Friday, 18 December 2009 15:05

Copenhagen Update: The Waiting Game

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obama_spkgcopenhagen

I have spent my career thus far fighting global warming. From standing up to big coal in Virginia to helping businesses and individuals fight global warming now with Carbonfund.org - all I have thought about for years has been global warming. The UN COP15 climate meetings in Copenhagen should have ended by now, and probably should have ended in the failure to produce a global treaty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But, as the New York Times has put it, our world leaders are heading into overtime to try and strike a last minute deal. Nobody wants to leave Copenhagen without a deal - that just looks bad for all parties involved. And as Eric Carlson, Carbonfund.org's President and Copenhagen attendee stated, "It is normal for these types of negotiations to be tension filled and prolonged." But I am sitting here in agony (metaphorically speaking), waiting for what could amount to either be one of the most important announcements of my lifetime or another huge let down. Climate stability is too important for our world leaders to leave Copenhagen empty handed. I am anxiously awaiting a statement of victory - a deal has been reach and emissions will be reduced. Follow Carbonfund.org on Facebook and Twitter for updates and news from Copenhagen!
Thursday, 17 December 2009 17:39

Eco-Beautiful Weddings Resource for Couples

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Eco Beautiful WeddingsKatie Martin, who also owns Elegance & Simplicity and is currently writing two books, has started Eco-Beautiful Weddings to be a valuable resource for creating an eco-couture wedding. A goal of Eco-Beautiful Weddings is to inspire engaged couples to find their shades of green regardless of their budget.  Inside the premiere issue they showcase both luxury and DIY Real Weddings.  They have scoured the world for the best of the best in Eco Chic bridal fashion and wedding style.  The Eco-Beautiful Weddings couple is tech savvy, stylish, and concerned and open to new ideas.  They want to be open to new ideas and on the cutting edge when it comes to their big day. Eco-Beautiful Weddings is not only a movement, it's a lifestyle.  They hope to be an agent of change in the wedding industry, aspiring engaged couples everywhere to make a commitment to protecting our planet one decision at a time.  Learn more at Eco-Beautiful Weddings.
Thursday, 17 December 2009 17:01

Copenhagen Update: Is 2 Degrees Possible?

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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)
RTFimgThe Return to Forest Project and Tengchong Conservation Carbon Project were honored at an event Wednesday concurrent with the UN Copenhagen climate conference. The What is Missing? Foundation recognized the two reforestation projects among projects helping to restore or provide habitats and protecting biodiversity. The foundation is named after Vietnam Veterans Memorial architect Maya Lin’s last memorial, a multi-sited artwork being built to draw attention to the loss of habitats and biodiversity. The event, the Support REDD+ Gala in Copenhagen at the COP15 conference, was hosted by The Coalition for Rainforest Nations and the governments of Gabon, Guyana and Papua New Guinea. Return to Forest and Tengchong are in southwestern Nicaragua and southwestern China, respectively. In addition to their ecological benefits, the projects benefit local communities by providing, for example, tree planting or other economic opportunities. Also, the reforestation projects will each sequester about 170,000 metric tons of CO2 in their lifetime. Please donate now to support these important projects that are fighting global warming today! Learn more about What is Missing? and Maya Lin at www.carbonfund.org/unchopatree.
Wednesday, 16 December 2009 12:24

Copenhagen Update: From Green to REDD

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“We do not have another year to deliberate, nature does not negotiate.” -Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General
The pessimism in Copenhagen is growing as rifts between nations solidify. As the world watches and thousands continue to protest demanding action, the prospect of a binding treaty diminishes, seemingly by the minute. Rich nations want poorer nations to commit to verifiable and enforceable emissions reductions - a clause that developing nations are reluctant to agree to and is a provision that has not been included in other climate negotiation such as Kyoto and Bali. Developing nations may be more likely to act if the developed nations such as the United States, the world's leader in per capita carbon emissions, committed to binding emissions reductions targets first. But the US as of now refuses to commit to an international treaty until a bill is passed in Congress. Though I am remiss to trivialize the fate of our climate to this, it appears as though we are in the midst of a great global stare down. But there is hope of real progress coming out of Copenhagen in relation to how the world deals with biological carbon sequestration and trees. Deforestation currently accounts for over 20% of global carbon emissions. Preserving and managing forests can help to significantly cut carbon emissions and potentially help buy the world some time as we figure out how to actually reduce emissions from their dirty sources. A report from the New York Times states:
A final draft of the agreement for the compensation program, called Reducing Emissions From Deforestation and Forest Degradation, or REDD, is to be given on Wednesday to ministers of the nearly 200 countries represented here to hammer out a framework for a global climate treaty. Negotiators and other participants said that though some details remained to be worked out, all major points of disagreement — how to address the rights of indigenous people living on forest land and what is defined as forest, for example — had been resolved through compromise.
Though we all want comprehensive and binding agreements to come out of Copenhagen, that may not be in the cards this year. But through the proper management of our forests we can reduce emissions now as well as preserve biodiversity, improve local environments and support local communities. Laying the groundwork for the reductions of more than 20% of global emissions would be no small accomplishment - lets hope that, at a minimum that victory will be the legacy of Copenhagen. Want to support forest based projects that are reducing emissions today? Click here for more info.
screen1You need a gift that's unique, meaningful and easy on your budget. Whatever your budget you're sure to find a gift on our e-certificate page that will resonate with someone and the planet! This year, take advantage of Carbonfund.org's bonus offers- a tree is planted for every $20 spent. You can also get a reusable Carbonfund.org ChicoBag to carry your shopping or groceries for every $50 spent. Your gift e-certificate supports Carbonfund.org's renewable energy, energy efficiency, or reforestation projects. It's your choice for the type of project, and the framable certificate, customized with your recipient's name, recognizes that support. So what are you waiting for? Check it out here and start shopping! P.S. You can also make a year-end tax-deductible contribution on that page to support Carbonfund.org's work on fighting global warming. Check out the page today.
Among the stranger things I've witnessed in the last couple days was a room filled with young people at the Klima Forum last night at Bill McKibben's 350.org event. Bill actually gave a rousing speech, but the audience was noticeably subdued, as though they were expecting defeat this week. Even more surprising was the outright anger and disappointment at President Obama, their president. It's no small axiom that young people swept Mr. Obama into power, through Iowa, the primaries and general election. Yet, at this evening's main event of young, idealistic activists, when Obama's name was mentioned, there was not a sound. One might argue at least there were no boo's, but I can't see how this is anything but bad news for the young president. maldives1Activists and turnout win elections, and this may be, as McKibben reminded us last night, "the canary in the coal mine" for Mr. Obama's political future if he can't figure out how to deal with climate change. On the flip side, front runner for President of the Universe: the president of the Maldives Mohamed Nasheed. President Nasheed is the Maldives' first democratically elected leader and has committed the tiny island archipelago nation to being carbon neutral by 2020. With chants of "3 5 0" throughout the hall, the president lifted the audience into a real call to action for a real cause, global survival but more personally the Maldives' survival.
Monday, 14 December 2009 13:55

