Severe droughts having an "enormous" impact on the US and other countries could occur within the next 30 years unless greenhouse gas emissions are reduced. In the US drought has caused six to eight billion dollars in damage a year on average, the study by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) estimates.  NCAR scientist Aiguo Dai said, "If the projections in this study come even close to being realized, the consequences for society worldwide will be enormous." The US and much of Latin America, Africa and the Middle East could see severe droughts, as well as parts of Asia and Southern Europe.  Regions bordering the Mediterranean Sea could experience "almost unprecedented" drought conditions, the study said.  "Severe drought conditions can profoundly impact agriculture, water resources, tourism, ecosystems, and basic human welfare." Although some higher-latitude regions like Northern Europe, Canada and Russia could become wetter, this will not offset the severe droughts. Dai assessed results from 22 computer models used by the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), as well as data and published studies on droughts.  His projections are also based on expected greenhouse gas emissions this century. His scientific article is published in Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change here.  The study was supported by the National Science Foundation, NCAR’s sponsor. Learn More: Reduce your climate impact as an individual or business. Click here.
Thursday, 21 October 2010 17:40

Leaders in Procurement Convene, Reduce Emissions

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Government procurement has helped drive the market towards more sustainable and innovative products. The federal government has required, for example, that all new federal facilities meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification standards. Next month, the country’s leaders in the government procurement process will be recognized for their efforts at the 2010 Excellence in Partnership Awards ceremony. By working with Carbonfund.org and with a generous donation from Office Depot, the Coalition for Government Procurement has calculated and offset the show’s carbon footprint by supporting third-party validated carbon reduction projects. This year’s awards will also highlight two sustainability leaders with Green Contractor Awards (read more on this year’s winners soon). If the companies highlighted next month are any indication, expect government procurement to continue to help lead the nation towards a sustainable future. If you're interested in attending this year's ceremony, please contact the Coalition for Government Procurement here.
Wednesday, 20 October 2010 15:45

Storybooks Online Connect Families Minus the Miles

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What do you do when you want to show your grandchild how much you love him or her but live too far away? I can think of three ways: Clone yourself and move in with your grandchild; create a robot look-a-like to do your day job; or use Jackson Fish Market’s A Story Before Bed program to record yourself reading a children’s story online. What a great way to share an intimate moment with your grandchild when you’re miles away. Here at Carbonfund.org, we applaud efforts like these to bring people together in low-carbon ways. Virtual meetings, teleconferences, and now nighttime stories can take place without carbon-intensive flights or long drives. Innovative solutions like Jackson Fish Market’s are the kinds of ideas we need to transform our carbon-intensive economy into a clean energy future. That’s not to say you shouldn’t drive to read to your grandkids if you can, but we should all strive to minimize our carbon footprints wherever we can.
Three out of the four US companies with the largest carbon-reduction programs with Carbonfund.org—Dell, Staples and Motorola—are ranked in the top of Newsweek’s 2010 Green Rankings for US companies. Carbonfund.org partners Samsung and Unilever are ranked in the top global companies. As the leading nonprofit climate solutions organization, Carbonfund.org has helped these top-ranked companies and over 1,700 other partners reduce their climate impact. The rankings take into account companies’ climate change policies and performance. Dell ranked #1 for US companies. The company partnered with Carbonfund.org in establishing its Plant a Tree Program to reduce carbon emissions in the atmosphere and engage consumers on environmental sustainability. Dell’s Plant a Tree Program enables consumers to plant trees to reduce emissions, restore habitats and protect the biodiversity of animal and plant species. The program was launched in 2007 and is restoring ecologically critical areas like the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley of the US. Eric Carlson, President, Carbonfund.org said, “Carbonfund.org’s partners represented on the Newsweek rankings are outstanding examples for other US and global corporations in addressing their climate impact as part of their sustainability initiatives. These companies are setting the pace in reducing the carbon footprint of their businesses and demonstrating leadership in fighting climate change—the greatest environmental problem facing the world today.” Carbonfund.org’s business programs help reduce the carbon footprint of operations, products, shipping, events and websites, and can be customized for specific goals and needs. For example, Staples has partnered with Carbonfund.org to further reduce the carbon footprint of certain ENERGY STAR qualified products by offsetting the average energy consumed over three years of use in support of reforestation. Motorola has certified products carbon neutral, including the manufacturing, distribution and operation of phones like the new Motorola CITRUS™, with Carbonfund.org’s CarbonFree® Product Certification Program. Meanwhile, Samsung, which received a Corporate Climate Leadership Award for making the World Cyber Games Grand Final carbon neutral this year, and Unilever have reduced the carbon footprint of company-sponsored events by offsetting in support of Carbonfund.org’s carbon-reduction projects. Carlson said, “We’re seeing more inquiries about carbon-reduction projects every year, with the strongest consistent interest from the transportation and electronics sectors. It’s not just about the rankings; the more interesting story is that corporate climate programs are going mainstream.” The complete rankings can be viewed here. You can learn more about Carbonfund.org's business programs at www.carbonfund.org/business.
Monday, 18 October 2010 17:10

