February 12, 2008 - 07:57:14 PM
Guidelines to strengthen environmental and economic risk management in the financing and construction of electricity generation
The Rainforest Action Network, among others, offers a critique of what they feel are the principle's strengths and weaknesses.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C)
February 04, 2008
NEW YORK – Three of the world's leading financial institutions today announced the formation of The Carbon Principles, climate change guidelines for advisors and lenders to power companies in the United States. These Principles are the result of a nine-month intensive effort to create an approach to evaluating and addressing carbon risks in the financing of electric power projects. The need for these Principles is driven by the risks faced by the power industry as utilities, independent producers, regulators, lenders and investors deal with the uncertainties around regional and national climate change policy.
The Principles were developed in partnership by Citi, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley, and in consultation with leading power companies American Electric Power, CMS Energy, DTE Energy, NRG Energy, PSEG, Sempra and Southern Company. Environmental Defense and the Natural Resources Defense Council, environmental non-governmental organizations, also advised on the creation of the Principles.
This effort is the first time a group of banks has come together and consulted with power companies and environmental groups to develop a process for understanding carbon risk around power sector investments needed to meet future economic growth and the needs of consumers for reliable and affordable energy. The consortium has developed an Enhanced Diligence framework to help lenders better understand and evaluate the potential carbon risks associated with coal plant investments. READ MORE »
February 12, 2008 - 07:21:19 PM
The Virgin Earth Challenge is a prize of $25m for whoever can demonstrate to the judges' satisfaction a commercially viable design which results in the removal of anthropogenic, atmospheric greenhouse gases so as to contribute materially to the stability of Earth’s climate.
OBJECTIVE: To encourage a viable technology which will result in the net removal of anthropogenic, atmospheric greenhouse gases each year for at least ten years without countervailing harmful effects.
Today [ 9/2/2007], Sir Richard Branson and Al Gore announced the setting up of a new Global science and technology prize – The Virgin Earth Challenge – in the belief that history has shown that prizes of this nature encourage technological advancements for the good of mankind. The Virgin Earth Challenge will award $25 million to the individual or group who are able to demonstrate a commercially viable design which will result in the net removal of anthropogenic, atmospheric greenhouse gases each year for at least ten years without countervailing harmful effects. This removal must have long term effects and contribute materially to the stability of the Earth’s climate.
Sir Richard also announced that he would be joined in the adjudication of the Prize by a panel of five judges - all world authorities in their respective fields: Al Gore, Sir Crispin Tickell, Tim Flannery, Jim Hansen and James Lovelock. The panel of judges will be assisted in their deliberations by The Climate Group and Special Advisor to The Virgin Earth Prize Judges, Steve Howard (see Editors notes for biographies). READ MORE »
February 12, 2008 - 04:56:33 PM
The concept - creating artificial islands to collect wind, wave and solar power in the tropics - is based on the work of Jacques-Arsène d’Arsonval, a 19th-century French physicist, who envisioned the idea of using the sea as a giant solar-energy collector.
Inspired by Jacques-Arsène d’Arsonval, architect and engineer Dominic Michaelis, his son Alex Michaelin (also an architect), and Trevor Cooper-Chadwick are developing a new technique called Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) that takes advantage of differences in temperature between the ocean surface sea (up to 29°C in the tropics) and water a kilometer down (which is typically 5°C). Here’s how it works: warmer surface water is used to heat liquid ammonia, converting it into vapor, which expands to drive a turbine — which in turn produces electricity. The ammonia is then cooled using cold water from the ocean depths, returning it into a liquid state so the process can start all over again. READ MORE »
December 21, 2007 - 02:04:40 PM
Grameen Shakti, under its Managing Director Dipal Barua, has installed more than 110,000 solar home systems in rural Bangladesh. It has shown that solar energy applications can be scaled up massively and rapidly to provide an affordable and climate-friendly energy option for the rural poor.
Grameen Shakti (shakti meaning "energy" in Bengali) was created in 1996 as a not-for-profit company under the Grameen Bank. The goal of Grameen Shakti is to promote and supply renewable energy technology at an affordable rate to rural households of Bangladesh. Thus, their work not only focuses on the technical and capacity-building sides of renewable energy promotion. They have also adopted the Grameen Bank's experience in micro financing to make renewable energy applications affordable for poor rural people. READ MORE »
October 01, 2007 - 10:06:30 PM
One sixth of the world's population has no access to safe drinking water, increasing their risk of waterborne diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, typhoid fever, Hepatitis A and dysentery.
When attending an exhibition under the theme “H2O” at Milan's International Furniture Fair, Meda and Paz learned about the SODIS system, a simple, low-cost solution for treating drinking water at a household level. Contaminated water is filled into transparent plastic bottles. When exposed to full sunlight for six hours, the pathogens in the water are destroyed.
Meda and Paz decided to design a container that brings the best out of the SODIS system, and the result is Solar Bottle, which has one transparent face for UV-A + infrared rays collection and one aluminium color to increase the reflections. The high ratio surface/thickness of the low cost four liter container improves the performance of solar disinfection and its flat shape makes it stackable and facilitates storage. A handle makes it possible to regulate the angle for best solar exposition and ensures easy transportation.
The award in the "Home" category was presented to Alberto Meda & Francisco Gomez Paz by Mr. Brian Mikkelsen, Minister for Culture in Denmark and Peter Lund, CEO of Royal Copenhagen. READ MORE »
September 26, 2007 - 02:17:22 PM
Tribute by Dr. Michael Ben-Eli
September 15, 2007 - If anyone deserves to be remembered as a Master Design Scientist it would surely be Paul MacCready, who passed on August 28, 2007.
Paul spent his career pioneering extreme transportation solutions and the company he founded in 1971, AeroVironment, is a hotbed of breakthrough innovations in unmanned aerial vehicles, electric vehicles and non-polluting, alternative energy systems. In his work, Paul epitomized Bucky’s concept of doing more with less. He made aviation history in 1979, with Gossamer Condor, the first ever craft to sustain a controlled, human-powered flight. The feather light Condor, weighting only 70 pounds with a wing span of 90 feet, challenged conventional thinking about vehicle efficiency demonstrating an effective application of radical “performance per pound.” It was followed by the Gossamer Albatross and the first human-powered flight across the English Channel. Then came the sun-powered Solar Challenger, flying from Paris to an airfield in the UK, and later the remote-controlled, solar-powered Path Finder, which reached fifty thousand feet into the stratosphere.
I had the opportunity to meet Paul just weeks before he passed. The context was a series of interviews all part of a research project launched in collaboration with the Buckminster Fuller Institute. The purpose of the project is to research, refresh, and rearticulate the concept of Design Science with emphasis on its relevance to the sustainability challenges facing humanity today. Joshua Arnow, who initiated and has been deeply involved with this effort, suggested that sharing the experience of interviewing Paul with the BFI network would be an appropriate tribute to the man and his work. With some hesitation and a sense of deep humility, I agreed to make an attempt. READ MORE »