Paul Burman

Paul Burman

A new University of Melbourne led study has concluded that butterflies are changing their lifestyles and living patterns because of global warming. The study noted that butterflies are emerging 10 days earlier than they did just 65 years ago, a change that corresponds with rising temperatures and earlier springs. The earlier to rise butterflies in the Melbourne area have been casually linked to the measured rise in temperatures of 0.14°C per decade in Melbourne, and the warming has been shown to be human-induced (anthropogenic). Another recent study also has found that mountain butterflies in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California are moving up in elevation to flee from warmer temperatures. A big reason why scientists are extrapolating conclusions from the lives and habits of butterflies is because we have always looked at butterflies. Their beauty and elegance capture the attention of people, and therefore the records that have been kept regarding their habits have been very detailed for a long time. These changes in butterflies may seem small, but they are a great indicator of the larger changes going on in the world. Please do your part to reduce your own carbon footprint. You can visit www.carbonfund.org to learn more about reducing and calculating your carbon footprint.
Wednesday, 23 December 2009 15:29

Build-a-Bear Christmas Video

Build-a-Bear, the chain of stores that allows children to custom build their own plush toys, has released a 'webisode' that features animated arctic animals fretting over the future of their icy home due to climate change. The future of the Arctic Ice caps is in question because of global warming induced temperature rise, and Santa and his friends are stressing out over what may happen to Christmas if their homeland is no more. Here is some dialog from the webisode:
Girl Elf: Santa, it’s gone! Papa Elf: It’s gone, It’s gone! Santa: What’s gone? Girl Elf: Tell ‘em, Dad! Papa Elf: The North Peak. Santa: A mountain? A mountain’s gone? How is that possible? Ella the polar bear: Santa, sir, that’s why I’m here. That’s why we’re here. The ice is melting! Santa: Yes, my dear, we know, the climate is changing. There’s bound to be a little melting. Ella: It’s worse than that, Santa, a lot worse! At the rate it’s melting, the North Pole will be gone by Christmas!” Santa: My, my…all of this gone by next Christmas? I don’t think so. Ella: No sir, not next Christmas, this Christmas! The day after tomorrow!
You may view the three videos by clicking here, here and here. What is your opinion? Will global warming force Santa to move? What about the millions of other potential climate refugees? Help protect Santa, the elves and the millions of potential climate refugees all over the world. Reduce what you can, and offset what you can't!
As an avid cyclist and motorcyclist, I can tell you that there is nothing better than getting around the world on two wheels. The wind in your hair, the agility and the freedom make the experience second to none. Both the bike and the motorcycle provide me a lot of fun and give me practical transportation, but I always felt there could be a greener alternative for motorcycles to generate the power. Brammo, Inc., an Oregon-based electric motorcycle manufacturer sports a small fleet of electric motorcycles that can get you from point a to point b without using a drop of gasoline. Their electric motorcycles are designed for performance, with their Empulse model being able to reach speeds of over 100+ and has a range of over 100 miles. That kind of speed would keep me happy, though it could also get me in trouble. Recently, Brammo worked with Carbonfund.org to offset their participation in the Red Bull Grand Prix at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, CA in support of our third-party validated carbon reduction projects. They offset their travel to and from the event and mitigated the impact of the electricity used to power the electric motorcycle! So if you get your motorcycle license, try an electric motorcycle and offset your remaining emissions with Carbonfund.org to support our projects. Like Brammo, we are fast and clean.

The Mid-Atlantic is yet again being blasted with snow. This current blizzard is going to add up to 16 inches to our standing snow pack of about 2-3 feet, likely making this the snowiest winter on record in the Washington, DC area (and Baltimore, and Wilmington.. you get the point). Federal government offices have been closed for several days. The mail is not going to be delivered. The bodega across the street is closed. And your devoted Carbonfund.org staff cannot make it into the office and need to work from home.

But there is a perception that is held by some that these extreme blizzards contradict evidence of global warming. While one cannot argue with anecdotal evidence it is inappropriate to try and explain global climate variations with weather events. The big difference is that weather is what happens now or this coming weekend, and climate is the long-term trends that take place over years and decades. With that said, there are experts out there that create a pretty sound logic for how global warming can actually make blizzards more common in winter. Dr. Jeff Masters with Weather Underground sums it up well:
...record-breaking snowstorms are not an indication that global warming is not occurring. In fact, we can expect there may be more heavy snowstorms in regions where it is cold enough to snow, due to the extra moisture global warming has added to the atmosphere--an extra 4% since 1970. Snow is not the same as cold, and we have to look at global temperatures, not snowfall, to evaluate whether global warming is occurring.
So there is actually a reasonable rationale for how global warming and blizzards can coexist. Please add your comment on this post.
Today at 5:18pm summer ends when the sun crosses the equator for the autumnal equinox. Though summer will be gone, it will be fondly remembered by many who spent time on beaches, at the grill or in the woods. Most meteorologists are predicting another summer on or around June 2010. Click here to learn more about the autumnal equinox. A popular activity on the equinox is to try and balance an egg vertically. With the earth and sun so perfectly aligned, this has to be the ideal time to stand an egg on it's head. Though this may seem like a trivial pursuit, egg balancing is an action that I am sure many will take today. If you can do it, please take a picture and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ! I will post it on this blog. If you are unsuccessful in your attempts to balance an egg, try balancing your carbon footprint. Did you know that you can calculate the impact of your home, travel and pretty much anything else using Carbonfund.org's carbon calculators? Click here to calculate and offset your footprint. Balancing an egg today may be cool, but balancing your carbon footprint may be the best way to start off a new season. Have a great fall!
Warmer waters in the Arctic are causing methane releases from the ocean that have, until now, been very well stored. New research from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks is indicating that from an area west of the Bering Strait, plumes of methane can be observed rising from what was once permafrost. While researchers aren't making snap judgments about what this implies for the Earth's climate, the potential impacts could be huge. Methane is a greenhouse gas that is not as abundant in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, but has a warming effect about 23 times greater than CO2. Concentrations of methane have roughly doubled since pre-industrial times - most of these increases have come from human sources - and there appears to be no slowing of these emissions. One of the scarier things about global warming is that changes in temperature can have far-reaching effects. Scientifically, this is commonly referred to as feedback. If increased CO2 causes temperatures to rise and warm arctic waters such that stored methane is released, and that methane in turn warms the planet more causing more methane to be released - it's an example of feedback. Given the risks and effects - such as rising sea levels, floods, heat waves and spread of diseases are serious - it makes sense for all of us to take action on global warming. Remember to calculate, reduce and offset your carbon footprint today. For example, check out Carbonfund.org's carbon calculators and third-party validated carbon reduction projects to offset your footprint by clicking here.
Tuesday, 10 March 2009 10:16

