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On the latest G8 Climate Scorecard (PDF) released in advance of the L’Aquila, Italy G8 Summit, Canada has fallen into last place now that the Obama administration is reversing the global warming policies of his predecessor. The report chastises Canada as one of the few developed countries in the world with dramatically rising greenhouse gas emissions, and no real plan to control them. The scorecard also notes that Germany is the acknowledged G8 leader when it comes to climate change, and that UK, Germany and France have all been enacting successful policies to cut emissions, with all three nations expected to exceed their Kyoto obligations.
But the report argues that this still isn’t good enough. By a long shot.
The scorecard was released by the WWF and financial services giant Allianz SE. It noted that Canada’s emissions have risen by 26% over 1990 levels, and that telling statistic means that Canada’s per capita emissions will soon surpass the US. And the sad truth is that per capita emissions in Canada and the US are double those in Europe.
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Last month, we ran a story on the debate over green building. We posed a simple question: which is more sustainable? To retrofit an old building in an effort to make efficiency improvements to something that already exists? Or to build a new, revolutionary and electrifying green building that gets people excited the world over? Click to continue reading »
During a debate about the American Climate and Energy Security Act (ACES), which passed last Friday with 219 votes, Rep. Peter Sessions (R-TX) sounded the proverbial alarm about capping carbon. He characterized ACES as the “biggest tax increase in American history.” He cited estimates by the Heritage Foundation that over 4,000 jobs will be lost in his Texas congressional district.
According to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report, ACES would cost the average household about $175 a year in higher energy and consumer prices in 2020. However, low income households would see a net benefit of $40. It would also reduce future budget deficits by about $4 billion from 2010 to 2014, and $9 billion from 2010 to 2019.
How Terracycle is partnering with name brands to upcycle everyday goods.
Have you heard of a company called FAB? I’m guessing not, and at the same time, it’s a safe bet you’ve seen their products. And depending on how old you are, you have been running towards or running away from them for years. And fast.
FAB has licenses for a huge variety of today’s biggest pop culture brands: Paul Frank, Hello Kitty, Hannah Montana, Nickelodeon, Hello Kitty, Disney, Marvel, and on. From backpacks to snow globes to “novelty clocks,” their collective licensing and manufacturing might create an enormous amount of trinkets that will likely end up in the trash months after purchase.
And we’re now partnered with them. Click to continue reading »
It may not have made as many waves as the Michael Jackson story, but last week, after the House passed the cap-and-trade bill, the media response was overwhelming. Not that anyone should be surprised. This is a huge issue.
However, it seemed that much of the earliest coverage stirred up an awful lot of hostility and opposition. And it was everywhere. From the most conservative blogs to the most liberal social media sites – those who oppose any kind of effective climate change legislation were not pacing back and forth in the waiting room. They were hitting up every possible media outlet to express their opinions and outrage. Click to continue reading »
Last week I featured Greenwala founder, Rajeev Kapur in my Philanthropy in Five series, and I was impressed with his goals for the site as well as his ideas for helping to push eco consciousness into the mainstream in fun, creative ways. Well, he just rolled out one such endeavor with “Greenwala Contests,” a series of contests designed to actively engage consumers on important causes and environmental issues.
“We implemented this contest platform not just to give away prizes, but to get people to engage and think about Green in a way that is fun and not doom and gloom,” explained Rajeev. “The real important piece to the overall experience, however, is the unique supporting of causes. One of the premises that Greenwala was founded on is that of social responsibility. That if we, as a society, help those helping others, not only will we be greener, but we will also live richer and more fulfilling lives.” Click to continue reading »
On Friday, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) published a report that indicates increased economic activity could result in a rise in carbon dioxide emissions. However, the report also stipulates that increased ease of trade can also help combat climate change through delivering energy efficient and renewable energy technologies to more markets.
Although these findings align with the existing beliefs of numerous business managers and policy makers, the conclusions issued in the report are significant because this is the first time the WTO and UNEP have collaborated to examine the connections between trade and climate change. These types of multilateral cooperation and findings are critical measures to ensure the success of the upcoming UN climate negotiations in Copenhagen (December 2009). Click to continue reading »
With this decision, the EPA is returning to its traditional legal interpretation of the Clean Air Act from nearly 40 years ago.
