Within one generation, by 2050, the U.S. can gradually and almost completely eliminate coal and nuclear power finds a new report out from Greenpeace and the Global Wind Energy Council. The report, "Energy [R]evolution – A Sustainable USA Energy Outlook," released last week details the steps we need to take to change greenhouse gas emitting systems such as electricity, heating and transportation. If we follow the groups' blueprint, the country is estimated to reduce carbon emissions 39% percent below 2005 levels by 2025 and 60% below 2005 levels by 2030.
This report is the latest in a series of global, national and regional Energy [R]evolution scenarios found at www.energyblueprint.info. "The Energy [R]evolution demonstrates that transitioning to a renewable energy economy can free resources for economic development. It means more and better jobs, greater energy independence, and it is more democratic as citizens attain more control of energy production. Compared with the Energy Information Agency energy outlook, the transition to renewables creates more jobs at every stage of the energy transition, with more than 34% more jobs by 2030."
The Energy [R]evolution's goal is to, "wean the economy off dirty fuels as thoroughly and quickly as possible, and in a way that is technologically, politically, and ecologically realistic." Although this report focuses on the United States, it is, "part of a global analysis showing how the international economy can transition to nearly 100% renewable energy by 2050, while assuming no new 'breakthrough technologies'."
Specifically, the report outlines how by 2050 renewable energy sources could provide:
- Roughly 97% of U.S. electricity production
- 94% of the country’s total heating and cooling demand
- About 92% of America’s final energy demand
"The most recent National Climate Assessment makes it very clear that we need national policies to expedite a clean energy economy," said Kyle Ash, senior legislative representative for Greenpeace USA.
"Fortunately, the energy market is phasing out coal and phasing in renewable energy at a rapid pace, but this must be quickened to avoid climate consequences much worse than the wildfires, droughts, and superstorms the country is already experiencing," said Ash.
Indeed, the Energy [R]evolution sounds like a good way to start putting the brakes on global warming and engender the truly transformative change we must undertake immediately to avoid catastrophic climate change. The time has come for us to embrace a low-carbon future.
This is the third in a monthly blog series about our forest conservation projects in Brazil. This month's blog highlights the extraordinary community benefits at the Russas and Valparaiso Projects.
The Southwestern Amazon, specifically along the Juruá and Valparaiso Rivers in the State of Acre, Brazil, is home to our Russas and Valparaiso Projects. These forest conservation projects collectively cover approximately 158,000 acres and are being designed and implemented in tandem. The Valparaiso Project is currently undergoing validation to the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard (CCBS), while the Russas Project recently achieved validation to the VCS and to the Gold Level of the CCBS for the Project's exceptional community benefits.
To achieve Gold Level of the CCBS for exceptional community benefits, projects need to demonstrate that at least 50% of the communities living in the Project Zone earn less than the national poverty line. Next, projects need to specifically involve the poorest community members and must have a specialized community impact monitoring plan with the ability to monitor the projects' impact on these poorest community members.
The Russas and Valparaiso Projects both use a Basic Necessity Survey for their specialized community impact monitoring plan. The way a Basic Necessity Survey works is by beginning with a local focus group to identify the top 20-30 assets or services which were believed to be basic necessities, or things that no one in the communities should have to live without. Then the Project Proponents, comprised of CarbonCo, Carbon Securities and the private landowners, individually surveyed local families and only those assets or services which at least 50% of the families deemed a basic necessity were included in the final calculations of a poverty index and poverty score. In addition to a poverty index and poverty score, the Project Proponents will continue to monitor community impact variables such as the value of owned assets, value of owned assets per person, inequality of owned assets, and the inequality of owned assets per person.
