Thursday, 30 August 2012 14:11

Helping Arizona Go Green and Save Green

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Carbonfund.org supports several carbon reduction and energy efficiency projects such as the Truck Stop Electrification system, a project that is supported in part by Clean Air Cab’s fleet emissions neutralization program.

Clean Air Cab is central Arizona’s first carbon-neutral taxicab fleet; they partner with Carbonfund.org to calculate and neutralize the carbon emissions generated by its fleet of Toyota Priuses. 

"We chose Carbonfund.org because unlike most companies selling offsets, Carbonfund.org is a non-profit. Clean Air Cab believes in giving back and we are happy to support a non-profit organization," affirms Clean Air Cab founder, Steve Lopez.

The company started by selecting the Toyota Prius, a fuel efficient vehicle for its taxicab fleet.  A Ford Crown Victoria, the “traditional” taxicab vehicle, produces two and half times the amount of CO2 per year compared to the 2010 Toyota Prius.  But the Prius still creates carbon emissions, so each quarter Clean Air Cab checks its total fleet mileage with Carbonfund.org to ensure that it has secured a sufficient quantity of carbon credits to completely neutralize fleet emissions.

Clean Air Cab’s mission “to make it affordable and convenient for everyone to go green” is in lockstep with Carbonfund.org.  We are happy to partner with an environmentally conscientious company that provides a carbon neutral transportation alternative to central Arizona communities.

Carbonfund.org is excited to announce that we’ve teamed up with Cause.it to provide a simple way that mobile app users can share their favorite causes and earn points towards “cool stuff” along the way.

By sharing envirosearch.org on Cause.it, users will help Carbonfund.org plant trees and support clean air technologies.  And as Cause.it users share envirosearch.org, they’ll be earning points to redeem through Cause.it for goods and services available in their own communities.  

"We wanted to bring awareness to all of the great environmental initiatives that Carbonfund.org has going on and really liked the cause that envirosearch.org was out to support. We feel bringing increased awareness to efforts such as envirosearch.org truly helps technology change the world," emphasized Cause.it creator Gagan Dhillon. 

Share envirosearch.org on Cause.it to spread the word and help plant more trees.

As part of its mission to comply with the principles of Ecotourism, which are to unite conservation, communities, and sustainable travel, Cascada Expediciones and its EcoCamp Patagonia have partnered with Carbonfund.org over the past four years to measure and neutralize unavoidable energy emissions from their operations in Chile, Patagonia, Argentina and Bolivia. 

Carbonfund.org’s emissions calculations and offsetting program is comprehensive in measuring and monitoring all fuel consumption from any aspect of Cascada Expediciones’ tours and EcoCamp’s operations or transportation on location. Each traveler is encouraged to offset their round-trip commercial flight emissions as well.  The resulting annual operational emissions are neutralized through Cascada Expediciones’ support of Carbonfund.org’s energy efficiency, renewable energy and reforestation projects that are contributing to the development of clean air technologies and carbon reduction strategies around the world.   

"On CO2 offsetting, we wanted to partner with a capable and reliable organization. That is why we chose Carbonfund.org," explains Yerko Ivelic, Founder, Owner and Director of Cascada Expediciones and EcoCamp Patagonia. 

Cascada Expediciones has implemented many carbon reduction strategies at their facilities and within their tour operations.  From simple steps such as providing shared transportation for guests, banning electrical appliances, and providing green hydro- or solar-powered electricity, to the unique energy-efficient and environmentally-compatible design of the EcoCamp domes, Cascada’s focus is on creating a fully sustainable Patagonian touring experience that creates the smallest carbon footprint possible. 

In recognition of these carbon emissions reduction and neutralization practices, EcoCamp Patagonia has been nominated as a candidate to receive the Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Award for 2012.  Carbonfund.org is happy to partner with Cascada Expediciones in helping the organization achieve its commitment to environmentally sustainable operations through the support of clean air and carbon reduction projects.    

 

Friday, 24 August 2012 14:39

U.S. Carbon Emissions Lowest in 20 Years

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Just when we were about to succumb to the gloomy picture that is global climate change, a ray of hope breaks through the clouds.  A technical report released this month by the U.S. Energy Information Agency calculated that energy related U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, which account for about 98 percent of total CO2 emissions, for the first four months of 2012 decreased to around 1992 levels.  

