wheatfieldA Purdue University-led team determined that urban dwellers in developing countries could be the most adversely affected population by global warming. These include working people in countries like Bangladesh and Zambia. Even more developed countries like Mexico and others would be among those most at risk from more heat waves, droughts and extreme weather, which affect agricultural production and can raise food prices. Thomas Hertel, professor at Purdue and executive director of the university's Center for Global Trade Analysis, said in Science Daily,
"Food is a major expenditure for the poor and, while those who work in agriculture would have some benefit from higher grains prices, the urban poor would only get the negative effects... This is an important finding given that the United Nations projects a continuing shift in population concentrations from rural to urban areas in virtually all of these developing countries."
With nearly 1 billion of the world's poor living on less than $1 a day, extreme events can have a devastating impact, he said. Other reports on global warming impacts relate the harm on coastal areas in developed as well as developing countries, and the impact of droughts and extreme weather on agriculture and public health globally. The complete article on the urban poor, co-authored by The World Bank's Syud A. Ahmed, is at Environmental Research Letters.
Thursday, 20 August 2009 16:36

From the Land of Cool: Solar Powered Phones

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solar phoneKenya is the first country to roll out a new line of solar powered phones. Rural Kenyans, for whom power can be inaccessible and expensive, will be able to tap this natural resource for powering their phones. Launched by Kenyan telecommunications company Safaricom, the phone will cost under $40. Kenya has 17.6 million cell phone subscribers but just 1.3 million are connected to the national electricity grid. People have to walk long distances to charge their phone and pay third-party vendors for the service. Despite being inaccessible, power in Kenya has become very expensive. Most of their power comes from hydro-electric plants, but due to drought the power is being rationed. The shortage has spurred calls for greener energy sources—mostly wind and geothermal—and the production of solar devices like this phone. Americans use an estimated 200,000,000 kWh a year to power their cell phones, and an estimated 95% of the power drawn from chargers is wasted because users leave their chargers in the wall. Image Credit: Energyboom.com
Carbonfund.org will participate in the National Business Travel Association’s 2009 Convention in San Diego, CA from August 23-26. This marks the second straight year that Carbonfund.org has offset the Convention, and this year we’ve created a website where attendees can calculate and offset the footprint resulting from their travel to San Diego. nbtasmalllogoBusiness travel is frequently the second largest part of a company’s carbon footprint, and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with NBTA again to help spread the word about how important it is for companies to make their business travel greener. Several of our partners will be in attendance at NBTA including Virgin America, JetBlue, Avis Budget Group, and Amtrak. If you happen to be there as well, please stop by and say hello to the Carbonfund.org team at booth #1346.
collegeRide a bike. Biking or walking is the best way to save on gas and save on money. Plus if you have a bike, you could do bike delivery. Check out this awesome business model: harvestcycle.com. They pick up produce from a local farm and deliver it carbon-free to their clients. Return your beverage bottles. Some states require stores and other distributors to give you a refund of 5-10 cents for every beverage or beer bottle you bring back. Plus, it’s green and gets the whole house to participate. Learn more here: www.bottlebill.org. Eliminate your vampire leakage. If you are paying the electricity bill, start off right by buying power strips that you can easily turn off when you’re not using the microwave, the TV and other appliances. A friend of mine was able to lower her electric bill to $7 a month this way! Stop the red cup madness! Start off right and buy a reusable party cup and get all your friends to do the same. If you have a party, let everyone know that they have to bring their own cup—you’ll eliminate waste AND clean-up time. Offset your events, and your carbon footprint. Calculate and offset in support of innovative projects to reduce carbon emissions, while reducing your own impact on the planet. You can calculate at the Carbonfund.org individual calculators here. Get involved in your campus climate group. Hundreds of college campuses have pledged to go carbon neutral because of activism by students. Find out at AASHE which campuses have pledged, and ask your own campus to do its part. Colleges and universities are helping to lead the way in the fight on global warming. Students are inventing clean energy technologies, designing the efficient green buildings, and pushing state and local policy. Get involved in the growing movement of young people who are helping to avert climate change today. Also check out the International Youth Climate Blog at itsgettinghotinhere.org.