The Project Proponents identified the particular needs of the families within the lowest 25% of the families surveyed via the Basic Necessity Survey and then designed the Project in order for these families to benefit substantially from the Project. This includes addressing some of their specific needs, such as increasing access to transportation and focusing on agricultural extension courses. The Project is also designed with the goal of increasing their incomes in order for them to eventually purchase additional assets, such as a telephone or television, to satisfy their other basic needs. Furthermore, the Project Proponents identified and actively work to avoid scenarios which might prevent the poorest 25% of communities from benefiting substantially from the Project.
The Russas and Valparaiso Projects reduce tropical deforestation and preserve the area's rich biodiversity, which is a critical need in and of itself, but they surpass that need by directly improving the livelihoods of local families. Creating a win-win is what CarbonCo, LLC is all about. We love when our projects benefit both the environment and local communities and we thank you for your ongoing support to continue making these win-wins happen!
Benson, Kerrane, Storz & Nelson Leads in Construction Defect Resolution and Operational SustainabilityWritten by Linda
For Colorado residential and commercial property owners faced with construction defect issues, there’s a leading law firm that specializes in effective case verdicts and settlements, and that’s also a leader in managing its own environmental responsibilities.
Benson, Kerrane, Storz & Nelson, P.C. is one of the leading construction defect litigation law firms in Colorado, representing property owners with construction defect claims against builders, subcontractors, and their insurance companies. The firm takes a unique approach to construction defect cases, developing and implementing several alternative approaches to construction defect claims that often resolve claims without their clients ever stepping foot in a courthouse.
This leadership in creative and effective construction defect case settlement parallels the firm’s leadership in its ongoing commitment to maintaining environmentally sustainable business operations.
Six years ago, Benson, Kerrane, Storz & Nelson, P.C. committed to offset 100% of its carbon footprint created by office activities, including electric usage and business car travel, in partnership with Carbonfund.org. Each year, the firm makes a donation to Carbonfund.org to neutralize its annual estimated operational emissions by supporting third-party verified renewable energy, energy efficiency, and reforestation projects.
To date, the firm’s carbon footprint offsets have neutralized almost 1.4 million pounds of greenhouse gases, the same quantity as is sequestered in a year by five acres of US forest lands preserved from conversion to cropland.
“We are excited to continue our partnership with Carbonfund.org,” states Doug Benson, Founding Partner. “We hope that our commitment to offset our carbon footprint will serve as an example to other law firms, community associations and their vendors.”
Carbonfund.org is proud to partner with Benson, Kerrane, Storz & Nelson in their ongoing efforts to maintain environmentally responsible business operations.
- Benson Kerrane Storz & Nelson
- construction defect litigation
- construction defect issues
- environmental responsibilities
- environmentally sustainable business operations
- carbon footprint
- neutralize annual operational emissions
- thirdparty verified carbon offset projects
- renewable energy
- energy efficiency
- reforestation projects
- greenhouse gases
Global warming and extreme weather caused by climate change are costing companies millions finds a new report from CDP released this month. The white paper titled, Major public companies describe climate-related risks and costs says, "Each year, CDP requests climate-change-related disclosures from public companies on behalf of a growing number of institutional investors. In 2014, the request for disclosure was sent on behalf of 767 institutional investors with $92 trillion in assets. This report presents key findings and responses provided by S&P 500 companies across economic sectors to the risk-related questions in CDP's annual disclosure requests from 2011 to 2013."
Companies reported risks such as damage to facilities, reduced product demand, lost productivity and necessitated write-offs, whose totals run into the millions of dollars.
The paper goes on to say, "Findings show that S&P 500 companies assess physical risks from climate change to be increasing in urgency, with physical disruptions and cost impacts already being felt.
45% of risks were described by companies as current or predicted to fall within the next 1-5 years in 2013, up from 26% in 2011
50% of the risks disclosed were described as more likely than not to virtually certain in 2013, up from 34% in 2011
68% of the disclosed physical risks were direct to operations in 2013, up from 51% in 2011"
This is not merely theory either. Approximately 60 companies gave examples of current and potential future risks and their associated costs in the research, including:
Wildfires in San Diego caused Sempra Energy’s costs to exceed its $1.1 billion of liability insurance coverage
Consolidated Edison’s costs related to Superstorm Sandy topped $431 million.
