Thursday, 15 October 2009

Nick Herbert: Emerging economies can still prosper while cutting emissions

Those of us who have benefited from the economic growth pursued regardless of dangerous emissions have obligations to help emerging economies pursue sustainable development. The UK recognises that there will need to be sufficient finance and technology flows from developed to developing countries to support their action on climate change. The Conservative Party believes that countries meeting at Copenhagen must find a mechanism for helping the developing world cope with the consequences of climate change in a way that is additional to, not instead of, what we need to help them relieve their current poverty.

But we should view the prospect of international agreement not as a cost for developing countries but as an opportunity. Decarbonised growth offers the prospect for countries like India to avoid the environmental damage that has blighted industrialisation in the West and in China.

The Kyoto Clean Development Mechanism provides just a hint of the potential of global carbon-trading. The funds that would raise could finance green growth in the developing world, stimulate investment in new green technology – which needs to be shared with the developing world – and in adaptation measures.

Further opportunities lie ahead. People want a cleaner, greener environment, but there are also economic reasons to pursue it. We are only just learning to see the huge potential of recovering energy and materials – increasingly in demand – from waste. The natural environment does not only have an intrinsic value; it has a financial value too – for tourism, as a source of medicines, and with the right legal framework, in the market for ecosystem services – protecting habitats, improving air quality, keeping rivers cleaner.

Preserving the environment must not be seen as a conflict with economic growth, for ultimately, only sustainable growth will guarantee prosperity. If there is one thing we have learnt from the global economic crisis, it is that no one can live beyond their means. None of us can live beyond our economic means. But neither can we live beyond our environmental means.

Taken from a speech by the Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs at the weekend to the Greentech Foundation's Tenth Annual Global Environment Conference in Kerala, India

Protesters to swoop on power plant

Hundreds and possibly thousands of climate change protesters will attempt to close down one of Britain's biggest coal-fired power stations this weekend.

The activists will converge on the giant 2,000-megawatt plant at Ratcliffe-on-Soar near Nottingham on Saturday, in what they are calling The Great Climate Swoop, and attempt to halt operations.

The plant, which is owned by the German energy giant E.ON, emits more than 9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year and is one of the largest producers of carbon dioxide in Britain.

The activists, largely drawn from three pressure groups – the Camp for Climate Action, Plane Stupid and Climate Rush – have been planning the demonstration since the end of the Climate Camp held at Blackheath in London in August.

E.ON has taken out an injunction which gives police the power to arrest anyone attempting to enter the site, and has hired extra security guards and put up new fencing. A large police presence is expected on Saturday.

However, the activists have said that they will enter the site "by land, water and air".

'Green energy makeovers' of homes needed to meet climate change targets

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) said carbon emissions from people's homes will have to be cut by 35 per cent by 2020.

This will mean a radical overhaul of the nation's housing stock.

The 'green makeovers' are just part of a package of radical new measures recommended by the committee, including the introduction of road pricing, eco-driving lessons and thousands more wind turbines.

The expert committee, that was set up to ensure the UK meets legally-binding climate change targets, said the Government was currently not doing enough to cut carbon emissions – especially in the domestic housing sector.

At the moment the Government's "great green British refurb" is being left to the energy companies. The carbon emissions reductions target (Cert) came into effect last year and places an obligation on energy suppliers to help home owners reduce household emissions until 2012.

In 2008 more than 150 million low energy light bulbs were given away as part of the scheme and more than half a million households had loft insulation fitted.

But Lord Turner, Chairman of the committee, said energy saving light bulbs may have been "put in a drawer" and the whole roll out of insulation needs to happen a lot faster.

"In order to drive the target that the Government is committed to there needs to be a step change in the level of ambition. We believe it is appropriate to move to a street by street, whole house approach to energy efficiency."

From next year he said the UK needed to roll out street by street energy audits, led by local authorities and supported by Central Government and energy companies. Officials will be able to advise households on a range of energy saving measures, from filling cavity walls to fitting solar panels.

