The issue of climate change has re-entered the public’s conscious in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. In fact, there were accusations of a “climate silence” on the part of the presidential candidates until the megastorm hit the Northeast a week before this month’s election. Now both parties are talking about a potential carbon tax.
Last week a carbon tax was once again the topic of discussion at the American Enterprise Institute (a conservative think-tank) and the Brookings Institution (a more liberal think-tank) released a paper on it. The Congressional Budget Office also published a report on potential ways to make a carbon tax less of a burden on lower income people.
A carbon tax works by making those that use fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas pay more. When they are burned, fossil fuels contribute to global warming by producing carbon dioxide, which traps heat. Some experts estimate the price tag of a tax of $20 per ton of carbon dioxide emissions to add 1 or 2 percent to the price of gasoline and electric power. Other pundits view a carbon tax as a tax on economic growth.
Whether or not a carbon tax will have the political backing to make it through a divided Congress is questionable. However, environmental advocates are always interested when climate change is a hot topic. Extreme weather has been linked to climate change. So it’s important to warn people that if we continue on this unsustainable path of dumping 90 million tons of pollution into the atmosphere on a daily basis that the future will include more superstorms with increasingly devastating consequences.
According to the Carbon Disclosure Project, cloud computing can help companies realize $12.3 billion in energy savings and reduce carbon emissions by 85.7 million metric tons annually by the year 2020. This staggering carbon emissions reduction figure is equivalent to mitigating the emissions from almost 181 million barrels of oil each year.
These compelling statistics are creating a surge in cloud computing options and providers; the challenge is to find the right provider offering the breadth of computing services, systems security and deliver the flexibility required by each business.
Chicago-based Steadfast Networks offers an additional benefit to its customers by operating in a CarbonFree® environment. Steadfast Networks calculates the annual carbon emissions from all base operations and neutralizes those emissions by supporting Carbonfund.org’s carbon reduction and clean air technology projects. Steadfast Networks also provides a CarbonFree® option to all customers by calculating and mitigating specific operational emissions through Carbonfund.org for each customer’s dedicated or co-located server energy consumption.
"At Steadfast, we're always looking for new ways to reduce our environmental impact. Carbonfund.org fit organically into our business model and so it was pretty much a “no brainer” for us," explains Karl Zimmerman, President and Chief Executive Officer at Steadfast Networks.
Steadfast Networks specializes in highly flexible cloud computing, including options for dedicated servers or collocation services at their fully redundant data centers in Chicago and New York. The facilities used by Steadfast Networks are highly engineered to assure reliability and maximize energy efficiency, resulting in a significantly reduced carbon footprint. Their status as a CarbonFree® Business Partner sets Steadfast Networks above the competition for companies seeking the most environmentally responsible options for cloud computing solutions.
According to a study by the International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic, and Social Sustainability, the issue of sustainability is increasingly important in the apparel industry. Environmentally-conscious fashion designers and retailers are moving away from the wasteful trend of “fast fashion” to focus on eco-fashion practices.
New CarbonFree® Shipping Partner Hearts believes that “conscious consumers create change,” and that sustainable fashion is not only environmentally friendly, but also a means of artistic and cultural expression. As Hearts launches its sustainable fashion online store, it has chosen to embed a carbon neutral shipping program as part of its environmentally-responsible commitment.
Through the CarbonFree Shipping Program, Hearts calculates the carbon footprint associated with the inbound and outbound product shipping and makes a corresponding donation to support Carbonfund.org’s projects that reduce carbon emissions, in order to lessen the impact of the carbon emissions created by any outbound shipping process. Hearts will be providing an immediate positive effect through investment back into reforestation projects, clean energy development and energy efficiency technologies.
“Hearts understands that environmental and economic sustainability is crucial with any e-commerce platform but especially in the world of fashion where it is our duty and responsibility to offset the carbon emissions when we can,” stated Michelle Petro, president. She added, “We are thrilled to partner with Carbonfund.org because they too are our environmental change makers.”
“Our CarbonFree Shipping Program offers a simple and affordable solution for responsible retailers such as Hearts to deliver their products worldwide in an environmentally sustainable way,” adds Eric Carlson, President of Carbonfund.org. “The CarbonFree Shipping label will assure Hearts’ customers that they’re choosing to make purchases from a company that is committed to its mission of social consciousness.”
The hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica is allowing more heat to escape there, and the effects from climate change are dramatic. Over 60 years, mid-winter temperatures along the Antarctic Peninsula have risen 10 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature rise has impacted annual sea ice’s seasonal duration and offshore bulk by approximately 40 percent.
