SILVER SPRING, Md., July 24 -- In a guide purporting to rate and rank carbon offset providers in Canada and abroad, the David Suzuki Foundation (DSF) and Pembina Institute have rejected internationally accepted carbon reduction standards in favor of subjective criteria that have no bearing on whether or not carbon dioxide is reduced from the atmosphere. The guide rejects forest-based carbon reductions even when certified to the strict standards adopted by the United Nations, International Organization for Standardization (ISO), California's Climate Action Reserve (CAR) and Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also allows forest-based carbon reductions, as does the Kyoto Protocol. "Any guide that ranks organizations based on subjective, non-CO2 related criteria on the same level or higher as international, government-backed standards is not a credible source for consumers," said Eric Carlson, president of Carbonfund.org. "For example, the guide allows for important criteria such as additionality to be self-defined and administered - a process that must be performed by third-parties to accepted standards." "It is inconceivable the David Suzuki Foundation, or any reputable environmental organization, would support national or international carbon reduction laws based on the criteria used in this guide," said Carlson. "Internationally accepted standards along with third-party verification and auditing are the only guarantees of carbon reductions - the goal of climate legislation - and are thus hallmarks of quality." The Guide: -- Rejects or Does Not Require Internationally Accepted Standards - The guide sets no requirement, such as in the criteria used, that projects be validated or verified to any internationally accepted standard, such as the UN's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), Gold Standard, ISO, VCS or CAR, enabling any organization to create their own standard. -- Rejects Forest-Based Carbon Offsets - Claiming an issue with the permanence of forest-based carbon reductions, the only project type that actually reduces carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, the DSF rejects the protocols, standards and methodologies adopted and accepted by the UN, American Carbon Registry (ACR), Climate Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Standards, ISO, CAR and VCS, all of which address and account for project permanence. However, even the David Suzuki Foundation's own science program director, Dr. Faisal Moola, appears to disagree with the guide's view on forest-based reductions and permanence, as this excerpt from the March 16, 2009 issue of Canadian Business indicates: "I'm not opposed to forest-derived offsets," Suzuki scientific director Faisal Moola told Canadian Business. "Trees are the only practical way we have to remove CO2 from the atmosphere." Moola agreed that technology-based offsets like those his foundation favors suffer "common limitations" with biological carbon capture, including leakage and imprecision about how much carbon reduction is truly "additional" to a business-as-usual case. Forest-carbon vendors, he noted, have found ways around the problem of "reversal" by setting aside some of the carbon a forest captures as an unsold buffer against future losses. -- Bungles Concept of Additionality - Additionality attempts to define whether the carbon reduction would have occurred in the absence of the carbon reduction project. It can only credibly be applied by an independent third-party and every standard requires this. A major flaw in the guide is that it allows for the self-definition and application of this important criterion, placing a higher value on self-application of additionality over many offsets certified to international standards. No internationally accepted standard allows for the self-application of additionality. -- Implies Non-Fungibility of Carbon Credits within the Same Standard - Standards such as California's Climate Action Reserve issue Climate Reserve Tonnes (CRTs) for each tonne of carbon reduction they approve to their standards. Once issued, the tonne is fungible with any other CRT, meaning the standards body believes they are of equal quality. The acceptance of standards and their fungibility is an essential component of any international carbon reduction program, such as cap-and-trade. The guide implies the UN, VCS, CAR, ACR and others certify tonnes of unequal quality, and thus are not fungible. "The big story is that the David Suzuki Foundation appears to believe that the leading international standards certify low and differing quality carbon reductions. If this is their belief, why don't they say so and why isn't their guide focused on ranking carbon standards organizations, the bodies behind carbon credits and the claims," asked Carlson. -- Uses Subjective and Non-Carbon Related Criteria - The guide promotes subjective and non-carbon related criteria, such as education by the provider or project developer, which accounts for 10% of the score, when trying to determine the quality of the carbon reduced, despite having no impact on whether a carbon reduction actually occurred. "Climate change is a deadly serious issue affecting our planet and we all need to work together to measurably and certifiably reduce greenhouse gas emissions," said Carlson. "This guide is a disservice to Canadian consumers and the dedicated experts developing and implementing robust international standards to ensure projects actually reduce CO2 from the atmosphere. The guide does not meet the normally high standards of the David Suzuki Foundation." The internationally accepted standards mentioned in this release have been developed by hundreds of climate experts, government officials and nonprofit leaders through numerous stakeholder groups and are widely accepted around the world. Conversely, there is not a single piece of national or international legislation that allows for the self-verification of additionality, use of a self-defined standard or that bases carbon quality on how well a company educates the public. About Carbonfund.org Carbonfund.org is a leading international nonprofit climate solutions organization based in the United States. Carbonfund.org works with over 450,000 individuals and 1,200 businesses around the world to calculate, reduce and offset their climate impact. Carbonfund.org is a Founding Member of the American Carbon Registry. www.carbonfund.org.
my leefIn today’s culture computers are powered-on most, if not all, of the day. With over one billion computers currently in use worldwide, this accounts for a large amount of energy. But with recent breakthroughs in more efficient technology, low-power PC components have become available that may help to decrease that footprint. Leef PC, LLC has taken advantage of these new technologies by creating a low-power PC that provides great performance while saving you money and reducing emissions. Leef PC, LLC is an experimental low-power PC computer company, testing the viability of green products that can address future needs and concerns without extra cost or performance cuts. Their PC uses 22% less energy to run than the average desktop computer. This increase in efficiency will save over 230 kg of CO2 per year from entering the atmosphere and around $50 per year from leaving your wallet. In addition, Leef has partnered with us to offset a portion of the emissions related to the manufacturing, transportation and use of their computer systems by supporting our energy efficiency, renewable energy and reforestation projects. To learn more visit www.myleef.com.