The measures will be paid for with a "pay as you save" mechanism that allows consumers to pay off the cost with the savings they make on energy bills over a long period of time.

Some 10 million lofts and 7.5 million cavity walls need to be insulated by 2015. A further 2.3 million solid walls will need to be insulated and all 12 million inefficient boilers in people's homes must be replaced by 2022.

The committee has already admitted that the investment needed to switch the UK's energy supply from fossil fuels to renewables like wind farms could add up to 25 per cent to the average annual fuel bill.

But Lord Turner insisted that the "green energy makeovers" would ensure that in the end households make a net saving.

"Clearly it will be the case that decarbonisation of energy will come with some cost on electricity bills but providing one is taking the measures to increase energy efficiency in the home the net impact will not be a burden on consumers but a saving," he said.

Paul King, Chief Executive of the UK Green Building Council, said the street by street approach will only work if the Government brings in the required legislation to enable "pay as you save", tighter regulations to encourage home owners to improve energy efficiency and financial incentives such as tax breaks and grants for green measures.

“Our homes and buildings should be on the front line in the battle against climate change, rising fuel prices and energy security. Yet current government policies will not deliver the necessary step change in green refurbishment," he said.

“We need a strong regulatory signal that makes it clear to everyone that homes and commercial buildings will be required to meet higher levels of energy efficiency over time, which would create the conditions for a new green refurbishment market," he said.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change insisted the Government is already working to improve the energy efficiency of homes.

Kill our cows – and save the planet

Who would nowadays bother asking an economist so much as the time of day? The popular perception is that the profession and its much-lauded “dismal science” got an F when it came to warning us about the global financial meltdown.

And yet who can begrudge an economist who tells us that suicide bombers should buy life insurance, that pimps are like estate agents, that walking drunk is more dangerous than driving drunk and that eating kangaroo could help solve global warming?

Of the “freak brothers”, Levitt, 42, is a wunderkind economist –- often hailed as one of the most talented of his generation – and professor at the University of Chicago. Dubner, 46, is an award-winning economics journalist from New York who started writing with Levitt after publishers became excited by a profile he had written of the young economist in the New York Times.

As one of the most successful writing partnerships in publishing, they make an entirely complementary and logical team in the same way that Jack Spratt and his wife did at the dinner table. Levitt provides the economist’s methodology and number-crunching skills, Dubner writes it all up so as to make it interesting – and comprehensible – to the layman.

“It would have been impossible for either of us to have done this alone,” says Levitt simply.

Their first book caused a huge stir, not only in casting an economist as detective hero but in showing that even the most deeply-ingrained assumptions about everyday life could be challenged by looking closely at the figures. In discoveries that were regurgitated at thousands of dinner parties, readers learnt that drug dealers were often so poor they had to live with their mothers, that estate agents had too little incentive to get the highest price when selling a house and that parental income and status is a far more accurate predictor of how children will fare at school than what they actually do for their offspring. The book stirred up a particularly fierce hornet’s nest in arguing that US urban crime fell dramatically in the 1990s, not because of better policing but because of abortion being legalised – fewer disadvantaged mothers had babies that grew up to be criminals.

The new book again lobs grenades in all directions. The global warming lobby comes in for particular stick. Levitt and Dubner scoff at the notion that people will altruistically cut carbon emissions. Instead, they point out that methane-producing ruminants such as cows and sheep are a much bigger problem than transport (eating kangaroo would be far less harmful to the environment). Championing the cooling potential of sulphur dioxide, they propose pumping vast amounts into the stratosphere through an 18-mile hose.

There are also chapters on how terrorists can best be identified by their financial activities (big on small, irregular cash withdrawals, poor on taking out life insurance) and why having a pimp in Chicago actually boosts a prostitute’s earnings. The latter would seem like a classic example of the statistics not always telling the whole story, but there we are. Asked where he gets all his research ideas, Levitt says he simply observes the world around him.

