Large industrialized nations such as the United States and Australia no longer can point to lesser developed countries for refusing to set binding emissions targets. This week the head of the United Nation's (UN) climate change secretariat, Christiana Figueres, praised on Twitter the "remarkable leadership ahead of [a] 2015 agreement" of the Group of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) willingness to sign legally binding emission reduction targets as part of any new international climate treaty. The 2015 agreement aims to provide a new draft international climate change treaty that will then be enacted by 2020.
Last week Quamrul Chowdury, lead negotiator for the LDC Group, told Climate News Network that the group would accept binding emission targets as part of any new deal, provided they are based on countries' differing circumstances, and that they would like to see all countries face such targets.
Historically the group of 49 LDCs, which together cover 12 per cent of the world's population, refused to accept responsibility for helping to solve a problem they do not believe they caused. This allowed some developed countries to argue that they will make cuts only when the LDCs do so, despite the fact that it is industrialization and development that have largely contributed to the human caused portion of climate change.
Also this week, Responding to Climate Change reported that Afghanistan became the latest country to formally ratify the Kyoto Protocol. The country is now required to develop its own national action plan, including development of low carbon infrastructure and adaptation to climate change. The U.S. never ratified the Kyoto Protocol, and shows little sign of ever doing so while Canada, Japan and New Zealand withdrew from the agreement at the last round of UN climate talks in Doha.
The LDCs willingness to sign targets is a critical step forward in negotiations that have been stalled for years with industrialized nations and lesser developed countries at loggerheads. The LDCs have stepped up and made the first move. Now it is time for the U.S. to make its citizens proud and commit to legally binding greenhouse gas emission reduction targets as well. The fact is our country is out of excuses. Let’s not run out of time to save the planet too.
Rare gemstones and beautiful jewelry have long captured the admiration of cultures around the world, but as is often the case, the industries behind highly-prized items such as gems and jewels require energy-intensive and environmentally damaging mining and manufacturing processes. “Rare Earth Element” mining involves an expensive and protracted process to “find and prove” the source location, develop a mine construction and operation plan, obtain funding, then pursue the permitting for the mine, which will typically require a positive environmental impact study including post-operation mine closure and environmental restoration.
While not able to solve the entire mining industry’s emissions challenges, CarbonFree® Business Partner Sastaa made a commitment six years ago to take responsibility for its own environment impact by neutralizing its operational emissions. Sastaa is a Dutch import and wholesale business specializing in rubies, sapphires and emeralds. For the past six years, Sastaa as a company and owner Dan Thu Nguyen as a private individual have mitigated annual operational carbon emissions from office energy consumption and business-related travel by supporting Carbonfund.org’s global reforestation projects.
“A carbon-free commitment is a crucial part of the total commitment to an ethical and healthy life," states Dan Thu. Sastaa’s example of forward-thinking leadership and assumption of responsibility is characteristic of the long-term CarbonFree® Business Partners we will be featuring this year. If your business has not taken steps to institute a meaningful sustainability program that includes carbon emissions mitigation, take a look at our CarbonFree® Business Partnership program for 2013 – a simple and affordable way to help fight the negative impacts of climate change and hasten the transition to a ZeroCarbon™ world.
As the environmentally-inspired movement towards banning or charging for paper and plastic shopping bags continues to spread, shoppers need convenient solutions for carrying their reusable bags with them wherever they go. During the holiday shopping frenzy, it’s even more important to remember to take along reusable shopping bags rather than wasting resources on paper or plastic store bags.
CarbonFree® Partner flip & tumble came up with a great solution -- a reusable bag that compacts into a stretchy pouch, cinching the full-sized shopping bag into a small ball in seconds. Shoppers can stash flip & tumble bags in their cars, briefcases and backpacks in order to have a reusable bag handy when needed.
Consideration of the environment is very important to the folks at flip & tumble, so neutralizing their annual business emissions was a logical step. "We partner with Carbonfund.org to continue to foster our initiative to be an environmentally conscious company," explains Anna Hebel, Product Manager at flip & tumble.
As a CarbonFree® Business Partner, flip & tumble is leading the reusable shopping bag industry as an environmentally responsible company. They’ve made the commitment to reduce carbon emissions where possible then mitigate their remaining carbon footprint by supporting Carbonfund.org’s emissions reduction projects. Do your part this holiday shopping season by bringing along reusable shopping bags and patronizing businesses that offer eco-responsible products and environmentally focused business operations.