In the headlines: 16 stories you may have missed
- 30 July 2012
Here's a global snapshot of the biggest clean technology, economy and policy headlines, from the week commencing July 30, 2012.
Australia's ocean waves have the potential to produce enough energy to power a city the size of Melbourne by 2050, according to a new CSIRO study. The report, released by the national science agency on Wednesday, investigated the role ocean renewable energy (ORE) - such as wave, tidal and ocean current power - could play in providing the country's electricity from 2015 to 2050. It found that while the prospects for tidal and ocean flow technology are less promising, wave power remains "potentiality the single greatest ORE source" and could possibly provide 10% of Australia's electricity needs. The Australian, 25 July.
Shanghai is bringing in a new scheme to make companies with large carbon footprints pay for their excessive emissions. The city is launching a carbon trade platform in a bid to curb the emissions of over 200 companies across 16 industries. The platform will be based at the Shanghai Environment and Energy Exchange. The trials will involve 200 firms in 16 industries, such as steel, petrochemicals, non-ferrous metals, and power and six non-industrial fields, such as airlines, ports, airports and hotels. Scientists say these kinds of companies are responsible for approximately 110 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year, or nearly half of the city’s annual emissions. China Daily, 27 July.
Greenhouse gas cuts pledged by developed countries will not be enough to stop temperatures rising by 2 degrees by 2100, according to Chinese researchers who argue wealthy nations should bear greater responsibility for tackling climate change. The assertion is contained in a paper published on July 24 in the US Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The paper, produced by 37 Chinese climate scientists and statisticians, says that two types of modeling show developed nations were responsible for 60-80 percent of the global temperature rise, upper ocean warming, and sea-ice reduction until 2005. Asian Scientist, 30 July.
Spain's unprecedented double-dip recession will last for at least a further 18 months and poses a threat to the rest of Europe, the International Monetary Fund said. Predicting a lost decade of growth for the eurozone's fourth biggest economy, the Washington-based Fund said the outlook was "very difficult" and that the fresh austerity measures announced by the government of prime minister Mariano Rajoy would have "a significant impact on growth". The Fund estimates that policy tightening will reduce output by 1% by 2014 and that unemployment will also rise. Official figures released in Madrid earlier on Friday showed the jobless rate already at 24.6%, with 5.7 million people out of work. The Guardian, 27 July.
UK Commons Committee wants the EU to set CO2 emissions cutting targets to be raised to 30% from 20% by 2020. The European Union must demonstrate global leadership in cutting carbon emissions and the UK Government must champion the cause, the Commons Energy Select Committee has said in a report. Currently, the EU has a goal to reduce carbon emissions by 20% from 1990 levels by 2020 but MPs argued that is simply not challenging enough to demonstrate global leadership. eGov Monitor, 27 July.
Deloitte has researched in total 65 leading companies in sustainability in ten industries towards their readiness for a ‘green and inclusive economy’. The Zero Impact Growth Monitor 2012 reveals that only six companies out of the total sample have reached a level on which they are ready to take radical steps to transform their industries, whereas the majority of the companies are still vague about their strategic growth ambition in a world where ‘growth as usual’ is not an option any more. Puma, Nike, Nestlé, Unilever, Natura and Ricoh come out as the winners in this assessment. Report in full here.
Scientists say they have unravelled the mechanism by which Earth-warming carbon is sucked deep into the Southern Ocean to be safely locked away. Wind, currents and eddies (a current running opposite to the main current) work together to create carbon-sucking funnels, said the research team from Britain and Australia in a discovery that adds to the toolkit of scientists attempting climate warming predictions. About a quarter of the carbon dioxide on Earth is stored away in its oceans - some 40% of that in the Southern Ocean encircling Antarctica. At a depth of about 1000 metres, carbon can be locked away for hundreds to thousands of years, yet scientists had never been sure exactly how it gets there after dissolving into surface waters. The Daily Telegraph, 30 July.
