Wednesday, 15 December 2010 13:40 Written by Jordana Fyne
[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="347" caption="UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses COP16 in Cancun, Mexico. "][/caption] The two-week United Nations climate summit in Cancun (COP16) wrapped up with a plan of action that promised aid for developing countries, technology transfer and the protection of more forests. But the summit was largely a failure and missed opportunity for not seeking greater accountability from countries to reduce emissions or agreeing on a more comprehensive set of solutions to climate change. Carbonfund.org has called upon countries to take action, at a minimum by extending the term of the Kyoto Protocol or by taking steps to build on the progress of Kyoto and the voluntary carbon markets. There are enough potential carbon buyers in the European Union, Japan, Australia and Canada and enough potential carbon sellers in China, India, Indonesia and Brazil to create a robust carbon reduction pact. “We have the technical capability and market readiness to transform our global economy to one where clean energy costs less than dirty energy and efficient technology costs less than inefficient technology,” said Carbonfund.org President Eric Carlson. The "Cancun Agreement" received near unanimous support from member states except Bolivia, which stood alone in condemning the document as too weak in its emissions targets and its accountability of industrialized nations. Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa, who presided over the conference, overruled Bolivia's dissent and declared the agreement official, stating "consensus doesn't mean unanimity." Wrangling nearly 200 nations into agreement was viewed as some progress, considering the initial opposition of carbon-emitting powerhouses United States and China. Among China's concerns was that foreign states might find themselves privy to sensitive national data. A compromise on monitoring meant that countries that fund climate mitigation can report their own progress, and nations receiving international support to fund their efforts will be subject to verification through biennial international consultations. American climate envoy Todd Stern told Reuters that China's willingness to take on an emissions commitment and to do so in a transparent manner helps ease concerns in the US about what rapidly developing countries are doing to fight climate change. Meanwhile, the US faces tough odds of meeting its Copenhagen pledge of a 17 percent cut in emissions by 2020 given a divided Congress and continued uncertainty over the steps that EPA will take to regulate emissions. The Cancun Agreement itself is more an action plan than an executable solution. The three main areas outlined in the agreement are: • Green Climate Fund. Rich nations will deliver $30 billion by 2012 to poor countries and follow that up with an annual transfer of $100 billion by 2020 for cleaner energy and to help them adapt to climate change impacts such as drought and sea level rise. The exact source of the funds is undefined. • Forest protection. Financial mechanisms were developed to prevent clear-cutting of tropical forests that serve to store carbon from the atmosphere. Details of how forests will be monitored are to be determined. • Technology Executive Committee. The group will set up rules to transfer clean energy technologies to poor nations. The problem with this plan is it comes much too late, doesn’t go far enough to make a big dent on climate change, and lacks teeth. The international community walked away from Cancun without creating a system to enforce these points, track the dollars or measure progress. Thus it will continue to fall primarily on non-governmental actors including individuals and businesses to fight climate change. The UN’s next step will be moving to action on these points by the next climate summit in Durban, South Africa beginning in November 2011. Also on the table in South Africa is the fate of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, set to expire 2012. The agreement, which included the European Union and industrialized nations but not the US, set reduction standards for greenhouse gas emissions. Renewal is uncertain as Japan and Russia are presently refusing to sign the protocol unless China and India are included.
