Friday, 25 September 2009 10:05 Written by Amy Givler
A new report shows that $70.2 billion was given to the fossil fuel industry over the last seven years from government subsidies. Only $12.2 billion was given to renewables like wind and solar, in the same time period. The study, released this week, is available through the Power Shift '09 site and here. Read more>>
Friday, 25 September 2009 09:51 Written by Jason Fitzgerald
Carbonfund.org CarbonFree® Partner WE ADD UP has kicked off the Climate Action Giveaway, a virtual web campaign to harvest awareness and action around global warming throughout the nation. The Climate Action Giveaway is the "World's Biggest Green Sweepstakes" and comes at a good time with the recent passage of the American Clean Energy and Security Act in the House of Representatives and international climate talks in Copenhagen this December. Visit the website to join the sweepstakes and automatically be entered for a chance to win exciting green prizes. The goal is to get one million people learning about climate change solutions and participating in simple actions to increase public engagement. Each week you'll receive an email suggesting a green action to take, from e-faxing your Senator to support climate legislation or participating in viral photo activism. Over 230 winners will be chosen and prizes include a 4-day backpacking trip to Glacier National Park in Montana, a year's supply of Organic Valley milk, LED Christmas lights, and even eco-friendly countertops! To join the sweepstakes and help make history, visit www.climategiveaway.com.
EcoSecurities is about to launch the second iteration of their Carbon Management and Offsetting Trends Survey Results new and improved for 2009. The survey participants included 280 companies and 31 carbon offset organizations from all over the world to gain insights into green purchasing patterns and important decision making factors. Carbonfund.org participated in the survey that is slated for public download on September 29th. Carbonfund.org is honored to be a top recognized carbon offset provider in the survey. Some key insights from the study is that interest in green issues is still high despite the recession, with 76% of companies surveyed having implemented or are developing a carbon plan and 60% of companies have measured their carbon footprint. But North American companies are lagging behind, with only 54% of companies surveyed having completed a carbon footprint assessment. Other highlights from the survey include:
- Over three quarters of companies have implemented or have started developing a carbon management strategy
- Two thirds of respondents have already offset their carbon emissions or will consider offsetting in the future
- Environmental benefits (91%) were highlighted as one of the main motivations for interest in carbon offsets, closely followed by carbon neutrality and marketing (89%)
- 72% of participants nominated the US as the most desirable geographic region for purchasing offsets; this may reflect the desire for domestic projects as 56% of the respondents came from North America. Africa and South America were also rated as highly desirable locations for emission reduction projects
- Respondents prefer renewable energy projects above any other project type with solar scoring 92% and wind 86%
The US Chamber of Commerce, which claims to be the voice of business, lost a big member this week—PG&E energy company—because of its "extreme" views on climate change. The Chamber has been a source of global warming denial and recently called for the EPA to hold a "Scopes"-like hearing on the evidence that climate change is man-made. The EPA politely demurred, saying that their policies are based "on the soundest peer-reviewed science available, which overwhelmingly indicates that climate change presents a threat to human health and welfare." Climate is not the Chamber’s specialty, but it has been instrumental in protecting some businesses' interests on issues like labor laws, the minimum wage and health care. And despite potential disagreements on myriad issues, some companies have decided to take a stand on this one. On the PG&E’s blog, Jonathan Marshall, PG&E’s chief of external communications writes, “not every issue is created equal, and sometimes companies decide they have to take a more decisive stand on the really big ones.” PG&E is a natural gas and electricity provider in Northern California and has invested in solar power. In a letter to the Chamber, they criticize its “extreme” view on climate change:
We find it dismaying that the Chamber neglects the indisputable fact that a decisive majority of experts have said the data on global warming are compelling and point to a threat that cannot be ignored. In our opinion, an intellectually honest argument over the best policy response to the challenges of climate change is one thing; disingenuous attempts to diminish or distort the reality of these challenges are quite another.Separately, Nike issued a statement that chided the Chamber for their position on climate change:
Nike fundamentally disagrees with the US Chamber of Commerce's position on climate change and is concerned and deeply disappointed with the US Chamber's recently filed petition challenging the EPA's administrative authority and action on this critically important issue. Nike believes that climate change is an urgent issue affecting the world today and that businesses and their representative associations need to take an active role to invest in sustainable business practices and innovative solutions to address the issue. It is not a time for debate but instead a time for action and we believe the Chamber's recent petition sets back important work currently being undertaken by EPA on this issue. Nike helped to found BICEP, a coalition of businesses supporting congressional action to address strong U.S. climate and energy legislation. Nike has worked to address its own environmental footprint through the development of more sustainable products, energy efficiency programs and emission reductions.
