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Climate Change News
Some interesting stories which didnt make my blog, "Climate Change Action"
Friday, December 29, 2006
Saturday, December 16, 2006
The Rich Must Face Their Personal Carbon Responsibility
The Rich Must Face Their Personal Carbon Responsibility
We would like to take this opportunity to follow Sunita Narain’s invitation in her latest Editorial
(“Climate: the market's Achilles heel”, CSE's Fortnightly News Bulletin, 30 November 30, 2006)to discuss how we can “make space for emissions.”
We wholeheartedly agree with Ms Narain’s assessment that the warming of the global
atmosphere is possibly the biggest and most difficult economic and political issue the world has
ever needed to confront. And we agree with emphasising – in line with Sir Nicolas Stern’s recent
review – that the cost of taking mitigation action now is a small fraction of what we would have
to pay as the cost of inaction: i.e. the cost of climate change impact damages which we will have
to face if we fail to act now. Costs, it has to be emphasised that will be – and, indeed, are already
– falling predominantly on the poorest and most vulnerable who are least responsible for the
problem. Climate inequity extends beyond mitigation!
Ms Narain rightly points out that “the world has changed [and that] there is clear understanding that the rich and the emerging rich world needs to make the transition to a low carbon economy”.
But we feel the world has changed even further. While Ms Narain’s discourse is still couched in
terms of ‘worlds’ – i.e. remains at the level of countries – we believe the urgency of the situation, and indeed justice, demand that we start including responsibilities and capabilities of individuals as well as of countries in our deliberations on how we deal with the problems of climate change.
An Issue of Distributive Justice
To explain this, let us assume that we agree, for reasons of equity, to calculate emission
restrictions after the Kyoto targets expire in 2012 on a ‘per capita’ basis. More precisely, let us
assume that each country would be allocated an emission cap – an ‘assigned amount’ of emission
permits – totalling some target per capita amount (a fraction of today’s global average emissions
per person) multiplied by the country’s (present day) population.
In the case, for example, of India – whose current emissions per inhabitant are much lower than
the world average – this would entail a considerable surplus of emission permits. And as long as
there are surplus permits, India would hence not be forced to introduce emission mitigation
measures to stay within its assigned amount. Indeed, under an international trade in such permits,
India could legitimately earn significant export revenues from the sale of these surplus permits.
So much for the ‘big picture’. To illustrate our point let us now take a closer look at the domestic
situation. In other words, let us ask what would be an equitable distribution of, to stay with the
example, India’s domestic ‘ecological space’. Even though the national emission cap – i.e. the
over-all size of this space – would not require India to introduce any domestic mitigation
measures, we believe that considerations of domestic equity would do. Why? Because anyone
emitting more than the agreed average target would occupy part of the Indian ecological space of someone in India who is emitting less. And distributive justice would demand that those who
occupy more than their fair share of domestic ‘ecological space’ – i.e. who emit more than that
target average – should either make room for those of their compatriots who do not (i.e. reduce
their emissions), or at least compensate them for the use of their space.
The fact that a national target is ‘non-binding,’ in other words, does not mean that ‘business as
usual’ is morally justifiable, for the strictures of distributive justice would still demand that the
(carbon) rich either reduce their carbon footprints to give the (carbon) poor their fair share of the domestic ecological space, or pay an appropriate compensation.
Of course, it is unlikely that India – or, for that matter, any other developing country – is going to adopt any form of cap on their overall emissions in the near future, which makes the issue of
equitably sharing a limited domestic ecological space a rather moot one. And yet there are other,
equally pertinent reasons why (carbon) rich individuals have a moral duty to reduce their
emissions, where ever they may be domiciled.
An Issue of Compensatory Justice
The crucial fact, particularly from the point of view of the poor and vulnerable, is that emissions
are not just a matter of occupying one’s fair share of ecological space, it is also a matter of
causing harm, something which is in danger of being overlooked if one’s focus is solely on the
just allocation of emission rights.
Indeed, the principle of common but differentiated responsibility and respective capability
demands that whoever is capable should not only reduce their responsibility but contribute to
compensate for the harm done. And this, we believe, applies not only to countries, but also to
individuals, regardless of creed, colour or, for that matter, nationality.
For example, if we assume that the global sustainable ecological space – i.e. the level of
emissions that can annually be emitted without causing harm – were given by the 1900 global
fossil fuel emissions level (approx 2GtCO2), the personal sustainable ecological space would
currently be around 300kgCO2/cap. In other words, everyone on the planet would have a budget for (at most) 300kg of harmless fossil carbon emissions. Any additional emissions are harmful and thus carry responsibility. Of course, in a great many cases, the additional emissions are due to subsistence activities and thus should not be held culpably responsible. However, there are personally attributable emissions, such as the ones associated with (international) air travel, which can hardly be excused on these grounds. People who travel by air are capable to face the personal responsibility for that activity and should be made to do so.
This is why we support the idea put forward at the recent Nairobi UN climate conference by
Bangladesh on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries to introduce an international air travel adaptation levy. And this is why we would like to reciprocate Ms Narain’s call to action
and invite the Centre for Science and Environment to join us in promoting the idea that (carbon)
rich individuals, as well as countries, need to face up to the responsibility entailed by what its
founder Anil Agarwal so aptly referred to as ‘luxury emissions.’
Dr Benito Müller
Oxford Climate Policy (ocp)
Oxford Institute for Energy Studies (OIES)
Dr Saleemul Huq
Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS)
International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)
Thursday, December 14, 2006
2006 likely to be another hot one.
From the Friends of the earth mailing list:
The Global Land and Sea Surface temperature figures for November have now arrived. The usual conventions apply. SST means Sea Surface Temperature, Land means Land Surface Temperature. Numbers are in degrees Celsius above the 1961 – 90 global average . Add 0.09 too these figures to obtain the rise in temperature since 1976.
. SST South 0.19 North 0.58 Globe 0.38
Land South 0.52 North 0.92 Globe 0.72
Land and SST South 0.23 North 0.65 Globe 0.44
The Global temperature for the first 11 months of 2006 is 0.42 degrees Celsius above the 1961 – 90 global average temperature which makes it the sixth warmest year on record. The Hadley Centre and Climatic Research Unit are forecasting the same temperature and position for 2006 as a whole. These figures come from the Hadley Centre and Climatic Research Unit.
