Tuesday, 01 September 2009 15:06

Coloradans Recognized for Work on Renewable Energy

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The Colorado Renewable Energy Society (CRES) awarded its 2009 Larson-Notari Award for distinguished service and contributions to the field of renewable energy and its 2008 Volunteer of the Year Award. CRES, based in Golden, Colo., is a nonprofit organization working to increase awareness of the economic and environmental benefits of renewables and energy efficiency. logoWinner of the Larson-Notari Award is Carol Tombari, Manager of Stakeholder Relations at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. At NREL, she works on electric utility and economic development issues. Prior to this, she was president of Mountain Energy Consultation, specializing in pubilc policy and programs on renewables, efficiency and the environmental impact of energy use. She has also led three delegations of state energy officials to China to discuss policies to facilitate the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency. CRES' 2008 Volunteer of the Year is Jerry Stevenson, Co-Chair of CRES' 2008 Colorado Renewable Energy Conference. Stevenson was recognized for his energy and dedication to the event; he volunteered while working as an engineer for the US Forest Service. The next Colorado Renewable Energy Conference is slated for June 18-20, 2010 in Montrose, Colo.
COA1College of the Atlantic, the first college known to become carbon neutral, is now offsetting its emissions through Carbonfund.org and supporting the truck stop electrification project. Available in over 30 states around the country, the project enables long-haul truck drivers such as those carrying freight across states to avoid idling their engines for power and for heat/air conditioning. Drivers can instead get connected to equipment at truck stops to, for example, power and heat their cabs, which can save about a gallon of diesel an hour and reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) and other tailpipe emissions. “Colleges and universities are uniquely positioned to demonstrate that acting wisely to address the challenge of climate change is both the right thing to do as well as the smart thing to do. Higher education has a fundamental responsibility to move beyond business as usual, and set an example for our students and for society. Inaction in the face of the indisputable knowledge we have about a future dominated by the consequences of climate change would be inconsistent with our values and our mission.” said David Hales, president of the College. COA2COA, which became carbon neutral in Dec. 2007 following a pledge to be the first, is a member of the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) program. The College recently filed its Climate Action Plan with the program, detailing further steps to reduce carbon emissions. Already, the College has taken steps to reduce its carbon footprint, including: - a comprehensive energy audit and energy efficiency improvements to campus buildings. - using renewable electricity - opening six energy-efficient student residences in August 2008 - using heavy insulation for campus buildings (the College is in Maine after all!) - heating buildings with renewable wood pellets and using water-saving toilets The college is also looking into heating buildings with biomass fuel. Carbonfund.org is excited to work with College of the Atlantic in continuing to achieve its carbon neutrality goals! Learn more about the truck stop electrification project here. Carbonfund.org is also a proud member of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).
Thursday, 07 January 2010 16:59

It's Cold Outside! Is Global Warming -Really- Over?