As they sit in Dubner’s Manhattan office, it’s impossible to confuse the freakonomics team. Levitt, the son of a psychic and an expert on flatulence, is obviously the academic – sleeves rolled down, sensible shoes, slight lisp, occasionally wispy smile. He lets the more gregarious Dubner – sleeves rolled up, wild hair, Crocs, obviously the journalist –- do most of the talking.

Despite decrying the value of “experts”, the pair has – like their main pop-economics fellow traveller, Malcolm Gladwell – become fixtures on the corporate lecture circuit. And yet they stress that they are not business gurus, but just two guys who look at the world differently to others.

But a lot of people won’t be persuaded. They believe Levitt has a miracle cure, says Dubner. He tells how, after his New York Times profile was published, Levitt was “besieged by callers, ranging from General Motors, to the New York Yankees to the CIA, all of whom really did think he was a magician”. Dubner adds: “He’s not and he’d be the first person to tell you he’s not. But there are problems that if we can sit down and look at them, and most importantly have access to a lot of a data, there may be some insights to be gained.”

Some fellow academics have inevitably laid into Levitt. He is just too flip about economics and, worse, perhaps too successful, for them to ignore. Popular gripes are that he over-simplifies economics, that he picks on trivia and that he never draws any conclusions about his often startling claims. On the last of these, I would say that that is something of a virtue in a world in which “thinkers” tend to do the opposite – constructing sweeping theories on the most scanty of evidence. That Levitt and Dubner leave all their statistical nuggets dangling in the air with no grand theme to link them – other than the abiding importance of incentives – is a big tick against their names on my clipboard.

“Neither of us are the pontificating type,” says Levitt scathingly. “I am sure a different pair of people could take what we do and pontificate all day long.”

“We’re more credible when we’re more honest,” adds Dubner. ”We’re more honest when our proclamations are small.“

Levitt, the economist of small things, argues that economics is a science with excellent tools for gaining answers but a serious shortage of interesting questions. Unlike other academics, he looks at the 'what' rather than the 'why' – asking if assumptions are correct rather than why they happen, says Dubner.

I am not entirely surprised to hear that one of their biggest readership demographics is the one that supposedly doesn’t read books – teenagers. They are at an age when they enjoy seeing stripped away the “layers of deceptiveness” that society has used to soften the world for them, says Dubner. Though rather more sophisticated, Superfreakonomics has something in common with Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, both tapping into that same conspiracist philosophy that the world is not as it seems.

You can see why other economists might be a little peeved at this relentless quest for counter-intuitiveness. Dubner offers his theory: “What has happened to economics now is similar to what happened to psychology 30 years ago. It went from being a fairly arcane subject to something that the public began to understand and talk about a lot more,” he says.

"There are psychologists who rue that day because it kind of cheapened their work and made people over-simplify what they’re thinking. And, honestly, I think there are a lot of economists who feel that way today. It’s not for me to say whether that’s right or wrong."

If some of the macroeconomists poring over retail price indexes and balance of trade deficits have little time for the Freakonomics duo, the feeling is mutual. Levitt makes no apology for the fact that his latest book contains no insight into why the world was recently plunged into its worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. It’s simply not what he’s about, he says.

Predictions are difficult enough for economists but predicting what will happen to something as big as a country’s economy is "extremely difficult,” he adds.

Meanwhile, what’s next – Superduperfreakonomics? Is there no area of life on which economists cannot enlighten us mortals? Levitt doesn’t miss a beat. “Macroeconomics,” he says with a faint smile.

The ecocidal moment

How do we live in a way that honours rather than endangers the life of our planet? Or, to put it slightly differently, how do we live in a way that shows an understanding that we genuinely live in a shared world, not one that simply belongs to us? This would be a good question even if we were not faced with the threats associated with global warming, with the reduction of biodiversity, with desertification and deforestation, with fuel and food shortages.

