Sustainability Blog - The Grid
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.
Bloomberg BNA — Global political leaders have the best opportunity yet in 2013 to adopt bold solutions that globally address climate change, a leading British economist said April 2.
Lord Nicholas Stern, chairman of the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics and lead author of a 2006 report on the economic impacts of climate change, said
Bloomberg BNA -- An energy efficient home can make the difference between foreclosure and maintaining mortgage payments, according to a new report.
The March 19 anaysis, Home Energy Efficiency and Mortgage Risks, produced by the Chapel Hill Center for Community Capital at the University of North Carolina and the Washington, D.C.-based energy conservation advocate Institute for Market Transformation (IMT), is the first academic study to investigate the connection between energy efficiency and the ability to repay a mortgage. The risk of mortgage default is one-third lower for energy-efficient, Energy-Star rated homes, according to a March 19 statement accompanying the report.
This week’s Dumb Question went to Christoph Huetten, senior vice president and chief accounting officer for SAP, which is based in Walldorf, Germany. Huetten last week helped the software maker roll out its first annual report that integrates financial results into one document (or "integrated report") with non-financial performance metrics, such as carbon pollution, women in management or employee retention.
DQ: Can I ask you a dumb question? If sustainability is so important to business, and not just p.r., then why is it so rare for financial executives to tout sustainability goals and sustainability executives to tout financial goals?