Monday, January 31, 2011

Green Petrol at Rs 14 a litre

British scientists have developed a low-cost and environment friendly 'artificial petrol' which may cost Rs 14 a litre and could be available in pumps over the next 3 years.

The artificial petrol is a hydrogen based fuel that will run in existing cars and engines at a fraction of the current costs. With hydrogen at its heart rather than carbon, it will not produce any harmful emissions when burnt, making it better for the environment. 

Such innovative and game changing research & development can indeed introduce substitutes that are greener and more sustainable to keep pace with rapid urbanization.   

Wind Power wins of Hydro Power. DME Energetica of Brazil to focus on Wind Power.

Wind power seems to be gaining popularity with organizations and investors. DME Energetica of Brazil, which was into Hydropower, abandoning its focus on Hydropower to get in wind power. The cost of producing power from wind turns out to be cheaper and the bureaucratic hurdles are less.  Government also is promoting Wind power compared to other renewable sources of energy. DME may not find its entry into Wind power easy. Its lack of experience will be a major hindrance. Negotiation for finance, power purchase with the grids may not be as easy as it seems.

Offshore Wind power more popular in EU. EU falling behind target in renewable energy.

Offshore wind installations are increasing in popularity. They almost increased by 51 percent. Whereas onshore wind power plants declined 14% over the same period. The total spending on wind power generation units by European Union however remained the same at around $18 billion. European Union is falling behind its target of generating 21% of the electricity consumption through renewable means. It ended of doing only 18%. This shows EU has to put more focus on renewable sources of energy.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

EU Carbon registries hacked and security breached. Trading closed for the last couple of days.

Everything that has money attached to it is vulnerable for theft. So is Carbon. The cyber hacking of the registries which keeps a track of the emissions by the European member nations has been hacked and has been closed for the last couple of days. International Emissions Trading Association said that the reputation of the market would be severely damaged and the loss may be irreversible if the security flaws are not repaired quickly and trading is resumed. EU commission has received the first batch of reports on the security measures of the registers. Europe if the largest market for carbon ad it is important to revive the confidence of the people as soon as possible.

Solar power turns cheaper, Taiwan reduced the cost of solar power by 30% due to falling cost of installation.

It has long been argued that over the years the cost of solar power would reduce dramatically. Taiwan has done has shown that is practical to reduce the cost. IT has reduced the cost of solar power feeding the Grid by 30% percent from last year. This has been possible, as the cost of installation of solar power has reduced. It is estimated that the cost of solar cells would reduce by 10-15% in the current year. The price of wind power is still much less compared to that of the solar power.

European Union and China in race to take the lead in reducing Greenhouse Gasses ( GHG ) emissions and improve energy efficiency.

European Union may be interested for having more stringent emissions target. Next month there is a meeting planned for the 27 EU member nations. EU already has a law in place aiming to reduce the Greenhouse Gasses and improve energy efficiency by 20% by 2020 from its 1990 levels. They are even ready to raise the bar higher to 30%.China has even more ambitious target of reducing the emissions by 45% in 2020 from its 2005 levels. It is good to see that every region is willing to outdo each other on this front and take the lead.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Egypt settles down peacefully, Mubarak named Intelligence Chief as Vice president. Durban, South Africa UNFCCC 2011

One of the most powerful supports to any sustainability and green movements come from the forces within the society. If a society is week and corrupt people cannot think about environment, nature or green as they will still be struggling to meet their basic needs. Of course, sustainability cuts across a bigger picture rather than just nature it also looks into the sustainability of the society, education, culture and a healthy development of humans. It is important that in the next round of climate change talks which will be held in Durban, South Africa, the participating countries reach into an agreement of how to disburse the $100 billion fund to the developing nations. These funds will be used for coming up to coming up to speed on sustainability. This would also mean that the developing nations would be able to participate in the climate change movement in a meaningful way. Hopefully Egypt would also settle down by that time. Protests have turned violent after Mubarak named Intelligence Chief as Vice president.

Toyota may relook at the brand and price positioning of the hybrid cars Prius as sales pick up, says Nomura Research Institute Ltd

Toyota Prius may become cheaper as the sales increase and more and more people start owning it. The exclusivity with the brand will slowly go away and hence Toyota may be forced to reduce the price. In Japan the government incentives to promote fuel efficient cars made Prius one of the best selling cars in the country. Nomura Research Institute Ltd said that it was time to take a relook at the brand and price positioning of the hybrid car. Inspite of an expensive price tag the car has been very popular with the customers.

Voltaic designs solar chargers for tablets like Apple iPads and also for mobile devices like Apple iPhones

Voltaic specializes in Solar products. It has brought out two products namely the Spark Solar Case and MilliAmp Solar Charger. The first product Spark Solar Case is targeted towards tablet gadgets like iPad. Where as the MilliAmp Solar Charger is for charging phone. Under good Sunlight the Spark Solar Case can charge an iPad in 10 hours. The MilliAmp Solar Charger takes slightly less of about 8-9 hours to charge a mobile phone.

