From The Washington Post:

Countries or regions that have already passed cap-and-trade: This includes the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, California, and Quebec. They’ve all set hard limits on a significant portion of their carbon emissions. (Different countries have different targets and exemptions for various sectors.) This is a sizeable chunk of the planet: By my calculations, these countries and regions represented roughly 19 percent of the world’s carbon emissions in 2008.

Countries that could shift to cap-and-trade this decade. Mexico and Brazil have both recently passed laws to significantly slow their rate of emissions growth by 2020. (Brazil’s target is voluntary.) They’ve both set up task forces to study various ways to achieve this, with cap-and-trade as an option. Japan, for its part, has set up a limited cap-and-trade scheme for Tokyo and has a voluntary carbon-trading scheme at the national level that has slightly curbed emissions.

Meanwhile, China is setting up its own regional cap-and-trade systems in several of its provinces and is looking to set up a national program by the end of the decade. Jennifer Morgan says that her organization, WRI, recently hosted a Chinese delegation in the United States to study California’s climate program, as well as the small cap-and-trade system for electric utilities in the Northeast. While China’s program likely wouldn’t shrink the country’s overall level of emissions, it would at least slow the country’s ferocious growth in greenhouse gases.

Countries that are still pondering the idea. According to the World Bank report, there are at least 14 developing countries that are in various stages of study. Chile, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Thailand, and Jordan are all developing some sort of “crediting mechanism.” South Africa has a carbon tax that could well be converted to a cap-and-trade program.

Add these programs all up, and it’s potentially quite significant. Right now, about 6 percent of the world’s greenhouse-gas sources are capped and traded. By the end of the decade, according to some estimates, that could rise to as much as one-third of all emissions.

Many of these countries could eventually link together — Australia’s climate-change minister, Greg Combet, has suggested that eventually South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and China could cooperate on some sort of pan-Asian carbon-trading system. And, the World Bank notes, there’s still plenty of demand for carbon-offset projects in the developing world under the U.N. program. All told, the global carbon-trading market rose to a record $176 billion in 2011.

Check out the rest of the article here.

(Image credit: Climatepedia)

From Sustainable Business:

South Korea passed legislation to begin a national cap-and-trade program with a near unanimous vote of 148-0, with three abstentions. 

The fourth largest economy in Asia, South Korea is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions among industrialized countries, doubling since 1990. It is the 8th biggest source of GHG emissions in the world and has a national target of cutting them 30% by 2020.

POSCO, the world’s third largest steelmaker, and Samsung Electronics, the largest electronics manufacturer, are among South Korea’s biggest polluters.

Emissions trading is scheduled to begin in Korea in 2015, the same year as those in Australia and China. New Zealand started emissions trading in 2009, and the EU’s went into effect in 2005. South Africa has plans for a program. In the US, the northeastern states have a cap-and-trade program, California's begins in 2013. 

In April, both Mexico and Peru passed national climate change legislation.

This opens the possibility of linking country cap-and-trade programs - allowing participants to trade regionallly and eventually worldwide - which would raise the value of carbon markets substantially.

Check out the rest of the article here.

(Photo credit: Energy Korea)

From Fast Company:

Commuting to work is rarely a fun exercise, but it’s easier in some places than others. IBM’s annual Commuter Pain survey of 8,042 commuters in 20 cities spells it out: Roadway traffic has largely improved over the past three years, but people around the world say that road traffic is negatively affecting their stress levels now more than ever. As it stands, commuters in clogged cities like Moscow and Mexico City sometimes get stuck in traffic for hours on end. But there are solutions.

Perhaps the biggest solution is better public transportation. IBM’s survey reveals that 41% of respondents believe that improved public transportation would reduce traffic congestion. And out of the 35% of people globally who changed the way they get to work or school last year, 45% switched to public transit. In Nairobi, a whopping 70% of commuters take more public transit this year than last year.

Of course, general transportation infrastructure investments also help. Beijing, for example, is investing over $12 billion dollars in infrastructure improvements—and residents of the city have reported a significant improvement in traffic conditions over the past three years.

Check out the rest of the article here. Though, it fails to mention congestion pricingwalkable communities and telecommuting; three other promising solutions for unclogging streets that also offer sustainability benefits.

Bees, Other Pollinators Worth Est’d $250 Billion to Global Food Production, Economy
From The Huffington Post:

 
What salary would you expect to pay a force of internationally diverse workers who toil harmoniously — without pension plans, paid overtime or the threat of union action — to produce 87 per cent of North America’s food supply?
How about… nothing?
Concordia University biologist Melanie McCavour is seeking greater recognition of the economic value of work done by bees and other crop-pollinating creatures.
…
Current estimates of the value of global annual agricultural production provided by natural crop-pollinators are in the neighbourhood of $250 billion.   

Assigning a tangible monetary value to the pollination service is the first step in establishing a protocol for protecting its workers. The logic goes that if people realize the labour value of bees, bats, birds, beetles, and butterflies, policy-makers will be likelier to develop better environmental and agricultural policies.
Any alternative to natural pollinators — such as having untold numbers of human beings manually spread pollen with paintbrushes and Q-tips — would be economically unfeasible, not to mention physically implausible.
With a decline in bee populations, McCavour called for major changes in pollination and agriculture practices.

 
Check out the rest of the article here.
(Photo credit: Glenn Apiaries)

Bees, Other Pollinators Worth Est’d $250 Billion to Global Food Production, Economy

From The Huffington Post:

What salary would you expect to pay a force of internationally diverse workers who toil harmoniously — without pension plans, paid overtime or the threat of union action — to produce 87 per cent of North America’s food supply?

How about… nothing?

Concordia University biologist Melanie McCavour is seeking greater recognition of the economic value of work done by bees and other crop-pollinating creatures.

Current estimates of the value of global annual agricultural production provided by natural crop-pollinators are in the neighbourhood of $250 billion.   

Assigning a tangible monetary value to the pollination service is the first step in establishing a protocol for protecting its workers. The logic goes that if people realize the labour value of bees, bats, birds, beetles, and butterflies, policy-makers will be likelier to develop better environmental and agricultural policies.

Any alternative to natural pollinators — such as having untold numbers of human beings manually spread pollen with paintbrushes and Q-tips — would be economically unfeasible, not to mention physically implausible.

With a decline in bee populations, McCavour called for major changes in pollination and agriculture practices.

Check out the rest of the article here.

(Photo credit: Glenn Apiaries)