Tuesday, 23 March 2010 11:08

Health Care Passes - Can We Care for Climate?

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A major hurdle for potential climate change legislation has been cleared: comprehensive health care legislation has passed the House and will soon become law. While the battle to ensure that more Americans will have access to affordable health care has no direct impact on climate change, the battle over the details of the bill has consumed the attention of Congress and America for more than a year now. With the health care debate essentially over for this session, Congress may be free to take on other reforms - specifically that of climate change. Recognizing this opportunity to act, Democratic Senators sent a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid asking for climate change legislation in 2010. The letter was signed by 22 Democrats, including important swing votes like Sens. Mark Begich of Alaska, Michael Bennet of Colorado, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Roland Burris of Illinois, Maria Cantwell of Washington, Robert Casey of Pennsylvania, Al Franken of Minnesota, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Jon Tester of Montana, and Mark Warner of Virginia. Climate change legislation passed in the House last year, but legislation in the Senate has been stalled ever since. Currently, the best hope for legislation may come from Sens. Kerry, Graham, and Lieberman, who are drafting legislation that may achieve bipartisan support. It is widely believed that in order to pass a bill of this nature through the Senate, a super-majority of 60 will be necessary. The advantages of comprehensive climate change legislation are many. Well constructed legislation would:
  • Reduce carbon emissions according to science-based targets;
  • Provide clarity for US businesses and promote investment in clean technologies;
  • Create new 'green jobs' and help the US maintain competitiveness in an increasingly green global economy;
  • Remove the need for the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant - a particularly contentious issue for some;
  • Establish the US as a leader in the clean energy future;
  • Reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and foreign oil.
Hope remains high that Congress will pass climate change legislation, and the future looks a little brighter now that health care legislation has passed. It will be interesting to see how these next few weeks pan out, because if Democrats are serious about passing a bill in 2010 then they are going to have to refocus their efforts very soon. If the fight to save our climate is anything like the fight to reform our health care, then we are in store for another interesting battle in Washington.
With deforestation today accounting for about 20 percent of global warming, Carbonfund.org is challenging individuals and businesses to help plant a million trees while raising awareness about the importance of tree planting and reforestation in solving climate change. For $1 per tree, the Carbonfund.org Million Tree Challenge provides an opportunity for action on global warming leading up to Earth Day on April 22nd. MTC_treeIndividuals and businesses can make a tax-deductible donation toward tree planting at: www.carbonfund.org/trees. The campaign lets donors choose how many trees they wish to have planted. An individual can, for instance, make a donation to plant a tree for each family member, or each mile in a daily commute. A business can plant a tree for each employee, or each sale made. Carbonfund.org’s Million Tree Challenge Launch Partners include: Staples, Amtrak, Motorola, Hyundai, and Mac-Gray, each making an early commitment to the campaign. For example, Staples will be collecting $1 donations from customers at its U.S. stores from April 18-24, 2010, and will match customer donations raised during this time, up to $20,000. Companies that have also made commitments include: Evogear, WeddingWire.com, Planetshoes.com, WVO Management, and the Maryland GreenHawks basketball team. “Supporting Carbonfund.org with the Million Tree Challenge helps positively impact our climate, and serves as a concrete way to help educate others about sustainability,” said Mark Buckley, Vice President, Environmental Affairs, Staples. “Staples has been contributing to the climate change cause through energy conservation, green building design, and renewable energy purchases. In addition, by using recycled paper as the standard in our Copy & Print Centers, offering a wide selection of green paper choices in our stores and on Staples.com, and providing technology recycling services, Staples makes it easy for our customers to make a difference for the environment, what we call EcoEasy.” Amtrak will be promoting the campaign on their Whistle Stop online community for passengers, and to their Amtrak Guest Rewards program members. “Passenger rail is a travel mode that produces some of the lowest greenhouse gas emissions per passenger mile. Amtrak is taking steps using new technologies, fuels and procedures to further reduce emissions. We support tree planting as a great personal step to incrementally reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Roy Deitchman, Vice President, Environmental Health & Safety for Amtrak. Please join the challenge today - make a donation to plant trees at: www.carbonfund.org/trees, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to learn more about the campaign. Thanks!