Gap reported higher material costs for cotton arising from precipitation changes and drought in China
Companies are poised to make a real difference in the fight on climate change while strengthening their bottom line. Mitigating the risks from climate change simply makes good business sense considering a study by Business for Social Responsibility published last month which says the exposure to the risks from climate change are on the rise. Some estimate the cumulative global cost could be as high as $4 trillion by 2030. The time to act is now. These costs are only going to increase the longer we delay investing in a low-carbon future.
How does a progressive building design firm demonstrate its commitment to sustainable architecture beyond its client projects? One way is to incorporate a commitment to environmentally responsible operations into the company’s core mission, as The Tower Companies has achieved.
The Tower Companies strives to develop eco-progressive real estate and sustainable building projects that surpass traditional approaches to the built environment, teach people how to engage with their surroundings, promote the balance of body and mind, optimize human achievement, and respect our planet.
As a US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ENERGY STAR® Partner and Green Power Partner, The Tower Companies consistently works to reduce its impact on the global environment by completing a corporate-wide inventory of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The company sets long-term reduction goals and annually reports progress to the EPA, The Climate Registry and to stakeholders through the Tower Companies Sustainability Report.
In 2008, The Tower Companies met their stated goal to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, officially becoming “carbon neutral.” The Tower Companies has continued to maintain this status, working with The Climate Registry, to improve the energy efficiency of its buildings by further reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as well as electricity and water usage. In 2013, Carbonfund.org assisted The Tower Companies in neutralizing its annual Scope 1 and 3 emissions that could not be reduced any further. The Tower Companies chose to support a renewable energy landfill gas project that measurably reduces its operational emissions by capturing methane gas produced by the landfill and using it to produce electricity. For its ongoing commitment to sustainability, The Tower Companies have been recognized with National Leadership Awards by both the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy.
Green building starts with efficient use of resources. It moves to how the site selection, construction and ultimate operation affect the environment - today and for generations to come. The Tower Companies’ own commitment to measuring, reducing and neutralizing is operational emissions demonstrates this commitment to green building strategies, and Carbonfund.org is proud to assist in these efforts.
- Tower Companies
- carbon neutral operations
- progressive building design firm
- sustainable architecture
- environmentally responsible operations
- ecoprogressive real estate
- sustainable building projects
- Energy Star
- Green Power Partnership
- greenhouse gas emissions
- The Climate Registry
- sustainability report
- netzero greenhouse gases
- renewable energy projects
- landfill gas project
- methane gas
- US Department of Energy
- green building strategies
Carbonfund.org supports carbon offset projects that clearly benefit the environment and fight climate change. A recent study highlights how projects such as ours offer even more than combating global warming alone. They can provide additional benefits ranging from employment to health, which is important to countries' economies and limited budgets.
Often the question is posed as whether to cut emissions or use the funds to stimulate the economy. But we can have the best of both worlds with certified carbon-cutting projects; particularly projects in poor countries. And the numbers add up to billions in additional benefits.
Carbon credit certifier, the Gold Standard Foundation, in a partnership with WWF Switzerland commissioned a peer-reviewed study from Australia-based Net Balance. Economists analyzed the environmental and socioeconomic benefits from clean energy or Gold Standard-approved carbon reduction projects.
The report found, "Robustly designed and audited greenhouse gas mitigation projects... deliver far more than carbon emission reductions, meaning it is no longer necessary to choose between climate and other environment and development outcomes."
The study analyzed more than 100 initiatives including building wind farms, planting trees, installing water filtration systems and distributing clean stoves to discourage people from burning wood or charcoal. Then the report identified areas beyond greenhouse gas cuts where there was a potential benefit from projects, such as local economies, employment, health and biodiversity.