American GHG Registry in the Works?

Today, the EPA proposed a plan that will account for and report Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) for all major US emitters. The plan would cover up to 90% of all US based emissions and would serve as the basis for any proposed cap-and-trade emissions reductions system. As reported by the Washington Post:
"If adopted by the end of the year [2009], the new rule could produce greenhouse gas statistics by the end of 2010. The EPA requirements would apply to large industrial sources that emit 25,000 metric tons or more a year, including oil and chemical refineries; cement, glass, pulp and paper plants; manufacturers of motor vehicles and engines; and confined animal feeding operations."
Setting the bar for inclusion in this mandatory reporting at 25,000 metric tons means that virtually all small and medium sized businesses would not be required to report their emissions. Carbonfund.org, for example, estimates that many standard businesses with less than 20 employees are responsible for about 140 metric tons of CO2 a year. Businesses range in size and activity, but one can reasonably assume that most small and medium sized businesses not engaged in industrial practices would be under the reporting limit. A GHG reporting system is yet another step in the right direction for American action on global warming. By understanding our nation's carbon footprint, our government will be able to intelligently devise a cap-and-trade system that will produce real world emissions cuts. To better understand your carbon footprint or to estimate your business' GHG emissions, go to Carbonfund.org.
As many drivers know, the price of gasoline has been steadily rising for some time now. Gas is now up to $2.74, up 1.4 cents from last night and $0.95 cents from this time last year. As gas prices inch closer and closer to $3 in time for the spring travel season (at least that is what some experts are predicting) the dialog over fuel consumption will likely increase. How can we do more with less, and why do we keep on running into these same problems? Energy shocks and oil crises are nothing new and come about cyclically. Gas prices go up and people start to drive less, interest in more efficient vehicles rises, and consumption goes down. This follows basic economic principles of supply and demand, although some have expressed strong concerns about speculation in markets. Nobody should be shocked to see gas prices inching back up. The US consumes nearly 20 million barrels of oil a day - causing us to put massive amounts of pressure on a finite resource. Moreover, even slight changes in supply can have ripple effects that cause prices of oil and gas to fluctuate dramatically. A viable solution is efficiency. It took the US a long time to address fuel efficiency as this chart shows. While Congress has taken action through improving fuel efficiency standards, the vehicles produced presently vary quite a degree in their fuel efficiency. Some vehicles have substantially better fuel efficiency. Technology exists to help, but it takes commitment by auto makers and consumers alike to make fuel efficient vehicles the norm rather than the exception. As gas prices rise this spring and you are paying more at the pump, think about the future and the most sustainable way to curb rising fuel prices. We must demand action from our nation's leaders to continue to improve fuel efficiency standards, while making fuel efficient vehicles- and choosing fuel efficient vehicles.
The 2010 Dairy Sustainability Symposium, April 14-15 in Chicago will be offsetting its emissions through support of the Chino Basin Dairy Farm Biodigester Project of Carbonfund.org. The event organized by the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) provides a forum for members of the industry to learn more about how to make their operations cleaner and greener. A focus of the Dairy Sustainability Symposium will be how to reduce carbon emissions and save money through energy efficiency measures. Carbonfund.org will be presenting on carbon footprinting and life cycle assessments of products and the production process. The Chino Basin Dairy Farm Biodigester Project collects waste from ten local dairy farms, captures the associated methane emissions and transforms it to clean, renewable energy. Methane is a greenhouse gas about23 times more potent than CO2, and a byproduct of bovines in dairy production. In addition to reducing more than 8,000 tons of CO2 equivalent emissions from the atmosphere each year, the biodigester also helps keep the region’s groundwater cleaner. By offsetting the emissions of the Symposium, including attendees’ travel and participation, the dairy industry is taking another step towards industry-wide comprehensive emissions reductions. In December, the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy made a commitment to reduce dairy emissions 25% by 2020.
Tuesday, 08 December 2009 10:57

2009 is Fifth Hottest Year on Record

According to the World Meterological Organization (WMO), the earth is continuing to get warmer. 2009 is in line to be the fifth hottest year on record (the exact ranking may change depending on how these last weeks of the year play out), and the decade from 2000-2009 has been the warmest in recorded history.

The hottest decade on record before the 2000s was the 1990s, and before that the 1980s. Temperature records have been kept using precise instruments since 1850.

The recent WMO press release also states:

"This year above-normal temperatures were recorded in most parts of the continents. Only North America (United States and Canada) experienced conditions that were cooler than average. Given the current figures, large parts of southern Asia and central Africa are likely to have the warmest year on record."
Though the US and Canada experienced cooler temperatures this year, our weather is not indicative of global trends. This release coincides with the Copenhagen climate meetings, where global leaders are well positioned to work out the framework for a legally binding emissions reductions target.
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