Campaign launches to close the gap between corporate GHG reduction goals and a 2°C scenario

Read the full story from the World Resources Institute.

The Science Based Targets initiative – a partnership between CDP, UN Global Compact, World Resources Institute and WWF – today launched a global campaign to recruit 100 companies by the end of 2015 to set greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets in line with climate science.

By aligning emission targets with global efforts to limit Earth’s average temperature rise to within 2 degrees Celsius, companies can safeguard a profitable future and send a clear signal to policymakers ahead of the important UN climate talks this December that industry is committed to playing a role in shaping the low-carbon economy.

While 80 percent of the world’s 500 largest companies are setting emission reduction targets, only the most proactive companies match the scale needed to meet the internationally agreed upon goal of limiting global temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius.

A new interactive report by CDP, Mind the Science, assesses emissions targets for 70 energy intensive companies, which together account for nine per cent of global carbon emissions. Of these, 28 companies have set reduction targets aligned with climate science…

The initiative recommends a variety of methods for companies to use when setting science-based targets. One method developed by the project and released today is the Sectoral Decarbonization Approach (SDA), which helps companies in energy-intensive sectors to set emission targets in line with their sector’s projected level of economic activity and potential for emissions reductions. For more information about the initiative, the SDA method and how businesses can join the campaign, visit the website:


Can companies become cities’ sustainability savior?

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

The city-business symbiosis was brought to light again last week with the publication of “Citystates II: The Case for Corporate Leadership in Urban Sustainability,” the sequel to a 2012 report, “Citystates: How Cities are Vital to the Future of Sustainability.” Both were produced by the hybrid think tank and consultancy SustainAbility.

A new kind of wood chip: collaboration could lead to biodegradable computer chips

Read the full story from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Portable electronics — typically made of non-renewable, non-biodegradable and potentially toxic materials — are discarded at an alarming rate in consumers’ pursuit of the next best electronic gadget.

In an effort to alleviate the environmental burden of electronic devices, a team of University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers has collaborated with researchers in the Madison-based U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) to develop a surprising solution: a semiconductor chip made almost entirely of wood.

The research team, led by UW-Madison electrical and computer engineering professor Zhenqiang “Jack” Ma, described the new device in a paper published today (May 26, 2015) by the journal Nature Communications. The paper demonstrates the feasibility of replacing the substrate, or support layer, of a computer chip, with cellulose nanofibril (CNF), a flexible, biodegradable material made from wood.

DOE Resources Help Measure Building Energy Benchmarking Policy & Program Effectiveness

The Energy Department has released two resources to help stakeholders analyze the energy, non-energy, and market transformation impacts of building energy benchmarking policies and programs. The first is a handbook that provides methodologies for jurisdictions to use to analyze the impact of their benchmarking policies and programs. The second resource demonstrates the methodologies using real data from New York City’s benchmarking ordinance, Local Law 84 (LL84). Building energy benchmarking is the process of measuring how efficiently a building uses energy relative to the other similar buildings over time.

The DOE Benchmarking & Transparency Policy and Program Impact Evaluation Handbook provides cost-effective, standardized analytic methods for determining gross and net energy reduction, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions mitigation, job creation and economic growth impacts. The Handbook also provides an extensive, holistic framework for evaluating the market transformation progress of benchmarking policies. It is a “how-to” guide with clear procedures and data requirements, permitting any jurisdiction or interested party—such as consultants, researchers, or government officials—to assess benchmarking polices in a consistent manner.

DOE also sponsored the New York City Benchmarking and Transparency Policy Impact Evaluation Report, which uses the methodologies detailed in the Handbook to evaluate results to date from New York City’s benchmarking policy, LL84. The report finds that between 2010 and 2013—the first four years of LL84—buildings covered by the ordinance reduced their energy use by 5.7% and lowered their GHG emissions by 8.3%, and that the benchmarking efforts directly created 39 jobs as well another roughly 7,000 jobs created through the resulting energy-efficiency activities. These figures are particularly encouraging given that during the same period the gross domestic product in New York City grew by 4.2% and the cost of electricity fell by 8.4%; despite these trends, covered buildings still reduced their energy use. Furthermore, the report notes that awareness of building energy performance is growing in New York City, and that building energy use information is playing an increasingly important role in real estate decisions.

These encouraging results—which were derived from the methodologies outlined in the Handbook suggests that market change from  benchmarking policies and programs is underway and expected to grow. As more jurisdictions around the country recognize the value of benchmarking and use it to better understand and optimize their buildings’ energy use, they can leverage the Handbook to analyze the impact of their policies and programs.

New Report Offers Advice on Selling Sustainability, But Is it Right?

Read the full post at Triple Pundit.

Why is selling sustainability so difficult?

After all “sustainable products, services and behaviors are the future. They are better for business, consumers and the planet, and increasingly consumers are asking for them.”

In addition, “93 percent of global consumers want to see more of the brands they use support worthy social and/or environmental issues, and three out of four teenagers say they want to buy more sustainable products.”

This question and quotes open a new report from BSR and Futerra, aiming to provide an effective framework that marketers struggling with this challenge could use.

National Institute of Standards and Technology Releases Draft Community Resilience Guide for Public Feedback; Comments Due June 26, 2015

The Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology issued a draft guide to help communities plan for and act to keep windstorms, floods, earthquakes, sea-level rise, industrial mishaps and other hazards from inflicting disastrous consequences. Public feedback is requested on the draft Community Resilience Planning Guide for Buildings and Infrastructure. The first version of the guide will be released this fall and updated periodically as new building standards and research results become available, and as communities gain experience using the guide and recommend improvements.

U.S. Global Change Research Program Seeks Public Input on National Climate Assessment Next Steps: Comments Due June 15, 2015

A Request for Information has been issued, seeking public input on steps for the next National Climate Assessment. Effectively managing the risks of climate change requires the best available scientific information, continually updated to address rapidly evolving national needs. Building on the momentum of the 2014 National Climate Assessment report, the U.S. Global Change Research Program is conducting a sustained assessment process that enhances the federal government’s ability to deliver timely, scientifically sound products in support of climate-related decisions across the country. This process also fosters collaboration among decision makers at the national, regional, tribal, and local levels. Through the process, scientists and stakeholders are working together to build the knowledge base and capacity needed to effectively integrate new scientific knowledge into on-the-ground responses.