Central Coast Outdoors, one of our CarbonFree® Small Business partners, is an adventure travel company based in San Luis Obispo County, California that provides outdoors tours on California’s Central Coast region, including Paso Robles wine country vacations. Their trips focus on kayaking, bicycling and hiking and they specialize in small group travel, although they have hosted large groups.

Central Coast Outdoors has a very complete environmental initiative that is highly impressive. They use a 2008 Toyota Prius for smaller trips that need vehicle support and estimate this will help to reduce their annual fuel consumption and carbon emissions by over 50%. Additionally, they have installed solar electric panels at their home/office. Combining the usage of solar panels with more energy efficient appliances, they anticipate being able to reduce 70-75% of their electrical use.

We are always thrilled to see a company following our organizations’ motto of “Reduce What You Can, Offset What You Can’t” and Central Coast Outdoors is an example of a company making a difference in their green efforts.

Friday, 24 July 2009 14:16

Saving Rainforests and the REDD Program

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deforestationAn article published in Mongabay goes deep into the international issues surrounding REDD, or "reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation," a program that seeks to make forests economically valuable as living entities. The shocking image to the right shows deforestation-induced erosion in Madagascar from October 2004. Without a plan to stop the deforestation of our world's forests, any global climate treaty would be avoiding dealing with the estimated 20-25% of global CO2 emissions. "The premise of REDD is straightforward: tropical forests store roughly 25 percent of the planet's terrestrial carbon, more than 300 billion tons. When forests are cut—their vegetation burned and timber converted into wood products—much of this carbon is released in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide." "The clearing of 50,000 square miles of tropical forest annually accounts for roughly 20 percent of global emissions from human activities—a share larger than all the world's planes, ships, cars, and trucks combined. In other words, despite the attention given to the fuel efficiency of cars and the number of flights taken by celebrities, parking all the world's jets and cars still wouldn't offset the annual emissions from global deforestation." Read the rest of this informative article here>>
Friday, 24 July 2009 13:47

