Many East Coasters have felt some of the hottest temperatures on record for this time of the year. Washington hit 102 degrees on Weds. Jul. 7, breaking the 99-degree record for the day set in 1991. Unfortunately—results of a study that surprised even climate scientists show that long heat waves could be common in the US within the next 30 years from global warming. The Stanford University study's lead author, Noah Diffenbaugh, noted,
In the next 30 years, we could see an increase in heat waves like the one now occurring in the eastern United States or the kind that swept across Europe in 2003 that caused tens of thousands of fatalities... Those kinds of severe heat events also put enormous stress on major crops, like corn, soybean, cotton and wine grapes, causing a significant reduction in yields.
[caption id="attachment_4855" align="alignright" width="300" caption="NASA graphic on temperature deviations the past decade (click to enlarge)"][/caption] The study follows an analysis by NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies showing that the last decade, from January 2000 to December 2009, was the warmest on record. The Stanford-led study reveals that intense heat waves, equal to the longest on record from 1951-1999, are likely to occur as many as five times between 2020-2029 over parts of the US. A dramatic spike in extreme temperatures is also expected during the current decade over much of the US. The 2020's and 2030's could see even more extreme temperatures, particularly in the West. From 2030-2039, most places in Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico could experience at least seven seasons as hot as those ever recorded between 1951 and 1999. "Frankly, I was expecting that we'd see large temperature increases later this century with higher greenhouse gas levels and global warming," Diffenbaugh said. "I did not expect to see anything this large within the next three decades. This was definitely a surprise." The study also raises concerns that the targeted 2-degree Celsius maximum temperature increase by policymakers may be too high a threshold to prevent extreme temperatures. The target was cited, for example, in the climate accord by the US and over 100 other countries at the UN Copenhagen climate change conference in 2009. "Our results suggest that limiting global warming to 2 degrees C above pre-industrial conditions may not be sufficient to avoid serious increases in severely hot conditions," Diffenbaugh said. Learn more about your climate impact and reducing your carbon footprint, as well as how you can offset in support of carbon reduction projects around the world by visiting www.carbonfund.org.
Thursday, 08 July 2010 13:58

US Carbon Emissions Expected to Rise 3.2% in 2010

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Heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions, which fell by 7 percent in 2009, are forecast to rise this year and in 2011. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the US Dept. of Energy has released its energy outlook, expecting a 3.2 percent and 1.6 percent increase in emissions for 2010 and 2011, respectively. The government also projects continued demand growth by the electric power sector for coal. A factor in the emissions increases this year and next is the expected increases in economic activity, which results in more energy consumption. This includes petroleum use in the transportation sector and coal and natural gas use for electricity production. The continued demand for fossil fuels in electricity production brings to light the urgent need for more clean energy to help reduce carbon emissions. As an individual or business, you can support clean, renewable energy today. Individuals can choose renewable energy for electric power, e.g. from your utility company or supplier, and reduce and offset your carbon emissions in support of renewable energy projects. Businesses can reduce, offset emissions for everything from operations and events to products and shipping; you can learn more here. Also—companies can support renewable energy production through renewable energy certificates (RECs), such as Carbonfund.org's MyGreenFuture Green-e Energy certified RECs.
  1. CarbonFree® Certified is the first and leading carbon neutral products label in the US.
  2. Certified products are now available in 15 countries on five continents.
  3. Leading companies such as Domino Sugar, Motorola and Anvil Knitwear have certified products CarbonFree®.
  4. Much like Energy Star® certification differentiates appliances and other products, CarbonFree® certification distinguishes products as carbon neutral, climate-friendly.
  5. The certification process consists of three essential steps: calculating a product's carbon footprint, reducing the product's footprint, and offsetting to attain carbon neutrality (which supports innovative carbon reduction projects).
  6. Calculating the carbon footprint of a product requires a life-cycle assessment (LCA), including the supply-chain or manufacturing of a product, through ultimate recycling/disposal of it.
  7. Carbonfund.org worked with the renowned Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Management to jointly develop the rigorous Product Certification Carbon Footprint Protocol to guide how LCAs are done.
  8. The certification program provides incentive for companies that lower a product’s carbon footprint by at least 10 percent.
  9. The Technical Advisory Group (TAG) of the product certification program includes experts on business carbon management.
  10. Companies can choose from a variety of third-party validated renewable energy, reforestation or avoided deforestation, and energy efficiency projects to support by offsetting.
Please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to learn more or to certify your products today. You'll be creating value for your brand and enhancing your position as a socially responsible business. As a consumer, be sure to check out our index of CarbonFree® Certified products.
Tuesday, 06 July 2010 12:19

