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Continued exploitation of fossil fuels sees global carbon emissions rise

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A report by oil giant BP has revealed how coal still takes up a 30% slice of the global energy market – its highest contribution in 40 years.

Oil remains the world’s leading fuel at 33.1% of global energy consumption. A total of 1,653 billion barrels at the end of 2011 is a marginal but critical amount compared with the 1,526 figure from the year previous.

“At today’s consumption rates, the world has proved reserves sufficient to meet current production for 54 years of oil”, said BP chief executive Bob Dudley as he unveiled the report, The BP Statistical View of World Energy. But questions remain about what happens after 54 years.

With a market share of 87%, fossil fuels dominate the world’s accumulated energy consumption. The report does note a growth in the renewable energy field, too, though – wind power rose by 26% as a result of major development pushes in China and the US, while solar power rose by 86%.

Whilst the clean energy sector is taking a greater stake in the energy mix, it still only accounts for 2% of energy consumption globally.

On Wednesday, Christof Rul, BP’s chief economist, presented the figures to a London audience. He stated the “profound implications” for CO2 output would be the result of heightened coal demand, driven by cheap prices and the industrialisation of developing countries.

“[It] is necessary for us to build a safe and sustainable energy future together”, BP says in the report.

Bob Dudley referred to “tumultuous” events in 2011 such as the ‘Arab Spring’ and “humanitarian” disasters in Japan in an attempt to underscore the importance of maintaining spare capacity and strategic stockpiles.

He said: “In a fast changing world, I believe it is important to understand both the forces behind today’s headlines as well as underlying trends that are shaping the new energy landscape that our children and grandchildren will inherit.”

The need for a shift away from unsustainable fossil fuels into energy sources that are new, clean and abundant has never been greater.

Yesterday, Good Energy and Friends of the Earth called out for the UK government to cut carbon emissions, and create new jobs and industries, in a stunt heralding historic icons who each played their part in “making Britain great”.

In support of the energy coalition’s Clean British Energy Campaign, residents and commuters from London and Leeds were met with visions of Monarchs and Knights alike, saddled mysteriously with oversized ‘CBE’ medallions.

The campaign urged members of the public to switch their energy supplies at the website www.cleanbritishenergy.co.uk.

Friends of the Earth’s head of campaigns, Andrew Pendleton said, “The people who have received medals today played a part in making Britain great and David Cameron has a chance to do the same – his energy bill should switch the country to clean energy and put our country at the forefront of this new industrial revolution.”

With BP’s extensive report noting that the increased use of coal and continued heavy use of other fossil fuels, such as oil and gas, led to a 3% rise in global CO2 emissions, there is still a long way to go before leaps in renewable energy overtake unsustainable competitors.

In order to achieve climate change objectives, investment in new natural gas must not exceed a limited, temporal role. Coinciding with BP’s extensive report, the International Energy Agency have released their Energy Technology Perspectives 2012 which makes clear that the only viable response to the threat of “catastrophic” climate change is rapid deployment of existing carbon-neutral technology.

The executive summary commits to a statement that achieving sustainable growth “requires 35% more investment from today to 2050”. However, the summary goes on to say; “Investing is not the same as spending; by 2050, the fuel savings realised would outweigh the investments”.

B&GT founder Simon Leadbetter today wrote about the four foundations of a blue and green tomorrow. Keep an eye out, too, for our own report – a guide to renewable energy – which is set to be released at the end of this month.

Further Reading:

The four foundations of a blue and green tomorrow

The world of co2: Infographic analysis 

Green policies could quell effects of high fossil fuel prices 

Why our quality of life is sacrificed by the continued use of fossil fuels 

M&S becomes carbon neutral and saves millions 

Environment

4 Common Items That Can be Reused Again and Again

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reuse reduce recycle plastic bottles etc
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Vanatchanan | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/vanatchanan%20buahom

As a society we are getting much better at taking our obligations to the world and environment around us more seriously. This is undoubtedly a good thing! The effects of climate change are beginning to manifest across the world, and this is turning the issue from an abstract threat into a very real danger. Trying to introduce some greener, more eco-friendly practices into your life isn’t just a great way of doing something beneficial for society and the world around you. It is a wonderful way of engaging positively with the world and carries with it numerous psychological benefits.

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Being a greener, more ecologically friendly person doesn’t require any dramatic life changes. Breaking or making a few small habits is all it takes to make your life a greener one. In this article we look at one of the easiest, yet most effective green practices to get into: reusing everyday items.