Massey Energy Company might be taken over by Alpha Natural Resources Inc

Massey Energy Co. might be taken over by Alpha Natural Resources Inc.. The deal could be worth $ 7 billion according to the people who are familiar of the development. The talks have been still kept under wraps and privacy is being maintained. Alpha is the third largest coal producer in the US. Massey has around 3 billion tons of reserves of coal, of which around half of it is coking coal, which is used to produce steel. As reported in an earlier story (Floods in Australia are disrupting the supply of Coal for power generation) the prices of coal may rise to record levels due to Floods in Australia. Hence this could be a very strategic move by Alpha Natural Resources Inc.

Siemens AG focuses on Research and development of Green and Clean energy and equipments

Germany based Siemens is betting big time on Clean Energy. It plans to have an R&D budget of around 4.5 billion Euros. It has already tied up with General Electric for marketing turbines. And other energy efficient devices in a variety of product segments. It also made an acquisition in the wind energy sector in the year 2004 and since then it has been investing a lot of money into this sector. The cash rich company will invest in Research and development of smart grids, green building controls, energy efficient equipments like storage devices etc. Siemens which is the largest engineering conglomerate in Europe hopes to maintain its competitive edge with its focus on Green and Clean.

California based Pacific Gas and Electric Company will buy REC associated with two projects that Greengate Power Corporation will build in Canada.

The trading for renewable energy credits (REC) was resumed in California. Under this scheme, Pacific Gas and Electric Company will buy REC associated with two Wind energy projects that Greengate Power Corporation will build in Canada. According to this deal, Pacific Gas and Electric Company will not sell the energy within the country. This deal will help Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) to the California renewable portfolio standard where in utility companies are supposed to have one third of their energy supply from renewable energy sources by the year 2020. This has also opened a new way to finance renewable energy projects.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The German Economy and Environment ministry are at loggerheads with each other on how much subsidy to be cut to Solar power firms

The German Economy and Environment ministry are at loggerheads with each other. While the Environment ministry has already cut the solar power subsidy by six months and have brought it ahead to July 1, the Economy ministry wants more. The Economy ministry also wants the solar grid to be switched off on Sunny days when the load is more. This is contrary to logic as solar grid would generate more power on Sunny days. Economy ministry is purely thinking in terms of the reduction in the pay of subsidy to the Solar power firms.

China’s drop in economic growth will slow down its energy demand and consumption

The economic juggernaut China may finally slow down this year. The growth will slow down to 8.7% after it has been on a record growth path of 10.3% in the year 2010. This might lead to a drop in its insatiable demand for energy. Demand for electricity grew by 15% last year. This year demand for electricity may drop down to 9% percent. This will help the government meet the demand and hence it may not resort to practices of power cuts. 70% of the power plants in China depend on Coal. The Chinese government is also consciously moving towards nuclear and hydropower. Even the though te install base is miniscule compared to the thermal power install base.

Suzlon Energy Ltd., has won a deal to supply about $1.3 billion worth of wind power related equipments to Caparo Energy Ltd., a UK based renewable energy firm

India based Suzlon Energy Ltd., has won a deal to supply about $1.3 billion worth of wind power related equipments. Caparo Energy Ltd., a UK based renewable energy firm has given the order to Suzlon. Caparo has given this order for the projects that they have in India. Suzlon is burdened with a huge amount of debt of amount $ 4.7 billion. Of late there has been some rumors that there is pressure on the promoters to sell stake to lessen the threat of the debt. Analysts feel that these huge orders will give some reasons to smile to the Chairman Tulsi Tanti.

GHG Reporting Guidelines

GHG Reporting Guidelines

JurisdictionGuidance or StandardFocusGHGsScope1Scope2Scope3
InternationalGHG Protocol: Accounting and Reporting StandardPublished 2004. Internationally recognised procedure for preparing verifiable emission reports. Supported by calculation tools.All 6 Kyoto gasesYesYesOptio-nal
InternationalISO 14064-1, 2 & 3:GHG Accounting & VerificationPublished 2006. Modelled on the GHG Protocol. Used to quantify, report and verify GHG emissions at organisation and project level.All 6 Kyoto gasesYesYesOptio-nal
InternationalBSI PAS 2050: Specification for the Assessment of Life Cycle GHG Emissions of Goods & ServicesPublished 2008. Detailed technical spec to be used with a guide that presents worked examples of the carbon footprint of goods & services.AllYesYesYes
UKDEFRA Guidance: How to Measure and Report GHG EmissionsPublished 2009. Details procedure to be adopted by organisations wishing to measure and reduce GHG emissions.All 6 Kyoto gases plus others if deemed materialYesYesDiscre tionary
InternationalGHG Protocol: Product Life Cycle and Supply Chain StandardsDetailed procedures to be issued late 2010.AllYesYesYes

