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Bipartisan Report Tallies High Toll on Economy From Global Warming

Bipartisan Report Tallies High Toll on Economy From Global Warming | BigPivot | Scoop.it
Treasury secretaries dating to the Nixon years backed a new report predicting a heavy loss of coastal properties, a shift of farming northward, and dangerous outdoor conditions because of climate change.
Andrew Winston's insight:

The momentum on discussing climate change in 'serious' circles has shifted dramatically recently. A couple days ago Hank Paulson, Republican, former Treasury Secretary, wrote a tough op-ed about how real climate change is and how much it reminds him of the financial collapse/bubble he oversaw under Pres.Bush. And this story is the follow up about a new report on the cost to society of doing nothing -- coming from Treasury secretaries of all stripes. This is no Greenpeace report. Now it's time for businesses to get moving -- we've had too many wakeup calls...time for action and a Big Pivot!

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Narendra Modi, Favoring Growth in India, Pares Back Environmental Rules

Narendra Modi, Favoring Growth in India, Pares Back Environmental Rules | BigPivot | Scoop.it
The new government is moving with remarkable speed to clear away regulatory burdens for industry, the armed forces, mining and power projects.
Andrew Winston's insight:
The false idea of a tradeoff between economic growth and environmental protections rears its head in India. In the very short run, it may seem smart to prioritize jobs and industrial expansion over any kind of environmental protections. But it really doesn't pay. The environment you're protecting includes all the resources for a prosperous society and business community -- clean air and water, a stable climate, natural resources, etc. China is dealing with the extremes of growth over environment now with cities where people can barely breathe -- and China is acting to go the other way and tackle coal consumption and emissions in general. In this story on India, we can see the effects of one region's industrial growth on those down river -- fishing areas destroyed and serious health impacts. The costs just show up elsewhere in the system. It's bad policy and bad business.
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NRG Seeks to Cut 90% of Its Carbon Emissions

NRG Seeks to Cut 90% of Its Carbon Emissions | BigPivot | Scoop.it
The company, which operates coal and other conventional power plants, plans for a reduction of 50 percent by 2030 and 90 percent by 2050.
Andrew Winston's insight:

A very big announcement from NRG, one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases in the U.S. This is an impressive commitment from a utility that is generating energy mostly from coal today. The recognition that the world, and thus the electricity-generation sector, needs to find a path away from carbon in the next 15 to 35 years is unusual. This puts pressure not just on the industry, but on all large companies -- if a coal-burning giant can set this kind of goal, why can't a CPG company or manufacturer (of course, if NRG and its peers get there, then the energy buyers' goals get MUCH easier to reach). Bravo... 

(PS, here's NRGs announcement with more details...http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20141120005471/en/NRG-Energy-Sets-Long-Term-Sustainability-Goals-Groundbreaking#.VHKLQpPF_qN)

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Why not follow the Swiss Energiewende? - EnergyPost.eu

Why not follow the Swiss Energiewende? - EnergyPost.eu | BigPivot | Scoop.it

eNeither rushed like Germany’s nor sluggish like France’s, the Swiss nuclear phase-out is slow but steady.

Andrew Winston's insight:

It's sometimes hard for us Americans to look elsewhere for inspiration, but we should try harder. There are a number of countries attempting large-scale energy shifts to low-carbon economies. Germany most famously is trying to go renewable AND shut down nuclear at the same time (which is causing their emissions to rise for now). But this thorough, fascinating article describes how Switzerland is taking a more prudent path toward a 2050 goal of being nearly entirely renewable powered (with a big chunk being its natural endowment of hydro power).

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Coal Fades, So Electrics Get Cleaner

Coal Fades, So Electrics Get Cleaner | BigPivot | Scoop.it
An analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists showed that, for the majority of the country, electric vehicles are cleaner than even the most efficient hybrids.
Andrew Winston's insight:

Good news to quiet skeptics on electric vehicles. The logic behind electrification has always been that we can then kill two birds with one stone -- move the grid toward renewables and you've cleaned both power generation AND transportation. We're now getting some serious momentum on carbon as we green both paths.

