Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

Awaiting the alternative energy sukuk: Innovation vs conservatism

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MANAMA, Feb 18 (Reuters) – Dubai’s debt fiasco and real estate bubble bust pushes investors to look out for alternative assets underlying Islamic finance products – could renewable energy provide a way-out?

Predominantly, Islamic finance and investment products have been backed by infrastructure or commodities assets. But executives at the 2010 Reuters Islamic Banking and Finance Summit said product diversification was needed to cut the over-reliance on real estate in the Gulf.

“Sharia scholars are eager to support the renewable energy initiative, but the Islamic banking industry (in the Gulf) does not seem to be overly interested in this area although I am aware of a couple of deals involving acquisitions of clean tech companies in the U.S. and wind farms in the UK,” said Ayman Khaleq, partner at the Vinson & Elkins law firm in Dubai.

“The big banks have teams that focus on renewable energy as an asset class. However, the problem is that Islamic banks are not big enough to be able to cover specific sectors such as alternative energy,” he added.

60-hour work weeks, all in the name of climate change

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Some politicians may be accused of dragging their heels when it comes to dealing with climate change, but you can’t say members of the United Nations’ Clean Development Mechanism’s executive board aren’t clocking in the hours.

The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), an emissions trading scheme under the Kyoto Protocol worth $33 billion last year according to the World Bank, allows companies and countries to outsource their greenhouse gas reduction efforts by investing in clean energy projects in emerging countries like China and India, where making emissions cuts costs less.

Enviro-boxer Britain needs to spend more on climate cure

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Scientists may face an uphill battle in trying to warn the world about the looming perils of global warming, but one of Britain’s top academics wouldn’t trade places with the politicians tasked with negotiating a new global treaty to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

“Although the science (of climate change) is difficult and still uncertain, it’s a doddle compared to the politics,” said Martin Rees, president of the Royal Society, Britain’s science academy.

Google’s Green Energy Czar on investing in renewables

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Bill Weihl, Google’s Green Energy Czar, sat down at Reuters’ Global Climate and Energy Summit in San Francisco and talked about Google’s solar thermal project, infrastructure costs and where he sees the energy mix heading in 20 years.

Here he chats about emerging clean tech hubs and what the United States should do about investing in renewables.

Silver Spring Networks shows grid smarts

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Scott Lang, the Chief Executive of Silver Spring Networks, sat down at Reuters’ Global Climate and Alternative Energy Summit in San Francisco to talk about building and expanding within green tech sector.

Here Lang discusses how his company’s technology for reporting power consumption to utilities also finds problems quickly.

BrightSource CEO talks about building carbon-free future

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John Woolard, the chief executive of solar thermal energy company BrightSource, sat down at Reuters’ Global Climate and Alternative Energy Summit in San Francisco to talk about energy efficiency, project financing and the future  of carbon-free power.

His advice: build fast!

(Editing/video by Courtney Hoffman)

Welcome to the 2009 Reuters Paper and Packaging Summit

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The global paper industry has struggled for more than six years to claw its way out of a slump, as soft demand and overcapacity have kept prices down, leading to poor earnings, production curtailments and layoffs.

The current global downturn has further eroded demand for basic materials, including paper, as print advertising has dropped steeply in the crisis. Companies have been forced to run just to stand still, temporarily or permanently shutting mills and axing staff.

Kinder: wind, solar not the answer to U.S. energy needs

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Rich Kinder, CEO of Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, says the Obama Administration’s push to develop alternative energy sources such as wind and solar are not the answer to reducing the nation’s dependence on oil or reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Click below to hear where Kinder thinks the U.S. should be focusing its attention.

Kinder: wind, solar not the answer from Reuters TV on Vimeo.

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