Energy & Sustainability show for March 8th

We had a great Energy and Sustainability show yesterday. In case you missed it, here is the recording and the chatstream is below:

Tom Raftery :
Ok, kicking off the show this Mon 8th March in 1 minute
And we’re live – hope you can all see and hear me

Mon, 8 Mar, 16:32
paul savage :

good afternoon Tom[sound is good]

Mon, 8 Mar, 16:33
Tom Raftery :

Mon, 8 Mar, 16:52
Ian B :

Perhaps TX should expend less suing EPA?

Mon, 8 Mar, 16:53
Tom Raftery :

Mon, 8 Mar, 17:00
paul savage :

don’t forget your call…

Mon, 8 Mar, 17:01
mikethebee :

Thx Tom, good one as usual.

Mon, 8 Mar, 17:02
Ian B :

Thanks Tom

Mon, 8 Mar, 17:02
paul savage :

All the best Tom.

Mon, 8 Mar, 17:02
Tom Raftery :

Thanks everyone

Mon, 8 Mar, 17:04
Ian B :

BTW – couldn’t get chat working in IE8 – must have objected to your MS story!


UK’s Carbon reduction commitment legislation – the shape of things to come globally!

Climate change

Screenshot credit Tom Raftery – data from NASA

The world is getting warmer. 2008 was the 9th warmest year on record. 2009, barring a sudden, severe, global cold snap, will end up being the 4th or 5th warmest year on record and with El Niño coming on in the Pacific, 2010 looks likely to set a new temperature record for the hottest year in recorded history.

Climate change is real and it is here, now. So what you say, what does that have to do with me? Or more to the point, what does that have to do with my work?

Well, if you are based in the UK, there is a strong chance that next April, it will have a very direct impact on your job, company, or business. This is because the UK has passed legislation called the Carbon Reduction Committment (CRC).

The CRC is a groundbreaking piece of legislation designed to help the UK meet its carbon reduction targets by 2020. Basically, the CRC scheme will apply to organisations that had a half-hourly metered electricity consumption greater than 6,000 MWh per year in 2008. Organisations qualifying for CRC would have all their energy use covered by the scheme, this includes emissions from direct energy use as well as electricity purchased. Initially, it is estimated, around 5,000 organisations will qualify, including supermarkets, water companies, banks, local authorities and all central Government Departments. Qualifying organisations mostly fall below the threshold for the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme, but account for around 10% of the UK carbon emissions.

The organisations involved will need to register or make an information disclosure by 30 September 2010. A financial penalty (£5,000 plus a per diem charge for each subsequent working day an organisation fails to submit a report) will be imposed on organisations who fail to meet the deadline.

The first year of the scheme (April 2010-2011) is called the footprint year. Companies are required to submit an audited report of their emissions during the footprint year by 29 July 2011. Again financial penalties will be imposed for failing to meet the deadline.

In the second year, (2011-2012) participants will have to purchase emissions allowances to cover their forecast emissions for 2011/12. And in 2013 auctioning of carbon allowances begins, with all the income from the auctions recycled back to participants by the means of an annual payment based on participants’ average annual emissions since the start of the scheme.

There will be a bonus or penalty according to the organisation’s position in a CRC league table. The league table will be made public thereby enhancing the transparency of companies carbon reporting and hopefully shaming any egregious emitters into reducing their carbon footprint.

I have gone in to a bit of detail about the CRC here because it is difficult enough to find out information about the scheme and most UK business appear to be wholly unprepared for its implementation. The UK Department of Climate Change (I think it is interesting that the UK has a government department of climate change in the first place – how many other governments do?) has an easy to follow guide to the CRC [PDF] available for download which will help.

The CRC is going to be closely watched by other countries and you can be sure it will be used as a model by many to reduce their carbon emissions.

As I mentioned at the outset of this piece, climate change is here, it is real. Increasingly we are going to see bills like the CRC enacted so we can try to mitigate its effects.