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Without Much Straining, Minnesota Reins In Its Utilities’ Carbon Emissions

Without Much Straining, Minnesota Reins In Its Utilities’ Carbon Emissions | BigPivot | Scoop.it
While many have howled about complying with a proposed rule slashing greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, Minnesota has been reining in its utilities’ carbon pollution for decades.
Andrew Winston's insight:

We're already finding out that the new Obama admin rules -- 30% carbon reductions by 2030 (which some have called economically devastating) -- are not going to be that hard for large swaths of the country. Here's Minnesota well on their way and discovering the benefits of renewables and having a more resilient energy system. Bravo. Next step is to set carbon reduction goals for the country and companies based on science, not what's politically 'feasible' -- that would be around 6% reduction in carbon intensity annually.

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The shocking truth about B.C.’s carbon tax: It works

The shocking truth about B.C.’s carbon tax: It works | BigPivot | Scoop.it
The province has the lowest personal income tax rate in Canada, and one of the lowest corporate rates in North America
Andrew Winston's insight:

So let me get this straight. A large region implemented a carbon tax and it didn't kill the economy, force people to live in the cold and dark, or cost every household half their income. Huh.  Kidding aside, this is a great summary of what's happened in British Columbia for the last 6 years. The big takeaways for those wanting a price on carbon in the U.S....Offsetting taxes with cuts elsewhere is the way to go. BC has actually "cut $760-million more in income and other taxes than needed to offset carbon tax revenue." BC has low personal income taxes and the economy has outperformed the rest of Canada. Very nice.

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Yale Environment 360: Roughly $80 Billion Wasted on Power for Networked Devices, Report Says

Yale Environment 360: Roughly $80 Billion Wasted on Power for Networked Devices, Report Says | BigPivot | Scoop.it

The world’s 14 billion online electronic devices, such as modems, printers, game consoles, and cable boxes, waste around $80 billion in electricity annually because of inefficient technology, according to a new report by the International Energy Agency (IEA).


Via Flora Moon
Andrew Winston's insight:

Yikes. Not much to add to this, but it's just a nice little example of all the waste in the system we can tackle for very easy wins...very big easy wins. I have a plug at home that charges an iphone or ipad, but then stops current when the device is full. That's a good start on limiting 'vulture' waste.

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Stephane Bilodeau's curator insight, July 2, 2014 6:11 PM

In 2013, networked devices consumed around 616 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity, with most of that used in standby mode. Roughly 400 TWh — equivalent to the combined annual electricity consumption of the United Kingdom and Norway — was wasted because of inefficient technology.

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Bipartisan Report Tallies High Toll on Economy From Global Warming

Bipartisan Report Tallies High Toll on Economy From Global Warming | BigPivot | Scoop.it
Treasury secretaries dating to the Nixon years backed a new report predicting a heavy loss of coastal properties, a shift of farming northward, and dangerous outdoor conditions because of climate change.
Andrew Winston's insight:

The momentum on discussing climate change in 'serious' circles has shifted dramatically recently. A couple days ago Hank Paulson, Republican, former Treasury Secretary, wrote a tough op-ed about how real climate change is and how much it reminds him of the financial collapse/bubble he oversaw under Pres.Bush. And this story is the follow up about a new report on the cost to society of doing nothing -- coming from Treasury secretaries of all stripes. This is no Greenpeace report. Now it's time for businesses to get moving -- we've had too many wakeup calls...time for action and a Big Pivot!

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One Day After U.S. Announces Emissions Target, China Says Carbon Cap Is On The Way

One Day After U.S. Announces Emissions Target, China Says Carbon Cap Is On The Way | BigPivot | Scoop.it
One day after the United States proposed rules to limit the amount of carbon emitted from existing power plants, China said it will limit its total CO2 emissions for the first time possibly starting in 2016.
Andrew Winston's insight:

Big news on the heels of U.S. Carbon and coal rules (which i wrote an op-ed on for Fortune yesterday, saying that companies should move away from fossil fuels as fast as possible...see... http://fortune.com/2014/06/02/why-obamas-climate-change-policies-wont-hurt-corporate-america/).  But this is an amazing follow on story. Lots of businesses and politicians use China as the scapegoat for inaction. That story is getting less tenable. China will cap carbon and attack it relentlessly. Neither announcement may be as fast as the science requires, but it's a very good start.

