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Climate catastrophe or commercial opportunity?

Focus COP15

Climate catastrophe or commercial opportunity?

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The shape of the future, soon to be choking roads across China may be a little red car, a prototype electric vehicle. It is just one of the ways China is seeking to reduce its fossil fuel dependency, and slash the greenhouse gas pollution produced by the world’s largest carbon dioxide generator. By 2020, China wants 15 percent of its energy needs to be met from non-fossil sources.

The car’s builders, Shifeng, normally build agricultural vehicles, but have invested three million euros in green production lines in the last two years.

The “Electromobile” is their first stab at taking advantage of this opportunity to cash in on the green revolution. The rechargeable battery provides a top speed of 50 kilometres an hour, and a range of 100 kilometres.

“For our restructuring, apart from trying to get a manufacturing licence for electric cars, we aim to modify other vehicles such as heavy trucks and lorries, and family vehicles. When the technology is mature we’ll apply it to other types of vehicle”, says Shifeng’s Lin Lianhua.

Reducing our carbon footprint is extending into every domain. Here in Agrino, Greece, one olive grove is producing top quality virgin olive oil in an ecologically neutral way.

The company has just been rated “carbon neutral” by Myclimate, an international label based in Switzerland.

To obtain the potentially lucrative endorsement the company has had to change its entire production line, to persuade farmers to go organic, use recyclable packaging, and even change the factory light bulbs. But going green has a price; an investment of around 120,000 euros a year.

“I think the consumer is initially a bit sceptical, he wants to be reassured what we are doing is really honest and he’s contributing to a better environment, but I think that the consumer is more and more environmentally aware, the consumer understands we need to change our way of living and to be more responsible for the environment,” says Aris Kefalogiannis.

This all needs long-term investment and profits from going green are not expected to be harvested tomorrow, but in the future.

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