Carbon Offsets Daily

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July 23 Carbon Industry Top Headlines

Two Major Carbon Industry Associations Unite to Have Stronger Voice

International Carbon Investor and Service (INCIS) and Carbon Markets Association (CMA) will incorporate into a single body probably in August.

Both associations carbon industry firms and are expected to organize a joint meeting next month to select the board of the new amalgamated association. Carbon Finance reports that the new body will be named Carbon Markets Investors Association; however, the name isnt final yet.

Imtiaz Ahmad, VP of INCIS, states that this step will give the carbon industry a united voice when significant changes are taking place in the international community. Similar views were expressed by Anthony Hobley, chairman of the CMA.

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GM,Nissan Prepare to Launch Electric Cars

General Motors announced at the recently held Plug-In 2008 conference that it has partnered with 34 utilities and also the Electric Power Research Institute to pave the way for a smooth introduction of its plug-in electric hybrid – Volt that is slated to hit the roads in 2010. GM wants to make sure that the electrical infrastructure is ready to take on the extra load and that Volt users are easily able to recharge their vehicles.

Nissan will also be ready with its zero-emission electric car by 2011 and it has teamed up with Tennessee to be able to determine the infrastructural requirements for running the car. Nissan’s Carlos Ghosn said:

"We are forming a partnership with the state of Tennessee to promote zero-emission mobility"

Nissan has similar tie-ups with  Portugal, Israel and Denmark.

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California and 13 States to Cut Vehicle Emissions, Fuel Economy to Become 43 MPG per Gallon

The Sierra Club may soon press automobile manufacturers to raise the fuel efficiency of cars to 43 mpg, even though the US Congress had agreed to 35 miles per gallon in Dec 2007. A total of 14 US states including California will implement laws to restrict CO2 emissions by vehicles. Although the present US administration hasnt given a green signal to this law, both Democratic and Republican candidates have voiced their support for it.

The California Air Resources Board states that the fuel efficiency of automobiles would go up to around 43 mpg by 2020 if CO2 emissions generated by vehicles are reduced to the level proposed by California. This would also mean a $13 billion per year boost in the expenses of automakers, beginning from 2016 when the law would come into full effect.

The major breakthrough would be huge cuts in GHG emissions along with a sharp decrease in the nations oil imports.

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July 22 Carbon Industry Top Headlines

Architectural Area Lighting (AAL) First Carbon Neutral Company to Provide Lightings

Architectural Area Lighting (AAL), which offers eco-friendly and effective outdoor fixtures to the construction industry, is the only carbon neutral company in the market that produces lightings. The firm became carbon neutral in Nov 2007 and is a supplier of green products to architects.

The company has gone well above the minimum standard provided by the US Green Building Council and worked hard for 14 consecutive months to achieve its current carbon neutral status.

AAL also provides training classes to industry professionals on the topic of carbon neutrality. The classes have been certified by the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

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UK Government Needs to Take Action Against Coal-Fired Plants

The Environmental Audit Committee has released a report warning the British government that unless it takes strict action against coal-fired power plants, it will not be able to meet its CO2 emission targets. The report stressed the need to get rid of the power plants that do not run with clean technology.

Coal-fired plants emit twice the amount of CO2 as compared to those that use gas but with gas prices spiraling up, coal is becoming the preferred fuel of choice. Despite their serious environmental impact, UK might see the setting up of 5 or 6 coal plants by 2015.

A probable solution lies in using Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology and the report urges the government to set a deadline for closing the coal-burning plants that do not embrace it. However, as of now CCS is expensive and calls for greater fuel usage. There is uncertainty about when it will be become technologically and commercially feasible.

According to the report:

"Unless there is a dramatic technological development, coal should be seen as the last resort, even with the promise of carbon capture and storage (CCS)"

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Top Australian Firms Join Hands with Workers Union amid Emissions Trading Scheme

The emissions trading scheme in Australia is setting the ground for a cold war between the government and the nations richest firms. Some of these top firms have joined hands with one of Australias most influential worker unions to save major industries from the negative impact of the emissions scheme.

