Geoff 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 open with the news that the Australian Govt. is launching a third attempt at introducing a price on carbon. The two previous attempts failed due to a lack of political support in the upper house Senate, whereas this time Gillard has already secured the support of her minority government’s political partners, including the Greens party that had opposed the previous schemes as being too weak. Maybe this time…

Our next couple of articles examines energy monitoring in buildings and how savings can be maximised through building occupant engagement. The increased emphasis on building energy management this has seen predictions for carbon and energy software spending to rise to US$207 million in 2011 and further again to US$558 million in 2014. This is accompanied by the news that spending on wireless-enabled sensors grew more than 80% in 2010. Also included is a very useful article detailing conversations from a meeting held at the US 2011 State of Green Business Forum. It’s a long, but worthwhile read. I really liked the comment “Energy efficiency is a team sport – What position do you play?” That; and that the hardest ninety percent of the problem is the people piece – ohhhh yeah.

We also examine what role Building Information Modelling (BIM) might have to play in the design and construction of new green buildings. BIM makes it possible for 3D digital models to carry and exchange intelligent information that is maintained throughout the lifecycle of a building project. BIM also lends itself towards green initiatives as they can carry information relating to embedded carbon, thermal area, surface area, geographical position and orientation. Whilst BIM have been around for a few years now, it is now only just being adopted by all professionals associated with the project – the latest of these being commercial integrators. Overall, BIM is heralded to be the new way green building projects will be managed.

Moving away from energy management and modelling we take a look at the role of the media when it comes to reporting on climate change. The age of the Internet, growth in social medium such as Facebook and reality television has led to declining income for newspapers and in-turn to reductions in the number of journalists. This reduced capacity to undertake investigative journalism has meant they now increasing rely on being ‘fed’ stories and therefore are now at greater risk of being duped by spin, manipulation and outright lies, some on a grand scale.

For example, what really was ‘Climategate’ all about? Our next article looks at how the release of the so called damning material was intentionally scheduled to coincide with the UN Climate Change Congress in Copenhagen. The media were carefully fed leaked elements of the hacked emails which were consequentially used to whip up public concerns about the validity of the science being used by the IPCC. So with the dust now firmly settled and after five inquiries into the matter, all scientists and their institutions have been cleared of data manipulation or falsifying the facts. So what have we learnt?

To us here at ETSL there would appear to be a well funded, well organised and totally unscrupulous campaign determined to destroy any attempts at addressing climate change that might disrupt profits to the businesses that would have much to lose if enacted. By this we refer to amongst others, the Koch Brothers with their oil interests, Peabody with their coal interests and all the Republicans who receive electoral funding from these same dudes.

Which is why we marvel at the tongue in cheek irony with which Rupert Murdock’s media empire, which includes Fox News, announced that it had gone carbon neutral. Remember, this is the same organisation that instructed their journalists to not report any climate change articles in the run-up to the US November 2010 elections. Oh the friggin irony of it all…

Our last story takes a sniff at a new line in footwear with the release of a line of fully compostable sneakers. Made from hemp, cork, bio-cotton, certified biodegradable plastics, chlorine-free bleach and other nontoxic materials, the shoes are designed to completely break down when buried in the ground – the first batch coming with seeds in their tongues, so that wildflowers will sprout up in commemoration of many miles of useful service.

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.

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