Thursday, 17 September 2009 10:18 Written by Shira Silberg
[caption id="attachment_2397" width="199" caption="Increased temperatures and unpredictable rainfall can compromise our food supply."][/caption]What is the biggest global health threat of the 21st century? Is it swine Flu? AIDS? Obesity? According to a group of 18 leading doctors from around the world in a recent letter to the British Medical Journal & Lancet it is climate change. Here are some of the ways that climate change affects human health: 1) Food Supply: Increased temperatures and unpredictable rainfall can reduce crop yields, affect livestock and compromise our food supply. 2) Extreme Weather Events: Climate change may cause more heat waves, cold waves, storms, floods and droughts. This can increase the risk of food and water shortages and water- and food-borne diseases. Heat waves can claim the lives of the weak, and elderly as in Europe’s 2003 summer heat wave which claimed the lives of over 30,000 people. 3) Disease: Many diseases carried by insects such as malaria, and dengue fever thrive in warmer climate conditions and climate changes can prolong and intensify the transmission of these diseases. 4) Air Quality: Warmer temperatures mean a higher frequency of smog which exacerbates respiratory conditions such as asthma and other chronic lung diseases. In recent years the polar bear has become the prominent face of climate change, but we need to refocus on the human faces affected by the changes in our environment. We must emphasize the children, families and communities whose health will be affected by these changes and concentrate less on the polar bears.
Wednesday, 16 September 2009 17:23 Written by Ivan Chan
The main theme at this year's Green Intelligence Forum in Washington, DC presented by The Atlantic magazine is climate change- perhaps the greatest environmental challenge to face the world, as the problem affects every nation and ways of life. Industry, NGO and government representatives participated in today's discussion on both policy and pragmatic approaches to solving climate change. I attended on behalf of Carbonfund.org. Most participants see the value of cap-and-trade as a policy and economic solution. A good analogy of cap-and-trade was expressed by Phil Sharp, president of the policy organization Resources for the Future. "Cap-and-trade is like a budget on how much carbon is allowed to be emitted into the atmosphere." Bills such as the American Clean Energy and Security Act, which passed the House, use the mechanism to cost-effectively reduce emissions over time. Timing-wise, while healthcare is currently debated in Congress, some see a climate bill debated in the Senate this year. Maggie Fox, president and CEO of the Alliance for Climate Protection, said the momentum to move legislation exists this year, and that's necessary for political will. World Resources Institute (WRI) President Jonathan Lash said, "Congress will decide that doing nothing is worse than doing something." A lot of the momentum will come from the Administration, which over the summer has engaged key Midwestern states on the issue of global warming and why proposed legislation would benefit farmers and other stakeholders. The chairman of the Clinton Climate Initiative of the former president's foundation, Ira Magaziner, said that what motivated the foundation to get involved on climate change pilot projects is the sheer avoidance of the problem by many. The US and other countries have to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, or "our children and grandchildren will pay very serious consequences." The Initiative has worked with cities such as Los Angeles on ways to reduce energy consumption, such as by street lighting. 80 percent of the electricity used for street lighting in many cities is wasted as heat; whereas new approaches such as using light-emitting diodes (LED's) can result in up to 60 percent energy savings. Some of the major needs cited in addressing climate change are more access to capital and financing for research & development (R&D), and more focus on energy efficiency by companies as well as individuals to reduce energy consumption. Google's director of climate change and energy initiatives, Dan Reicher, said it will take a commitment by the US to invest in clean energy and other technologies to address climate change. A wind farm, for example, can take $500 million to build. By comparison, it took about $25 million in venture capital to start Google. If the US doesn't invest in R&D to address climate change, technologies will be developed in other countries rather than here. Siemens Industry sees a lot of opportunities for energy savings from buildings. Daryl Dulaney, the appointed president & CEO of the company, estimates that 38 percent of all carbon emissions come from buildings. Institutions, commercial building owners and lessees will need to do what they can to reduce this substantial carbon footprint. The country's commitment to addressing climate change doesn't have to cost a lot. In fact, notes WRI's Jonathan Lash, from the carbon trade part of cap-and-trade, states as well as the federal government can realize savings and revenues; about $12 billion a year could be realized by states from carbon credits allocated for renewable energy and energy efficiency. As we know at Carbonfund.org, carbon offsets are supporting innovative projects in renewables, energy efficiency and reforestation that are making emissions reductions today and help the transition to a clean energy future. Offsets are part of current bills such as Waxman-Markey to help achieve emissions reductions.
