"...Emissions are emissions. You've just got to do the math. It's not a matter of politics or morality or anything else. It's just math." - US State Department envoy Todd SternAs the U.N. Climate talks in Copenhagen heat up, some predictable arguments are starting to play out in real time. There are still major questions as to whether an agreement is going to be reached, and moreover how that agreement should look and function. Tensions at Copenhagen are rising between nations, and particularly between the U.S. and China. Todd Stern, a top U.S. State Department negotiator in Copenhagen sums up the American point of view quite well: "If you look around at what countries in the world, they're actually doing a lot. China has put down a number. It might not be the number everyone would like to see. But it is a significant proposal." Mr. Stern diplomatically states that though commitments have been made by nations, they are not quite enough yet (I assume that he is including the U.S. in his assessment). But currently, the world appears to be waiting for the U.S. to lead, both in terms of action and financial support for green initiatives in developing nations. Developing nations feel as though developed nations have an obligation to do more to reduce emissions, considering developed nations have been spewing massive amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere for centuries now. The U.S. does not believe that developed nations should be penalized for historical emissions because the world was 'ignorant' to the problem of global warming up until modern times. How the world decides to reconcile these disparate positions is the challenge of Copenhagen. Stay tuned to the Carbonfund.org blog for regular Copenhagen updates. Carbonfund.org will reporting live from Copenhagen starting next week so check back regularly and follow us on twitter!
Friday, 18 December 2009 17:45 Written by Paul Burman
"This is going to be hard. This is hard within countries, it is going to be even harder between countries." - President ObamaPresident Obama spoke today before leaving the Copenhagen climate conference to announce that a deal has been brokered. What the deal actually means or will accomplish is still a little unclear, but the fact that leaders from countries all over the world are still talking is a good sign. The deal provides a means to monitor and verify emissions cuts by developing countries but has less ambitious climate targets than some governments had initially sought, reports the Washington Post. Moreover, industrialized and developing nations agreed to list their national actions and commitments in their fight against climate change, while vowing to take action to prevent the Earth's temperature from rising by more than 2 degrees Celsius. They also agreed to provide information on the implementation of their actions, which would be subject to international review and analysis. The deal that was reached at the zero hour of the conference included the heads of state of the United States, China, India and South Africa - some of the world's largest emitters. Though a binding agreement was not reached at Copenhagen, the door to future success is not closed yet. As the US inches closer to domestic climate legislation, our role in international negotiations may grow. What the Copenhagen conference may have proven is that the world needs more political leadership by governments on global warming to result in an international treaty. With every nation afraid to take steps out of fear of falling behind, it will take countries to stand up and say enough is enough and let actions finally match the rhetoric. Follow Carbonfund.org's blog and Carbonfundorg on Twitter for updates.
Today, the US pledged to support a fund of up to $100 Billion annually to help developing nations adapt to and mitigate climate change. This staggering financial figure has been a major stumbling block for the negotiations so far, and the US committment (as well as that from other governments, such as the European Union and Japan) should show the world that the developed nations are willing to bend to get a deal done. But on the same day that progress was made, some stunning news was leaked, and then confirmed. Efforts of the Copenhagen climate meeting, if implemented, would lead to an increase in temperatures of 3 degrees C, not 2 degrees C as initially anticipated. According to a posting in the News section of the COP15 website, this could cause:
...a warming of three or four degrees Celsius will result in tens to hundreds of millions more people being flooded each year due to rising sea levels. "There will be serious risks and increasing pressures for coastal protection in Southeast Asia (Bangladesh and Vietnam), small islands in the Caribbean and the Pacific, and large coastal cities, such as Tokyo, New York, Cairo and London,"Does this mean that the yet to be agreed upon targets are too weak? Probably. But should we throw the baby out with the bath water? Absolutely not. We have done nothing for too long, and as the whole world knows the time for action is now. I think that all of us that understand the sciene want ambitious action now and a zero carbon world in the near future. But that was never really in the cards. One of the best outcomes of Copenhagen may be that for the first time ever, the entire world may finally be able to agree on something having to do with carbon emissions. Whether that is codifying the rules for forest protection or coming to an accord on real emissions reductions targets - the agreement is what matters. Targets can be strenghtened and improved. But if the fear of doing too little leads us to doing nothing, then this conference will be viewed as a failure by many. (Image Courtesy of the AP)
Wednesday, 03 February 2010 13:23 Written by Amy Givler
The January 31 deadline for nations to submit their emissions reduction pledges has passed, but the UN feels that it may not be enough to keep the Earth’s temperature from rising beyond the approximately two-degree target temperature established during the Copenhagen climate conference held in December. Fifty-five nations, including China, the US, India, as well as the European Union, have submitted their goals in reducing emissions. Together they produce about 78 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and have varying commitment letters pledging to reduce emissions anywhere from 17 percent to 45 percent by 2020. Developed countries also made commitments supporting financial assistance to less developed countries to adapt to climate change. Despite the efforts being made by nations worldwide, some analysts believe that efforts have fallen short as a result of emissions not being cut enough and the lack of a legally binding treaty. Regardless of both the positive and negative reviews, UN climate chief Yvo de Boer believes that the pledges sent in by the January 31 deadline should at least help to reinvigorate negotiations toward a stronger agreement on climate and hopes that a more binding pact can be completed at the UN climate conference in Mexico City at the end of this year.
