Environment Forum

from Photographers' Blog:

Asia’s largest solar power plant

Nicky Loh presents a series of time-lapse sequences of a solar power plant in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

Asia's Largest Solar Power Plant in Kaohsiung, Taiwan from Nicky Loh on Vimeo.

The first time lapse sequence was shot over a period of one hour at 1 frame every two seconds on a lens baby. I chose to use still photography to capture the time lapse over video as the movement of the panels was so small that a continuous one hour raw video file on the 5D MKII would have crashed my computer.

The second time lapse sequence featuring the overview of Kaohsiung City, used to illustrate a city gaining electricity, was shot over a 3 hour period, at 1 frame every 4 seconds, from inside a hotel with an overview of the city. Because the hotel room lights reflect on the glass panel of the hotel room window which I shot through, I had to sit in the dark for nearly two hours for the camera to finish snapping.

Are the Copenhagen climate talks failing?

COP15picIn the last few days it has seemed like the only thing everyone can agree on in Copenhagen is that time is running out.

The heads of state start arriving today and descend in full force on Thursday.

Negotiators say they don’t want their leaders arguing over the placement of a comma or a set of brackets, and so everything needs to be tied up by Friday morning.

That leaves just over two days, and more than 190 countries gathered in the conference hall can’t even settle on a draft text to argue over.

Forget polar bears, who will save the prostitutes?

Among the many messages sent out by politicians during the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen, “Be sustainable — don’t buy sex” has to be one of the least expected. This was the advice circulated by Ritt Bjeregaard, the city’s mayor and a former EU Environment Commissioner, sent via postcard to all the hotels in the city to tell them to stamp down on conference-goers looking to patronise prostitutes on their premises.

Prostitution is legal in Denmark (though brothels and pimping are not), and sex workers had been expecting to do a roaring trade during the two-week conference.

Mayor Bjeregaard’s note sparked an angry response from the Sex Workers Interest Group, which pointed out that its members are not breaking the law and promised free sex to any attendees who produced one of the postcards along with their conference accreditation.

Thank you, EPA: U.S. solar companies

tomwernerMany businesses chafed on Monday at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s declaration that greenhouse gas emissions endanger human health.

But executives at the two largest U.S. solar power companies took a shine to the statement, which clears the way for federal regulation and came as a global climate summit opened in Copenhagen.  Now they’ll keep their eyes on Congress to act on future legislation.

First Solar’s chairman and former chief executive Mike Ahearn called the EPA’s move “an affirmation of the administration’s commitment to addressing climate change.”

Cloudy days for green stocks

The federal stimulus bill hasn’t been a ticket to prosperity for clean energy investors.According to Environment America, a federation of state-based, citizen-funded environmental advocacy organizations, over 4 percent of the $787 billion dollar stimulus package passed in February was ear-marked for clean energy projects.Yet the Reuters Business of Green Index, a basket of 14 green stocks, has fared poorly over the last three months, down over 20 percent against the S&P 500 Index.Why isn’t the stimulus bill, which appears to be helping many stocks, not having the desired effect in the greentech and clean energy sectors?”What happens in Washington for the time being is nowhere near as relevant as you might think,” said Raymond James analyst Pavel Molchanov.He notes that green stocks are heavily dependent on the solar industry, 90 percent of which is outside the United States:”Even though there is a large array of clean tech stocks to invest in, the most attractive green stocks and the certainly the largest ones are in the solar stage. And solar has been doing quite poorly because there is quite simply an overcapacity in the global solar industry.”That has put pressure on prices, margins and earnings. Not surprisingly, solar stocks have fared poorly.Suntech Power Holdings, one of the 14 green companies selected by Reuters, had lost 13 percent of it’s value in August when it reported second quarter earnings. Shares of China’s Yingli Green Energy and U.S. panel maker SunPower Corp were down about 17 percent, and First Solar‘s stock was down nearly 15 percent in the same period.Not all of the news is cloudy, but Molchanov says it’s not time to put away the umbrella just yet.”The good news is that sentiment has gotten so negative that it probably doesn’t take much for it to start improving and expectations for earnings are generally pretty low. So that’s helping, but the overcapacity in the market is not going away in the foreseeable future.”

from From Reuters.com:

Expanding our environment coverage

When the Reuters.com editorial and business teams met last year to frame our priorities for 2009, one of the ideas that most excited us was an expansion of our environment section. Our environment correspondents around the world were already ramping up their coverage of the business of clean technology, anticipating increased demand for news about how companies were addressing the challenges of climate change and pollution. This was before the election of President Obama and the promise of economic stimulus money for environmental projects.

So the timing felt right when we relaunched our Environment section as Green Business last week. You'll still find all the news that was on the old page, from correspondents such as Oslo-based Alister Doyle and Peter Henderson in San Francisco. But we've added more financial content and news from partners with complementary coverage.

Here's a quick tour of the page:
1: Business news from correspondents such as Nichola Groom, who covers alternative energy out of Los Angeles.

Introducing the Reuters Global Green Portfolio

As part of Reuters new Green Business section, we have chosen a diverse group of companies to serve as a proxy for the emerging green technology sector. Over the coming months we’ll be discussing each of them at length, and rebalancing our portfolio to reflect trends in the industry.

Click here to see our portfolio in action. You can track our performance against benchmarks, comment on our choices, and create a portfolio of your own.

********************

Comverge, Inc is one of the leading demand-response companies, known for their role in limiting electricity use during peak demand, employing technology to manage large companies’ power usage and control their costs. Their software can automatically adjust an air conditioner’s temperature or turn off a swimming pool pump when power supplies are tight, reducing prices for suppliers and end users by lowering end user demand at peak times.

California’s green jobs start young

California’s green jobs program is off to the races with $20 million in state and fed funds for a 20-month program for some 1,000 ‘at risk’ young adults. The California Green Corps will have a little of everything — green job training, a stipend, educational requirement and community service. Whether green industry, which is much more battered by the recession than many had hoped, will be able to hire when the government tap turns off is still a subject of debate. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger sure hopes so.

The state has high hopes for green — the folding kind — from green — the environmentally friendly kind. The state’s fact sheet linked above suggests 114,000 jobs and $25.3 billion in additional annual revenue from California green policies. Forecasting is tough, though, and estimates of what California’s global warming legislation will mean to the economy have been savaged. The state is pushing ahead with policies to combat global warming while acknowledging the economy might force changes.

Reuters pool photo

from The Great Debate:

The green-collar economy

van-jonesVan Jones is founding president of Green For All, and author of “The Green Collar Economy," In this interview with PopTech! he describes a plan to create millions of new jobs that can’t be outsourced, wean the country off its dependence on foreign oil, and take bold steps to address the climate crisis.

  •