Wednesday, 23 September 2009 14:31 Written by Lesley Carlson
Today is the 6th anniversary of when Carbonfund.org was registered as a 501(c)(3). And, five days from now is our daughter Renee’s 6th birthday. Yes, fall 2003 was busy for the Carlsons, but it was all intertwined. Eric had long worked on energy efficiency and his interest in renewable energy as a way to solve climate change, but he saw no sign of the breakthrough necessary to really solve the problem. Seeing our beautiful Sonja born in Fall 2001 made the matter personal and urgent. What would happen to our child if global warming continued on its threatening march? Would we be able to say to her that we did what we could to stop it? Carbonfund.org resulted from three observations: 1) Acid rain, a former environmental urgency, had been solved primarily from a cap-and-trade on SO2; 2) Individuals and businesses were already taking steps to reduce their CO2 emissions through conservation and energy efficiency and through the Chicago Climate Exchange; and 3) Dramatic legislation to solve the problem was nowhere on the horizon. We wanted to provide individuals and businesses an affordable way to understand and neutralize their own carbon footprint. Above is the banner to our first website, which was put up in January 2004. A few months later we had the moxie to start a 100,000 metric ton challenge, which given the $3200 we raised in 2004, took a little while to attain. But we did. And then some. Today, thanks to our early supporters to whom we had a lot to prove, but who gave us legitimacy and voice, and to those who have joined us ever since, we celebrate that we are offsetting over 5 billion pounds (over 2,260,000 metric tons) of CO2 and our relationship with more than 450,000 individuals and 1,200 businesses to build a greener future. We are also excited that national brands, such as Motorola and Domino Sugar have adopted our CarbonFree® Product Certification, making their products carbon neutral from start to finish and that we have helped in preserving or growing trees in Nicaragua, Louisiana, Brazil and China, covering an area over 8 times the size of Central Park. We have also been proud of our wonderful workforce committed to transforming the way in which people think of, use, and purchase energy, or “reduce what [we] can, and offset what [we] can’t.” While we are not yet at our original goal of moving “toward a zero carbon world,” we have shown that carbon reductions can happen at reasonable cost and can invigorate the economy and that people are willing to make the changes to get there, even during serious economic times. The good news is that with all of us working together, we are having an effect. Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute wrote in the September 20 Washington Post that US CO2 emissions are down 9% over the last two years and continue to drop this year. For the first time, we are showing that we can reduce our climate impact. Together with our supporters, Carbonfund.org will make more investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and forest-based projects and educate individuals and businesses on what they can do. In addition, we all need to press our leaders for national change. This session, Congress will be considering that dramatic legislation we dreamed of so long ago. Carbon offsetting has helped us to see it. Those of us who have led the fight against climate change need to join our voices and add more to get the Waxman-Markey bill passed. Without our individual and national action, it will be hard for any kind of substantial international climate change treaty to happen. This is how it works. Through realizing a private dream of starting an organization or taking personal action, every individual can say that we did what we could to stop it.
Tuesday, 22 September 2009 10:56 Written by Amy Givler
Today marks a full day of climate negotiations that lead off the UN’s annual meeting in New York. President Obama will make an opening speech, in which he will acknowledge the previous administration’s climate stance by saying that his administration “understand[s] the gravity of the climate threat. We are determined to act. And we will meet our responsibility to future generations.” This year’s challenge is getting the issue in front of and debated in the US Senate. Without a strong climate commitment from the US, Obama’s efforts will be seriously hamstrung in any international negotiations. He highlights what has been done through investment and tax incentives in the US. “The United States has done more to promote clean energy and reduce carbon pollution in the last eight months than at any other time in our history.”
We’re making our government’s largest ever investment in renewable energy – an investment aimed at doubling the generating capacity from wind and other renewable resources in three years. Across America, entrepreneurs are constructing wind turbines and solar panels and batteries for hybrid cars with the help of loan guarantees and tax credits – projects that are creating new jobs and new industries. We’re investing billions to cut energy waste in our homes, buildings, and appliances – helping American families save money on energy bills in the process. We’ve proposed the very first national policy aimed at both increasing fuel economy and reducing greenhouse gas pollution for all new cars and trucks – a standard that will also save consumers money and our nation oil. We’re moving forward with our nation’s first offshore wind energy projects. We’re investing billions to capture carbon pollution so that we can clean up our coal plants. Just this week, we announced that for the first time ever, we’ll begin tracking how much greenhouse gas pollution is being emitted throughout the country. Later this week, I will work with my colleagues at the G20 to phase out fossil fuel subsidies so that we can better address our climate challenge. And already, we know that the recent drop in overall U.S. emissions is due in part to steps that promote greater efficiency and greater use of renewable energy.If the Senate and the House could come to an agreement on the climate bill, Obama would certainly be in a stronger position to push a stronger climate treaty. But in order to avoid being a disappointing collection of platitudes, calls for action need to include strong, science-based targets on emissions reductions so that we can get back to a sustainable level of CO2 in our atmosphere. Read the full released speech here.
Tuesday, 22 September 2009 10:43 Written by Paul Burman
Tuesday, 22 September 2009 09:45 Written by Ivan Chan
In the DC metro area, it's Car Free Day, encouraging commuters to consider alternatives to driving. If more people biked, took transit or walked, not only would it free up some room on the highways and roads, it would reduce air pollution and encourage exercise. In fact, the DC metro area has some of the lowest air quality in the country. Although as a region DC has some avid runners and great trails, more people could take advantage of the area's outdoor offerings especially on weekends. The events are in conjunction with World Car Free Day, each Sept. 22. Learn more about the events around Car Free Day here. Also, you can offset your carbon footprint with Carbonfund.org in support of outstanding projects that are reducing carbon emissions in the US and abroad. Get started- calculate your carbon footprint!