GHG Reporting Regimes

JurisdictionGuidance or StandardFocusGHGsScope1Scope2Scope3
EuropeEU Emissions Trading System, Directive 2003/.../EC amended 2007/.../EC.Mandatory reporting for stationary sources emitting > 25,000 CO2e tonnes per annum. Phase 2 runs from 2008-12 and includes member states of the European Union + Norway and Switzerland. Aircraft operations included from 2010.CO2, N2OYes--
USGHG Reporting Rule, 40 CFR Section 98Newly introduced by the EPA. Mandatory for all installations emitting >25,000 CO2e tonnes per annum. Includes mobile sources.All 6 Kyoto gases plus additional fluorinated gasesYes--
USRegional GHG Initiative (RGGI)Mandatory cap and trade scheme to reduce emissions from power plants 10% by 2018. Ten signatory states. Permits auctioned and profits invested in clean energy alternatives. Offsets permitted.CO2Yes--
USThe Climate RegistryVoluntary - covers facilities in the US, Canada and Mexico. Reporting to be integrated with EPA mandatory reporting.All 6 Kyoto gases plus optional gasesYesYesOptio- nal
USWestern Climate Initiative (WCI)Voluntary scheme that includes Canadian and US organisations. Threshold >25,000 tonnes CO2 per annum. Aims to reduce GHG emissions 15% by 2020.CO2, ...Yes--
USCalifornia Climate Action Register (CCAR)Voluntary scheme ... Threshold >25,000 tonnes CO2 per annum.All 6 Kyoto gasesYes--
USEIA Reporting of Greenhouse Gases ProgramVoluntary. 1605(b) Program ...All 6 Kyoto gases + CFCsYes--
USEPA Climate Leaders GHG Emissions ReportingVoluntary ...All 6 Kyoto gasesYes--
CanadaGHG Emissions Reporting Program (GHGRP)Voluntary. Annual reporting threshold to be lowered from 100kt to 50kt CO2eAll 6 Kyoto gasesYes--
AustraliaNational Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (NGER)Mandatory for facilities emitting >25k and corporations >125k CO2e tonnes per annum.All 6 Kyoto gasesYesYesOptio- nal
JapanGHG Accounting and Reporting SystemMandatory. Not all data published ...CO2, CH4, ...Yes--
JapanVoluntary Emissions Trading System (VETS)Subsidies provided to help participants reach targets.CO2Yes--
UKClimate Change Allowance (CCA)CO2Yes--
UKCarbon Reduction Commitment (CRC)Mandatory for organisations consuming >6000 MWh in 2008CO2YesYesTravel
InternationalCarbon Disclosure ProjectVoluntary ...All 6 Kyoto gasesYesYesOptio-nal
InternationalClimate Disclosure Standards BoardAiming to develop an international accounting standardAll 6 Kyoto gasesYesDependant on ownershipOptio- nal

India is planning to setup a renewable energy credit trading system, which will be more attractive compared to the UN Clean Development Mechanism

India is planning to setup a renewable energy credit trading system. The Indian firms will earn renewable energy certificates which will be traded in the new trading system. The new trading system will be much more lucrative to firms compared to the United Nations Clean Development Mechanism. REC’s in the new system will fetch twice as more compared to what it fetches in the UN system. This new scheme has attracted many firms like the ONGC, Jindal etc. Most of the countries are in the process of rolling out their own trading system. UK, New Zealand has its own. Japan, South Korea, Australia, India ,Chile are in the process of rolling out one.

LinkedIn is planning for an IPO soon other social networking sites like Facebook and Groupon may follow

LinkedIn is planning for an IPO for about $175 million. It has turned profit for the first nine months of last year. It also showed a spectacular growth in revenue which doubled from 2007 to 2009. With Goldman Sachs valuing Facebook at almost $50 billion. There may be a spate of public offering on the social networking side. Some feel that this could lead us to the second round of tech bubble and do not necessarily agree with Goldman Sachs’ valuation of Facebook. LinkedIn is very popular among professionals. A start up Groupon Inc. last year refused a $ 6 billion offer from Google which made people sit-up and notice the developments happening in this sector.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

China amazing facts on Clean Energy: Leaving the rest of the World Behind

China amazing facts on Clean Energy:
· China spent around $5 billion a 30% jump last year on low carbon energy.
· According to Ernst & Young China overtook U.S as the most preferred country for renewable energy projects.
· China will push energy efficiency in the next five-year plan.

UK based firm Good Energy Group Plc just retails renewable energy

Firms just focusing on retailing renewable energy? Just unbelievable. The UK based firm Good Energy Group Plc does just that. To expand it is planning to sell bonds to the existing customers and the people in whose locality the wind power plants will be set up.

