Monday, 12 July 2010 13:05 Written by Ivan Chan
[caption id="attachment_4862" align="alignright" width="232" caption="sampling of travel planning options at Tripbase"][/caption] Called the "Match.com of travel planning" by the LA Times, Tripbase is a unique travel site that lets you select or input what interests you in taking a trip, and the site will generate suggested destinations and itineraries. Tripbase can base its recommendations from a pool of over 22 million traveler reviews, including nature trips such as national parks in the US or abroad. A Carbonfund.org partner, Tripbase has also taken initiative to reduce its business climate impact by using more energy-efficient office equipment and environmentally-friendly purchasing, as well as other practical solutions such as keeping windows shutters closed when possible to keep energy use for cooling low. Tripbase also offsets its business carbon footprint in support of Carbonfund.org's innovative carbon reduction projects. Tripbase recently launched free downloads of its Travel Secrets eBooks, featuring many popular travel bloggers including Peter Greenberg, who has appeared on CBS, in Forbes and blogs regularly. For each ebook downloaded, Tripbase is making donations to help supply clean water in developing countries. You can download your free ebook here or by checking out www.tripbase.com.
Many East Coasters have felt some of the hottest temperatures on record for this time of the year. Washington hit 102 degrees on Weds. Jul. 7, breaking the 99-degree record for the day set in 1991. Unfortunately—results of a study that surprised even climate scientists show that long heat waves could be common in the US within the next 30 years from global warming. The Stanford University study's lead author, Noah Diffenbaugh,
[caption id="attachment_4855" align="alignright" width="300" caption="NASA graphic on temperature deviations the past decade (click to enlarge)"][/caption] The study follows an analysis by NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies showing that the last decade, from January 2000 to December 2009, was the warmest on record. The Stanford-led study reveals that intense heat waves, equal to the longest on record from 1951-1999, are likely to occur as many as five times between 2020-2029 over parts of the US. The study also raises concerns that the targeted 2-degree Celsius maximum temperature increase by policymakers may be too high a threshold to prevent extreme temperatures. The target was cited, for example, in the climate accord by the US and over 100 other countries at the UN Copenhagen climate change conference in 2009. "Our results suggest that limiting global warming to 2 degrees C above pre-industrial conditions may not be sufficient to avoid serious increases in severely hot conditions," Diffenbaugh said. Learn more about your climate impact and reducing your carbon footprint, as well as how you can offset in support of carbon reduction projects around the world by visiting www.carbonfund.org.
Heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions, which fell by 7 percent in 2009, are forecast to rise this year and in 2011. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the US Dept. of Energy has released its energy outlook, expecting a 3.2 percent and 1.6 percent increase in emissions for 2010 and 2011, respectively. The government also projects continued demand growth by the electric power sector for coal. A factor in the emissions increases this year and next is the expected increases in economic activity, which results in more energy consumption. This includes petroleum use in the transportation sector and coal and natural gas use for electricity production. The continued demand for fossil fuels in electricity production brings to light the urgent need for more clean energy to help reduce carbon emissions. As an individual or business, you can support clean, renewable energy today. Individuals can choose renewable energy for electric power, e.g. from your utility company or supplier, and reduce and offset your carbon emissions in support of renewable energy projects. Businesses can reduce, offset emissions for everything from operations and events to products and shipping; you can learn more here. Also—companies can support renewable energy production through renewable energy certificates (RECs), such as Carbonfund.org's MyGreenFuture Green-e Energy certified RECs.
Thursday, 08 July 2010 13:49 Written by Michelle Lam
- CarbonFree® Certified is the first and leading carbon neutral products label in the US.
- Certified products are now available in 15 countries on five continents.
- Leading companies such as Domino Sugar, Motorola and Anvil Knitwear have certified products CarbonFree®.
- Much like Energy Star® certification differentiates appliances and other products, CarbonFree® certification distinguishes products as carbon neutral, climate-friendly.
- The certification process consists of three essential steps: calculating a product's carbon footprint, reducing the product's footprint, and offsetting to attain carbon neutrality (which supports innovative carbon reduction projects).
- Calculating the carbon footprint of a product requires a life-cycle assessment (LCA), including the supply-chain or manufacturing of a product, through ultimate recycling/disposal of it.
- Carbonfund.org worked with the renowned Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Management to jointly develop the rigorous Product Certification Carbon Footprint Protocol to guide how LCAs are done.
- The certification program provides incentive for companies that lower a product’s carbon footprint by at least 10 percent.
- The Technical Advisory Group (TAG) of the product certification program includes experts on business carbon management.
- Companies can choose from a variety of third-party validated renewable energy, reforestation or avoided deforestation, and energy efficiency projects to support by offsetting.
