Tag Archive: Carbon

Good-Bye Coal

In a surprisingly bold move, US President Obama set ambitious emission targets (1,000lbs of carbon dioxide for each megawatt hour) for new power plants, which will basically prevent the construction of new coal power plants. The only fossil energy source that will be able to comply with the new regulation is natural gas, which is booming thanks to the fracking technology.
ON-green-policy! Mr. Obama is basically heading into the right direction, acting against greenhouse gas emissions without favouring a particular energy source. Still, this approach has a few shortcomings.

Natural gas production receives a preferential treatment and it will be very …

Biofuels – Equalling Libya’s Oil Output

Some interesting figures that are worth being noted. Biofuel production now consumes 40% of the US corn harvest. In terms of produced quantity, biofuels account for more fuel than the oil production of Libya. Biofuels become price competitive if oil costs more than 70 US$ / barrel – it has frequently topped 100 US$ in the last couple of years.
ON-green-policy. Biofuels are questionable in terms of carbon saving efficiency and also in terms of competing with food production. While the US, where 50% of the world’s biofuels are produced don’t go hungry, the recent boom in Biofuels still influences …

Sustainable Development Indicator

How can human development be measured? GDP is limited to measuring economic activity and thus fails to take into account other essential indicators of human well being. Accounting for life expectancy and schooling besides economic performance, the Human Development Index (HDI) is already more comprehensive but still lacks one essential component: sustainability. What is the highest income, perfect education and health good for, if the worlds natural resources are depleted and the planet’s ability to sustain life is ruined? Climate change and excessive carbon emissions probably being the single most dangerous long term threats to decent human life conditions, …

Greenhouse Gas Emissions – Europe Emits 15% More if Consumption is Considered

Chinas is now the worldwide biggest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHG). However, if we take into account the end-consumers of Chinese goods, the ranking looks notably different. After all, Chinese industries export a very substantial part of their production to western states. As pointed out recently by the Environmental Investment Organisation (EIO) in its Global 800 2011 Carbon Rankings, it’s the west that basically outsources GHG intensive manufacturing into emerging countries, taking advantage of low production costs and environmental standards and thereby lowering domestic CO2-emissions. In a recent ranking by IFO calculated the real carbon footprint of countries. China’s …

EIO – Carbon Ranking Methodology Explained

The EIO’s new environmental tracking carbon index methodology deserves a short explanation because it highlights the complex ecologic, economic and political context of carbon ranking. First, one has to consider the multiple goals of the ranking: It aims both at measuring reliably and comprehensively corporate greenhouse gases emission (GHG) intensity as well as at incentivising companies to become more transparent about their emissions and to verify GHG data. These requirements translate into a rather complex methodology, which I will try to explain in three steps. Please note that corresponding to the EIO’s transparency goal, only publicly available data was …

Carbon Tax – Australia’s Bright Move

Motivated by the green party on whose vote she relies in the parliament, Australia’s prime minister Julia Gillard tackles Australia’s position as the global top per capita greenhouse gas polluter. A carbon tax of 24US$ per tonne will be levied on the countries 500 top polluters. Half of the raised money will be redistributed to the population in order to compensate rising energy prizes, an additional 40% will be spent helping companies to adjust to modern energy and carbon saving and measures. Consequently the government also aims at reducing Australian carbon emission by 80% by 2050 joining other countries …

Environmental Investment Organisation – New Carbon Ranking

The Environmental Investment Organisation (EIO) in London has published a new carbon ranking. In five major reports covering Europe’s, North America’s, Asia/Pacific’s and BRICS’s 300 as well as the Global 800 biggest companies, the British NGO sheds light (based on publicly available data) on carbon transparency and efficiency of the global business leaders. The reports venture into a new dimension of carbon reporting and for the first time take into account indirect (scope 3) emissions. Combined with the important role of reporting transparency and thanks to the all inclusive (in contrast to the traditional best-in-class) approach in the ranking …

Air Travel – Taxed at Last

Europe, more in the headlines for the feeble response to its economic and currency woes, is taking up more speed when it comes to make airlines accountable for some their externalised environmental and societal costs. In a recent ruling the European Court of Justice confirms the EU commission’s plan to charge all flights to and from the Europe Union with a carbon charge of 5 to 10€ per passenger.
On-green-policy. Europe confirms its role as an environmental leader and other countries should rather follow suit instead of trying to fight the right thing. Aviation contributes over proportionally to greenhouse gas …