General Electric, ConocoPhilips and NRG Energy Inc have formed Energy Technology Ventures with $300 million to invest in Clean Technology

A consortium of General Electric, ConocoPhilips and NRG Energy Inc are forming a joint venture with a seed capital of $300 million. This joint venture will primarily invest in emerging technology companies. This firm will be named and Energy Technology Ventures . The consortium will not only pool in their money but also helps the start up with their insights into each of the clean technology domains. The initial focus would be on smart grids, nuclear, emissions control, bio fuels, renewable energy etc. The firm has already made some initial investments Alta Devices, Ciris Energy and Cool Planet Biofuels.

Carbon monitoring and assessment through IT like SAP Carbon Impact is important. Explore why.

Carbon monitoring and assessment through IT is important for the following reasons:
1. The carbon and other Green house gasses emissions, footprint and auditing is becoming increasingly important as government is putting in place various regulations which are mandating the organizations to works towards a reliable IT system which can track these information reliably.
2. The organization needs an integrated view of the carbon and other emission across the processes of the organization.
3. They need to fully understand the financial implication of carbon mitigation. Work out a hedging policy for carbon.
4. Need to monitor the operational impact of the carbon mitigation plan

South Korea will be debating on a proposed new legislation on carbon emission and carbon trading system in the parliament

South Korea will be debating on a proposed new legislation on carbon emission. The proposed new bill is already facing stiff resistance from the business community. The bill is quite flexible in terms of when would it be introduced and what would be the quota numbers. South Korea is Asia’s fourth most polluting country and it is very important that they adopt to some legislation to curb this menace. The carbon trading system slated to be introduced in 2013 will help the country to reduce emission of carbon and other Green houses gasses. It is estimated the proposed trading system for carbon permits will cost eh industries in excess of $10 billion per year. South Korea plans to reduce emissions by 30% and also if implemented it would be the second country in Asia to introduce the trading system.

SAP - EHS , TechniData:Product Safety,Dangerous Goods Management,Hazardous Substance Management,Industrial Hygiene & Safety,Waste Management

SAP the most popular ERP in the market has recently acquired TechniData and has enriched the scope of its SAP - EHS ( Environment Health and Safety ) module:
The EH&S solution (Environmental Health and Safety) includes six functional areas:
Product Safety: Management of product properties and information to comply with existing regulations related to manufacturing, storage, environment and handling during production and until distribution.
Dangerous Goods Management: Guarantee the compliance to legal requirements and security measures in distribution and transportation of products classified as dangerous goods.
Hazardous Substance Management: Safe handling of hazardous substances and compliance with regulations for companies using hazardous substances, to protect employees and the environment from the hazards that these substances cause.
Industrial Hygiene & Safety: Preventive care of employees' health through the identification, assessment, evaluation and control of worker exposure to agents in the workplace that can cause injury or illness.
Occupational Health: Management of the medical processes for workers enabling the identification of trends to proactively address health concerns and reduce risks for manufacturing operations.
Waste Management : Management of processes for the disposal of hazardous wastes, to ensure the compliance of legal regulations related to waste production, transportation and storage.

Australian Floods have delayed the funding of about A $500 million meant for clean energy and carbon capture projects

The Floods in Australia have taken its toll on the funding for Clean Energy. The Australian government has said that it will either cut or delay about A $500 million of funding for clean energy projects. The money will be diverted to the reconstruction process after the flood. The money was supposed to be used for solar energy and carbon capture projects. Australia today derives 80% of the energy from coal. The country had approved about A$1.5 billion for various solar power projects of which around A $250million will be cut or delayed. Similar amount for Carbon capture will also be delayed.  This will affect the countries long-term vision of reducing its dependence on fossil fuel and move towards a clean energy.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

UK to set Carbon Floor Prices

Compiled by Swapneel Jain ( Various Articles)
UK government is consulting on its proposal to set floor price for Carbon.

  • To encourage low-carbon investment ( Amounting to 110 Bn Pound by 2020)
  • To meet its commitment for Carbon reduction
  • To support existinf schemes (EU-ETS and CCL (Climate Change Levy on Fossi fuel and electricity)
  • To bring certainity and stablity in carbon prices
Part one of the government’s floor price plan is to charge electricity generators a tax based on the carbon content of the fuel being used. This charge will apply to coal, gas and LPG and will be known as the CCL carbon price support rate. This is different from the current CCL from which power generators have to date been exempt.

Part two of the government’s plan is another method of increasing the price of fossil fuels: this time the cost of oils. Currently, fuel duty paid by power generators can be reclaimed in full: the Treasury now proposes a reduction in the amount of fuel duty that can be reclaimed. This will be known as the oils carbon price support rate

The three potential price trajectories for the short to medium term: aiming at £20, £30, or £40 a tonne by 2020. By 2030, the goal is a carbon price of £70 a tonne.