When it comes to roofing, sure it's hip to be "weatherproof " and "sans leaks," but if you want your roof to be really cool then you need to consider the hue. PPG Industries launched an online tool that helps architects and building owners select the best cool roof coating color based on reflectance. A highly reflective paint job means more of the sun's rays are bouncing off the house, keeping it cooler and requiring less air conditioning. By cranking down the A/C, you're reducing the amount of energy your house is consuming while also shrinking your utility bill. Pretty neat. Many of the colors in the Cool Colors Database have even been many registered with ENERGY STAR or the Cool Roof Rating Council, which is an EPA-recognized certification body for the ENERGY STAR program. “We understand how difficult it is for architects and specifiers to sort through manufacturers’ catalogs and industry listings to find the right colors and products for their projects,” said Scott Moffatt, PGG’s director of marketing for coil and extrusion coatings. “This tool enables them to expand the search process and accelerate it at the same time.” Tres cool.
Tropical Traders Specialty Foods, LLC- the company behind the Royal Hawaiian Honey brand- is a 2011 recipient of a CoolCalifornia Small Business Award, administered by the California Air Resources Board. The program recognizes small California businesses (under 100 employees) that have demonstrated exceptional leadership and taken action to reduce their energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions and made notable, voluntary achievements towards reducing their climate impact. Royal Hawaiian Honey is certified CarbonFree® by Carbonfund.org. In order to qualify for this certification, Tropical Traders commissioned a rigorous product life-cycle analysis on its Royal Hawaiian Honey line to determine its carbon footprint. This calculates how much energy is consumed in the production, shipping and distribution of all of the components that go into each container of Royal Hawaiian Honey; including glass jars and plastic tubs, the production and printing of its label, the amount of energy used in bottling the honey, and shipping from the Big Island to markets on the U.S. mainland all the way to product use and disposal phase. Once this figure was determined, the energy used is mitigated through the support of Carbonfund.org’s portfolio of certified carbon offset projects. By taking responsibility for its carbon footprint and neutralizing its emissions, the Royal Hawaiian Honey label is working within its industry to make a difference. The Royal Hawaiian Honey brand is comprised of three single-origin varietals, all harvested on the Big Island of Hawaii: Organic Christmas Berry Honey, Organic Lehua Honey, and Macadamia Nut Blossom Honey. The honeys are available is 12oz. glass jars and 44oz. PP containers. Royal Hawaiian Honeys are:
- 100% raw
- Certified organic
- Certified CarbonFree®
- From a family-owned and operated apiary, 100% Hawaii-made
- Single-origin varietals- honeys are from particular blooms and distinctive in color, flavor and aroma.
Thursday, 26 January 2012 07:43 Written by Linda Kelly
True Liberty® Bags provides all-purpose home and garden bags and accessories to any type of gardener or homemaker. With the smell-proof and freezer-to-heat safe bag material, which upholds to water, grease, oil, and fat, these bags are extremely versatile.True Liberty® Bags are produced from FDA-approved food-grade, absolutely BPA-free material, and are all made in the USA. In the kitchen, Liberty Bags are perfect for use with baked goods, bulk foods, herbs, meats and produce. You can bake, boil, freeze, microwave, line your rice/slow cooker, or contain spoiled food odors. In the garden, Liberty Bags are great for seed germination, plant pollination, fertilizer or pesticide storage, plant protection from pests or extreme weather, and storage of harvested crops. True Liberty® values serving a grassroots community of advocates and businesses who share a ‘think global and act local’ mindset. From the purchasing of supplies, to the shipping of products, True Liberty® is constantly making eco-friendly decisions. True Liberty’s office, warehouse, shipping, and website are carbon-neutral through an emissions offsetting program with Carbonfund.org. Being carbon-neutral is another way to demonstrate a commitment to reducing environmental impact, and enables customers to share in that commitment. True Liberty® also uses UPS Carbon Neutral shipping for all product shipments, and uses digital files rather than paper whenever possible for administrative functions. This choice saves on time, space, energy, and other natural resources, especially trees! All brochures and media documents are made from recycled paper content as much as possible, and products are packaged in Forest Stewardship Council-approved paper-board boxes that are printed using soy-based ink. Discover what commercial organic farmers, food storage experts, and hobby veggie growers are using to keep their foods fresh, healthy, and delicious, with all the aroma and flavor locked right in! Shop online today for your supply of eco-conscious and versatile True Liberty® Bags.
Monday, 10 January 2011 13:07 Written by Jordana Fyne
For anyone who's ever bought an item sealed in plastic clamshell packaging, it's no secret how difficult it is to open. The shocker is that some manufacturers are finally heeding our frustration and ditching the clamshell -- not just because it's annoying but largely due to the significant cost savings and reduction in environmental impact. When electronic toothbrush manufacturer Philips switched to recycled-cardboard packaging, plastic mass was reduced from 60g to 2g, shipping became "much less expensive," and the company saw a 60% improvement in approval ratings. This is just one trend highlighting the shift in private business to rework products to be more sustainable, as reported in the Consumer Electronics Association 2010 Sustainability Report. The document showcases the best in business when it comes to consumer electronics practices and offers case studies from manufacturers and retailers that focus on energy use, packaging, e-waste and other environmental issues the industry needs to tackle. The report holds up the CarbonFree® Certified Motorola CITRUS™ smartphone as an example of sustainable product design. The CITRUS features a housing made from 25% post-consumer recycled plastic, which saves 20% of the energy needed to make the phone housing when compared with standard plastic. It also results in less landfill waste and encourages more recycling by creating a market for used materials. Positive environmental impacts measured in the report include:
- U.S. sales of EPEAT-certified desktops, laptops, and displays grew nearly 10 percent in 2009, to a total of 48.5 million units.
- Currently, more than 27,000 consumer electronic product models meet ENERGY STAR specifications set by the EPA and Department of Energy.
- In 2009, CEA estimated that the electronics recycling efforts of manufacturers and retailers in the U.S. diverted more than 200 million pounds of electronics from landfills.
- In 2009, the 10 largest CE companies by global revenue donated $882 million, in both cash and products, to support activities that enhance local environments, social well-being, and/or economic development.