The Grid: Energy, Resources, Environment, Sustainability | Bloomberg

Republicans Drop Energy Efficiency From Platform

Republicans Drop Energy Efficiency From Platform

The Republican Party platform for 2012 contains no mention of energy efficiency, leading some observers to conclude that the issue of energy conservation--long considered bipartisan—is becoming increasingly politicized.

The omission is “a little bit surprising” given support from previous Republican platforms and from Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney himself during his time as governor of Massachusetts, said Andrew Goldberg, chief lobbyist for the American Institute of Architects, a group that supports energy-efficient buildings.

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Save the Storytelling; Big Investors Are Hungry for Company Data

Last year, Dutch pension fund manager APG wanted to compare how European telecom companies managed the energy needed to run their power-hungry data centers and networks. It turned out to be a tricky question. Some companies reported their CO2 emissions. Others measured the total energy they consumed. What’s more, their goals for cutting power use followed different timelines. "It was very difficult to compare the figures," says Erik Jan Stork, senior sustainability specialist at APG, which manages 311 billion euros ($398 billion) in assets.

So APG worked with the Carbon Disclosure Project to write guidelines for the telecom industry to report energy use. Those disclosures, which companies voluntarily file with the nonprofit, will help APG decide where to put its money. "It is information that has played an important role for the portfolio manager to weigh the various opportunities and risks within a company," Stork says.

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Why Is the U.S. Backward, and Other Climate Questions

If the proliferation of corporate sustainability reports is any indication, companies are starting to wake up to the realities of a resource-constrained world. That should be great news for groups like the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), which are focused on corporate transparency and accountability.

Yet, there seems to be a sense of loss of trust among the group's strongest proponents. I reached out to some sustainability experts and colleagues at CSRwire for thoughts, in advance of the CDP Global Climate Change Forum, which will be live-streamed on Bloomberg.com Sept. 12 at 9 am Eastern time.

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Top 1,000 Companies Wield Power Reserved for Nations

Top 1,000 Companies Wield Power Reserved for Nations

Globalization has concentrated economic power within a group of large companies who are now able to change the world at a scale historically reserved for nations. Just 1,000 businesses are responsible for half of the total market value of the world's more than 60,000 publicly traded companies. They virtually control the global economy.

This vast concentration of influence should be the starting point for any strategy of institutional change toward a sustainable society.

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Climate Scientists Face Organized Harassment in U.S.

Penn State climate scientist Michael Mann

InsideClimateNews.org -- The harassment faced by U.S.-based climate scientists has been well documented in the media—but not the harassment of scientists in Europe, Canada or the rest of the world.

That's because there hasn't been much to report.

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Major Companies Quietly Reducing Emissions and Saving Money

Major Companies Quietly Reducing Emissions and Saving Money

InsideClimateNews.org -- A federal carbon cap-and-trade program is dead for the foreseeable future. So is a once-promising national clean energy standard.

With climate policy paralyzed in Washington, a number of leading U.S. corporations are going it alone, squeezing big reductions of climate-changing emissions from their operations and supply chains. With stakeholder criticism and other pressures building, more and more are also releasing rigorous climate data in their financial reports and enlisting third-party firms to make sure it is accurate.

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Stalled U.S. policy and United Nations talks in recent years have made institutional investors, large companies, and civil-society groups some of the bright lights of international climate change leadership.

Next week, catch up on their efforts, when corporate and investment leaders mix it up at the Carbon Disclosure Project’s online Global Climate Change Forum. The event will be moderated by Bloomberg Businessweek’s Diane Brady and live-streamed to Bloomberg.com between 9 am and 10:30 am Eastern Time (2-3:30 pm in London) on Wednesday, Sept. 12. You can follow the conversation before, during and after the event on Twitter, using the hashtag #CDPforum.

