Australia University study: countries carbon policy and energy prices

A study by Australian National University has found some trends into why certain countries are keener than others on an international carbon price.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, countries which are more carbon emissions intensive, and typically with low energy prices, do not like the idea of a common international carbon price, although these countries often have the cheapest marginal cost of reducing carbon emissions.

But if these countries had to cut emissions to the point where the marginal cost of cutting further was the same as the carbon price, they would pay more, because of the bigger gap between its low initial marginal cost and any common international price.

“A common global carbon price results in the EU having lower total costs as a percentage of GDP than the other more emissions-intensive regions,” researchers found.

However if countries set a common target for emissions intensity (or emissions per unit of GDP), China and India would have the lowest total costs because their emissions intensity is currently very low.

“This helps to explain why different countries favour different climate policies, as, for example, shown by the different types of emission pledges made by key countries after the 2009 UN climate conference in Copenhagen,” researchers said.

Research was by Dr Jack Pezzey from the Fenner School of Environment and Society in the ANU College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, and Professor David Stern and Mr Ross Lambie, both from the Crawford School of Public Policy in the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific.

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The New Zealand beef industry has made a study of its carbon footprint.

“We see this study as making a valuable contribution to the global livestock production story and we will be contributing the results of this study to the FAO [food and agriculture organisation] work programme on environmental performance of livestock food chains,” says Ben O’Brien, General Manager Market Access, with Beef + Lamb New Zealand.

Mr O’Brien said the New Zealand sheep and beef industry had made enormous progress in reducing its emissions during the last 20 years, mainly by producing more meat from less pasture.

“Compared to 1990, New Zealand sheep and beef farms now produce slightly more meat by weight, but from fewer animals,” he said.

Researchers estimate that this productivity improvement has reduced the carbon footprint of New Zealand beef and lamb by about 17% over that period, he said.

The study was funded by Beef + Lamb New Zealand, the Meat Industry Association, Ballance Agri-Nutrients and Landcorp, and the Ministry for Primary Industries greenhouse gas footprinting strategy. Much of the data for analysis was supplied by Beef + Lamb New Zealand.

The study has created a benchmark for understanding where greenhouse gas emissions are occurring across the supply chain, including production, processing, transportation and consumption, he said.

“Differences in the footprint are largely related to the value of the types of cuts that are exported to different markets and the method of allocating emissions on an economic basis.

“The majority (over 90%) of emissions occur on the farm.”

O’Brien says the footprint varies depending on the type of farm ( 7.2 to 14.3 kg CO2e per kg live-weight), the sex and age of animals (7.3kg young bull to 16.0kg breeding cows), and whether or not calves from the dairy industry are used.

Overall the weighted New Zealand average GHG emissions from beef animals from sheep & beef farms2 was 10.5 kg CO2e per kg live-weight.

The emissions arising from transport to market are extremely low. Oceanic shipping is very efficient and this study shows it contributes just 1.1 – 2.7% of the total carbon footprint.

Dr Stewart Ledgard, the lead author of the report, said that until there was a globally-agreed methodology for ‘footprinting’, it was hard to assess how New Zealand’s footprint compares to others.

“We’re not aware of overseas studies with a comparable scope or level of detail in the methodology,” he said.

Global Reporting Initiative: what do you think about sustainability reporting

The Global Reporting Initiative, an organisation based in the Netherlands, is “calling the public” for comment on its sustainability reporting guidance.

GRI has developed a comprehensive sustainability reporting framework that is “widely used around the world,” it says.

GRI is now working on the fourth generation of its Sustainability Reporting Guidelines, called G4.

An “exposure” draft of G4 is currently available for people to give feedback on, until Sept 25th.

“Greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting and reporting is a fast-moving area, and one covered by increasing regulatory requirements. Public interest in this area is growing rapidly, and demands for information about companies’ emissions will continue to increase as climate change continues,” the organisation says.

“The GHG Emissions Working Group has proposed new content for G4 that more closely aligns GRI’s guidance with the GHG Protocol set of standards, jointly released by the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and the ISO 14064 standard produced by the International Standards Organization for Standardization.”

Press release

Heineken – software to gather and communicate sustainability data

Brewer Heineken has announced plans to use the credit360 system to gather and communicate “sustainability performance” data across global operations.

It will replace a time consuming Excel system with a single web based system, credit360 says.

The company conducted a competitive selection process for a software provider, before choosing credit360.

Heineken has a comprehensive emissions reduction strategy called “Brewing a Better Future.”

Heineken has over 250 brands and 140 breweries in 71 countries.

“credit360 was chosen for its adaptability to HEINEKEN’s established reporting requirements and the flexibility to cover a broad range of sustainability metrics,” credit360 says.

“By introducing approval steps and automated quality checks for data entry, Heineken will improve accuracy and reduce the time their sustainability experts spend chasing information and validating accuracy.”

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Nationwide building society gets 15,000 staff to use “online behaviour change tool”

Nationwide, a UK building society , is giving its 15,000 staff access to the Carbon Trust’s “online behaviour change tool” called Empower, to help them improve energy efficiency.

The building society is confident will result in significant annual financial and carbon savings.

A bespoke version of the Empower software will be developed, including Nationwide’s own version of Empower will feature virtual representations of familiar locations, accompanied by energy efficiency tips tailored for the building society. Advice will be provided across a variety of business areas.

It will include advice about transport options for getting to work, information about teleconferencing and advice about how employees can reduce energy consumption at home.

Employees will be encouraged to pledge how they will cut carbon.

They will be provided with additional learning tools such as “quizzes and myth-busters”, the Carbon Trust sayus.