(Lack of) Sustainability in the Mobile industry

I realised recently that although I have referred to the talk I gave in Barcelona on Mobile Sustainability (for the Mobile 2.0 conference) in a couple of posts I never talked about the talk directly here, so now it is time to redress that.

I have posted the slide deck above so you can follow along with the slides above and my explanation below.

Slides 1-3 are simply my introducing the topic and myself (along with my contact details).

I started off with a bit of a background:

  • Slides 4-6 I start to talk about some of the reasons why sustainability is important. Climate change, for example, is real and is recognised as real. Even that last hold-out, the US government, has now admitted it is real and have set up the United States Global Change Research program to study the effects of Climate Change on the US.
  • Slide 7 – New studies show that the impacts of climate change are likely to be worse than we anticipated
  • Slide 8 – The polar ice caps are shrinking far faster than anyone predicted
  • Slide 9 – Climate change is affecting animal populations today
  • Slide 10 – Climate change is affecting the world’s river systems, and thus access to water for many people globally today
  • Slide 11-13 – This is having devastating effects on people in South America, the Middle East, and Asia (and agriculture in Australia and California)
  • Slide 14 – NGO’s are warning that the humanitarian systems, already stretched thin, will be overwhelmed

Then I went on to discuss the business case for sustainability today:

Having set the stage (we need to be more sustainable, and look, there is a strong consensus that there is a business case for it too), I started to bring the talk around to the subject of the Mobile industry:

  • Slide 24 – Quote from Smart 2020 report saying ICTs could deliver emissions reductions of at least 15% by 2020
  • Slide 25 – While there are 1 billion PCs in the world today, and 1.4 billion Internet users, there are 4 billion mobile phone subscriptions
  • Slides 26-29 – Examples of Green handsets from Nokia, Motorola, Samsung, and Sony Ericsson. I made the point here that in many cases the ‘Green handsets’ being produced by manufacturers are simply so they can ‘tick that box’ in the annual report. Sony had 57 handsets on their website. 1 was green. Green handsets should be the rule, not the exception.
  • Slides 30-33 – I checked out the websites some of the main mobile operators. 3 have no mention whatsoever (that I could find) of sustainability on their corporate website; the websites of Telefonica and O2 had Sustainability sites but they could both stand a lot of work, while Vodafone’s Sustainability site was the best of the mobile operators which I examined (that’s not to say it couldn’t stand some improvement too!)
  • Slides 34-36 A quick look at some of the Sustainability apps which have been developed for the mobile platform – slim pickings, tbh!

So having shown how poorly this industry is doing in terms of sustainability, I posited a few what-if’s:

  • Slide 38
    What if manufacturers made phones which lasted 6 yrs not 6 months? Rent, not buy?
    What if manufacturers made non-toxic handsets?
    What if manufacturers standardised to usb chargers?
    What if mobile operators switched to e-billing?
  • Slide 39
    What if carriers avoided unnecessary duplication in mobile networks, (would lead to a savings of 300gWh pa in UK alone)
    What if everyone pushed sustainability down supply chain?
    What if developers used mobile platform to build apps which ‘made a difference’?
    What if grid computing client apps were created for mobiles?

Under the “Other” heading go ideas like creating Augmented Reality applications for handsets with sustainability related information, or what if the phone makers included pollution sensors (for example) in handsets. With the ubiquity of handsets and with most handsets having inbuilt Internet access, it wouldn’t be long before realtime information on air quality worldwide would be available. Combine that with an Augmented Reality app so people can visualize live their air quality and you would very quickly see changes in people’s behaviour.

Finally, I concluded with two quotes to show why this is critical:

  • Slide 40 – From the 2007 IPCC Climate Change Synthesis Report [PDF Warning]
    As global average temperature increase exceeds about 3.5 degrees C, model projections suggest significant extinctions (40-70% of species assessed) around the globe.
  • Slide 41 – From the Chair of the IPCC, Rajendra Pachauri
    If there’s no action before 2012, that’s too late. What we do in the next two to three years will determine our future. This is the defining moment.