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Barclays Downgrades Electric Utility Bonds, Sees Viable Solar Competition - Income Investing - Barrons.com

Barclays this week downgrades the entire electric sector of the U.S. high-grade corporate bond market to underweight, saying it sees long-term challenges to electric utilities from solar energy, and that the electric sector of the bond market isn’t pricing in these challenges right now. It’s a noteworthy downgrade since electric utilities which make up nearly [...]
Andrew Winston's insight:

Really important story that shows a major shift in thinking about the value of traditional energy infrastructure. Barclays is saying that utilities are getting less valuable as a whole as renewable energy proves its competitiveness. Some are saying that traditional utilities are in a 'death spiral', which may be  somewhat exaggerated -- we'll need a dependable grid for the foreseeable future. But it is clear that the centralized grid may not need to be any bigger than today (or much smaller). If the utilities can shift models to help build micro-grids and help make distributed generation a reality, perhaps they can maintain their value.

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Scientists Warn of Rising Oceans From Polar Melt

Scientists Warn of Rising Oceans From Polar Melt | BigPivot | Scoop.it
The depletion of large parts of the ice sheet in West Antarctica is almost certainly unstoppable, with global warming accelerating the disintegration, two groups of scientists reported Monday.
Andrew Winston's insight:

I try to not dwell on the 'oh, crap' stories, but this is a very big deal. The ice is melting in the Antarctic, and sea level rise of 10 feet may be 'inevitable' now, according to scientists. We have some serious work to do as a society if we want to keep some bad outcomes from getting much worse, and time is really very short. The business community can and should take the lead on managing risk and creating the products and services that help us both mitigate and adapt to what's happening. But first we have to move past all debate that we have a problem. I think (and hope) a tipping point is nearing where it will be nearly unacceptable in business to express serious doubt on climate change.

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Climate Change Study Finds U.S. Is Already Widely Affected

Climate Change Study Finds U.S. Is Already Widely Affected | BigPivot | Scoop.it
Declaring that the issue of human-induced climate change had “moved firmly into the present,” a major study found that water shortages, torrential rains, heat waves and wildfires were worsening.
Andrew Winston's insight:

There isn't much to say to add to this story. It's all very clear. The key line is "Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present." I'm not sure anymore what it will take for the deniers out there to listen. At a talk I gave today, business exec had to come up and tell me the scientists were not in agreement -- said they were 50/50 on this. Well, actually it's 97%, and every major scientific body is in agreement. But the deniers are getting quieter as the reality of extreme weather NOW -- not in the future -- becomes clearer...

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Walmart Begins Anticipated Sustainable Chemistry Policy

Walmart Begins Anticipated Sustainable Chemistry Policy | BigPivot | Scoop.it
The policy covers household cleaners and detergents, health and beauty care, baby care, pet supplies and household paper products.
Andrew Winston's insight:

From a few weeks back, but an important story. Companies are setting their own standards on a range of issues...The Gap recently raised wages on its own, CVS not selling tobacco, etc. This story is another one of companies setting their own policies on chemicals. Walmart is pushing suppliers to get rid of certain substances, all of which are legal. I call this kind of pressure "de facto regulation." It doesn't matter what the government says if your biggest stakeholders -- your customers, consumers, or employees -- set higher standards.

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With Spinoff, German Utility E.On to Focus on Renewable Energy

With Spinoff, German Utility E.On to Focus on Renewable Energy | BigPivot | Scoop.it
E.On said it would gradually leave the conventional power generation business of coal, nuclear, and natural gas and concentrate on alternatives like wind and solar power.
Andrew Winston's insight:

E.ON's move to focus its core business on renewable energy is smart strategy. The world is beginning a deep transformation away from conventional fuels and E.On is being proactive about pursuing a new direction, spinning off it's conventional electricity generation business. This is a logical move especially in Germany, a country with the most aggressive national policy in the world to transform their energy system. The country is going "all in" on renewables and E.On is choosing a wise path. The move is parallel to the recent announcement that US utility NRG will cut its carbon emissions by 90% by 2050 -- that utility, one of the most forward-looking in the country -- is planning for a deep shift in the energy system as well and trying to get out in front of it.

