Australia introduces controversial carbon tax

Source: The law forces about 300 of the worst-polluting firms to pay a A$23 (£15; $24) levy for every tonne of greenhouse gases they produce. The government says the tax is needed to meet climate-change obligations of Australia – the highest emitter per-head in the developed world. But the opposition calls it a “toxic tax” that will cost jobs. The opposition also argues that the tax will raise the cost of living, promising to repeal the legislation if it wins the next election, due in 2013. Environmentalists have broadly backed the scheme, but there have been large public protests against it. ‘Realistic way’ Australia’s mining firms, airlines, steel makers and energy firms are among those expected to be hardest hit by the the Clean Energy Act. Domestic fuel bills are expected to rise as companies pass on the costs to consumers. But the Labor government of Prime Minister Julia Gillard says it is the only realistic way of meeting Australia’s climate-change obligations. It says the that low income earners will …

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 …

Leading businesses to disclose greenhouse gas emissions

Source: Defra All businesses listed on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange will have to report their levels of greenhouse gas emissions from the start of the next financial year under plans announced by the Deputy Prime Minister at the Rio+ 20 Summit today. The UK is the first country to make it compulsory for companies to include emissions data for their entire organisation in their annual reports. The introduction of the reports, following consultations with leading businesses, will enable investors to see which companies are effectively managing the hidden long-term costs of greenhouse gas emissions. The majority of businesses responding to the consultation support the change and government plans are also backed by leading employer and environmental organisations including the CBI and the Aldersgate Group. The new regulations will be introduced from April 2013.  They will be reviewed in 2015, before ministers decide whether to extend the approach to all large companies from 2016. Greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane are causing climate …

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 …

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..

Seeing Through the Fog

Source: BCG Perspectives A Practical Guide for Dealing with Carbon In San Francisco in the summer, fog rolls across the bay at certain hours of the afternoon, swiftly enveloping the city in a dense cover. In many ways, U.S. carbon rules are just like that blanket of fog: inevitable but of uncertain timing, all-encompassing, and with a sudden and large impact on life and the environment. Carbon rules will have massive direct economic impacts on most industries, but particularly on emitters such as companies in the power, oil and gas, metals, cement, paper, and mining industries. These impacts will be pervasive for most emitting and nonemitting companies and will have implications for major functions and management processes, as well as for market structures and relative competitive positions. Investors and analysts are increasingly sensitive to carbon issues and are looking to management teams to craft a response, despite the uncertainty over the rules’ nature and timing. Surprisingly, little of the relevant literature has addressed in a pragmatic manner what companies should do …

Greenhouse Gas Protocol Launches in India

Source : WRI Insights The use of standards to account for corporate greenhouse gases is increasingly common in developed countries – but it is emerging in developing countries as well. In India, companies’ focus on value chain inventories and life cycle thinking is in nascent stages. That’s why the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, a collaboration of the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development is partnering with The Energy Resources Institute (TERI) in launching its two new tools, the Product Life Cycle and Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standards, in New Delhi next week. These new standards establish a comprehensive, global, standardized framework for businesses and other organizations to measure their value chain and product emissions and to reduce their impacts on the climate. Continue Reading…

Indirect Carbon Emissions and Why They Matter

Source: Triplepundit According to our recent research, a combination of regulation and consumer demand means that 93% of multinational companies are now taking steps to address carbon emissions directly related to their business. More companies are recognising that lowering their carbon emissions leads to reputational and efficiency gains, which means savings to the bottom line and ultimately increased revenue. There is also an increasingly pressing need to address a bigger challenge – ‘scope 3’ or indirect emissions that are a consequence of the activities of the reporting company, but occur at sources owned or controlled  by another organisation – including both upstream and downstream of companies along the value chain. This comprises those generated by all the emissions of everything a company buys, right back to raw material extraction or agriculture, as well as all the emissions that are produced from everything a company sells or disposes of, through retail, use and end-of-life. Taking a ‘carbon lens’ to your value chain is another way to improve the environmental and economic performance of your business – it unlocks …

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