The New York Times has reported that both China and India have agreed to sign on to the Copenhagen Accord to reduce emissions. China and India are two of the largest emitters of global warming causing greenhouse gas emissions. The Accord, reached at the United Nations Conference of the Parties (or COP15) meeting in Copenhagen last December, commits all the signatories to reduce emissions to help keep global temperature increases below 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F) from pre-industrial levels. To date, over 100 countries have signed on to the Accord. While the Copenhagen Accord is non-binding, it may prove to be the precursor to a legally binding global agreement. The world's largest emitters like the US, Canada, India and China will have responsibility for some of the largest reductions, but even small nations will be provided incentives to reduce. A key component of the Accord is the inclusion of up to $100 billion a year in subsidies for developing nations to adapt to climate change impacts and implement cleaner technologies. With India and China on board, hopefully this paves the way for the US to take strong action on climate change. The climate bills that have been debated in Congress have stalled for the time being, but may get another shot for a vote before the year is up. While their passage is nowhere near a given, at least one excuse for inaction (what about China and India?!?!) is no longer on the table. Image Courtesy of The New York Times
Tuesday, 26 October 2010 13:09 Written by Greg Taylor
What do high school, music, a local cafe and climate change have to do with each other? When music teacher Phil Sheaff takes his students to play the blues every week at a cafe, he makes a special commitment to combat climate change. After covering basic costs for running a band, PH1LL and the Great Energy Transfer uses 100% of their profits to support worthwhile causes, including carbon offsetting with Carbonfund.org. From a one-time gig at a local Chicago cafï¿½, the band has now become a weekly fixture in the Chicago music scene.ï¿½ PH1LL formed the band as a creative way to teach his guitar students all the details of live performanceï¿½from equipment setup to the live performance anxiety not easily reproduced in a practice hall.ï¿½ A quick hit, the band expanded its mission to make a difference in the world.ï¿½ In fact, part of its name ï¿½The Great Energy Transferï¿½ refers not only to the rhythm and blues dancing off the instruments, but also to the energy transformation that needs to occur to avoid catastrophic climate change. The band has now committed to donating all of its profits to Carbonfund.org’s third-party validated renewable energy projects, which helps lead the economy’s transformation to a clean energy future. As the band’s success continues to grow, so have its ambitions. In order to further lead by example, the band is saving to purchase a bio-diesel van so it can tour without worsening the climate. They’re collecting donations through the nonprofit they’ve set up to purchase the van. To find out more about this initiative and the rest of their creative approach to music visit their website.
Thursday, 05 May 2011 23:25 Written by Linda Kelly
Heidi Lovig is madly and passionately in love with food, a fanatic about farm-to-table dining, sustainability, seasonal menus, and local, local, local. She honed her vegan chef skills during her time living on the Big Island of Hawaii in a sustainable community where she managed an eco hostel and farm. She was introduced to the spiritual side of veganism including elements of Jainism and the ethics of kindness. Through these practices and beliefs, she developed a deeper connection to the ingredients she uses to create in her art form. Heidi Ho Organics is a new plant-based vegan food company established in 2010 and headquartered in Portland, Oregon. The creative minds behind Heidi Ho Organics have created a range of plant-based vegan cheeze products that are made from all natural, organic ingredients without any additives, fillers or preservatives. Their initial product line includes four cheezes, including a soy-based feta and hazelnut-based Chipotle Cheddar, Smoked Gouda, and Monterey Jack, and Heidi Ho Organics is already in the process of developing additional cheeze varieties, spreads and other delicious foods. Their mission is to produce local organic vegan products inspired by their customers, their families and their community. Their vision is to become an employee owned company, with their families leading to stimulate local economies around the globe, to bridge the bond between farmers and food, ultimately strengthening communities, by pioneering the new path for food production and distribution with our planet in mind. As a self proclaimed foodie, Heidi moved to Portland a few years back and began her training at Le Cordon Bleu to obtain her degree in Culinary Arts. She focused on local, organic, and sustainable practices throughout her education. Her focus turned toward the environmental issues humans have created due to our food supply structures and the current systems of distribution. Heidi has been studying food for several years and is committed to ensuring Heidi Ho Organics is a part of the solution. Lyssa Story is "the Boss" at Heidi Ho Organics. She basically runs the show and is the brains behind every facet of its operations. Lyssa is responsible for the money, the organization, and for keeping Heidi from floating away in her dreamy cloud of creativity. Lyssa has an extensive background in the food and beverage industry. She relocated to Oregon from Arizona to attend the Western Culinary Institute Le Cordon Bleu, where she received an Associate's degree in Occupational Studies – Hospitality and Restaurant Management. Lyssa was raised on the standard American diet. Over time, her health was jeopardized and at 22 years old she began a plant based and whole foods diet. She wasn't surprised to find nutrition was the culprit of her issues, at which point she was drawn to veganism. Lyssa's health has improved immensely, and she continues her education in plant-based health and nutrition. And the rave reviews are pouring in! The Portland Farmers Market Blog says: “For vegans there have been relatively few tasty options in the world of cheeze, but that has all changed with Heidi Ho’s amazing initial run of four delicious non-dairy cheezes: Feta, Monterey Jack, Chipotle Cheddar and Smoked Gouda. These amazing products pack a powerful flavor and creamy texture, easily rating as one of the best on the market!” And coming soon are Swiss, Pepper Jack, Colby Jack, Cheddar, Stout Cheddar, Blue Cheeze Crumbles, Brie, and Ricotta cheezes. Find Heidi Ho cheezes at the Fight Fight Grocery, Jazzkat’s Coffee Bar, the PSU Farmers Market and the Pioneers Place Farmers Market, all in Portland.
