While there may be debate around the margins, it is hard to argue comprehensively with the science of climate change. There will always be room for improvement in studies and reports, but small errors should not cause us to 'throw the baby out with the bathwater.' The time to act is now, and in spite of what you may have heard from some, the science of climate change is still very clear. For a few more answers to typical climate change skeptic questions, please see this recent article in Scientific American.
• The global climate is changing.
A 1.5-degree Fahrenheit increase in global temperature over the past century has been documented by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Numerous lines of physical evidence around the world, from melting ice sheets and rising sea levels to shifting seasons and earlier onset of spring, provide overwhelming independent confirmation of rising temperatures.
Measurements indicate that the first decade of the 2000s was the warmest on record, followed by the 1990s and the 1980s. And despite the cold and snowy winter we've experienced here in Texas, satellite measurements show that, worldwide, January 2010 was one of the hottest months in that record.
• Human activities produce heat-trapping gases.
Any time we burn a carbon-containing fuel such as coal or natural gas or oil, it releases carbon dioxide into the air. Carbon dioxide can be measured coming out of the tailpipe of our cars or the smokestacks of our factories. Other heat-trapping gases, such as methane and nitrous oxide, are also produced by agriculture and waste disposal. The effect of these gases on heat energy in the atmosphere is well understood, including factors such as the amplification of the warming by increases in humidity.
•?Heat-trapping gases are very likely responsible for most of the warming observed over the past half century.
There is no question that natural causes, such as changes in energy from the sun, natural cycles and volcanoes, continue to affect temperature today. Human activity has also increased the amounts of tiny, light-scattering particles within the atmosphere. But despite years of intensive observations of the Earth system, no one has been able to propose a credible alternative mechanism that can explain the present-day warming without heat-trapping gases produced by human activities.
• The higher the levels of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere, the higher the risk of potentially dangerous consequences for humans and our environment.
A recent federal report, “Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States,” commissioned in 2008 by the George W. Bush administration, presents a clear picture of how climate change is expected to affect our society, our economy and our natural resources. Rising sea levels threaten our coasts; increasing weather variability, including heat waves, droughts, heavy rainfall events and even winter storms, affect our infrastructure, energy and even our health.
The New York Times has reported that both China and India have agreed to sign on to the Copenhagen Accord to reduce emissions. China and India are two of the largest emitters of global warming causing greenhouse gas emissions. The Accord, reached at the United Nations Conference of the Parties (or COP15) meeting in Copenhagen last December, commits all the signatories to reduce emissions to help keep global temperature increases below 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F) from pre-industrial levels. To date, over 100 countries have signed on to the Accord. While the Copenhagen Accord is non-binding, it may prove to be the precursor to a legally binding global agreement. The world's largest emitters like the US, Canada, India and China will have responsibility for some of the largest reductions, but even small nations will be provided incentives to reduce. A key component of the Accord is the inclusion of up to $100 billion a year in subsidies for developing nations to adapt to climate change impacts and implement cleaner technologies. With India and China on board, hopefully this paves the way for the US to take strong action on climate change. The climate bills that have been debated in Congress have stalled for the time being, but may get another shot for a vote before the year is up. While their passage is nowhere near a given, at least one excuse for inaction (what about China and India?!?!) is no longer on the table. Image Courtesy of The New York Times
Friday, 12 March 2010 17:12 Written by Jason Fitzgerald
Thursday, 11 March 2010 19:12 Written by Greg Taylor
CarbonFree® Partner Central Coast Outdoors offers the best local tours in California’s Central Coast. Long residents of San Luis Obispo, founders John and Virginia Flaherty take pride in their local expertise and knowledge of all Central California has to offer. Early this year, founder Virginia Flaherty released a Brant Goose that had been recuperating from a broken wing. Working with Pacific Wildlife Care, she helps rescue and rehabilitate wildlife in the area. For the second consecutive year, Central Coast Outdoors is offsetting its carbon footprint with Carbonfund.org. By supporting over a dozen local environmental organizations, Central Coast Outdoors has developed a business that gives great tours and helps the environment. If you’re looking for a great outdoors vacation with true nature lovers, you’ll be in great hands with Central Coast Outdoors. They’re long time locals who can take you kayaking, biking, or for a great trip through the local wine country.