Q & A with Tonya Kay of Happy Mandible

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mandibleI frequently have the pleasure of speaking with many of our partners about their carbon neutral commitment and support Carbonfund.org.  The other day I conducted a short interview with Tonya Kay of Happy Mandible where she discussed her business partnership with Carbonfund.org.   Happy Mandible delivers the best food possible to TV and movie sets in the greenest way possible.  Tonya can also challenge Indiana Jones to a bull whip accuracy contest. How did you choose Carbonfund.org? Happy Mandible picked Carbonfund.org by cross referencing Google results.  I compared program options and also web presence - Carbonfund.org had a very well presented program, with an informative blog, press release assistance, transparency in operation and a clean, comprehensive web design.  Finally, I contacted Carbonfund.org and the response was immediate, cool, and human - the donor assistance is admirable. Do you encourage your employees to offset their emissions also? We are a small business and yes, employees are urged to purchase their own offsets.  In fact, I personally gave offsets away for holiday presents to my family members. Any final thoughts? Happy Mandible has the honor of working for some of the largest productions in Hollywood film and television and I am personally delighted to see productions like FOX's 24 and others adjusting their budgets to accommodate carbon offsets, alternative fuels, alternative energy, waste reduction, recycling, personal gyms and organic produce on set.  We are all in this together and green corporate consciousness really is the next sure thing in business trends. Thank you Tonya for this honest discussion!  Interested in our business program?  Check it out here.
Monday, 14 December 2009 13:36

Copenhagen Update: December 14, 2009

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As we enter the final week of the UN climate negotiations in Copenhagen, the world is preparing for the final show down to save our climate. Over the weekend, tens of thousands of people protested in the streets of Copenhagen, demanding action now. But the potential for inaction is great. The divide between rich and poor nations is starting to grow, according to recent reports, over the demands by developed nations for developing nations to reduce emissions. The Kyoto Protocol, the 1997 UN agreement for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, required emissions reductions from developed nations and not from developing nations. Faced with the technological and financial challenges of reducing emissions in the developing world, Mama Konat�, a member of Mali's delegation said, "The killing of the Kyoto Protocol, I can say, will mean the killing of Africa... Before accepting that, we should all die first." By Wednesday, heads of state from all over the world should be in Copenhagen, and by Friday it is expected that about 116 leaders, including President Obama will be present. The challenge of this final week of negotiations will be how to strike an emissions reductions accord that reduces emissions without compromising developing nations tenuous grasp on economic growth. The world must engage all nations, including China, Brazil, India and others if our climate has a chance to stabilize temperatures at the 2.0 degree Celsius mark of warming. But if we want developed nations to actually reduce emissions, some say that it will require $100-200 billion dollars of annual subsidies, a check that developed nations don't want to foot. Over the next few days, it will be the job of the ministers and administrators that are currently present in Copenhagen to flesh out the details of an agreement. In many regards, the work that gets done today and tomorrow will determine how effective the heads of state can be when arriving later this week. Image Credit: Washington Post
Thursday, 10 December 2009 18:06

Motorola Renew Makes Debut on Fox's Hit Show Glee

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Motorola Renew on GleeLike seemingly everywhere else in the country, Glee mania has hit the Carbonfund.org staff with full force. For the past few months Wednesdays have been full of anticipation for the nights’ show while Thursdays have been filled with ‘singing,’ and I use the term lightly, of the songs sung on Glee the night before. Today, however, much of the Glee talk has been about the sighting by Carbonfund.org staffers of the CarbonFree® Certified Motorola Renew cell phone. In last night’s episode Emma Pillsbury, played by Jayma Mays, was shown using the phone. Present in a few shots, the phone really hit the spotlight when Emma held it up to allow Will Schuester, played by Matthew Morrison, to hear the Glee Club belt out a fantastic performance. The Renew received Carbonfund.org’s CarbonFree® Certified label this year. To attain the certification the phone went through an intensive life-cycle assessment to calculate the emissions resulting from each phase in the life of the product including manufacturing, shipping, use and disposal. The phone is available at T-Mobile stores. Click here to watch the full episode of Glee featuring the Motorola Renew!