Companies like Qantas, Shell and Alcoa have teamed up with the Australian Workers Union to safeguard their common interests. Paul Howes, national secretary of the AWU stated that they dont want to fight the government but instead want to ensure that the industrial sector is not negatively affected.

In addition, some other associations like the Business Council of Australia are also holding talks with the AWU for a feasible solution to the problem. Despite these activities, Mr. Howes has praised the governments green paper for bringing a few positive outcomes.

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July 21 Carbon Industry Top Headlines

UK: More Air Travelers Buying Carbon Offsets

Organizations selling carbon offsets may now get more exposure if they expand their operations to the UK, especially if they are interested in providing offsets to the airline industry. The Air Transport User Council (ATUC) reports that more people are now buying offsets although the general public is still concerned about high ticket prices.

Since many offsetting schemes are catering to the airline industry, the competition may be tough for newcomers. British Airways has seen a 100% increase in its uptake within the preceding months, stated James Fremantle of the ATUC.

It has been estimated that 1 tonne of carbon dioxide is emitted per 4,000 miles of air travel per person.

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Sterling Planet to Purchase United States’ First VCS Approved Units

Sterling Planet – a leading provider of carbon neutral solutions to various organizations that include switching to renewable energy and offering carbon offsets, is all set to purchase carbon units from what is claimed to be United States’ first Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS) verified project. The project in question is the Greenville County landfill gas utilization project – located in Greer, South Carolina that will lead to an annual reduction of methane emissions by 6,000 metric tons over the next decade. In terms of environmental impact, this is equivalent to taking as many as 23,000 passenger vehicles off the roads per year.

Sterling Planet will include the Greenville Voluntary Carbon Units in its retail portfolio for companies who are looking to invest in carbon offsets. The company’s President and CEO, Mel Jones said:

"The VCS-certified Greenville project will help support the demand that Sterling Planet has created for credible, high-quality carbon offset solutions."

The VCS program, based on the Kyoto Protocol’s CDM covers voluntary offsets and calls for the fulfillment of certain criteria such as additionality, permanence, measurability among others.

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Carbonetworks to Raise $5 million for Marketing, Sales of Carbon Management Software Package

Software maker Carbonetworks, which brings state-of the-art software for the carbon trading industry, is going to raise around $5 million with the help of NGEN Partners, a clean-tech company.

The carbon management software that Carbonetworks has made is a comprehensive package that lets you calculate your organizations GHG emissions and facilitates the process of reducing those emissions. In addition, the software also connects you to a wide network that comprises of carbon offsetters, analysts, carbon traders and other carbon industry people.

The best thing about this software is that it allows users to create their own customized applications and when they want to manage their carbon by offsetting emissions or selling credits, this software package will find suitable partners from the wide network it has.   

Around 50% of Carbonetworks clients are from North America whereas the rest come from Europe and Middle East. At the moment, around $3 million have been raised and the company intends to use the money for marketing and sales.

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July 20 Carbon Industry Top Headlines

Magic Mushrooms = Carbon Offsets?

Paul Stamets on 6 ways mushrooms can save the world.

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Professor Jayant Baliga: The Man with the Worlds Smallest Carbon Footprint!

While many of us try to do several things in order to reduce our footprint, we are not anywhere near Jayant Baliga, the green professor at North Carolina State University who also presides over N.C. State’s Power Semiconductor Research Center. Using his academic skills in electrical engineering, this man created a power-saving switch that saves an amazing 1.4 trillion (yes, thats trillion) pounds of CO2 from getting mixed up in our dear environment every year! Not only this, but this green device also saves around $300 billion.

So Baligas contribution to the world is a global saving of 125 gigawatts of power per annum, through which he has offset the footprint of 175 million people! One would need to grow many million trees to have a footprint this small. Although many of us benefit from his works, he is still unknown to many.

