The US Senate is expected to reengage with proposed climate legislation this week in an attempt to create domestic solutions that reduce our carbon emissions. While the hope for progress is great, the growing feeling is that the final bill that comes out of the Senate will be less ambitious than the one the House passed last year. According to Reuters news service, Senators John Kerry, Joesph Lieberman and Lindsey Graham are weighing options that will allow the Senate to move forward with legislation. But the issue that is facing this group is only partially related to policy; politics will play a big role in if, when and how a bill may be passed in the Senate. Options in Broad Strokes There are many options for potential Senate climate legislation. This may include a comprehensive cap on carbon emissions that covers nearly the entire economy, or a bill that only covers part of the economy such as power plants and/or other areas of the economy. The latter seems more viable in the short run to some, in order to build a broad base of support. One very distinct piecemeal approach may be to cap the electricity sector of energy, representing about 40% of US emissions. This could make a significant dent in carbon emissions now without necessarily affecting other carbon intensive industries like cement and steel, and may also be administratively easier to monitor. However-- critics view the piecemeal approach as inherently lacking, in that climate change should involve a comprehensive approach to emissions cuts. The Politics With elections coming up in November, it would be foolish to think that there will not be a fair amount of political jockeying between now and then. So trying to pass a bill in the middle of campaign season like this may be difficult, but not impossible. If the Senate is to pass a global warming bill, it will likely need to happen in the next couple months, before members of Congress focus on their districts and states and other issues that Congress is trying to clear this session.
As much of the East Coast recovers from a snowy winter, spring is actually right around the corner. To celebrate, let's take a look at some Carbonfund.org CarbonFree® Partners that can help you kick off the spring season. Sharper Impressions Painting is a residential painting company that has been painting homes for over 18 years. They can brighten up your house and even do interior painting with low VOC paints. If the brutal winter weather has damaged your home's paint, or it's been 5-8 years since your home was last painted, consider Sharper Impressions Painting this spring. If you live in a dry climate where water conservation is important, consider NewGrass. NewGrass specializes in artificial grass for residential and commercial customers who have concerns over water, fertilizer, and gas-powered lawn equipment use. Considering that some lawns require 20,000 or more gallons of water a year, artificial grass can be a better choice for conservation! Add style to your lawn and cut your utility bills at the same time with Exterior Solar Lights. They feature a wide selection of solar lamp posts, garden accent lights, and solar deck lights. With free shipping on most orders and a great selection, Exterior Solar Lights is an affordable way to meet your outdoor lighting needs this spring. To save 10% on any solar lamp post, simply enter the promo code 10OffLampPosts during checkout. Let's all celebrate the coming of spring, seeing what CarbonFree® Partners have to offer. Don't forget to reduce the carbon emissions of your travel!
Monday, 22 February 2010 10:41 Written by Paul Burman
Cycling is the world most energy efficient means of travel. If one compares units of energy to units of energy and mile for mile, estimates of of bike MPG are almost always equivalent to hundred(s) MPG - meaning that a bike can take you farther with fewer global warming causing carbon emissions (and other pollutants) - and that is a good thing. Biking also helps to promote good health which keeps society's costs of health care down. It reduces burden on over-crowded streets and public transportation. Helps to improve mental health. Improves safety of neighborhoods. And creates healthy and sustainable habits that can last a lifetime. But the biggest problem that cyclists face is safety. Let's face it, you are exposed to the elements on a bike - road conditions, weather, and crazy traffic patterns can all affect cyclist safety. For that reason, it is important for cities, municipalities, states and the federal government to prioritize development of cycling infrastructure that helps to improve cyclist safety and encourages participation in this sustainable means of transportation. A big step towards improving cyclist safety was taken as the US Department of Transportation awarded a $23 million grant to help complete part of the East Coast Greenway in the Phila., Pa. region. The East Coast Greenway is a developing bike trail system that spans 3,000 miles from Maine to Florida. The grant will help to create or preserve about 1,000 jobs as it helps to make the region a more bicycle friendly area by building trails, bike lanes and other cycling infrastructure to encourage participation. Cycling in cities is normally the quickest way to travel and does amazing things to improve local air quality and minimize urban congestion. When complete, the East Coast Greenway will provide cyclists of all skill levels a safe way to see the east coast and navigate our nation's largest cities. While not all of us will be able to make it up and down the full 3,000 mile route, having such an accessible bike route near tens of millions of Americans will benefit us all.