With summer now here, minds collectively turn to one thing: looking good at the beach or outside. Well maybe not all of us, but we certainly like to look our best as the weather requires short sleeves and shorts. Gyms are getting packed and diet plans reinvigorated. As we change up how we eat, it’s important to make sure we continue to get the vitamins and minerals we need to stay healthy. So how can I do that and in a way that’s easier on the environment? That’s where CarbonFree® Partner, Vegetarian Wellness can help. Vegetarian Wellness is an online retailer specializing in vegetarian and vegan vitamins, supplements and foods. They sell over 600 nutritional products all of which are vegetarian based. Most of their products are free of genetically modified organisms (non-GMO), vegan and gluten free. Did you know that many vitamins and supplements contain animal products? Neither did I. Vegetarian Wellness only sells products that are free of animal testing. To top it off – they offset their business carbon footprint and participate in the 1% for the Planet program. So as you get in shape this summer, make sure you’re staying healthy with some eco-friendly vitamins from Vegetarian Wellness. As they say, “At Vegetarian Wellness our mission is to help everyone live better!”
A July 4th show is one of the most patriotic and, for fans, exhilarating experiences when a great show's followed by fireworks. The Honey Brothers, a new-wave folk band, is bringing their brand of music to the nation's capital July 4th, playing a rooftop concert at the W Washington D.C. Hotel. For clarification, "With a respectful (awed, even) nod to the Beatles," the band says, "we’ll be performing on a rooftop, but this absolutely will not be our farewell concert." The Honey Brothers is New York-based and has worked with Carbonfund.org to reduce their carbon footprint as a band. Their green credentials is also represented by drummer and actor-filmmaker Adrian Grenier, who has presented the Planet Green TV show Alter Eco on environmental themes such as organic foods and building greener. The band's show this Sunday will be at 7pm, before the fireworks. Please call (202) 661-2478 for info on tickets. If you're not in the Washington area this weekend, you can keep in tune with the band about the show and its plans at their facebook page. While you're at it, fan our page too.
Scientists and climate experts have long warned of global warming's impacts in the Arctic regions. However, a study issued this week by the University of Colorado at Boulder reveals that the effects of global warming may have been previously underestimated. According to the study, Arctic temperatures have risen by approximately 1.8° Fahrenheit in the past twenty years alone. Rising temperatures make it “exceedingly difficult” to maintain permanent sea and glacial ice in the Arctic. As greenhouse gas emissions continue their upward trend, global temperatures will only rise and exacerbate Arctic ice melt. In fact, the study affirms that current levels of CO2 in the atmosphere may well be leading us towards a tipping point for “irreversible ice-free conditions in the Arctic.” The impact on the rest of the world would include sea-level rise and more problems in maintaining shorelines and coastal areas. We can all take steps in our own lives to fight global warming now. Reduce and offset your carbon footprint in support of innovative carbon reduction projects. You can read more about the University of Colorado study here.
Although hybrids are a popular green technology, it’s used today not only for Priuses and other smaller cars but in large vehicles getting less than half the miles per gallon (MPG) of those cars. Choosing an eco-friendlier rental car should be based on overall emissions rather than the technology. For example, Avis and Budget both offer EPA SmartWay® certified vehicles, meeting rigorous air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions standards. Each vehicle receives an Air Pollution Score and a Greenhouse Gas Score, on a scale of 1-10. A vehicle must receive a 6 or better on both scores, and have a total score of at least 13 for certification. A full 100 percent of Avis' economy, compact, intermediate and standard car classes and 85 percent of full-size cars are SmartWay® certified. Similarly for Budget, all economy, compact and intermediate and 99 percent of standard and full-size cars are certified. Selecting a SmartWay® vehicle is easy. When I made a reservation at Budget.com, I was thrilled to see the SmartWay® certified cars, easily denoted with a leaf icon: You can also look up vehicle fuel-economy information and SmartWay® vehicles on EPA’s Green Vehicle Guide, which is updated through model year 2010. Where available, you can further reduce your emissions by opting for a GPS navigation system in your car to get where you need to faster (and avoid getting lost). Also, you can skip the lines at toll booths by choosing electronic toll collection when renting your vehicle; Avis offers eToll collection services in more cars and more cities than any other car rental company. Hybrid technology is a wonderful leap for cars and is driving new innovations and products. At the same time, we also need to keep our eyes on the prize of overall carbon reductions and climate protection rather than focusing on specific auto technologies. We feel similarly about not picking winners and losers in the green energy space; we need to focus on zero-emission energy without picking wind over solar, geothermal over biodigesters, and so on. Remember you can always reduce your trip’s emissions further, making it carbon neutral, by offsetting in support of Carbonfund.org’s third-party validated carbon reduction projects around the world. Visit www.avis.com or www.budget.com to offset your rental vehicle. Want to learn more? Please check out our Save Energy page for fuel-efficient driving tips.