Wednesday, 04 November 2009 11:09

Climate Refugees

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tuvaluAs sea levels rise, the picture of a new kind of refugee emerges.  Climate refugees are people displaced by global warming and related environmental disasters. Hundreds of thousands of these refugees have already been displaced from permanently flooded coastal areas in places like Bohla Island in Bangladesh and the Carteret Islands in Papua New Guinea.  The 10,000 Tuvaluans living on the low island atoll of Tuvalu pictured here may be next. But rising sea levels do not only affect these exotic far away places.  Nearly a quarter of the world's population lives in low coastal areas.  Some of the world's great cities like London, Miami, New York, New Orleans, Mumbai, Cairo, Amsterdam, Tokyo and Shanghai are vulnerable to rising sea levels.  According to Elaine Kurtenbach of the Associated Press, Chinese cities are among the largest and most threatened.  In Shanghai, developers seem to ignore this threat, and they are building new infrastructure on the densely populated coasts.  By 2070, experts estimate that nearly 150 million people will be living in areas vulnerable to flooding from rising sea levels.
Logo-color2If you, a family member, or someone else you know is an employee of the federal government, donations can still be made to the Combined Federal Campaign to approved charities. Carbonfund.org is an approved charity of the government’s donations drive. It’s a great way to support our carbon offset projects, in renewable energy, energy efficiency as well as reforestation, located in different areas of the country. Our CFC# is 62681. Make your donation today to fight global warming, and remember to keep us in mind for your future CFC donations. You can learn more about the CFC campaign at www.opm.gov/CFC.
circleofhope2With the Copenhagen UN Climate Change Conference set to begin in about a month, we'll be blogging on developments regarding the conference. Carbonfund.org has been advocating for strong climate legislation by the US to reduce the country's contribution to global warming. In addition, we have educated and outreached on global warming to our supporters as well as audiences to which we have access. Most recently-- we participated in the 350 global day of climate action in Washington, DC. We look forward to continuing our work with other 350 organizers and grassroots organizations. A photo of the day's Circle of Hope in front of the White House, courtesy of Grist, reminds us all that climate change is a global problem, and our country must be a part of the solution. Bookmark our blog, or follow our RSS feed, to keep tabs of developments on global warming and the Copenhagen conference. You can also follow us on social media such as our revamped Facebook fans page and our Twitter page. Visit our blog often for news and information about Copenhagen and other global warming developments! Join in the discussion by submitting your comments to each blog. Let us know what you think about our blog by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Thanks!
Friday, 30 October 2009 19:14

Think Green This Halloween!

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102909_accentfrontIf you are still scrambling for a costume for this weekend think about how you can make your Halloween fashions more eco-friendly! 1) Store bought costumes are boring and wasteful - make your own! - Costumes from a store are often made of plastic and you probably only wear them once!  Dig deep in your closet to see what you can make on your own. 2) Use the stuff you've already got - I'm sure you have tons of stuff in your house that can be made into a really cool Halloween costume.  Got wrapping paper?  Dress up as a present!  Got tin foil?  It's great for a knight in shining armor.  Got an old sheet and scissors? Dress up as a ghost. 3) Trade with your friends - sick of the silly things you own?  Trade your most outrageous costumes with friends.  That way no one has to wear the same thing twice AND no one has to buy new costumes. 4) Give Out Green Candy - if you are giving out candy this year, choose something environmentally friendly.  Check out NaturalCandyStore.com for some great ideas like these Organic Dark Chocolate Bites. For more tips on how to make this Halloween environmentally friendly, visit GreenHalloween.com.  Have fun thinking green this Halloween!
logoPlanning a wedding is hard work.  I would know - I'm getting married in May!  It is even more work to plan an eco-friendly event, and think of how every detail impacts the environment.  That is why Elegance & Simplicity Wedding & Event Designers are so great.  They thought of EVERYTHING.  They have wind powered facilities, drive fuel-efficient vehicles, support reforestation efforts, use eco-friendly cleaning practices, and of course offset their footprint with Carbonfund.org! They also help you find vendors who abide by their same standards. When planning my wedding I have tried to be environmentally conscious wherever I can.  I chose to send out a video online  for my save-the-date rather than send out more paper.  I also chose to get my dress from the Bridal Garden, a nonprofit bridal boutique that sells donated dresses from showrooms and other brides rather than buy a new dress.  I plan to use recycled paper for my invitations, and have my guests rsvp online to keep the paper products to a minimum.  Visit Elegance & Simplicity to find out how to make your event greener!
Friday, 30 October 2009 19:08

