Thursday, 16 December 2010 15:44 Written by Jordana Fyne
For more than a century, much of Earth's warming was buried deep in oceans and a new study reveals it's starting to surface in Antarctica. Global sea temperatures are on the rise, but the largest increase has been measured in the frigid waters off the Western Antarctic Peninsula, according to a report presented at a recent meeting of the American Geophysical Union by physical oceanographer Doug Martinson. The warm water is raising air temperatures, melting glaciers and already impacting penguin colonies. Scientists have estimated that more than 90% of the warming from human-generated greenhouse gases would end up in the oceans. Through the process of upwelling, that heat is now reaching the surface and causing 87% of alpine glaciers in that region to retreat, taking with it the Adele penguins' feeding platform – not to mention threatening their ice-dwelling diet of Antarctic krill and silverfish. Scientists are particularly concerned about the Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers, located below the Antarctic Peninsula, which are thinning at a rate of 160 feet a year as warm waters eat away at their underside. "There's the potential that we're locked into long term sea level rise for a long time," Martinson told Discovery News. This finding makes finding solutions to reduce future greenhouse gas emissions even more important as we begin to feel the toll of past emissions. Find out what you can do to mitigate further warming at Carbonfund.org.
Dead and blood thirsty are all the rage in Hollywood, and America is more than willing to spend $10 a ticket to watch the gorefest (or smoochfest, depending on the vampire movie). But what if this vampire costs you around $100 a year and stalks your home? Vampire energy, AKA standby power, is the phenomenon where electronics suck energy even when they're turned off. By leaving gadgets like your computer, television or even electric toothbrush plugged into the wall, they're still leaching power and represent 5-10 percent of an average home's power usage, or 1 percent of our global carbon dioxide emissions, according to a GOOD Magazine report. The top power wasters in most homes are cell phones, digital cameras and music players, power tools and other electronic devices. Rather than anointing your laptop with garlic, the best way to avoid vampire energy is by using a power strip. All electronics can remain plugged in and when you turn them off and flip the power strip switch, you know they're really off. There's no reason not to get a power strip—saving on energy and on your utility bill is just practical. Check out Carbonfund.org partner Ecostrip's site for more information and purchasing options.
Today, the EPA proposed a plan that will account for and report Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) for all major US emitters. The plan would cover up to 90% of all US based emissions and would serve as the basis for any proposed cap-and-trade emissions reductions system. As reported by the Washington Post:
"If adopted by the end of the year , the new rule could produce greenhouse gas statistics by the end of 2010. The EPA requirements would apply to large industrial sources that emit 25,000 metric tons or more a year, including oil and chemical refineries; cement, glass, pulp and paper plants; manufacturers of motor vehicles and engines; and confined animal feeding operations."Setting the bar for inclusion in this mandatory reporting at 25,000 metric tons means that virtually all small and medium sized businesses would not be required to report their emissions. Carbonfund.org, for example, estimates that many standard businesses with less than 20 employees are responsible for about 140 metric tons of CO2 a year. Businesses range in size and activity, but one can reasonably assume that most small and medium sized businesses not engaged in industrial practices would be under the reporting limit. A GHG reporting system is yet another step in the right direction for American action on global warming. By understanding our nation's carbon footprint, our government will be able to intelligently devise a cap-and-trade system that will produce real world emissions cuts. To better understand your carbon footprint or to estimate your business' GHG emissions, go to Carbonfund.org.
Monday, 13 September 2010 16:35 Written by Greg Taylor
One of our newest partners, All American Bail Bonds, illustrates a growing trend in the insurance industry– taking care of the planet. Though not typically seen as large carbon emitters, the insurance industry is heavily weighed down with paperwork. If you haven’t taken out a homeowners or life insurance policy, you’ll be astounded at the number of copies of documents you’re required to sign and receive. My recent homeowners insurance policy ran almost 40 pages. Two weeks ago we wrote about the unfulfilled concept of the paperless office. Promisingly, more companies are signing up to reduce their environmental footprints and invest in carbon reduction projects. Joining Transamerica, Infiniti Insurance and others, All American Bail Bonds has taken steps to reduce and offset its carbon footprint. By instituting a comprehensive electronic data system, the company has reduced its paper usage by over half and converted all remaining printing to recycled paper. On a related note, more than 100 of the world’s top insurance companies recently issued a UN-backed call for governments to use risk management techniques and insurance know-how to help developing nations adapt to climate change. Read more here.
Monday, 31 January 2011 15:00 Written by Dare Wenzler
A new company called Earth Swag is introducing a line of reusable snack bags and sandwich wraps. There are few alternatives to small, plastic bags... until now. Earth Swag is releasing two new options: bags and wraps. The snack bags are a way to pack snacks to take for lunch, in the car or out for a hike. The sandwich wrap will keep a sandwich snug until lunch and then open into a placemat. Earth Swag reusable snack bags and sandwich wraps are made of a patented cotton that is both food-safe and bacteria-inhibiting. The fabric is also stain resistant, water-resistant and machine washable. The bags and wraps have no plastic coating or liner, and the fabric contains no phthalates, lead, PVC or polyurethane. Additionally, the fabric is printed with images of the Earth incorporated into various whimsical designs. Each baggy purchased has the potential to keep hundreds of plastic baggies out of our oceans, streams, and landfills each year. Earth Swag has also partnered with Carbonfund.org to offset their carbon footprint, and the business is committed to green practices. The product line includes: 1. A set of 2 snack baggies ($15.99) 2. A sandwich wrap that opens up to a place mat ($11.99) Both products are available in 2 prints: Bugs or Flowers. Earth Swag reusable snack bags and sandwich wraps provide people who are tired of plastic bags a safe and environmentally friendly way to pack their lunch or take snacks on the go.
