Archivi tag: CO2 emissions

On the road …

and not just in the lab.

2015_10_01-05 icctThe gap between official and real-world performance has increased to 40% on average in 2014 and is so wide in many car models that it cannot be explained through known factors including test manipulations.

2015_10_01-01 Mind the gapNot only Volkswagen? And not only NOx; let’s talk about CO2. The system of testing cars to measure fuel economy and CO2 emissions is utterly discredited. The Mind the gap 2015 report published by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) analyses the gap between test results and real-world performance and finds that it has become a chasm, increasing from 8% in 2001 to 31% in 2012 and 40% in 2014. Without action this gap will grow to nearly 50% by 2020.

2015_10_01-02 the gap

New cars, including the Mercedes A, C and E class, BMW 5 series and Peugeot 308, are now swallowing around 50% more fuel than their lab test results, new on-the-road results compiled by reveal. While this does not constitute proof of ‘defeat devices’ being used to fiddle fuel economy tests, similar to that used by Volkswagen, EU governments must extend probes into defeat devices to CO2 tests and petrol cars too. Learn more in this thought-provoking article on Transport & Environment.

2015_10_01-03 Mind the gap

Greg Archer, clean vehicles manager at T&E, said: “Like the air pollution test, the European system of testing cars to measure fuel economy and CO2 emissions is utterly discredited. The Volkswagen scandal was just the tip of the iceberg and what lies beneath is widespread abuse by carmakers of testing rules enabling cars to swallow more than 50% more fuel than is claimed.

The distorted laboratory tests are costing a typical motorist €450 a year in additional fuel costs compared to what carmakers’ marketing materials claim, the report finds. But the car manufacturers are continuing to try to delay the introduction of a new test (WLTP) to be introduced in 2017.

2015_10_01-04 Car testCars are responsible for 15% of Europe’s total CO2 emissions and are the single largest source of emissions in the transport sector. The EU’s first obligatory rules on carbon emissions require car manufacturers to limit their average car to a maximum of 130 grams of CO2 per km by 2015, and 95g by 2021.

Mutatis mutandis

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US Building energy use (Picture: Architecture 2030)

And what if the same situation would actually occurr on our buildings? I mean, above all those already certified under one of the several energy efficiency protocols available in Europe. Are these buildings really performing in compliance to the levels for which they have been designed and built? Moreover, is there someone really monitoring those operational performances? The automotive sector has been always decades forward, compared to the building industry, in terms of quality of the process, level of performances, research and development, investments, accuracy of testing (not in this case …), customers satisfaction, marketing, advertising … whatever. And it has been far ahead in manipulating the results, it seems. What if now the building sector would take its place on the arena as the first industrial sector to show honestly its results and put in place a virtuous process of continuous improvement (energy performances, environmental impact, customer care, …, health)??

ICCT reports:
Mind the gap (2015)
From Laboratory to road (2014)
From Laboratory to road (2013)

Other related posts: Name that sin!

Ride With Us.

Bicycles United Against Climate Change.

2014_09_24 immagine 01Quando il 18.03 scorso Daniele Pernigotti, mi ha scritto una mail dicendomi «Per il prossimo ottobre sto organizzando con un amico la pazzia di fare Venezia-Copenaghen in bicicletta, in occasione della presentazione del rapporto finale di sintesi dell’IPCC […]» non ho neanche finito di leggere la mail che avevo già risposto di sì, senza neanche pensarci, per dare il nostro contributo di bolzanini, amici dell’ambiente e abitanti di quella che qualcuno chiama ‘Italy’s green region’. Daniele è esperto di carbon footprint dei prodotti e coordinatore del gruppo di lavoro UNI sulle emissioni di gas serra, il suo amico Claudio Bonato ha un bar a Marghera (VE). I due intraprendenti partiranno da Piazzale Roma a Venezia il 14. ottobre e percorreranno in bici il tratto Venezia-Copenhagen attraverso 17 tappe:

  1. Venezia – Schio (VI) 14.10.2014 (93 km)
  2. Rovereto (TN) 15.10 (47 km)
  3. Bolzano 16.10 (81 km)
  4. Innsbruck (A) 17.10 (124 km)
  5. Kochel am See (D) 18.10 (70 km)
  6. München (D) 19.10 (66 km)
  7. Ingolstadt (D) 20.10 (89 km)
  8. Nürnberg (D) 21.10 (104 km)
  9. Kronach (D) 22.10 (129 km)
  10. Jena (D) 23.10 (107 km)
  11. Leipzig (D) 24.10 (91 km)
  12. Wittenberg (D) 25.10 (76 km)
  13. Berlin (D) 26.10 (105 km)
  14. Robel Muritz (D) 27.10 (128 km)
  15. Rostock (D) 28.10 (104 km)
  16. Praesto (DK) 29.10 (89 km)
  17. Copenhagen (DK) 30.10 (83 km)

Perché pedalare fino a Copenhagen?

Perché il 31 ottobre a Copenhagen verrà presentato il 5AR Synthesis Report dell’IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ), documento che raccoglie la sintesi dei tre volumi del V° Rapporto di valutazione sul clima (5AR) la cui pubblicazione ha luogo in diversi momenti a partire dall’ottobre del 2013. Si tratta del più importante documento di analisi del cambiamento climatico a livello mondiale. Venezia e Copenhagen sono due città dell’Unione Europea molto diverse per cultura, ma in qualche modo simili per lo stretto rapporto con il mare che ha segnato il loro sviluppo. Unirle simbolicamente con una pedalata attraverso l’Europa, proprio in occasione della presentazione del 5AR, è un modo per evidenziare quanto i rispettivi destini siano collegati con il cambiamento climatico in atto.

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Trovate tutte le informazioni su tappe, percorsi, distanze, altimetrie, eventi, ecc. sul sito di Ride With Us, così come sulla pagina facebook e su Twitter.

La partecipazione

L’idea alla base del progetto è quella di rilanciare sul territorio e sui media nazionali l’importanza di mantenere alta l’attenzione sul tema del cambiamento climatico. La comunicazione dell’evento è impostata per facilitare per quanto più possibile la libera partecipazione alla pedalata in bicicletta di tutti in modo che, attraverso una chiara indicazione del percorso e degli orari di avanzamento, ognuno possa decidere di partecipare anche solo per pochi km. Ancora maggior significato dovrebbero assumere le tappe giornaliere.

Gli eventi

Ogni tappa, un evento organizzato intorno alla tematica del cambiamento climatico, per discuterne sia gli aspetti scientifici sia quelli legati alle pratiche quotidiane. Il tema dell’incontro a Bolzano giovedì 16 ottobre pomeriggio organizzato da TIS ed EURAC con il patrocinio dell’Agenzia CasaClima sarà ovviamente quello dell’efficienza energetica degli edifici. Gli edifici sprecano circa la metà dell’energia globale. Tecnologie innovative per costruire case più efficienti dal punto di vista energetico sono già disponibili, quindi è il momento di applicarle. Con questo approccio è possibile ridurre fino al 80% delle emissioni di anidride carbonica prodotte dai sistemi di riscaldamento e produzione di acqua calda, sia nelle nuove costruzioni e nelle esistenti. Grazie a ciò, è possibile combattere il cambiamento climatico. 

Nella chiacchierata dopo l’arrivo in bici di Daniele e Claudio (e di chi si vorrà unire) lungo la ciclabile di Bolzano, discuteremo dalle 18 presso EURAC, con Daniele Pernigotti, con Roberto Lollini di EURAC, Istituto per le Energie Rinnovabili e con Ulrich Santa, direttore dell’Agenzia CasaClima di come è possibile ridurre il forte impatto ambientale degli edifici dove viviamo, studiamo, lavoriamo. Ecco di seguito il programma di dettaglio:

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Giovedì 16 ottobre 2014 | Bolzano

Ore 17.30 | Ciclabile all’altezza del Parco delle Semirurali. Accoglienza e pedalata tutti insieme lungo la ciclabile verso l’EURAC.