Gulf of Mexico Ecological Outlook Downgraded

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As reported in ABC News, researchers who study the Gulf of Mexico downgraded their outlook on its ecological health because of the Deepwater Horizon oil catastrophe. This reflects a broad belief that, though the Gulf avoided the worst once feared, it will likely continue to feel the catastrophe’s effects for years to come. In order to best gauge the short and long-term damage wreaked upon the Gulf it is important to continually monitor the situation. Carbonfund.org partner LightHawk is responding to the environmental and economic tragedy resulting from the spill of oil and gas into the Gulf of Mexico. By operating the largest and oldest volunteer-based environmental aviation fleet, LightHawk is able to provide donation flights to protect land, water and wildlife.  Their illuminating pictures of the oil spills’ reach help to spur clean-up action and maintain a focus on protecting what’s most important in the Gulf. LightHawk is assisting their existing conservation partners, like the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, in the affected areas and reaching out to new partners to provide donated flight missions. LightHawk is also working cooperatively with their sister group SouthWings whose volunteer pilots are responding to aerial mission requests. When the view from above will enhance efforts to scientifically document, educate and inform constructive responses to this effort, LightHawk will strive to dedicate the aerial resources of their volunteer pilots.
This year’s DC and San Francisco Green Festivals will reduce their climate impact while providing education and information on greener living by offsetting with Carbonfund.org. We’ll also be exhibiting at DC’s Festival next weekend, Oct. 23rd-24th at the Washington Convention Center. The Festivals, held annually in major cities including DC and San Francisco, are together the largest sustainability event in the world. They are a joint project of Global Exchange and Green America to celebrate and disseminate what’s working in communities around the country—for people, business and the environment. In addition to offsetting in support of Carbonfund.org’s third-party validated projects, the Green Festivals have implemented green event practices. An example is the use of Resource Recovery Stations on-site instead of trash cans and individual recycling bins. The stations collect organic and compostable items, even used electronics, in addition to recyclables. Carbonfund.org will be presenting on the value of offsetting in solving climate change, first at DC on Saturday, Oct. 23rd at Noon, and is also slated to present at the San Francisco event the weekend of Nov. 6th. We’ll be exhibiting at the DC event, so please stop by to say hello! Green Festival admission is affordable, including for families. For all event details, please visit: www.greenfestivals.org.
Wednesday, 13 October 2010 12:24

Climate Change's Link to Global Security

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What do climate change and war have to do with each other? To the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America, they’re intricately linked. The BPFNA is leading Baptists to build a culture of peace rooted in justice.  By teaching their member churches about worldwide conflict and putting their words into action, the BPFNA has taken a prominent role to fight for peace and for action to combat climate change. For the BPFNA, climate change is more than an environmental concern.  As they say, “Peace is not possible when we live at war with the Earth.” They also point out, “Peace is not possible when the poor suffer disproportionately - in natural disasters, in conflicts, in economic hard times - and as the climate of the Earth changes. In this point, they are not alone. As the New York Times reported, the Pentagon has concluded that:
Climate change could have significant geopolitical impacts around the world, contributing to poverty, environmental degradation, and the further weakening of fragile governments.  Climate change will contribute to food and water scarcity, will increase the spread of disease and may spur or exacerbate mass migration.
Therefore, as the BPFNA fights for peace worldwide, they actively seek to minimize their environmental footprint. At their annual conference this summer, BPFNA collected donations to offset the conference’s carbon footprint. BPFNA also provides advice to their members on how to reduce their environmental footprints.
The recession might have been worse if not for the growing interest in sustainability, simplicity, even frugality. According to U.S. News' Kimberly Palmer, who's written a new book, Generation Earn, "Instead of living exclusively for our own pleasures, we have embraced a new level of social consciousness. We care about the environment, our cities, and social justice." Generation Earn is aimed at young professionals, who are increasingly interested in spending smarter, investing and giving back. But the book is also excellent in its scope and even mentions ways to reduce one's carbon footprint, such as calculating one's footprint and offsetting in support of innovative clean energy projects. As the dust of the recession is finally settling, you might be wondering where do we go from here? Generation Earn provides a compass and reveals paths for a better future. You can learn more about the book at: www.generationearn.com.