Issue No.10
Swiss, German and Swedish Labels for Low-Energy Computing
Remote Sensing and Geographical Information Systems (GIS)

Quote of the week: "We must build a trading system for the 21st Century that honours our values as it expands opportunity.... We must ensure that ordinary citizens in all countries actually benefit from trade -- a trade that ... protects the environment," President Clinton quoted by UNEP's Dr. Klaus Toepfer before the WTO in Geneva, 15 March 1999,

The European Commission's new electricity market liberalization directive went into effect in April 1998. Since then low-carbon electricity throughout Europe has been increasingly threatened by the effects of the resulting competition on power prices. Electricity from combined heat and power CHP is more expensive than nuclear power, so that some CHP plants are being shut down.

In order to give customers quality criteria in addition to price criteria, a green power label was introduced this week by Bremen Energiekonsens and the Oeko-Institute, and The rating system will allow for two classes: pure renewables and the less strict class of 50% renewables and 50% CHP. In addition, there are two more criteria, namely, that one percent of the power be from new photovoltaic cells, and that all power be from new plant (built since 1997). These stipulations are designed to promote improvements to the existing power generation infrastructure in coming years. "Otherwise",  Christof Timpe of the Oeko-Institute, one of the five authors of the downloadable German report, warns, "everything stays just the way it is."
One supplier of green power will not meet the criteria because his "light" green power, which is cheaper than both conventional power and the certified green type, lacks these two further criteria required for the label,

The green power system designed by the Oeko-Institute will be administered by a new association, which will maintain a databank to record all power sold and the names of all the independent verifiers involved in testing it. The downloadable report compares this with the practice called "tracking" in the U.S. It is intended to avoid double marketing of the power.

Germany will not be ready for cross-border trading of green power until arrangements can be made with partners in the rest of Europe, a "network" still in its infancy. Timpe says he is "very skeptical of the chances that a common data set can be established." Currently he can point to at least two other organizations in other parts of Europe.
The first of them is the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation SSNC or Bra Miljoeval, perhaps better known for its dam protests or FSC label (Forest Stewardship Council). It is a member of the World Conservation Union IUCN and the European Environmental Bureau EEB in Brussels, SSNC describes its eco-labelling work on its homepage,

The second European organization known to be labelling green power is the Worldwide Fund for Nature WWF in the Netherlands, WWF NL, Timpe says, has a code model and voluntary features. Electricity is certified at the source, and only regenerative energy is covered. WWF NL does not require that power come only from new plant, as in Germany. Neither does Sweden; on the contrary, says Timpe, "in Sweden they don't want any new dams for water power built."

"Otherwise everything stays just the way it is."
Persons desirous of changing the status quo of power generation faster than is possible through their consumption of green power can also invest in green generating plant after informing themselves about options at this new green German trade fair,; see also 23-25th September on the Calendar of Events.

International development cooperation
The Oeko-Institute also produces together with the German Corporation for Technical Cooperation GTZ,, an interesting English-language Environmental Manual for Power Development that is used in countries of the South such as Columbia and Namibia (Southern Africa),

Update on Project by UNEP, WRI and WBCSD on Businesses' GHG Emissions
A multistakeholder project to standardize greenhouse gas measurement procedures was originally announced on, and in this newsletter on Soon its new Website will go live on

"When the first satellite pictures of the earth freely suspended in space became available, they not only ushered in a new era for space exploration but also gave rise to a new ecological paradigm for the scientific study of the environment," UNEP's Dr. Klaus Toepfer speaking at UNU, Tokyo, Japan, 14 July 1999,

Swiss, German and Swedish Labels for Low-Energy Computing
The Swiss-based Group for Efficient Appliances GEA,, and the "Gemeinschaft Energielabel Deutschland" (GED) presented their new GEA label for the first time to an international public at the International Electronics Exhibition IFA 1999 on 31st August in Berlin. Mr. Bertoldi from the European Commission DG XVII spoke on pan-European aspects of reducing stand-by losses, and announced that "the Council has received a proposal from the Commission to introduce the Energy Star programme in the EU intially only for office equipment. The Council should first authorize the conclusion of the Agreement between the EU and the USA and then approve the internal EU Regulation. The agreement should be signed before the end of the year." See also,

More stringent than the widely awarded U.S. Energy Star program, the GEA label is given to only that 20-30% of the office and consumer electronics products available each year on the market that demonstrates an especially low energy consumption in stand-by mode,

Each year the Swedish organization TCO tests displays and personal computers for their energy consumption, and will add soon printers, fax machines and photocopiers,

Remote Sensing for Fighting Forest Fires
"In overcrowded, urban areas in the Third World, infotech makes possible 'telecommuting,' reducing transportion gridlock and automobile pollution. ... [However] the most important contributions will come from its applications, like remote sensing and geographical information systems (GIS), which give nations the broad perspective to monitor and maintain their natural resources." This prediction of the potential of new applications for information technology in developing countries was made by a graduate student in Florida, USA, Steve Mizrach,,

There is an introduction to remote sensing which makes a good starting place at the Consortium for International Earth Science Information Network CIESIN. Although it is no longer the latest, dating from 1997, it also includes links to training materials,
The Centre for Remote Imaging, Sensing and Processing (CRISP) in Singapore is an example of the value of sensing to combat forest fires. "Since March 1998, CRISP has been engaged in performing daily fire monitoring over the Southeast Asian region using SPOT imagery.... A World Wide Web catalogue-browse system allows users to search the complete archive, with location maps and quick-look images available online," and

This year again, there has been very heavy smog in Indonesia,
In 1997 smog paralyzed Southeast Asia for several weeks. The value of CRISP's work was mentioned by this NGO in 1997,
Many links about remote sensing URLs for Asia are listed at

As for North America, a new protocol for haze developed by scientists and students in the Globe Network was featured in the July 1999 Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society,

In South America fires blaze this year like the ones in Asia, They are laid intentionally, and despite government programs are not receding from previous levels,

As for Europe and CEE, GIS will be one of the subjects of an ICT workhop in Poland; see 15-17th November on the Calendar of Events. The "Green Pages", Section 1.3 Information Technology also contains many links to infotech and the environment, 127 in all, however many of them commercial,


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