Ore 18 – 19 | EURAC, Viale Druso 1. Chiacchierata sul tema “L’impatto degli edifici sul cambiamento climatico” con:

  • Roberto Lollini, esperto di efficientamento energetico, EURAC
  • Daniele Pernigotti, giornalista ambientale e ciclista per l’ambiente
  • Ulrich Santa, direttore Agenzia CasaClima

Modera: Carlo Battisti, Cluster Edilizia, TIS innovation park.

Amanti della bici, appassionati di sostenibilità, ciclisti ambientali, … Vi aspettiamo ! 🙂

Ride With Us is an opportunity to remind the importance to maintain a constant high level of attention on climate change. The trip is a sort of path towards the presentation of the IPCC 5AR Synthesis Report which will take place on October 31stin Copenhagen. 17 stages plus conferences or meetings on climate change in several stops throughout the journey. People are free to participate, also only for few km, riding with the organizers to show the personal involvement on the climate change issues.

The 97% Consensus.

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The Consensus Project measured the level of consensus in published, peer-reviewed climate research that humans are causing global warming. In the most comprehensive analysis to date, they analysed 21 years worth of peer-reviewed papers on “global warming” or “global climate change”. Among the 12,465 papers, they identified over 4,014 abstracts authored by 10,188 scientists that stated a position on human-caused global warming. Among those 4,014 abstracts, 97.1% endorse the consensus. Among the 10,188 scientists, 98.4% endorse the consensus. The overwhelming consensus is consistent with a number of other studies that have found similar results. Read the full paper ‘Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature‘ (John Cook et al.) here.

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Source: Skeptical Science

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Image: Climate Nexus

The Consensus Project is one indicator among many that there is a consensus of evidence and a consensus of scientists, all agreeing that humans are causing global warming. The Consensus Project is a peer-reviewed citizen science driven project conducted by volunteers at the Skeptical Science website., that was created and is run by John Cook, climate communication research fellow at the Global Change Institute, University of Queensland. To bring attention to the scientific agreement around this issue, Skeptical Science has created 97 Hours of Consensus, featuring quotes from 97 prominent climate experts. The scientists are presented in friendly cartoon form, although they’re delivering some pretty devastating news. A different scientist is featured every hour. 97 scientists x 97 hours x 97 %. Is this consensus enough to believe in ?

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Image: The Consensus Project

Are you interested in climate change? Put on the agenda Wednesday, October 16, 2014 in Bolzano. Look for the clue (more information soon) … 😉

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A tale of two futures.

Sustainable buildimgs or unsustainable climate change.

2014_04_18 immagine 01A terrific video by the Rocky Mountain Institute (thanks to Joel Makower for highlighting). Today’s existing buildings use 72% of USA’s electricity, much of which is wasted. We cannot transform our energy system and prevent runaway climate change if America’s commercial buildings continue to consume dirty fossil fuels at today’s rates. Join the movement to change this by visiting Stand with us to prevent climate change and get involved !

 

Systems thinking – Reductionism 1-0.

Il gol decisivo, se ancora ci fossero dubbi, nella partita della sostenibilità tra ‘systems thinking’ (ragionare per sistemi complessi) e ‘reductionism’ (riduzionismo = ridurre i concetti al minimo sufficiente per spiegare i fatti di una teoria) lo segna questo importante articolo scritto da John Sterman, per conto di Network for Business Sustainability apparso su GreenBiz del 09.12.2013.

2013_12_18 immagine 06GreenBiz si conferma a mio avviso il contenitore più qualificato, completo e tempestivo di approfondimenti (oltre all’organizzazione di eventi di alto livello) sul tema della sostenibilità, con un particolare occhio agli aspetti concreti, ovvero cosa possono fare aziende e designers per cambiare ad esempio il modo in cui vengono realizzati i prodotti e renderli più sostenibili.