1 1998 was the warmest year on record. The eight warmest years on record have all been since 1997 and the 10 warmest since 1995.
2 There is very little difference in temperature between the second warmest year on record and the eight . 1998 was 0.1 degrees Celsius warmer than the second warmest year on record 2005 and 1997 the eight warmest year on record was significantly warmer than the ninth 1995. There is little point in ranking the years between 3rd and 7th inclusive because they are so close in terms of temperature and hence there must be uncertainty about the exact ranking.
3 It makes more sense to say that since 2001 global temperatures have been very stable and more than half a degree Celsius above the global level until 1976. In detail it can be said that 1997 and 1998 was a very warm period followed by a slightly cooler period in 1999 and 2000, the latter year being only the 12th warmest on record, and this has been followed by the present warm period. According to James Hansen and others this last period is as warm as the Holocene optimum 7,000 years ago and the earth has not been warmer than this recent six year spell than for 130.000 years ago before the start of the last ice age.
4 NASA who had 2005 as the warmest year on record are saying this year is more than 0.2 degrees Celsius cooler than last. No other climate unit is saying anything similar. Certainly 2006 does not seem that much cooler than 2005 on a global scale I cannot accept this. My view is that there is something wrong with the way the NASA figures are arrived at. I do not accept either that 2005 was the warmest year on record, 1998 was the warmest.
5 2006 seems likely to be the warmest year on record in England possibly by a considerable margin which though true is very odd considering the global
5 Some say that Global Warming is taking off now. This is untrue as far as surface temperatures are concerned. They see rapid melt of mountain glaciers and think warming is taking off. Mountain glaciers are melting rapidly because with global temperatures stable since 2001 melting carries on continuously. As more land becomes snow and ice free the suns rays are absorbed rather than reflected, the albedo effect, thus local temperatures rise and more ice and snow melts. Also of course most of the ice and snow, by area, on mountains is only just above the snow line so is very vulnerable to warming.. The area of this local warming is so small that it has very little effect on global temperatures.
My view is that at some point global temperatures will surge. Global Warming is the greatest threat humanity faces. I had expected global temperature to be warmer now than it actually is, but was clearly wrong. It should be acknowledged however that there is a genuine sceptic argument which can say that if global temperatures have been stable for the last six years, and global temperatures have risen by 0.75 degrees Celsius in the last 100 years and 0.53 degrees Celsius in the last 30 years then clearly there has not risen as much as global warming theory suggests they ought to have risen. This implies that the theory is wrong. I don’t accept this myself but it is a valid argument. We will here more of this until the global temperature rises significantly.
Monday, December 11, 2006
Accountability: the other climate change
The Stern Review’s report on the economics of climate change published on 30 October 2006 is an impressive document that calls for action to meet a global challenge on a civilisational scale. It is also unlikely – on present evidence – to have the effect required, for one simple reason.
Today’s vested political and economic interests are likely to prevent us from effectively addressing climate change, and so securing a decent future on this planet. It’s ghastly, it sticks in the throat, and it’s awesome to think it even as I write it. But it’s probably true.
This prognosis is suggested by Jared Diamond’s best-selling analysis of why societies collapse. Societies are endangered, he argues, when their elites insulate themselves from the negative impact of their own actions in pursuit of power and privilege. His paradigmatic case is of Easter Island, where the overuse of wood products in the production of competing religious totems eventually destroyed its inhabitants’ survival prospects.
Jared Diamond argues that this self-destructive spiral might have been halted if those with the power to enforce the cutting down of wood had far earlier suffered the economic and political consequences of this process. As economists would have it, these leaders succeed for too long to “externalise” these costs onto the shoulders, and ultimately the lives of others.
But surely, some might argue, this could not happen to the rich countries of the world, with the knowledge they have, their many institutions for collective action and capacity to hold those with power to account?
Here, however, is exactly where the problem lies: a lack of accountability where it really matters. In the microcosmic areas of social life - fines for taking our children on holiday before the school break, or for allowing our dogs to do what is natural to them in the park – we are overwhelmed by accountability mechanisms. Yet on big, important, collective issues, accountability mechanisms are either non-existent or failing. After all, no rich-nation leader will pay the human and financial costs of the Iraq war, or compensate for the poverty resulting from the failure of the Doha trade round.
Jared Diamond’s story shines a sad and disturbing light on our current situation. Our elite do not feel enough pain to allow, let alone lead in making the changes we need.
So what is to be done? Pragmatism and a hard-headed reading of history suggest that “the people” are unlikely to resolve our current crisis. Far from it, we are more likely to degenerate into a toxic blend of hedonism and divided fundamentalisms. Faced with an apparently insoluble problem, the citizens of the world will unite in partying until the curtain comes down.
The terms of debate
Yet there is an alternative – unpalatable but essential. If we cannot make those with power feel the pain, can we help them to profit from taking us along the right path?
This would involve rewarding political leaders who take a stand on climate change, who are willing to tell citizens the tough story, make enemies of those who would deny, and dedicate themselves to creating coalitions of the unwilling. Such political leaders must be empowered, whether by the ballot-box or the amplifying effects of global civil society and the media. And those leaders who choose to pipe an old tune, whoever and wherever they are, along with their advisors and sponsors, must be exposed in their naked splendour for all to see.
And that brings us to business leaders. Business will not solve climate change by what it does not do; compliance will only ever be a marginal part of any serious solution. Business will make a difference by what it does and does best: inventing, making and selling new products and services. (That is why our Accountability Rating of the world’s largest hundred companies measures how smart rather than how moral they are in embedding social and environmental dynamics into their business models and practices).
Co-opting those who can make, or prevent, change requires that “corporate responsibility” grows up and becomes a driver in shaping a global, responsible competitiveness between nations and regions. We need global markets where money is to be made by doing the right thing, creating value and profit by “internalising externalities” that will otherwise destroy us.
Business cannot, and will not do this on its own. Reshaping markets requires unlikely alliances between business, governments and civil society. We have proven we can do this across such diverse challenges as labour standards, access to life-saving drugs, corruption and animal rights. We can and must do it for climate change, reshaping the terms on which business is done to our collective good.
Who will take the lead?
On Easter Island, no leader emerged from any of the dozen clans to reshape timber markets. It is instructive to consider which countries or regions - today’s global “clans” - will provide leadership in driving forward responsible competitiveness tomorrow.
