Friday, April 24, 2009

Green Conservatives Right? Not Left

Sustainability is primary an economic principle, not as some would suggest an environmental principle. The reduction of waste, the increase in efficiency, maximizing resources, and self-reliance are economic activities – just ask any small business owner. I dare wade as deep as saying that adopting a so-called “green philosophy” is not only good business practice, it a conservative principle. Sustainable practices just makes good sense. Green is not the flag of an environmental revolution, it’s simply pragmatism. My grandmother used to say “waste not want not”. She would not have called that a green philosophy, she would have called that common sense.

Environmental alarmist and sensationalists are just that. What disturbs me the greatest is that most of the alarmists during the 1970s where professors or scientists at distinguished universities. I am sure that they believed in their findings or assumptions, but were grossly misguided by other motives. There were many projections at the time that today looks rather foolish. Perhaps their alarms where early warnings and did change some of our behaviors for the better. My concern is that the “crying wolf” that took place during that time period affects how the public perceives environmental information being disseminated today. We need factual information not hype about climate change. It is the responsibility of our scholars and scientists to ensure that their motive is to profit society, not to profit their image or pocketbook. The world will not believe our scientists if their motives are not transparent.

A farmer doesn’t need science to support the fact that if he contaminates the water source from which he uses to water his cattle or to grow his crops, his primary business engine is in jeopardy. He maintains the integrity of his water supply not as an environmental steward, but as a pragmatist. His vision is not to save the world, it is to protect his greatest asset – his enterprise (he and his family, the farm, the crops, the animals). He engages at a scale that makes sense to him, but meanwhile benefits the greater society, economically and yes, environmentally. If you begin to amass the activities of many, the scale incrementally increases until you reached a global scale.

Education and awareness are critical to knowing how to sustain an enterprise. No pragmatist would knowingly deplete or destroy the basis of their enterprise if their vision is to sustain it. If their goal is to exploit an enterprise with the intent to maximize short-term profits, then they will probably succeed, but typically at the expense of others. When the goal of the enterprise is to profit and sustain, activities will not only generate profits for the enterprise stakeholder, but for others as well. Profits, are of course not just monetary in nature, but other intangibles as well.

If we educate or incentive the combination of profit and sustainability as the goal (versus just profit), then the benefits are magnified and exploitation, as well as waste, inefficiencies, etc. are reduced. Deriving profit without understanding or caring about the consequences is selfish and greedy. We have seen some of that in the last few months. Fortunately, most business people do care and understand that making their enterprise profitable and a sustaining is the best practice. Their values extend beyond themselves and society profits.

A green philosophy or sustainability is an economic principle that works at every scale, from the individual to global. I believe that sustainability and the principles of conservatism are aligned.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What happens to green in an economic downturn?

The DOW continues to plunge. The $700B economic bailout begins. GM is screaming for assistance. CitiGroup files for bankruptcy. We have elected a new president. Words like recession, depression, deflation are making newspaper headlines. With the economic downturn what happens to all of the efforts and corporate commitments to green? Will green still be seen as gold, or just a waste of precious financial resources? President-elect Obama supported green during his campaign and it will be interesting to see how he could use governmental assistance as a means to promote green industry. He has close to $700B to make the greening of Corporate America a reality.

One consideration is to assist GM (and other US auto manufacturers) with government loans that require the auto giant to re-invent itself and re-tool so that it can manufacture energy efficient automobiles that people will actually want to buy. The factories could also become a target for green technologies that reduce waste and promote sustainability. Such an arrangement could reach far into the supply chain, labor force, and even dealerships.

GM has been in a death spiral for many years and is burdened with legacy costs that adds to cost but not to value.However, it is beyond this blog to say whether it should receive government assistance or not. GM has shown some efforts toward producing green autos with the introduction of the new environmentally friendly Chevy Volt . However, it is hard to forget that it was GM's Chairman of the Board, Bob Lutz who said that global warming was a "crock of shit". I wonder if Lutz still thinks American car-buyers are not ready for anything other that our SUVs.

