press releases | carbonfund.org
Paul Burman

Paul Burman

The United Nation's State of the World Population 2009 has revealed that women have, on average, a smaller carbon footprint than men. The smaller carbon footprint of women is due to a variety of reasons. For example, it seems women are more likely than men to take proactive steps to reduce their carbon footprint such as by recycling and purchasing eco-friendly goods. All this adds up to a smaller carbon footprint because women are taking personal action to mitigate the harm that they do to the environment. So why do women have a smaller footprint? Do women travel less because they want to reduce their carbon footprint, or are there just fewer opportunities for females to travel? Are women more likely to purchase organic foods and goods because they are less carbon intensive, or because they are more brand sensitive? I don't think that I have any good insights on this subject. Do you? Men, want to shirk your footprint a little more? Click here for ideas on how to reduce your carbon footprint. Also consider purchasing carbon offsets for your travel.
Wednesday, 14 April 2010 11:42

Walmart's Supply Chain: Why Emissions Matter

In February, Walmart announced that they are going to cut 20 million metric tons from their global supply chain - an action that, if successful, will eliminate the equivalent of the annual emissions of 3.8 million cars. Walmart is making its stores more energy efficient and using renewable energy including on-site solar panels. So why is Walmart looking outside their four walls for deeper emissions cuts? Because that is where most of their emissions come from. For most people, the carbon impact of the their indirect emissions is more than twice their direct emissions. But if your business is selling goods at the scale that Walmart does, then this figure gets much higher. Therefore, it makes sense that Walmart would look to their supply chain to reduce their emissions; everyone should look at the goods they buy and think about the carbon footprint associated with them. Speaking at the Fortune Brainstorm Green business conference this week in Laguna Niguel, Calif., Wal-Mart Chairman Lee Scott said, "What Walmart has done is approach this from a business standpoint... If we as a company focus on waste, we can make Walmart a better company and at the same time, become a better citizen." Carbonfund.org honed in on supply chain emissions in 2007 by developing the CarbonFree® Product Certification Program. The program allows companies to calculate the emissions of their product through a rigorous life-cycle assessment and reduce, offset the per-product emissions by supporting high quality carbon reducing projects. The program has been successful to date, and we have certified nearly 100 products that are available in a total of 15 countries, including mobile phones from Motorola, Domino Sugar, Anvil apparel, Grounds for Change Coffee and others. For more information about the products program, please visit www.carbonfund.org/products.
Carbonfund.org partner Virgin America was recognized as the Most Eco-Friendly Airline in the SmarterTravel Editors' Choice Awards. The green achievements are a major reason why Carbonfund.org was so thrilled to partner with Virgin America to help them further reduce their carbon footprint. Some of the green initiatives that Virgin America has undertaken:
  • Supporting LEED Certified building standards for select facilities/terminals;
  • Offering preferential parking for hybrid cars;
  • Operating a fuel-efficient fleet of airplanes that save money and carbon emissions;
  • Publicly listing the airline's carbon footprint;
  • Offsetting the emissions of their corporate headquarters with Carbonfund.org;
  • Enabling passengers to offset when purchasing their travel or in-flight through their touch-screen RED system.
We would like to congratulate Virgin America for their continued commitment to sustainability and for this recognition.
2009 was a historic year for climate change action, as the US House of Representatives passed climate change legislation, and Senators introduced possible legislation in their chamber. The EPA ruled that greenhouse gases are pollutants that should be regulated under the Clean Air Act. One of the year-in-review videos is by the American Clean Skies Foundation in this 4 minute video.
Recently, the travel agency Responsible Travel stopped providing their customers with the opportunity to offset their travel and apparently hasn't replaced their offering with anything to help individuals reduce their travel footprint. Responsible Travel had offered their customers the opportunity to offset their carbon emissions since 2002. The general argument for the company so far has been that the offsets the company provided did little to change customer behavior and limit travel. But what are customers taking away from Responsible Travel? What about individuals who have to travel for their livelihoods or work in travel and the like; will they realistically travel less? While it is a fact that flying to where we need to go is carbon intensive, many flights are not impulse buys. In order to travel plans need to be made: where will I stay? Who is going to take care of my pets? How will this trip fit into my budget? In short, most people aren't jetting around the world for no reason - they alter their lives (and submit themselves to airport security or weather delays) out of necessity for business, family and much needed vacations. So why not give people the opportunity to take responsibility for their carbon emissions? Responsible Travel's position on offsets is misguided because 1) they over-estimate people's ability to modify their travel arrangements and 2) appear to take the position that it's better not to do anything than to do something. The fact is that carbon offset projects can be validated to do what they're supposed to, which is reduce carbon emissions and therefore serve as an offset to one's own emissions. By supporting real, high quality certified and verified carbon offset projects we can take responsibility for our carbon footprint, which is real and needs to be addressed if we are to solve global warming.
Tuesday, 16 June 2009 11:24

Trash or Treasure?