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Ingersoll Rand to Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Half by 2020; Invests $500 Million in Energy Efficiency to Address Climate Change (NYSE:IR)

Andrew Winston's insight:

From the files of 'you may have missed this during the rush of announcements in climate week last month'... Here was a specific company commitment worth checking out. Ingersoll Rand, maker of very large HVAC systems, among other things, has set a 50% GHG reduction goal for its products that use refrigerants. Like so many companies, its footprint is mostly outside of its four walls -- particularly so for this kind of energy-using product -- but too few target the full value chain impacts in their goals and innovation efforts.

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Why the (awesome) climate march won't change American politics

Why the (awesome) climate march won't change American politics | BigPivot | Scoop.it

me Great as the march was, conservatives didn't come out to it, so it won't change Congress and it won't change the polarization gripping America.

Andrew Winston's insight:

Dave Roberts from Grist throws some hard-to-argue-with cold water on the excitement of the march, pointing out that conservatives were not there, so there can be no political movement. Agreed. But I think the best way to get conservatives there is through business. The only problem with the progressive big tent at the march (which I gleefully attended with my family) was that it was so anti-corporate. I marched with the albeit small number of companies that really get it (like Unilever and their Ben & Jerry's brand, including Ben and Jerry themselves!). But that said, the pro-climate business world is growing fast and that's how we get conservatives in -- it's becoming very clear that tackling climate change is good business and business, to put it mildly, leans right. Let's open that tent up!

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Is sharing really green?

Is sharing really green? | BigPivot | Scoop.it
Many have sung the sharing economy's environmental praises, but the evidence may not be there to back up their claims.
Andrew Winston's insight:

A really fair question from Marc Gunther -- and something i've wondered about for a long time.  There are some great aspects of sharing -- if nothing else, causing us to look at our consumption anew is worth it. But it has never been clear if all forms of sharing really reduce footprint. Or do they let us avoid, to some extent, asking ourselves the even harder, more heretical questions like...do i need to take this trip or use this thing at all?!.  As with all lifecycle type analyses, we often get an 'it depends', but it's worth looking at it again...

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Australia votes to repeal carbon tax

Australia votes to repeal carbon tax | BigPivot | Scoop.it
Australia's Senate votes to repeal the so-called carbon tax, a levy on the biggest polluters brought in by the Labor Party.
Andrew Winston's insight:

What a sad state of affairs. As the science, and cost, of climate change gets clearer by the day, Australia moves definitively backward from the most important policy we can use, a price on carbon. This is in direct contradiction to the piece I scooped yesterday about the success of British Colombia's carbon tax. We will end up with prices on a carbon everywhere. Two steps forward, one step back...

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Despite Heat, Low Electricity Prices In Texas Show How Wind Is Good For Consumers

Despite Heat, Low Electricity Prices In Texas Show How Wind Is Good For Consumers | BigPivot | Scoop.it
It turns out wind power isn’t just a source of clean energy — it also helps protect consumers from price volatility.
Andrew Winston's insight:

One of the common, and out-dated, complaints about renewable energy is that it will cost more and is not dependable. Both are turning out to be wrong (or greatly oversimplified in the case of 'undependable'). This is a cool story about Texas discovering that during a heat wave, when spiking energy should've driven up costs, increased wind provided a buffer and actually lowered costs. So having multiple sources of energy, with a large dose of renewables, creates a more resilient system. Nice.

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The CEO of Coca-Cola on Using the Company’s Scale for Good

The CEO of Coca-Cola on Using the Company’s Scale for Good | BigPivot | Scoop.it
A Q&A with Muhtar Kent.
Andrew Winston's insight:

This is an interesting Q&A with Muhtar Kent, a CEO who has been out front on a number of sustainability issues for years. The key part for me is at the end where he talks about being "constructively discontent" about progress on sustainability issues. As he elaborates, it's a way of "recognizing achievement but also understanding that we can never be satisfied with it." I think that perfectly describes the challenge of continuous improvement in general, and work on big environmental and social issues in particular. We have a long way to go, and we must appreciate what we accomplish, but keep pushing.