This situation could turn out a few ways. The price for a barrel of oil is now again under $60 and with inexpensive gasoline flowing again, perhaps the Lutz legacy will be SUVs and Bankruptcy. However, House Speaker Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Ried are days away from proposing such a bailout and perhaps, just perhaps the legacy will go the other way and Lutz will transform GM into a big green car-making machine. Time will tell.

# 9 Google

Google has several "Green" efforts. The one that seems to be of most interest and applicable to the industry is its commitment to sustainable computing.

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. Hundreds of millions of users access these services through the web, and supporting this traffic requires lots of computers. Google strives to offer great internet services while taking energy use very seriously. Almost a decade ago, they started efforts to make computing infrastructure as sustainable as possible. Today they operate the world's most efficient data centers.

Google-designed data centers use considerably less energy - both for the servers and the facility itself - than a typical data center. As a result, the energy used per Google search is minimal. In fact, in the time it takes to do a Google search, your own personal computer will use more energy than they will use to answer your query.

At Google, sustainability is about more than electricity, so they've gone beyond just reducing energy consumption. Before the end of 2008 two of their facilities will run on 100% recycled water, and by 2010 they expect recycled water to provide 80% of their total water consumption. They also carefully manage the retirement of our servers to ensure that 100% of this material is either reused or recycled. Finally, They are engaging users and peers to help build a clean and efficient energy future. They understand that the broader impact could be significant; if all data centers operated at the same efficiency as Google's, the U.S. alone would save enough electricity to power every household within the city limits of Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.

Sustainability is good for the environment, but it makes good business sense too. Most of their work is focused on saving resources such as electricity and water and, more often than not, we find that these actions lead to reduced operating costs. Being "green" is essential to keeping their business competitive. It is this economic advantage that makes our efforts truly sustainable.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

110th Congress Climate Change Bills

Several climate change bills have been introduced during the 110th Congress aimed at reducing Greenhouse House Gas (GHG) emissions. All of the proposed legislation amends the Clean Air Act and vests the President and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with responsibility for instituting a program of carbon caps and complimentary policies. This paper will focus on two of the most recent bills - - Senate bill S.3036, the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2008 and House bill H.R. 6186, Investing in Climate Action and Protection Act or “iCAP.”

S. 3036 and H.R. 6186, as well as the other previously introduced bills, focus on the adoption of mitigation strategies but for the most part fail to include any mechanism for measuring and/or monitoring of GHG levels now and in the future. A comprehensive national climate change policy needs to be comprised of two goals: 1) mitigation strategies to include emissions reductions, renewable energy and efficient technologies and 2) measurement and monitoring protocols to collect climatological data. Such data is necessary in order to establish current baselines and evaluate future performance of mitigation strategies and well as provide climatalogical forecasts so that adaptation strategies can be adopted. Two standalone bills introduced in the Senate, S. 2307 and S. 2355 do call for measuring and monitoring activities and are discussed in detail in Section II below.

S. 3036 Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2008

· Requires the Administrator of the EPA to establish: (1) a federal GHG registry, for which certain facilities must report information regarding fossil fuels and GHGs produced and consumed; (2) specified quantities of GHG emission allowances, which decline for each of 2012 to 2050; and (3) a GHG emission allowance transfer system for specified covered facilities, including facilities that use more than 5,000 tons of coal in a year, facilities in the natural gas sector, facilities that produce or entities that import petroleum- or coal- based fuel the combustion of which will emit a group I GHGs, facilities that produce or entities that import, in any year, more than 10,000 carbon dioxide equivalents of chemicals that are group I GHGs, and facilities that emit as a byproduct of the production of hydro chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) more than 10,000 carbon dioxide equivalents of HFCs in any year.