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Most people in the Northern Hemisphere are deep within the clutches of winter's cold. Washington, DC (where I live) received record levels of snow in December, and January has been cold enough to keep me indoors more than I care to admit. This same story is playing out all over the United States. With the cold - crops in the Southeast that are not accustomed to the cold are freezing, and the normally adept American heartland is coping with wind chills that are dipping well into negative figures. So what is the deal? Did we already solve the climate crisis with reductions and carbon offsets? Does this prove that global warming was never happening in the first place? Unfortunately, the answer to these questions is no. While your actions to reduce your carbon footprint today are immensely important, there is a lot more work to be done as the existence of cold weather does not disprove the existence of man-made global warming. Even in a warming world, there will still be winter and there will still be seasons. It is easy to forget those hot summer days when it is 10 degrees outside, but it doesn't mean that the summer wasn't hot. The easiest to understand write-up (that I found) about this cold winter is offered to us by the Christian Science Monitor Bright Green Blog. To paraphrase the three reasons why cold weather doesn't negate global warming (and I highly suggest going over to read the piece):
  1. It's not actually that cold - it is cold right now, but it is not like every place is setting record lows. Some might even say that winters like this are more like the winters we used to have; but due to a recent string of warmer than average winters this one just feels colder.
  2. Some places are really hot right now- Australia and New Zealand are currently in the midst of record heat waves, and Bulgaria is close to 72 degrees right now. The 2000s were the hottest decade on record, with the 1990s closely trailing. In fact, over the last ten years, the only continent to not experience warmer than average temperatures was North America.
  3. Nobody said it would never get cold again - Winter is supposed to be colder than Summer - and a cold streak is perfectly reasonable in winter. But with global warming, the incidence of record cold days to record warm days has shown a measurable and significant drop over the last 60 years.
There are other reasons for why this cold weather doesn't mean an end to global warming explained in the article that I do encourage you to read. My take on the weather is two fold:
  1. People have short-term memories - it is hard to remember the summer heat when you are bundled up, your toes are cold and your nose is running like a faucet.
  2. People confuse weather with climate - it is nearly impossible to link any single weather event to global warming - hot or cold, catastrophic or normal - there are just too many factors at play. So one cold streak doesn't disprove global warming just like one warm streak doesn't prove it. The best measures of the climate come from scientific analysis and from observing long term trends.
Remember this winter as you are judiciously using your furnace to stay warm that this doesn't mean that the climate has been saved. It is still our responsibility to fight global warming and to reduce what we can, and offset what we can't.
Grounds for Change, a specialty coffee roaster based in the Seattle area, has released another coffee in its disaster relief/NGO support series. The Japan Relief Blend released today is aimed at providing coffee drinkers with a simple way to donate to relief efforts in Japan. The Japan Relief Blend is Fair Trade, Organic and CarbonFree® Certified, and for each regularly priced 12 ounce bag purchased, Grounds for Change will donate $2.00 to the Japan Earthquake fund at Mercy Corps, a relief and community support organization based in Portland, Oregon. Japan Relief Blend: http://www.groundsforchange.com/shop/product.php?pid=152 "Grounds for Change is an engaged member of our global community and as such, we feel compelled to reach out to those in the Miyagi, Fukushima and Iwate Prefectures, as well as other communities affected by the March 11th earthquake, to provide much-needed assistance," said Kelsey Marshall, Co-Founder of Grounds for Change. "The need for relief is massive and the urgency is acute. Many people want to help but don’t know where to start. We’re making it easy for those who drink coffee to make a contribution." Grounds for Change roasts exclusively Fair Trade Certified, Organic, CarbonFree® Certified coffee which is grown in shaded conditions. In 2008, Grounds for Change partnered with CarbonFund.org to offset 100% of the global warming emissions associated with the full lifecycle of their coffee. Grounds for Change is the first coffee roaster in the country to complete the rigorous third-party certification process necessary to obtain the CarbonFree® Certified Product label. Grounds for Change is also a member of 1% for the Planet and donates at least 1% of its revenues to environmental organizations each year. In addition to donating to numerous disaster relief efforts throughout its eight years, Grounds for Change has developed partnerships with a number of non-profit organizations such as The Humane Society of the United States, Wildlife Land Trust, Seattle Audubon Society and others. Grounds for Change donates a portion of sales from each of these partnership coffees to support the on-going efforts of these valuable organizations. Grounds for Change coffee is served at independent caf� locations around the country and is available online exclusively at www.GroundsforChange.com. Press release reprinted from CSRwire.com.
CODiCODi Direct is a leading manufacturer and supplier of laptop bags and cases, mobile security and accessories.  Since 1992, their unique products have been simplifying mobile life.  They have a strong commitment to quality, value, customer service, and limiting their environmental impact.  That's why CODi ships CarbonFree® with Carbonfund.org by offsetting emissions related to shipping in support of Carbonfund.org third-party validated carbon reduction projects. With messenger bags, backpacks, rolling cases, totes, and even checkpoint friendly bags, CODi has a reliable bag for anybody.  And until January 31st, CODi is giving out a special 15% discount to Carbonfund.org supporters.  Just use the discount code "CARBONFREE" at checkout to save 15% on your entire order. "Being eco-conscious is a growing concern for us as an organization and is shaping the decision-making of many of our corporate customers," explained CODi spokesperson Julie Bancroft.  "Because our customers' needs are the cornerstone of everything we do, we have partnered with Carbonfund.org to echo our commitment to them and the environment." Carbonfund.org is proud to have CODi as a valuable partner in the fight against climate change.  To learn more or take advantage of your discount, visit www.codidirect.com.
Thursday, 21 October 2010 17:40