In his splendid book, Hell and High Water: Climate Change, Hope and the Human Condition, Alastair McIntosh speaks of our current "ecocidal" patterns of consumption as addictive and self-destructive. Living like this is living at a less than properly human level – McIntosh suggests we may need therapy, what he describes as a "cultural psychotherapy" to liberate us. That liberation may or may not be enough to avert disaster. But what we do know – or should know – is that we are living inhumanly.

We must begin by recognising that our ecological crisis is part of a crisis of what we understand by our humanity; it is part of a general process of losing our "feel" for what is appropriately human, a loss that has been going on for some centuries and which some cultures and economies have been energetically exporting to the whole world. It manifests itself in a variety of ways. It has to do with the erosion of rhythms in work and leisure, so that the old pattern of working days interrupted by a day of rest has been dangerously undermined; a loss of patience with the passing of time so that speed of communication has become a good in itself; a loss of patience which shows itself in the lack of respect and attention for the very old and the very young. It is a loss whose results have become monumentally apparent in the financial crisis of the last 12 months. We have slowly begun to suspect that we have allowed ourselves to become addicted to fantasies about prosperity and growth, dreams of wealth without risk and profit without cost. A good deal of the talk and activity around the financial collapse has the marks of what Alastair McIntosh calls "displacement activity" – it fails to see where the roots of the problem lie; in our amnesia about the human calling.

We have seen growing evidence in recent years of a lack of correlation between economic prosperity and a sense of wellbeing, and evidence to suggest that inequality in society is one of the more reliable predictors of a lack of wellbeing. It looks very much as if what we need is to be reconnected rather urgently with the processes of our world. We shouldn't need an environmental crisis to establish that the developed world has become perilously out of touch with the experience of those living in the least developed parts of the world and with their profound vulnerabilities and insecurities.

We have to ask whether our duty of care for life is compatible with assuming without question that the desirable future for every economy, even the most successful and expansionist, is unchecked growth. Unless we re-evaluate our obsession with growth in consumerist terms, we can be sure of two things: inequality will not be addressed (and so the powerlessness of the majority of the world's population will remain as it is at the moment); and the dehumanising effects of the culture of consumer growth will worsen.

Our response to the environment crisis needs to be, in the most basic sense, a reality check, a reacquaintance with the facts of our interdependence within the material world and a rediscovery of our responsibility for it.

The Christian story lays out a model of reconnection with an alienated world: it tells us of a material human life inhabited by God and raised transfigured from death; of a sharing of material food which makes us sharers in eternal life; of a community whose life together seeks to express within creation the care of the creator. In the words used by both Moses and St Paul, this is not a message remote from us in heaven or buried under the earth: it is near, on our lips and hearts. And, as Moses immediately goes on to say in the Old Testament passage, "You know it and can quote it, so now obey it. Today I am giving you a choice between good and evil, between life and death … Choose life."

This is an edited extract from the 2009 Operation Noah lecture

Carbon capture plans won't be derailed by Kingsnorth, insists Miliband

Energy and climate secretary Ed Miliband has insisted that the delay to the new coal-fired power plant at Kingsnorth would not derail Britain's drive to prove the viability of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, seen as vital to ensuring energy security while also curbing carbon emissions.

The comments come as the International Energy Agency (IEA) released a report saying that at least 850 full-scale CCS plants need to be built by 2030 – 100 of them by 2020 – if the world is to avoid dangerous climate change by halving global carbon emissions by 2050. To date, no plant has been shown to be able to trap and bury the emissions from a power station on a commercial scale.

Last week, power company E.ON said the recession had cut demand for electricity, forcing it to postpone its Kingsnorth plans. Kingsnorth had been seen as a frontrunner in the UK government's competition to build a CCS demonstration. Plans for clean coal were dealt a further blow this week when the Danish energy company Dong Energy announced it was pulling out of plans for another major new coal-fired plant in Ayrshire.

But Miliband said: "The recession and decisions of individual companies will not push us back from driving CCS forward with great urgency. There are no shortage of companies that want to come forward with projects and we are determined [to make sure] CCS happens quickly."