Staying Well This Summer Made Easier

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With summer now here, minds collectively turn to one thing: looking good at the beach or outside. Well maybe not all of us, but we certainly like to look our best as the weather requires short sleeves and shorts. Gyms are getting packed and diet plans reinvigorated. As we change up how we eat, it’s important to make sure we continue to get the vitamins and minerals we need to stay healthy. So how can I do that and in a way that’s easier on the environment? That’s where CarbonFree® Partner, Vegetarian Wellness can help. Vegetarian Wellness is an online retailer specializing in vegetarian and vegan vitamins, supplements and foods. They sell over 600 nutritional products all of which are vegetarian based. Most of their products are free of genetically modified organisms (non-GMO), vegan and gluten free. Did you know that many vitamins and supplements contain animal products? Neither did I. Vegetarian Wellness only sells products that are free of animal testing. To top it off – they offset their business carbon footprint and participate in the 1% for the Planet program. So as you get in shape this summer, make sure you’re staying healthy with some eco-friendly vitamins from Vegetarian Wellness. As they say, “At Vegetarian Wellness our mission is to help everyone live better!”
Friday, 02 July 2010 16:11

A July 4th Show Not to Miss

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A July 4th show is one of the most patriotic and, for fans, exhilarating experiences when a great show's followed by fireworks. The Honey Brothers, a new-wave folk band, is bringing their brand of music to the nation's capital July 4th, playing a rooftop concert at the W Washington D.C. Hotel. For clarification, "With a respectful (awed, even) nod to the Beatles," the band says, "we’ll be performing on a rooftop, but this absolutely will not be our farewell concert." The Honey Brothers is New York-based and has worked with Carbonfund.org to reduce their carbon footprint as a band. Their green credentials is also represented by drummer and actor-filmmaker Adrian Grenier, who has presented the Planet Green TV show Alter Eco on environmental themes such as organic foods and building greener. The band's show this Sunday will be at 7pm, before the fireworks. Please call (202) 661-2478 for info on tickets. If you're not in the Washington area this weekend, you can keep in tune with the band about the show and its plans at their facebook page. While you're at it, fan our page too.
Friday, 02 July 2010 14:25

Has the Arctic Reached a Tipping Point?

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Scientists and climate experts have long warned of global warming's impacts in the Arctic regions. However, a study issued this week by the University of Colorado at Boulder reveals that the effects of global warming may have been previously underestimated. According to the study, Arctic temperatures have risen by approximately 1.8° Fahrenheit in the past twenty years alone. Rising temperatures make it “exceedingly difficult” to maintain permanent sea and glacial ice in the Arctic. As greenhouse gas emissions continue their upward trend, global temperatures will only rise and exacerbate Arctic ice melt. In fact, the study affirms that current levels of CO2 in the atmosphere may well be leading us towards a tipping point for “irreversible ice-free conditions in the Arctic.” The impact on the rest of the world would include sea-level rise and more problems in maintaining shorelines and coastal areas. We can all take steps in our own lives to fight global warming now. Reduce and offset your carbon footprint in support of innovative carbon reduction projects. You can read more about the University of Colorado study here.
Wednesday, 30 June 2010 18:32

A Smarter, Greener Way to Rent a Car

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Although hybrids are a popular green technology, it’s used today not only for Priuses and other smaller cars but in large vehicles getting less than half the miles per gallon (MPG) of those cars. Choosing an eco-friendlier rental car should be based on overall emissions rather than the technology. For example, Avis and Budget both offer EPA SmartWay® certified vehicles, meeting rigorous air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions standards. Each vehicle receives an Air Pollution Score and a Greenhouse Gas Score, on a scale of 1-10. A vehicle must receive a 6 or better on both scores, and have a total score of at least 13 for certification. A full 100 percent of Avis' economy, compact, intermediate and standard car classes and 85 percent of full-size cars are SmartWay® certified.  Similarly for Budget, all economy, compact and intermediate and 99 percent of standard and full-size cars are certified. Selecting a SmartWay® vehicle is easy. When I made a reservation at Budget.com, I was thrilled to see the SmartWay® certified cars, easily denoted with a leaf icon: You can also look up vehicle fuel-economy information and SmartWay® vehicles on EPA’s Green Vehicle Guide, which is updated through model year 2010. Where available, you can further reduce your emissions by opting for a GPS navigation system in your car to get where you need to faster (and avoid getting lost). Also, you can skip the lines at toll booths by choosing electronic toll collection when renting your vehicle; Avis offers eToll collection services in more cars and more cities than any other car rental company. Hybrid technology is a wonderful leap for cars and is driving new innovations and products. At the same time, we also need to keep our eyes on the prize of overall carbon reductions and climate protection rather than focusing on specific auto technologies. We feel similarly about not picking winners and losers in the green energy space; we need to focus on zero-emission energy without picking wind over solar, geothermal over biodigesters, and so on. Remember you can always reduce your trip’s emissions further, making it carbon neutral, by offsetting in support of Carbonfund.org’s third-party validated carbon reduction projects around the world. Visit www.avis.com or www.budget.com to offset your rental vehicle. Want to learn more? Please check out our Save Energy page for fuel-efficient driving tips.
Wednesday, 30 June 2010 12:07