What happens when you throw away your trash? It takes a ride on a truck and then gets dumped at a landfill never to be heard of again... right? Well, that is only partially true. A significant part of your carbon footprint may be related to not only what you consume, but also what you throw away. The Modern Landfill and Methane Most landfills in the US are highly regulated and complex entities. They have amazingly strong linings to prevent leachate (the toxic goo that accumulates as all sorts of trashes mix) from reaching the ground water. They are capped every day with soil to keep the local air quality as un-stinky as possible and to minimize the birds and other animals picking at the trash. And they create massive amounts of methane -- a greenhouse gas 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide. The process by which methane is created in landfills is a direct result of the safety measures that protect our air quality and ground water. By sealing our landfills, we are essentially preventing any air from reaching our trash. If you remember your chemistry lessons, you know that when biological materials decompose in the absence of oxygen, one of the results is methane. And if you assume that about 1/3rd of our everyday trash is compostable biological stuff like coffee grinds, orange peels and pizza crusts -- that is a lot of methane and a lot of global warming pollution Separate Your Trash How can we keep our trash from heating our planet? Compost and recycle. By composting all organic materials, you are keeping the methane producing biological stuff out of landfills. This also helps to reduce the total amount of leachate in a landfill (because this stuff is generally wet and icky), reducing the potential for leachate to reach your local water supply. There are many cities in North America that have started municipal composting programs to help you do this. Toronto, Guelph, Halifax, and San Francisco all provide their residents with 'green bins' to collect organic waste. The end result is that there is less waste going to landfills, less methane, and high quality compost mulch / fertilizer that can be used for all agricultural needs -- did I forget to mention that composting organic materials creates awesome compost? That is certainly a plus. Offset The Rest Most places don't do municipal organic waste collection, so what should you do? If you can, set up your own back yard composting system. It is relatively cheap, easy and can certainly provide you with a reliable source of compost for your garden. You can also support projects that capture and harness the power of landfill methane. Carbonfund.org supports some projects that capture and utilize the methane created at landfills.
Wednesday, 16 September 2009 15:44

Save the Beer!

The fight to stop global warming has just been taken to the next level. First came the revelation that warmer temperatures threaten our coastlines, food supplies, access to clean water, and our way of life in general; now there are studies that indicates that even modest increases in temperature adversely impact hops - a critical ingredient in the production of beer! The study states that the quality of hops has been decreasing over the last 50 years. If this trend continues, this could mean more expensive pints at your local pub because suitable hops will be harder and harder to find. Now I don't know about you, but if every other reason to fight global warming wasn't enough, I hope that this hits home for you. Fighting global warming isn't about saving the polar bears or penguins - it is about maintaining the quality of life and the global conditions that have allowed for the amazing innovations of human kind, like beer. You owe it to your children to ensure that they have access to the same great hops that have made amazing lagers, ales, pilsners that we have grown to love (when they are of drinking age, of course!). And where would this world be with out the micro-brews that so enrich our lives and employ many? I don't want to think of a world without beer. Neither should you. Click here. Fight global warming now! Save the beer!
Providing a simpler way for individuals and businesses to reduce the climate impact of moving goods & freight, ClickShipNGo.com gives customers the option to offset their shipping in support of Carbonfund.org's carbon reduction projects. ClickShipNGo.com offers shipping management services for individual consumers and small businesses. "ClickShipNGO.com takes a broader, longer term approach and focuses on the customer’s experience," said Mark Palladino, director of business development. "We aim to provide the customer a simple and functional online experience and to create an environment where customers can rely on us to be available, to be courteous, to be fair and to be responsive to their needs." According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the transportation industry as a whole is responsible for 29% of the total carbon emissions in the US. For each freight quote booked through its website, ClickShipNGO.com offsets with Carbonfund.org to help reduce the climate impact of shipping. This valuable partnership is helping to change behaviors and attitudes in the freight industry about the environment. Learn more about ClickShipNGo.com and their initiatives by clicking here.
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.
Monday, 16 November 2009 19:56

Pests on the Rise in a Warmer World

The effects of global warming will be far reaching and pervasive. But what does that really mean? Well, you can't really explain it in one blog post, but you can give a great example that will make you squirm: a warmer world means more pests. An AP article offers its insights on some of the bugs and bug-a-boos that may be more prevalent as the temperatures rise.
Ticks that transmit Lyme disease are spreading northward into Sweden and Canada, once too cold for them. Giant Humboldt squid have reached waters as far north as British Columbia, threatening fisheries along much of the western North American coast. Malaria-carrying mosquitoes are now found in South Korea, the Papua New Guinea highlands, and other places previously not warm enough for them. Bark beetles reproducing more quickly in warming climates and expanding their ranges have devastated forests across western North America. In British Columbia they have laid waste to an area twice the size of Ireland. A microscopic parasite is spreading a deadly disease among salmon in Alaska and British Columbia. Researchers say rising water temperatures are partly to blame. The U.S. government warns that such invasive plants as the common reed, hyacinth and purple loosestrife are likely to spread to northern states.
The big question that arises when you see a list like this is, why? The answer is that for some species, the changes in temperature, more specifically the extreme cold days in winter, act as a 'population equalizer.' With temperatures even a little bit warmer, fewer pests freeze and die naturally, leaving more to reproduce. This is particularly the case with bark beetles in Canada which also reproduce more rapidly in warmer temperatures. Fight global warming now. Reduce and offset your carbon footprint.
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