Thursday, 07 January 2010 16:59

It's Cold Outside! Is Global Warming -Really- Over?

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Most people in the Northern Hemisphere are deep within the clutches of winter's cold. Washington, DC (where I live) received record levels of snow in December, and January has been cold enough to keep me indoors more than I care to admit. This same story is playing out all over the United States. With the cold - crops in the Southeast that are not accustomed to the cold are freezing, and the normally adept American heartland is coping with wind chills that are dipping well into negative figures. So what is the deal? Did we already solve the climate crisis with reductions and carbon offsets? Does this prove that global warming was never happening in the first place? Unfortunately, the answer to these questions is no. While your actions to reduce your carbon footprint today are immensely important, there is a lot more work to be done as the existence of cold weather does not disprove the existence of man-made global warming. Even in a warming world, there will still be winter and there will still be seasons. It is easy to forget those hot summer days when it is 10 degrees outside, but it doesn't mean that the summer wasn't hot. The easiest to understand write-up (that I found) about this cold winter is offered to us by the Christian Science Monitor Bright Green Blog. To paraphrase the three reasons why cold weather doesn't negate global warming (and I highly suggest going over to read the piece):
  1. It's not actually that cold - it is cold right now, but it is not like every place is setting record lows. Some might even say that winters like this are more like the winters we used to have; but due to a recent string of warmer than average winters this one just feels colder.
  2. Some places are really hot right now- Australia and New Zealand are currently in the midst of record heat waves, and Bulgaria is close to 72 degrees right now. The 2000s were the hottest decade on record, with the 1990s closely trailing. In fact, over the last ten years, the only continent to not experience warmer than average temperatures was North America.
  3. Nobody said it would never get cold again - Winter is supposed to be colder than Summer - and a cold streak is perfectly reasonable in winter. But with global warming, the incidence of record cold days to record warm days has shown a measurable and significant drop over the last 60 years.
There are other reasons for why this cold weather doesn't mean an end to global warming explained in the article that I do encourage you to read. My take on the weather is two fold:
  1. People have short-term memories - it is hard to remember the summer heat when you are bundled up, your toes are cold and your nose is running like a faucet.
  2. People confuse weather with climate - it is nearly impossible to link any single weather event to global warming - hot or cold, catastrophic or normal - there are just too many factors at play. So one cold streak doesn't disprove global warming just like one warm streak doesn't prove it. The best measures of the climate come from scientific analysis and from observing long term trends.
Remember this winter as you are judiciously using your furnace to stay warm that this doesn't mean that the climate has been saved. It is still our responsibility to fight global warming and to reduce what we can, and offset what we can't.
SAMSUNG1Samsung makes a broad range of consumer electronics, and at this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2010), the world's largest consumer electronics trade show, the company has made a number of announcements. Introducing the world to its new products at its booth #11026, Samsung has also addressed the environmental impact of participating at the show by offsetting its presence at the show, including the booth, which is the largest at CES, transportation, and lodging. CES“We are proud to partner with Samsung and offset the company’s presence at ICES 2010,” said Eric Carlson, Carbonfund.org's president. “It’s one of the ways that Samsung is demonstrating initiative on protecting our environment, while helping to create awareness that everyone should Reduce What They Can, Offset What They Can’t™ to fight climate change today.” Samsung is offsetting in support of the Tensas River Nat'l Wildlife Refuge Reforestation Project. CES2Samsung's commitment to the environment is also expressed in its Plug-In To eCycling program, which promotes and fosters opportunities for consumers to donate or safely recycle their used electronics and replace them with new environmentally-friendly models. At the show, Samsung is unveiling its eco-design and energy efficient products including LED (light-emitting diode) TVs, 30" free-standing induction ranges and other products. TV3The company released a survey it conducted in November that found a full 45 percent of respondents say they’d be a lot more likely to purchase consumer electronics from a company that produces energy efficient products. While 74 percent of consumers feel it is their duty to save the planet for future generations, 60 percent also cite saving money as a leading reason for trying to be more environmentally conscious. Please visit www.carbonfund.org/business to learn more about how you can reduce and offset the carbon footprint of your business or event by supporting third-party validated carbon reduction projects in the US and abroad. You can also learn about Samsung's environmental commitment and programs at www.samsung.com/green. Images Courtesy of CNET/CBS Interactive, Engadget/AOL News
I never thought I would be writing about artificial grass being a better choice for the environment.  But there is clear research that if you live in a dry climate or somewhere that needs to conserve water, artificial grass like NewGrass can be the better choice for you. The artificial stuff needs no gas-powered lawnmowers or weedwackers and requires no fertilizer and water! That can equate to a lot of savings as some estimates put the water usage of real lawns upwards of 20,000 or more gallons of water a year! In fact, a study by Sweden's Stockholm University found that an hour's worth of mowing resulted in about the same amount of emissions as driving a car 93 miles. The carbon sequestration abilities of real grass is probably negated by the mowing and fertilizers used to maintain it. Fertilizers not only pollute waterways, but require a lot of energy to produce. NewGrassIn light of this information, it's important to take stock of your lawn care habits and the climate of your area.  If you tend to mow your lawn frequently, use fertilizer, water it daily, and think water conservation is important in your region, then perhaps NewGrass is right for your situation.  It's probably not only good for the climate, but it's an investment that will start saving you money in reduced maintenance and water costs. NewGrass is a company committed to providing an alternative when a real lawn is not viable. Moreover, their partnership with Carbonfund.org is offsetting the carbon emissions from their offices, travel, and employee commuting. Interested in learning more? To learn more, you can visit the NewGrass website.
rtlogoAs the U.S. Census Bureau today kicks off a three-month national road tour to raise awareness of the 2010 Census, Carbonfund.org is donating the carbon offsets for the Road Tour, supporting third-party validated renewable energy, energy efficiency and reforestation projects worldwide. With 13 vehicles traveling to communities across America from January through March, the 2010 Census Road Tour provides an engaging, interactive experience to help the public understand the importance of participating in the April 1 Census. The Tour itself consists of a national vehicle and 12 regional vehicles that will traverse each of the 12 Census Bureau-identified regions.portraits Carbonfund.org calculated the 223 metric tons offset donation by calculating the 2010 Road Tour’s carbon footprint including the total distance to be traveled, combined with the number of vehicles and miles per gallon. The donated carbon offsets of the Road Tour will support third-party validated carbon reduction projects which are helping to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. You can do your part to reduce and offset your carbon footprint in the new year by visiting the Carbonfund.org website, www.carbonfund.org. To learn more about the Road Tour, please visit the 2010 Census page.
Friday, 01 January 2010 13:22