Europe has enormous potential, with its leadership on Kyoto and its history of linking social inclusion and markets. But a region characterized (by Nick Robins) as having a “responsibility surplus and an innovation deficit” has to date failed to turn this “social good” to its competitive advantage.
The United States too is an unlikely candidate, essentially the mirror-image of Europe's strengths and weaknesses, over-innovating without focus on the things that count. Directing its business community towards long-term issues is, with some notable exceptions, a contradiction in terms. It would require a seismic shift in the time-horizons and interests of the American electorate and its investment community, unlikely although not impossible on both counts.
Perhaps then we need to bet on China for leadership. We might point today to its dirty economy in more senses than one. But China's culture and practice of decision-making is like no other, rooted in a history of long-termism. Could it be that tackling climate change will be China's equivalent of the moai in the era of their creation: a powerful symbol of emerging leadership?
Trading in a carbon limited world
Reducing carbon emissions requires all of us to change our behaviour. But how? Matt Prescott explores the potential for a market mechanism that will transform our personal economies and could help save the planet.
The idea of trading carbon as commodity began with Kyoto. Now the carbon market appears to be here to stay. There is a strong interest at all levels – individual, business and government, in engaging with this newcomer in the financial world.
Carbon is an unusual commodity. It evokes a great deal of emotion and is tied to areas of social and environmental thinking that have never previously been aligned with conventional capitalist thinking. But through the carbon market we are beginning to see the ecological future of our planet priced and traded as a commodity.
Whilst this may sound like an unfeeling solution to the climate change crisis, environmental groups in the west are warming to the carbon market’s potential. Why? Because we need to reduce emissions dramatically in the next ten years, according to the world’s leading climate scientists. With time so short, we have to go with the biggest tool we’ve got – the market.
Carbon trading is one of the mechanisms approved by the Kyoto Protocol for nations to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases. The Kyoto Protocol created the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) to enable emissions being saved in one part of the world to be sold in another. The result is a vast number of projects, mostly in developing nations, being certified for emissions reductions. Renewable energy projects such as wind power are common. These are checked to avoid ‘double counting’ and sold into one of a number of carbon markets from where the credits can be purchased.
The outcomes, in terms of environmental and social impact have been mixed so far, and the Kyoto Protocol is under fire for failing to deliver anything near the emission reductions the world needs. Indeed global emissions are continuing to rise and few countries can claim to have bucked the trend. But much has been learned since Kyoto and the learning curve is getting steeper.
Learning from the EU
The European Union has been operating an Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) since January 2005, with the first phase due to end in December 2007. beyond which the second phase will coincide with the first Kyoto commitment period which operates from 2008 to 2012 and requires signed-up developed nations to have reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by around 5% below their 1990 levels. At its peak, the price for a tonne of carbon (CO2 equivalent) was above €30. Currently it is hovering around €12.
This is a "cap and trade" scheme. In such a scheme, those that emit carbon are each given credits -- an allowance that entitles them to emit a specific amount of carbon. The total amount of credits cannot exceed the cap – which is the overall limit of total agreed emissions. The EU ETS covers around 40% of total greenhouse gas emissions from EU nations in several industry sectors such as paper, mineral and energy. The basic logic of any cap and trade scheme is that the market will find the cheapest savings. Any organisation covered by the scheme has two options if it exceeds its permitted allowance. It can purchase the more emissions rights in the market or it can reduce its own emissions through greater energy efficiency. According to the theory of the market, each installation will tend to make the most economically rational decision within its capped "carbon budget".
Many project-based carbon reductions take place in China and India – two fast growing economies which offer many opportunities to deliver verifiable reductions because the pace of development of their energy infrastructure is so fast. Investment in clean renewable energy technologies aided by the finance made available through the carbon market makes low carbon developments more attractive to them. As the market for carbon expands, there is an ever greater opportunity to further reduce emissions.
On many fronts, carbon trading has so far proved to be a successful mechanism, though some criticise it for its traditional capitalist approach. However, criticism is muted, given the current lack of alternatives. Given the urgent need to reduce emissions, a strong carbon market offers a way to unlock the creative potential of many of the world’s great financial and cultural centres to try to solve the greenhouse gas emissions problem.
You, the new actor
At the present time, 44% of emissions in the UK are attributable directly to individuals, but the individual is not currently a player in the carbon market. In a globalised carbon market, the initiative to reduce emissions may not stay with governments. Companies and communities who recognise the scale of the threat of climate change to their own futures and the future of their families could themselves become the drivers.
As a concerned citizen, one could buy verified carbon reductions and not sell them – hence removing carbon from the market and therefore forcing the price up, but the RSA does not believe this is enough. We are looking at an entirely new approach to individual carbon trading which we hope could hold the key to balancing the development of the economy with the need to control carbon emissions in a fast, effective and equitable manner. It is the new show in town.
At present, there are few actors in the EU ETS – 12,000 installations, representing approximately 45% of EU CO2 emissions. The RSA conceives of every individual in the UK becoming an actor and, if the scheme succeeds, every individual in the EU – nearly 500 million people.
It would work like this: The government of the UK would allocate to each adult in the UK an equal per capita share of the 44% of the country’s emissions that are attributable directly to individuals (through fuel and electricity purchases). The remaining 56% of the UK’s carbon emissions would be auctioned to government and business.
That 56% operates in much the same way as the EU ETS. However individuals are now actors in the same market. If they emit less than their personal allocation, they can sell their emissions rights to those emitting more than their share.
Decoupling emissions from growth
So what would happen if each person was financially responsible for his or her own emissions? Firstly we would find out where our allowance was going: do we drive a big car? Do we leave the lights on? Do we have the heating turned up too high? Do we take many flights? If there was a strong financial incentive and individual access to the market, we think we would see a rapid move away from wasteful to low-carbon lifestyles. People would look for low-carbon products and services to save on their emissions allocations. If there was demand for low-carbon products, entrepreneurs, in turn, would develop and produce them for the market.
Each year, to fight climate change, the carbon budget will have to shrink. As the budget is shrunk, the goods and services required to meet the lowered targets will become available and affordable and a new low-carbon culture will continue to propel this change.
It would be good in other ways, too. It would enhance public health and energy security and, indeed, the Contraction and Convergence model could also be delivered through this mechanism. So what starts out looking like an idea with a strong core of market economics, on closer inspection turns into something which speaks to the heart of a strong and just society.