  • Annual caps on covered sectors combine to equal an overall goal of reducing total U.S. emissions through a combination of a cap on about 87% of emissions (includes a separate cap on HFCs in commerce) and complementary policies (e.g. low carbon fuels standard and energy efficiency standard). However, emissions from uncovered sectors may continue to grow.
  • Provides for the allocation and distribution of emission allowances to states and facilities on the basis of emission reductions, energy savings, state programs that exceed federal emission reduction targets. Allocates free allowances of 75.5% to power plants, manufacturers, electricity and natural gas and states. 4.25% set-aside for domestic agriculture and forestry.

· Establishes: (1) a domestic offset program to sequester GHGs; (2) the Bonus Allowance Account for carbon capture and sequestration projects; (3) the Carbon Market Efficiency Board, which shall analyze the national GHG emission market and implement cost relief measures if the market poses significant harm to the U.S. economy; (4) the Climate Change Credit Corporation, to which specified percentages of emission and remainder emission allowances for 2012-2050 shall be allocated and which shall auction such allowances annually; and (5) the Deficit Reduction Fund into which auction proceeds shall be deposited.

· Requires the President to establish: (1) an interagency group to determine whether foreign countries have addressed GHGs; and (2) an Interagency Climate Change Task Force.

  • No monitoring or measuring requirements per se. Closest provision, Section 7001, requires the National Academy of Science Review to issue reports to Congress no later than January 1, 2012 and every 3 years thereafter to evaluate the latest scientific information and data relevant to global climate change. Specifically cites NOAA ocean and wildlife concerns but not weather.
  • S. 3036, originally introduced as S. 2191 was approved by Environment and Public Works Committee and was sent to Senate floor for consideration. Failure to gain cloture resulted in no further action for this legislation.

H.R. 6186 Investing in Climate Action and Protection Act or “iCAP Act

· Allows EPA to designate new greenhouse gases and directs EPA to determine the quantity of each greenhouse gas that makes the same contribution to global warming as one metric ton of carbon dioxide. EPA is also directed to establish a national greenhouse gas registry.

· Subtitle A establishes a process through Subtitle B directs EPA to establish a separate quantity of emission allowances for each calendar year from 2012 through 2050. The bill covers emissions of carbon dioxide. The bill requires the owner or operator of each ``covered entity,'' at the end of each calendar year from 2012 through 2050, to submit to EPA one emission allowance for each metric ton of carbon.

· A covered entity may submit domestic or international offset credits approved by EPA in lieu of emission allowances to satisfy up to 15 percent of its compliance requirement. A covered entity may also submit destruction credits--issued by EPA to entities that convert a greenhouse gas (other than methane) to a gas with a lower global warming potential--in lieu of emission allowances.

· Annual caps on covered sectors to equal an overall goal of reducing 85 percent of emissions. HFC emissions are not covered until 2020, which increases to 87 percent overall reductions.

· Directs EPA to auction virtually all of the emission allowances each year, beginning with 94 percent auction from 2012-2019 and transitioning to 100 percent auction in 2020. Six percent of allowances from 2012 through 2019 will be distributed to U.S. manufacturers of trade-exposed primary goods (such as iron and steel, cement, aluminum, bulk glass, and paper) as a transitional measure to avoid shifting production abroad.

· Directs EPA to promulgate performance standards for certain sources not included under the cap--such as coal mines, landfills, wastewater treatment operations, and large animal feeding operations--that emit at least 10,000 metric tons CO

· Title II creates a new Office of Carbon Market Oversight (``OCMO'') within the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which is charged with ensuring transparency, fairness, and stability in the market for emission allowances, offset credits, and derivatives thereof (collectively referred to as ``regulated instruments''). The OCMO will establish rules requiring registration of (1) self-regulating ``registered carbon trading facilities'' on which regulated instruments are traded, (2) ``carbon clearing organizations'' that provide clearing services to trading facilities, and (3) brokers and dealers trading in regulated instruments.

· Under Subtitle B, an estimated $963 billion (12.5 percent of auction proceeds) will be used to fund low-carbon energy technology programs administered by the Department of Energy. These include existing RD&D programs for renewable electricity generation, carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), electric transmission and distribution efficiency, cellulosic ethanol, low-emission vehicles, building and industrial efficiency, energy storage technologies, and the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy. Subtitle B also establishes new programs to promote the deployment of large-scale and distributed renewable energy generation and to provide cost-sharing grants to cover the incremental costs of implementing CCS technology at coal-fired power plants that commence construction before 2020.