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Sustainability Indicator: 18,777 Renewable Gigawatt Hours

18,777 gigawatt hours

Today's sustainability indicator, 18,777 gigawatt hours, is the average monthly electricity generated from non-hydro renewable energy in the U.S. That supplies about 5.8 percent of the country's electricity needs, compared with 3.1 percent in 2008.

This month's indicators:
213: current measure of the UN's World Food Price Index.
210: the price threshold associated with a sharp rise in social unrest and food riots.
50 percent: world transport fuels replaceable by converting 17.5% of farm waste to biofuel.
1.32 million square miles: Arctic sea ice this month, the least in 33 years of satellite records.
18 percent: decrease from the previous record-low Arctic ice, which was recorded in 2007.
330: consecutive months that global temperatures have been above the 20th century average.
626 million: people in India who still defecate in the open, contributing to superbugs.
251 million: people who gained improved sanitation in the country from 1990 to 2010.
67%: return from a portfolio based on the Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index since 2006.
31%: return of the Leadership Index's Global 500 peers during the same period.
1,079: jobs created by the average U.S. wind farm.
75,000: total workers currently employed by U.S. wind power industry.
78%: polled investors who recognize that climate change is a threat to the environment.
"Not much": anticipated impact on profits from reducing pollution, said half of respondents.
75%: world's surface that experienced unusually hot summers each year over the last decade.
33%: world's surface with hot summers in the baseline years from 1951 to 1980.
81%:U.S. energy demands met from domestic sources last year.
2: decades elapsed since the U.S. was similarly energy self-sufficient.
59%: proportion of emissions-reductions efforts that pay for themselves in 3 years.
$10 billion: annual savings on U.S. electric bills from new lightbulb standards.
30: large power plants it takes to produce electricity equivalent to the lightbulb savings.
63%: surge in new solar capacity added in Europe last year.
57%: potential decline in new solar capacity in 2012 amid economic uncertainty.
$71 billion: investment by oil industry to develop low-emission biofuels in the last decade.
$43 billion: investment by U.S. government over the same duration.
170 degrees Fahrenheit: reading on traditional black rooftops on NYC's hottest day last year.
42 degrees: temperature reduction reached by energy-efficient white roofs.
2 million: premature deaths each year from cooking with primitive stoves or open fires
#2: rank of indoor pollution from stoves among environment health risks, after unsafe water.
$1.4 trillion: spending by people over age 60 in Japan last year as the population ages.
23.3%: record proportion of Japanese population over age 65.
1.7 billion metric tons: CO2 pollution saved by the 20-year-old Energy Star program.
2 years: time it takes to generate that much pollution from electricity to all U.S. homes.
1/3: proportion of world's antibiotics consumed in India, where new superbugs were found.
35.3 gigawatts: North Sea offshore wind capacity projected by 2020.
3.2%: EU electricity demand supplied by 35.3 gigawatts.
2.5 billion: people worldwide who don't have bank accounts, which can reduce poverty
16%: banking done by mobile phones in Sub-Sahara Africa, where bank access is limited.

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Booming Charlotte Taps Sustainable Growth Strategy

Charlotte North Carolina Makes Sustainability a Priority

Charlotte, host to this week's Democratic National Convention, has been growing quickly the last decade, ranking 13th among the fastest-growing 50 U.S. metropolitan areas, according to the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce. To adapt to its success, the city now works sustainability into its overall development strategy.

Mayor Anthony Foxx has made sustainability a priority in transportation, energy, health, water and green space, since he started his term at the end of 2009. The city spells out these initiatives on its website, noting that "Sustainability is a term that is used a lot, but many people don't know what it really is."

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About The Grid

Nations and companies face rising competition for strategic resources — energy, food, water, materials — and the technologies that make best use of them. That's sustainability. It's about the 21st-century race for wealth, health and long-term security, across the global grid.

Analyses or commentary in this blog are the views of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloomberg News.

Eric Roston, Editor
eroston@bloomberg.net

Tom Randall, Deputy Editor
trandall6@bloomberg.net

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