The thing to remember here is that Rajendra Pachauri is a George Bush appointee. He was appointed Chair of the IPCC because his predecessor, Dr. Robert Watson was deemed by the American fossil fuel industry (and in particular ExxonMobil) to be too outspoken.

Rajendra Pachauri and the IPCC’s quotes are the conservative point of view.

Mobile phones are ubiquitous. There are in excess of 4 billion of them. They are now for all intents and purposes hand-held computers, increasingly with an Internet connection. Shame on us all if we don’t leverage this incredible resource in the battle to mitigate the effects of climate change.

UPDATE: After I gave this talk, Vodafone, in conjunction with Accenture, issued a report called Carbon connections: quantifying mobile’s role in tackling climate change [PDF Warning]. In this report Vodafone claim that:

mobile technology could cut Europe’s annual energy bill by at least €43 billion and effect a reduction in annual greenhouse gas emissions by at least 113Mt CO2e by 2020. This represents 18% of the UK’s annual CO2e output in 2008 and approximately 2.4% of expected EU emissions in 2020.

The report goes on to say that the opportunities for carbon savings come from two main areas – Smart machine-to-machine (M2M) services (Smart Grids, Smart Logistics, Smart Manufacturing and Smart Cities) and Dematerialisation (i.e. video-conferencing, online shopping, etc.).


Monday Nov 2nd Energy and Sustainability show

Mon, 2 Nov, 16:30 Tom Raftery : Kicking off now

Mon, 2 Nov, 16:30 MikeTheBee : Sound and Vid ok

Mon, 2 Nov, 16:30 Daithi : Grand

Mon, 2 Nov, 16:32 MikeTheBee : Ah I missed the tab, looked for link in the side menu

Mon, 2 Nov, 16:32 Tom Raftery :

Mon, 2 Nov, 16:34 MikeTheBee : Yep, we have been “passing ships” I caught the recordings later.

Mon, 2 Nov, 16:36 Tom Raftery :

Mon, 2 Nov, 16:36 MikeTheBee : Tom, your scrolling ‘bottom third’ is obscured by the LS one.
There is a gas leak as well in a nearby probs, just FYI

Mon, 2 Nov, 16:38 Tom Raftery :

Mon, 2 Nov, 16:38 cgarvey : That’s quite a disaster .. wonder why it hasn’t made the mainstream media before now. Pity Oil slick

Mon, 2 Nov, 16:40 MikeTheBee : Tom is the new ‘mainstream’

Mon, 2 Nov, 16:40 Tom Raftery :

Mon, 2 Nov, 16:42 MikeTheBee : I do not believe that

Mon, 2 Nov, 16:44 Tom Raftery :

Mon, 2 Nov, 16:47 MikeTheBee :I would want to look at the questions asked.

Mon, 2 Nov, 16:47 Tom Raftery :

Mon, 2 Nov, 16:49 MikeTheBee : Maybe Britons trust what the gov are doing, or says it is doing, to address climate change.

Mon, 2 Nov, 16:49 Joe Garde : oh dear… Indonesia, unbelievable

Mon, 2 Nov, 16:50 Tom Raftery :

Mon, 2 Nov, 16:52 Joe Garde : always – it tastes better too

Mon, 2 Nov, 16:53 Tom Raftery :

Mon, 2 Nov, 16:53 Joe Garde :

Mon, 2 Nov, 16:54 MikeTheBee : The first Scottish wine will be ready soon

Mon, 2 Nov, 16:55 Tom Raftery :

Mon, 2 Nov, 16:57 Tom Raftery :

Mon, 2 Nov, 16:59 MikeTheBee : There are Irish vineyards already.

Mon, 2 Nov, 17:01 Tom Raftery :

Mon, 2 Nov, 17:03 cgarvey : Nice resource.