· Under Subtitle D, an estimated $378 billion (4.5 to 5 percent of auction proceeds) will be used to fund a program, administered by the Department of Agriculture, to support projects by U.S. farmers and foresters that increase biological sequestration of carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through improved agricultural soil management and forest management practices. USDA is also directed to undertake a supporting program of research, education, and outreach.

· Under Subtitle F, an estimated $185 billion (2 to 2.5 percent of auction proceeds) will be used to support a comprehensive program to increase America's resilience to the impacts of climate change. Under this program, NOAA will periodically assess America's vulnerability to such impacts and provide assistance to federal, state, local, and tribal decision makers in developing adaptation strategies. Subtitle F directs federal agencies to develop and implement plans to address climate change impacts within their jurisdictions and provides funding for State, local and tribal government projects to reduce vulnerability to climate change impacts.

· Under Subtitle G, an estimated $147 billion (1.5 to 2 percent of auction proceeds) will be used to support measures, implemented by federal land and natural resource management agencies, the States, and Indian tribes to protect U.S. natural resources, wildlife, and fisheries against adverse impacts from climate change.

· Title VII establishes a comprehensive framework for periodic review and reports to Congress, by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the Government Accountability Office (GAO), and relevant federal agencies, of all major aspects of the bill. Every five years, an interagency body will make recommendations to the President, and the President will in turn make recommendations to Congress, on changes to the framework established by the bill. Title VII also provides for expedited Congressional consideration of a presidential recommendation to tighten the bill's emissions cap if the NAS's findings indicate such action is necessary.

· Status –The bill has been referred to several house committees with jurisdiction. On June 12, 2008, referred to Subcommittee of Energy and Environment of the House Science and Technology Committee.



Two bills have been introduced in the Senate that would require the implementations of national programs to undertake climate monitoring - - S. 2355, introduced on November 14, 2007 by Senator Cantwell cited as the “Climate Change Adaptation Act” and S. 2307 introduced by Senator Kerry on November 5, 2007 and cited as the “Global Change Research Improvement Act of 2007.”

S. 2355, Climate Change Adaptation Act

Senator Cantwell’s bill would amend the National Climate Program Act and require the President to provide Congress with a 5-year strategic plan to address the impacts of climate change within the United States. The plan must identify opportunities to utilize remote sensing and other geospatial technologies to improve planning for adaptation to climate change impacts. The bill would establish a National Climate Service to be established within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. S.2355 remains in Committee.

S. 2307, Global Change Research Improvement Act of 2007

Senator Kerry’s bill would amend the Global Change Research Act of 1990 to provide for the continuation and coordination of a comprehensive United States observation, research, assessment and outreach program to better understand the effects of climate change. To accomplish this goal the bill would require the development of a strategic plan for the United States for a 10 year period beginning in 2008. The plan must incorporate observing systems for collecting data relevant to global and regional climate change research and prioritize additional observation systems that may be needed to ensure adequate data collection and monitoring of global change. This bill would also require the development of indicators, baseline databases, and ongoing monitoring to document global change, including species distribution and behavior, changes in oceanic and atmospheric chemistry, extent of ice sheets, glaciers, and snow cover, shifts in water distribution and abundance, and changes in sea level. This bill remains in Committee.

Source( The Alliance for Earth Observation )

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Cisco # 8

Cisco Green LeadershipVision

Cisco’s approach of “Changing the Way We Work, Live, Play, and Learn” extends to its ability to reduce the effects of the company’s operations and products on the environment. Cisco’s vision is to combine the power of innovation with collaboration to create the most sustainable model for addressing global climate change. Innovation is at the heart of what Cisco does, and collaboration – internally and externally – is what fuels its ability to drive new ideas across Cisco and with its customers. Cisco believes that the network can become a “green platform” for technology to help transform how we manage global environmental challenges.

