Posts Tagged ‘carbon reduction’

Climate News Scan – 16 July 2013

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

Some highlights from this week’s News Scan:

  • Empire State Building demonstration project rolls out nationwide
  • Poor economy no excuse for climate inaction
  • Evolution can’t keep pace with climate change

The PICS News Scan is produced by ISIS at the Sauder School of Business and the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS). To be added to the News Scan distribution list Subscribe Here or to provide content feedback and/or suggestions about interesting news items, please email: isis@sauder.ubc.ca.

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15 Tips For Clean/Green Tech Accelerator Success

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

A new cleantech incubator has just launched in Vancouver, Canada called the Foresight Cleantech Accelerator. In the process, cleantech analyst Dallas Kachan, who’s been helping with the launch, has been learning what other accelerators and incubators are doing well, and not so well, around the world. He details his findings in this blog post.

 

15 Tips For Clean/Green Tech Accelerator Success

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

A new cleantech incubator has just launched in Vancouver, Canada called the Foresight Cleantech Accelerator. In the process, cleantech analyst Dallas Kachan, who’s been helping with the launch, has been learning what other accelerators and incubators are doing well, and not so well, around the world. He details his findings in this blog post.

 

15 Tips For Clean/Green Tech Accelerator Success

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

A new cleantech incubator has just launched in Vancouver, Canada called the Foresight Cleantech Accelerator. In the process, cleantech analyst Dallas Kachan, who’s been helping with the launch, has been learning what other accelerators and incubators are doing well, and not so well, around the world. He details his findings in this blog post.

 

Climate News Scan – 16 July 2013

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

Some highlights from this week’s News Scan:

  • Empire State Building demonstration project rolls out nationwide
  • Poor economy no excuse for climate inaction
  • Evolution can’t keep pace with climate change

The PICS News Scan is produced by ISIS at the Sauder School of Business and the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS). To be added to the News Scan distribution list Subscribe Here or to provide content feedback and/or suggestions about interesting news items, please email: isis@sauder.ubc.ca.

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Climate News Scan – 16 July 2013

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

Some highlights from this week’s News Scan:

  • Empire State Building demonstration project rolls out nationwide
  • Poor economy no excuse for climate inaction
  • Evolution can’t keep pace with climate change

The PICS News Scan is produced by ISIS at the Sauder School of Business and the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS). To be added to the News Scan distribution list Subscribe Here or to provide content feedback and/or suggestions about interesting news items, please email: isis@sauder.ubc.ca.

(more…)

Climate News Scan – 16 July 2013

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

Some highlights from this week’s News Scan:

  • Empire State Building demonstration project rolls out nationwide
  • Poor economy no excuse for climate inaction
  • Evolution can’t keep pace with climate change

Authors: Justin Bull, Liz Ferris, James Noble, Rebecca Segal, Ashley Lowcock

Editors: Neil Thomson (ISIS)James Tansey (ISIS), Robyn Meyer (PICS), Lawrence Pitt (PICS)

The PICS News Scan is produced by ISIS at the Sauder School of Business and the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS). To be added to the News Scan distribution list Subscribe Here or to provide content feedback and/or suggestions about interesting news items, please email: isis@sauder.ubc.ca.

Research Theme I: The low carbon emissions economy

Poor economy no excuse for climate inaction

July 3, 2013.  According to new research governments that have used a lagging economy as an excuse for climate inaction are making a mistake. A British study shows that the damage caused by emitting an additional tonne of carbon dioxide today is $107, assuming an economic growth rate of approximately two percent per year. The social cost is higher in a low economic growth world, rising to $138 per tonne if economies continue to stagnate. The study cites the main driver of this trend is the fact that the worst climate impacts occur in a relatively poor world where they lack the capacity to pay for damages. As a result, governments should feel more, not less, compelled to implement climate policies if their economies are slow to come out of recession. While inaction by major emitters is typically motivated by the cost of cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions during periods of low economic growth, this new data shows that the social cost of inaction by governments is even higher than during periods of robust economic growth.