Mon, 2 Nov, 17:03 Tom Raftery :

Mon, 2 Nov, 17:04 Daithi : I’m a data centre electrical and mech installer Vg

Mon, 2 Nov, 17:05 Tom Raftery :

Mon, 2 Nov, 17:05 Daithi : I havent ..I know gtrat great

Mon, 2 Nov, 17:06 Tom Raftery :

Mon, 2 Nov, 17:06 Joe Garde : trinity are also involved – solar flares

Mon, 2 Nov, 17:07 Tom Raftery :

Mon, 2 Nov, 17:10 Joe Garde : btw “The melting of the glaciers in the Himalayas is a serious concern for us” in case you missed it I arrived late

Mon, 2 Nov, 17:12 MikeTheBee : they are base on Statewide utility monopolies

Mon, 2 Nov, 17:12 cgarvey : All good, thanks Tom

Mon, 2 Nov, 17:12 Daithi : Thanks Tom…good show again and thanks for the riveting saga with Air Berlin on twitter.

Mon, 2 Nov, 17:13 MikeTheBee : Could you consider moving the Google Calendar link to below the chat-box. This would get the chat-box closer to the video window and use the screen-estate better.Good stuff well done on the show.

Mon, 2 Nov, 17:13 Joe Garde : cheers Tom have a good one

Mon, 2 Nov, 17:13 CraigS : thanks

Mon, 2 Nov, 17:14 Tom Raftery :Thanks everyone for the interest and contributions


To protect and serve who again?

British riot police confront 'dangerous' protestor

I don’t get it. Really, I don’t.

Climate change is destroying the planet. Oceans are becoming warmer and more acidic, the glaciers and polar ice caps are shrinking faster then even the most pessimistic projections, South Sea islands like the Maldives are becoming inundated by sea level rise and we are in the middle of a man-made mass extinction event where scientists predict that one-half of all species of life will be extinct by 2100.

This is all pretty horrific to contemplate, right?

And yet, when people try to protest peacefully against the polluters who are damaging the planet beyond all recognition, when people try to highlight and bring a halt to this madness so we can save some shred of our decency, as well as some of the lifeforms on the planet, what happens? They are confronted by lines of police in riot gear, at best, or battered and thrown in jail on trumped up charges, or worse.

Look up civil disobedience in Wikipedia and you see a photo of Gandhi! Other famous proponents of civil disobedience are Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Henry David Thoreau.

Why then, when people are looking to better our planet and by extension our lives, are they attacked and frequently imprisoned by the police, the very force who are supposed to protect and serve us? Obviously it is not us whom the police are protecting and serving. Shame on them.

Then today, I see a report that the provincial government in Alberta, Canada is threatening to unleash its counterterrorism plan if activists continue using civil disobedience to protest the tar sands. No really.

From the report:

Canada’s tar sands will singlehandedly produce more greenhouse gas emissions than Denmark, Ireland, Austria or Portugal by 2020 if the development continues expanding at its current rate, according to a recent report written by award-winning business reporter Andrew Nikiforuk


“We’re going to be working very closely with industry and our solicitor general will be reviewing all of the guidelines we have in place,” said a visibly irritated Premier Stelmach in early October.

Fred Lindsay, the solicitor general, went a step further, suggesting the province might use its counterterrorism plan against future protests.

Now people trying to protect life on this Earth are terrorists? Seriously, it should be the people extracting oil from the tar sands who are subject to counterterrorism plans, if anyone.

When will we see the forces of law and order arresting executives of mining companies for their lack of concern for human rights, or lack of concern for the planet?

Photo credit clearbrian


Rich Lechner Sept ’09 on “Global Electric Utilities – the adaptation challenge” report

Rich Lechner is IBM’s VP Energy and Environment and comes on GreenMonk TV every month.

This month we discussed a report IBM sponsored and which was written by Acclimatise called Global Electric Utilities – the adaptation challenge

Some points to note from the report:

  • 87% of businesses in the FTSE 350 acknowledge that their business is at risk from climate change
  • Less than 33% have any plans in place to address that risk
  • Over 90% of utilities acknowledge that their business will be impacted by climate change
  • Less than 30% of the utilities reported having documented plans to manage or avoid that risk
  • Only 6% identified opportunities associated with climate change

September 7th GreenMonk Energy and Sustainability show

This is the video from today’s GreenMonk Energy and Sustainability show – see below for the chatstream:

03:30 Tom Raftery: Do we have audio/video?
03:31 MikeTheBee: I weren’t
03:31 MikeTheBee: Video and Audio
03:31 iangb: i can see and hear
03:31 MikeTheBee: Yep
03:32 MikeTheBee: Bank Hol Last week in UK
03:33 Tom Raftery:
03:33 MikeTheBee: The more the merrier
03:35 Tom Raftery:
03:36 Tom Raftery:
03:36 MikeTheBee: increasing from the 1900’s by the look. the start of coal usage
03:38 Tom Raftery:
03:39 Tom Raftery:
03:41 Tom Raftery:
03:44 Tom Raftery:
03:45 Tom Raftery:
03:46 Tom Raftery:
03:47 Tom Raftery:
03:48 Tom Raftery:
03:49 Tom Raftery:
03:50 dahowlett: Was that Tara Aso or Tara Asshole?
03:50 Tom Raftery:
03:51 Tom Raftery:
03:52 liveireland: getting solar heating this week myself!! 🙂
03:53 Tom Raftery:
03:55 Tom Raftery:
03:57 Tom Raftery:
03:58 Tom Raftery:
03:58 dahowlett: Screw solar heating, I want solar air con
03:59 Tom Raftery:
03:59 monkchips: bah missed the start of the show
03:59 Tom Raftery: Coolerado
04:00 dahowlett: Got it:
04:00 monkchips: low energy aircon? talk about a global necessity!
04:01 Tom Raftery:
04:02 monkchips: that is BOLLOCKS
04:02 monkchips: if everyone use it the bottleneck moves. this model wont scale
04:02 monkchips: this from GPS marketing board?
04:02 liveireland: ntl acting up here will have to watch repeat
04:02 cminion: @monkchips yeah i was just wondering if it would scale
04:03 monkchips: wanna cut carbon – cycle instead.
04:03 Tish Shute: Tom what do u think about the Plug Alliance in the US pushing Zigbee
04:03 MikeTheBee: from TomTom or GarmIn?
04:03 cminion: or move closer to your work
04:03 monkchips: we spoke to ford
04:03 monkchips: the other day though and they are all over zigbee right?
04:04 MikeTheBee: Did you discusss the Aussie Oil Slick
04:04 monkchips: ******* GREAT call.
04:04 dahowlett: I sue Google Maps on my Nokia N96 for GPS data
04:04 Tish Shute: Google Power Meter were making a case against the Zigbee and Plig Alliance approach
04:04 liveireland: I’ll plug you into the liveireland next week Tom..missed u this week
04:04 monkchips: “eevees”
04:04 dahowlett: use…not sue…doh!
04:04 Tish Shute: not Plig Plug hehe
04:05 dahowlett: I”ve doubled my distance for working…10 yards instead of 5 yards
04:05 monkchips: hey tish- interesting. the car people, part of the smart grid, atre definielt talking zigbee
04:06 monkchips: not a bad audience for the show this week, considering its a public holday in the US. well done tom.
04:06 cminion: Cheers for the show, time for home i think
04:06 Tish Shute: Google P M were making “you own your own data ” argument hehe!
04:06 dahowlett: TTFN
04:06 liveireland: slan
04:06 Tish Shute: bye thanks Tom!
04:06 MikeTheBee: Cheers Tom, and all
04:06 Tom Raftery: Thanks evertonre for interest, contributions & time


Green Numbers round-up 09/04/2009

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.


What price carbon emissions?


Photo credit Pinot & Dita

One of the reasons we are facing a climate crisis is because people have not been paying the full economic price for their carbon consumption. Had they been, we’d be living in a very different world today. A quick comparison of average car fuel efficiency in the US versus the EU (where fuel has typically been priced at 2-3x the US price) bears this out.

When people have to pay a higher price for their emissions, they are less likely to pollute (if only to save themselves money!).

This brings us onto the trickier question though of what is a realistic price for carbon. The recent price of carbon emissions in the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) has varied from €30 to €10 while today as I write this, it has a spot settlement price of €15.31. That may be current, but is it realistic?