Carbonfund.org partner, Telecom For Charity, will reduce your office’s carbon footprint for a week just for talking with them about your telecommunications needs. They provide services throughout the US and can help you with a wide range of telecom needs. Their business plan is simple: provide great telecommunications services and help your favorite charity at the same time. To date, they’ve donated almost $30,000 to charity. If you sign up, remember to let them know your favorite charity is Carbonfund.org, and they’ll donate 5% of your monthly bill to us! It’s a win-win; you’re getting great telecommunications service, lowering your monthly bills, and supporting Carbonfund.org’s third-party validated carbon reduction projects. Give them a call at (888) 775-4100 or visit: www.telecomforcharity.org.
Friday, 19 February 2010 12:48 Written by Emily Pugliese
Want environmentally friendly carpeting but don’t know where to look? Check out CarbonFree® Certified carpeting from Carbonfund.org partner Tandus. With an environmental commitment to LEAVE NO TRACE, Tandus has taken an innovative approach to reduce the carbon footprint of their products and their business. To receive Carbonfund.org’s CarbonFree® Product Certification, the carbon footprints of the Tandus carpets were calculated though an intensive life-cycle assessment (LCA), the footprints were reduced where possible and the remainder was neutralized through support of our third-party validated Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge Reforestation Project. Further, with their efforts to conserve energy and utilize renewable energy along with their use of recycled materials in their products, Tandus is demonstrating that carpeting can be beautiful, functional and have a smaller environmental impact. Tandus creates floorcovering solutions that enhance spaces for learning, working, healing, and living through inspired design, leading-edge technology, achievement toward sustainability, and a commitment to continued leadership. Tandus offers its customers single-source innovative product design and technology, comprehensive services, and environmental leadership. Based in Dalton, GA, Tandus can be found online at www.tandus.com.
Friday, 19 February 2010 11:40 Written by Amy Givler
International climate change negotiations received an unexpected blow when the UN's top climate change official, Yvo de Boer, announced he will step down from the post as of July 1. A Dutch national, de Boer was appointed as the Executive Secretary of The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in September 2006. De Boer has been largely well regarded during his time in the position and is widely credited with raising the profile of climate negotiations and delivering a series of breakthroughs towards a deal. Though in recent months, the UNFCCC and their seminal reports produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have come under fire. While the science that underpins the IPCC studies remains strong, slight errors in the IPCC reports have raised the ire of global warming detractors. In a statement, de Boer announced he will take up a post as global adviser on climate and sustainability at consultancy giant KPMG, adding that it is the private sector that will ultimately deliver the deep cuts in carbon emissions that are required. “Copenhagen did not provide us with a clear agreement in legal terms, but the political commitment and sense of direction toward a low-emissions world are overwhelming. This calls for new partnerships with the business sector and I now have the chance to help make this happen,” said de Boer. His successor is expected to be named in the next few months.
Carbonfund.org has partnered with OpenPath Products to develop and launch a mobile version of our carbon calculators. Initially, Carbonfund.org's mobile carbon calculators work on the Symbian platform - the operating system for many new Nokia phones. The calculators will soon be available for public download on the phones. The calculators will allow users to reduce or offset their carbon footprint on the go by supporting Carbonfund.org third-party validated carbon reduction projects. The mobile carbon calculator was developed by OpenPath for the Symbian Foundation in response to a comment posted on the Symbian Ideas website - an interactive forum that enables users to ask questions and suggest ideas for the Symbian Platform. The mobile carbon calculator has been a featured demo app for the Symbian Foundation at this year's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. This mobile carbon calculator is helping to further Carbonfund.org's mission of carbon reductions, education and outreach. Carbonfund.org has also worked previously with developers on the Ecorio mobile carbon footprint application for the T-Mobile G1 phone.
With all the primetime excitement of the 2010 Olympics it is easy to forget that this year’s Winter Games are trying also to be more focused on eco-friendliness and sustainability. The Vancouver Games began in some sense in the shadow of their 2008 summer counterpart which left high praise for Beijing’s city-wide clean up and integration of long-term sustainable transportation. It is apparent that Vancouver's Olympic Organizing Committee has followed through on the majority of its sustainability plans thus far. By using pre-existing facilities and channeling clean-energy production Vancouver is well on its way to reducing over 110,000 metric tons of direct carbon emissions. Concerns arose with last minute snow relocation to barren slopes, but VANOC insists that it will boost the carbon footprint by less than one percent. Even the medals themselves are more environmentally friendly. In an Olympic first, the medals will contain gold, silver and copper recovered from end-of-life electronics otherwise destined for the landfill. The Games' green performance will also be reviewed by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in an Environmental Assessment Report which will be published later in 2010.