More than three-quarters of asset owners consider climate change integration in manager selection, a global survey reveals. The finding comes from a survey of 42 asset owners and 51 asset managers' investment approaches towards climate change - conducted by Mercer for the European Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC), the North American Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR) and the Australia/New Zealand Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC). Professional Pensions, 25 July.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expects India to lead global talks on the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme ETS.L, the organisation's head said, sympathising with the country's objections to the proposal. Two Indian airlines failed to meet a March 31 deadline to comply with the ETS, which requires carriers flying to or from Europe to offset their carbon emissions, but has prompted an outcry from some in the industry. "India does not appear to be philosophically against the EU ETS. The objection India has is that it is an attempt to wield the EU's territorial rights. A lot of countries are also of that view. That position is very reasonable." Tony Tyler, director general of the IATA told a news conference in New Delhi. Reuters, 25 July.
Every year, an average Mumbaiite emits 3.83 tons of carbon dioxide, which is equivalent to emissions from a small petrol car making 76 round trips between Mumbai and Pune (a distance of 165km). Mumbai’s carbon footprint is double the national average of 1.4 tonnes of carbon dioxide. This is one of the findings from data compiled by Dadar-based non-government organisation Environmental Management Centre (EMC), after calculating the personal carbon footprint of 503 people across India. The carbon footprint for a Mumbaiite was concentrated in the range of 0.51 to 7 tons of carbon dioxide per year. Hindustantimes, 24 July.
Growth in the US economy slowed in the second quarter to an annualised pace of 1.5%, as consumer spending eased. But growth in the first three months of the year was revised up to 2% from a previous estimate of 1.9%, the Commerce Department said. Previous data was also revised to show the economy shrank by less during the 2007-9 recession than thought. Despite the slowdown, the second quarter growth figures were better than expected and US stocks rallied sharply. BBC News, 27 July.
The Canadian federal government is set to announce that it is almost halfway to meeting its emissions-reductions target — a significant leap in progress over the past year. The Canadian Press has learned that when Environment Canada releases its next update on greenhouse gas emissions trends in August, the report will show that Canada is almost 50 per cent of the way toward meeting its 2020 goal. That's a big jump from the 25 per cent announced a year ago. CBC News, 26 July.
The government's green policies are incoherent and fail to achieve their objectives in combating climate change, the manufacturers' trade body has said. Firms were polled by the EEF on current green policies, including measures to monitor carbon dioxide emissions, rules on energy efficiency and reporting on companies' environmental performance. A large majority said they often went further than the government's stipulations, but said the bureaucracy involved in complying with the regulations was time-consuming and inefficient. In some cases, companies are covered by as many as five different regulatory regimes. This made complying with the regulations complex and costly, they said. The Guardian, 30 July.
As Britain strives to meet European renewable energy targets, the world’s largest offshore wind farm is rising from the waves off the coasts of Kent and Essex. When the first phase of the London Array is complete by the end of this year, it will generate 630 megawatts of electricity – enough power for more than 470,000 homes, or two thirds of the homes in Kent. The first turbine in the London Array was installed in January this year, and another 90 have been added since then. The 175 turbines that will make up the 630-megawatt capacity of the first of two phases are due to be in place by the end of the year. The Daily Telegraph, 28 July.
Wireless electric-vehicle charging technology is to be tested in London. Chip developer Qualcomm says plug-in charging is too "cumbersome" and its tech could lead to batteries being topped up while cars are being driven. Trials involving an adapted version of Formula 1 car designer Delta Motorsport's E4 coupe electric car will take place before the end of the year. Further tests involving vehicles made by the French manufacturer Renault will follow in 2013. BBC News, 25 July.
Toshiba Corporation announced that it will start mass production of white light-emitting diode (LED) on a production line that the company will construct in the 200mm wafer facility at Kaga Toshiba Electronics Corporation, a production base for discrete products in northern Japan. Mass production will start from October 2012. LEDs Magazine, 26 July.