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One Day After U.S. Announces Emissions Target, China Says Carbon Cap Is On The Way

One Day After U.S. Announces Emissions Target, China Says Carbon Cap Is On The Way | BigPivot | Scoop.it
One day after the United States proposed rules to limit the amount of carbon emitted from existing power plants, China said it will limit its total CO2 emissions for the first time possibly starting in 2016.
Andrew Winston's insight:

Big news on the heels of U.S. Carbon and coal rules (which i wrote an op-ed on for Fortune yesterday, saying that companies should move away from fossil fuels as fast as possible...see... http://fortune.com/2014/06/02/why-obamas-climate-change-policies-wont-hurt-corporate-america/).  But this is an amazing follow on story. Lots of businesses and politicians use China as the scapegoat for inaction. That story is getting less tenable. China will cap carbon and attack it relentlessly. Neither announcement may be as fast as the science requires, but it's a very good start.

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Video: Obama on Combating Climate Change

Video: Obama on Combating Climate Change | BigPivot | Scoop.it
President Obama discussed climate change in his speech at West Point, saying he intends “to make sure America is out front in putting together a global framework to preserve our planet.”
Andrew Winston's insight:

At West Point, the President drew a direct line from climate change to national security to international leadership. It's amazing how far the climate discussion has come. We're really talking systems and interconnectedness in new ways now. Gone is the 'if you believe in climate change' or 'what some scientists say is happening' and in its place is 'this is happening, so here's why it matters to you.' The President is only picking up what the military itself has been saying -- the idea that climate is a "threat multiplier" has been included in Pentagon and other strategy documents for a few years now. But this was a fascinating way for the President to connect the dots before the coal rules come out on Monday.

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A look inside Nike's struggle to balance cost and worker safety in Bangladesh.

A look inside Nike's struggle to balance cost and worker safety in Bangladesh. | BigPivot | Scoop.it
Nike executives were divided over boosting manufacturing in Bangladesh, amid debate over controlling costs and maintaining safe working conditions.
Andrew Winston's insight:

A fascinating look at how proactive risk reduction matters. NIke cut ties to factories in Bangladesh that they had no faith in, before the Rana Plaza tragedy a year ago. It's rare to see a company willing to opt out from a cheap option. We need more of this kind of leadership. The next level is for companies to increasingly share this kind of info and maybe force behavior change on suppliers. But it will only go so far if we're all not willing to spend more for clothes (and many other things) made by people in safe conditions, paid a living wage.

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Rising Temperatures

Rising Temperatures | BigPivot | Scoop.it
Average temperature in 1991-2012 compared with the 1901-60 average.
Andrew Winston's insight:

Great visual: This partly explains why people in red states lag on belief in climate change. Unfortunately, belief is tied at times to the weather/temperature where an individual is (vs. Science on global temps). Apparently, the southern U.S. has NOT been warmer over the last 30 years. So people in that part of the world (<1% of global surface area) may not be experiencing warmer temps. They are however experiencing more extreme floods, droughts, etc.... 

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A Risk Analyst Explains Why Climate Change Risk Misperception Doesn't Necessarily Matter

A Risk Analyst Explains Why Climate Change Risk Misperception Doesn't Necessarily Matter | BigPivot | Scoop.it
A longtime analyst of risk misperception says leaders can’t wait for the public to “get” global warming.
Andrew Winston's insight:

An interesting exchange between Andy Revkin at NY TImes and an expert on risk assessment. The risk analyst says it might not matter that people aren't reacting to the risk of climate change with demands for action now. I kind of agree...we can't wait for a consumer perception shift that 44 Earth Days haven't brought about yet. Business can move forward and head toward 100% renewables, and it can demand policy changes to support that shift (like a price on carbon), with or without 'public' support. And I think business will do this for many reasons that relate to reducing risk and driving resilience. One sector will of course fight this to the end, but the rest of the business world will see the benefit of the Pivot.

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