Bennett - Editor
Welcome to another two weekly review of energy and environmental events and developments from both here in New Zealand and around the world. As always, we hope you find our collection of stories to be of interest in what continues to be a rapidly evolving area.
This week we get back to our basics with a focus on energy management and carbon emission issues.
The first of these looks at the Meridian First Light House which is the Victoria University of Wellingtons entry into the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011 the only entry, ever, from the southern hemisphere and one of only twenty university teams to compete in the challenge. Its presently on display until 24th May in Wellingtons Frank Kitts Park before being dismantled and shipped to Washington DC where it will be reassembled for the judging. Its going to great to see a Kiwi batch in the Washington Mall ideally next to the statue of Abraham Lincoln along with a barbie and a beer
Our next article examines the financial rewards being realised in the real estate sector from sustainable initiatives. And one way to realise these rewards is to use IT to automate the processes and create compelling business cases to ensure a continuation down a sustainable path ~ for example energy efficient improvements with a two-year payback represents a 50 percent return on capital.
And energy efficiency really seems to be taking off, with Europe one of the leaders. It seems senior management is finally getting the message that energy efficiency pays, with 61 percent in 2011 (up from 55 percent), saying that energy management is either extremely or very important to their organisations. This message is reinforced by these same managers expecting energy prices continuing to rise and that governments will mandate greenhouse gas reduction targets in the next two years. This increasing maturity amongst senior management is also being assisted by initiatives such as building energy disclosure programmes being introduced by the City of Seattle.
Managing energy consumption can also be extended to the supply chain as after all if an organisation can manage to assist their suppliers to become more efficient, then that has only has to improve the robustness of their supply chain as well as reduce the cost of supplies. This analogy remains true even if your supply chain originates in another country. It is isnt helped though if the rules around where carbon is accounted relate to the point of manufacture rather than consumption. Surely the consumer bears the ultimate responsibility for the carbon associated with the product they purchase or consume? You would think so, but not so in todays global economy where the manufacturer carries all liabilities and the consumer very little. As the article says ~ Carbon accounting system is mad as a hatter.
And there are other ways to track carbon emissions such as using your MasterCard to capture your emissions footprint for flights, hotel stays, car rentals and other travel associated activities.
Ever wondered just where carbon emissions come from? The next article sets out which industries and activities emit the most carbon, with the electricity and heat industry unsurprisingly the largest contributor at nearly 25 percent. Road transport as a sector contributed 10.5 percent, with fuel and power for residential buildings second at 10.2 percent.
Our next article examines how our activities on the planet are forcing other species to evolve for example in order to avoid poachers the percentage of tuskless elephants in Zambia has grown from 10 percent to 40 percent in twenty years. Or plants in order to avoid being picked are now growing shorter in height, or pesticide-resistant pests or pollution-resistant fish
So how has the worlds most successful adaptive species coped so far? We are of course referring to Homo Sapiens, better known as humans, that over thousands of years has adapted so successfully that it totally dominates all others species. According to one sixteen-year old, this domination is now inter-generational and is not doing enough to protect the future of generations to come. This is why Alec Loorz is suing the US Government, in his words, for allowing money to be more powerful than the survival of his generation, and for making decisions that threaten their right to a safe and healthy planet.
Thanks for taking the time to read this issue and look forward to catching up with you again. If you have any items of interest you would like to submit, then please feel free to forward them.