HP’s new board structure has raised the concern of Corporate Governance as CEO Leo Apotheker had significant business dealings while in SAP

HP did a major shake up of its board structure on 20th Jan. It appoint new directors to its board who HP claims have experience in the areas where HP wants to grow. Of the new director 5 of them are known to have significant business relations with the HP’s new CEO Leo Apotheker who was earlier the co-CEO of SAP. Their organizations seem to have used SAP as their Enterprise Business Application. This has led to the debate of Corporate Governance. The directors are supposed to be independent of the CEO and should be acting on behalf of the interest of the shareholders.

Environmental eye on Fish Farming in Hawaii. The State government acts with two legislations.

Fish farming in Hawaii is causing enormous damage to the local ecosystem. To control this, the state government has brought in two legislations. The first one aims to stop the unfettered expansion of the firms. The other aims to enforce the firms to take up a study to analyze the impact that their operations have on the surroundings. The study would cover all the aspects of environment, social, ecological, marine life etc.

ICE Futures, which is the emissions exchange in Europe, will not be open for spot carbon trade until 1st of February.

ICE Futures, which is the emissions exchange in Europe, will not be open for spot carbon trade until 1st of February.  The Exchange suspended trade in spot carbon when EU stopped transfer of carbon permits after a cyber attack on the registries of member nations.

Sulfurcell is a Berlin , Germany based company, which specializes in manufacturing Solar panels, raised $25 million from Intel capital and other firms

Sulfurcell is a small Berlin Germany based company, which specializes in manufacturing Solar panels. They have raised $25 million from Intel capital and other firms. They manufacture solar out of copper, indium gallium selenide (CIGS). The CIGS panels are less efficient compared to the solar panels made out of the polysilicon-based solar panels. However, they cost less to manufacture. Sulfurcell claims that they currently have the technology to manufacture CIGS solar panels, which can achieve 13 percent fuel efficiency. They are confident that they would soon achieve 14% efficiency. They claim that their experience in production of the panels gives them an edge over others.

Obama set sets a target 2035 for clean electricity for US. Focus on nuclear, natural gas and clean coal based power plants

US spends almost $40 billion on subsidies for gas, oil and coal companies. The move was to encourage government support for clean energy rather than on conventional energy sources. The Republicans are already skeptical on such a move saying that government should instead remove the restrictions on the oil and gas companies so that the prices can come down. The new energy policy would be aimed to promote nuclear power, clean coal and natural gas based power plants. US have not had any new nuclear power plants in the last 30 years. Today it could cost up to $10 billion to setup a new nuclear power plant. Clean coal is the technology of capturing the co2 emitted by conventional coal power plants and burying them. US dependence on coal will be difficult to overcome as more than half on the countries energy comes from fossil fuels.

Egypt is witnessing unprecedented protests against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s regime, primarily inspired by the events in Tunisia.

Egypt is witnessing unprecedented protests against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s regime. The people have been trying to use all means at their disposal to garner support. Networking sites like Twitter have been blocked the country lest people use them to spread the unrest. People are also using Facebook, to spread the unrest. Hosni Mubarak has been ruling the country for the past 30 years. This recent spate of protest has been primarily triggered and inspired the turn of events in Tunisia. People of Egypt has been trying to protest against the regime complaining about poverty, corruption and lake of employment. Sometimes the protest have also turned violent which have killed a couple of policeman and civilians.

China has laid new environmental , energy efficiency and capital rules for Polysilicon manufacturers which is used to manufacture Solar Power Panels

China has laid new rules for Polysilicon manufacturers and they might find it difficult to disregard the law. Polysilicon is used for manufacturing Solar Power Panels. China is one of the largest suppliers of Solar Panels in the world. The new rules are aimed to bring consolidation in the sector. The plants must be able to produce 3000 metric tons of polysilicon. They must also adhere to new emission and energy efficiency norms. The law will benefit large organizations lie GCL Poly Energy Holdings Ltd., The smaller unlisted firms will be forced to move out. The new energy efficiency norms state that the plant should use no more than 80 kilowatts of electricity for every kilogram of polysilicon manufactured. Some of the plants use more than 200 kilowatts of electricity for every kilogram produced. The new plants should also be located at least one kilometer from human habitation or agricultural ( farm ) land.

Carol Browner, Climate change advisor, leaves Obama’s administration as clean energy and carbon emission takes a back seat

There are more pressing issues that Obama needs to attend to and mend before he can focus on Clean energy , carbon emission. The economic downturn and slow recovery is keeping him busy. He also trying his best to pump up the job market. Legislation on clean energy was stall in the last session of the congress and there is very bleak chances that it will see the light of the day this time.  Nancy Sutley chairman of White House Council of Environmental Quality confirmed Browner’s decision to leave. There was some initial success when she was able to convince the auto industry to comply with more stringent emission norms for the cars. However, other legislations fell flat and failed to pass through the Senate.  