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Can We Reduce CO2 Emissions While Sustaining Economic Growth?

In the latest G8 meeting, leaders of developed countries settled on reducing GHG emissions by 50% by 2050 although they were criticized for not setting any mid-term targets. However, even meeting this 50% reduction target seems difficult at the moment. Scientists and researchers opine that CO2 emissions have to be cut by 80% (base year 2000) by mid-century if we are to avoid any serious climatic issues.

However, most of the developing and underdeveloped nations subsidize gasoline, which accounts for a large proportion of carbon emissions. And if these nations do not give subsidies, they may not be able to maintain their economic growth.

Jeffery Sachs, director of Columbia Universitys Earth Institute, mentioned in Scientific American magazine that we cannot cut CO2 emissions while maintaining global economic development with the contemporary technologies we have now. So the answer may be in technology.

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July 19 Carbon Industry Top Headlines

British Columbia: Finance Minister Says Carbon Tax Good for Economy, Taxpayers, Environment

Finance Minister Colin Hansen states British Columbias carbon tax will benefit people, economy and environment at the same time.

The tax cuts that the government has introduced with the carbon tax plan will allow people to spend larger sums on carbon-cutting products like fuel-efficient vehicles. And such low carbon products will further reduce expenses like savings in fuel (because of greater fuel-efficiency). This also means that the government will proceed with its plan even if fuel prices increase further.

On the other hand, British Columbian ranchers say that the carbon tax can prove to be the last nail in the coffin for their businesses, which are already in trouble because of increased production expenses and low selling prices for cattle.

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US EPA Releases Proposal to Standardize Underground Carbon Storage

The latest hot topic in the carbon industry seems to be that of carbon capture and storage. The US EPA issued a proposal to formulate technical criteria for building, running and monitoring wells. This may lead to commercialization of the CCS technology, which is used to store CO2 deep under the ground. The proposal came out under the Safe Drinking Water Act, which safeguards ground-based water resources from contamination by any external, injection-related actions.

The Act already takes into account 5 types of wells, and carbon storage wells would become the sixth type. It has been estimated that CO2 will be stored at least 800 meters inside earth. The government wants to make sure that underground water reserves do not get affected by the huge amounts of carbon dioxide stored in wells.

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July 18 Carbon Industry Top Headlines

Ford Australia Supports Governments Decision to Include Transport in the Emissions Scheme

At a time when the Australian government is under heavy fire from many domestic companies, Ford Australia has admired the Rudd Governments decision to add transport industry in the emissions trading scheme.

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Al Gore Hopes for Zero Carbon Electricity Production

Former US Vice President and Nobel Peace Prize winner- Al Gore, addressed an energy conference in Washington on Thursday, where he laid great emphasis on the importance of renewable sources of energy. He said that the United States should wean away from electricity generated from fossil fuels and  completely switch to "carbon-free" sources such as wind and solar energy by 2018. He argued that apart from causing environmental catastrophes, climate change is also a potential threat to the national security and might create:

"hundreds of millions of climate refugees destabilizing nations around the world."

He made it clear that though the goal for producing carbon-free electricity is very much within reach, 

"It represents a challenge to all Americans, in every walk of life
to our political leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators, engineers, and
to every citizen."

According to the former Vice President, the most critical policy change in this regard would be levying taxes on CO2 production with a concomitant reduction in payroll taxes.

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Ontario Enters Carbon Credit Trading Agreement, Welcomed by Schwarzenegger

Ontario has now become a member of the Western Climate Initiative (WCI), a US-based carbon trading agreement which already includes 3 Canadian provinces: Manitoba, Quebec and British Columbia. In addition, the WCI contains 7 American states including California and Washington. In 2007, all members decided to cut their GHG emissions by 15% (base year 2005) by 2020.   

Californian Governor Schwarzenegger applauded Ontarios efforts to tackle the climate situation and welcomed it into the Initiative.

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July 17 Carbon Industry Top Headlines

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