Noticeably absent from this year’s UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP) in Cancun, Mexico, is a sense of urgency and belief that much will get accomplished. While the usual actors of delegates, media and NGOs from around the world are here, there are fewer of all three roaming the conference centers. I hear no talk of a grand coalition compromise of the largest emitters–with or without the US on board–and the island and developing countries seem lacking in their exhortations to the rest of the world. Mostly, it is very quiet here. (Part of me wonders if our call a couple weeks ago for the US to stay home was heeded but without, as of yet, the second part of our call—that the rest of the world should stand up and cut a deal.) We knew attendance would be lower and, after the US elections and failure of Congress to pass energy and climate legislation this year, that the US role would be limited, decreasing the prospects of a grand agreement. But I have to wonder, where is the basic framework from Copenhagen? Last year, the agreement sitting on the table had the US reducing emissions by 17% by 2020, the EU another 25% and China reducing its carbon intensity by 45%. Canada was in, as were dozens of other countries, with real reductions or changes. That deal was there to be had when a hundred heads of state bombarded the place. Today, the Copenhagen (remember when it was renamed ‘Hopenhagen’?) agreement is nowhere to be seen and there is no talk of any leaders dropping in. A huge change. The overriding message from the last year is that governments simply will not provide the leadership we need to solve climate change. And it’s not just the US. The EU, Japan, China, India, Australia, Brazil and a hundred others have what they need to create a global pact to reduce emissions. China, India, Brazil and Indonesia, along with most of the hundred or developing countries stand to gain investment, jobs, development and technology transfer through a global cap and trade deal; the EU, Japan, Canada, Australia and many others gain efficiency, increase their competitiveness, reduce their reliance on imported energy, improve national security, clean the air and reduce health costs–all at much lower cost than going it alone. The deal is there. Is it complicated? Sure. So what? If they won’t lead, we must! Fair or not, the ball is back in our court to solve climate change, to get wind to cost less than coal and make efficient technologies a better deal than inefficient technologies. When you go carbon neutral with Carbonfund.org that is exactly what you are supporting. Over the next week at COP and months ahead, Carbonfund.org will be laying out the business and individual case for how to solve climate change, with or without government leadership. We are determined to make 2011 a monumental year in this fight. Stay tuned.
Tuesday, 07 July 2009 16:41 Written by Emily Pugliese
When Allegheny Contract Flooring joined our CarbonFree® Business Program in 2008 they pledged to “reduce, reduce, reduce” and they have taken significant steps to do just that. Through their Office of Sustainability they are working to rapidly transform their own operations to be sustainable and kind to the environment. Perhaps the most impressive achievement is their Zero Waste to Landfill Policy. To date, they have recycled more than 3,000,000 pounds of broadloom and carpet tile. Considering construction and demolition debris comprises about 40 percent of the solid waste stream this is an extremely important strategy. Where practical, some of this reclaimed material is restored and donated to charitable and other not for profit organizations, some is reused in the carpet manufacturing process, and some finds new life in the form of such disparate items as park benches, automobile accessories and curb blocks. None of it is disposed of in landfills. None of it is burned in incinerators. 100% is recycled. Allegheny Contract Flooring is New England’s largest commercial flooring company. The company was founded in 1945 and has been owned by the Auditore family ever since. Daniel and James Auditore took over ownership of the company in 2005 with the goal of not only being New England’s largest but also New England’s greenest commercial flooring company. Allegheny is offsetting their corporate footprint by supporting renewable energy, energy efficiency and reforestation projects. For more information, please visit www.alleghenycontract.com.
The video on-demand and hi-tech conveniences that were predicted for home living rooms are more often found aboard airplanes today. You can watch a movie, catch the latest music video, order a meal... even reduce your carbon footprint by offsetting your flight. Travel writer Paul Eisenberg notes in his FoxNews piece that Virgin America is the first airline to offer its guests the ability to offset in-flight using their seatback entertainment system. Virgin America partnered with Carbonfund.org to make offsetting possible to fliers either at the end of their ticket purchase or in-flight. The donation supports third-party validated carbon reduction projects, including the Chino Basin Dairy Farm Biodigester which captures heat-trapping methane from farm waste and helps protect groundwater. Carbonfund.org is working with travel and transportation companies in different industries to fight climate change and reduce the climate impact from being on the go. You can learn more about our partnership or calculate and offset your Virgin America flight by visiting www.carbonfund.org/virginamerica.
Friday, 03 September 2010 13:00 Written by Ivan Chan
The Obama administration today reiterated its commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent by 2020 and will rely on EPA regulation if Congress does not legislate to curb emissions. “I think EPA will be an important piece of the total equation, and there will be legislative progress also, though I cannot tell you when it’s going to be,” said U.S. climate negotiator Todd Stern at a press conference following further international climate talks in Geneva. “I’m in no sense whatsoever writing off legislation over time, and I’m quite sure the president isn’t either,” he added. The administration might achieve an emissions reduction of 17 percent, compared with 2005 levels, by first implementing EPA regulations planned for next year that would set national limits on greenhouse gas emissions.
