We live in an increasingly hyper-mobile society with over three billion passengers being carried by the world’s airlines in 2013, and an estimated 31% growth in passenger demand by 2017. This accounts for hundreds of millions of tonnes in greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, greatly impacting global warming, climate change, and ultimately the sustainability of life on this wonderful planet we call home.
It’s more important than ever in the Transportation sector to find innovative ways to decrease our carbon footprint and endeavour to become a low carbon economy. While efforts have been made in some areas, the aviation industry has been slower to implement policies and regulations to control carbon emissions.
Worldwide flights in 2013 were responsible for 705 million tonnes of CO2, which accounts for 2 percent of all carbon emissions globally. According to the EU’s Climate Action Plan, the world was on track to see emissions … Read more...
Last week marked the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) annual convention, which was held this year in New Orleans and hosted 800 utility executives from June 7-10.
The 2015 convention was an unusual one. In the past, the electrical utility industry has not always been especially interested in discussing alternative forms of energy. This year’s event, however, promised to “showcase the ideas and innovations that are transforming the future of the electric power sector.” The convention delivered, kicking off the week with a discussion featuring Tesla founder Elon Musk. A bold choice, given recent global headlines that range from “Musk Battery Works Fill Utilities with Fear and Promise” (December 2014, Bloomberg) to “Elon Musk is Both Utility Killer and Utility Savior” (May 2015, Business Spectator). To say that the industry’s feelings are mixed might be an understatement.
On this week’s edition of EHS This Week we’ve got the week’s top stories in environment, health and safety news:
Mental Health Month
Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month
New BSEE Regulations for U.S. Offshore Oil
California Green House Gas Emissions Cuts
Remember to write us with your suggestions, questions and comments. Also, if you are an industry expert and ever want to take part in the program, we’d love to have you. Until next week, enjoy the program!
EHS This Week Resources
For more information on the stories and resources mentioned in this week’s podcast, check out the links below.
Ok, I know that I’m biased when it comes to how organizations can leverage technology to provide visibility into their CSR initiatives; after all, I work for a software company that actually provides this type of technology. But my bias is for good reason. It works.
The practice of claiming environmental responsibility without having metrics or processes to back it up certainly leaves a sour taste in the mouth of the eco-conscious consumer. Even if an organization is truly engaged and mindful of their environmental stewardship, the public is now wary and weary of corporate claims that don’t hold…um, water.
And the general appetite for responsible companies and governments when it comes to environmental protection is growing. Look at the recent survey of American attitudes created for Yale and George Mason University. It indicated that 3 out of 4 voters favor regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant and a majority … Read more...
The next few days are critical for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The organization declared late last year it would expand its mandate and regulate greenhouse gas emissions from plants and refineries, a move that has not been popular with Republicans and a handful of Democrats.
The Senate will vote in the coming days – potentially as early as Wednesday – on three amendments to a small business bill that could potentially limit the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gasses, an ability that is provided by both the Clean Air Act and a 2007 Supreme Court decision on the agency’s scope. By regulating the emissions of U.S. plants and refineries, the EPA would be able to regulate emissions from sources that represent more than 40 per cent of nationwide greenhouse gas emissions.
However, it must overcome the many legislative roadblocks that, to varying degrees, would prevent it from regulating emissions from … Read more...
Ever find the world of global warming a little overwhelming?
Between myriad climate initiatives, myths and misinformation, piles of studies, and countless websites and advocacy groups, it's tough to make sense of it all.
True, there may be a bit of an information overload surrounding climate change. But one new organization is simplifying things. And it's accomplishing this by viewing climate change through the lens of a magic number: 350.
Essentially, according to scientific consensus and a seminal report by Dr. James Hansen—perhaps the world’s most venerated climate change researcher—350 ppm (parts per million) is the safe upper limit for atmospheric carbon dioxide. So 350.org was launched to make that number a focal point of achievable, realistic action on climate change.
The bad news is we’re above this value currently, with CO2 at about 390 ppm, which is one of the highest values ever. Actually, we’re pretty much exactly … Read more...
Is your business considering sustainability or corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting? What will it be: CERES? GRI? CDP? FRP? A4S? WBCSD? Or IIRC?
Phew. That’s a lot of acronyms for what’s really a simple premise: reporting on sustainability and CSR data to stakeholders and the public at large. The above organizations are all associated with voluntary reporting frameworks that organizations can use to standardize sustainability and CSR reporting. While the frameworks differ in scope, to sort out any potential confusion, here’s a quick rundown of each:
Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP): Based in the UK, CDP brings together investors and works with large corporations around the world to develop effective carbon reduction strategies and disclose greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions data. Less a sustainability/CSR reporting framework than an emissions reporting organization, CDP’s scope is nonetheless broad: it publishes emissions data accounting for more than a quarter of global air emissions associated
If you have a U.S. government contract and don't track your air emissions, get ready for a wake-up call: The Obama administration is set to kill deals with any contractors that don't track their emissions.
This is pretty huge. The federal government relies on well over half a million contractors across the country. According to a Federal Times report, fewer than 400 of those organizations (less than one per cent) report on GHG emissions in any form.
Though this new requirement is not set to take effect till 2011 or 2012, the feds are already starting to take stock of who is reporting and who is not. Companies that already report (or immediately start to report) GHG emissions will have a much better chance of landing government contracts. Further, if you track your emissions throughout your entire supply chain and across third-party vendors, you will boost your chances of … Read more...
Having a damaging effect on the ozone layer, refrigerant gasses are part of a class of substances called ozone-depleting chemicals (ODC) which need to be controlled to eliminate their dispersion into the atmosphere. As many areas of industry rely heavily on refrigerants as part of their business processes, a need has been created to carefully address the control and release of these substances. One regulatory attempt at this is the EPA’s U.S. Clean Air Act (CAA), which is a congressional law that explains the EPA’s task in protecting air quality and the ozone layer. Section 608 of this law deals specifically with refrigerants and speaks to those using them in industrial and commercial applications.
CAA Section 608
Requires owners or operators of systems containing 50 pounds of refrigerant gas or more to maintain detailed service records, ensure that the leak rate does not exceed 15% for comfort cooling equipment or … Read more...