Australia, Europe Link Emissions Trading Systems

Source: European climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard and Australian climate change minister Greg Combet today announced that Australia and Europe will link their emissions trading systems, which will allow businesses to use carbon trading units from either trading scheme for compliance under either system. A full two-way link between the two cap and trade systems — the first full international linking of emission trading systems — will begin no later than July 1, 2018. Together, the linked Australian and European emissions trading systems will be the world’s largest carbon market, according to the EU and the Australian government. As an interim arrangement, a partial link will allow Australian businesses to buy and use European Union Emissions Allowances to meet up to 50 percent of their liabilities under the Australian scheme from July 1, 2015 until the full link takes effect. Australia’s carbon tax, which took effect July 1, requires about 300 companies to pay A$23 (US$23.50) per metric ton of carbon emissions. To facilitate linking, the Australian government has said it will …

Arctic sea ice levels to reach record low within days

Source: Arctic sea ice is set to reach its lowest ever recorded extent as early as this weekend, in “dramatic changes” signalling that man-made global warming is having a major impact on the polar region. With the melt happening at an unprecedented rate of more than 100,000 sq km a day, and at least a week of further melt expected before ice begins to reform ahead of the northern winter, satellites are expected to confirm the record – currently set in 2007 – within days. “Unless something really unusual happens we will see the record broken in the next few days. It might happen this weekend, almost certainly next week,” Julienne Stroeve, a scientist at the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado, told the Guardian. “In the last few days it has been losing 100,000 sq km a day, a record in itself for August. A storm has spread the ice pack out, opening up water, bringing up warmer water. Things are definitely changing quickly.” Because ice thickness, …

Why the cloud is sustainability’s silver lining

Source: Greenbiz Cloud computing is getting a lot of buzz. The term describes data-processing operations that are outsourced to server farms, instead of being powered on-site. These range from websites and remotely hosted networks to digital storage space and individual documents. Software delivered over the web looks very similar to software operating on a personal computer, and is accessible from any computer in the world. Consequently, some IT sector analysts are predicting the death of the personal computer while others believe it will simply become another device to access the online world. Increasingly, the engine of the IT sector is composed of large-scale data servers that are driving the cloud-computing revolution forward. With regard to energy, cloud computing should result in lower costs for users and fewer greenhouse gas emissions by streamlining information-crunching into single facilities on speedy machines. Slashing Costs The cloud certainly seems to offer significant cost savings. A recent study found that if companies adopt cloud computing, they can reduce the energy consumption of their IT departments …

Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt Among 23 Hotels Launching Carbon Measurement Standard

Source: Environmental Leader Fairmont, Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental and 19 other international hotel companies have agreed on a standard to calculate the carbon footprint of hotel stays and meetings. The International Tourism Partnership (ITP) and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) formed the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative Working Group in early 2011 to create a unified methodology of measuring and reporting carbon emissions. Current approaches vary widely, according to the working group. This can lead to confusion among consumers, particularly corporate clients, looking to understand their own carbon footprint and meet their own targets in this area. In addition, the number of methodologies and tools in use make transparency of reporting within the hotel industry difficult to achieve. The methodology, named HCMI 1.0, was first developed in 2011 and is informed by the GHG Protocol Standards. Diverse properties around the world, from boutique hotels to resorts, casinos and major conference hotels, tested HCMI 1.0 over the past year, and received input from consultants KPMG before launching the standards. The World Resources Institute also …

Cattle burp emissions from India lower than estimated

Source: Down to Earth COWS are well-entrenched in the global climate change debate. Cud-chewing animals release methane, a greenhouse gas, when the fibrous matter breaks down and undergoes fermentation in their stomach. Though methane emissions are lower than CO2 ones, they are much more harmful—a kg of the gas has 21 times the effect of a kg of CO2. Since dependence on livestock in poor countries is high, emissions from animal farming has been a convenient stick for developed countries to beat developing nations with. A study by Indian scientists, however, has estimated that methane emissions in the country from ruminants is lower than estimated. The study has pegged these emissions through enteric fermentation at 9.10 million tonnes per year (based on livestock data of 2003) which is lower than the previous estimate of 10.65 million tonnes, arrived at in 2009 by the Space Application Research Centre in Ahmedabad. Calculating methane emissions from livestock has till now involved great uncertainty owing to difference in livestock species, their feed and feeding …