The dramatic decrease is attributed to a switch from dirtier burning coal to cleaner natural gas.  Almost everyone in the energy and environmental industries believes the shift could have major long-term implications for U.S. energy policy.

Scientists didn’t predict the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere in the U.S. falling to its lowest level in 20 years in part because the decrease is not attributed to legislation limiting greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide.  The switch to natural gas was driven by the market. 

The state of the economy, increasing efforts for energy efficiency and a growing utilization of renewable energy are certainly aspects that contribute to lowering U.S. carbon emissions.  However, at the moment, the lion’s share is due to the current low price of natural gas.  There has been an upsurge in shale gas drilling in the northeast, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana, which has made natural gas more affordable than coal per unit of energy generated.  Gas production is on the increase because of the modernization of the process of hydraulic fracturing, also called fracking, where highly pressurized water, sand and chemicals are inserted to fracture shale rock which releases natural gas.

While natural gas is a cleaner-burning energy source than coal, it is not emission-free.  There is still some carbon dioxide emitted and drilling can have environmental impacts such as contamination of ground water, air quality risks, migration of gases and hydraulic fracturing chemicals to the surface, and surface contamination from spills and flowback.

There are also concerns that the rise in use of natural gas could stall renewable energy efforts.  The ultimate goal should still be a mix of increasing energy efficiency and clean energy with the balance kept to a minimum of natural gas.

So the upshot is that the U.S. energy picture is far from perfect, but the news concerning a drastic decline in U.S. carbon dioxide levels is welcome and positive because it reminds us that there is still time to turn around the fate of the planet’s climate.

It seems only fitting that a business that depends entirely on organic and natural herbs, flowers, and medicinal plants would maintain a strong commitment to environmentally responsible business practices.  Carbonfree® Business Partner Mountain Rose Herbs sets a high standard in this regard and has made significant steps in following Carbonfund.org’s motto of “reduce what you can, offset what you can’t™” by lessening its energy consumption prior to neutralizing their remaining annual operational emissions with Carbonfund.org.

Mountain Rose Herbs’ primary facility was constructed with LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards and relies heavily on natural lighting.  Energy demand was further reduced by making a complete lighting upgrade to energy-efficient bulbs in their principal facilities and installing Energy-Star rated heating and cooling systems.  In addition, Mountain Rose Herbs upgraded all their computers to those with Gold Star ratings for energy conservation, minimal shipment packaging and elimination of environmentally-harmful materials as well as more energy-efficient flat screen monitors.  Mountain Rose Herbs converted all electrical usage to their local Greenpower program to ensure that a significant portion of their electricity comes from wind and solar sources. 

Despite all of these energy-saving measures and efficiency enhancements, Mountain Rose Herbs still generates a measurable annual carbon emissions footprint from its business operations.  In order to neutralize these annual operational emissions, Mountain Rose Herbs has partnered with Carbonfund.org for the past four years to measure and offset these unavoidable emissions by supporting Carbonfund.org’s clean energy and carbon reduction projects. 

"If we are to move past coal and look forward to a greener future that is full of alternative energy, then we must support the endeavors of Carbonfund.org, who are creating the infrastructure necessary to make it happen," states Shawn Donnille, Vice President of Mountain Rose Herbs. 

We applaud Carbonfree® Partner Mountain Rose Herbs for pursuing a meaningful commitment to environmentally-conscious business operations, measuring and neutralizing their annual carbon emissions, and supporting our clean air technology projects.

Last month it was revealed that a diverse group of stakeholders with political ties that cover the entire spectrum from left to right have been holding secret meetings about climate change with the support of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think-tank based in Washington D.C.

Climate change is an unavoidably, politically charged issue.  These meetings are an attempt to discover ways to approach global warming in a politically viable manner.  The July 2012 meeting was the fifth of such meetings, which are held secretly and speakers not revealed in order to facilitate true brainstorming, an open discussion where all sides could offer solutions without fear of reprisal. 

The agenda for the most recent meeting, which was leaked online, was titled, “Price Carbon Campaign / Lame Duck Initiative: A Carbon Pollution Tax in Fiscal and Tax Reform”.  However, participants claim putting a price on carbon emissions was not the only item of discussion, and neither was focus limited to the short-term.

Proponents of a carbon tax put it forward as a less complex method to begin pricing carbon emissions than cap-and-trade.  Legislation for cap-and-trade collapsed in 2010 in the nation’s capital and preceded these meetings.

