Friday, 26 February 2010 18:01 Written by Amy Givler
Don’t be fooled by this winter’s exceptional snowfalls, global warming is still real, warns a prominent scientist at Duke University. Despite the snowy pummeling the US received, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Climate Data Center reports that January 2010 was one of the warmest Januarys on record. Temperatures were about half a degree Fahrenheit above the long-term averages in the chilly US while South Africa, Australia and Brazil suffered from excessive heat waves. “This pattern of warmer temperatures and stronger storms is consistent with climate models that show global warming will bring more extreme weather, specifically more severe storms with greater amounts of precipitation,” says William L. Chameides, dean of Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Additionally, climate scientists are still reeling from leaked emails from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit in November 2009. The documents were apparent proof to skeptics that scientists conspired to overstate the case for a human influence on climate change. But Chameides asserts that “careful, objective, complete reading of the scientific literature reveals the scientific evidence that the globe is warming – and that this warming is connected to human activities – remains strong.”
Friday, 26 February 2010 09:06 Written by Emily Pugliese
Earlier this week, the batteries in my TV’s remote control died. They had been going for awhile but I was a little too lazy to get off the couch and find a new set of batteries. When they finally went for good I realized that I had a set of AA Venom Power Eco Alkalines™. These environmentally friendly batteries feature 0% Mercury, 0% Cadmium, 0% Lead and, significantly, are CarbonFree® Certified by Carbonfund.org. As I happily clicked through the channels (I tend to be a bit of a channel surfer!) with my newly juiced remote I thought about the significance of the product certification. The reality that these batteries truly are carbon neutral is pretty impressive. Their carbon footprint was neutralized after a detailed product life-cycle assessment that included calculations of the emissions resulting in each phase of the life of the product (including raw material extraction, manufacturing, distribution and retail, use, disposal and recycling), and reducing the emissions. The life-cycle assessment is done by a third-party consultant, in accordance with Carbonfund.org's product certification protocol. Further, by purchasing a CarbonFree® Certified product you are supporting some pretty awesome, third-party validated carbon reduction projects. In Venom’s case they chose to support our Return to Forest reforestation project. Validated by the Rainforest Alliance to the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standards with Gold Distinction, the Return to Forest Project is helping to reforest as well as reconnect critical biological corridors along Nicaragua’s Pacific coast. The project also brings economic opportunities to local communities while sequestering about 170,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Venom’s Eco Alkaline batteries are progressive, high quality consumer batteries. Plus, they're carbon neutral! To learn more about the batteries or about Venom Power, visit: www.venom-group.com.
Friday, 26 February 2010 08:48 Written by Amy Givler
The fight against global warming has experienced multiple setbacks recently including the lack of a legally binding global agreement on climate change, the resignation of Yvo de Boer, reluctance from China and India to adopt mandatory emissions targets, and emissions legislation stalled in the US Senate. However, a letter released by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) announced that President Obama has not given up on reaching a legally binding agreement. Obama hopes that by keeping the talks alive it will be possible to more easily reach such agreement at a summit in Mexico this December. While some critics feel that a signed treaty by December is still a stretch of the imagination, a slightly longer timeframe may be more realistic in encouraging countries to climb on board. Countries such as Mexico, India, and China have already stated that more negotiations are needed before the summit in Cancun commences. In the letter the US emphasized the importance of providing “adequate time for countries to consult with each other bilaterally and regionally,” and that smaller gatherings are at least initially preferable.
Born in Love is a unique pottery business that offers Tirtha Pendants that convey love, hope, and abundance. The water used in their special crystalline glazes is 'charged' for at least 24 hours in a special egg-shaped vessel which has the word 'love' written over its surface. It is at this time that a bit of water blessed by the living saint, Mata Amritananda Mayi (Amma), is added as well. While mixing the glaze into the water, traditional Vedic chants are sung. All of their pendants are hand-crafted and fired in a small kiln. Born in Love cares deeply about conveying love through their pendants. Their hope is to also live sustainably and promote this lifestyle to others through the business and their Tirtha Pendants. To learn more about their incredible lifestyle, outstanding business and Tirtha Pendants, please visit www.borninlove.net.
New building projects in your home are a great way to improve your living space and increase the value of your home. But they often create unfavorable environmental hazards for your family, like volatile organic compounds from paint or new flooring. CarbonFree® Partner HealthyHome can help you create a safe, eco-friendly environment for your family during your next building project! With 17 years experience in the green building space, HealthyHome also has practical knowledge of the products they sell. Each product they carry is thoroughly evaluated to meet their standards for Green Building, Sustainability, Recyclability, and its contribution to a healthy home and planet. These high standards provide your family with the best products available. Their new line of EcoTimber flooring is a sustainable alternative to traditional flooring – domestic, FSC-certified, and high-quality flooring that won’t off-gas harmful chemicals! With such award-winning products, HealthyHome is your destination for home green supplies. To learn more (and go shopping), visit their website: www.healthyhome.com. They carry products ranging from green paints, flooring, lighting, bedding, cleaning supplies, garden products, and filtration systems. You’re sure to find something that will help improve the quality of your home. If you're in the St. Petersburg area, please note they have moved! Their new address is 2028 28th St N Suite B, St. Petersburg, FL 33713.