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

India celebrates its 61st Republic day. Azim Premji is awarded with Padma Vibhusan.A Lot need's to be done before India can be a true Super Power.

India celebrates its 61st Republic day today. India like China has also become the cynosure of all the recession-hit countries. Even during the recession these two countries were growing and the world looked at these two countries along with the other developing world to bring the world out of the financial crisis. However not all is well in India. India needs to deal with some strong issues like unabeted growth of population. India is world’s second most populous country. There is a strong possibility of the world’s 7 billionth child being born in this country. Even though it might be good in some way as some of the countries are clueless about how to deal with aging population India would still be very young. However, population growth must be checked for sustainable and healthy development. Corruption has pervaded every process of the country and I don’t know how the country plans to deal with it. There has been a spate of them from the bungling and the adverse publicity of the Common Wealth Games ( CWG ) to various other scams that get reported every other day. Other issues are: the pathetic state of civic amenities and infrastructure, the deplorable role of the state in primary education. It is good that people like Azim Premji are being recognized for the way his charitable foundation is working in improving the state of primary education. He is awarded with Padma Vibhusan.

Unemployment is rising, payrolls decreased, consumer confidence rose, stock market is rising even faster, the business and political fraternity are celebrating in WEF Davos.

Unemployment is rising, payrolls decreased, consumer confidence rose, stock market is rising even faster, the business and political fraternity are celebrating in WEF Davos. A very strange and inexplicable concoction of results. Neither the common person nor the financial market does know how to react. Hope the madness will settle down somewhere and things will become less murky.

Green means profits. Siemens increase in profits attributed to increase in Wind-Power turbine sales

People thought being sustainable and green did go hand in hand with money. Increasingly organizations are realizing the being on a Green path can help the organization to make good money. Most of the sustainability reporting frameworks like GRI are voluntary and is not mandated by any governments so far. However, around 2000 (number is slowly increasing every year) organizations are already reporting on various sustainability frameworks. They have realized that going green could do a lot of good for the organizations brand image. So it could be the peer pressure that could be working in favor of this movement. It is quite obvious that as the economy recovers more and more organizations would be willing to spend money on such initiatives. Siemens AG, one of the largest engineering organizations in Europe has reported a growth in first quarter profit and one of the reasons attribute to this is increased sales in Wind-Power Turbines. Various governments are backing renewable energy projects with easy loans and aids. Europe already has a mandate to increase energy efficiency by 20% by the year 2020.

Sustainability begins at home. Check what residents of Rohan Vasantha Appts Bangalore are doing on Green and Sustainability

Sustainability begins at home. In the apartment that I reside in ( Rohan Vasantha Appartments in Bangalore , India, also know as RV appts) there are a couple of good initiatives on this front.
1) Rain Water Harvesting: As per regulations in Bangalore rain water harvesting has been made mandatory .
2) Recycling of treated Sewage and wastewater: The waste water from kitchens and other usage is treated in an in-house water treatment plant and is recycled for use in toilets.
3) Garbage sorting and recycling: This is one of the most innovative initiatives being done. Some of the residents have volunteered and they educated the other residents on how to sort different types of Garbage during disposal. This helps in recycling of waste, which are bio-degradable and non-biodegradable.
I hope other apartment complexes do have their own best practices and can share with us.

Extreme Cold affects U.K. : United Kingdom ( U.K. ) economy GDP drops by 0.5 % in the last Quarter of 2010.

U.K Economy did not fare well in the last quarter of 2010. The Gross Domestic Product fell by almost 0.5 percent in the period from Oct-Dec 2010. Most of the economists feel that this is primarily due to the impact of the extreme cold weather during that period which was unexpected. Heavy snowfall during that period also stalled air traffic in U.K Heathrow for a couple of days in that period. Economists projected that the unexpected cold weather would have some repercussions on the fragile growth of the economy and expected some minor deceleration during the period. However, a sharp drop of 0.5 percent was not at all expected. At this point any increase of the interest rates by the Central Bank would jeopardize the economic recovery of the country.

Germany, France, Spain and some other EU nations to miss EU energy efficiency targets of 20% by 2020. EU commissioner Gunther Oettinger has new plan

Every European Nation has been given a target to save energy and most likely Germany will fall short of the target. Most of the EU nations agreed that by 2020 they would increase energy efficiency by 20%. However, Germany would only achieve around 13%. Even France and Spain is likely to miss the target but they are far ahead of Germany and achieve around 17% - 18% energy efficiency improvement. EU commissioner Gunther Oettinger said that by the given rate of improvement most of the EU nations may achieve only 50% of the given target. He has laid out an ambitious plan to achieve the EU targets for member nations.