What is a realistic price for carbon emissions?

Well, the reason we are charging for carbon emissions in the first place is to counter the damage being done to the environment by those very emissions – the polluter pays principle. In other words, the price to emit one tonne of CO2 into the atmosphere should be equal to the price of extracting one tonne of CO2 from the upper atmosphere.

And how much is that?

I have no idea to be honest! I have asked several people in this space and no-one has been able to tell me – principally because the technologies to extract CO2 from the upper atmosphere don’t yet exist! You can be sure that it is significantly more than €30 per tonne though.

As global CO2 emissions continue to rise and the effects of climate change become even more pronounced, the price being charged for CO2 emissions globally will need to trend closer to the price of extraction and away from the current €15.

If nothing else, this will encourage us to move to a less carbon intensive lifestyle – manufacturers of carbon intensive products beware!


July 20th GreenMonk Energy and Sustainability show

Here is the chatstream from today’s GreenMonk Energy & Sustainability show:
03:31 Tom Raftery: Audio & video check – can you see/hear me?
03:31 MikeTheBee: Wainting to compare Tom’s resolution 🙂
03:32 SukiFuller: Howdy All.
03:33 CosmoCat: Hi
03:33 SukiFuller: Packing break for you Tom!
03:33 MikeTheBee: Hi Suki, U got a pic of yet?
03:33 Joe Garde: Hi Tom
03:33 Tom Raftery:
03:34 Joe Garde: .tv
03:34 liveireland: ok u have our audience
03:34 MikeTheBee: Ah found TOm back on Ustream
03:35 SukiFuller: @mikethebee pic?
03:35 Tom Raftery:
03:35 MikeTheBee: I was on the Livestream Player form 10mins ago Hah
03:36 MikeTheBee: It didn’t change automaticalyy
03:36 Tom Raftery:
03:39 SukiFuller: I lost the stream.
03:39 MikeTheBee: I’, OK
03:39 Joe Garde: nah its grand
03:40 Tom Raftery:
03:40 MikeTheBee: Fan is quiet now as well. Less carbon 🙂
03:41 Tom Raftery:
03:41 SukiFuller: Hehe – packed box was affecting my router
03:43 Tom Raftery:
03:44 MikeTheBee: @sukifuller Those Chinese again 🙂
03:45 SukiFuller: @mikethebee and I haven’t even gotten there yet!
03:45 Tom Raftery:
03:49 MikeTheBee: Did you get your invite to visit them yet
03:49 Tom Raftery:
03:49 SukiFuller: So would the money made from this be pumped back to African nations?
03:50 Tom Raftery:
03:52 Tom Raftery:
03:52 SukiFuller: Nice to know
03:54 Tom Raftery:
03:55 Joe Garde: and in a cork accent too lol
03:55 Tom Raftery:
03:58 Tom Raftery:
03:58 Tom Raftery:
04:00 Joe Garde: not the leafblower tho…
04:01 Joe Garde: wind up job?
04:01 SukiFuller: For you yanks that would be flashlight.
04:02 Joe Garde: there’s another device out there you can charge your phones too along with torch etc
04:02 Tom Raftery:
04:02 Tom Raftery:
04:03 SukiFuller: @joegarde hmmm, would be a great workout if garden tools worked like that
04:03 Tom Raftery:
04:03 Joe Garde: ah yes!
04:04 Tom Raftery:
04:06 Joe Garde: SukiFuller I’m @onlinemeetings on twitter just followed you
04:06 MikeTheBee: Thx, Tom, I kept loosing you.
04:06 SukiFuller: Excellent stuff as always!
04:06 Joe Garde: thanks again tom… gotta go
04:07 Tom Raftery: Thanks guys for all the contributions, great stuff!
04:07 SukiFuller: @mikiethebee then it might not have been my boxes and router then
04:07 MikeTheBee: Ah, I caught the end that time.
04:08 MikeTheBee: @sukifuller, I think you were just a little ahead of me.
04:08 SukiFuller: @mikethebee well can always listen to the recording…I need to follow you on TV