Last month it was revealed that a diverse group of stakeholders with political ties that cover the entire spectrum from left to right have been holding secret meetings about climate change with the support of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think-tank based in Washington D.C.
Climate change is an unavoidably, politically charged issue. These meetings are an attempt to discover ways to approach global warming in a politically viable manner. The July 2012 meeting was the fifth of such meetings, which are held secretly and speakers not revealed in order to facilitate true brainstorming, an open discussion where all sides could offer solutions without fear of reprisal.
The agenda for the most recent meeting, which was leaked online, was titled, “Price Carbon Campaign / Lame Duck Initiative: A Carbon Pollution Tax in Fiscal and Tax Reform”. However, participants claim putting a price on carbon emissions was not the only item of discussion, and neither was focus limited to the short-term.
Proponents of a carbon tax put it forward as a less complex method to begin pricing carbon emissions than cap-and-trade. Legislation for cap-and-trade collapsed in 2010 in the nation’s capital and preceded these meetings.
At the moment tax increases, carbon or otherwise, are unlikely to get off the ground, but the long-term view is that taxing CO2 could win support over taxing income. Furthermore, there is potential to use a carbon tax to tackle both global warming and the deficit.
So the question as to whether we can deal with climate change in a politically viable manner is still unanswered, but the future is looking brighter with the news that open discussions are occurring among bipartisan groups.
More than a couple of our past blog posts have covered how increasingly extreme weather is the product of climate change. However, have you stopped to ask yourself what that really means? How will climate change affect us and future generations? What things that we currently enjoy will be unavailable to our children?
A recent article covers some things that global warming is likely to ruin for our kids; things such as coffee, chocolate, strawberries. And the list isn’t limited to agricultural food items. Say goodbye to blazing fast Wi-Fi. Also your favorite vacation spot or even your home may be underwater in a few, short decades time. The country you live in may disappear. The article has some shocking images of Greenland melting away.
So what’s it going to take to help preserve the Earth as we know it? Global carbon emissions need to be reduced 80% by 2050. The U.S. has already pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels by approximately 17%. Eventually legislation will be enacted increasing the goal to a 30% reduction in 2025 and a 42% reduction in 2030, with the ultimate goal of reducing emissions 83% by 2050.
Do your part in reducing carbon emissions and getting us closer to meeting the goals outlined above. Start by switching your Internet browser to www.envirosearch.org. Your regular, daily Internet search activities will begin contributing to renewable energy, reforestation, and energy efficiency projects. Then go to www.carbonfund.org for ideas on how to reduce your carbon footprint and offset carbon emissions. By working together, and each doing our part, we can change the fate of the planet.
A recently published study out of the University of Michigan examined Generation X’s views on climate change and found them to be largely unconcerned with the issue.
The Longitudinal Study of American Youth (LSAY) releases a quarterly research report and has followed the same 4,000 people for 25 years. Originally, in 1987, 5,900 students were selected from a national sample of 7th and 10th graders in 50 U.S. public school systems.
Generation X now comprises 32-52 year olds who are the most well-educated and scientifically savvy generation in U.S. history. However, the LSAY shows dwindling interest in climate change as it is a complex and long-term issue. The study compared responses from 2009 and 2011 and found that a scant two percent of those aged 37 to 40 follow climate change "very closely". This was a 50 percent drop from 2009 results. Over half said they follow climate change "not closely." More than 40 percent say they have only a "moderate concern" about global warming.
The most disturbing part of the report points to a disregard for future generations. Most do not see climate change as an immediate problem that requires their attention to address. A large percentage, 66 percent, said they aren’t sure that global warming is happening. About 10 percent even outright deny global warming is actually happening.
Why is Generation X disengaged, disinterested, or even openly disbelieving regarding climate change? The answer is as multifaceted as global warming itself. Disinterest in climate change is surely due in part to a massive and unprecedented disinformation campaign by oil and gas interests and conservative media outlets spanning more than a decade, even as the overwhelming scientific record points squarely to climate change. Some experts theorize issue fatigue may be the cause when a problem is long-standing. Others point to the complexity in understanding the underlying causes and potential solutions for climate change as a barrier to engagement with the issue. Still another potential answer is the distraction by other timely public policy issues. For example, interest in the economy experienced an upsurge following the Great Recession that began in 2008 to the detriment of environmental issues.