2013_12_18 immagine 05NBS, Network for Business Sustainability è invece una rete di esperti accademici e business leaders internazionali creata nel 2005 in Ontario, Canada. John Sterman è infine professore di Management alla Sloan School of Management (la business school del MIT) e direttore del System Dynamics Group sempre del MIT.

L’articolo, che riporto di seguito integralmente e che potete trovare qui, sostiene la visione sistemica come approccio alla spiegazioni dei fenomeni complessi e interrelati che stanno rendendo sempre più insostenibile la nostra gestione del mondo (cambiamento climatico, deforestazione, estinzione delle specie, avvelenamento del cibo e dell’acqua. Il mondo, insomma, è un sistema e non possiamo più trattare i problemi come se fossero isolati e ignorando la rete di cause-effetti che ci legano l’uno l’altro e ci mettono in relazione con la natura. Ma questa consapevolezza non basta e la sfida (quella che l’articolo cerca di giocare) è il passare dagli slogan a metodi efficaci e comprensibili per capire la complessità e applicare concretamente questa visione creando davvero una società più sostenibile attraverso il cambiamento di persone e aziende.

Capire la complessità dei sistemi vuol dire rendersi conto che i sistemi complessi (da un formicaio ad un business, alla società intera) hanno tipicamente le seguenti caratteristiche:

  1. Sono governati dagli effetti causati dalle nostre decisioni che si ripercuotono poi sulle decisioni stesse.
  2. Sono soggetti a ritardi tra cause e effetti che di fatto complicano i nostri possibili tentativi di recupero.
  3. Non sono lineari (gli effetti sono raramente proporzionali alle cause).
  4. Comportano compromessi che provocano effetti provvisori di segno opposto a quello sperato.
  5. Sono controintuitivi e resistenti all’applicazione di politiche di cambiamento virtuoso.

Come il business può rispondere in modo più virtuoso ed efficace dal punto di vista della sostenibilità? Anche in questo caso, 5 lezioni principali:

  1. Espandere i confini dei nostri confini mentali. Focalizzare sulle cause, più che sui sintomi di non-sostenibilità.
  2. Riconoscere i vincoli. Le aziende che sono vincenti su qualità e sostenibilità hanno capito che devono liberare risorse per operare il cambiamento con obiettivi a lungo termine.
  3. Andare oltre le soluzioni tecniche. I fallimenti del mercato limitano creatività e innovazione, mentre la tecnologia a volte provoca conseguenze insostenibili non volute.
  4. Confrontarci sui valori. I nostri valori guida costituiscono la leva più importante per un cambiamento sostenibile e duraturo.
  5. Riconoscere che possiamo fare la differenza. Le persone a volte pensano che possono fare ben poco per il cambiamento climatico; ma nel passato abbiamo mosso cambiamenti ben più radicali (dall’abolizione della schiavitù alla caduta del muro di Berlino).

Buona lettura …

From climate change and deforestation to collapsing fisheries, species extinction, and poisons in food and water, our society is unsustainable and getting worse fast.

Many advocate that overcoming these problems requires the development of systems thinking. We’ve long known that we live on a finite “spaceship Earth” in which “there is no away” and “everything is connected to everything else.” The challenge lies in moving from slogans about systems to meaningful methods to understand complexity, facilitate individual and organizational learning, and catalyze the changes needed to create a sustainable society in which all can thrive.

Here’s how the world operates as a system — and how businesses can respond effectively to the challenges we face.

The world as a system

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Image: The Natural Step

Systems thinking helps us understand the structure and dynamics of the complex ways in which we live, from organizational change to climate change, from physiology to financial markets. The structure of systems must be understood broadly, including physical elements (such as the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the time delays in a supply chain), institutions (such as markets and governments), human behavior (such as the way we make decisions) and mental models that shape how we perceive and interpret the world. These elements interact and coevolve to generate the world we experience.