Chino Basin Dairy Farm Biodigester

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Chino Basin Dairy Farm Biodigester

Project Name:: Chino Basin Dairy Farm Biodigester

Location: Chino Basin, California Project type: Waste-to-Energy Biodigester Standard: American Carbon Registry / Environmental Resources Trust’s Monitoring, Reporting & Verification Protocol Verification/Validation: Environmental Resources Trust

Environmental Benefits

  • Mitigates climate change
  • Waste management
  • Odor control and less localized air pollution
  • Reduction of local water pollution

Community Benefits

  • Locally sourced, renewable energy
  • Development of new technologies and additional jobs created

Project Description

Carbonfund.org supports the Chino Basin Dairy Farm Biodigester Project because it helps to reduce methane emissions and lessens the impact of global climate change. Biodigesters capture the methane generated by manure and transform it into a clean, renewable energy source. This particular biodigester collects manure from ten local dairy farms and is responsible for reducing more than 8,000 tons of CO2 equivalent emissions from the atmosphere every year, while also supporting local farmers and protecting the quality of the region’s groundwater.

From 2003 to 2009, the Chino Basin Dairy Farm Biodigester mitigated nearly 30,000 metric tons of CO2. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Climate Leaders Program notes that more than two billion livestock exist in the US and account for 7% for anthropogenic methane emissions.