Monday, 09 January 2012 11:51 Written by Alterra Hetzel
Wednesday, 07 October 2009 16:56 Written by Amy Givler
The US Chamber of Commerce has shown how riled up it is over the exodus of major companies from its membership rolls. In a letter to Apple CEO Steve Jobs over the company's recent departure, the Chamber's CEO, Thomas Donohue, explains the Chamber’s position on climate change. Unfortunately it merely highlights why Apple, Exelon, PG&E and Nike all oppose the Chamber on this point. Donohue complains that Apple “didn’t take the time to understand” the Chamber’s position on climate change. Apparently the Chamber’s call for a “Scopes monkey trial of the 21st century” last month on climate change actually belies their “support [for] legislation to address climate change.” According to Brad Johnson on Think Progress, the Chamber has questioned climate science since at least 1992:
2008: Chamber President Tom Donohue Says ‘Scientific Inquiry’ Into Climate Change ‘Should Continue’ Because Of ‘Cooling Trend.’ [U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 3/4/08] 2001: Chamber Claims Global Warming ‘About One Percent From Human Activity,’ Says ‘Things Just Change.’ [CNNFN, 7/16/01] 1992: Chamber Sponsors Global Warming Denier Pat Michaels To ‘Refute The Global Warming Warnings.’ [Chicago Sun-Times, 5/13/92]The letter argues that any climate solution must defend the US economy and business competitiveness and that they “oppose legislation such as the Waxman-Markey bill that numerous studies show will cause Americans to lose their jobs.” Although, most reports have shown that the Waxman-Markey bill will increase jobs—as much as by 1.9 million jobs, according to a new analysis by economists at University of California, Berkeley. Here’s the full letter, as included in the blog of ABC's Ned Potter:
Dear Mr. Jobs: I am sorry to learn of Apple's resignation from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It is unfortunate that your company didn't take the time to understand the Chamber's position on climate and forfeited the opportunity to advance a 21st century approach to climate change. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce continues to support strong federal legislation and a binding international agreement to reduce carbon emissions and address climate change. Furthermore, we believe that Congress should set climate change policy through legislation, rather than having the EPA apply existing environmental statutes that were not created to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. This is also the stated position of the President and Congressional leaders. Your letter states that "Apple is committed to the environment and the communities in which we operate around the world." So is the Chamber but we are also committed to preserving the competitiveness and prosperity of the communities and businesses in our nation. While we do support legislation to address climate change, we oppose legislation such as the Waxman-Markey bill that numerous studies show will cause Americans to lose their jobs and shift greenhouse gas emissions overseas, negating potential climate benefits. An effective climate change response must include all major CO2 emitting economies, promote new technologies, emphasize efficiency, ensure affordable energy for families and businesses, and defend American jobs while returning our economy to prosperity. The American business community that we proudly represent is the single largest investor and innovator in clean energy solutions and remains committed to a strong economy and clean environment. We continue to remind the public and policymakers that it has been the private sector that has developed the innovations that we now take for granted, from the personal computer to the medicines that keep us healthy. The Chamber believes that the business community will continue to be the catalyst for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and we support efforts to tackle climate change in a way that will strengthen our economy, protect American jobs, and benefit our environment. Climate change is a global problem that requires a global solution. The Chamber supports an international agreement that will set realistic and achievable goals, ensure global participation, protect intellectual property rights and remove trade barriers to environmental goods and services. I would have hoped that Apple would have supported our efforts to improve environmental stewardship and keep Americans at work and our economy competitive. As the world's largest business federation representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, the Chamber is leading the way to support the innovation needed to transition to a lower carbon future, including the elimination of barriers to the deployment of clean energy technologies. Supporting innovation and technology is at the very heart of our efforts to combat climate change, and we will continue to fight for an approach that embraces their merits. It is a shame that Apple will not be part of our efforts.