Friday, 20 August 2010 13:19 Written by Manvi Drona-Hidalgo
At any given time, half of the hospital beds in the developing world are occupied by people suffering from water-related illnesses. The average American uses about 100 gallons of water per day, according to NIKA, while those living in poverty use less than 5 gallons per day. NIKA also mentions that an investment worth $9 billion would achieve universal access to clean water and sanitation. That’s less than what Europe collectively spends on ice cream every year—shocking, right? Through the sale of its premium water product, NIKA hopes to bring a voice to the world’s poor who suffer without the basic right to clean water and simple sanitation. By donating 100% of profits to support clean water projects in impoverished countries, NIKA will provide the basic tools and critical assistance to help thousands of families improve their lives in a meaningful way and end the cycle of poverty. NIKA’s ethical consciousness does not stop at the community level. NIKA is certified CarbonFree® by Carbonfund.org and as a part of certification, the company supports the third-party validated Return to Forest reforestation project in Nicaragua.
Although hybrids are a popular green technology, it’s used today not only for Priuses and other smaller cars but in large vehicles getting less than half the miles per gallon (MPG) of those cars. Choosing an eco-friendlier rental car should be based on overall emissions rather than the technology. For example, Avis and Budget both offer EPA SmartWay® certified vehicles, meeting rigorous air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions standards. Each vehicle receives an Air Pollution Score and a Greenhouse Gas Score, on a scale of 1-10. A vehicle must receive a 6 or better on both scores, and have a total score of at least 13 for certification. A full 100 percent of Avis' economy, compact, intermediate and standard car classes and 85 percent of full-size cars are SmartWay® certified. Similarly for Budget, all economy, compact and intermediate and 99 percent of standard and full-size cars are certified. Selecting a SmartWay® vehicle is easy. When I made a reservation at Budget.com, I was thrilled to see the SmartWay® certified cars, easily denoted with a leaf icon: You can also look up vehicle fuel-economy information and SmartWay® vehicles on EPA’s Green Vehicle Guide, which is updated through model year 2010. Where available, you can further reduce your emissions by opting for a GPS navigation system in your car to get where you need to faster (and avoid getting lost). Also, you can skip the lines at toll booths by choosing electronic toll collection when renting your vehicle; Avis offers eToll collection services in more cars and more cities than any other car rental company. Hybrid technology is a wonderful leap for cars and is driving new innovations and products. At the same time, we also need to keep our eyes on the prize of overall carbon reductions and climate protection rather than focusing on specific auto technologies. We feel similarly about not picking winners and losers in the green energy space; we need to focus on zero-emission energy without picking wind over solar, geothermal over biodigesters, and so on. Remember you can always reduce your trip’s emissions further, making it carbon neutral, by offsetting in support of Carbonfund.org’s third-party validated carbon reduction projects around the world. Visit www.avis.com or www.budget.com to offset your rental vehicle. Want to learn more? Please check out our Save Energy page for fuel-efficient driving tips.
A July 4th show is one of the most patriotic and, for fans, exhilarating experiences when a great show's followed by fireworks. The Honey Brothers, a new-wave folk band, is bringing their brand of music to the nation's capital July 4th, playing a rooftop concert at the W Washington D.C. Hotel. For clarification, "With a respectful (awed, even) nod to the Beatles," the band says, "we’ll be performing on a rooftop, but this absolutely will not be our farewell concert." The Honey Brothers is New York-based and has worked with Carbonfund.org to reduce their carbon footprint as a band. Their green credentials is also represented by drummer and actor-filmmaker Adrian Grenier, who has presented the Planet Green TV show Alter Eco on environmental themes such as organic foods and building greener. The band's show this Sunday will be at 7pm, before the fireworks. Please call (202) 661-2478 for info on tickets. If you're not in the Washington area this weekend, you can keep in tune with the band about the show and its plans at their facebook page. While you're at it, fan our page too.
Friday, 20 August 2010 13:30 Written by Michelle Lam
Calling all college students: school will begin soon and there are a number of steps you can take to reduce the carbon footprint of your dorm room.
- Make someone else’s garbage your treasure. Browse Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace for futons, desks, chairs, etc. instead of spending a fortune buying new furniture.
- Sharing is caring. Do you and your roommate really need separate mini-refrigerators and TVs?
- Think organic. Consider 100 percent organic cotton or bamboo linens and bedding.
- Take charge. Use power strips to easily manage your appliances and unplug whatever you aren’t currently using.
- Turn off the lights and all appliances when you’re not in the room. Encourage dorm-mates to do so in lounges or other dorm common areas too.
- Choose energy-efficient products such as CFL/fluorescent lightbulbs and Energy Star rated appliances.
- Invest in a reusable water bottle. It will cost less than $15, and some cafes give a discount when you use a reusable bottle for drinks.