“This decision puts the law and science first. After review of the scientific findings, and another comprehensive round of public engagement, I have decided this is the appropriate course under the law,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. Click to continue reading »
By 2020, Americans will save over $17 billion by driving more efficient vehicles that will lower household transportation costs, according to the NRDC.
The American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Act allocates funding to produce the next generation of clean, fuel-efficient vehicles in the United States, and when combined with clean vehicle performance standards adopted by the Obama administration says the NRDC, American vehicles will become about 25% more fuel efficient over the next decade.
Above is a neat infographic showing the average monthly savings per household per month across each state as a result of the greater fuel efficiency.
To view a larger scale infographic and to find out more on the full methodology behind this, check out the NRDC’s Switchboard blog.
How can you fix a problem if you aren’t tracking it first? For example, it’s hard to work off those cheeseburgers and love handles if you don’t have a scale to track your progress. How would your parents have known you were getting taller if they didn’t mark off your height every few months on the door frame when you were little? If you don’t track something, it’s hard to keep tabs on it. If it’s out of your sight, it’s out of your mind.
This is why Deutsche Bank’s (DB) new efforts in regard to Greenhouse Gas emissions are so important. Last week on the Mapawatt Blog I covered DB’s “Know The Number” and their new Carbon Counter. I framed their efforts from the standpoint of an individual, but now I’d like to look at what they are doing from a business perspective.
I recently had the chance to speak with Mark Fulton, the Global head of climate change research for Deutsche Bank (DB). We discussed DB’s new website, Know The Number and how they are trying to bring the actual numbers behind Global Warming – greenhouse gas figures – to the public’s attention.
This month, Hamburger Helper launched their ‘Land A Helping Hand’ campaign in partnership with Feeding America, featuring Beyonce as their official celebrity spokesperson. Causes often use celebs and high profile figures as a way to reach the mainstream market and quickly generate mass exposure, so I wasn’t all that surprised to see the golden-flocked femme fatale of hip hop flash across my screen. But the commercial looks more like an ad for America’s Next Top Model or one of those artsy shoots for The Gap than a charitable cause, and if you view it quickly, you likely won’t even know that it has anything to do with Hamburger Helper, let alone Feeding America or the growing hunger crisis in this country.
But give her idea a few minutes of your attention, because it’s really not as gnarly as it sounds.
A student of the Design London school at Imperial College in London, Gardiner has made a prototypical waterless toilet, called the LooWatt, that is part of a closed-loop energy management concept. It also uses no energy and converts human waste into a commodity. The idea is pretty simple. It starts with a person making a deposit into the toilet. Rather than flushing that organic waste into a sewage system, the person turns a crank that pushes the material into a receptacle lined with a carbon-rich, biodegradable film. The portal into this receptacle is sealed shut once the crank is turned completely and the waste disappears into the tank. (Thus, no odor lingers around the loo.) Click to continue reading »
That may sound like twisted logic, but I’m hopeful because even if Congress passes this watered down legislation, I think there will be many areas where the market will step in to pick up the slack.
Regulation is important – and don’t get me wrong, if we fumble on this cap-and-trade bill, we’ll be facing an even greater challenge – but business solutions to climate change need to come from all angles, and there are many factors that influence the market, not just federal policy. And this is where I hold hope.
We’re seeing these market signals in several different aspects of business: insurance, financial markets, energy prices, marketing and corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting. Here are some examples: Click to continue reading »
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By Max Dunn
Ray Anderson was 60 and retired from the weight of making next quarter’s numbers when he was able to breathe, look around, and ask: “What’s next? What legacy to do I want to leave for my daughters?” That is when he got the sustainability “spear in the chest”. However, Ray’s case was pretty unique. While some other businesses like Wal-Mart, Ford and Xerox are making some moves towards sustainability, we are not likely to see a wave of businesses spontaneously adopt sustainability until something momentous happens. And what form will that momentous sustainability spear take? Climate change? Probably not.