E.ON is technically still taking part in the UK competition, which aims to see up to four CCS demonstration plants running by the middle of the next decade, but it is unclear if its revised plans for Kingsnorth would fit in that timeframe. Friends of the Earth's head of climate, Mike Childs, said: "Trials of carbon capture and storage need to be fast-tracked so that the technology can be applied to existing industry as soon as possible. New coal-fired power plants without full CCS from the beginning are not an option."

Miliband was speaking at a meeting of the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF), a group of major energy companies and 22 coal-consuming countries – including the US, China, Australia and the UK – in London. The group issued a statement insisting that the "viability of CCS as a key mitigation technology should be recognised" at the UN climate summit talks in December, and encouraged major economies to accelerate deployment of CCS around the world.

Nobuo Tanaka, head of the IEA, said the economic crisis, and the consequent fall in emissions, had given the world a "window of opportunity" to halve the world's CO2 emissions by mid-century. He said CCS must play a major role, delivering a fifth of all cuts, with increases in energy efficiency and renewable energy making up most of the remainder. "Our road map says we'll need 100 large-scale projects by 2020, 850 by 2030 and 3400 in 2050." This is consistent with the G8 leaders' call in Hokkaido to announce 20 large-scale demonstration projects identified by 2010 with a view towards commercialisation by 2020.

The IEA report said the majority of the CCS demonstrations will have to be built, in the first instance, in developed countries, but then "quickly expanded to the developing world, such as China and India, where the vast majority of emissions growth will be seen".

The IEA's road map requires global investment of about $56bn (£35bn) per year for CCS in the next decade in developed countries, with up to a further $2.5bn in developing countries. In total, the IEA has estimated that the world needs to invest $45tn in low-carbon technologies by 2050 to make the required cuts.

At the meeting, Norway said it will raise annual investment in CCS to a record $621m in 2010. Norway is well placed for CCS, having large, depleted oil and gas fields for burial of CO2. Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said his country wanted to lead international efforts to develop CCS, and has compared the challenge to the Apollo space programme of the 1960s.

But finance might not be the biggest problem for CCS, according to some speakers at the CSLF, who stressed the need to gain public acceptance of projects. "There is still a lot of work needed to explain to citizens why we do this and that this is not dangerous to health and that this will not decrease their property value," said Andris Piebalgs, EU energy commissioner. A pilot project at Schwarze Pumpe in Germany has had to vent trapped CO2 to the atmosphere following local objections to its burial underground.

"In the end you have to take specific projects forward and have to have an acceptable public reception to those projects," said Nick Otter of the Global CCS Institute. "We've seen some of the difficulties of getting these projects through the planning phase. All the work we've done shows that when people know what it's about, they have more confidence in it. There's a real awareness issue there, which could be a real big stopper on the whole way forward. This must be addressed."

Marine plant life holds the secret to preventing global warming

Mangrove forests, salt marshes and seagrass beds, above, cover less than 1 per cent of the world's seabed, but lock away well over half of all carbon to be buried in the ocean floor

Recommend? (2) Life in the ocean has the potential to help to prevent global warming, according to a report published today.

Marine plant life sucks 2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere every year, but most of the plankton responsible never reaches the seabed to become a permanent carbon store.

Mangrove forests, salt marshes and seagrass beds are a different matter. Although together they cover less than 1 per cent of the world’s seabed, they lock away well over half of all carbon to be buried in the ocean floor. They are estimated to store 1,650 million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year — nearly half of global transport emissions — making them one of the most intense carbon sinks on Earth.

Their capacity to absorb the emissions is under threat, however: the habitats are being lost at a rate of up to 7 per cent a year, up to 15 times faster than the tropical rainforests. A third have already been lost.

Halting their destruction could be one of the easiest ways of reducing future emissions, says report, Blue Carbon, a UN collaboration.

