs will not be all that different than the impact of any other tariff, but the Information Note points out that the effect of millions of job relocations will be rather tangible. On top of that, we’ll see the introduction of “border carbon adjustments”. This means that some countries will impose a levy on imported goods equal to that which would have been imposed had they been produced domestically under more strict environmental regimes.
Alternatively, exporters might be forced to buy [carbon] offsets at the border. These are going to be massively drastic measures for a rather big number of people involved, but whether the world will be any fairer for it is very very unlikely. At the end of the day, the Information Note reveals, the impact of future environment tariffs will lead to ‘decreased market share for covered foreign producers’. And “such schemes would leave trade and investment patterns unchanged,” the Note adds. Why the bother, you might ask. Why not do a really good job and simply make the world a bit better whilst we’re at it??
It’s issues like these that will have a big impact on the developing nations’ commitment to the environment. As I wrote in a comment (which has yet to be published) on GlobalWarmingIsReal it’s hardly a question whether a 25 percent reduction from 2000 levels by developing countries would be enough (it won’t be). But, the negotiators for the Third World are struggling with how, with these tools, they can achieve reductions at all.
Let’s hope that the richer nations realise this. Let’s hope that people understand that since polluting industries are a historic legacy of the industrialised world, the main responsibility toward the environment falls on the developed nations. In order to persuade developing countries to act, the richer countries have to show they’re completely serious about deep and rapid cuts in their own emissions.
President Barack Obama’s plans to increase the production of renewable energy to double the current levels by 2012 and one of his first acts has been to provide $30 billion in tax incentives to this industry. That was $10 billion more than had been anticipated. The move supports the optimism of the people who anticipate surging growth in the green jobs market.
Recent research by think tank and academic institutions shows that significant job increases in the green sector is expected. The reports provide helpful information for people interested in employment in a green job. Many of them offer detailed information of anticipated growth per sector and region, which is exactly what job seekers need.
A recent survey of the Academy for Educational Development (AED) advises green job seekers to consider a community college as their ‘dream school’.
In recent days the news poured in from all corners of the earth; many, many countries are going to force their citizens to change their light bulbs. No joke – 27 countries in Europe, Australia, Canada, Cuba and the Philippines are all eliminating incandescent light bulbs as early as 2010 and replacing them by fluorescent bulbs. And the US 2008 energy bill phases out filament light bulbs for traditional use starting 2012 with an official ban effective in 2014.
It is common knowledge that energy saving Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs) decrease lighting energy consumption by a minimum of 40 percent. A new report released last week reveals that the action translates into the elimination of 900 million tonnes of greenhouse gases annually in the US by 2030. The report, published by the Worldwatch Institute in Washington calculated that the US alone will gain carbon dioxide savings of 16.6 billion tonnes in that time frame. To put this into perspective; that’s more than twice the amount of carbon emitted in the United States in 2006. (more…)
Admittedly, it’s a bit obscene to talk of a new bull market now that Wall Street is heavily sick and in need of a trillion dollar bailout. But perhaps it makes sense to do it anyway because it’s very likely that the next bull’s going to be colored brightly green.
Green investing is set to become easier as new markets are emerging and platforms dedicated to the general grey economy’s pollution problems begin to take off in earnest. “A whole new multibillion-dollar green economy will rise–and with it the kind of massive financial opportunity that could get not only America but also Wall Street back on its feet”, writes to Glenn Hurowitz in a report entitled “The Next Bull Market” in The Nation.
Equity analysts divide into three distinct groups based on their climate change perspective, according to a new report from independent research firm Verdantix.
The survey, entitled Equity Analysts Link Climate Change And Company Valuation shows that there are virtually equally sized groups of climate change believers, sceptics and cynics. Believers represent 30% of analysts. These guys already include climate change factors like regulations and risks in their financial models. Sceptics, comprising 28% of the research participants, think that climate change will have a material impact on profitability within 2 to 5 years. Cynics, comprising 30% of analysts, doubt climate change will ever impact valuations.
Commercial hemp is a plant that scientists tout as having wonderful capabilities to combat climate change. The plant is outlawed in most countries including the US, but the EU subsidizes industrially grown hemp.
Commercially grown hemp has less than 1% tetrahydrocannabinol (THD), the psychedelic substance in ‘real’ cannabis. Most countries that shy away from growing it say they are fearful that farmers will also start growing the THD rich cannabis. Other than in the EU, the crop is grown in Canada, China, Russia and Australia.
Hemp takes in more carbon dioxide than any other plant and what’s more, hemp grows at an amazingly rapid speed. Wood made from hemp has 3-4 times the productivity of trees for paper manufacturing. And because it grows so fast, hemp can be used to solve the large-scale clearing of land and forests around the globe.
Various activists in the US are lobbying to get the crop reinstated. It was outlawed in the 1950s but Henry Ford ran his first car on hemp based fuel. Perhaps soon the activists will have their way. Already, the controlled substances act was amended last year to exclude industrial hemp from the legal definition of marihuana. The Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp informs farmers and interested parties about the positive effects hemp has.
The applications of the crop for the energy industry are manifold and hemp is a way more powerful crop than rapeseed and other ethanol producing crops, without producing any harmful effects for the environment. Only one acre of hemp yields 1,000 gallons of methanol. Also, hemp can be used to create alternatives to coal, fuel oil, acetone, ethyl, tar pitch and creosote.
In the food sector hemp is also in strong demand. In 2004, the US alone imported $12 million worth of the stuff for the food sector. And the US healthcare market used $30 million worth of hemp.
Companies involved in offsetting their carbon footprint have access to over twenty tools to calculate their emissions, most of which have been launched in the last year. So far, the voluntary carbon offsetting market is dominated by European players. Reviews of their efforts have not been all too positive, so US companies following in their footsteps do best to avoid the pitfalls.
The main criticism centers on what´s left out of the equasion. Companies embarking on greening up their business practices are faced with a daunting task and most go about it the `easy way´ at first. There´s the option to simply offset carbons on the Chicago Climate Exchange, the European Climate Exchange or on the newly established NYMEX venture, the Green Exchange. Businesses have access to these exchanges if they wish to reduce their overall greenhouse gas emissions by as little as 1%.