Sustainability Blog - The Grid
Bloomberg BNA -- The environmental impact of doing business costs the global economy $4.7 trillion a year, according to a report released April 15 .
That figure includes the top 100 environmental impacts, such as air pollution-related health costs, the effects of greenhouse gas emissions, the loss of nature-based benefits such as carbon storage by forests, and loss of natural resources.
Sustainability initiatives assuage the conscience of executives and honor the appeals of NGOs. It's no wonder that feel-good business improvements are plentiful in most large companies.
The trouble is, as these programs mature, managers are finding that the easiest projects have already been identified. What's more, first-generation initiatives might not address unsustainable practices at the core of a business. A financial institution can reduce its carbon emissions by renting space in a green building, for example, or encourage employees to recycle, or compost cafeteria leftovers, but it's all still irrelevant to the managing market risk faced by investors.
Bloomberg New Energy Finance -- Water is a bigger concern than energy for the longevity of Las Vegas as a tourist destination and place to live, according to Tom Perrigo, sustainability officer for the city.
“We have more control over energy,” he said. “It’s obviously a big concern, but we’re an optimal region of the world for solar power. We have some fairly good wind resources and lot of geothermal resources in the state. Water, though, we only have so much control over.”
The southwest of the U.S. has suffered recurring droughts since the beginning of this century and resources from its main water source, the Colorado River, are declining.
President Obama's proposed fiscal year 2014 budget includes funding to help U.S. communities increase their resilience to extreme weather and other climate change impacts.
The budget proposal also includes nearly $1 billion to address climate change on a global scale by reducing deforestation and promoting low-carbon growth in developing countries.
Here's a puzzle: How can a virtual currency, existing in digital form on computer hard drives, demand real power and real fuel, and have real-world environmental costs? If you're struggling to think of an answer, welcome to the world of "Bitcoin mining."
As a lot of folks know now, thanks to all-hands-on-deck media saturation, Bitcoin is a medium of transaction created in 2009 by an anonymous programmer to facilitate anonymous digital transactions (there’s an excellent history here). In the recent speculative mania, the value of Bitcoins skyrocketed. Before Bitcoins can be traded, though, they need to be created.
Cross-posted from Bloomberg.com's Political Capital blog.
North Korea’s threat to wage war was the No. 1 topic today when senators quizzed the head of the U.S. Pacific Command. Still, Sen. James Inhofe wouldn’t let the morning pass without a chance to attack those who think human activity is warming the planet.
Too much valuable methane from natural gas is leaking into the atmosphere, hurting the bottom line as well as the climate. We know how to stop it. It’s cheap to do, and it can pay for itself.
Natural gas production in the United States has been booming—and is expected to keep growing. Already, there are more than 500,000 wells and 300,000 miles of pipeline in place. In 2012, U.S. producers brought more than 25 trillion cubic feet of natural gas to market. And, by 2020, the United States is projected to be a net exporter of natural gas.
Natural gas is here to stay. Its low price is spurring investment and jobs, and increasing energy security. But it’s important to get it right.
Much of the growth is driven by hydraulic fracturing -- or “fracking” -- a process in which producers can drill more than one mile down and one mile across to access gas in rock formations. While shale gas has been an economic boon, the process can contaminate water supplies, cause air pollution, and have other disruptive impacts on the land and communities.
Without methane leakage, natural gas would create only about half the greenhouse gases per unit of energy as coal. Yet, methane is 72 times more potent than CO2 measured over 20 years, which is particularly important given that climate change is happening even more quickly than many models have predicted. (Methane has around 25 times more warming potential than CO2 over a 100 year timeframe.) At around three percent leakage, natural gas becomes more harmful than coal in the near term.
WRI recently conducted an analysis to find out what we know about U.S. methane emissions from natural gas and what can be done to rein them in.
Bloomberg BNA -- A group of investors April 8 proposed a standard requiring companies to disclose environmental and social data in annual financial filings in order to be listed on global stock exchanges.
A global sustainability listing standard would allow investors to compare companies on their environmental, social, and governance performance, Gwen Le Berre, vice president of corporate governance and responsible investment at BlackRock, said in a statement. BlackRock is one of the investment companies participating in the development of a sustainability listing standard.
The other investors working on the standard are Rockefeller & Co., Boston Common Asset Management, Pax World Management, Domini Social Investments, F&C Management Ltd., British Columbia Investment Management Corp., and the AFL-CIO Office of Investment. The investors are part of the Ceres Investor Network on Climate Risk.
Kansas, I love your sense of humor.
It seems like every time the Sunflower State pops up in my news feed, it’s for something like this: House Bill No. 2366, a proposed law that would make it illegal to use “public funds to promote or implement sustainable development.”
Bloomberg New Energy Finance -- Carlsberg AS, the world’s fourth biggest brewer, is focusing on making its packaging more sustainable this year and beyond, according to Morten Nielsen, its director of corporate social responsibility.
The company identified that about 45 percent of its CO2 emissions is attributed to packaging, with primary packaging – bottles and cans – having the biggest impact. “We’ve put together a strategy to address this issue and reduce the negative impact,” said Nielsen. As a first step, the brewery has introduced a life-cycle analysis tool to further assess the impact of its packaging.