Friday, 10 July 2009 14:11 Written by Amy Givler
US News editor and Alpha Consumer blogger, Kimberly Palmer asked, Are Eco-Resorts Really Green? Initially skeptical, she wades through greenwash and finds real eco-friendly tourist destinations, among them Carbonfund.org partners. She mentions for example EcoTour Adventures in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and Craftsman B&B on the pacific coast of Oregon who are committed to sustainability. When evaluating the green claims of any business, you can look for these signs: 1. They express their environmental commitment on their website or materials; 2. They are transparent about what they have done to reduce what they can or offset what they can't; 3. If you need more info, the contact person is familiar with and clear about their business' efforts. Getting green is crucial for the tourism industry. As a reminder, check out this article from the BBC yesterday that reports that the Caribbean region is among the regions said by scientists to be most at risk from the effects of global warming. Coral reefs face collapse from global warming and dealing with extreme weather is expected to cost $5 billion. Add that to the expected loss of $4 billion in travel revenue, the vacation in the Carribean in many people's dreams might, if the world doesn't take action pass into legend. We all have a carbon footprint. Take responsibility for yours now. Learn more about how you can reduce and offset your footprint on our website.
Noticeably absent from this year’s UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP) in Cancun, Mexico, is a sense of urgency and belief that much will get accomplished. While the usual actors of delegates, media and NGOs from around the world are here, there are fewer of all three roaming the conference centers. I hear no talk of a grand coalition compromise of the largest emitters–with or without the US on board–and the island and developing countries seem lacking in their exhortations to the rest of the world. Mostly, it is very quiet here. (Part of me wonders if our call a couple weeks ago for the US to stay home was heeded but without, as of yet, the second part of our call—that the rest of the world should stand up and cut a deal.) We knew attendance would be lower and, after the US elections and failure of Congress to pass energy and climate legislation this year, that the US role would be limited, decreasing the prospects of a grand agreement. But I have to wonder, where is the basic framework from Copenhagen? Last year, the agreement sitting on the table had the US reducing emissions by 17% by 2020, the EU another 25% and China reducing its carbon intensity by 45%. Canada was in, as were dozens of other countries, with real reductions or changes. That deal was there to be had when a hundred heads of state bombarded the place. Today, the Copenhagen (remember when it was renamed ‘Hopenhagen’?) agreement is nowhere to be seen and there is no talk of any leaders dropping in. A huge change. The overriding message from the last year is that governments simply will not provide the leadership we need to solve climate change. And it’s not just the US. The EU, Japan, China, India, Australia, Brazil and a hundred others have what they need to create a global pact to reduce emissions. China, India, Brazil and Indonesia, along with most of the hundred or developing countries stand to gain investment, jobs, development and technology transfer through a global cap and trade deal; the EU, Japan, Canada, Australia and many others gain efficiency, increase their competitiveness, reduce their reliance on imported energy, improve national security, clean the air and reduce health costs–all at much lower cost than going it alone. The deal is there. Is it complicated? Sure. So what? If they won’t lead, we must! Fair or not, the ball is back in our court to solve climate change, to get wind to cost less than coal and make efficient technologies a better deal than inefficient technologies. When you go carbon neutral with Carbonfund.org that is exactly what you are supporting. Over the next week at COP and months ahead, Carbonfund.org will be laying out the business and individual case for how to solve climate change, with or without government leadership. We are determined to make 2011 a monumental year in this fight. Stay tuned.
Tuesday, 07 July 2009 16:41 Written by Emily Pugliese
When Allegheny Contract Flooring joined our CarbonFree® Business Program in 2008 they pledged to “reduce, reduce, reduce” and they have taken significant steps to do just that. Through their Office of Sustainability they are working to rapidly transform their own operations to be sustainable and kind to the environment. Perhaps the most impressive achievement is their Zero Waste to Landfill Policy. To date, they have recycled more than 3,000,000 pounds of broadloom and carpet tile. Considering construction and demolition debris comprises about 40 percent of the solid waste stream this is an extremely important strategy. Where practical, some of this reclaimed material is restored and donated to charitable and other not for profit organizations, some is reused in the carpet manufacturing process, and some finds new life in the form of such disparate items as park benches, automobile accessories and curb blocks. None of it is disposed of in landfills. None of it is burned in incinerators. 100% is recycled. Allegheny Contract Flooring is New England’s largest commercial flooring company. The company was founded in 1945 and has been owned by the Auditore family ever since. Daniel and James Auditore took over ownership of the company in 2005 with the goal of not only being New England’s largest but also New England’s greenest commercial flooring company. Allegheny is offsetting their corporate footprint by supporting renewable energy, energy efficiency and reforestation projects. For more information, please visit www.alleghenycontract.com.