RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Corporate and government accounting will likely reflect environmental profit and loss within a decade, thanks partly to progress made this week at a U.N. conference in Rio de Janeiro, backers of the plan told Reuters on Thursday.
Company accounting and calculations of gross domestic product (GDP) are flawed because they fail to show governments, consumers and managers the true costs of their activities, said Pavan Sukhdev, a board member of U.S. environmental group Conservation International and a former Deutsche Bank AG banker.
The main reason is that accounting practices fail to account for the creation, use and degradation of air, water, trees, and other “natural assets” in the same way they account for factories, credit and other assets, he said.
He estimates that the top 3,000 companies fail to account for $2.1 trillion of charges related to the use or pollution of natural assets – say by releasing carbon dioxide into the air or waste into a river. That figure nearly doubles to $4 trillion, or about 6.7 percent of global GDP, when the world’s entire corporate sector is included, he said.
“We cannot continue to do business thinking we are adding value to shareholders while at the same time destroying value for stakeholders,” Sukhdev said. “This is bad management.”
(Reuters) – EBay Inc said it plans to build a data center powered by startup Bloom Energy’s renewable energy fuel cells, a more environmentally-friendly alternative to drawing power from the mostly coal-based electric grid.
The U.S. online auction sales group will use 30 Bloom Energy servers that use biogas derived from renewable organic waste and will only use the grid as a back-up source of power.
Last month, Apple Inc said it was buying equipment from SunPower Corp and Bloom Energy to build two solar array installations to power its main U.S. data center.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Thursday that more than 50 governments have launched new energy strategies, while private investors have pledged more than $50 billion to help carry out his goal to double the share of global renewable energy and the rate of energy efficiency improvement by 2030.
The U.N. chief unveiled these commitments to his “Sustainable Energy For All” initiative at the Rio+20 U.N. development conference in Brazil, the first public pledges made to the program since its launch in September 2011.
“This initiative is already mobilizing significant action from all sectors of society. Working together, we can provide solutions that drive economic growth, expand equity and reduce the risks of climate change,” Ban said.
The initiative aims to transform the world’s energy systems to ensure universal access to modern energy services by 2030 and is one of the key outcomes Ban has been keen to highlight before the conclusion of the Rio summit.
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In a Nova episode from April 2007, the successful business model of SunEdison is described by founder Jigar Shah. They own and maintain the panels, and sell the power to the business at below retail power rates. SunEdison has become the largest solar energy services provider for North America (currently 25MW), providing solar-generated energy at or below current retail utility rates with no capital investment, for commercial and government applications.
Participants in the Southwest Energy Innovation Forum, held this week in Scottsdale, discussed ideas to improve the nation’s clean energy future.
Two speakers at the event, Arizona Corporation Commission Chairman Kris Mayes and Gary Dirks, director of ASU’s Lightworks, talk about opportunities for Arizona to reach its potential as a leader in renewable energy.