As you read this you may be asking yourself, “Okay so Antarctica is melting, but how does that impact me?” Well, more than 50 percent of the U.S. population lives in coastal areas. Since 1980, eight large ice shelves have broken off the Antarctic Peninsula. As the ice shelves separate from the mainland, they make it easier for glaciers to flow into the sea and melt. As they melt, the seas rise and we have more flooding along coastal areas. All coastal areas, not just on the U.S. coastline, are susceptible to the dangers of flooding. The Wilkins Ice Shelf, which is a floating ice sheet several hundred feet thick the size of the state of Connecticut, is currently hanging on to the Antarctic Peninsula by a thread.
And there’s more. Rapid warming is killing off a priceless resource that we’re just beginning to discover. Sponges, soft corals, starfish, and sea squirts can only live at constant low polar temperatures. These Antarctic seafloor invertebrates could offer cures to human diseases such as cancer, AIDS, cystic fibrosis, and infectious diseases. Scientists at the National Cancer Institute have already found one such example. These researchers discovered that a small Antarctic sea squirt contains chemicals that kill melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
The Antarctic Peninsula is probably not your backyard, but the losses it’s sustaining from climate change could affect you personally. Take action now. Perhaps start by lowering your carbon footprint. Global warming is having serious, life-threatening impacts and we have to do our parts now to turn the tide.
CarbonFree certification from NSF International and Carbonfund.org Foundation
demonstrate product is carbon-neutral
Sprint, LG Bring Users Carbon Neutral Cell Phone in Time for the Holidays
BETHESDA, Md., Nov. 12, 2012 — The Carbonfund.org Foundation applauded the announcement by LG Electronics USA and Sprint that the LG Mach smartphone with environmentally friendlier features will be available Nov. 11.
LG Mach, available from Sprint for $99 with a two-year contract, has earned the CarbonFree® label under the rigorous product certification program offered by the Carbonfund.org Foundation and NSF International’s Sustainability division.
With the CarbonFree Certified Product program, LG has offset the carbon footprint of the manufacturing of the LG Mach at no extra cost to the customer through the use of third-party verified carbon reduction projects
“Being part of the CarbonFree Certified Product program helps demonstrate LG’s overarching commitment to the environment” said Tom Bruursema, General Manager of NSF Sustainability.
“With its new CarbonFree certified mobile phone, LG is helping to fight climate change and continuing to provide consumers with cutting-edge products” stated Carbonfund.org president Eric Carlson.
The LG Mach is the latest carbon neutral product in a line of CarbonFree certified offerings. LG Electronics was the first in its industry to distribute home appliances, solar panels and other consumer electronics that were part of the CarbonFree Certified Product Program. These CarbonFreeCertified Products represent another step in LG's commitment to environmental sustainability and energy-efficient products and services, including a wide range of ENERGY STAR® -qualified appliances and electronics products.
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About LG Electronics USA: LG Electronics USA, Inc., based in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., is the North American subsidiary of LG Electronics, Inc., a $49 billion global force and technology leader in consumer electronics, home appliances and mobile communications. In the United States, LG Electronics sells a range of stylish and innovative mobile phones, home entertainment products, home appliances, and air conditioning systems and energy solutions, all under LG’s “Life’s Good” marketing theme. LG Electronics is a 2012 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year. For more information, please visit www.lg.com.
About Carbonfund.org Foundation: Carbonfund.org is a leading nonprofit climate solutions organization, making it easy and affordable for individuals, businesses and organizations to reduce their climate impact and hasten our transition to a low-carbon economy. Carbonfund.org supports innovative renewable energy, energy efficiency and forestry projects globally that reduce carbon emissions and help people. Carbonfund.org has worked with over 2,000 corporate and nonprofit partners. More at www.carbonfund.org.
About NSF International: NSF International is an independent organization that writes standards, tests and certifies products for the construction, food, water and consumer goods industries to minimize adverse health effects and protect the environment (nsf.org). NSF Sustainability (inserted hyperlink) draws upon this expertise in standards development, product assurance and certification, advisory services and quality management systems to help companies green their products, operations, systems and supply chains. Product assessments include testing and certification for sustainable products such as green chemicals and building products. Through its National Center for Sustainability Standards, NSF also develops sustainability standards for products such as carpet, flooring, and other commercial building materials.
Social and charitable giving has become a standard practice among most successful businesses today, with a growing trend towards charitable contribution programs that distinguish a business and its service offering within its industry.
Carbonfund.org business partner Nice Touch Communications (NTC), based in New York City, was an early leader in charitable giving programs with its Telecom for Charity initiative. NTC is a sales and consulting firm that has been providing voice and data solutions for over 15 years, and they launched Telecom for Charity in 2008. NTC works with businesses, non-profits, charities and other organizations to provide top tier telecom services while also donating 5% of each customer’s monthly telecom bill to their selected charity through the Telecom for Charity program.