With 50 per cent of the world’s population living within 65 miles of the sea, human pressures on nearshore waters are powerful. Since the 1940s, parts of Asia have lost up to 90 per cent of their mangrove forests, robbing both spawning fish and local people of sanctuary from storms.

The salt marshes near estuaries and deltas have suffered a similar fate as they are drained to make room for development. Rich in animal life, they harbour a huge biomass of carbon-fixing vegetation. Seagrass beds often raise the level of the seabed by up to three metres as they bury mats of dead grass but turbid water is threatening their access to sunlight.

“We already know that marine ecosystems are multi-trillion-dollar assets linked to sectors such as tourism, coastal defence, fisheries and water purification services. Now it is emerging that they are natural allies against climate change,” said Achin Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General.

The potential contribution of blue carbon sinks has been ignored up to now, says the report, which was a collaboration between the United Nations Environment Programme, the Food and Agriculture Organisation and Unesco. Accurate figures for the extent of these habitats are hard to obtain, and may be more than twice the lower estimates used in the report.

“The carbon burial capacity of marine vegetated habitats is phenomenal, 180 times greater than the average burial rate in the open ocean,” say the authors. As a result they lock away between 50 and 70 per cent of the organic carbon in the ocean.

To protect them the authors suggest that a Blue Carbon Fund be launched to help developing nations to protect the habitats. Oceanic carbon sinks should also be traded in the same fashion as terrestrial forests, they say. Together with the UN’s scheme to reduce deforestation, they could deliver up to 25 per cent of emission reductions needed to keep global warming below 2C (36F).

Christian Nellemann, the editor of the report said:“On current trends they [ecosystems] may be all largely lost within a couple of decades.”

From The Times October 14, 2009

Apple, Nike and the U.S. Chamber

The recent corporate resignations from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have played in the media as a case of enlightened corporate stewardship vs. blinkered old businesses. But there's far more to this story—not least the way that Apple and Nike are putting green political correctness above the long-term interests of their own shareholders.

The Chamber needs "a more progressive stance on this issue" of climate change, declared Apple Vice President Catherine Novelli in a letter of resignation from the business lobby on October 5. Added Nike, announcing its resignation on September 30 from the Chamber board though retaining its membership: "US businesses must advocate for aggressive climate change." Both decisions were ostentatiously leaked to the media.

The first point to understand is the role of Al Gore, who is a member of the Apple board and perhaps the leading supporter of President Obama's cap-and-tax anticarbon legislation. Mr. Gore has also invested in renewable energy technologies that could make him even richer than he already is if new climate rules make renewables more competitive with carbon energy.

Meanwhile, Apple's Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook happens to sit on the board of . . . Nike. We're told that Nike CEO Mike Parker didn't discuss the Chamber move with his full board of directors before it was announced, and Nike didn't return our phone call asking for comment. In any case, we doubt it's an accident that Nike and Apple acted against the Chamber at the same time—and just when Democrats are trying to build new momentum for cap and trade in the Senate.

Both companies may figure they can afford a U.S. carbon tax because most of their manufacturing is done outside the U.S. Apple has an enormous "carbon footprint" of some 10 million annual tons of emissions to make and use its power-hungry gadgets. But nearly all of those products are made in China and other Asian countries where there are no carbon limits and aren't likely to be any time soon, if ever. According to calculations based on Apple's emissions figures, were the company to manufacture in the U.S., the Boxer-Kerry bill pending in the Senate would hit Apple with carbon taxes between $43 million and $108 million a year.
Nike, meanwhile, makes most of its shoes and apparel in 700 contract factories in countries such as South Korea and Vietnam—which also won't sign up for the Boxer-Kerry energy tax. The larger point is that neither Apple nor Nike would pay as much under a cap-and-trade bill as, say, the maker of Bobcat excavators in Bismarck, N.D., or your average Midwest natural gas utility. Green virtue is easier when someone else is paying for it.