The US Senate is expected to reengage with proposed climate legislation this week in an attempt to create domestic solutions that reduce our carbon emissions. While the hope for progress is great, the growing feeling is that the final bill that comes out of the Senate will be less ambitious than the one the House passed last year. According to Reuters news service, Senators John Kerry, Joesph Lieberman and Lindsey Graham are weighing options that will allow the Senate to move forward with legislation. But the issue that is facing this group is only partially related to policy; politics will play a big role in if, when and how a bill may be passed in the Senate. Options in Broad Strokes There are many options for potential Senate climate legislation. This may include a comprehensive cap on carbon emissions that covers nearly the entire economy, or a bill that only covers part of the economy such as power plants and/or other areas of the economy. The latter seems more viable in the short run to some, in order to build a broad base of support. One very distinct piecemeal approach may be to cap the electricity sector of energy, representing about 40% of US emissions. This could make a significant dent in carbon emissions now without necessarily affecting other carbon intensive industries like cement and steel, and may also be administratively easier to monitor. However-- critics view the piecemeal approach as inherently lacking, in that climate change should involve a comprehensive approach to emissions cuts. The Politics With elections coming up in November, it would be foolish to think that there will not be a fair amount of political jockeying between now and then. So trying to pass a bill in the middle of campaign season like this may be difficult, but not impossible. If the Senate is to pass a global warming bill, it will likely need to happen in the next couple months, before members of Congress focus on their districts and states and other issues that Congress is trying to clear this session.
As much of the East Coast recovers from a snowy winter, spring is actually right around the corner. To celebrate, let's take a look at some Carbonfund.org CarbonFree® Partners that can help you kick off the spring season. Sharper Impressions Painting is a residential painting company that has been painting homes for over 18 years. They can brighten up your house and even do interior painting with low VOC paints. If the brutal winter weather has damaged your home's paint, or it's been 5-8 years since your home was last painted, consider Sharper Impressions Painting this spring. If you live in a dry climate where water conservation is important, consider NewGrass. NewGrass specializes in artificial grass for residential and commercial customers who have concerns over water, fertilizer, and gas-powered lawn equipment use. Considering that some lawns require 20,000 or more gallons of water a year, artificial grass can be a better choice for conservation! Add style to your lawn and cut your utility bills at the same time with Exterior Solar Lights. They feature a wide selection of solar lamp posts, garden accent lights, and solar deck lights. With free shipping on most orders and a great selection, Exterior Solar Lights is an affordable way to meet your outdoor lighting needs this spring. To save 10% on any solar lamp post, simply enter the promo code 10OffLampPosts during checkout. Let's all celebrate the coming of spring, seeing what CarbonFree® Partners have to offer. Don't forget to reduce the carbon emissions of your travel!
Monday, 22 February 2010 10:41 Written by Paul Burman
Cycling is the world most energy efficient means of travel. If one compares units of energy to units of energy and mile for mile, estimates of of bike MPG are almost always equivalent to hundred(s) MPG - meaning that a bike can take you farther with fewer global warming causing carbon emissions (and other pollutants) - and that is a good thing. Biking also helps to promote good health which keeps society's costs of health care down. It reduces burden on over-crowded streets and public transportation. Helps to improve mental health. Improves safety of neighborhoods. And creates healthy and sustainable habits that can last a lifetime. But the biggest problem that cyclists face is safety. Let's face it, you are exposed to the elements on a bike - road conditions, weather, and crazy traffic patterns can all affect cyclist safety. For that reason, it is important for cities, municipalities, states and the federal government to prioritize development of cycling infrastructure that helps to improve cyclist safety and encourages participation in this sustainable means of transportation. A big step towards improving cyclist safety was taken as the US Department of Transportation awarded a $23 million grant to help complete part of the East Coast Greenway in the Phila., Pa. region. The East Coast Greenway is a developing bike trail system that spans 3,000 miles from Maine to Florida. The grant will help to create or preserve about 1,000 jobs as it helps to make the region a more bicycle friendly area by building trails, bike lanes and other cycling infrastructure to encourage participation. Cycling in cities is normally the quickest way to travel and does amazing things to improve local air quality and minimize urban congestion. When complete, the East Coast Greenway will provide cyclists of all skill levels a safe way to see the east coast and navigate our nation's largest cities. While not all of us will be able to make it up and down the full 3,000 mile route, having such an accessible bike route near tens of millions of Americans will benefit us all.