Matt Prescott is the director of CarbonLimited. The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) is at the heart of work to further the debate on personal carbon trading through the CarbonLimited project. CarbonLimited runs until December 2008 and is delivering a programme of research, public debate and piloting. www.rsacarbonlimited.org
Livestock impacts on the environment.
Livestock impacts on the environment. The challenge is to reconcile two demands: for animal food products and environmental services.
A new report from FAO says livestock production contributes to the world's most pressing environmental problems, including global warming, land degradation, air and water pollution, and loss of biodiversity. Using a methodology that considers the entire commodity chain, it estimates that livestock are responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, a bigger share than that of transport. However, the report says, the livestock sector's potential contribution to solving environmental problems is equally large, and major improvements could be achieved at reasonable cost.
Based on the most recent data available, Livestock's long shadow takes into account the livestock sector's direct impacts, plus the environmental effects of related land use changes and production of the feed crops animals consume. It finds that expanding population and incomes worldwide, along with changing food preferences, are stimulating a rapid increase in demand for meat, milk and eggs, while globalization is boosting trade in both inputs and outputs.
In the process, the livestock sector is undergoing a complex process of technical and geographical change. Production is shifting from the countryside to urban and peri-urban areas, and towards sources of animal feed, whether feed crop areas or transport and trade hubs where feed is distributed. There is also a shift in species, with accelerating growth in production of pigs and poultry (mostly in industrial units) and a slow-down in that of cattle, sheep and goats, which are often raised extensively. Today, an estimated 80 percent of growth in the livestock sector comes from industrial production systems. Owing to those shifts, the report says, livestock are entering into direct competition for scarce land, water and other natural resources.
Deforestation, greenhouse gases. The livestock sector is by far the single largest anthropogenic user of land. Grazing occupies 26 percent of the Earth's terrestrial surface, while feed crop production requires about a third of all arable land. Expansion of grazing land for livestock is a key factor in deforestation, especially in Latin America: some 70 percent of previously forested land in the Amazon is used as pasture, and feed crops cover a large part of the reminder. About 70 percent of all grazing land in dry areas is considered degraded, mostly because of overgrazing, compaction and erosion attributable to livestock activity.
At the same time, the livestock sector has assumed an often unrecognized role in global warming. Using a methodology that considered the entire commodity chain (see box below), FAO estimated that livestock are responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, a bigger share than that of transport. It accounts for nine percent of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions, most of it due to expansion of pastures and arable land for feed crops. It generates even bigger shares of emissions of other gases with greater potential to warm the atmosphere: as much as 37 percent of anthropogenic methane, mostly from enteric fermentation by ruminants, and 65 percent of anthropogenic nitrous oxide, mostly from manure.
New measurement for greenhouse gases
Livestock production also impacts heavily the world's water supply, accounting for more than 8 percent of global human water use, mainly for the irrigation of feed crops. Evidence suggests it is the largest sectoral source of water pollutants, principally animal wastes, antibiotics, hormones, chemicals from tanneries, fertilizers and pesticides used for feed crops, and sediments from eroded pastures. While global figures are unavailable, it is estimated that in the USA livestock and feed crop agriculture are responsible for 37 percent of pesticide use, 50 percent of antibiotic use, and a third of the nitrogen and phosphorus loads in freshwater resources. The sector also generates almost two-thirds of anthropogenic ammonia, which contributes significantly to acid rain and acidification of ecosystems.
The sheer quantity of animals being raised for human consumption also poses a threat of the Earth's biodiversity. Livestock account for about 20 percent of the total terrestrial animal biomass, and the land area they now occupy was once habitat for wildlife. In 306 of the 825 terrestrial eco-regions identified by the Worldwide Fund for Nature, livestock are identified as "a current threat", while 23 of Conservation International's 35 "global hotspots for biodiversity" - characterized by serious levels of habitat loss - are affected by livestock production.
Two demands. FAO says "the future of the livestock-environment interface will be shaped by how we resolve the balance of two demands: for animal food products on one side and for environmental services on the other". Since the natural resource base is finite, the huge expansion of the livestock sector required to meet expanding demand must be accomplished while substantially reducing its environmental impact.
Greater efficiency in use of resources will be "the key to retracting livestock's long shadow". Although a host of effective technical options - for resource management, crop and livestock production, and post harvest reduction of losses - are available (see box below), current prices of land, water and feed resources used for livestock production do not reflect true scarcities, creating distortions that provide no incentive for efficient resource use. "This leads to the overuse of the resources and to major inefficiencies in the production process," FAO says. "Future policies to protect the environment will therefore have to introduce adequate market pricing for the main inputs."
The FAO report recommends a range of measures to mitigate livestock's threats to the environment:
Land degradation: Restore damaged land through soil conservation, silvopastoralism, better management of grazing systems and protection of sensitive areas.
Greenhouse gas emissions: Sustainable intensification of livestock and feed crop production to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from deforestation and pasture degradation, improved animal nutrition and manure management to cut methane and nitrogen emissions.
Water pollution: Better management of animal waste in industrial production units, better diets to improve nutrient absorption, improved manure management and better use of processed manure on croplands.
Biodiversity loss: As well as implementing the measures above, improve protection of wild areas, maintain connectivity among protected areas, and integrate livestock production and producers into landscape management.
Removal of price distortions at input and product level will enhance natural resource use, but may often not be sufficient. Livestock's long shadow says environmental externalities, both negative and positive, need to be explicitly factored into the policy framework. Livestock holders who provide environmental services need to be compensated, either by the immediate beneficiary (such as downstream users enjoying improved water quantity and quality) or by the general public. Services that could be rewarded include land management or land uses that restore biodiversity, and pasture management that provides for carbon sequestration. Compensation schemes also need to be developed between water and electricity providers and graziers who adopt grasslands management strategies that reduce sedimentation of water reservoirs.
Likewise, livestock holders who emit waste into waterways or release ammonia into the atmosphere should pay for the damage. Applying the "polluter pays" principle should not present insurmountable problems for offenders, given the burgeoning demand for livestock products.
Consumer pressure. Finally, FAO says, the livestock sector is usually driven by diverse policy objectives, and decision-makers find it difficult to address economic, social, health and environmental issues at the same time. The fact that so many people depend on livestock for their livelihoods limits the policy options available, and leads to difficult and politically sensitive trade-offs.
