Archive for the ‘Climate Change & Sustainability’ Category
On a global scale, environmental and social impacts arise through the actions of billions of actors undertaking trillions of actions, each with varying implications. These actions take place within a general framework of economic and capitalist behaviours, mediated by varying legal codes and social norms.
There’s no single or homogenous audience to talk to about the challenges and opportunities of sustainability and climate change. Instead there are many different actors, be they individuals making consumption choices, governments setting legislation or policy, or corporations making investment and production decisions.
All tend to make choices in isolation, but with cumulative impacts. Ecological and social problems are generally not the result of conscious or deliberate choices but the side effects of all these individual actions and decisions. It’s these unintended consequences that are causing concern: climate change, natural resource depletion, pollution, waste, land degradation, etc, etc. Read the rest of this entry »
Pooran Desai was in town giving presentations recently. He is one of the co-founders of BioRegional, a social enterprise in the UK that created the innovative sustainable community, Beddington Zero Energy Development (BedZED). BedZED is a mixed-use sustainable community, comprising 100 homes, community facilities and office space for over 100 people. It is a carbon-neutral community, using only energy from renewable sources generated on site.
Desai and Co. used the lessons from the design, construction and monitoring of BedZED to develop One Planet Living, which is BioRegional’s approach to community development and was also used as the framework to create the sustainability platform of the London 2012 Olympics. Read the rest of this entry »
Seems there’s a few organisations taking the potential consequences of climate change very seriously: the US military and intelligence establishment!
At the request of the US intelligence community, the National Research Council was commissioned to “to evaluate the evidence on possible connections between climate change and U.S. national security concerns and to identify ways to increase the ability of the intelligence community to take climate change into account in assessing political and social stresses with implications for U.S. national security.”
The resulting report, Climate and Social Stress: implications for security analysis indicates that accelerating climate change will place unparalleled strains on American military and intelligence agencies in coming years by causing ever more disruptive events around the globe.Clusters of apparently unrelated events exacerbated by a warming climate will create more frequent but unpredictable crises in water supplies, food markets, energy supply chains and public health systems, leading to internal instability or international conflicts. Read the rest of this entry »
The US election has been run and won, with Obama winning another four year term. Following well on the heels of the US is the election of a new suite of powerful elites within China’s ruling political class. By December, two of the world’s most dominant countries will have “fresh beginnings”.
In their short-term appointments, will they be prepared to tackle some of the biggest long-term challenges confronting us? Obama, to his credit, at least touched on the topic of climate change in his acceptance speech.
We’ve just seen the devastating impacts of “Superstorm Sandy” and while there is reluctance to blame the storm on climate change directly, the consensus among scientists is that such events around the globe will become more frequent.
An article in The Age recently quoted Yvo de Boer, the UN climate chief during the 2009 Copenhagen climate change talks (and now special global advisor on climate change for KPMG) the next UN climate report will “scare the wits out of everyone”. The IPCC’s fifth assessment report is due to be published in late 2013 and early 2014. Read the rest of this entry »
Frankenstorm!! The word on everyone’s lips this week as the monster hurricane whipped through the Caribbean and hit the east coast of the US, leaving a trail of destruction and a massive clean-up bill. Freak occurrence, or the result of human-induced climate change? The debate will be intense.
I’m not a scientist, but I certainly trust them. While the research is unfinished and gaps in knowledge remain to be filled, the evidence climate scientists are putting forward seems sufficient to justify greater precautionary action. The chance of significant warming over time is high, as is the damage it will do. Read the rest of this entry »
The Independent Australian Sustainable Paper Procurement Guide assists buyers of printing and communication papers to make informed purchasing decisions.
It will help you avoid known pitfalls and issues that can result in unsustainable outcomes and have a negative impact on your business reputations and brands.
Equilibrium has partnered with pulp and paper market intelligence experts IndustryEdge to produce the Guide. It covers the widest possible range of sustainability issues, supplying both minimum and known best practice criteria. It includes commentary drawn from our team’s extensive consulting experience. It does not refer to or recommend any particular products or manufacturers.
Focus in this Guide is on printing and communication papers. A companion Guide will shortly be released for the tissue sector, which is similar, but has some important differences.
Individual copies are just AUD100 (plus GST in Australia) per copy, with multiple copies available at discount rates.
More information here
An interesting event last week put on by the Grattan Institute - The Future of Carbon Pricing and the Australian Electricity Market, with a keynote presentation by Professor Ross Garnaut, an economist whose career has been built around the analysis of, and practice of, policy connected to development, economics and international relations in Australia, Asia and the Pacific. He is also the author of the Garnaut Climate Change Review
According to Garnaut, what we’ve seen in Australia since 2008, is the ending of a long period of rising electricity demand. A decrease in wholesale demand is generating decreased pressure on wholesale prices. They are actually lower now than they were in 2006-07, despite the introduction of the carbon price on 1 July. Read the rest of this entry »
Sir John Beddington, the UK Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser since 2008, conducted a public lecture last week at the University of Melbourne as a guest of the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute. Given his position and background, Sir John is a person who speaks with distinction and authority, and a person policymakers would do well to listen to.
Although delivered with good humour, Sir John certainly provided a bleak message with stark challenges. Throughout the last few years he has been raising the potential challenges of a “perfect storm” created by the interconnected global challenges of food security, climate change and the world’s rapidly growing demands for energy and water, raising this as a priority in the UK and internationally. Read the rest of this entry »
With trade flows and online communications connecting the world on a level never before seen, business activities, large and small, are being increasingly scrutinised more closely and more widely, not just locally, but globally also. In this hyper-connected world, the gap between the point of origin and the point of consumption has been narrowed considerably.
Any indiscretion, or perceived indiscretion, relating to the environment or society – eg. pollution, unfair labour practices – can quickly result in any business being condemned in the court of public opinion. Without the controls or procedures of a court room, lawyers prove worthless and, rightly or wrongly, a business can be judged morally or ethically “liable” for indiscretions. Read the rest of this entry »
In the face of sustainability challenges, special environmental courts and tribunals are emerging. The NGO, Access Initiative, published a report entitled “Greening Justice: Creating and Improving Environmental Courts and Tribunals“ that demonstrates the significant growth of these tribunals. The report highlights that, currently, over 350 specialised environmental courts and tribunals (ECTs) have been established in 41 countries, with most of these being created just since 2004.
With the growth of ECTs comes the growth in lawyers willing to use them. Legal activism is the use of the legal process as a powerful tool for effecting social change and advancing the public interest. Activist lawyers are increasingly challenging businesses on environmental and social grounds and working to highlight lapses in corporate responsibility through the legal system. This is occurring at the global, national and local level. Read the rest of this entry »