Sustainability Reads: January 6- January 12

At least EPA is doing a little something to help bees
Disappearing bees, the pollinators of the world, is a grim and material issue that needs more attention and action. Europe banned neonicotinoid pesticides for two years, which are associated with the bees’ demise; the U.S. is being sued for doing nothing. However, recent development is that EPA is offering almost half million dollars for research into integrated pest management to reduce use of pesticides. It is a first step and hopefully more to come. By John Upton on

New protocol aims to boost investor confidence in retrofits
Development directly addresses the need outlined in our post about the limits of traditional financing models for climate change projects such as energy retrofits.  EDF’s Investor Confidence Project (ICP) created protocols to address the lack of standardized approach to retrofits that has held investments and a market for such investments back.

ICP’s first two protocols standardize whole building retrofits. The most recent Energy Performance Protocol for Targeted Commercial standardizes how specific projects are baselined, engineered, installed, operated and measured. Ideally, the market will allow lending to invest in lighting or a few basic upgrade projects which result in cost savings and the reduction in negative environmental effects. ICP protocols were based on significant research with industry experts across academia, private sector, and public sector. By Mark Golden at EDF on

Carbon Pollution Funds Poised to Deliver on Advancing Clean Energy in California
California’s cap and trade system is an experiment that will guide any future attempts in the U.S. This article takes a dive into the most recent development: plan on how income from the program will be spent. As part of the state budget, the plan is to spend $850 million in carbon pollution funds next fiscal year. Plan divided into three categories: sustainable communities and transportation ($600M), energy efficiency and clean energy ($140M), natural resources and waste diversion ($110M).  Included in plan is pay back of $100M that was borrowed for general fund last year and transportation category includes $300M for California’s high speed rail project. For more specific information check out full article. By Alex Jackson on Switchboard -NRDC blog.

Slowly, Asia’s Factories Begin to Turn Green
Multinational corporations’ factories in Asia are undergoing vital changes that are marking the beginning of the truly responsible corporation. Even though the Vietnamese government doesn’t require stringent factory environmental regulations, various factories like the Intel one located outside of Ho Chi Minh City have been taking initiatives to achieve high environmental and sustainability standards. Some factories are even looking to obtain LEED certifications. Because so many goods from multinational corporations come from Asia, having these factories include sustainability into their buildings (especially in the absence of obligatory regulations), this is an important step in supply chain sustainability measures. It also demonstrates that multinational corporations are seeing the benefit of including higher environmental management policies into their practices, even on the other side of the globe where no regulations are present. By Mike Ives at the New York Times.

Boxer, Whitehouse announce new push on climate
U.S. Senators are yet again pushing for climate change action the national level. In order to get Congress moving and acting, Senators Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) have formed the “Climate Action Task Force” as a way to achieve various goals such as protecting President Obama’s Climate Action Plan from being undermined, institute a carbon price to curb emissions, and promote energy efficiency in buildings. By Lenny Bernstein at the Washington Post.

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