News Archives

Energy Efficiency Measures and Global Climate Change Mitigation

Two recent events held in Washington, D.C. highlighted the importance of efficiency measures to mitigate global climate change’s (GCC) effects. At the Design X Tomorrow: The Future of Technology and Sustainability and McKinsey & Company’s launch of Unlocking energy efficiency in the U.S. economy, the common message was simple: increasing the efficiency of energy consumption should be a major priority.

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What role does liquefied natural gas (LNG) play as an energy source for the United States?

On an annual basis over the past five years, the United States imported between 13% and 16% of its natural gas requirements. Most of these imports were in gaseous form delivered by pipeline from Canada. However, natural gas imports have also come in liquid form from overseas. Between 1% and 3% of U.S. demand for natural gas was met by LNG in the past five years.

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Calculating a Carbon Footprint

Not too long ago, the concept of a Carbon Footprint was a foreign one. But as global climate change theory has gained traction in the general public, carbon footprint has become common lingo. Online calculators which account for ones personal carbon emissions have emerged as a popular tool for the climate-minded to track and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. These calculators are so prevalent that if you search Google, you’ll find a wide selection waiting for your personal energy and transportation data. Here’s the problem though: not all carbon footprint calculators are created equal. So to help you parse out the good from the bad, and assess the accuracy of a quick and dirty approach, I tested nine different calculators.

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Earth Systems Science Series Part 2: Tracking Carbon Emissions

If the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 works its way through the Senate and onto President Obama´s desk, it will mark a significant paradigm shift for the value we place on carbon emissions and uptake. As part of the developing legislation, large emitters would be required to pay for their emissions using a cap and trade scheme (explained here and here). For such a system to work, government regulator must have an accurate means of accounting for both carbon emissions and carbon storage and sequestration.

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IISD: Sustaining Excellence – a year in review

WINNIPEG—July 13, 2009—Commentary on the unprecedented pace of change over the past year or so is the theme of Sustaining Excellence—the 2008/09 annual report of the International Institute for Sustainable Development, for the year ended March 31, 2009.

The report features commentary from leaders for sustainable development, including an essay on the Green Economy by Achim Steiner, UN under-secretary general and UNEP executive director.

“The Green Economy Initiative is . . . a real and tangible opportunity to achieve the transformative and comprehensive change that will allow six to nine billion people to live together prosperously, productively and peacefully in years to come,” Steiner says.

IISD’s trade and investment director Mark Halle writes about government accountability in What Happens Between Promise and Delivery?

“It has become a priority for those of us fighting for sustainable development to turn our attention to designing accountability mechanisms that work,” Halle says, adding that it is necessary to review what has worked well in the past, as incentives to achieve compliance and delivery on promises.

Halle also offers a review of IISD’s trade and investment program, and makes the following observation: “Each of our program’s three pillars—trade, investment and subsidies—is not only central to the current predicament, but central to getting out of it.”

IISD’s director of climate change and energy John Drexhage offers a forecast on the prospects of an international agreement on climate change at the high level conference to be held in Copenhagen later this year.

“Let me say this at the outset: if an agreement is reached at Copenhagen, it will almost certainly not be in the form of a comprehensive agreement. . . That much became clear in the aftermath of the negotiations held in Bonn early June.”

These are just some of the topics covered in this review of the institute’s most recent work, which includes a photo essay on promoting conflict-sensitive conservation in Africa, as well as highlights from IISD’s six programs: Trade and Investment; Sustainable Natural Resources Management; Measurement and Assessment; Climate Change and Energy; Global Connectivity; and Reporting Services.

The report is available in French (PDF – 3 mb) and English (PDF – 3 mb).

For more information, please contact IISD media and communication officer, Nona Pelletier Phone: +1-(204)-958-7740, Cell: +1-(204)-962-1303.

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