5 rules for carbon-efficient shipping

Source: Making sustainability central to logistics decisions is smart business but requires closer collaboration and creative thinking by shippers, suppliers, packagers and retailers. “Start by thinking about savings opportunities,” said Stephen Silva, senior vice president of global logistics for toymaker Hasbro, during the webcast,“Smart Moves: Supply-Chain Decisions that Save Fuel, Cut Costs and Reduce Emissions.”  ”They will go hand-in-hand with the environment and emissions. … You have to drive a culture where people are always looking for better ways to do things.” At the same time, attention to service must be at the center of any new logistics or transportation strategy. “The only way that we can get buy-in is to demonstrate this,” he said. “At the end of the day, customers are not going to accept slower deliveries or empty shelves.” Transportation and logistics activities typically account for 6 percent to 7 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, or 2,800 megatons of emissions annually, said Edgar Blanco, research director at the MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics. Road freight accounts for …

Time For Outrage On Behalf of the Planet

Source: Common Dreams It’s Time to Fight the Status Quo by Bill McKibben My solution is: get outraged. Having written the first book about global warming 23 long years ago, I’ve watched the issue unfold across decades, continents, and ideologies. I’ve come to earth summits and conferences of the parties from Rio to Kyoto to Copenhagen, and many places in between. All along, two things have been clear. One, the scientists who warned us about climate change were absolutely correct—their only mistake, common among scientists, was in being too conservative. So far we’ve raised the temperature of the earth about one degree Celsius, and two decades ago it was hard to believe this would be enough to cause huge damage. But it was. We’ve clearly come out of the Holocene and into something else. Forty percent of the summer sea ice in the Arctic is gone; the ocean is 30 percent more acidic. There’s nothing theoretical about any of this any more. Since warm air holds more water vapor than cold, the atmosphere …

NREL Publishes Cradle-to-Grave Assessment of Greenhouse Gases from Energy Sources

Source: CleanTechnica Renewables are widely assumed to generate far fewer greenhouse gas emissions than fossil fuels, but a precise accounting of the differences in energy generation technologies has never been completed — until now. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has developed a new approach to determine the cradle-to-grave emissions profiles of various forms of energy generation. The results are not surprising, but will serve as an important input on long-term energy infrastructure decisions. Continue Reading..

Coke, Sony, Volvo and Other ‘Climate Savers’ Cut CO2 by 100 Million Tons

Source: Environmental Leader Coca-Cola Company, Johnson & Johnson, Sony, Volvo and other members of WWF’s Climate Savers program cut their carbon dioxide emissions by more than 100 million tons over the period 1999 to 2011, according to an independent review of the program released today. The review, conducted by energy consultancy Ecofys, also found that by 2020, Climate Savers overall emissions savings since 1999 could exceed 350 million tons. Climate Savers companies sign an agreement with WWF, pledging to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions. The agreed target must be more ambitious than the company would have set on its own, and must also show that the company is leading its sector in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Continue Reading..

Microsoft Commits to Carbon Neutrality in FY 2013

Source: Environmental Leader Microsoft will charge an internal carbon offset fee starting in fiscal year 2012-2013 in its effort to be carbon neutral beginning July 1, according to the company’s blog. The carbon price will be based on market pricing for renewable energy and carbon offsets, and Microsoft will apply it to operations in more than 100 countries. The pricing is part of the software company’s strategy to achieve net-zero emissions in its data centers, software development labs, offices and employee air travel, outlined in a white paper published this month. Continue Reading..

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