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.
The Maldives government ministers have scheduled a Cabinet meeting at the bottom of the ocean. In an attempt to raise awareness of the acute threat to the low lying country that global warming induced sea level rise poses, the Cabinet meeting will be held 20 feet underwater.
The ministers will wear scuba gear for the gathering off the island of Girifushi — about 20 minutes journey by speed boat from the capital, Male, she said. The ministers will communicate using hand gestures and are now receiving diving lessons... At the meeting, the Cabinet plans to sign a document calling on all countries to cut down their carbon emissions ahead of the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December...The Maldives emitted about 869,000 metric tons of CO2 in 2006 - representing less than 0.1% of total global emissions. But as the lowest lying country in the world at an average height of 7 ft. above sea level, the affects of sea level rise will no doubt impact the small island nation. Though the impacts on the Maldives are clear and dramatic, a story of similar tragedy can be told for many small or poor nations. A warmer world will raise sea levels, increase heat waves, change growing regions, reduce access to clean water, and increase food scarcity. The worlds poor who have contributed the least to the cause of the problem are going to be the most severely impacted by these changes. Fight global warming now by supporting communities across the world. Click here to learn how to help today.
Carbonfund.org supports projects all across the world, and a project we are supporting is the Tengchong Conservation Carbon Project in the Yunnan Province of Southwestern China. This project is reforesting 1,093 acres at the south end of the Gaoligongshan Nature Reserve and will ultimately sequester nearly 170,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from our atmosphere. The Tengchong Conservation Carbon Project has had a positive effect on its surrounding environment, such as inhibiting the growth of invasive weed species, helping improve the local water quality and reduce erosion. Additionally, the project area is providing habitat for about 400 bird species and more than 150 mammals, including leopards, Malayan sun bears, and China’s only remaining Bengal tiger population. The project is the first forest-based project to be validated to the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard with Gold Distinction. To learn more about Carbonfund.org’s projects, please visit www.carbonfund.org/projects.
Apple announced that it is leaving the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over its stance on global warming. The Chamber has been a source of global warming denial and has seen great backlash recently from members who consider its views to be 'extreme.' Apple is the fourth member of the Chamber to leave in recent months. Others include energy companies PG&E, PNM of New Mexico, and Chicago-based Exelon - not your typical tree hugging companies. The exit comes a month after Apple initially disclosed its corporate carbon footprint. The Chamber will likely see more members quit in the near future if their regressive views on climate change continue. Most studies, including ones performed by the Congressional Budget Office, indicate that the climate bill will help the economy over the long run. Moreover, an obstinate view that global warming isn't occurring and/or isn't man-made simply will not fly with most 21st century businesses. Businesses today deal with modern realities, which include relating to consumers that are acutely aware of the dangers of global warming and the potential adaptation of their business model to the risks of a warming world. Did you know that over 1,200 businesses have taken responsibility for their carbon footprint with Carbonfund.org? You can too! Click here for more info.
Monday, 05 October 2009 18:00 Written by Amy Givler
Numerous reports have linked exposure to coal ash to an increased risk of cancer, birth defects and other health problems for the communities who live close to dump sites. Last year, a slurry broke in Tennessee, dumping a billion gallons of ash into waterways, burring houses and destroying ecosystems. The spill also raised concerns in Kentucky and other areas with coal ash. Lesley Stahl looks at the health effects and the safety of coal ash in her 60 Minutes report last night on the coal industry. Stahl interviews several coal industry representatives on the impact of coal ash on human health. From refusing to say “coal ash is safe” to arguing that it’s the same as dirt, this inside look into the coal message machine and the actual damage it’s doing to the people who live close to it is a must-see. Check it out: Watch CBS News Videos Online
IES Abroad gives their students more than a great study abroad experience – they help their students make a difference in the fight against climate change. Even if you’re not attending their newly established Environmental Studies & Sustainability program in Germany’s black forest, IES has made it easy to calculate and offset your abroad experience’s carbon footprint with Carbonfund.org. Through our affiliate page with IES, students can calculate the carbon footprint of their flight to their abroad destination and any flights they take while they are studying. IES students, when they’re not skiing in the Alps, scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef, dancing Tango in Buenos Aires, or eating Tapas in Barcelona, can now fully understand and neutralize the climate impact of their travel. IES has lead the way in greening study abroad. Their Go Green InitiativeTM has significantly improved their Chicago headquarters and worldwide offices’ environmental performance. Through this program, IES has significantly reduced paper usage, switched to FSC certified paper, encouraged their employees to save energy, reduced their carbon footprint, increased recycling, and reduced water usage. They’ve even gone the extra mile by composting leftover food and powering offices with renewable energy in some locations.
Monday, 05 October 2009 17:06 Written by Jason Fitzgerald
Sitka Technology Group is a leader in designing custom software packages for sustainability focused organizations. In addition to offsetting their annual carbon footprint through participation in the CarbonFree® Partner program, Sitka focuses on helping governments and nonprofits with their environmental software needs. With a strong belief that collaboration is vital to creating effective software, they help clients attain their sustainability objectives so that our communities can prosper. Their most recent project is a great example of how their award winning custom software excels at meeting their client's needs. Their new web application gives the public unprecedented view into the workings of the largest fish and wildlife restoration program in the world. This interactive web 2.0 application, www.cbfish.org, makes it simple for anyone with computer access to map habitats and compile costs and results into easy-to-read charts. Users can zero in on specifics of thousands of fish and wildlife projects, from wetland restoration in the Columbia River estuary to screening of irrigation diversions in Idaho.
Friday, 02 October 2009 16:25 Written by Shira Silberg
The Union Station Bike Transit Center, dubbed the first commuter bike station on the East Coast, in D.C. is having its grand opening and accepting memberships online. To learn about the offerings and memberships at the 100+ bike facility, visit the Bikestation site. Bike and Roll, a leading bicycle rental and tours company, is handling the day-to-day operation of the Center, located adjacent to Union Station.