news & media (1209)
“We do not have another year to deliberate, nature does not negotiate.” -Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary GeneralThe 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.
Tuesday, 15 December 2009 12:00
Need a Gift in a Snap? Give Carbonfund.org E-Certificates. Make the Holiday Special for Someone & the Planet!Written by Ivan Chan
You 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.
Tuesday, 15 December 2009 10:30 Written by Eric Carlson
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. Activists 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.
I 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.
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 Konatï¿½, 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 Written by Emily Pugliese
Like 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!
I often tell people that Carbonfund.org exists today because socially and environmentally concerned individuals and business leaders stepped up and took action to reduce their climate impact, support burgeoning technologies, and prove to the world that we can tackle climate change -- and do it cost effectively. What makes this more remarkable is that we did this despite a lack of US government leadership over the last three decades on climate change. Just a few years back, academics suggested carbon would cost $50-100 per tonne, a total non-starter for almost any government initiative to reduce emissions. Yet we are here today, talking about Copenhagen, Waxman-Markey and the Senate bill in large part because of the voluntary actions taken by a relatively small group over the last five or six years to prove the concepts, technologies, methodologies, costs and processes. Leadership is about stepping up to the plate when others will not, and I am always amazed and appreciative of our thousands of partners who have done just that. This is why it is so important these early leaders receive credit for their voluntary actions. Their vision and commitment turned into the first offset projects and investments. (I still can’t imagine what it must have been like for the person at a large company to go into their boss’s office a few years ago and say they wanted to offset their electricity use in California by buying these REC-things from Texas, or this carbon offset doohickey from New York.) Finally, we’re making headway. The EPA has approved their first-ever carbon offset project, which Carbonfund.org has supported and brought through the EPA process. The House of Representatives has passed a great bill, thanks to the leadership of Reps. Waxman and Markey and many others, the Senate is working on a similar version, and thousands of delegates from around the world are in Copenhagen to work on a global deal to reduce emissions by about 80% by 2050. We’re at a tipping point and Carbonfund.org must now participate in the national and international policy debates to ensure we maximize carbon reductions and verification while unleashing capital, technology and innovation to achieve these goals as quickly and cost effectively as possible. I am heading to Copenhagen this weekend for the climate talks to help push for a global consensus on massive carbon reductions during my lifetime, not just my kids’. This is a new space for us and we’re working with policy experts to advocate for the best possible legislation in the US on climate change. These next several months will be crucial to our future, and we need the experiences of organizations like Carbonfund.org that have proven the concepts to ensure we get a bill (or treaty) that will work. We’re enlisting the best minds in Washington and as a first step we’re pleased to be working with the Podesta Group, a leading government relations firm, to help Carbonfund.org achieve its objectives. Done right, fighting climate change will create millions of jobs, save taxpayers money, reduce or eliminate our reliance on foreign oil, reduce our overseas defense responsibilities and help the developing world leapfrog on technologies and help their people. It will also clean the air, reduce asthma and other health effects of burning fossil fuels and save us billions in health costs. We’d hoped to get a US climate bill in 2009 but 2010 will work too. We’re just so glad we’re all talking climate policy. Finally!
"Our islands are disappearing, our coral reefs are bleaching, we are losing our fish supplies. We bring empirical evidence to Copenhagen of what climate change is doing now to our states," -Dessima Williams, a Grenadian diplomat speaking for Alliance of Small Island StatesGlobal warming induced seal level rise is already happening, and in all likelihood will continue for the foreseeable future. To many of us, this is an abstract concept with little everyday relevance - what do I care if the sea rises 3 millimeters a year? Well, 3mm is a lot when you live on an island small island nation that is barely above sea level. In Copenhagen, the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) - a coalition of 43 small and extremely vulnerable Island Nations - has called for a new legally binding treaty that will cap temperature rises to 1.5 degrees C. The proposed agreements to date have focused on a 2.0 degree C temperature increase target. Holding temperature increases to 1.5 degrees would mean stabilizing atmospheric concentrations of CO2 at about 350 parts per million (ppm) - currently, concentrations are at about 387ppm and increasing every year. According to the International Energy Agency, the aggressive shift in the target will add about $10.5 trillion extra in energy-related investment by 2030 - a figure that is untenable to many Nations would would be asked to foot the bill. Many think that the 2.0 degree C temperature increase target is ambitious considering the current pace of action on the global scale. The small island nation of Tuvalu has been a vocal advocate of this aggressive target. This nation's emissions are tiny compared to total global output, and is essentially powerless to stop global warming without a global treaty. For Tuvalu, the issue of global warming and sea level rise is not abstract. It is real and it is happening now. There is a very real possibility that Tuvalu will be inundated and lost to the sea - sinking 3,000 years of history and culture forever. I have never been to Tuvalu and I didn't know where it was in the world before today. But the idea of losing it forever saddens me unspeakably, not only on behalf of the residents of the country and others like it, but also because I may never have the option to explore this tiny island nation. Global warming threatens to relegate nations, peoples, cultures, traditions, foods, animals and so many other things to the history books for good. I hope that our leaders in Copenhagen have the will and commitment to fight to save out climate and the rich diversity of life and cultures it supports. And I hope that as individuals, we are all committed to reducing our carbon footprints today to help make that process a little easier.
"...Emissions are emissions. You've just got to do the math. It's not a matter of politics or morality or anything else. It's just math." - US State Department envoy Todd SternAs the U.N. Climate talks in Copenhagen heat up, some predictable arguments are starting to play out in real time. There are still major questions as to whether an agreement is going to be reached, and moreover how that agreement should look and function. Tensions at Copenhagen are rising between nations, and particularly between the U.S. and China. Todd Stern, a top U.S. State Department negotiator in Copenhagen sums up the American point of view quite well: "If you look around at what countries in the world, they're actually doing a lot. China has put down a number. It might not be the number everyone would like to see. But it is a significant proposal." Mr. Stern diplomatically states that though commitments have been made by nations, they are not quite enough yet (I assume that he is including the U.S. in his assessment). But currently, the world appears to be waiting for the U.S. to lead, both in terms of action and financial support for green initiatives in developing nations. Developing nations feel as though developed nations have an obligation to do more to reduce emissions, considering developed nations have been spewing massive amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere for centuries now. The U.S. does not believe that developed nations should be penalized for historical emissions because the world was 'ignorant' to the problem of global warming up until modern times. How the world decides to reconcile these disparate positions is the challenge of Copenhagen. Stay tuned to the Carbonfund.org blog for regular Copenhagen updates. Carbonfund.org will reporting live from Copenhagen starting next week so check back regularly and follow us on twitter!
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