Information, communication and education will play critical roles in enhancing a "willingness to act". With their strong and growing influence, consumers are likely to be the main source of commercial and political pressure "to push the livestock sector into more sustainable forms", Livestock's long shadow says. Already, growing awareness of threats to the environment is translating into rising demand for environmental services: "This demand will broaden from immediate concerns - such as reducing the nuisance of flies and odours - to intermediate demands for clean air and water, then to the broader, longer-term environmental concerns, including climate change and loss of biodiversity".
Back to the countryside?
Intensive animal production systems produce high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus wastes and concentrated discharges of toxic materials. Yet those systems are often located in areas where effective waste management is more difficult. The regional distribution of intensive systems is usually determined not by environmental concerns but by ease of access to input and product markets, and relative costs of land and labour. In developing countries, industrial units are often concentrated in peri-urban environments because of infrastructure constraints.
"Environmental problems created by industrial production systems derive not from their large scale, nor their production intensity, but rather from their geographical location and concentration," FAO says. It recommends reintegration of crop and livestock activities, which calls for policies that drive industrial and intensive livestock to rural areas with nutrient demand.
Miliband plans carbon trading 'credit cards' for everyone
Miliband plans carbon trading 'credit cards' for everyone
Monday December 11, 2006
Every citizen would be issued with a carbon "credit card" - to be swiped every time they bought petrol, paid an energy utility bill or booked an airline ticket - under a nationwide carbon rationing scheme that could come into operation within five years, according to a feasibility study commissioned by the environment secretary, David Miliband, and published today.
In an interview with the Guardian Mr Miliband said the idea of individual carbon allowances had "a simplicity and beauty that would reward carbon thrift".
He acknowledged the proposal faced technical difficulties, but said ministers needed to seek ways of overcoming them.
The idea was floated in a speech in the summer, but the detailed proposals show Mr Miliband is serious about trying to press ahead with the radical idea as a central part of his climate change strategy.
Under the scheme, everybody would be given an annual allowance of the carbon they could expend on a range of products, probably food, energy and travel. If they wanted to use more carbon, they would be able to buy it from somebody else. And they could sell any surplus.
The study was prepared by the Centre for Sustainable Energy for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. It argues that firms like Tesco have shown that complex computer schemes logging billions of transactions are feasible. "Tesco Clubcard is collecting, storing and analysing some 50bn pieces of data a year," it says.
The study also claims that individual carbon trading is less regressive than carbon taxes, as the poor emit less than the rich. Instead of flat "green" taxes it proposes a hybrid system using permits and taxes, with the permits possibly issued, tracked and traded through the existing banking system using pin and chip technology. Carbon allowances could be treated as bank accounts.
The report admits huge questions would have to be resolved, including the risk of fraud, the relationship to ID cards, and costs. However Mr Miliband said "bold thinking is required because the world is in a dangerous place".
He said: "It is a way of pricing carbon emissions into individual behaviour and it would recognise carbon thrift, as well as economic thrift. Twenty years ago if I had said 8 million people would have a Tesco loyalty card, no one would have believed me." The scheme will be discussed at a special cabinet committee on the future role of the state convened for today.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Key Tax Bill for Renewables Moves Closer in US
08 December 2006
Key Tax Bill for Renewables Moves Closer to Vote Tax extensions promise to be an early Christmas present for the U.S. renewable energy industries.
by Stephen Lacey, Staff Writer Washington, DC [RenewableEnergyAccess.com]
The 109th Congress is poised to pass the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006, a $40 billion tax bill that will extend key tax credits for the U.S. renewable energy industries until December 31, 2008.
"We were on fourth down and we just made a key conversion. Now we have another four downs to drive into the end zone."
-- Rhone Resch, President, Solar Energy Industries Association
The comprehensive bill will extend the investment tax credit, research and development tax credit, and credits for renewable energy bonds. Although the bill only extends these credits for another year, renewable energy advocates are hailing it as a major step forward for the wind, solar, bioenergy, geothermal and hydropower industries -- and could set up Congressional action for longer term extensions next year.
"This bill is a patch, and emphasizes the importance for Congress to enact long-term, comprehensive clean energy legislation when they return in January," said Rhone Resch, President of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
Extensions of these credits will help eliminate the boom and bust cycle seen in many of the industries. If developers are unsure about the economic feasibility of a project, it may cause the project to be stalled for long periods of time, which has a negative impact on job growth and technological advancements.
"The wind industry is thrilled that Congress has taken this step to extend the tax credits," said Jaime Steve, Legislative Director of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). "This is all about keeping the wind industry at work and job stability for American workers."
Karl Gawell, Executive Director of the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA), said this tax bill ensures the continued growth of the geothermal industry.
"The uncertainty that these tax credits would not be extended was already causing projects to be postponed or downsized. Now this means that a good number of those projects will clearly go forward," said Gawell. "For the next year or 18 months we are going to see a very active market. But after that it will start tailing off. That's why we need longer term extensions."
AWEA, SEIA, GEA and all the other renewable energy interest groups will be pushing the 110th Congress for long-term extensions in January when lawmakers return to Washington.
"We were on fourth down and we just made a key conversion. Now we have another four downs to drive into the end zone," said Resch.
The bill may not be passed until later tonight or this weekend, said Resch. The House leadership will take up the measure today and could vote on it by this evening. Then it goes on to the Senate where cloture procedures may be used to accelerate the process so the bill can be voted on.
Because there is so much in the bill, there has been intense debate in the House and Senate over certain provisions. But the pressure on lawmakers to pass tax legislation before the end of the 109th Congressional term makes it likely that the bill will make it to the President's desk by Sunday. Meanwhile, industry representatives and advocates look on, eager for the Tax Relief and Health Care Act to move forward.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Producers strain to supply growing wind power market.
Producers strain to supply growing wind power market.
AFP, 3 December 2006 - There is an inexhaustible supply of wind to drive their blades, but materials needed to make wind turbines are limited and the industry fears it will fail to keep pace with growing demand for the clean energy source.
"We do whatever we can but it's impossible to increase our (production) capacity overnight," a spokesman for the Danish group Vestas told AFP.
"There is a gap between industrial capacity and demand, and it will take several years before we can fill the gap. Don't expect miracles," Peter Wenzel Kruze added.
Vestas is the world leader in wind turbine manufacturing.