Whatever the reason, there is something every person in all generations can do to help save our planet. One easy and fast way to protect the environment is to switch your Internet browser to www.envirosearch.org. You'll be contributing to renewable energy, reforestation, and energy efficiency projects through you regular, daily Internet search activities. Another simple step is to use an emissions calculator to determine your personal contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. Then reduce your carbon footprint, plant a tree, or offset your carbon emissions.
Download and read the entire study here http://lsay.org/GenX-4.pdf.
The Earth is 70% covered by oceans, and stores about 90% of the planet’s heat. This means that ocean warming translates into global warming. Climate change deniers contend that global warming is not caused by greenhouse gas emissions, but rather by natural processes and variations. However, a study released this week proves with 99% certainty that no more than 10% of the observed increase in ocean temperatures over the past 50 years could be accounted for by natural variation.
The Human-Induced Global Ocean Warming on Multidecadal Timescales study is the most comprehensive study ever performed on rising ocean temperatures, and authored by a team of American, Indian, Japanese, and Australian scientists. According to the study, the planet’s oceans are warming at a rate of 0.20°F per decade, which affects global weather patterns leading to increasing weather extremes such as more heat waves, storms, and intense storms. Furthermore, ocean warming affects the ocean ecology itself. A few of the effects we’ve already begun to see are plankton reduction, melting sea ice, and coral die-off.
The study unequivocally points to global warming as man-made. Of course, this has been known, shown and settled for nearly twenty years by the IPCC and climate scientists around the world. But the shift to ocean warming is significant due to its proportion of the Earth and its surface as well as because the vast majority of the people on Earth live very close to rising oceans.
Four or five years ago we shifted from the question of ‘is it happening’ to ‘what to do about it’. Political and business interests have worked hard to shift this debate back again, but the real focus must remain on the numerous solutions to climate change and the dwindling timeline we have to reduce our global emissions 50-80% by mid century.
Download the full study at this link: http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v2/n7/full/nclimate1553.html
We can do a lot as individuals to combat global warming. But it is undeniable that governments can do more since they harness the power of the collective. The Obama administration’s strategy is to control global warming emissions through regulation. This week a huge victory was given to both the administration and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by the federal appeals court in the District of Columbia. The decision was unanimous in upholding the agency’s landmark rulings to control greenhouse gases.
The issue seems like a “no brainer” that the EPA should regulate greenhouse gases. However, dozens of lawsuits from industry groups and 14 states challenged four rules that aim to limit greenhouse gases. The biggest rule is the EPA’s 2009 “endangerment finding” and the foundation on which the other three rules rest. The EPA contended, and was vindicated in this ruling, that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions constitute a danger to public health and therefore could be regulated under the Clean Air Act. The three-judge panel acknowledged and gave credence to climate change as a real and legitimate threat to public health and safety. So now climate change deniers have less of a leg to stand on; the EPA based its case on sound science and careful research which stood up to a rigorous judicial review and emerged victorious.
The ruling cleared the way for the EPA to proceed with clean car standards and restrictive permits on power plants and other major industrial polluters. Perhaps now power plants will put increased effort into developing cost-effective and reliable methods to capture carbon emissions, or at least offset them. If not, the future will certainly be in renewable energy sources now that there are stricter limitations on greenhouse gas emissions.
Everyone has heard the saying that children are our future. Well, this week, a child spoke out about climate change and how the path we are on “with the earth warming, emissions and sea levels rising, our future here is questionable.”
Tcktcktck.org, the Global Campaign for Climate Action, offered young people around the world a chance for a Date with History by asking them, “If you had two minutes to tell the world's leaders what kind of future you want, what would you say?” The organization received nearly 200 video entries and thousands of votes. The winner was 17-year-old Brittany Trilford of New Zealand.