Yet even this self-interested calculation is likely to be short-sighted for both companies. Since climate change is a global issue, green activists won't stop their carbon pursuit at the U.S. border. It wouldn't be long after cap and trade passed in the U.S. that Nike and Apple were pressured to move their manufacturing out of countries that haven't signed Kyoto II. That would threaten their production lines and cost structure, with potential damage to sales and competitiveness.

And if the companies fail to relocate, the next anticarbon lobbying policy step will be a carbon tariff against products made in China or Vietnam and sold in the U.S. A carbon tariff is already part of the House cap-and-trade bill and is gaining currency among Congressional protectionists, most recently Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.). As companies that import nearly all of their products, Apple and Nike would be especially vulnerable. We wonder if Messrs. Cook and Parker thought through any of this before committing their employees and investors to this crusade.
The Chamber's great sin, according to Nike and Apple, is that it questioned the Environmental Protection Agency's right to regulate all greenhouse gases without new legislation. The Chamber has said that while it supports Congressional efforts to regulate emissions, it opposes EPA's attempt to grab that power for itself on the basis of an elastic reading of the Clean Air Act. This is a major issue for many Chamber members.

If companies are going to dump the Chamber over a single dispute, then the overall influence of business in Washington is likely to decline. The Chamber's job isn't to favor one company's agenda over another but to stand broadly for free trade, low taxes and limited regulation—principles that help U.S. business as a whole.

Having abandoned their business allies on climate change, Apple and Nike might wake up one day to discover they need those friends on one of their crucial issues. It will serve them right if they find themselves alone in the Beltway square.

Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page A22
Copyright 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved

C-Questor sponsorship helps to create a larger canvas for Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation for the Environment

The C-Questor Group (“C-Questor”) today announced that it has agreed to extend its sponsorship of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation (“the Foundation”) through the Eco-Art Parade, a cultural initiative where themed works of art are auctioned for the benefit of the Foundation. The deal will help Eco-Art Parade to roll out a new series of auction events around the world, increasing the funds available to the Foundation to promote sustainability and support projects and solutions within the environmental sector.

This new commitment extends C-Questor’s links with the Foundation. C-Questor was one of the main sponsors of the first Eco-Art Parade auction event in Monaco on Saturday 10th October 2009. Sponsorship included providing all guests with a certificate giving them 100 Platinum Standard bio-diversified carbon credits in order to neutralise their carbon footprint and render the evening a carbon free event.

C-Questor, a worldwide organisation dedicated to solving the problems of global warming and climate change through the application of leading edge technologies, has developed a range of financial products. These are best exemplified by the integration of carbon credits with environmental benefits and biodiversity support through the launch of their new Platinum Standard carbon credit, developed in partnership with the Carbco Corporation.

The Eco-Art Parade was attended in Monaco by decision makers, influencers and VIPs. While fundraising is a key objective – the Auction raised around 700,000 Euros for the Foundation – C-Questor also views these events as important opportunities to educate business and opinion leaders about climate change. C-Questor intends to continue to sponsor the Eco-Art Parade fund raising initiative as it rolls out to other countries as part of an ambitious programme to support cultural initiatives that help to combat climate change.

The auction was followed by a dinner hosted by Prince Albert II at which a number of Awards were presented to outstanding young scientists for excellence in the field of environmental research. The Awards are designed to provide practical financial support to allow the winners to continue carrying out vital research into climate change and other environmental issues.

Michael Chambers, CEO of The C-Questor Group, commented: “Tackling climate change can only be achieved by educating and engaging business, government and opinion leaders, supporting research and innovation that provides the knowledge and tools for tackling climate change and enabling workable and cost-effective strategies to be implemented at a local level. A cultural initiative like the Eco-Art Parade can play a valuable role in this process. It captures the interest of art lovers and exposes them to the topic of climate change, while simultaneously raising funds for the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, which recognises and funds, amongst other initiatives, scientists who are at the cutting edge of climate change research in sectors such as Marine and Polar – both of which we have considerable expertise and interest in. We are delighted to be involved with such an august and innovative organisation and look forward to supporting similar events in the future.”

London, 13th October 2009