A recent op-ed in the Houston Chronicle by climate scientists from the state of Texas sums up the state of the science well:
Wednesday, 10 March 2010 10:48 Written by Jason Fitzgerald
CauseWorld is a mobile application that allows you to donate to charities of your choice, free of cost to you, while you shop. As you visit various stores, you accumulate "karmas" which can then be used for donations to charitable organizations. CauseWorld just got another contribution from corporate sponsor Citi which put its total contribution to the application at $700,000. It seems pleased with the app's performance - it has been downloaded over 300,000 times and large companies like Citi and Kraft are turning those karmas into real dollars. Some of the many actions that can be supported on the CauseWorld application include donating to classrooms in need, offsetting carbon dioxide emissions (that's us!), providing a meal for the hungry, or helping an injured animal. No purchase is required and it is available for the iPhone and Android phones. Let's continue the success of CauseWorld and its generous sponsors: download the application today and start reducing your carbon emissions!
Monday, 08 March 2010 08:28 Written by Emily Pugliese
Carbonfund.org announced the latest product to be certified CarbonFree® through its rigorous CarbonFree® Product Certification Program: Motorola's MOTO™ W388 Renew+ mobile phone. Sold in Canada, this CarbonFree® offering is 100% free of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and BFRs (brominated flame retardants) and uses recycled plastic from water cooler bottles for the housing of the phone. With Carbonfund.org's CarbonFree® Product Certification Carbon Footprint Protocol, Motorola worked with a third-party consultant to calculate the emissions resulting from the entire life-cycle of the product, including use and recycling. To reach carbon neutrality and earn certification as well as the CarbonFree® Certified Label, Motorola supports Carbonfund.org's third-party validated renewable energy and reforestation carbon reduction projects. "The integrity, strength, transparency and rigor of the CarbonFree® Product Certification Program has provided Motorola value in bringing carbon neutral electronics products to market," said Bill Olson, Director, Office of Sustainability and Stewardship, Motorola Mobile Devices. "Teaming with Carbonfund.org has helped us offer consumers a product such as Renew that has eco-friendly attributes including post-consumer recycled content plastic, eco-conscious packaging, energy-efficient performance and CarbonFree® certification." To date, Motorola has worked with Carbonfund.org to certify five products CarbonFree®, including mobile phones and accessories, providing carbon neutral options to consumers in 15 countries: the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Botswana, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Namibia, United Arab Emirates and South Africa. Motorola's first, award-winning CarbonFree® Certified phone, the MOTO™ W233 Renew, was made available in the U.S. and Canada in 2009 and won first place in the CTIA Wireless 2009 E-Tech Awards in the Green - Consumer Hardware category. Features of the new MOTO™ W388 Renew+ include best-in-class talk time, an energy-efficient charger, VGA camera with 4x zoom, onboard 7.5 MB memory and up to 2 GB external memory for more music, imaging and games, and excellent voice quality with Motorola's CrystalTalk™. To learn more about the CarbonFree® Product Certification Program, please visit www.carbonfund.org/products.
Friday, 05 March 2010 18:49 Written by Paul Burman
Warmer waters in the Arctic are causing methane releases from the ocean that have, until now, been very well stored. New research from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks is indicating that from an area west of the Bering Strait, plumes of methane can be observed rising from what was once permafrost. While researchers aren't making snap judgments about what this implies for the Earth's climate, the potential impacts could be huge. Methane is a greenhouse gas that is not as abundant in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, but has a warming effect about 23 times greater than CO2. Concentrations of methane have roughly doubled since pre-industrial times - most of these increases have come from human sources - and there appears to be no slowing of these emissions. One of the scarier things about global warming is that changes in temperature can have far-reaching effects. Scientifically, this is commonly referred to as feedback. If increased CO2 causes temperatures to rise and warm arctic waters such that stored methane is released, and that methane in turn warms the planet more causing more methane to be released - it's an example of feedback. Given the risks and effects - such as rising sea levels, floods, heat waves and spread of diseases are serious - it makes sense for all of us to take action on global warming. Remember to calculate, reduce and offset your carbon footprint today. For example, check out Carbonfund.org's carbon calculators and third-party validated carbon reduction projects to offset your footprint by clicking here.
CarbonFree® Partner Socher Insurance Agency is California's leading homeowners association (HOA) insurance provider. With the goal of being a leader in energy efficiency in their industry, Socher strives to reduce their emissions where possible. The remaining carbon footprint after their reduction efforts is being offset with Carbonfund.org's third-party validated carbon reduction projects through our small business program. Socher Insurance Agency understands homeowners associations and has been serving this industry for over twenty-five years. By focusing exclusively on common interest developments and HOA's, Socher is able to proudly serve business parks, condominiums, apartments and country clubs. With a dedicated support staff and great customer service, they are able to attend board meetings, explain your insurance needs, and answer any questions you may have. With the best carriers and competitive rates in California, Socher Insurance can fulfill your insurance needs. To learn more or request a quote, please visit www.socherinsurance.com. Please don't forget to reduce, offset the carbon footprint of your home or office today!