Chadana Kochhar is the MD and CEO of ICICI bank, is one of the Co- Chair of the World Economic Forum ( WEF ) being held in Davos Switzerland

Chadana Kochhar is the MD and CEO of ICICI bank. Well most of us may not have heard about her or about the bank, if you are not from India. ICICI is the second largest lender in India. However, what is a matter of distinction is that she is one of the Co- Chair of the prestigious World Economic Forum ( WEF )being held in Davos Switzerland. Her salary is almost half of that most of the CEO of western banks get and her bank remained profitable during the whole of the financial crisis where as the rest of the world was tumbling. Edelman a New York based public relations firm did a survey where in most of the people in India mentioned about growing confidence in the Indian banking system where as in Europe and France the confidence level has dropped by a record level. This also shows the growing confidence of the economists that the next economic super cycle, which is waiting to usher a new era a long period of growth, will be led by the developing countries like India and China. It is well understood that any development will not be stable and sustainable unless it is inclusive of the developing world.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Environment sensitive policies hurting FDI inflow

The RBI has said that environment sensitive policies and procedural delays are hurting foreign direct investment.

The moderation in FDI inflows to India during April-November 2010 has been driven by sectors such as construction, mining and business services. A major reason for the decline in inward FDI is reported to have been the environment sensitive policies pursued,as manifested in the recent episodes in the mining sector, integrated township projects and construction of ports, which appear to have affected the investors sentiments.

In a emerging and fast growing economies such as India, the policy formulation has to be such that it strikes a nimble balance between aggressive growth which is not at the cost of environment.

Building 'green' sustainable relationships

Its the era of returning to innocence as Enigma had said a decade ago.Human civilization has moved forward with great gusto accomplishing feats un-imaginable. However in doing so, they have very nearly toppled the equilibrium - the balance of nature - the essence of being human.

In the recent past, 'green' has become the color of being politically correct. Capitalists who churn profits out from industrialization swear by the 'greening' of manufacturing, processes and the supply chain. The socialists believe in 'greening' the bottom of the social pyramid. Politicians put their bets on 'greening' the environment and preserving it to win elections, coveted positions at the United Nations and millions of dollars get spent annually on conferences and summits at fit-for-honeymoon locations where the climate change gets discussed over champagne and wine and forgotten over the hangover.

How about doing something which impacts our daily lives and change the world we live in? Michael Jackson dreamt of 'making the world a better place to live' but could not quite see that happen during his lifetime!! How about building 'green' relationships and human connects? Aiming to build sustainable relationships in a world which chases - money, power, religious supremacy all for nothing !! True 'greening' as a change movement can only happen in essence and spirit when each and everyone participates in the revolution.

The 'human' part of the human civilization has got lost in the race to prosperity. In this new year and the new decade unfolding ahead of us can we not aim to build sustainable relationships, bring back the human touch which we have lost. How often do we chat with friends and family over a social networking site or the latest smartphone but forget to meet in person or speak to the person who may be living in the same town. How often do we maintain and use relationships to achieve personal milestones, selfish objectives and win accolades for ourselves..

This day, the dreamer that I am, i dream of a world where people would build sustainable relationships, nations would build sustainable relationships and not go to war and truly return the innocence of the green world. I am sure the world would be more green this way than the green cover we attempt to plant in our dying, parched planet.

Bomb Attack in Domodedovo Airport in Moscow (Russia) leaves 20 people dead

There was a bomb blast in Domodedovo Airport in Moscow. The blast is estimated to have left about 20 people dead. Domodedovo is the largest airport in Russia. This is also the busiest commercial airport in Russia. Various groups for various reasons have continuously attacked Russia. In March 2010 two female suicide bombers set off explosives which killed around 40 people.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy will announce tomorrow , tenders worth $10 billion Euros to set up 5 wind power generation Plants in France

10 Billion Euros is a huge amount of money to be spent on Wind Farms, but these are extraordinary times, which need extraordinary decisions. It is expected that tomorrow French President Nicolas Sarkozy will announce tenders worth 10 Billion Euros for setup of five wind power generation units across the coastline of France.

All eyes on World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos which begins this week

World Economic Forum in Davos begins this week. One of the largest aggregations of World leaders, Economists and Business leaders will focus on a variety of topics challenging the economic, social and financial world today. One the most likely topic to be discussed at depth would be the expansion and Stability of world economy. The last two years has been very challenging and the world feels that the worst is behind us. Today the world is also looking towards a larger role from the developing countries like the BRIC nations.

Economists feel that there is an Economic super cycle which waiting to start soon.

Economists feel that there is an Economic super cycle which waiting to start soon. A Super cycle is defined by a long spell of economic growth and prosperity which can sometimes last for an entire generations. Economists calculate that by the year 2030 the Gross Domestic product ( GDP ) will grow to $ 145 trillion ( net of inflation and other factors like exchange rates). This is a substantial jump from today’s GDP of $10 trillion. The insatiate demand from the developing world will be strong enough to pull the developed world through this dream run of sustainable economic growth.