Information and reporting on pledges will help the building society to target the most effective places to change behaviour, as well as monitor expectations and progress.

The tool helps communicate to employees how small actions they can take, such as switching off monitors and lights when they are not needed, can make a big difference across the organisation.

The advice provided to employees will be designed to complement the wider efforts to reduce carbon throughout Nationwide’s business.

“We expect that by helping their employees work in a more environmentally-friendly way Nationwide will reap both financial and social benefits,” said Richard Rugg, Director of Programmes at the Carbon Trust.

Press release

SACE – reduces emissions 20tons

The US Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) has calculated that it has reduced its CO2 emissions from 2010 to 2011 by around 20 metric tons, equivalent to 4 cars being taken off the road.

It calculated carbon emissions associated with its biodiesel manufacturing, office energy consumption, air and ground transportation and overnight stays related to work.

In 2009 and 2010 it contracted the agency Verus Carbon Neutral to calculate its emissions, but this year it calculated them itself.

“The major benefit of calculating our footprint on our own is that we know what all of our assumptions are, and therefore can easily understand exactly what causes our emissions to go up or down each year,” SACE said.

Emissions from air travel were reduced for the third year in a row, but its ground transportation – from rental vehicles and from employee commuting – increased.

In the future it anticipates further drops in emissions, due to office energy efficiency improvements, installing a 9.6kW solar panel, and purchasing a Nissan Leaf (electric) company car. Improvements were also made to data tracking, to record the miles per gallon of every rental vehicle used.

Also in 2012 the company sold its biodiesel operations to Clean Energy Biofuels, and we closed two of its smaller offices in Athens, Georgia and Savannah, Georgia.

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Formosa Taffeta Co of Taiwan gets “Carbon Footprint Verification”

Taiwan textiles manufacturer Formosa Taffeta Co has obtained a “Carbon Footprint Verification Statement” for 24 of its product categories, from BSI Pacific Ltd. (bsi), a branch of the British Standards Institution.

Formosa Taffeta recently launched a company-wide verification project looking at the greenhouse gas emissions of its products from start to finish, following the PAS 2050:2011 standard.

The goal was to help the company improve energy management, maximize efficiency, enhance energy use and lower carbon emission.

It was assisted by the Taiwan Textile Research Institute (TTRI).

TTRI launched a Carbon Footprint Constancy Team in 2010.

Press release

Standard Forwarding offers CO2 emission reports for shipments

Standard Forwarding, a US “less than truckload” (LTL) forwarder and subsidiary of DHL Freight, is offering CO2 emission reports for customer’s shipments.

The CO2 emissions are calculated “following principles from internationally recognized standards, such as the Greenhouse Gas Protocol from the World Resources Institute, and the CO2 and reporting norms for transport shipments method negotiated by the World Economic Forum,” the company says.

Customers can request a monthly, quarterly or yearly report detailing their carbon footprint for each route during the requested time period.

Customers can choose to neutralise their emissions by buying into various climate protection projects around the world, verified by Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS).

“We are proud to be at the cutting-edge of environmental responsibility for an LTL carrier,” says John Ward, president of Standard Forwarding.

Southern African Bitumen Association uses UK asphalt carbon tool

The Southern African Bitumen Association (SABITA) is going to measure the carbon footprint of asphalt products and operations, using the Asphalt Pavement Embodied Carbon Tool (“asPECT”)developed by the UK’s Transport Research Laboratory (TRL).

It can also be used compare products and to make carbon assemssne.ts

The tool is made up of protocol, guidance documentation and software tools. It was developed in the UK by national and local highway construction bodies, trade associations for mineral products and bitumen, and the TRL.

”The regulatory context for greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting is becoming ever more rigorous, and in Europe large energy consumers, local authorities and local authority partnerships now have to report carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to comply with various statutory requirements,” says Saied Solomons, CEO of Sabita.

Some changes will be made to documentation and software to make asPECT fully applicable to South Africa, covering types and characteristics of local constituent materials, expected lifetime and CO2 conversion factors used.

It will make South Africa specific inclusions for aggregates, transport modes, cradle-to-gate constituent CO2e emission factors, asphalt design lifetimes, and installation/excavation methods.

The asPECT software is built on the Microsoft .NET platform.

Press release

Ceres – analyses emissions from US’ 100 largest power producers

Ceres, a US “sustainable strategy” consultancy, has published a report of the air pollutant emissions of the 100 largest power producers in the US.

It is based on their 2010 generation and emissions data.

It covered fossil fuel, nuclear and renewable energy facilities, owning 2,500 power plants.

The report covers SO2, NOx, mercury and CO2. It also covers opportunities and risks companies may face from potential changes in environmental regulations.

Major findings are that:

Electricity generation from natural gas-fired plants was virtually equal to the generation from coal-fired plants, with each fuel providing 32 percent of total generation in April 2012

Renewable energy production more than doubled from 83 million megawatt hours (MWh) in 2004 to 195 million MWh in 2011

Since 1990, power plant emissions of SO2 and NOx have decreased and CO2 emissions have increased .

In 2010, power plant SO2 and NOx emissions were both 68 percent lower than they were in 1990

In 2010, power plant CO2 emissions were 24 percent higher than they were in 1990 .This increase is primarily due to economic growth resulting in increased energy consumption across all sectors, and much warmer summer conditions resulting in an increase in electricity demand for air conditioning.

In 2010, power plants were responsible for about 64 percent of SO2 emissions, 16 percent of NOx emissions, 68 percent of mercury air emissions (among sources reporting to EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory), and 40 percent of CO2 emissions in the U .S .

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