In this edition, several outlets cover UNEP’s mostly critical GEO-5 report, including Bloomberg, Reuters, and Business Green. An interesting World Bank report, meanwhile, tackles the global trash problem.

Quote of the Day:

“The world continues to speed down an unsustainable path. The moment has come to put away the paralysis of indecision.”

–UN Environment Program officials in an e-mailed statement covered in Bloomberg’s “World Missing Environmental Goals in ‘Paralysis of Indecision’”

Lead Stories

World Missing Environmental Goals in ‘Paralysis of Indecision’
Nations are making “significant” progress on just four of 90 environmental goals, with little advance on tackling climate change, replenishing fish stocks or stopping deserts from spreading, the United Nations said today.
**RKB — The GEO-5 report, the fifth global environmental health-check by the United Nations since 1997, compiled by more than 600 experts. The UNEP page can be found here:

Factbox: U.N. takes pulse of the planet, prognosis isn’t good
Over the past two decades the Earth’s vital signs have continued to deteriorate, from loss of rainforests, overfishing, air and water pollution to chaotic weather and rising greenhouse gas emissions, according to a United Nations report.

Global environment deteriorating despite international targets
Business Green
The state of the environment is in steep decline as global agreements to tackle the many problems have proved ineffective in all but a few cases, the UN warned yesterday.

UNEP’s carbon facility to support 20 more projects in Africa
Ghana Business News
In a bid to boost Africa’s carbon market, the African Carbon Asset Development (ACAD) Facility – an incubator for developing carbon projects steered by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) – has announced expansion plans.

Green energy needs milestones to grow -EU Commission
Europe must agree 2030 milestones as soon as possible to spur investment in renewable energy, or green power growth will fizzle once firm policy runs out in 2020, the European Commission said on Wednesday in its latest strategy statement.

World Bank: waste management challenge ‘greater than climate change’
Business Green
Rapidly growing volumes of waste will cost the world’s cities $375bn by 2025, leaving many centres in developing countries struggling to cope with the financial and environmental fallout, the World Bank said today.

Are We Nearing a Planetary Boundary?
The New York Times
The earth could be nearing a point at which sweeping environmental changes, possibly including mass extinctions, would undermine human welfare, 22 prominent biologists and ecologists warned on Wednesday.

Approaching a state shift in Earth’s biosphere

Environmental collapse now a serious threat: scientists
Climate change, population growth and environmental destruction could cause a collapse of the ecosystem just a few generations from now, scientists warned on Wednesday in the journal Nature.

RGGI States Cut CO2 By 23% in First Three Years
A three-year summary of America’s first carbon trading program was released yesterday. The news is pretty good for anyone who cares about reducing carbon emissions; it’s inconvenient for anyone hell-bent on preventing America from implementing a carbon pricing plan.


Responsible Business Summit
June 27 -28, 2012, New York

Carbon Forum North America
October 1-2, 2012
Washington, DC

Sustainability Summit – Innovation Challenge
October 9, 2012
New York


Nonprofit will run state carbon-offset fund
Northern Colorado Business Report
The Climate Trust, an Oregon nonprofit, will administer the Colorado Energy Office’s  Carbon Fund, it was announced Tuesday.

LaHood Joins Airlines to Protest EU Carbon-Emissions Limits
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood joined carriers including Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL) and AMR Corp. (AAMRQ) to protest European Union greenhouse-gas limits the U.S. companies say may cost them more than $3.1 billion by 2020.

Natural Gas/Coal

Energy Firms Enter Reset Mode
Wall Street Journal
When the world goes to hell, analysts go to Excel—and cut their forecasts. Oil and gas investors should beware.
The Wall Street consensus for average 2012 Brent and West Texas Intermediate crude prices is $112 and $100 per barrel, respectively, according to FactSet Research. U.S. natural gas is tipped at $2.78 per million British thermal units.

Exxon Invests in Australia Coal-Seam-Gas Venture
Wall Street Journal
Exxon Mobil Corp. XOM +3.32% is taking a 10% stake in a joint venture to explore for gas trapped in Australian coal seams, placing a bet on an unconventional fuel that has attracted billions of dollars of investment in Australia and become one of the world’s hottest energy plays.

4 Reasons Natural Gas Is So Cheap
Natural gas prices have been low this year. You can’t complain about that. Recently, natural gas broke the psychological $2 mark which may beg the question of how much lower natural gas will go. It has since gone north of $2 but that doesn’t change much of anything. Natural gas is still relatively cheap. According to the United States Energy Information Administration, in June 2008, natural gas hit a high of $12.41 per thousand cubic feet. In just four years, natural gas has declined almost 80% and according to energy analysts, there is nothing stopping it from going lower. Here are four reasons why.  

TEXT-S&P credit FAQ discusses challenges in the US coal industry
U.S. coal producers have suffered some hits to their credit quality this year, in large part because of an unusually warm winter and electricity generators switching to natural gas from coal because of low gas prices, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services said today. In light of the headwinds in the industry, we answered some frequently asked questions about the weakening in industry credit fundamentals and our recent rating actions in a credit FAQ titled, “U.S. Coal Producers Face Substantial Headwinds, Including High Inventories And Low Natural Gas Prices,” published today on RatingsDirect.


GE Wins $3.6 Billion of Agreements to Buy Higher-Output Turbine
General Electric Co. (GE) has agreed $3.6 billion of sales for a wind turbine model it began selling a year ago that generates higher-than-normal energy output.


Approaching a state shift in Earth’s biosphere (Posted June 6, 2012)

Characterizing Pivotal Sources of Methane Emissions from Unconventional Natural Gas Production (Posted June 4, 2012)

Vulnerability of US and European electricity supply to climate change (Posted June 4, 2012)
Nature Climate Change

Developing Dimension: State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2012 (Posted May 31, 2012)
Ecosystem Marketplace

Tackling exposure: placing disaster risk management at the heart of national economic and fiscal policy (Posted May 22, 2012)

Fossil fuel price shocks and a low carbon economy (Posted May 21, 2012)

Using the Allowance Value from California’s Carbon Trading System: Legal Risk Factors, Impacts to Ratepayers and the Economy (Posted May 17, 2012)

Inclusive Green Growth: The Pathways to Sustainable Development (Posted May 9, 2012)
World Bank

Meeting Canada’s 2020 Climate Change Commitments (Posted May 8, 2012)
Office of Auditor General

View all reports >

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