Leaders in Procurement Convene, Reduce Emissions

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Government procurement has helped drive the market towards more sustainable and innovative products. The federal government has required, for example, that all new federal facilities meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification standards. Next month, the country’s leaders in the government procurement process will be recognized for their efforts at the 2010 Excellence in Partnership Awards ceremony. By working with Carbonfund.org and with a generous donation from Office Depot, the Coalition for Government Procurement has calculated and offset the show’s carbon footprint by supporting third-party validated carbon reduction projects. This year’s awards will also highlight two sustainability leaders with Green Contractor Awards (read more on this year’s winners soon). If the companies highlighted next month are any indication, expect government procurement to continue to help lead the nation towards a sustainable future. If you're interested in attending this year's ceremony, please contact the Coalition for Government Procurement here.
Tuesday, 13 October 2009 11:23

#ClimateTuesday is Here!

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#ClimateTuesday is here and we’re taking over facebook and twitter. Today is the day to invite your friends and supporters to get involved in a 350 event. Can we make #climatetuesday a trending topic? Can we double our registrations for the event? I think we can! On October 24, events are happening in over 150 nations across the world. In Botswana, the Maru-a-Pula school will be hosting a Green Drive “to change attitudes and lifestyle of our students and our community.” They will be launching a new recycling center, promoting their organic garden and a strong treaty in Copenhagen. In the Maldives, a country whose citizens will lose their homes and way of life if we don’t reach this goal, a team of divers will build an artificial reef shaped like the three numbers: 3, 5 and 0. (They've produced an awesome video.) In Washington DC, local leaders and activists will be marching to the White House to call on Obama and the nation to get a strong international treaty. Not half-measures or baby steps, but a comprehensive global deal on protecting the earth’s climate. Find an event in your area, and help us spread the word! If you are in DC and reaching out to DC folks, here’s the DC event: http://bit.ly/381tFG DC tweet: RT @Carbonfundorg: #climatetuesday action: join @350 on facebook & join events around the world on Oct. 24th ! http://bit.ly/381tFG #green #climatebill For those outside of DC, here’s the main 350 event: http://bit.ly/1pUcwZ National Tweet: RT @Carbonfundorg: #climatetuesday action: join @350 on facebook & join events around the world on Oct. 24th ! http://bit.ly/1pUcwZ #green #climatebill People talking about #climatetuesday on Twitter
Wednesday, 04 November 2009 11:09

Climate Refugees

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tuvaluAs sea levels rise, the picture of a new kind of refugee emerges.  Climate refugees are people displaced by global warming and related environmental disasters. Hundreds of thousands of these refugees have already been displaced from permanently flooded coastal areas in places like Bohla Island in Bangladesh and the Carteret Islands in Papua New Guinea.  The 10,000 Tuvaluans living on the low island atoll of Tuvalu pictured here may be next. But rising sea levels do not only affect these exotic far away places.  Nearly a quarter of the world's population lives in low coastal areas.  Some of the world's great cities like London, Miami, New York, New Orleans, Mumbai, Cairo, Amsterdam, Tokyo and Shanghai are vulnerable to rising sea levels.  According to Elaine Kurtenbach of the Associated Press, Chinese cities are among the largest and most threatened.  In Shanghai, developers seem to ignore this threat, and they are building new infrastructure on the densely populated coasts.  By 2070, experts estimate that nearly 150 million people will be living in areas vulnerable to flooding from rising sea levels.