Benefiting from spiralling oil prices and the popularity of green energy sources, wind farms -- mostly on land but also offshore -- have in recent years become an increasingly common sight throughout Europe.
Wind-generated power now accounts for three percent of Europe's electricity requirements, according to the European Wind Energy Agency (EWEA). In Denmark the figure is 20 percent, eight percent in Germany and seven percent in Spain. EWEA hopes 22 percent of European electricity requirements will be filled by wind power by 2030.
Between 1995 and 2005 the amount of electricity produced using wind power grew on average by 32 percent per year in Europe while the number of wind turbines rose by around 22 percent.
Similar growth in the sector has been recorded in the United States where wind power production expanded by 36 percent in 2005 with the help of federal funding.
A number of countries have announced plans for major wind farm programmes both on land and at sea. The rush to wind power has proved a boon for the industry in the shape of lucrative contracts but it has also caused problems for companies as they struggle to meet multiplying deadlines.
Almost all producers have been affected by the problem for some months, according to a spokeswoman at German energy group REpower.
While there was no immediate impact on the group's results, she conceeded that future production capacity could be reduced if delays in deliveries of wind turbine parts continued.
EWEA, representing 80 percent of the wind power industry, acknowledges that delays in wind turbine deliveries, especially turbine motors, are on the increase, but does not wish to overstate the situation.
"I can not say it's a problem to have very strong demand ... it's quite a normal phenomenom in industry. It takes time for both manufacturers and suppliers to adjust production," EWEA president Christian Kjaer said.
Robert Gleitz, wind product chief at General Electric, explains that current supply problems have not affected major component parts of wind turbines such as blades, plinths or turbine pods.
Gleitz does however say that turbines ordered today would not be delivered until 2008 or possibly 2009.
"The industry is adapting and companies are in the process of reorganising their entire supply chain," EWEA spokeswoman Isabelle Valentiny said. Firms are encouraging suppliers to greatly increase investment and are seeking more long term strategic framework agreements with suppliers and customers.
"The message is: okay, we believe in this (wind energy), you can invest," Wenzel Kruze said.
EWEA added that the price of wind power has fallen steadily in the last 20 years.
"(Wind energy) technology produces 180 times the amount of electricity that it produced in the 80's. It has matured and can compete with other forms of energy," Valentiny said.
Climate change slowly heats America's CSR agenda
Climate change slowly heats America's CSR agenda SDI,
28 November 2006
While North America's neo-conservative federal governments in Ottawa and Washington cannot grasp that providing environmental security is a fundamental responsibility of federal government, the raison d'être of federal governments is arguably being subsequently undermined at the sub-national level, both in Canadian provinces and US states, not to mention individual cities.
The need for urgent action on climate change is beginning to be reflected in the corporate world, albeit not in a uniform pattern.
In presenting material from his work, "Winning the Oil Endgame," Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute argued that the US can end its oil use by the 2040's. Logically, saving energy is cheaper than buying it and, as the 1970's illustrated, has no downward effect on GDP, quite the opposite in fact. According to Lovins, oil causes 42 per cent of all emissions and companies like Dupont are aiming to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 65 per cent of 1990 levels by as early as 2010. The business case is demonstrated by BP who made a $1 billion profit by 2002 through cutting emissions by 10 per cent of 1990 levels while the Swedish power company, Vattenfall, saw profits rise 54 per cent by making electricity 78 per cent more cost efficient.
In presenting a break-out session on climate change, Sue Hall posed the question of whether climate change can make markets restructure, particularly in light of the Stern Review Report which highlighted the fact that there may well be inadequate private capital to meet the costs of climate related catastrophes. In the aftermath of Katrina, the US government need to appropriate $28 billion for flood risks. Gary Guzy of Marsh, the insurance firm, remarked that insurers are withdrawing from property insurance in coastal areas. Consequently, Florida's largest insurer is the State Fund.
Responsibility for mitigating climate change has been well received by companies such as Sun Micro and UTC. John Mandyck of Carrier Corporation, a UTC company, cited that energy produces 85 per cent of all emissions and, in the US, the average home has increased in size by 60 per cent over the past fifteen years. This is an important consideration as 30 per cent of energy usage in the US is due to air-conditioning. Therefore, they are aiming to launch new goals to achieve a 20 per cent reduction in energy usage.
Dave Douglas at Sun estimated that IT "can wipe out all the climate gains made through having platinum star green buildings" as powering all the IT systems produces a billion tonnes of CO2 worldwide. This has prompted Sun to develop Ecoservers which, if certain "market issues" were addressed, would provide a benefit to consumers in terms of offsetting the reduction of their footprint.
Moreover at Sun they have moved toward having 46 per cent of their workforce as a virtual workforce, resulting in needing less actual office space saving, as a result, 30,000 tonnes of emissions reductions through not having to commute. This represents an emissions reduction of between 5 and 8 per cent. Also, they are seeking ways to offset the carbon problem which has been consequently externalised to the individual virtual worker.
Truman Semans of the Pew Centre stated that in assessing corporate activity on climate change, many companies were not transparent on the returns their emissions reductions programmes have brought. However, in asking companies to list the most effective strategies, energy conservation always comes out on top. In terms of the highest impact on a company's NPV (net present value), these are usually perceived as regulatory. Integrating climate into a broader sweep of business strategy therefore seems to make a valuable business case, especially if extended to value-chain partnerships and biofuels.
Yet, as Sun's Douglas stated, they are "being affected by regulatory uncertainty," especially when it comes to assessing environmental and climate regulations in deciding where is best to build as new factory.
On a global scale, as Semans concluded, the US needs to move from voluntary action as other big emitters such as India and China will do nothing unless the US adopts a binding position.
While much of the Western world considers its options, including nuclear energy, Amory Lovins pointed out that low-no carbon micropower added four times the level of nuclear power in 2005. Therefore, Dr Lovins was content to conclude that by a public policy that seems determined to distort information rather than support positive action, US Federal Energy Policy is the biggest threat to energy security. If companies like Wal-Mart can set the target for their entire truck fleet to be a quarter more efficient by 2007, and twice as efficient by 2010, then "what are we waiting for?" he asked.
The answer may well be "about 800 days" unless Barbara Boxer's appointment on the US Senate's Environment Committee yields a turn in fortunes.