Fighting Global Warming and Poverty

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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the midst of a five-day visit to India has not been received warmly by her hosts as she broaches the subject of carbon emissions reductions. Clinton is urging India to reduce its emissions in accord with proposed action of the rest of the world to stabilize atmospheric concentrations of global warming-causing carbon dioxide emissions. Ms. Clinton asserts “no inherent contradiction between poverty eradication and moving towards a low-carbon economy,” a claim that some officials disagree on. “There is simply no case for the pressure that we, who have been among the lowest emissions per capita, face to actually reduce emissions,” Jairam Ramesh, India’s environment minister told Ms. Clinton. Here you have the paradox - how can we fight global warming without India's participation?  How can we get India to participate when they have more pressing issues at hand?  Is there an inherent contradiction between economic and social development and clean energy? There is no clear answer to these questions, hence the paradox. But there are real steps that we can take today the fight global warming and support local communities. Live Climate is an organization that fights poverty through the use of carbon financing. Their projects not only reduce emissions, but also bring electricity to remote communities or provide work to otherwise under-employed people. Also, there are clear areas of convergence where fighting global warming will certainly help improve the quality of life of the poor. Many type of renewable energy, for example, are highly probable and can be implemented in remote locations that wouldn't otherwise have power. And a fundamental principle of fighting global warming - improved energy efficiency - should help allow everyone to do more with less.
Apollo 11 840 years ago, man landed on the moon, but also landed the first solar panel on the moon as well. The Early Apollo Surface Experiments Package consisted of two solar panels, a communications system and some instruments to send data about the moon’s environment back to Earth. NASA’s space vehicles are heavily dependent on solar power and other energy sources as fossil fuels can be impractical solutions to fuel in a constrained environment. Moreover, this is why they are now leading the development of algae biofuels, which would allow astronauts to grow fuel on long trips by culturing algae. As NASA invented new technologies to meet the demands of its environment, they made essential leaps in clean technology development, including the solar "wings" that collect the sun's energy for use onboard the International Space Station. These advances were spurred on by President Kennedy through funding and our nation’s sense of competitiveness. It was done to meet a challenge, but it also transformed our school systems, advanced medical technology, satellites and telecommunications, and created jobs throughout the country and keeping the US ahead in the development of technology. The economic, social and technological advances from the space race permeate our society. Just as President Kennedy challenged us to maintain our technological competitiveness, President Obama has challenged us to stay ahead in clean energy tech. But unfortunately, the US is not winning the clean energy race. “China is 'winning' the race to develop clean energy, and the U.S. must put in place policies to promote alternative energy if it is to regain its footing,” mentioned in this article. Last week, Center for American Progress' Julian L. Wong testified before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on China’s clean energy industry. “The United States won the race to the moon, but we’re losing the race for a sustainable Earth.” In his testimony, he lays out a few facts about China's clean energy industry:
  • China’s efficiency programs alone will reduce over one billion tons of carbon dioxide per year starting 2010 compared to business-as-usual—equivalent to taking 200 million cars off the road.
  • China is now a leading innovator in plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.
  • China’s total wind energy capacity doubled in each of the past four years. This year it will surpass the U.S. as the largest installer of new wind capacity.
  • China is also the world’s largest supplier of solar panels, with 40 percent of the world’s market share. Of the world’s top ten solar companies by output, three are Chinese while just one is American.
Strong national policies that require efficiency gains, a high renewable energy standard and economic zones that support the manufacture of low carbon technologies have all contributed to China’s lead in the clean energy race. In order for the US to win the race to a sustainable future, we must pass strong legislation that funds clean energy and moves us away from fossil fuels. The measures in the climate bill that recently passed that House of Representatives would incentivize clean energy and help lead the way to regaining our lead in clean energy innovation. And, just as in the space race, this investment and this challenge will also create jobs throughout the country and spur investments that save consumers money. NASA’s innovations in energy was driven in part because of a constrained environment. They needed fuels that weren’t toxic. What we know now is that all environments are constrained—and to pollute in one area has massive global consequences. Clean energy makes sense for a spacecraft; it also makes sense for our homes and office buildings.
mojave_crows-funeral-coverCarbonfund.org, Planetwize, and Mojave are teaming up to bring you great music that will not only soothe your soul, but will also help out the planet. Planetwize is a music and media company that specializes in combining entertainment, sustainability, and technology. Through their Actiontrax music platform, Planetwize teams up with artists interested in releasing albums that support social or environmental projects. The Canadian band Mojave is releasing their latest album, Crow’s Funeral, through the Actiontrax platform and has chosen to support Carbonfund.org with a portion of the proceeds from the album’s sales.

“We work with bands and nonprofits that strive to have a true, positive impact on the world,” said Dan Porras, Founder and CEO of Planetwize. “We are very pleased to offer Mojave’s awesome new album to our users, and to make it easy for the band to support Carbonfund.org through our platform.” The commitment to the environment runs deep for the band. “I spent months trying to find the most environmentally friendly way to produce the CD,” Mojave’s Paul explained. As a result, Crow’s Funeral is packaged in FSC-certified paper, printed with soy ink, and sealed in biodegradable overwrap.

Carbonfund.org is thrilled to be partnering with both Planetwize and Mojave and are very appreciative of their support of our mission. You can preview tracks from Crow’s Funeral and download the album by clicking here. Starting next month, our friends to the North can catch up with Mojave on their fall tour by checking out their tour dates.

Carbonfund.org is thrilled to once again partner with the National Business Travel Association (NBTA) by offsetting their 2009 National Business Travel Association International Convention and Exposition held this year in San Diego from August 23-26. Carbonfund.org will retire over 100 metric tons of CO2 to offset the electricity usage of the San Diego Convention Center during the course of the four days that the 2009 Convention will be taking place. Convention attendees are also able to offset the emissions relating to their air travel by visiting the Convention’s special partner page on the Carbonfund.org website.

The NBTA’s commitment to greening their signature event goes well beyond offsetting, as they have incorporated several eco-friendly initiatives into this year’s Convention. The commitment to reducing their impact includes creating fewer printed materials and ensuring that these materials, such as the Convention Program & Exposition Guide, are printed on recycled paper using vegetable-based inks by a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified printer.

In selecting The San Diego Convention Center as the host of this year’s event, the NBTA made a very green choice for the Convention. The San Diego Convention Center has installed an energy efficient heating and cooling system, lighting, and kitchen upgrades that have resulted in savings of almost 3 million kWh annually. Recycling at the facility has diverted 24% of the total waste and a new food composting program will divert 260 tons of food annually. Leftover Convention items, such as surplus furniture and computers will be donated to local schools or social services. San Diego is also one of the "10 most walkable U.S. cities," which helps reduce the need for driving while in the area. The San Diego Convention Center is connected to several hotels with easy access to the San Diego Trolley and buses ? making it a great “green” host for the NBTA Convention.

We salute the NBTA for undertaking a comprehensive initiative to green the 2009 Convention. By reducing what they can, and offsetting what they can’t, the NBTA is demonstrating excellent leadership to its members and sponsors. If you are attending the 2009 NBTA Convention, please stop by and say hello to the Carbonfund.org team by visiting us at booth #1346!