Tuesday, 29 September 2009 13:00 Written by Ivan Chan
College 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. COA, 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).
Bloomberg’s Jim Efstathiou Jr. reports that the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has prepared a “discussion draft” requiring deeper reductions in greenhouse gas emissions than the levels approved by the House. The draft, which will be released on Wednesday, calls on U.S. companies to reduce their impact 20 percent by the year 2020, rather than 17 percent that was approved by the House. U.S. power plants, factories and refineries may need free government-issued emission permits in order to continue to do business. This topic was hotly debated in the House, and was not addressed in the draft of the Senate bill. The Senate bill would cap greenhouse gas emissions and allow companies to trade permits similar to the cap-and-trade plan approved by the House. According to the New York Times, Senator John Kerry made a special effort to move away from the language of cap-and-trade since it can be confusing to the public and tried to re-frame the conversation in the more concrete concept of reducing pollution. "I don't know what 'cap and trade' means. I don't think the average American does," Kerry told reporters. "This is not a cap-and-trade bill, it's a pollution reduction bill."
Dear Mr. Holyfield, Thank you for changing your nickname from the "Real Deal" to the "Mean Green Fighting Machine". It is heartening to hear that you are going to fight global warming with the same passion that your fought Tyson, Bowe and Foreman. It is even better to hear that you are installing a 40 acre solar farm and an organic garden on your estate in Atlanta. So why are you, the nearly 47 year old four time heavyweight champion of the world, fighting global warming now?
"I'm pretty much going to do all I can to fight against global warming. I'll see what I can do to help and try to help other people who want to do the same thing... A mission as big as this needs someone who is recognized through the whole world," Holyfield said. "We as a people have to come together to save this planet."You have to hand it to the man. He is right. As the G-20 discuss emissions reductions and with Copenhagen rapidly approaching, the world is about to engage in what we hope to be the defining battle to save our climate. Lean green fighting machines on one side, big polluters on the other - who is going to come out victorious? As you prepare for another comeback to the boxing ring, please consider this - if you really want to fight global warming, go to Copenhagen! We could use you there, looming large over the environmentalist and bureaucrats. Your presence alone will get results. And I would take my chances against anyone in Copenhagen over whomever your next opponent is. Do you want to fight global warming now? Click here give your carbon emissions an uppercut to the jaw!
Friday, 25 September 2009 10:05 Written by Amy Givler
A new report shows that $70.2 billion was given to the fossil fuel industry over the last seven years from government subsidies. Only $12.2 billion was given to renewables like wind and solar, in the same time period. The study, released this week, is available through the Power Shift '09 site and here. Read more>>
Friday, 25 September 2009 09:51 Written by Jason Fitzgerald
Carbonfund.org CarbonFree® Partner WE ADD UP has kicked off the Climate Action Giveaway, a virtual web campaign to harvest awareness and action around global warming throughout the nation. The Climate Action Giveaway is the "World's Biggest Green Sweepstakes" and comes at a good time with the recent passage of the American Clean Energy and Security Act in the House of Representatives and international climate talks in Copenhagen this December. Visit the website to join the sweepstakes and automatically be entered for a chance to win exciting green prizes. The goal is to get one million people learning about climate change solutions and participating in simple actions to increase public engagement. Each week you'll receive an email suggesting a green action to take, from e-faxing your Senator to support climate legislation or participating in viral photo activism. Over 230 winners will be chosen and prizes include a 4-day backpacking trip to Glacier National Park in Montana, a year's supply of Organic Valley milk, LED Christmas lights, and even eco-friendly countertops! To join the sweepstakes and help make history, visit www.climategiveaway.com.
