Friday, 30 October 2009 19:08

Map of Global Warming's Human Impact Released

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Clipboard01This climate change map developed by the UK government shows the predicted effects of a 4 degrees Celsius rise in global average temperatures on the way we live.  The map is interactive allowing the user to isolate different aspects of climate change and how they impact human activity.  It was launched at the Science Museum by Foreign Secretary David Miliband, Climate and Energy Secretary Ed Miliband and the UK's chief scientist Professor John Beddington. The map considers the impact of extreme temperatures, droughts, effects on the water supply, agricultural productivity, the risk of forest fire, and sea level rise on human activity.  The results show a significant decrease in yields for all major cereal crops in all major regions of production.  In some low latitudes, yields could decrease by more than 20% putting 10 to hundreds of millions of additional people at risk from hunger.  It also shows half of all Himalayan glaciers will be significantly reduced by 2050, leading to 23% of the population of China being deprived of the vital dry season glacial meltwater. The map also shows where marine ecosystems will be fundamentally changed by ocean acidification.  This will greatly impact coastal communities relying on subsistence fishing of reef species, and could cause substantial losses in jobs and revenue for commercial fishing. The hottest days here in North America could rise by 18-22 degrees!  See for yourself how climate change will affect human activity and check out the interactive map here.
Long-haul truck drivers may stop for the night but most of the time their trucks never get a rest. The engine is idled to heat or cool their cab and to power on-board appliances during their rest period. This idling burns a gallon of diesel fuel per hour and produces noise, vibrations and fumes. TSE1The Truck Stop Electrification Project helps drivers, their trucks and our planet rest a bit easier. Supported by Carbonfund.org, the project reduces tailpipe emissions from freight trucks that transport our consumer goods all across the country. Advanced truck stop electrification technology allows drivers to shut off their engines when they stop for the night. This system consists of an in-cab service module connected via a flexible hose to an efficient external unit that heats, cools, and powers the interior of the truck, and lets the driver run the radio and check email without forcing the engine to burn diesel while saving about a gallon of diesel per hour. There are over one hundred locations throughout the United States.
Thursday, 22 October 2009 18:22

Better Know a Partner: CIS Abroad

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CISLargeContinuing with our “Better Know a Partner” series, this week we had the chance to talk with Amanda Bernhard from CIS Abroad.  She gave us the inside scoop on how studying abroad and environmental awareness can go hand in hand. What makes CIS so great? There are many study abroad providers out there, but few provide their students with such individual and personal attention as CIS. We believe that studying in another country is a profound and life-changing experience for any person to have, and that it is our duty to ensure that young people who are enjoying this experience, often for the first time, are provided with heart-felt, quality assistance throughout the whole process that allows them to really understand the world from a new perspective. What steps has CIS taken to “Reduce What You Can, Offset What You Can’t”? CIS does everything it can, being mostly an office-bound organization, to limit the uses of electricity, water, and paper by all the staff. We reuse paper that’s only been printed on one side, we order fewer and fewer promotional brochures every year and only give them out when necessary, instead of using them as our main promotional tool. We also set up Webinars and telephone conferences to reduce the amount of travel time and emissions for advisers and staff members. In addition to these measures, we offset the air travel of all our students studying abroad, the travel to universities around the country for our staff members, and the commuting travel to and from the office for all our staff members. We also purchase “Green Electricity” to offset the use of electricity in the office. What’s your favorite healthy living tip? Bike to work as much as you can! This is healthy for you AND better for the environment! Why did you partner with Carbonfund.org? Because we understand that our profession creates an enormous amount of carbon emissions and we wanted to do something to rectify that. Having students see the world is incredibly important to us, but so is the health of our planet, and Carbonfund.org allows us to promote one while supporting the other!
Monday, 19 October 2009 17:02

Mississippi Group Files Global Warming Lawsuit

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I was looking through the news today and I noticed an interesting story about how a group of people in New Orleans are suing oil and gas companies because of the role global warming played in Hurricane Katrina. The WSJ summed it all up pretty well (read the whole article for more, obviously):
The suit was brought by landowners in Mississippi, who claim that oil and coal companies emitted greenhouse gasses that contributed to global warming that, in turn, caused a rise in sea levels, adding to Hurricane Katrina’s ferocity.
The premise behind the suit is basic - since oil and coal companies willfully caused the emissions of billions of tons of CO2, they are at least in part responsible for the damage of the ferocious hurricanes of 2006. While people will certainly argue with the science, there are many models and predictions out there that state that warmer ocean temperatures caused by global warming create fiercer hurricanes (see the IPCC). So it is not like the plaintiffs are grabbing for straws. In my non-legal opinion, it seems unlikely that this suit will actually be something that will in and of itself shake the foundation of our nation. But the implications could be great due to the precedent that this is setting. Is it right to sue a company (or group of companies) for their greenhouse gas emissions? What grounds does anyone have to sue an American company over a Chinese one? A start-up polluter vs. a company that emitted millions of tons but went out of business 30 years ago? Thoughts? Comment below. Pls. remember to offset your carbon footprint, such as through our program, Live Climate, here.
Friday, 16 October 2009 19:04

