Already Making A (Small) Difference

Recently, I spent a couple of months working in Shanghai, China. I was working for a commercial property group on their new research Whitepaper entitled, Sustainable Buildings In Greater China. Unfortunately, I cannot post the entire document (its a legal thing).

What I can do is post an article from China Daily that has been reprinted in three other newspapers in China.

Not bad for a 20 yr old guy if I do say so myself.

Green buildings key to sustainable development: Report
 
Green technology should be a core value for property developers if the country is to achieve sustainable and environmentally-friendly growth, says a report by one of world’s leading real estate management and services firms.Green buildings are designed, built and operated to have low environmental impact while enhancing the health, welfare and quality of life for residents.

Currently, sustainable buildings in the country are “at best” limited to a handful of top-notch properties in major cities, with very few examples of such facilities in second- or third-tier cities, according to Jones Lang LaSalle’s report Sustainable Real Estate Development in China.

More than 80 percent of completed space in China fails to meet State-required efficiency standards and up to 95 percent are considered “high energy consuming”, with average consumption levels two to three times higher than those in developed countries, it said.

“There are huge gains to be made by adopting sustainable practices in the Chinese real estate market,” the report noted, referring to the fact that half of all electricity and a third of all water are consumed in commercial buildings.

“It represents huge space to make progress in energy efficiency in the areas of commercial buildings,” said Justin Kean, the author of the report and associate director of Occupiers Research at the property consultancy.

The Chinese government has set an ambitious goal of reducing energy usage per unit of GDP by 20 percent by 2010. It also aims to cut water consumption per unit of industrial output by 30 percent by the same year.

The awareness of sustainable real estate in China lags far behind that in the West, the report said.

“The low awareness is a major problem in promoting sustainable real estate.”

Education of both owners and occupiers, the report said, is key to ensure that they implement green strategies.

Meeting sustainable standards can add up to 10 percent of the cost of a commercial building project, the report estimated.

“The increasing costs may deter some developers from adopting sustainable practices” and that is where the government can play a role – such as providing incentives – said Eric Lee, head of property management for North Asia at Jones Lang LaSalle.

Source: China Daily

Yes Senator Inhofe… Everyone Believes You

Time Cartoon

You may have heard of Senator James Inhofe. Senator Inhofe is the man who has condemned global warming science as a “hoax”. For those of you playing at home, this means the Senator is comparing global warming science to hoaxes such as:

  • The Amityville Horror
  • The ‘Flying Bigfoot of Florida’
  • Banandine – a fictional drug made from bananas

Funny enough, none of these hoaxes were played against the entire world about a topic like “planetary emergency”, to quote Al Gore.

Unfortunately, if the Senator isn’t right in his accusation we won’t know for sure till it is too late. Somehow I have the feeling that irreversible climate change would take some of the pleasure away from being right.

Gabriel – US Blocking Climate Change Progress

LeadersThe German Environment Minister, Sigmar Gabriel, has denounced the US following the two day Climate Change conference in Potsdam.

His denouncement was based on America’s role in blocking progess on the implementation of a global carbon trading scheme and the rewarding of developing nations for protecting their natural endowments.

The meeting involved the G8 nations and developing nations including Mexico, India, China, Brazil and South Africa. A positive message came from the conference with industrialisd and developing nations alike reaching consesus on the scale and nature of climate change. For any substantial impact to be made by a shift to a low-carbon world economy the developing world must be included. Their presence at the Potsdam Conference is a promising step in the right direction.

However, progress in developing mechanisms and tools to combat the problem were stymied by what has been described by Mr Gabriel as ‘not subtle’ opposition from the United States. This author assumes the US feels it is doing enough to combat climate change by changing their clocks to daylight savings time early (see previous post).

Considering that the United State’s history regarding the Kyoto Protocol, Gabriel was quite correct when he stated, “I would have been surprised if I’d expected something different.”

I have the feeling he isn’t the only one.

But can we really blame the US. The global community has obviouly picked a bad time to come pestering them on climate change while they are bogged down in Iraq, pondering sanctions on Iran and President Bush having just finished a tour of South America that could be described as ‘unwelcoming’ to say the very least.

At the same time, don’t you think it would make sense for the US to take part in an initiative that could not only be successful but that the global community actually supports as well? It would be a pleasant change.