A key feature of any credible climate policy is a robust price on climate-related emissions, and while the federal government examines an eventual price on carbon in certain sectors of the Canadian economy, the British Columbia (BC) government has forged a bold path with the province’s carbon tax. Introduced during a period of slow to negative economic growth five years ago, the carbon tax has climbed steadily over the subsequent years of anemic economic growth to a level of $30 per tonne in 2012. Since 2008, the tax has raised $3.7-billion, helping to reduce GHG emissions while keeping income and corporate taxes low. Per capita consumption of all petroleum fuels has dropped 16 per cent in BC since the tax’s introduction and the provincial economy has grown faster than the Canadian average in that time.

Research Theme II: Sustainable communities

Empire State Building demonstration project rolls out nationwide

July 03, 2013.  Since the Empire State Building was given a $550 million dollar “green” makeover, New York’s most iconic office building has been exceeding project guaranteed energy savings by 4-5%. The project began in 2009 as a partnership between the Empire State Building and the Clinton Foundation, and has earned the building LEED Gold Certification since the completion of the base retrofit. Once all tenant spaces are upgraded, energy use will be reduced by 38% over the next 15 years, translating to a savings of $4.4 million per year. If every building in New York switched to this model, the City would cut its carbon emmisions by 4 million metric tons. The tower is even more efficient than new LEED construction projects, prompting a claim from the Clinton Foundation CEO that “retrofitting existing buildings is the best way for a city to become environmentally, and economically, sustainable”. Time will tell, as the project team looks to apply the same model to nearly 100 major commercial buildings across the United States (US).

Through both construction and operation, buildings consume 77% of energy, according to the US Energy Information Administration. As people flock to cities and demand for space increases, retrofitting will become more attractive, offering tangible returns, maximizing leasable space, and commanding market viability. Built in 1975, the retrofit of First Canadian Place, Canada’s largest commercial building, rivals that of the Empire State Building. The laundry list of retrofits, which included replacing all 72 storeys of marble façade, has resulted in a 24% reduction in energy consumption. Halsall Associates have also assessed measures aimed at reducing building system and tenant energy consumption by 26%, offering a payback of 6.5 years. There are 6,000 aging towers across Canada, almost 1,700 in Metro Vancouver alone. Canada’s commercial building sector spends $17.6 billion annually. Through the Canadian Green Building Council, programs such as LEED® Canada 2009 and GREEN UP® support ‘deep’ efficiency retrofits, which could reduce commercial energy consumption by 50-60% Canada wide.

Research Theme III: Resilient ecosystems

Evolution can’t keep pace with climate change

July 9, 2013.  In the next 100 years, vertebrates will be forced to evolve approximately 10,000 times faster than ever before if they are to keep pace with climate change. A study investigating 540 species of terrestrial vertebrates found that, in general, species took one million years to adapt to climatic changes of only 1°C. However, the climate is expected to warm by about 4°C in the next 100 years. When past rates of evolution were contrasted to the projected warming rates of this century, the dramatic differences suggest that many species will find adaptation difficult or impossible. If these species are able to change their behaviour or migrate to cooler environments, they may be able to lessen their need to adapt. However, moving is not an option for many species that inhabit islands, mountains, fragmented areas, or for those species of limited mobility.

Short of mitigating climate change, one of the ways BC can help species avoid the requirement of extremely fast evolutionary change is to make migration routes accessible. For example, one proposed strategy is the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y), which aims to protect a large corridor of natural area between these two regions. The corridor could help provide an area where species are able to migrate polewards across an entire continent, or up a gradient. This would relieve some of the need to adapt to climate change through evolutionary processes. Another strategy for helping species is assisted migration, which involves people moving species that cannot move themselves. Many scientists have reservations about deliberately moving organisms, due to the risk of creating invasive species, and most are hesitant to create somewhat unstudied novel ecosystems. However, BC citizens have already been practicing assisted migration by moving numerous species to new climates through activities like gardening.