We Bought a Zoo, The true story of Benjamin Mee buying zoo with his personal savings, being played by Matt Damon and made by Cameron Crowe

People often need an idol to anchor them and look for inspiration. But why look for extraordinary larger than life people for drawing motivation. The world around us is replete with people who have been leading an inspiring life. I come across many of such stories in the newspapers but often such stories are quest for their own survival. Rarely I come across stories where in the people have acted selflessly for the happiness and the betterment of the small world around them. We bought a Zoo is such an inspirational story of Benjamin Mee. It is a story of how person puts on stake his whole life savings to buy a zoo because it was about to close down. This act saved around 200 animals, which would have otherwise perished. The movie also captures the other tragic events that unfolded as Benjamin dedicatedly pursued his act of saving the zoo. Cameron Crowe is making the movie and Matt Damon himself is playing the lead role of Benjamin.

Wipro won the 2010, National Society For Equal Opportunities For The Handicapped (NASEOH) award for being an equal employer for people with Disability

Wipro has won the 2010, National Society For Equal Opportunities For The Handicapped (NASEOH) award for being an equal employer for people with Disability. Wipro has been focusing on building the infrastructure which is conducive for people with disability to work. They have been training people on various aspect of making Disabled people comfortable to work within the organization.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

European Cities work towards limited parking space, discouraging usage of cars and help pedestrians and cyclists, Green and Clean Environment

Many European governments are discouraging usage of cars by people. They are trying to hike up the parking fees in the cities. They are also doing away with the free parking areas. They are also limiting the space being allocated for building up parking space, which are within reasonable distance from the public transportation system. This will also help the governments to reduce the congestion on city roads. Many European cities have narrow roads, which have been finding difficult to cope up with the ever-increasing numbers of cars on the road. Reducing congestion on the roads has also helped the pedestrians and the cyclist enthusiasts. This has an added benefit as it also reduces the pollution levels in the cities and also builds up a clean and greener environment. Governments are working hard to figure out policies, which can help them towards sustainable development.

The US government is supporting companies that would build plants to convert waste to bio fuels: Loans worth $650 million and Bank Guarantee

The US government is supporting companies that would build plants to convert waste to bio fuels. The government has sanctioned loans worth up to $ 650 million to support these companies. This move will help the government to cut down on its dependency on ethanol which is largely made from corn. The increasing use of ethanol has led to a debate wherein people feel that this would lead to rise of prices of corn. The government is also helping some organizations by giving loan guarantee. This means that in case the companies default in repaying the loan the government would repay on their behalf. Organizations like Diamond Green Diesel, LLC, Enerkem corp are being helped in this manner.

Strategic decisions of buying Clean and Rewnewable energy Startups by larger firms.Mergers and acquisitions.

Many Large compnaies had invested in clean technology over the last few years. Due to economic recession most of these have not changed the investment pattern of the startups. However with the economy loocking up and some of these organizations are about to reach scale of operations it makes sense for these large organizations to buy these start ups. There is a clear pattern that is emerging. Most of these firms are taking a bold step of inesting even larger amount of mney for the second round of investments. The logical move would be to acquire these firms. Renewable and clean energy start ups are the most likely target in this first round of acquisitions. This is a clear indication of the merger and acquisition scene heating up.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Nuclear talks between US, EU (six countries including, France ) and Iran has ended in a deadlock. Iran says its Nuclear program is for clean power

The nuclear talks between the European Union ( six countries including France) The United States government and the Iranian government have ended without much result. The leaders were disappointed with the results. There are no immediate follow up talks scheduled. The talks are on for a nuclear fuel swap, which will reduce Iran’s stock of enriched uranium to such low levels that it cannot be used for making a nuclear bomb. However, Iran has so far not responded to it. The options for subsequent talks would only open up if Iran drops the pr-conditions to such talks. While Iran says, its nuclear fuel program is largely peaceful however, other EU and the US thinks that the Iranian government is interested in making a bomb. The intermittent talks have been going on for the eight years, which have not led us anywhere. As fossil fuels become costly and the countries become cautious of thy Green house Gases emissions more countries would be focusing n Nuclear power to meet their energy demand.

US government contemplates usage of ethanol ( green bio fuel ) in car fuel. The classic case of Wrong versus the Wrong. Ethanol (corn) into Fuel

The problem of right versus the right. The classic dilemma of choosing one right option over the other. But this seems to be complicated. Choosing one wrong option over the other especially when the human race is left with the Hobson’s choice. The choice of choosing between the devil and the deep sea. A lot of the countries are encouraging mixing of ethanol in petrol ( gas ) as that is an easier way for the governments to deal with rising fuel import bills. But they also realize the ethanol is largely produced by corn. The ever-increasing usage of ethanol into fuel is actually driving the price of corn. With the price of commodity and food grains shooting the roof top this is not a good choice for the humanity. With the US government seriously contemplating usage of ethanol for cars this debate heats up again.
Contributed by Anand Chatterjee