Celebrate spring with a special promotion from CarbonFree® Partner Teas Etc.! Teas Etc. is an online retailer of premium loose leaf teas, herbs, and Rooibos. The company is USDA certified to package and distribute organic products and has a complete line of 100% organic teas. They are deeply committed to recycling efforts in their local area, utilize chemical-free cleaning products, and use biodegradable packing peanuts in their shipments. They offset their annual business emissions with Carbonfund.org and offer their customers the option of offsetting the shipping emissions of their order. teas_etc_largeUntil Monday, March 22nd, Teas Etc. is offering 20% off everything with free shipping on any $60 order or more in the continental U.S. Additionally, they will plant a tree through Carbonfund.org's Million Tree Challenge campaign for each order! Simply use promo code SPRING during checkout. Visit Teas Etc. at www.teasetc.com. Carbonfund.org congratulates Teas Etc. for participating in our Million Tree Challenge campaign.  Together, we can plant one million trees and help fight global warming! You can learn more about the campaign here.
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.
Carbonfund.org Partner Go Green Tube is your one-stop destination for environmental and eco-friendly web videos. Go Green Tube boasts an enormous collection of videos that discuss green technologies, products, services, and environmental news. After you register, every video you watch generates a carbon reduction of one pound! Carbonfund.org super fan and activist Andrew Lasken created the video below. It's a fun explanation of carbon offsets and how they can help fight climate change. Enjoy!
groove_1 logoCarbonFree® Partner GrooveTickets is helping concertgoers be more eco-friendly in the way they rock. GrooveTickets is now a Carbonfund.org partner for the third year in a row supporting our carbon reduction projects. It's one of the ways GrooveTickets cuts down on its environmental impact. Customers can work with GrooveTickets entirely online – cutting down on mailings and ticket printings to save paper. By operating in a largely paperless office, GrooveTickets has done what many ticketing companies strive to do. Further, they have taken great strides to increase their office energy efficiency by using a water filtration system so employees don't need to purchase bottled water. They recycle all paper and plastic materials, and have installed energy efficient lighting and timed settings on their climate control system. And as business travel can make up a large part of a business' carbon footprint, GrooveTickets uses video conferencing to reduce carbon emissions. So whether you’re watching Beyond Wonderland this weekend in San Bernardino, CA or rocking out to 311 in Hawaii, GrooveTickets is a great way to go. Check out what’s coming up in your neighborhood at www.groovetickets.com!
From March 16th - 28th, the 18th annual Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital will present 155 poetic and thought-provoking films that delve into diverse topics such as farming, natural gas, even bee colonies. Over 60 of these films are Washington, D.C., United States, and World premieres that celebrate the environment and highlight the increasing challenges to life on Earth. A special focus of this year's film festival will be on our food: how it is produced and distributed and the myriad effects our food has on the environment. EFF LogoA few of the most anticipated films include Gasland, chronicling the natural gas industry, and Sweetgrass, about a group of Montana shepherds. Films like these add to one of the strongest lineups in Environmental Film Festival history. With a full schedule of films playing at locations throughout Washington, DC, be sure to get your tickets soon! A list of films and locations can be seen here with full show times.
MacGray-Logo_smallMac-Gray, the leader in campus laundry services, is helping campuses reduce their campus laundry emissions through its “Lighten the Load” initiative. Working with Carbonfund.org, Mac-Gray has now teamed with fourteen college and university campuses around the country to reduce 100 percent of the greenhouse gases (GHG) emitted from their laundry equipment. The initiative involves offsetting over 21 million pounds of GHG emissions. cmps3"We recognize that the first step in lessening laundry's carbon footprint is reducing energy consumption, which is why we recommend the most water- and energy-efficient washers and dryers.  We then rely on our 'Lighten the Load' initiative to offset unavoidable emissions," said Michael Calderaro, Mac-Gray's Vice President of Campus Laundry. Mac-Gray will be supporting three methane destruction projects of Carbonfund.org which were selected based on criteria set forth by the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment 2008 Voluntary Carbon Offset Protocol, in that they must represent immediate and verifiable GHG emissions reduction. The destruction of methane from such projects is important in the fight against global climate change because methane is approximately 23 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.  Such projects not only reduce the amount of methane released into the atmosphere, but also help protect an area's local groundwater, reduce localized air pollution, control odor and produce power for regional electricity grids. "In selecting a laundry services company for our campus, our University chose Mac-Gray because it is a company that cares about the environment and is willing to invest their own money to offset the carbon footprint that our washers and dryers produce. This partnership is an important part of the university's overall sustainability initiative," says Ron Dalton, director of housing at the University of South Carolina Upstate in Spartanburg, S.C. The 14 colleges and universities now participating are: Colorado College, Colorado State University, Eastern Connecticut State University, Keene State College, Salisbury University, Stonehill College, University of Montevallo, UNC Charlotte, UNC Wilmington, USC Aiken, USC Upstate and Western Carolina University. To learn more, please visit: www.cleanandgreenvision.com.