In this post Elaine writes about this just released comprehensive review by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) of what it has been doing between July 2009 and June 2010. It covers such topics and events as the well attended third GRI conference in Amsterdam in May 2010where the GRI announced its goal that large and medium sized companies should by 2015 be required to report on their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) performance. It goes on to cover in greater detail the various specifics that are included in this GRI review.
Energy systems need to also be measured according to the potential risks associated with them in the advent of failure. And the actuarial costs of these risks need to be better understood and included into the market price for the energy that these systems produce. This post examines this catastrophic downside risk of nuclear and fossil energy focusing on the recent events in Japan and on the BP oil spill as two recent examples of hugely expensive catastrophes. It poses the question why should the taxpayers and the public bear the burden of these costs in this manner artificially lowering the price these energy sectors are thus able to charge for their products.
indoor marijuana weed cannibisThe yearly greenhouse-gas pollution of the $40 billion per year marijuana industry is responsible for about 3% of all electricity use or 8% of household use. Indoor growers use high-intensity lights that are 500 times more powerful that a standard reading lamp. They also use several other high energy industrial practices. The closest comparison for these massive, industrial-style grow facilities are data centers, which consume about two percent of the nation’s electric power.
Electric cars are finally coming to market in the U.S., but what is the future potential for this much-touted technology? A good way to find out would be to launch demonstration projects in selected U.S. cities to determine if, given incentives and the proper infrastructure, the public will truly embrace plug-in vehicles.
In recent months, several conservative governors have rejected federal funds to begin constructing high-speed rail lines in their states. But a high-speed rail advocate argues that such ideologically driven actions are folly, as other U.S. states and countries around the world are moving swiftly to embrace a technology that is essential for competitive 21st-century economies.
The disaster at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant has highlighted the importance of nuclear energy to Japan and the power long wielded by the nuclear sector. But that influence now is sure to wane, to the relief of opponents who have fought for years to check nuclear’s rapid growth.
The nuclear crisis in Japan is a wake up call demonstrating that nuclear power is not the silver bullet against climate change that governments and advocates have claimed. Much more effort, resources and political will has to be directed toward alternative sources of energy: energy saving, renewable, and changing of life styles.
California’s Senate has just passed some important new renewable energy legislation that will, if approved in the Assembly and signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown, require utilities operating in the state to obtain one third of their electricity from renewable sources of energy such as wind, solar or geothermal. This is a big increase from the current 20% targets set by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in a 2009 executive order.
The recent swings in the spot price for crude oil — especially in light of the currently rapid rising spot prices are cause for alarm. Noting that the current run up of prices looks a lot like period leading up to the sudden price spike that occurred in the summer of 2008. It goes on to argues that the global economy needs a better market regulating mechanism that can help manage these swings and reduce their amplitude so they become less damaging to the world’s economies. The energy business — whether it is alternative energy or oil, gas or coal exploration and development — has huge up front capital needs. This needed capital is much harder to raise in a climate of such extreme near term price uncertainty.