Tuesday, October 24, 2006

3 out of 4 large companies measuring their carbon footprint

Ninety-five percent of companies surveyed by the U.S. Conference Board see discernable opportunities -- and risks -- of emerging carbon constraints, which are most likely to manifest themselves in "cap and trade" markets. Three out of four companies are actively measuring their carbon footprints from both direct and indirect operations.

Nearly 30 percent of the 92 companies surveyed said their are figuring the costs of carbon emissions in their planning of future projects and another 39 percent are weighing how to include such costs in the future.

The survey also showed that about half of the companies contacted report their emissions publicly. Of those who don't 60 percent said they plan to.

carbon footprint
cap and trade
Conference Board
greenhouse gases

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

DOE's Andy Karsner in Silicon Valley

DOE's Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewables Energy, (EERE), John Mizroch, disclosed that Alexander "Andy" Karsner, DPE's Assistant Secretary for EERE, is in Silicon Valley this week trying to connect the dots between venture funds and technologies that can help reduce the United States' reliance on fossil fuels.

Mizroch was mum on details but he said Karsner and his allies inside the Administration, which included many at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, are going all-out to make the most of the two-plus years left of the Bush Administration.

The White House is doing its part. Deputy White House Chief of Staff Joel Kaplan gave an interview to the Washington Post, published today (Wed. Oct. 18) asserting "There's still plenty of time to get important things done if people on both sides of the aisle are willing to work together to do it." Kaplan said Bush will "look for partners in Congress" to develop, among other things, alternative energy supplies.

Andy Karsner, DOE, John Mizroch, Silicon Valley, venture capital, energy, cleantech, U.S. Department of Energy

More investors want climate-change risk disclosure

A group of large institutional investors and other organizations representing trillions of dollars in assets have offered guidelines to companies for providing their investors information on the financial risks of global warming. They're calling it a "Global Framework for Climate Risk Disclosure."

The investors involved included large pension funds in the Australia, the United Kingdom and two U.S. states: California, and Connecticut.

This is among the recent moves demonstrating a sharper focus by a growing number of investors on how corporate bottom lines are affected by how they, and their governments, deal with or ignore global warming.

The four key elements of any risk mitigation plan, according to the 14 funds and other organizations:
1. measurement of greenhouse gas emissions
2. analysis of climate risks and emissions menagement
3. assessment of physical risks of climate change
4. analysis regulatory risk, including different regimes and the confusion they sew

Among the funds/organizations are:
- California Public Employees' Retirement System (aka CalPERS);
- Connecticut State Treasurer's Office
- Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change
- United Nations Foundation, led by former U.S. Congressman Tim Wirth of Colorado
- Ceres

CERES, climate risk, global warming, climate change, climate risk disclosure, Tim Wirth, pension funds

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Big Oil squares off against Silicon Valley

Big oil squared off against Silicon Valley Wednesday, Oct. 11 at the first-ever "Advancing Renewable Energy" conference in St. Louis organized by the U.S. Departments of Energy and Agriculture. American Petroleum Institute President Red Cavaney warned renewable cheerleaders not to overpromise and be wary of underperforming. He said biofuels need to be self-sufficient. Venture capitalist Vinod Khosla shot back that in the very next session that oil has never been self-sufficient. And that, Khosla added, says nothing about the "indirect" subsidies benefitting oil companies in the form of gasoline priced way below its environmental, health and national security costs. "Oil has been locked up and not subject to innvovaton" the way the telecommunications and Internet industries have been, Khosla said.

On one facet of the debate they seem to agree: let the free markets decide. Which begs the question: who is willing to surrender their subsidies first?

renewable energy, biofuels, gasoline, Vinod Khosla, Red Cavaney, oil companies, Silicon Valley, American Petroleum Institute,
energy,

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Guess what? Detroit's survival may depend on better fuel efficiency

The higher their fleets' fuel efficiency, the more Detroit's automakers can profit. If domestic car makers don't see this light yet, they have fresh fuel for thought from a credible study by the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute weaving its way into blogs and mainstream media.

Co-author Walter McManus, who heads the Institute's auto analysis division, apparently convinced Wall Street Journal columnist and hybrid critic Holman Jenkins, writing today, Oct. 4, that "fuel efficiency is not a virtue independent of economics--the chief selling proposition behyind hybrids, which expect you to pay extra for the privilege of saving gas."

The authors contend that at any gas price between $2 and $3.10 per gallon, GM, Ford and Chrysler can make more money by investing a dollar in fuel efficiency than by any other approach with technologies already available.

Bottom line: Detroit's survival depends on making significantly more fuel efficient cars with new designs in the months to come for cars due out in 2010. No doubt that constitutes a deep transformation. How much brighter does the light need to shine?

fuel efficiency, miles per gallon, U.S. automakers, University of Michigan, hybrids, GM, Chrysler, Ford