Currently, Cisco is driving environmental initiatives in four key areas:

• Responsible operations: Working to lessen Cisco’s environmental footprint by using power in a more sustainable manner and by reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that result from business operations. Strides are also being made to better manage resources and waste, along with ensuring Cisco’s supply chain adheres to the company’s environmental and diversity goals.

• Product stewardship: Commitment to optimizing the functionality, accessibility, and performance of Cisco products while reducing the amount of power they need to operate. Cisco has also instituted strong recovery and recycling programs.

• Architecture: Developing networking architectures and solutions to enable customers and employees to mitigate their environmental impact and achieve their green goals.

• Advocacy: Acting as a catalyst for change with partners in industry, government, and among influencers.

Clinton Global Initiative

Carbon to Collaboration Launched in 2005, the Clinton Global Initiative’s (CGI) mission is to solve global problems that affect the quality of human life. Cisco is a CGI partner as
it aligns with the company’s strategy to reduce dependency on physical travel by investing in collaboration technologies that help reduce carbon emissions. This is demonstrated by Cisco’s commitment to reduce its C02 emissions by 10 percent, primarily through a 20 percent reduction in employee travel. During Fiscal Year 2007, Cisco successfully decoupled its growth in employees and earnings from an increase in carbon emissions due to air travel, which fell 14 percent over the previous year, normalized by sales revenue.
Cisco is also investing $15 million through its Connected Urban Development initiative to create urban communications’ infrastructures that demonstrate how network connectivity can reduce carbon emissions for cities, countries, and individuals.

Connected Urban Development

What: In its first phase, Connected Urban Development consists of building partnerships with three pilot cities—Amsterdam, San Francisco, and Seoul—to apply information and communications technology to promote innovative practices for reducing CO2. Each of the pilot cities will focus on excelling in one or two key areas.

Why: The result will be a blueprint of best practices and methodologies that can be used as a reference by other cities. These blueprints will be replicated to additional cities during the second phase and scaled on a global basis in the third phase.

Future: The scope of Connected Urban Development is expected to go beyond the environmental dimension, delivering innovative and sustainable models for urban planning and economic development. CUD recently announced that it will work with four additional cities on specific programs: Birmingham, England; Hamburg, Germany; Lisbon, Portugal; and Madrid, Spain.

Cisco EcoBoard

The Cisco EcoBoard was formed in the beginning of FY07. Made up of 14 leaders from departments across Cisco, the group has collaboratively developed an innovative corporate green strategy to reduce the company’s carbon footprint and deliver ecologically sound products and opportunities to customers.

Mission:Impact how we operate as a company Create efficiencies and innovations in our products. Provide solutions to customers to address global environmental issues. Inspire employees and people around the wolrd to take action

Members: The board is chaired by Laura Ipsen, SVP, Global Policy and Government Affairs; John McCool, SVP, GM of Campus Switching Systems Technology Group; and Ron Ricci, VP,
Corporate Positioning. In addition, EcoBoard membership includes senior leaders from each
functional area within the company.

Green Leadership in the Information/Communications (ICT) Industries

Cisco believes information and communications technology can play a large role in how the world addresses its environmental challenges. Cisco is innovating in its operations, products, and customer solutions to address environmental issues and is collaborating with employees, customers, partners, and governments to create a sustainable ICT model for addressing climate change. To guide these efforts, Cisco has hired a Vice President of Green Engineering, Paul Marcoux, a founding member of The Green Grid initiative. Cisco has also played a leadership role in the development and consistent application of environmental standards.

Friday, June 6, 2008

U.S. carbon-capping climate bill dies in Senate

Fri Jun 6, 2008 9:38am EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. legislation that would have set up a cap-and-trade system to limit climate-warming carbon emissions died on Friday after a procedural vote in the Senate.

The bill aimed to cut total U.S. global warming emissions by 66 percent by 2050. Opponents said it would cost U.S. jobs and raise fuel prices in an already pinched American economy.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

# 7 Procter and Gamble (P&G)

P&G is committed to social responsibility. We are always seeking ways to better integrate economic progress, social development and environmental concerns to ensure a better quality of life for future generations.