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Calculate and offset your footprint now>>
Thursday, 31 December 2009 09:22

Energy from Food: New Research and Potential

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Food helps define societies and brings people together. As we enter the second decade of the new millennium, this will becoming increasingly true as population increases and new energy demands put added emphasis on global food supplies. ethanol1Food can be used to generate electricity. Many Americans know that corn is a vital ingredient to many current ethanol blends, but did you know that many different foods can be used to generate ethanol? Scientists are exploring the energy capacity of potatoes, yams, and onions (among other foods). The goal of all this scientific tinkering is to find a biofuel that can provide more energy per unit of input than corn cost effectively. There is also the increasing use of food byproducts or waste for energy. Carbonfund.org, for example, supports the Chino Basin Dairy Farm Biodigester in California to reduce methane emissions, which are more potent than CO2 emissions, and lessen the impact of global climate change. Combating climate change will require innovative solutions such as this. You can learn more about waste-to-energy and methane reduction projects here.
polar2With Dec. 31 approaching, please consider making a year-end, tax-deductible donation to Carbonfund.org to fight global warming today! Through the environmental leadership and support of donors, Carbonfund.org in 2009:
  • Reached 5 billion pounds of CO2 reduced through carbon reduction projects around the globe;
  • Supported innovative projects like India's Neria low-impact hydroelectric project which generates clean power, helps create jobs and local investment in clean technologies;
  • Received the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standards (CCBS) and Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS) dual validation for the 1,870 acre Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge Reforestation Project in Louisiana;
  • Certified new products including Motorola's Renew W233 mobile phone as CarbonFree®, the leading carbon neutral product label in the world;
  • Joined the 1Sky, 350, TckTckTck, and the Clean Energy Works coalitions;
  • Was featured in USA Today, US News, Mother Nature Network, among many others, and participated in Earth Day on the National Mall;
  • Participated in Maya Lin's What is Missing? campaign on deforestation;
  • Added Motorola, Transamerica, Samsung and numerous small and start-up businesses to the CarbonFree® business program, promoting the message: "Reduce What You Can, Offset What You Can't™."
Please take a moment and make a year-end, tax deductible donation to Carbonfund.org to support our programs and projects. Help Carbonfund.org get to 10 billion pounds of CO2 reduced. For every $20 you donate, Carbonfund.org will also plant a tree in your honor. December 31st is almost here so please, donate now. Thank you!
Carbonfund.org Partner Peacock Republic is a boutique soap, candle, and home decor retailer.  Their soaps use organic herbs and natural oils, and theirPeacock face and body products are environmentally friendly packaged in handmade plantable paper with wildflower seeds. Peacock Republic even has a children's clothing line that is handmade in the US and strives to use upcycled (converting waste materials, for example, into new materials or products) and organic fabrics whenever possible. In addition to having a great line of products, Peacock Republic donates basic necessities to those in need for every item sold.  For every bar or bottle of soap they sell, a bar is donated to domestic violence shelters.  For every garment they sell, an outfit is given to a child in need.  Their partnership with Carbonfund.org allows them to run a carbon neutral business by supporting independently verified carbon reduction projects. Shop Peacock Republic to support small business, handmade USA products, and give to those in need.
Thursday, 24 December 2009 11:38

Last Minute Holiday Gifts Quick & Easy!

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If you've still got names on your gift list to check off, giving Carbonfund.org E-Certificates is fast, meaningful and affordable! certifYou can help someone reduce their carbon footprint, from as little as $10 or a custom donation amount, and within minutes- even seconds- receive a framable e-certificate made out in your recipient's name. The e-certificate recognizes their support for renewable energy, energy efficiency or reforestation projects that are fighting global warming. forest-photoBe sure to take advantage of Carbonfund.org's bonus offers this year! Carbonfund.org will plant a tree in your honor for every $20 donated. You can also get a reusable Carbonfund.org Chico Bag to carry your shopping or groceries for every $50 donated while supplies last. So what are you waiting for? Click here to shop now!

Maryland's leader in environmental education and school certification is leading by example.  The Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education, living by Carbonfund.org’s motto to “Reduce What You Can, Offset What You Can’t” has cut its annual conference’s carbon footprint by a third and is offsetting that footprint.  By encouraging carpooling and moving the conference to a closer location, MAEOE has significantly cut down on fuel use in traveling to the event. The 2010 conference, also MAEOE’s 25th anniversary, will highlight the progress MAEOE has made over the past 25 years.  MAEOE provides educators in the state of Maryland with valuable environmental education skills.  Through workshops, training programs, awards programs, publications and materials, MAEOE is also helping lead the state to a greener, cleaner tomorrow. Further, with MAEOE’s school certification program, schools around the state are becoming local environmental leaders by cutting back on their eco-footprints.  For more information on how to get trained as an environmental educator or obtain green school certification, please visit their site at www.maeoe.org.