EcoSecurities is about to launch the second iteration of their Carbon Management and Offsetting Trends Survey Results new and improved for 2009. The survey participants included 280 companies and 31 carbon offset organizations from all over the world to gain insights into green purchasing patterns and important decision making factors. Carbonfund.org participated in the survey that is slated for public download on September 29th. Carbonfund.org is honored to be a top recognized carbon offset provider in the survey. Some key insights from the study is that interest in green issues is still high despite the recession, with 76% of companies surveyed having implemented or are developing a carbon plan and 60% of companies have measured their carbon footprint. But North American companies are lagging behind, with only 54% of companies surveyed having completed a carbon footprint assessment. Other highlights from the survey include:
- Over three quarters of companies have implemented or have started developing a carbon management strategy
- Two thirds of respondents have already offset their carbon emissions or will consider offsetting in the future
- Environmental benefits (91%) were highlighted as one of the main motivations for interest in carbon offsets, closely followed by carbon neutrality and marketing (89%)
- 72% of participants nominated the US as the most desirable geographic region for purchasing offsets; this may reflect the desire for domestic projects as 56% of the respondents came from North America. Africa and South America were also rated as highly desirable locations for emission reduction projects
- Respondents prefer renewable energy projects above any other project type with solar scoring 92% and wind 86%
The US Chamber of Commerce, which claims to be the voice of business, lost a big member this week—PG&E energy company—because of its "extreme" views on climate change. The Chamber has been a source of global warming denial and recently called for the EPA to hold a "Scopes"-like hearing on the evidence that climate change is man-made. The EPA politely demurred, saying that their policies are based "on the soundest peer-reviewed science available, which overwhelmingly indicates that climate change presents a threat to human health and welfare." Climate is not the Chamber’s specialty, but it has been instrumental in protecting some businesses' interests on issues like labor laws, the minimum wage and health care. And despite potential disagreements on myriad issues, some companies have decided to take a stand on this one. On the PG&E’s blog, Jonathan Marshall, PG&E’s chief of external communications writes, “not every issue is created equal, and sometimes companies decide they have to take a more decisive stand on the really big ones.” PG&E is a natural gas and electricity provider in Northern California and has invested in solar power. In a letter to the Chamber, they criticize its “extreme” view on climate change:
We find it dismaying that the Chamber neglects the indisputable fact that a decisive majority of experts have said the data on global warming are compelling and point to a threat that cannot be ignored. In our opinion, an intellectually honest argument over the best policy response to the challenges of climate change is one thing; disingenuous attempts to diminish or distort the reality of these challenges are quite another.Separately, Nike issued a statement that chided the Chamber for their position on climate change:
Nike fundamentally disagrees with the US Chamber of Commerce's position on climate change and is concerned and deeply disappointed with the US Chamber's recently filed petition challenging the EPA's administrative authority and action on this critically important issue. Nike believes that climate change is an urgent issue affecting the world today and that businesses and their representative associations need to take an active role to invest in sustainable business practices and innovative solutions to address the issue. It is not a time for debate but instead a time for action and we believe the Chamber's recent petition sets back important work currently being undertaken by EPA on this issue. Nike helped to found BICEP, a coalition of businesses supporting congressional action to address strong U.S. climate and energy legislation. Nike has worked to address its own environmental footprint through the development of more sustainable products, energy efficiency programs and emission reductions.
Wednesday, 23 September 2009 14:31 Written by Lesley Carlson
Today is the 6th anniversary of when Carbonfund.org was registered as a 501(c)(3). And, five days from now is our daughter Renee’s 6th birthday. Yes, fall 2003 was busy for the Carlsons, but it was all intertwined. Eric had long worked on energy efficiency and his interest in renewable energy as a way to solve climate change, but he saw no sign of the breakthrough necessary to really solve the problem. Seeing our beautiful Sonja born in Fall 2001 made the matter personal and urgent. What would happen to our child if global warming continued on its threatening march? Would we be able to say to her that we did what we could to stop it? Carbonfund.org resulted from three observations: 1) Acid rain, a former environmental urgency, had been solved primarily from a cap-and-trade on SO2; 2) Individuals and businesses were already taking steps to reduce their CO2 emissions through conservation and energy efficiency and through the Chicago Climate Exchange; and 3) Dramatic legislation to solve the problem was nowhere on the horizon. We wanted to provide individuals and businesses an affordable way to understand and neutralize their own carbon footprint. Above is the banner to our first website, which was put up in January 2004. A few months later we had the moxie to start a 100,000 metric ton challenge, which given the $3200 we raised in 2004, took a little while to attain. But we did. And then some. Today, thanks to our early supporters to whom we had a lot to prove, but who gave us legitimacy and voice, and to those who have joined us ever since, we celebrate that we are offsetting over 5 billion pounds (over 2,260,000 metric tons) of CO2 and our relationship with more than 450,000 individuals and 1,200 businesses to build a greener future. We are also excited that national brands, such as Motorola and Domino Sugar have adopted our CarbonFree® Product Certification, making their products carbon neutral from start to finish and that we have helped in preserving or growing trees in Nicaragua, Louisiana, Brazil and China, covering an area over 8 times the size of Central Park. We have also been proud of our wonderful workforce committed to transforming the way in which people think of, use, and purchase energy, or “reduce what [we] can, and offset what [we] can’t.” While we are not yet at our original goal of moving “toward a zero carbon world,” we have shown that carbon reductions can happen at reasonable cost and can invigorate the economy and that people are willing to make the changes to get there, even during serious economic times. The good news is that with all of us working together, we are having an effect. Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute wrote in the September 20 Washington Post that US CO2 emissions are down 9% over the last two years and continue to drop this year. For the first time, we are showing that we can reduce our climate impact. Together with our supporters, Carbonfund.org will make more investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and forest-based projects and educate individuals and businesses on what they can do. In addition, we all need to press our leaders for national change. This session, Congress will be considering that dramatic legislation we dreamed of so long ago. Carbon offsetting has helped us to see it. Those of us who have led the fight against climate change need to join our voices and add more to get the Waxman-Markey bill passed. Without our individual and national action, it will be hard for any kind of substantial international climate change treaty to happen. This is how it works. Through realizing a private dream of starting an organization or taking personal action, every individual can say that we did what we could to stop it.