We demonstrate our commitment to social responsibility by providing products and services that improve consumers' lives, in terms of health, hygiene and convenience. On a smaller scale, we contribute to the economic and social well-being of our employees, our shareholders and the local communities in which we operate. On a larger scale, we are involved in regional, national and international development. P&G contributes to social responsibility both in principle and in action.

1. What is "Sustainability," and what does this mean to P&G?
P&G embraces the UK government definition of sustainability, which says: "Sustainable Development is a very simple idea. It is about ensuring a better quality of life for everyone, now and for generations to come." This definition speaks to a better quality of life for everyone, both in the developed and the developing world. It also is aspirational and aligns very well with our Statement of Purpose.

Sustainability integrates economic development, environmental protection and social responsibility. For P&G, sustainability provides us with a holistic approach to address the moral and ethical values of our consumers and other key stakeholders, along with their simultaneous desire for a higher and more rewarding quality of life. Sustainability provides an opportunity to build our business by bringing P&G technologies and innovation to address the values, concerns and frustrations that consumers face in their everyday lives. . .nutrition, litter, water-borne diseases, sanitation, health care, time available to spend with family, etc.

2. What is P&G's position on Sustainable Development?
P&G believes that improving the lives of the world's consumers encompasses the three pillars of Sustainability: Economic Development, Environmental Protection and Social Responsibility. We contribute to improving quality of life for people around the world both through what we do (providing goods and services to improve lives) and how we do it (through Corporate Social Responsibility).

There are two key focus areas that are integral to the success of P&G's business:

  1. Corporate Social Responsibility
  2. Sustainable production and consumption of products

To support these areas, the Company upholds the following basic principles:

  1. Conducting business with integrity and a core value to "do the right thing"
  2. A global free market, governed by the rule of law
  3. A climate of innovation
  4. Decisions based on sound science
  5. Freedom of consumer choice

3. How is P&G organized to meet Sustainability requirements?
P&G Global Sustainability was formed in July 1999 as a global organization. The Global Sustainability department focuses on defining P&G’s overall Sustainability policy, identifying emerging Sustainability issues, managing Corporate Sustainability Reporting, building external relation and assisting the business units to incorporate Sustainable Development into their businesses.

4. What is the vision of P&G Global Sustainability?
Our vision is to help P&G become a Sustainable Corporation by delivering unique solutions to improve lives, protect the environment and build shareholder value with the support of our consumers, employees, communities, shareholders, governments and thought leaders.

5. How is this concept being used in P&G's business?
We decided to focus on areas where we can make a positive difference. We chose two key themes, significant to a variety of P&G's businesses. They are (1) water and (2) health and hygiene. These focus areas support our ongoing work to understand issues concerning water availability, quality and quantity, and health, hygiene and nutritional issues.

6. Does P&G report on Sustainability topics?
Yes, we produce an annual Internet-based global Sustainability Report. P&G prepared its first Sustainability Report in October, 1999. Previously, we had been producing separate reports on environmental, economic and social performance for several years, but we now have linked these issues together in a Sustainable Development report. We are using a report format developed by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). Copies of our Sustainability Reports are available at

7. What is the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)? Why is P&G following their guidelines?
The GRI provides a common format for Sustainability Reporting that assists both the organization providing the report and those using the report as a key source of data. The GRI consists of multinational corporations, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), international associations, universities and other stakeholders from around the world. More information can be found at their Web site at:

P&G decided to pilot the GRI guidelines for its first Sustainability Report because it offered a consistent format for gathering economic, social and environmental performance trend data and reporting this information on a global basis.

8. Has P&G been rated by the Dow Jones Sustainability Group Index (DJSI)?
For 2007, P&G is ranked as the leading company in the consumer, non-cyclical market sector of the Dow Jones Sustainability Group Index. This is the seventh year in a row that P&G has been ranked first.