All too often, however, we treat problems in isolation, ignoring the networks of feedback that bind us to one another and to nature. We often blame policy failure on “unanticipated events” and “side effects.” Political leaders blame recession on corporate fraud or terrorism. Managers blame bankruptcy on events outside their organizations and beyond their control.

But there are no side effects — just effects. Those we expected or that prove beneficial we call the main effects and claim credit. Those that undercut our policies and cause harm we claim to be side effects, hoping to excuse our failure. But side effects are not a feature of reality; they are a sign that the boundaries of our mental models are too narrow, and our time horizons too short.

For example, governments in many nations “solve” water shortages for irrigation by subsidizing electricity so farmers can install more powerful pumps. But the short-run success of that policy merely causes the water table to fall faster, requiring still larger pumps and still greater subsidies.

Avoiding such self-defeating interventions, in business and in sustainability, requires us to consider our actions in the context of the broader systems in which we are embedded.

System characteristics

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Image: Mauna Loa Observatory

Researchers have identified important characteristics of systems to help us manage them more effectively and sustainably. Complex systems, from an ant colony to a business to a society, are:

Governed by feedback: Our decisions alter the state of the world, causing changes in nature and in the behavior of others, which then feed back to change our own behavior. Cut prices to gain market share and your competitors may respond the same way, leading to a price war. Suppress forest fires and fuel accumulates in the forest, leading to more damaging fires.

Subject to delays: Feedback processes often involve long time delays and accumulations (stocks and flows). Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion accumulate in the atmosphere, causing the world to warm and the climate to change. Emissions are far higher than the rate at which CO2 is removed from the atmosphere. Just as a bathtub continues to fill as long as the flow into the tub from the faucet exceeds the flow out through the drain, stabilizing emissions will not stabilize the climate. Limiting dangerous climate change before the end of this century requires emissions to fall dramatically, starting now.

Nonlinear: Effect is rarely proportional to cause. Complex systems can cross “tipping points” that cause dramatic and often irreversible changes in their behavior. Take a few fish and fish stocks recover; take too many and the fish stock collapses. Warm the planet enough and greenhouse gas emissions will rise as bacteria convert carbon in melting permafrost into CO2 and methane, further warming the planet in a vicious cycle.

Characterized by trade-offs: Time delays in feedback processes mean that the long-run response of a system to an intervention often differs from its short-run response. Ineffective policies often generate transitory improvement before the problem grows worse, while policies that can create enduring value often cause worse-before-better behavior.

Counterintuitive and policy resistant: In complex systems, cause and effect are distant in time and space, while we tend to look for causes near the events we seek to explain. Our attention is drawn to the symptoms of difficulty rather than the underlying cause. As a result, many seemingly obvious solutions to problems fail or worsen the situation.

These and other principles have implications for the way businesses can become more successful — and sustainable.

How business can respond

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Image: The Natural Step

Systems thinking offers these five key lessons for business:

1. Expand the boundaries of our mental models. Most of our current sustainability efforts target symptoms of unsustainability rather than the causes. Our vehicles burn too much oil and generate too much CO2, so we target that symptom with standards to raise the efficiency of new cars. But the resulting reduction in oil demand will lower oil prices, undermining the incentive for people to buy efficient vehicles or cut oil use in other industries.

By expanding the boundaries of our mental models, we can identify the potential for such “policy resistance” and design more effective policies. Raising the price of CO2 will encourage auto companies to design more efficient vehicles and encourage consumers to choose them without the need for complex regulations, while simultaneously offsetting the drop in world oil prices.

2. Recognize constraints. Many of us are overstressed and operate in overstrained organizations. Trying to do too much means we are often unable to marshal the resources we need to kick-start improvements in productivity, quality and sustainability. The result is a self-reinforcing trap of low performance, overstretched resources and failed improvement programs. Firms that succeed in quality and sustainability free up the resources needed to improve by slowing down and focusing on the long-term.