This eloquent young lady addressed heads of state from more than 130 nations on Wednesday, June 20, 2012 and spoke for the world’s approximately 3 billion children, roughly half of the Earth’s population, at this week's U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The conference is also called Rio+20 to mark the 20th anniversary of the initial Earth Summit.
“Our future is in danger. We are all aware that time is ticking and we are quickly running out” said Miss Trilford voicing many parents’ fears.
“The people [20 years ago] at the [first Earth] Summit knew there needed to be change… They made great promises... These promises are left, not broken, but empty.”
“We, the next generation, demand change; demand action, so that we can have a future.”
Watch Brittany Trilford’s moving speech on climate change here http://youtu.be/karQQb-B8Uk and click here to see The Future I Want: her winning entry for the Date with History contest http://youtu.be/hpxsvZ4eqZk.
Climate change mitigation is possible. Carbonfund.org provides a number of ways for individuals to make a difference and reduce their impact on climate change, including reducing emissions by supporting reforestation projects. Get involved now so we can build a sustainable world and ensure our children’s future.
New information is coming to light about the massive collapse of one of the world’s oldest and earliest urban civilizations. The Harappan, or Indus, civilization came into being over 4,000 years ago and existed for about 600 years before it slowly disappeared. Scientists and scholars have hypothesized about its demise. Theories range from regional conflicts to a foreign attack, but some suggest environmental issues may have been the cause.
Researchers recently published an article named, “Fluvial landscapes of the Harappan civilization” in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences outlining evidence that points to environmental factors leading to the end of this ancient civilization. The scientists studied satellite maps and collected field sediment samples, then cross-referenced them with previous archaeological findings to develop a much clearer picture of what really happened to this long-lost civilization.
The Harappan civilization is named for one of its largest cities, and occupied what is now India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and part of Afghanistan. It had a sophisticated indoor plumbing system, gridded streets, a flourishing arts and crafts community, and what appears to be a more democratic society than other large civilizations such as Egypt or Mesopotamia.
The Harappans were largely dependent upon monsoons that dried up leading to the end of their urban environment. They used the rivers and seasonal floods that were fed by these monsoons to meet their agricultural needs. Once the monsoons weakened, people slowly moved eastward away from cities into small villages and towns. The water in the area they moved to was unable to support the large cities of the past.
There are lessons to be learned from the extinction of this colossal civilization. The Harappans were overly dependent on monsoons that eventually disappeared and the U.S. is also largely dependent on somewhat predictable weather, which is now threatened by climate change. Americans need to prepare for increasingly extreme weather, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and increase energy efficiency, and we need to do it now before we suffer a similar fate to that of the Harappans.
The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) released a report on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 that estimates 150,000 additional American deaths in the country’s top 40 cities by 2100 due to the excessive heat caused by climate change.
The top three deadliest cities outlined in the analysis of peer-reviewed data include Louisville, Detroit, and Cleveland. Some other cities projected to have thousands of heat related deaths by the end of the century are Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Columbus, Denver, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Providence, St. Louis and Washington, D.C.
Why cities? Because that is where two-thirds of the U.S. population lives, and many municipal services there are not prepared to help people effectively beat the heat. Urban areas have high concentrations of poor with little to no access to air conditioning. Although everyone is at risk, children, the elderly, the obese, and those on medication are the most vulnerable.
We’re already seeing how global warming can kill with hundreds of heat related deaths annually. Extreme heat causes heat exhaustion and heat stroke and worsens illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and kidney disease. In 2006, a two-week long heat wave in California caused 655 deaths, 1,620 excess hospitalizations, and more than 16,000 additional emergency room visits, resulting in nearly $5.4 billion in costs. However, Chicago had an even deadlier record-setting heat wave in 1995 when more than 700 people died due to the excessive heat.
Some cities are learning from their experiences or heeding the warnings, and strengthening their municipal services. Chicago, Philadelphia, and Seattle have already put measures in place to lessen the risk from excessive heat days. Measures include improving the city’s heat warning system, emergency services, and establishing cooling centers.
There is hope; we can save lives by reducing emissions and improving emergency services. Some examples of climate change mitigation are supporting reforestation projects and using more renewable energy such as wind energy.