Telecom for Charity (T4C) provides its business customers with the opportunity to support Carbonfund.org right from their monthly telecom bill. As a result, NTC clients and their employees are contributing back to society simply by going about their daily business of making phone calls and using the Internet. Every time a phone call is made, or a webpage is visited, Telecom for Charity customers are adding to their monthly support donations to Carbonfund.org. But the donations do not increase monthly costs; the donations come directly from Telecom for Charity and NTC, made on behalf of each business customer. To date, Telecom for Charity has donated almost $2600 to Carbonfund.org.
"We wholeheartedly believe in what Carbonfund.org is doing; and feel our program can be a great way to generate support with minimal effort for a long time to come," says Jay Frank, Program Director for Telecom for Charity.
For prospective customers and any CarbonFree® Business Partner interested in telecom services, Telecom for Charity offers its “Every Day is Earth Day” promotion. T4C will make a donation to mitigate 2.5 metric tonnes of carbon emissions to Carbonfund.org, supporting carbon reduction and clean air project innovation, with no obligation to the prospective customer, just for talking to T4C about their telecommunications environment and telecom needs.
Online shopping has exploded in recent years and has rapidly become the norm in many countries. According to a recent report by U.K.-based Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG), global business-to-consumer e-commerce sales will pass the $1.25 trillion mark by 2013, up 30% over total 2011 online retail shopping sales.
While studies have shown that online shopping may reduce carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 35 percent compared to traditional retail shopping, many forward-thinking online retailers recognize that “green shoppers” expect even more in environmental sustainability.
New CarbonFree® Business Partner Tradewinds Imports, offering modern bathroom vanities and contemporary bathroom furnishings only through its online store, made the decision to neutralize its annual operational emissions by supporting Carbonfund.org’s global forestry projects. In addition, many of their vanities and bathroom furnishings are made from 100% reclaimed, recycled or sustainably forested hardwoods. Most of their vanities are hand-hewn, rather than machine-made, reducing carbon emissions during the manufacturing process.
“The global environment and the health of our forests is of the utmost importance to Tradewinds Imports, and we are immensely proud to announce our work with Carbonfund.org to help offset carbon emissions and repopulate the trees of our earth,” states Todd Harmon, CEO of Tradewinds Imports. “Carbonfund.org is a fantastic organization and we are very excited to aid them in their carbon reduction efforts. Being good custodians of our forests is vital to our lives as well as our business, so we are delighted to help Carbonfund.org meet their reforestation and avoided de-forestation goals.”
Carbonfund.org’s online retail business partners help to set the bar higher for reducing carbon emissions related to the shopping experience, and Tradewinds Imports joins its sister online stores Bath Gems and Patio Productions as CarbonFree® Business Leaders.
Climate change is causing sea levels to rise, and this week’s super storm Sandy gave us a preview of the devastation that this kind of flooding can cause. In fact, five years ago, a study named, “Nation Under Siege” constructed a series of 3-D maps using federal science agency and the United Nations' climate panel data that demonstrated what areas of the Atlantic coastline will look like as sea levels continue to rise. The maps from 2007 are eerily similar to the destruction we saw from super storm Sandy. The main difference being that the flooding from Sandy is beginning to recede and the rising waters from global warming are permanent.
There’s no denying that sea levels are rising. Since 1900, the world’s oceans rose an average of seven inches, according to data from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Those of us that live on the East Coast are seeing higher than average sea level rise. According to a report by the New York State Sea Level Rise Task Force, sea levels along New York's coast range between 9 and 11 inches over the last 100 years.
Super storm Sandy painfully demonstrated that coastal cities are woefully unprepared for flooding and other dangers from extreme weather, which is increasing due to climate change. According to Katharine Hayhoe, an associate professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas Tech University, there are three reasons why climate change made Sandy that much worse. The first is already higher sea levels made the storm surge more severe. The second is higher sea surface temperatures from global warming provided more energy for the super storm. The third is Sandy may turned towards the coast because of a record loss of sea ice in the Arctic this year.
Preparing at-risk communities for coming floods and coastal erosion includes determining the best way to heighten sea walls or whether to construct surge barriers to protect flood-prone areas. These preparations require study and then construction costs in the billions. However, the latest estimates from IHS Global Insight, a forecasting firm, calculate that super storm Sandy will end up causing about $20 billion in property damages and $10 billion to $30 billion more in lost business. It sounds like the time is now to make those investments before further extreme weather from global warming costs more in the long run. We can couple those investments with our own efforts to lower our carbon footprints, which contributes to slowing down climate change.