US ‘Daylight Savings’ Move Fails To Impress

clockAdditionally this week, the US has switched to Daylight Savings Time three weeks earlier than usual in an ‘attempt’ to cut fuel consumption, thereby helping the environment. Although not nearly as impressive in scale as both the UK and EU’s proposals, the initiative’s representatives, Edward Markay and Fred Upton, projected benefits such as:

  • Wide energy saving
  • Less crime
  • Fewer traffic fatalities
  • More recreation time
  • Increased economic activity

It is estimated that the changes will reduce carbon emissions by 10.8 million cubic tonnes per annum. Although that may sound impressive, in 2005 the US emitted a total of 7.14 billion cubic tonnes of carbon dioxide.
In conclusion, Markay and Upton explained, “Ultimately, daylight saving just brings a smile to everybody’s faces.”

Unfortunately, US environmental policy does not have the same effect on me.

Source: BBC

Britain Announces 60% Reduction Of CO2

stacksContinuing what has been an important week for environmental legislation, the UK today announced the outline for a ‘Climate Bill’.

Under the proposed bill, Britain’s carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced 60% by the year 2050. The bill will provide a long-term legislative framework for the reduction of greenhouse gases.

Environment Secretary, David Miliband, stated, “We think it’s right that ever five years we set carbon budgets in legislation, that we give business confidence about a fifteen year period ahead so we can really invest for the future.”

This comes within a week of the EU finalising an agreement on the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions. Under the plan, the EU will reduce emissions by 20% of 1990 levels by 2020. This represents a significant moment for the EU, having reconciled internal difficulties and proving they are very serious about the potential negative effects of climate change.

A collective round of applause for two influential world powers backing up rhetoric with actual policy.

Source: BBC

Gore Picks Up Oscar

Gore OscarFormer Us Vice-President Al Gore picked up an Oscar for his cliamte change documentaty, An Inconvenient Truth, at the 79th Academy Awards ceremony.

In what appeared to be an announcement of candidancy for US Presidency in 2008, Mr Gore teased at joining the race during his acceptancy speech. This proved to be a farce however, as Gore was cut off by music used to make winners wrap up their speeches cut in and drowned him out.

Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth, is thought to be a platform on which he would be able to launch a successful bid for Presidency.

This logic is based on:

  • Gore’s film, An Incovenient Truth, is actually based on what can be called ‘truth’. This puts him in a distinct advantage over Bush’s Republican party who’s previous list of so-called ‘truths’ include Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction, nuclear aims and Saddam Hussein’s links to Al Qaeda .
  • The looming threat of global warming will, unchecked, ensure the destruction of mankind. Unlike Bush’s insistence that terrorists will bring about the destruction of mankind. This makes Gore’s cause a far more urgent one to address.
  • You cannot solve global warming by launching a pre-emptive strike against mother nature.

All three of these concepts really do make you sit back, reflect, and wish that those Florida ballots had not been ‘lost’. Don’t they?

New Diet Regime – Not Drinking Water

In business news, a new weight-loss diet has been released which promises to bring huge results. The Provilax Corporation announced it’s new programme entitled, ‘Drink Less: Lose More’. In short, the diet suggests users consume less water and other liquids as a way to lose weight.

The diet is based on scientific findings that water occupies approximately 70% of an average human’s body weight.

The diet’s founder, Dr Marvin Grey, touts this as the, “latest breakthrough in humankind’s battle against fat.” Dr Grey continued stating, “after only two days of reduced water intake users of my programme will see instantaneous results.”

For instance, if a user drinks on average 3 less litres of water over the first two days that equates to almost 6 kg’s of lost weight. Furthermore, if the user actively engages in physical exercise, to rid the body of excess water, results will improve.

One can only speculate as to the potential success of this new regime. Previously, so called ‘fad’ diets focused only on the intake of food, not water. Commonly cited offenders include Atkin’s and Weight Watchers. This only gave the promise of losing half the potential weight.

Dr Grey suggests combining his routine with that of competitors. He foresees a hybrid of two regimes, one to regulate water intake and the other food. This would give way to endless possibilities. For example, when combined with Atkins the user would not consume carbohydrates or water. Dr Grey’s lab projections suggest this would reap ‘exponential’ weight loss results.

Dr Grey warns that if any person experiences dehydration, nausea or general malaise they should seek a trained physician immediately.

Dr Grey’s book “Drink Less: Lose More” will be released on February 28 to a host of enthusiastic users.



Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.