At the moment tax increases, carbon or otherwise, are unlikely to get off the ground, but the long-term view is that taxing CO2 could win support over taxing income.  Furthermore, there is potential to use a carbon tax to tackle both global warming and the deficit.

So the question as to whether we can deal with climate change in a politically viable manner is still unanswered, but the future is looking brighter with the news that open discussions are occurring among bipartisan groups.

Carbonfund.org seeks to partner with businesses that subscribe to the same mission of solving the climate crisis.  The goal of achieving a clean energy future is more complex than simply meeting carbon emission reductions targets.  Any solution needs to be sustainable, and sustainability is one of the cornerstones of Carbonfree® business partner TCX Investment Management Company.

The global TCX Fund provides protection and risk control against currency devaluation in frontier market currencies for major development finance institutions to microfinance institutions and other institutions investing in the communities of many emerging market countries, such as Cambodia, Kenya, Bangladesh, Mongolia, Peru, and Vietnam.  This translates into providing a mechanism to absorb the risk of extreme currency value fluctuations so these institutions can assist local businesses with the startup funding they need. TCX is able to make real contributions to sustainable development and to improving the living standards in communities in some of theleast developed countries on our planet.

TCX maintains a Sustainability Policy requiring that the businesses they assist also meet environmental sustainability goals.A key tenet of the TCX policy maintains that any projects receiving funding should pursue development for the needs of the present population without impairing the ability of future generations to meet community needs.  All projects are expected to include pollution prevention and abatement, biodiversity conservation, and sustainable natural resources management.

Carbonfund.org and TCX have partnered to help TCX reach its own operational emission reduction goals.  In the past three years, TCX Investment Management has neutralized a total of almost 460 metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions created by its annual operations – the equivalent of removing 82 passenger vehicles from the road for a year – in part by supporting Carbonfund.org’s renewable energy projects."We chose Carbonfund.org because of their verified programs, pricing and easy-to-use customer friendly services," confirms Bill Piccolo, Operations Manager for TCX.

TCX’s operational emissions neutralization program supports Carbonfund.org’s renewable energy projects, and in doing so, enhances air quality and promotes new technology development that will continue to reduce carbon emissions and hasten the transition to a cleaner energy future.  Carbonfund.org looks forward a continued partnership with TCX in pursuingthe paired goals of sustainable development and environmental stewardship.

As part of Carbonfund.org’s mission toward a ZeroCarbonTM world, our programs make it easy and affordable for any individual, business or organization to reduce and offset their climate impact and hasten the transition to a clean energy future.  This focus on simplicity and affordability made it a natural to expand our partnership with CarbonFree® Business Partner Propel Fuels to create an at-the-gas-pump CarbonOffset program supporting clean air technology. 

Last May, Carbonfund.org partnered with Propel Fuels, a retailer of renewable fuels that began offering consumers the ability to offset their driving emissions at the Clean Mobility Center in Fullerton, California any time they fill their gas tank.  Customers may select the CarbonOffset option at the pump, and the funds will go towards Carbonfund.org’s clean air projects that spur technology developments to reduce carbon emissions.  

Since CarbonOffset was launched in May, customers have chosen to contribute $1.00 per fill to fully offset the emissions from their fuel purchase more than 1,000 times. The two-month pilot has offset more than 160,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions at this single station, which is equivalent to taking 84 cars off the road in the same two-month time period.  CarbonOffset contributions from the program’s first year of operation will help support Carbonfund.org’s Truck Stop Electrification project, which improves air quality around truck stops and surrounding communities and offers drivers, employees and residents a cleaner and quieter environment with fewer harmful air pollutants.

"The early success of Propel's CarbonOffset program is strong evidence that consumers are ready and willing to support clean energy, especially if the cost and benefits are clear," said Eric Carlson, President of Carbonfund.org. "Thanks to Propel, thousands of drivers can vote with their dollars to support clean energy and domestic, renewable fuels."

If the CarbonOffset program continues at its current rate of participation, the program has the potential to offset more than 5 million pounds of carbon emissions over the next five years at this station alone, making a measurable contribution to emission reductions and a cleaner environment.  Carbonfund.org is proud to partner in this ground-breaking program and to facilitate a simple and cost-effective method for vehicle emissions offsetting through supporting clean air technology.