Monday, 23 January 2012 10:04 Written by Alterra Hetzel
The 2012 International CES, the world's largest tradeshow for consumer technology, ran this year from January 10th through January 13 in Las Vegas, Nevada. This year the show welcomed more than 3,100 companies on a show floor that exceeded 1.85 million net square feet of exhibit space. Among those exhibitors three companies featured Carbonfund.org’s CarbonFree Certified label, signifying that their products are offered to consumers as carbon neutral. This means that the products underwent a rigorous lifecycle analysis determining the product carbon footprint from cradle to grave and further offset the impact of that footprint by supporting one of Carbonfund.org’s third-party validated carbon reduction projects. CarbonFree Certification is a transparent, meaningful label that distinguishes products that have undergone this rigorous third-party certification process. LG Electronics – LG is the first in industry to distribute home appliances, solar panels and various consumer electronics with the CarbonFree® sustainability label, many of which were debuted at CES this year. This marks the first time that CarbonFree-certified LCD TV, LCD monitor, refrigerator, clothes washer, vacuum cleaner, air conditioner, LED lamp or solar panel products will be available to the public. These products also have agressive internal carbon reduction plans to ensure that every year LG manufactures them, they are decreasing their footprint more and more. In addition to the LG CarbonFree certification, the products will be ENERGY STAR® qualified. Other products certified by LG include two mobile phones, also available to the public in 2012. Learn more at www.lge.com ECO Alkaline from LEI Electronics - Looking for an eco-friendly, better priced battery that performs as well as the same old brands? Here they are. Last year these batteries received an “Innovations In Engineering” award at the Consumer Electronics Show. This year they were at CES again as the only and first carbon neutral battery currently on the market. In addition to carbon neutrality these batteries are also more consumer friendly than their competitors for a couple of reasons including Zero Lead/Cadmium/ or Mercury (they are actually landfill safe), have a 5 year shelf life, have a patent pending leak -resistant seal on the battery, and are offered at retail prices that are competitive to the other major battery brands. Today, environmentally friendly Eco Alkalines batteries are available in US and Canadian supermarkets, department stores, toy and hobby retailers, colleges and university stores, and hotel chains. http://www.leiproducts.com/eco-alkalines GoEcoLife by INTEK America – Again at CES this year, the GoEcoLife, which is the world’s first CarbonFree® Certified carbon neutral paper shredder, showed its product to show attendees. Under the GoECOlife™ brand, INTEK has been dedicated to producing environmentally-preferable, smart every day devices and products that ultimately contribute to their overall commitment to sustainability. They manufacture certified biodegradable/compostable products and utilize recycled and RoHS-compliant (lead-FREE) materials both in products and packaging whenever possible, as well as proprietary energy -conserving technologies. Also, the personal GoECOlife™ shredder utilizes an energy-saving technology that prevents vampire energy waste when the shredder is not in use and plugged in. Recently, the GoECOlife™ Platinum Series™ Paper Shredder (GXC120Ti) was one of four shredders “RECOMMENDED” by Consumer Reports in their recent paper shredder review. This is a smart choice for the earth and for consumers. To learn more about the GoECOlife™ please click www.goecolife.com. To learn more about these products and the CarbonFree Certified label from Carbonfund.org, please visit www.carbonfund.org.
Wednesday, 29 September 2010 10:46 Written by Manvi Drona-Hidalgo
Delegates from around the world are traveling to London for the First International Conference on Ethical Certification, which begins today. Event organizers at InSource have teamed up with Carbonfund.org to mitigate the environmental impact of this important conference entitled Certification, Consumption and Change (CC&C) for thought-provoking discussions on the future of product certifications. The CC&C conference will be a carbon-neutral event, supporting third-party validated carbon reduction projects. Carbonfund.org supports several projects around the world from forest conservation in the Amazon to the Nez Perce Reforestation Project in the United States that reduce emissions and help protect the environment and biodiversity. A few weeks ago a HuffPost article listed London as one of the most polluted cities of the world. So this is a great start, hopefully one that other events and conferences follow toward a healthier, cleaner planet.