The report gives a couple examples; the first shows how three water filtration systems throughout Africa and Asia deliver health benefits such as less air pollution, which is valued at more than $300 million annually. The second example illustrates how 54 Gold Standard-certified wind farms created jobs worth $12 million a year while contributing a total $100 million per year to countries' balance of payments.
Gold Standard Program projects generate carbon credits that can be bought by individuals, businesses and organizations to offset their own carbon footprints. Learn more about Carbonfund.org's carbon reduction projects at http://www.carbonfund.org/projects.
Our newest Carbonfree® Business Partner, CRG Sustainable Solutions (CRGss) of Memphis, Tennessee, spends each day helping their client organizations create innovative and long-term sustainable business practices. According to the CRGss website, “Sustainability is about the resources we use every day, and the future that each of us will face. The fate of our earth is up to each of us individually, so every choice we make, we should have tomorrow in mind.”
CRGss was attracted to the Carbonfree® Business Partnership program as a simple, affordable step they could take as an organization to enhance their own operational sustainability. By neutralizing their estimated annual carbon emissions from general business operations, CRGss is leading in the same area of sustainability on which it advises and guides its clients.
“We believe that we must begin to respect the planet, and live and conduct business in a manner that does not harm the environment,” explains Anthony Gilbreath, Director of Sustainability Solutions at CRGss, about the decision to become a Carbonfree® Business Partner.
CRGss provides a wide range of sustainability consulting services for all types of businesses in many different industries. These include sustainability auditing, materiality assessments, supply chain mapping, CDP / GHG reporting and management, Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) reporting, Energy Star Certifications, risk management, supply chain optimization and others.
CRGss uses CarbonCount™, a suite of carbon management consulting services designed to help organizations with the entire range of carbon management and performance activities. Services include carbon management scoping, greenhouse gas and emissions Inventory, and carbon emissions reporting in compliance with all major international reporting standards, including the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and the Carbon Disclosure Project.
As businesses and organizations become more conscious of environmental risks, carbon emissions management is gaining a more crucial role in performance management. Carbon management allows companies to improve performance across the entire organization, from lower costs and energy consumption to lower compliance and financial risk. For those companies that have analyzed and reduced emissions across their organization, the move to carbon neutrality is the next step in sustainability. With consultancies like CRGss and programs like the Carbonfree® Business Partnership, businesses have the guidance and the affordable access to achieve these goals.
- CRG Sustainable Solutions
- CarbonFree Business Partner
- CarbonFree Business Partnership
- sustainable business practices
- operational sustainability
- neutralizing estimated annual carbon emissions
- carbon management
- carbon accounting
- Carbon Disclosure Project
- Energy Star
- GHG reporting
- Greenhouse Gas Protocol
The National Climate Assessment was released this week, which summarizes climate change's impacts on the United States, now and in the future. Produced by a team of more than 300 experts and guided by a 60-member Federal Advisory Committee, the study was also extensively reviewed by the public, federal agencies and a panel of the National Academy of Sciences.
The report finds that if greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase, global warming could exceed 10 degrees by the end of the century. A quote from the study's overview says, "This National Climate Assessment concludes that the evidence of human-induced climate change continues to strengthen and that impacts are increasing across the country."
This scientific report is mandated by Congress and is the pinnacle of years of work by hundreds of the nation's leading climate experts. They reviewed the scientific literature and summarized how climate change is affecting our country. The two main conclusions are:
The planet's climate is changing; it is apparent across the U.S. and the last 50 years' worth is chiefly due to human activities, particularly the burning of fossil fuels.
Extreme weather is on the rise in recent decades and new, stronger evidence confirms that some of these increases are human-caused.
Our homes, food, water and the very air we breathe are being affected.
Global warming is more than something that our children and future generations will face. It is our reality now. Climate change is already affecting our country and economy. Now that the situation is hitting home, perhaps we will start to make the changes we must make to reduce our carbon footprints and fund clean energy projects.
Read the most recent National Climate Assessment's Overview here.