Monday, December 04, 2006
10,000 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency scientists call on Congress to tackle global warming
More Than Half of EPA Workforce Represented (via Watthead)
[From Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility:]
In an unprecedented action, representatives for more than 10,000 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency scientists are calling on Congress to take immediate action against global warming, according to a petition released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The petition also calls for an end to censorship of agency scientists and other specialists on topics of climate change and the effects of air pollution.
The petition stresses that time is running out to prevent cataclysmic environmental changes induced by human-caused pollution and urges Congress to undertake prompt actions:
“If we wait, we will be committing the next generation of Americans to approximately double the current global warming concentrations, with the associated adverse impacts on human health and the environment.”
The filing of this petition coincides with today’s oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court on a case (Massachusetts v. EPA, Case No. 05-1120) brought by states seeking to force the Bush administration to regulate greenhouse gases that fuel global warming under the Clean Air Act [see previous post].
The petition signatories represent more than half of the total agency workforce. Addressed to the members of the Senate and House committees overseeing EPA, the petition argues that:
The Bush administration strategy of “using primarily voluntary and incentive-based programs” to reduce greenhouse gases is not working nor “has [this approach] been effectively carried out;”
EPA has abdicated its enforcement responsibilities by “failing to investigate coal-electric plants for technical options to control carbon;” and
“EPA’s scientists and engineers [must be able] to speak frankly and directly with Congress and the public regarding climate change, without fear of reprisal.”
“Professionals working for the Environmental Protection Agency are protesting being ordered to sit on the sidelines while we face the greatest environmental challenge of our generation,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, noting that the petition began among agency staff. “Under a new Congress, perhaps the scientists at EPA can begin to directly communicate with their true employers – the American public.”
The letter is signed by presidents of 22 locals of five unions: the American Federation of Government Employees, the Engineers and Scientists of California, the National Association of Government Employees, the National Association of Independent Labor, and the National Treasury Employees Union. These unions represent more than 10,000 EPA scientists, engineers and other technical specialists.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Advocate for Environment to Head Canada's Liberals
Not a bad development...
Advocate for Environment to Head Canada's Liberals
By Doug Struck
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, December 3, 2006; A21
MONTREAL, Dec. 2 -- In a convention that underscored the rising political weight of climate change issues, Canada's Liberal Party on Saturday chose St?phane Dion, a former environment minister, to lead the party and try to wrest power from the ruling Conservatives in the next national election.
Dion, 51, was elected head of the party over seven other candidates, including Michael Ignatieff, a renowned Harvard professor who returned to Canada last year and had quickly become a front-runner in the race to head the opposition against Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Ignatieff's drive for the post stumbled in the fourth and last ballot over his opinions on Iraq, Afghanistan and Israel. The fragmented delegations at the convention turned to Dion, whose environmental credentials overcame his thickly accented English and lackluster convention speech.
In his acceptance speech, Dion repeatedly emphasized his main goal: dealing with what he called "the greatest challenge we have today, sustainable development."
He was elected, he said, because "Canadians have a deep concern about the main issue of our time -- building a sustainable environment for our children."
It was a message the delegates embraced.
"We've recognized that global warming and Kyoto are agenda items we have to deal with. Canada has gotten the message," said a delegate on the convention floor, Paul Mulligan, 60, a retired cartographer.
Dion must regroup the Liberals, long the dominant party in Canada, to try to reverse the loss in January to Harper's Conservatives. The party hopes that disillusionment with Harper for cutting social programs, rising despair over Canadian military losses in Afghanistan and opposition to Harper's retreat from the Kyoto environmental accord will topple the Conservative minority government.
As visual evidence of the importance of environmental issues, the sea of green T-shirts worn by Dion's supporters grew as the balloting continued in Montreal's cavernous Palace of Congress. Each of the candidates had pledged to make aggressive strides on the environment, but Dion's long work to strengthen the Kyoto accord carried those who put the issue at the top of the agenda.
An academic and native of Quebec City, Dion entered Parliament a decade ago and has held a variety of cabinet posts under Liberal governments. But in his last post, as environment minister, he won credit for devoting enormous effort to extending the provisions of the Kyoto accord. He owns a husky named Kyoto.
But he is less well-liked in his home province of Quebec because of his opposition to the popular movement to make the French-speaking province an independent country. In the late 1990s, Dion carried on a long-running debate with supporters of separatism and eventually assisted in drafting a law that many Quebecers feel helps block their movement.
"Quebec people don't like St?phane Dion," said Jean Pierre Laine, 54, an alternate delegate from Montreal. "He is a federalist." Quebec newspaper cartoons at the time portrayed him as a rat; he was pilloried as a traitor to his province.
"It will be an uphill struggle for Dion in Quebec," agreed Charles Hubbard, a member of Parliament from New Brunswick, in the convention hall. "The people who question federalism see Dion as the arch devil."
That is a burden for the Liberal Party, which had hoped to strengthen its position in the province. Dion's speaking style, often wooden and stilted, also is seen as a detriment in any matchup with Harper, who is smooth and fluent in both English and French.
Dion "is a bit rigid," said David Carter, 58, a delegate from Medicine Hat, Alberta. But he is "highly principled. He's strong, intelligent and very committed to the country."
In Canada's Parliament and other public appearances, top officials are expected to switch between both official languages with ease. Dion's syntax is sometimes difficult to sort out in English.
"It's important to be bilingual. I think it's horrible to say, but his language skills are not good enough," said Lana Stermac, a party observer from Toronto.
"It didn't hurt Chr?tien," said delegate Garry Johnson, noting that former prime minister Jean Chr?tien, also a Quebec native, served for 10 years and spoke heavily accented English.
"If they keep sending our boys back in body bags from Afghanistan, that is what will do Harper in," he added.
The Afghanistan issue is a tricky one for Liberals, however. A Liberal Paul Martin government committed Canadian troops to Afghanistan. Harper expanded the mission and engineered a Parliament vote in May to keep the troops there until at least 2009. Many Liberal Parliament members voted for the extension.
Harper, described at the convention as a Canadian version of President Bush, has focused on a narrow agenda of conservative social and fiscal goals, and has cut programs that fall outside of that list. As head of a minority government, he has said he will call an election to try to win a majority. Political experts predict that an election called by Harper or forced by the opposition will come next year, possibly early in the year.
