Friday, December 19, 2014

Infographic - Toxic Chemicals in America (Environment America)

Climate Change Communication Guide (ecoAmerica & CRED)

ecoAmerica and the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions (CRED) at the Earth Institute, Columbia University, have released a new climate change communication guide, Connecting on Climate: A Guide to Effective Climate Change Communication. The guide explains how anyone, from religious leaders, to healthcare professionals, businesspeople, community leaders, journalists, scientists, educators, policymakers, and other interested parties, can better communicate with and engage the American public on the issue.

The guide is designed as a follow-up to CRED's 2009 guide The Psychology of Climate Change Communication: A Guide for Scientists, Journalists, Educators, Political Aides, and the Interested Public and draws from a range of social science fields including psychology, anthropology, communications, and behavioral economics.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Green Retirement Residences: 3 Case Studies (Features, Joint Ventures & Finance)

Green buildings are growing and as baby boomers age their is a massive increase in demand for seniors housing. The number of retirement residences has grown alongside this demand. Here are three case studies that highlight sustainability features of a green retirement facility, as well as the kind of joint ventures and financing options that exist for such residences.

Features of a Green Retirement Retirement Residence (PARC Retirement Living)

Summerhill PARC in North Vancouver was the first retirement residence built by PARC Retirement Living. As builders they are committed to quality retirement residences that incorporate green building practices and architectural beauty, as well as meeting top standards for safety and durability.

White Paper - Communications Strategy for Green Investment

A 2013 white paper released by the publisher of the Global Green Economy Index™ addresses communications as a strategy for advancing green investment and growth. Research and data associated with the Global Green Economy Index™ (GGEI) suggest that strategic communications and better information exchange between consumers, businesses and policymakers is often an overlooked strategy for advancing green growth and cleantech investment.

The white paper from Dual Citizen LLC supports this finding through six cases where strategic communications and better information campaigns have a role to play in supporting investment, cleantech entrepreneurship and policy development that advances green economic growth.

Studies in New York and Quebec Reject Fracking

Two studies cast aspersions on the value of fracking suggesting that the risks outweigh the benefits. In the last few days both New York State and the Canadian province of Quebec have released reports that say the deleterious impacts associated with hydraulic fracturing (aka fracking) for natural gas overshadow the economic benefits. The findings of a five year New York state study and a four year Quebec report show that fracking offers more risk than reward.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Companies Fail to Communicate Sustainability to Investors

Although soliciting capital is crucial for growth companies have difficulty communicating sustainability to investors. creating strategies for communicating with investors on sustainability. This was the finding of a UN Global Compact, Accenture CEO Study on Sustainability. The study was conducted in collaboration with the Principles for Responsible Investment. The study is called, "The Investor Study: Insights from PRI Signatories."

The importance of sustainability to investors was borne out in two statistics that emerged from the study. The first is that 88 percent of the investors surveyed see sustainability as an opportunity to establish a competitive advantage. The second is that 78 percent of investors see sustainability as a differentiator in determining industry leaders.

However, more than 9 out of 10 (91%) of surveyed investors think companies could do a better job of communicating sustainability to investors. Further, 88 percent indicated that companies should pay greater attention to sustainability in company valuations.

Charts - Car MPGs and Gas Prices

The Case for Green Building

In addition to saving money, green buildings contribute to people's health and quality of life, they combat climate change by having a lower emissions profile and they preserve the environment by conserving resources. They also address energy security, create jobs and mitigate against regulatory risks. Perhaps the most important consideration for building owners is the bottom line and according to a number of sources, the design and construction of green buildings are cost competitive even before you factor the savings from reduced operating costs.

According to Betzwood Associates, Green buildings can decrease carbon emissions by 35 percent, energy consumption by 50 percent, water use by 35 percent and solid waste by 70 percent.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Congress Funds Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Obscured by the spate of anti-environment legislative riders, Congress has also agreed to support both energy efficiency and renewable energy.

As reported by Energy Manager Today, Congress appropriated $1.93 billion for the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. This represents an increase of nearly $25 million from the previous year.