At Carbonfund.org, we love to highlight the great work that our partners are doing. I want to introduce our new "Better Know a Partner" series where we dive into what our partners do and how they're fighting global warming. This week, I spoke with Mambo Sprouts. So what makes Mambo Sprouts so great? Mambo Sprouts is a one-stop resource for healthy and organic living. Mambo helps consumers save on their favorite natural and organic products and features the latest natural health tips and healthy organic food product news and information. What steps has Mambo Sprouts taken to "Reduce What You Can, Offset What You Can't"? We have used Carbonfund.org to offset the bus mileage of our Go Mambo! tours and our national business travel. We also use biodegradable bags, recycled paper and folders. We even donate used paper to a pre-school for reuse. Mambo has also eliminated using envelops for our quarterly mailing and started printing with soy ink. What's your favorite healthy living tip? Eating healthy and organic doesn't have to be expensive. There are so many ways to save on these types of products with Mambo coupons. A combination of our coupons and the correct planning can really help when budgeting for your shopping trip. Why did you partner with Carbonfund.org? Mambo Sprouts partnered with Carbonfund.org in an effort to reduce the carbon footprint of our Go Mambo! mobile sampling tours. We are proud to feature the Carbonfund.org logo on our vans as they travel regionally each year. Carbonfund.org has made it possible to make our tours CarbonFree® by offsetting the CO2 emitted by the vans and crew travel. Do you want to live healthy on the cheap? Visit Mambo Sprouts.
The fight to stop global warming has just been taken to the next level. First came the revelation that warmer temperatures threaten our coastlines, food supplies, access to clean water, and our way of life in general; now there are studies that indicates that even modest increases in temperature adversely impact hops - a critical ingredient in the production of beer! The study states that the quality of hops has been decreasing over the last 50 years. If this trend continues, this could mean more expensive pints at your local pub because suitable hops will be harder and harder to find. Now I don't know about you, but if every other reason to fight global warming wasn't enough, I hope that this hits home for you. Fighting global warming isn't about saving the polar bears or penguins - it is about maintaining the quality of life and the global conditions that have allowed for the amazing innovations of human kind, like beer. You owe it to your children to ensure that they have access to the same great hops that have made amazing lagers, ales, pilsners that we have grown to love (when they are of drinking age, of course!). And where would this world be with out the micro-brews that so enrich our lives and employ many? I don't want to think of a world without beer. Neither should you. Click here. Fight global warming now! Save the beer!
Tuesday, 15 September 2009 16:02 Written by Paul Burman
World leaders are preparing for December's big climate conference in Copenhagen; the real question is: who is going to lead? Conventional wisdom indicates that global warming by definition is a global problem and will require a global response. If global emissions must be cut by over 80% by 2050, then everyone is simply going to have to tighten their belts, embrace new technologies, and innovate so we can do more with less. But many developing countries, whose emissions are rising, are not in a position to easily reduce their emissions and have other pressing issues as well having to do with poverty, education, human rights, and clean water. So what is the solution? Let developing countries continue to pollute, focus on their people and hope that one day they will be able to finally reduce their emissions? Or do developed nations feel an obligation to help the nations that don't want to choose between economic and social development and reducing emissions? The nuance to this argument comes from the fact that historically countries with the highest carbon dioxide emissions grew the fastest and were able to offer the best quality of life to their citizens. Click here to see emissions trends for countries from all over the world and you will see that the prosperous ones, the ones with some of the highest quality of life now, have been spewing thousands if not millions of metric tons of CO2 into the air for a long time. Since CO2 sticks around in the atmosphere for a long time, the increased emissions associated with producing those arguably sweet US cars in the past are probably still in the atmosphere. Because of these historical emissions from developed nations, groups all over the world, including the World Bank, are asking for the countries that have been most responsible for global warming to take charge of the fight to stop it.
Developing countries are disproportionately affected by climate change -- a crisis that is not of their making and for which they are the least prepared. For that reason, an equitable deal in Copenhagen is vitally important, said World Bank president Robert Zoellick.The solution that is fleshed out in Copenhagen will hopefully strike a balance between development and the clean energy revolution. But regardless of where the rest of the world stands, those with the means must commit to reducing emissions in a real and enforceable way. We didn't get to the moon by asking the rest of the world to take an equal stake in the action. We got to the moon through stubborn determination - now our world is richer with a better understanding of the universe and life in general (with a whole slew of useful inventions to boot)! It is time to fight global warming with the same passion that we used to get a man on the moon. Want something that you can do today to fight global warming and support communities in developing countries? Check out Live Climate, where you can do both with one donation.
Monday, 14 September 2009 16:45 Written by Jason Fitzgerald
Monday, 14 September 2009 10:51 Written by Ivan Chan
A survey by a research and survey firm The Mellman Group finds that a large proportion of Americans, 71%, want the country to reduce carbon emissions; moreover, the survey finds that 58% of Americans favor not just action, but strong action. Demand for action crosses party lines. 68% of independents and 54% of Republicans want action on global warming, as do 86% of Democrats. Majorities in each region of the country seek action: 76% in the Northeast, 69% in the South, 69% in the Midwest, and 74% in the West. The survey also found that 70% of Americans find global warming to be a serious economic and national security threat to the U.S., particularly with regard to droughts and rising sea levels and their impact on developing countries. Read more about the survey results here.
The American Kneeboarding National Championships has gone CarbonFree® for the second year in a row. In addition, they have taken our motto – Reduce What you Can, Offset What You Can’t to heart. They’ve located all event activities within a half mile of each other to reduce travel and have strived to keep non-renewable resources out of the championships altogether. Next time you decide to go water skiing – follow the American Kneeboarding Association’s lead and offset your trip.