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Old-growth forest store and continue to remove far more carbon than previously thought
December 2, 2006
OVERVIEW & COMMENTARY by Dr. Glen Barry, Ecological Internet
A new study finds old-growth forest store and continue to remove
far more carbon than previously thought making their
preservation (strict protection with no industrial management) a
higher priority in carbon trading, tackling global warming and
forest conservation. The conventional scientific wisdom has long
been that while old-growth forests (older than 100 years old)
and primary forests (never been logged or otherwise
significantly disturbed) store much carbon and are important
carbon sinks, that they no longer remove much new carbon, so
essentially their removal and release of carbon are in balance.
A new study questions this assumption with great importance for
forest conservation and climate change policy adequate to ensure
global ecological sustainability for the foreseeable future. The
new study found that a 400-year-old forest in southern China is
soaking up carbon from the atmosphere considerably faster than
expected, most of which is being stored for the long term in the
top levels of the soil. The results, which are still preliminary
in that they have not been repeated worldwide, nonetheless show
the dynamism of carbon in ancient forests, and our continued
lack of knowledge regarding basic planetary ecological processes
of great importance to our survival and well-being.
This finding, that ancient forests may continue to remove
substantial carbon, along with recent studies showing selective
logging of ancient forests releases extremely large amounts of
carbon and forever damages carbon removal mechanisms, sheds
grave doubts upon forest conservation strategies dependent upon
"certification" of the environmental sensitivity of logging
including ancient forests.
One of the great tasks of our, and all, time is protecting and
aiding the expansion of all remaining old-growth forests and
primary forests which for sake of simplicity I often refer to as
"ancient forests". These evolutionary shrines hold untold wisdom
deep in their genes, high above us in their vibrant canopies,
and deep within the darkness of their roots and soils. There
loss AND diminishment must stop if there is to be any chance to
sustain the planet and human society. Ecological Internet will
soon launch a long-term campaign targeting the Forest
Stewardship Council and their apologists that refuse to support
efforts to end ancient forest logging.
Continuing to diminish through industrial "selective" logging
the world’s 20% of ancient forests which have not already been
lost will be a death-knell for the Earth and humanity. Solving
climate change and water scarcity is intimately entwined with
establishing permanent protection (with compensation for those
affected) for all remaining ancient old-growth and primary
forests. Attacking the troika of ancient forest loss and
diminishment, climate change including dramatically reducing
emissions, and protecting water systems and provision of potable
water as a human right will decide whether humans have more time
as a species and how they spend it.
Royal Institute of British Architechts move on Contraction and Convergence
The recent RIBA conference sounds like a fairly dramatic affair. My previous post on climate change news noted that consensus was reached in the US on using project 2030 as a basis for climate mitigation.
Now we have Aubrey Meyer of GCI making the case for action, and the outgoing chari of the RIBA calling for the organisation to become a campaigning body!
"Aubrey Meyer, formerly a professional musician, started the talks with
a virtuoso performance that was simultaneously moving, terrifying and
He played the violin theme to Schindler’s List to images of the
environmental holocaust he went on to argue that we face.
It was a rallying cry for architects, having adopted “Contraction and
Convergence” (C&C) at RIBA Council . . . "
The outgoing RIBA chair then stated...
“Jack Pringle the outgoing Chairman of RIBA saw climate change as the
dominant agenda for the 21st Century.
He called for targets and endorsed “Contraction and Convergence” (C&C)
saying that market forces won’t work, calling instead for Government
action and for intervention in architecture, engineering and products.
He committed RIBA to becoming a more campaigning organisation.”
A full report on the day can be found here. To support sign this petition.
Building Sector Unites to Confront Global Climate Change
The [US] Building Sector Unites to Confront Global Climate Change
Santa Fe (December 1, 2006)
Recognizing that the Building Sector is responsible for almost half of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions annually, key leaders in this Sector have banded together to confront the global-warming crisis. Last week, the American Institute of Architects (AIA), U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), Architecture 2030 and about 20 other leaders attended a special meeting at the 2006 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, a conference presented annually by the USGBC. According to Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chairman of USGBC,
"Eliminating the built environment negative contribution to climate change is not just a strategic priority, it's our collective responsibility to generations to come. Science tells us we have 3650 days to meet that goal, and urgent action is required."
During the meeting, the group reached a consensus on three critical issues facing the Building Sector as it works to bring energy consumption and GHG emissions in this sector under control: the need for a common goal, the definition of this goal and a baseline to measure progress against.
"The building industry is coming together around the common goal of Architecture 2030's targets for reductions in energy use. The organizations and individuals in this meeting need to reach out to the entire industry, encouraging them all to work together in achieving these targets,"said R.K. Stewart, President-elect of AIA.
In a show of solidarity and commitment, these leaders have adopted 'The 2030 Challenge' targets. The 2030 Challenge, a global initiative officially launched by Architecture 2030 in January 2006, calls for all new buildings and major renovations to reduce their fossil-fuel GHG-emitting energy consumption by 50 percent immediately, increasing this reduction to 60% in 2010, 70% in 2015, 80% in 2020, 90% in 2025, and finally, that all new buildings would be carbon neutral by the
"ASHRAE is committed to developing the tools needed to accomplish the Architecture 2030 challenge."Building Sector Unites to Confront Global Climate Change (p2)
The 2030 Challenge targets had previously been adopted by the 78,000 member AIA, the US Conference of Mayors (for all buildings in all cities; Resolution #50) and individual cities and counties; endorsed by the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) and incorporated into their "Statement of Action"; integrated into the EPA's Target Finder; and promoted by the National Wildlife Federation and others. However, last week's collaborative adoption creates a powerful consensus, allowing for the sharing of information and support.
A critical component to the success of this effort is the definition of a baseline by which all reductions will be measured. A complete regional database of actual energy use for all building types is not currently available. To provide an immediate and interim solution, the group adopted the data supplied by the Energy Information Agency's (US Department of Energy), which is currently used by the EPA in their Target Finder program.
All participants agreed that collaboration is necessary to reach the goal and each will develop the tools necessary for their membership to accomplish this. The participants are openly inviting other industry leaders to join forces with them. Edward Mazria, founder and Executive Director of Architecture 2030, said,
"The task we face is daunting. Working separately, we could accomplish something significant in each of our respective spheres. But by working together, we actually have a chance to influence the course of history."
# # #
American Institute of Architects
1735 New York Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20006
U.S. Green Building Council
1800 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Inc.
1791 Tullie Circle, N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30329
607 Cerrillos Road
Santa Fe, NM 87505