John Isner Must Need a New Pair of Shoes

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As a longtime tennis lover, I was glued to my computer screen with fascination as the historic Wimbledon first-round match between American John Isner and Frenchman Nicholas Mahut notched up more games than any before in the sport.  I can only imagine how exhausted he may still be and how much his body must ache.  But his shoes must be in even worse shape; John needs a new pair of shoes. Lucky for John and all you other sports players (and shoe wearers), Carbonfund.org partner Planet Shoes has a huge selection of the best shoes around.  Right now, with the coupon code fire20, you can save 20% off all sale items on their site.  It’s the start of the summer sports season and a great time to get a new pair of shoes from an eco-conscious company. As an early participant in our Million Tree Challenge, Planet Shoes collected donations from its customers and matched them to plant 2,615 trees.  Further, Planet Shoes allows its customers to make a donation to offset the carbon footprint of shipping their shoes – an effort that has reduced almost 3 million pounds of CO2 to date.
Saturday, 26 June 2010 14:43

Support Gulf Cleanup with WE ADD UP

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Carbonfund.org partner WE ADD UP recently announced two new additions to their wonderful T-shirt line. All proceeds from the sale of these shirts will help support oil spill cleanup efforts in the Gulf of Mexico. With every “Clean It Up” shirt sold, $10 will be donated to the Gulf Restoration Network. Since the first days of BP's oil drilling disaster, the Gulf Restoration Network has provided independent monitoring and advocacy focused on ensuring an effective and transparent response to the crisis. Sale of the “Hair to the Rescue” shirt will lead to a $10 contribution to Matter of Trust, a nonprofit organization that is coordinating the international movement of hair dressers, pet groomers, and others who are donating hair to make hair booms. Hair, a natural fiber, is stuffed into nylons, creating booms that are very effective for soaking up oil.

WE ADD UP, with over 16,000 participating members, is a global campaign printed on organic cotton T-shirts that literally counts you in for your green commitments. Every shirt is printed by hand with a unique number on the front. Your number represents your position in the sequential global count of people who are taking steps to help solve the climate crisis. As the count grows, we demonstrate to the world that “WE ADD UP.” On the back of each shirt is a word or phrase that describes an action almost anyone can take to reduce their carbon footprint, such as: Unplug, Lights Off, Hybrid, Bike, Buy Local, and 25 others. Consumers choose which action they are committed to and receive their number. To be counted-in and help support cleanup efforts, visit www.weaddup.com today.
A national survey supports the view that Americans are willing to change their energy consumption to help the environment as well as save costs. According to a national survey commissioned by General Electric, 79 percent of those polled said they are willing to adjust their short-term energy consumption behaviors to ensure long-term results. Such behaviors include using “smart” devices such as thermostats or appliances. Bob Gilligan, vice president at GE Energy Services, explains, “There are some things that are essential to achieving a desired quality of life, and Americans overwhelmingly agree that investing in our nation’s energy future is one of them.” It is not news that the environment is a top-of-mind concern for Americans, but what accounts for their willingness to act? The following are some of the primary motivators determined from the survey:
  • Desire to save money (95 percent)
  • Increased control over energy bill (90 percent)
  • Desire to make a difference for children or grandchildren (88 percent)
  • Reduced number of power outages (86 percent)
  • Environmental concerns (85 percent)
You can get tips on saving energy at Carbonfund.org's Save Energy page and learn how you can reduce, offset your carbon footprint from using energy in your home or to get around. Read more about the survey and the press release here.