Many people have read in the news about how the United States is tapping into unprecedented natural gas reserves through the process of hydraulic fracturing, also called fracking, where highly pressurized water, sand and chemicals are inserted to fracture shale rock which releases natural gas.  Drilling can have environmental impacts such as contamination of ground water, air quality risks, migration of gases and hydraulic fracturing chemicals to the surface, and surface contamination from spills and flowback. 

Or they’ve read about the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project that is seeking approval to move oil extracted from Canada’s tar sands down through the western United States to refineries along the Gulf Coast.  There is evidence that extracting oil from the sands are increasing levels of cancer-causing compounds in surrounding lakes far beyond natural levels.

The latest news in accessing exotic forms of carbon comes from Japan, where their government announced that they’ve successfully extracted natural gas from methane hydrates, also called clathrates, buried beneath the sea bed.  Clathrates are an ultra-concentrated frozen mix of water and gas.  A cubic meter of clathrate contains 164 times as much methane as a cubic meter of methane gas.  Extraction of methane hydrates opens up the possibility for a catastrophic release of gas in the form of accidents during the extraction process.  Even releasing a small amount of clathrates could contribute significantly to climate change.

Governments and corporations worldwide need to stop spending hundreds of billions of dollars searching for new fossil fuel reserves and discovering ways to extract ever more unusual forms of buried carbon.  And we need to stop giving them incentives to do so.  Yes, it is hard to want less and do less, but for the sake of our planet’s health we need to curb our global appetite for fossil fuels.  Let’s start by lowering our carbon footprints.  Then we need to agree to leave fossil fuel reserves in the ground.

According to a detailed estimate, we need to leave four-fifths of global fossil fuel reserves untouched for a good chance of preventing more than 2°C of global warming.   The worst part is we have already identified more underground carbon than we can afford to burn between now and the year 3000.  Now is the time to implement a low carbon lifestyle.  We should do it for our planet, ourselves and for the sake of future generations.

Published in carbonfree blog

Most of the time, we do not take into account the complete costs to producing or consuming a good or service.  This is because we focus on the explicit costs.  For example, if we were to bake a loaf of bread, we would take into account the cost of the flour, yeast, sugar, salt, water, milk, and butter.  Perhaps we would even calculate our labor time to make the dough and the cost of running the oven, but would we account for the carbon dioxide dumped into the atmosphere for the delivery truck that delivered the baking supplies?  How about the CO2 emissions from the power plant burning fossil fuels to generate the electricity to run the oven?  The problem is that we are not required to bear the full cost of production.  Some of the costs to bake that loaf of bread were shifted to society as a whole. 

Even if we did not bake the loaf of bread ourselves, we’re still shifting costs to society as a whole just by consuming it.  Our cars burn gasoline to drive to and from the grocery store, and regardless if we walked or biked, gasoline was likely also burned to deliver the bread to the grocery store in the first place.  Sure the delivery truck paid for the gasoline, but many companies do not pay for the carbon emissions their operations generate.

We need to make some drastic changes to avoid the ills of global warming, which we are beginning to see affect our daily lives, but the logistics of transforming our world’s energy system can be intimidating.  The first thing we need to do is get off fossil fuels and transition to renewable energy sources.  Easier said than done, I know.  It will be a complex and time-consuming process converting power plants, vehicles/transport systems, homes and commercial buildings.  Unfortunately, time is not on our side here.  We really need to reduce carbon emissions 80% by 2050. 

So then the question becomes how can we transition the world’s energy infrastructure to sustainable sources by mid-century?  One of the ways suggested is to implement a tax on CO2 emissions that begins low and gradually increases.  There should be no mystery either about how much and at what intervals over time the tax will rise.  Then people, businesses and governments can plan their fossil fuel exit strategy.

The revenues the carbon tax generates should be directed into subsidizing renewable energy innovation and overhauling energy infrastructure. 

Ideally, the carbon tax should be global.  Again there are logistical challenges to this climate change solution.  The key is that we need a systematic and practical process.  Isn’t it time we started taking responsibility for the full costs of production and consumption?  Society is bearing the cost as a whole, and society as a whole needs to be part of the solution.

Published in carbonfree blog
Tuesday, 20 September 2011 09:47

carbonfree product certification

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CarbonFree® Product Certification is a meaningful, transparent way for you to provide environmentally-friendly, carbon neutral products to your customers. By determining a product’s carbon footprint, reducing it where possible and offsetting remaining emissions through our third-party validated carbon reduction projects, you can:

  • Differentiate your brand and product
  • Increase sales
  • Improve customer loyalty
  • Strengthen corporate social responsibility & environmental goals

 

See Our Certified Products

Florida Crystals
Grounds for Change
Motorola
Nika Water
Anvil

Leading companies are experiencing the benefits of their CarbonFree® Product Certification. 
Click here to view other CarbonFree Certified Products.

“The CarbonFree Product Certification has had a positive impact on sales and, more importantly in my mind, since the certification we have seen an increase in overall customer retention and satisfaction.”
—Kelsey Marshall, Co-founder, Grounds for Change

 

Get Started in Three Easy Steps:

Calculate the carbon footprint of your product. To get started,
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Offset with a project type:
  • Reforestation
  • Energy Efficiency
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View our projects
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  • Use our CarbonFree logo
  • Blogs and newsletter articles
  • Custom web page and more
See full list of benefits

The Certification Process

  1. We help you conduct a product life-cycle assessment using the CarbonFree® Product Certification Carbon Footprint Protocol
  2. Certify your product(s) CarbonFree
  3. Identify ways to reduce your product's footprint
  4. Offset the product’s carbon footprint
  5. Review life-cycle assessment annually

We provide incentive for companies lowering a product’s carbon footprint by at least 10 percent! 
You may find your own cost savings in the process, while increasing customer satisfaction

Carbonfund.org conducted a webinar on the CarbonFree® Product Certification Program and more are planned. Please contact us for the webinar Powerpoint deck. 

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