Jars and Containers

Glass and metal are widely recycled, and recycling is a good thing! However, consider whether any containers you buy, whether it’s a tub of ice cream or a jar of coffee, can be washed out and reused for something else. Mason jars, for example, can be used to store homemade pasta sauce and can be washed for future use. Once you start thinking about it, you will find endless opportunities to reuse your old containers.

Soda Bottles

An ice-cold soda is a wonderful treat on a hot day, but buying soda can get expensive, and the manufacturing and distribution of the drinks themselves isn’t great for the environment. However, by holding on to your old soda bottles and repurposing them as water bottles, you can save money on drinks, or use them to measure out water for your garden.

Plastic Bags

Most of the time groceries come in paper bags, which are better for the environment than the plastic alternatives, but they are less durable and thus harder to reuse. Whenever the store places your items in a plastic bag, hang onto it so you can reuse the bags again. If you want to take it one step further, consider looking into buying some personalized recycled bags. These bags are designed to last for a long time and are made of recycled materials. They look striking and unique, they’ll turn heads, and maybe even attitudes!

Seeds

If you’re a keen gardener, then you will already probably know how to reseed your plants in order to ensure a fresh crop after each plant’s lifecycle. If you have space in your garden, or haven’t yet tried your hand at gardening, then consider planting a small vegetable plot. Growing your own veggies means that you’ll be helping to cut back on the emissions generated by their transport and production. The best part about growing your own food in this way is that, by harvesting properly and saving the seeds, you can be set up with fresh vegetables for life!

Reusing and recycling common household items is an easy way to make your world a little bit greener. Once you start looking for these opportunities you’ll realize that they’re everywhere!

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Environment

These 5 Green Office Mistakes Are Costing You Money

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eco-friendly green offices
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Stokkete | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/cyano

The sudden interest in green business is very encouraging. According to recent reports, 42% of all companies have rated sustainability as an important element of their business. Unfortunately, the focus on sustainability will only last if companies can find ways to use it to boost their ROI.

Many businesses get so caught up in being socially conscious that they hope the financial aspect of it takes care of itself. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to go green and boost your net income at the same time.

Here are some important mistakes that you will want to avoid.

Only implementing sustainability on micro-scale

The biggest reason that brands are going green is to improve their optics with their customers. Too many businesses are making very minor changes, such as processing paperwork online and calling themselves green.

Customers have become wary of these types of companies. If you want to earn their business, you are going to need to go all the way. Bring in a green business consultant and make every feasible change to demonstrate that you are a green organization from top to bottom.

Not prioritizing investments by long-term ROI

It isn’t realistic to build an entirely green organization overnight. You will need to allocate your capital wisely.

Before investing in any green assets or services, you should always conduct a long-term cost benefit analysis. The initial investment for some green services may be over $20,000. If they don’t shave your cost by at least $3,000 a year, they probably aren’t worth the investment.

Determine which green investments will have the best pay off over the next 10 years. Make these investments before anything else. Then compare your options within each of those categories.

Implementing green changes without a plan

Effective, long-term planning is the key to business success. This principle needs to be applied to green organizations as well.

Before implementing a green strategy, you must answer the following questions:

  • How will I communicate my green business philosophy to my customers?
  • How will running a green business affect my revenue stream?
  • How will adopting green business strategies change my monthly expenses? Will they increase or decrease them?
  • How will my company finance green upgrades and other investments?

The biggest mistake that too many green businesses make is being overly optimistic with these forecasts. Take the time to collect objective data and make your decisions accordingly. This will help you run a much more profitable green business.

Not considering the benefits of green printing

Too many companies believe that going paperless is the only way to run a green organization. Unfortunately, going 100% paperless it’s not feasible for most companies.

Rather than aim for an unrealistic goal, consider the option of using a more environmentally friendly printer. It won’t be perfect, but it will be better than the alternative.

According to experts from Doranix, environmental printers have several benefits:

  • They can process paper that has been completely recycled.
  • They consume less energy than traditional printers.
  • They use ink that is more environmentally friendly.

You want to take a look at different green printers and compare them. You’ll find that some will meet your needs as a green business.

Poorly communicating your green business strategy to customers

Brand positioning doesn’t happen on its own. If you want to run a successful green business, you must communicate your message to customers as clearly as possible. You must also avoid the appearance that you are patronizing them.

The best approach is to be clear when you were first making the change. I’ll make an announcement about your company‘s commitment to sustainability.

You also want to reinforce this message overtime by using green labels on all of your products. You don’t have to be blatant with your messaging at this stage. Simply provide a small, daily reminder on your products and invoices.

Finally, it is a good idea to participate in green business seminars and other events. If your community has a local Green Chamber of Commerce, you should consider joining as well.

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