Similarly, we live on a finite world. Therefore, “sustainable growth” is an oxymoron. Striving for perpetual growth while we degrade the carrying capacity of our world is self-defeating. Forward-thinking firms understand that destroying the environment also destroys the possibility of profitable enterprise. They are working to provide products that last longer and offer greater value; to take responsibility for their operations and products over their full lifecycle, including takeback and recycling; and to provide services that support the wellbeing and fulfillment of their customers, instead of simply selling more stuff at lower and lower margins.

3. Move beyond technical solutions. Technology offers hope that we can build a more sustainable world. But market failures limit the efficient allocation of capital and resources, including creativity and innovation. And there are long lags from problem recognition to innovation, commercial viability and scale-up. Technology often generates unintended consequences: For example, taller smokestacks reduce local smog but increase distant acid rain.

Innovation in markets, institutions and governance is essential to realize the full potential of technology. Externalities must be priced. Market failures must be corrected. We can make technology more effective by improving market signals, through regulations that create level playing fields and prevent a race to the environmental bottom, and through monitoring to prevent free riding and unintended consequences.

4. Confront our values. Our guiding values offer the most important leverage point for enduring, sustainable change. Recently, I asked MBA students how much money they needed to be happy. The average response was $2 million per year, and about half said more is always better. Most would accept lower income — as long as they could make more than everyone else. But obviously endless material growth on a finite world is impossible, and everyone cannot be richer than everyone else, no matter how clever our technology.

Those who are currently affluent must confront the culture of consumption, the conflation of having with being, that is destroying both the environment and human well-being, while supporting the legitimate aspirations of billions around the world to rise out of poverty.

5. Recognize that we can make a difference. People often feel powerless in the face of huge, complex systems. But understanding how systems work helps us to find the high leverage points that make a difference. People often recoil from climate science because they fear that what they do can’t possibly matter. But we’ve created more astonishing change before, from the fall of the Berlin Wall to the peaceful end of apartheid.

The abolition of the slave trade and slavery in England can serve as a model for action on climate change and sustainability: A few committed individuals found the high leverage points and ended an institution that had existed from the dawn of history, that nearly all assumed would always exist.

History shows we can do it. But will we? That depends on you.

Businesses embracing systems

An increasing number of businesses are developing the systems thinking capabilities of their people and realizing significant benefits. They are bootstrapping steady improvement in quality, productivity and sustainability by reinvesting initial savings in further improvement.

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Using systems thinking, a major oil company has generated documented savings of several billion dollars to date, while improving safety and environmental quality. A shipyard went from cost overruns and project delays to an award-winning yard in great demand. A high-tech electronics firm redesigned its supply chain, improving customer service and delivery reliability while cutting inventory. A global automaker built an entirely new service business and is now the market leader in that rapidly growing segment. And a major university implemented maintenance projects that boosted energy efficiency and sustainability while more than paying for themselves, creating resources for still more projects.

Systems thinking can be powerful, but too often remains an abstraction. The challenge for us all is to develop our systems thinking skills, help others develop their capabilities and bring systems thinking into our everyday lives — to move beyond slogans and on to action.

2013_12_18 immagine 01John D. Sterman is the Jay W. Forrester Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management and Director of MIT’s System Dynamics Group. His research includes systems thinking and organizational learning, computer simulation of complex systems, climate change and sustainability. He is the author of many scholarly and popular articles on the challenges and opportunities facing organizations today, including the book Modeling for Organizational Learning, and the award-winning textbook Business Dynamics.

Articoli collegati:

Il rasoio di Occam. Riduzionismo e complessità.

Are you the next sustainability leader?

2013_12_18 immagine 08Scarica anche:

Sustainability’s Next Frontier

(MIT Sloan Management Review & BCG)