Read the report and get more information at http://www.nrdc.org/globalwarming/killer-heat/.
LEI Electronics and EcoAlkalines™ are ecstatic to be able to announce that EcoAlkalines™ Batteries, the World’s first Landfill safe, Certified Carbon Neutral Alkaline Batteries have been certified meet LEED standards.
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)® Green Building Program is a voluntary, consensus-based global rating system for buildings, homes and communities that are designed, constructed, maintained and operated for improved environmental and human health performance. LEED was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) with the intent on providing building owners and operators a concise framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations, and maintenance solutions. LEED is based on a credit system and points are allocated based on the potential environmental impacts and human benefits of each credit. Under the current LEED credit system, EcoAlkalines™ batteries can help earn one prerequisite and one point under the LEED category of Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance (EBOM) rating system.
For more information on LEED standards visit www.usgbc.org/DisplayPage.aspx?CategoryID=19
Eco Alkalines™ have been reviewed by a LEED AP third party – Above Green, LLC. Above Green has provided us with a LEED certified technical statement which explains exactly which prerequisites and points Eco Alkalines™ batteries can be used to count towards.
As per Above Green, LLC:
“ EcoAlkalines are the world's first certified carbon neutral batteries. Manufactured with 0% Mercury, 0% Lead, 0% Cadmium – EcoAlkalines™ set the standard for responsible disposable alkaline batteries. Because of these qualities, EcoAlkalines are considered an environmentally preferable product. If you own and operate a LEED Certified building, include EcoAlkalines™ as part of your purchasing policy, and earn points toward certification and recertification of your facility.”
Applicable Credit Category and Credit Name
Number of Points
MRp1: Sustainable Purchasing Policy
MRc1: Sustainable Purchasing - Ongoing Consumables
- Materials and Resources Prerequisite 1 ("MRp1"): Sustainable Purchasing Policy requires facilities managers to develop a comprehensive purchasing plan, which sets goals for the purchasing of environmental friendly products.
- Materials and Resources Credit 1 ("MRc1"): Sustainable Purchasing - Ongoing Consumables focuses on the implementation of MRp1, specifically in the procurement of environmentally friendly ongoing consumables, including batteries.
Carbonfund.org is pleased see one of our Carbon Neutral Certified Products recognized by the USGBC as meeting LEEDs Green Building Program Standards and congratulates LEI Electronics on this achievement. For more information about EcoAlkalines™ please visit: http://www.leiproducts.com/eco-alkalines and to learn more about Carbon Neutral Certification through Carbonfund.org please visit: http://carbonfund.org/offset/product-certification.
A new study named, “Dispersal will limit ability of mammals to track climate change in the Western Hemisphere” from the University of Washington released on Monday, May 14, 2012 examines how 493 animals will fare as they attempt to outrun the rising heat from climate change.
The article, authored by Carrie A. Schloss, Tristan A. Nuñez, and Joshua J. Lawler, was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and says on average 9.2% of the mammals in the study migrate too slowly to keep pace with expected climate shifts. In some places, such as the Amazon basin and parts of the Appalachian Mountains, up to 39% of animals may be unable to find suitable climates in a warming world.
Contrary to popular belief, although temperature changes are expected to be more extreme in mountainous regions, equatorial-dwelling mammals may have a rougher time moving their ranges fast enough. This is because temperatures at the equator have been fairly static and the animals that live there are adapted to steady temperatures. Conversely, animals that live in the mountains don’t have as far to go to find cooler temperatures. Flat lands are also a problem for mammals. For example, animals that live in the Central United States or the Amazon basin will need to travel farther to beat the heat.
Mammals that take several years to mature, such as New World monkeys, disperse more slowly and this puts them in danger of extinction. The study indicates that a whopping 87% of animals are expected to have smaller dispersal ranges. Of which, 20% will probably result from limited dispersal abilities rather than less suitable climates.
The analysis provides additional information on how humans might help these animals and our own plight. Reducing emissions is critical to slow down climate change. However, it is also possible to ease animal migration barriers such as shopping centers, roads, and cities. In fact, people could even build corridors to help the mammals reach safe havens in time.