Map of Global Warming's Human Impact Released

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Clipboard01This climate change map developed by the UK government shows the predicted effects of a 4 degrees Celsius rise in global average temperatures on the way we live.  The map is interactive allowing the user to isolate different aspects of climate change and how they impact human activity.  It was launched at the Science Museum by Foreign Secretary David Miliband, Climate and Energy Secretary Ed Miliband and the UK's chief scientist Professor John Beddington. The map considers the impact of extreme temperatures, droughts, effects on the water supply, agricultural productivity, the risk of forest fire, and sea level rise on human activity.  The results show a significant decrease in yields for all major cereal crops in all major regions of production.  In some low latitudes, yields could decrease by more than 20% putting 10 to hundreds of millions of additional people at risk from hunger.  It also shows half of all Himalayan glaciers will be significantly reduced by 2050, leading to 23% of the population of China being deprived of the vital dry season glacial meltwater. The map also shows where marine ecosystems will be fundamentally changed by ocean acidification.  This will greatly impact coastal communities relying on subsistence fishing of reef species, and could cause substantial losses in jobs and revenue for commercial fishing. The hottest days here in North America could rise by 18-22 degrees!  See for yourself how climate change will affect human activity and check out the interactive map here.
Long-haul truck drivers may stop for the night but most of the time their trucks never get a rest. The engine is idled to heat or cool their cab and to power on-board appliances during their rest period. This idling burns a gallon of diesel fuel per hour and produces noise, vibrations and fumes. TSE1The Truck Stop Electrification Project helps drivers, their trucks and our planet rest a bit easier. Supported by Carbonfund.org, the project reduces tailpipe emissions from freight trucks that transport our consumer goods all across the country. Advanced truck stop electrification technology allows drivers to shut off their engines when they stop for the night. This system consists of an in-cab service module connected via a flexible hose to an efficient external unit that heats, cools, and powers the interior of the truck, and lets the driver run the radio and check email without forcing the engine to burn diesel while saving about a gallon of diesel per hour. There are over one hundred locations throughout the United States.
Thursday, 22 October 2009 18:22

Better Know a Partner: CIS Abroad

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CISLargeContinuing with our “Better Know a Partner” series, this week we had the chance to talk with Amanda Bernhard from CIS Abroad.  She gave us the inside scoop on how studying abroad and environmental awareness can go hand in hand. What makes CIS so great? There are many study abroad providers out there, but few provide their students with such individual and personal attention as CIS. We believe that studying in another country is a profound and life-changing experience for any person to have, and that it is our duty to ensure that young people who are enjoying this experience, often for the first time, are provided with heart-felt, quality assistance throughout the whole process that allows them to really understand the world from a new perspective. What steps has CIS taken to “Reduce What You Can, Offset What You Can’t”? CIS does everything it can, being mostly an office-bound organization, to limit the uses of electricity, water, and paper by all the staff. We reuse paper that’s only been printed on one side, we order fewer and fewer promotional brochures every year and only give them out when necessary, instead of using them as our main promotional tool. We also set up Webinars and telephone conferences to reduce the amount of travel time and emissions for advisers and staff members. In addition to these measures, we offset the air travel of all our students studying abroad, the travel to universities around the country for our staff members, and the commuting travel to and from the office for all our staff members. We also purchase “Green Electricity” to offset the use of electricity in the office. What’s your favorite healthy living tip? Bike to work as much as you can! This is healthy for you AND better for the environment! Why did you partner with Carbonfund.org? Because we understand that our profession creates an enormous amount of carbon emissions and we wanted to do something to rectify that. Having students see the world is incredibly important to us, but so is the health of our planet, and Carbonfund.org allows us to promote one while supporting the other!
Monday, 19 October 2009 17:02

Mississippi Group Files Global Warming Lawsuit

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I was looking through the news today and I noticed an interesting story about how a group of people in New Orleans are suing oil and gas companies because of the role global warming played in Hurricane Katrina. The WSJ summed it all up pretty well (read the whole article for more, obviously):
The suit was brought by landowners in Mississippi, who claim that oil and coal companies emitted greenhouse gasses that contributed to global warming that, in turn, caused a rise in sea levels, adding to Hurricane Katrina’s ferocity.
The premise behind the suit is basic - since oil and coal companies willfully caused the emissions of billions of tons of CO2, they are at least in part responsible for the damage of the ferocious hurricanes of 2006. While people will certainly argue with the science, there are many models and predictions out there that state that warmer ocean temperatures caused by global warming create fiercer hurricanes (see the IPCC). So it is not like the plaintiffs are grabbing for straws. In my non-legal opinion, it seems unlikely that this suit will actually be something that will in and of itself shake the foundation of our nation. But the implications could be great due to the precedent that this is setting. Is it right to sue a company (or group of companies) for their greenhouse gas emissions? What grounds does anyone have to sue an American company over a Chinese one? A start-up polluter vs. a company that emitted millions of tons but went out of business 30 years ago? Thoughts? Comment below. Pls. remember to offset your carbon footprint, such as through our program, Live Climate, here.
Friday, 16 October 2009 19:04

Give the Gift of Carbon Offsets for Sweetest Day

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candybagSaturday October 17th is Sweetest Day!  This holiday is rumored to have originated with a candy company employee looking to start a philanthropic tradition of giving out boxes of free candy in Ohio.  Today it is celebrated as an opportunity to give small gifts to people in your life to show them that you care.  Why not make some Domino® Certified CarbonFree® Rock Candy? Domino Certified CarbonFree Sugar is available in select markets and has a net-zero carbon footprint after a rigorous life-cycle assessment of its carbon footprint and balancing it with clean renewable energy production and supply. Or, buy some candy and then make the wrappers into a cool bag like this one.  Or just show your loved ones you care by giving the gift of a carbon offset!  I think that's pretty sweet.