Give the Gift of Carbon Offsets for Sweetest Day

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candybagSaturday October 17th is Sweetest Day!  This holiday is rumored to have originated with a candy company employee looking to start a philanthropic tradition of giving out boxes of free candy in Ohio.  Today it is celebrated as an opportunity to give small gifts to people in your life to show them that you care.  Why not make some Domino® Certified CarbonFree® Rock Candy? Domino Certified CarbonFree Sugar is available in select markets and has a net-zero carbon footprint after a rigorous life-cycle assessment of its carbon footprint and balancing it with clean renewable energy production and supply. Or, buy some candy and then make the wrappers into a cool bag like this one.  Or just show your loved ones you care by giving the gift of a carbon offset!  I think that's pretty sweet.

100 years ago, the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley in Northeastern Louisiana was a wetland ecosystem that supported 22 million acres of forested habitat. After decades of land conversion for agriculture this region now supports less than 20% of that forested habitat. With help from the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Trust for Public Land, Carbonfund.org is working to restore some of this area to its original splendor. tensas2The Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge Reforestation Project will restore approximately 1,870 acres of native bottomland hardwood forest that will re-establish habitat for an estimated 400 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish including threatened and endangered species such as the Louisiana Black Bear and the Florida Panther. The newly forested area will also benefit the local community by providing suitable areas for hiking and biking, a destination for school groups and an opportunity for nature photography. Reforestation and forest preservation carbon offset projects are part of the global warming solution. Forest-based carbon offset projects fight climate change by sequestering carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere in trees and soil and have many co-benefits for the community and local wildlife. Forest preservation creates jobs, maintains and expands wildlife habitats, protects biodiversity, and improves local environmental quality. This project was the first reforestation project in North America to be validated to both the Voluntary Carbon Standard and the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standards. To learn more about this and other Carbonfund.org carbon offset projects visit www.carbonfund.org/projects.

Friday, 16 October 2009 15:46

Wedding Photos with Dreamtime Images

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CarbonFree® Partner Dreamtime Images is a wedding photojournalist organization.  Run by magazine and newspaper photojournalist dreamtime_images_largeNathan Welton, their style ranges from energetic and adventurous to chic and youthful.  Nathan first learned to capture life's most fleeting moments by shooting world-class rock climbers, Tour de France cyclists, and Olympic-caliber equestrian riders.  His work has appeared in Backpacker, Natural History, Scuba Diving, Practical Horseman, and many others. Besides doing the everyday things like using rechargeable batteries, electronic proofing, and recycling, Nathan decided to take the extra step and offset Dreamtime Images in order to take that important step forward.  He encourages every couple to offset their wedding with Carbonfund.org to help our transition to a clean energy future. Dreamtime Images proudly belongs to the Wedding Photojournalist Association, which hand-selects the finest documentary wedding photographers in the world (the organization only admits 5% of its applicants). The organization has awarded the studio's photos numerous awards.  After spending some time on their website, I'm truly amazed at the depth of the photos.  Planning a wedding?  Check them out.
Thursday, 15 October 2009 14:12

New Bedford Landfill Gas-to-Energy Project

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The New Bedford Landfill Gas-to-Energy project is a renewable energy project that helps reduce the amount of energy we need to produce from dirty fuel sources like coal and oil.  The benefits of this project are two-fold: not only does it flare methane, which is about 23 times more potent as New Bedforda greenhouse gas at capturing heat, it provides fuel for four reciprocating internal combustion engine-generators.  The project produces both power for the regional electricity grid and also reduces the amount of methane released into our atmosphere. The destruction of methane from these types of projects is important in the fight against climate change because methane is far more efficient as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. One of the real concerns about climate change is that as the frozen tundra of areas such as Siberia and Northern Canada melt, an enormous amount of methane - which was previously trapped in the permafrost - will be released into our atmosphere. The specific environmental benefits of the New Bedford Landfill project are significantly decreased methane and carbon dioxide emissions, waste management, odor control and less localized air pollution, reduction of local water pollution, and clean energy production. This third-party verified carbon offset project meets American Carbon Registry / Environmental Resources Trust’s Monitoring, Reporting & Verification Protocol and the Chicago Climate Exchange standards.  To learn more about our renewable energy projects, please visit them here.