Carbonfund.org announced the launch of the first EPA Climate Leaders approved carbon offset project with Casella Waste Systems, Inc.’s Clinton County Landfill Methane Project. Carbonfund.org is now offering offsets from the project to businesses and individuals at www.carbonfund.org/climateleaders. savedThe project, located near Plattsburgh, NY, is a landfill methane collection and destruction system. Recent improvements to the project have added a gas-to-energy plant producing approximately 5 megawatts of clean energy that can supply the electricity needs of 5,000 households. Casella, a charter member of the EPA Climate Leaders program and the only solid waste and resource management company in the program, developed the project. “We are excited to support the first-ever EPA Climate Leaders approved carbon offset project,” said Eric Carlson, president of Carbonfund.org. “Climate change affects every one of us, and we all must be part of the solution. Projects like Clinton County are reducing emissions today and hastening our transition to a low-carbon future.” The Clinton County Landfill Methane Project is located at a 70-acre facility permitted to accept 175,000 tons of solid waste per year. At the site, decomposing organic material such as paper and food produce landfill gas, a portion of which is methane. Methane is a greenhouse gas that is about 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide. By combusting the gas, the project keeps the methane out of the atmosphere, thereby dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The offsets currently available through Carbonfund.org represent methane destruction that occurred between January and September 2008. It is estimated that over 100,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions were avoided in the period, equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions from over 18,300 passenger vehicles. The EPA Climate Leaders program is a partnership between industry and government that works with companies to develop climate change strategies. Partner companies commit to reducing their impact on the global environment by completing a corporate-wide inventory of their greenhouse gas emissions based on a quality management system, setting reduction goals, and annually reporting progress on emissions reductions to EPA. Visit www.carbonfund.org/climateleaders.
Carbonfund.org CarbonFree® Partner Loisos + Ubbelohde is an architecture and building firm specializing in high performance buildings, architecture design, consulting, and planning. They focus on energy efficiency and sustainability.  Loisos + Ubbelohde believes architecture should provide a place to live comfortably and with an awareness of the environment in buildings that are generous in spirit and space.  Living spaces should be designed for people's well-being and made lovingly with high quality materials. L+ULoisos + Ubbelohde seeks a quadruple bottom line in running their business: fiscal, aesthetic, social, and environmental sustainability.  By using simulation and analysis techniques, they are able to address daylighting and lighting design, energy modeling, comfort analysis, building performance, and LEED certification.  In addition to offsetting their carbon footprint, their employees "Reduce What They Can" by bicycling and taking public transportation to the office and they are a certified Bay Area Green Business. The Loisos + Ubbelohde office employs lighting with occupancy sensors, increased insulation, and ceiling fans to help regulate temperature. To learn more about Loisos + Ubbelohde's environmental commitment or their passion for sustainable architecture, visit their website.
SeedFive experts including Eric Carlson are featured in the current Seed Magazine on the value of carbon offsets to reduce global carbon emissions. Third-party standards, verification and auditing are the hallmarks of real and high-quality offsets. The key question about a carbon offset is: Is it real, and who says so? Carbon offset providers should offer, and purchasers should look for, offset projects that are third-party verified to the highest international standards and project portfolios that are third-party audited. The annual audit should also be made publicly available. As for cap-and-trade, which is the mechanism to reduce emissions in climate legislation such as the recently passed bill in the House of Representatives, Carlson said, "A cap-and-trade system promotes the most cost-effective carbon reductions, whether internally or externally. Cap-and-trade allows us to tackle climate change in the most cost-effective and fastest way possible." As the goal of climate legislation is to reduce emissions, where the reductions take place isn't important, but that they occur. Like the acid rain experience years ago which used a market-based approach successfully, cap-and-trade will reduce emissions sustainably, equivalent to a 2 to 3 percent reduction per year to achieve the over 80% reductions that the country's aiming for.
Carbonfund.org has always believed that it’s Your Carbon, Your Choice™. So how do you choose? Take a page from the Society for College and University Planning’s book. They gave all the readers of their blog the opportunity to vote on whether they want to support our Reforestation, Renewable Energy, or Energy Efficiency projects. And the winner? Reforestation in a landslide, at least so far. Use this blog posting thread to tell us how you chose which project type to support.