Research Theme IV: Social mobilization

Changing climate complicates matters for BC agriculture sector

July 4, 2013.  If senior levels of government don’t act to protect BC’s agricultural sector from the increasing impacts of climate change, the province will face economic losses. These are the findings from a briefing paper released this week by the Simon Fraser University Adaptation to Climate Change Action Team. As reported by the Vancouver Sun, according to Jon O’Riordan, lead author on the report, extreme weather events that used to occur once every hundred years are becoming more frequent and are causing economic damage to BC’s agricultural industries. In 2010, weather events such as heavy rains caused $6 million in damage to root crops in southwestern BC. In May 2013, the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions released a report on Strengthening BC’s Agriculture Sector in the Face of Climate Change. Recommendations from this report include investing in climate-smart water infrastructure and better supporting the Agricultural Land Commission’s resources regarding climate change.

The recent flooding in Alberta highlights the importance of ensuring the Canadian agricultural sector prepares for the potential impacts of climate change. Increased flooding has the capacity to cause damage to crops and infrastructure, impacting the country’s food security, and causing economic losses. However, in this case at least, the agricultural industry appears to have escaped the worst impacts of these serious floods. As reported by the Calgary Herald, the majority of the province’s irrigation infrastructure has survived intact, and Alberta’s Agriculture Minister Verlyn Olson believes that most of the crop damage will be covered by insurance. As the impacts of climate change increase in frequency, it is possible that insurers may no longer continue to cover agricultural losses.

Research Theme V: Carbon management in BC forests

Deep soil’s new role in carbon storage

July 4, 2013.  Scientists working in Australia have found that deep soil can store up to five times more carbon than previously thought. This finding could upend estimates of soil carbon storage and require a serious rethink about how the carbon storage of forests is measured and managed. The scientists measured soil carbon content at depths of up to 40m and found that carbon levels exceeded expectations. The study represents a “landmark quantification of a pool of carbon only qualitatively suspected” and will undoubtedly spur further research. Globally there is tremendous variation in soil depth. Australia and the Amazon, for example, are ancient landscapes where soil has been accumulating for tens of thousands of years. Canada, in contrast, is a relatively new landscape, having only recently – at least in geological terms – escaped the oppressive weight of massive ice sheets.

The soil landscapes of British Columbia are divided into five distinct zones, where macro variables like weather, climate and geography, and micro variables like slope and elevation work together to influence the composition of soil. On the west coast, where the Pacific Ocean provides warmth and moisture year around, soils are far different than the dry valleys east of the coastal range or the steep slopes of the Rocky Mountains. A soil map of BC illustrates this variety and the carbon storage of potential of these soil types may be equally various. The dramatic findings from Australia must be replicated or refuted by additional field-research in different forests. Identifying how much below ground carbon is stored in forested landscapes could influence the value of a forest carbon credit and the carbon budgets of an entire province.

Also in the news

Deserts ‘greening’ from rising CO2

Carbon market glut-fix plan wins backing in EU parliament

Cattle weight loss means slimmer profits in a warmer world

Getting the most out of home electricity

Long solo car trips as bad as air travel for climate, study says

Download pdf version: PICS Climate News Scan – 16 July 2013

Photo Credit: meironke

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Climate News Scan – 9 July 2013

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

Some highlights from this week’s News Scan:

  • Know your audience’s “world view”?
  • BC Government encourages investment in forest carbon
  • Climate change adaptation makes cities wealthier

The PICS News Scan is produced by ISIS at the Sauder School of Business and the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS). To be added to the News Scan distribution list Subscribe Here or to provide content feedback and/or suggestions about interesting news items, please email: isis@sauder.ubc.ca.

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Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

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Climate News Scan – 16 July 2013

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013