Environment Forum

from Mario Di Simine:

Coke says green strategy will win business

Having an integrated clean technology strategy will be a big part of winning  business in the 21st century, a Coca-Cola executive told Reuters.com on Monday, and its investments in refrigeration will likely have the biggest impact on that strategy long-term.

The world's biggest soft drinks maker has hooked up with Greenpeace on an initiative to eliminate hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) -- greenhouse gases with a high warming effect -- from its refrigeration and cooling equipment by 2015, said Jeff Seabright, Coke's vice president for Environment & Water Resources.

“We have about 10 million pieces of equipment that run in 200 countries around the world every day, and although we’re only 1 percent of the commercial refrigeration market we have an opportunity to really lead on this,” he said.

Coke is also investing indirectly to keep ahead of the curve on new frontier technologies.

Seabright said Coke has around $70 million in two clean tech venture capital funds, DJF Element and Rockport Capital and that, in addition to expecting better than market rate returns, such investments give it a front-row seat for the latest technologies.

from The Great Debate:

Climate skeptic: We are winning the science battle

- Dr. Fred Singer is the President of The Science & Environmental Policy Project and Professor Emeritus of environmental science at the University of Virginia. The views expressed are his own -

The International Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) charter states that the organization’s purpose is to look for human induced climate change. The Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) does not have this problem. If we find support for human induced climate change, we say so. If we do not find support for human induced climate change, we say so. In fact, the first NIPCC report, of which I was a lead author, was called 'Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate'.

We see no evidence in the climate record that the increase in CO2, which is real, has any appreciable effect on the global temperature. IPCC relies heavily on the surface temperature data, which is distorted by a deletion of a number of surface stations. The 'best' stations were kept - the ones around temperature islands and by airports.

But will they get the message?

They came from as far away as Taiwan, Hawaii, South America and South Africa and they ranged from toothless toddlers to gray-haired grannies as they all shivered together in Copenhagen on Saturday. They spoke in countless different languages but the 30,000 activists marching  all had the same message: Act now on climate change.

CLIMATE-COPENHAGEN/

Their hope is that the delegates to the Climate Conference — and more importantly the world leaders due in town later next week — will get that message.

“Bla Bla Bla. Act Now!” was the ubiquitous slogan on one popular placard. “There is no planet B“, “Change the politics, not the climate“, “Obama — get your head out of the Bush” and “Earth in Need. Delete Meat” were some of the other messages on posters and placards. My favourite was a simple hand-painted sign: “Make Copenhagen a name our children will remember“.

What about China?

(Updates with comments from Raymond Pierrehumbert, Knut Alfsen and Kim Carstensen)

HONGKONG-POLLUTION/

The world’s top emitter of greenhouse gases by geographical boundaries is China. A close second is the United States. Between the two great powers, they account for 40 percent of all carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels.

Heading into the United Nations Conference on Climate Change, the pressure was on for China to come up with a real plan for how it would scale back its record emissions.

Sleeping next to activists in Copenhagen

There’s no concierge, no bellboy nor even a check-in counter. There’s no lobby, nor mini-bar and not even any heating. But despite the lack of amenities there was still something special about sleeping alongside 2,000 other climate change activists in an empty warehouse in an industrial section of northwest Copenhagen last night. 

It’s cold, loud and dusty. But the price is unbeatable and so is the atmosphere. CLIMATE-COPENHAGEN/You could say they were all happy campers.

There’s no charge but donations are welcome. There’s even breakfast available, a delicious porridge concoction.  And even free wireless, which is helping me get this post written.  Last night I managed to find a fairly empty corner on the cold cement floor of this drafty warehouse shortly before midnight but by the time I woke up at 7 a.m. there were hundreds more activists in sleeping bags crowded around me. They had been streaming in through the night.

from Mario Di Simine:

Video: Protests under way in Copenhagen

Demonstrators came out in force early Saturday morning as the sun broke through the clouds that have blanketed Copenhagen during the first week of COP15.  A huge march, with about 60,000 protesters expected, is planned for later in the day but smaller rallies are already under way as groups make their way to the main event -- the march to the Bella Center, host of the COP15 global climate conference.

Here are some video clips from one march, where protesters held aloft banners reading "Demand Climate Justice" and "Face Facts, Make Pacts". They want global leaders gathering in Copenhagen to commit to eliminating or at the very least radically reducing CO2 greenhouse gas emissions.

California looks to catch a wave, of energy

surferBesides surfing, tourism and the ocean views, California may get another benefit from its famed coast: energy.

With shores that stretch for 745 miles along the Pacific Ocean, California could harness more than 37,000 megawatts of ocean power, or enough to supply a fifth of the state’s energy needs, according to the California Energy Commission.

On Friday, California utility Pacific Gas and Electric Co, or PG&E, took a dive in that direction. The company said it signed an agreement with the U.S. Air Force to study a wave energy project near a base and off the coast of northern Santa Barbara County. The utility is also seeking approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC.

Packed train beats cheap plane to Copenhagen

Imagine standing packed inside a commuter train with a thousand other people, some in dire need of a shower, some apparently having eaten garlic for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Imagine your fingertips clinging to a metal overhead rack as you struggle to stay upright on turns and bumps in the track. And then imagine doing that for hours on end.

GERMANY-RAIL/STRIKESThat’s what the train trip from Berlin to Copenhagen today was like as some 45,000 demonstrators converged on the Danish capital for Saturday’s march. But the journey was still a lot of fun — and we saw a myriad of wind turbines in both northern Germany and southwestern Denmark turning in the breeze, and thousands more roof-top photovoltaic systems extracting what little daylight they could out of the mid-December sky.

Fortunately, most of the people headed to the demonstration were in a fabulous mood. And there was even a happy ending to the ride — for the last two hours of the trip, in Denmark, an extra four carriages were added so just about everyone ended up getting a seat for the final third of the ride from Berlin, via Hamburg and a short ferry-hop.

Solar power mounts in Canada

canadaflag Solar power is heating up in the northern reaches of  Canada, a country not exactly known for its sunny rays and warm weather.

The industry has seen a heap of news from the region this week. US. solar heavyweight First Solar and Canadian pipeline company Enbridge announced that they are quadrupling the size of a solar farm in Ontario.

That’s on top of Chinese solar company Canadian Solar’s plans for a new $23 million plant in the province and a supply deal for Suntech in Ontario, too.

The silent revolution in energy efficiency

– John Kemp is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own —

John Kemp

Current debates about cutting energy consumption and carbon emissions often carry a strong undercurrent of asceticism.

There is an almost missionary zeal to save the planet by reverting to a simpler and more satisfying past when energy consumption was lower (or at least encourage other people to make necessary sacrifices).

But the post-war experience of the United States and other industrialized economies suggests it is possible to combine rising living standards with the same or lower energy use.

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