Cromnibus Bill Foreshadows the GOP's Legislative Agenda

In the December budget bill, Republicans gave themselves and their friends a number of Christmas gifts. If you think that the Cromnibus bill was bad just wait until Republican legislators have even greater control in 2015.

After the House voted in support of a 1.1 trillion government funding bill, the Senate followed suit and passed the bill on Saturday night (December 13) with a vote of 56 to 40. To avoid a government shutdown, Republicans demanded some non-germane amendments that amount to big gifts for themselves and their friends in the oil industry and on Wall Street.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Falling oil Prices and a Global Climate Agreement

The decline in oil prices underscores the risk associated with fossil fuel investment. On December 1 as the COP20 talks began in Lima Peru, the UN's climate chief said that falling oil prices show the "high risk" of fossil fuel investments compared with renewable energies. This perspective was underscored by the December 14th Lima draft agreement that included mention of a world free from fossil fuel emissions by 2050. A final global climate agreement is scheduled to be signed in 2015 at COP21 in Paris. Prior to the Lima agreement there were agreements by the US and China and the European Union to cut greenhouse emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.

EDF is Putting Technology to use for Social Good

The EDF is on the front lines of efforts in the virtual space to improve our world. The digital world has created a whole series of opportunities for people to get involved in social betterment. Two areas that have benefited from the explosion of new media are the environment and efforts to combat the climate crisis. One of the newest holidays is something called #MobileMonday. This brand-new holiday celebrates the many ways we can use technology for social good. As explained by the EDF's Action Network Coordinator Heather Shelby the timing of MobileMonday couldn't be better.

COP20 Agreement at the Lima Climate Talks

After being near death, a draft climate framework has been salvaged that keeps hope alive for a final agreement in 2015. The compromise agreement was reached after a two day extension of the COP20 climate meetings in Lima Peru. The 194 nations present managed to agree on a framework for setting national pledges that will be submitted next year at COP21 in Paris.

While some dismissed the outcome as an ineffectual compromise, others hailed the agreement as an important step forward. Once again the UN climate talks were marred by wealthy nation's reluctance to assume the financial burdens of emissions reductions in poorer countries.

Nonetheless the agreement contains support for "vulnerable" developing nations from wealthy countries. Most importantly it continues to seek an "ambitious agreement" in 2015 that reflect the "differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities" of each nation. National targets for emissions reductions are to go beyond their "current undertaking."

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Event - Edmonton Green Homes Summit

The Edmonton Green Homes Summit will take place on January 29, 2015. It will focus on residential construction, covering both single-family homes (including townhomes and various attached styles) and multifamily projects up to the midrise level (up to 12 storeys), and will include sessions on LEED Canada for Homes, and many regional energy and green building standards.

Agenda includes full day of sessions and expert presenters The agenda includes a morning keynote presentation, a number of expert plenary sessions, and ample opportunity to network with fellow members of the industry.

Event - Toronto Green Homes Summit

The Toronto Green Homes Summit will take place on January 28, 2015 and Edmonton on January 29, 2015. Delivered as a combined effort from CaGBC National and local Chapters, the first Summit was successfully held in Halifax on October 3, and two more will be taking place in Edmonton on January 29 and Toronto on January 28, 2015. These events are customized for each region by local program committees and led by local expert builders and developers.

Toronto Green Homes Summit

The Toronto Summit will focus on residential construction, covering both single-family homes (including townhouses and various attached styles) and multifamily projects up to the midrise level (up to 12 storeys).

Event - 2015 CIWEM RCG Winter Conference

The 2015 CIWEM RCG Winter Conference will take place on January 29th at SOAS, University of London Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London, UK. The conference is subtitled, Signposting New Developments in Asset Management. The aim of this event is to raise awareness and increase access to emerging and new guidance in the field of Flood and Coastal Erosions Risk Management (FCERM) asset management, demonstrating the benefits and outcomes arising from application of the new knowledge base.

Event - 2015 Land and Water Summit

The 2015 Land and Water Summit, Watershed CPR: Restoring Natural, Built and Human Environments will take place on February 19 - 20, at the Sheraton Albuquerque Airport Hotel.

Watershed Health is everyone’s concern. Our watersheds are in great need of resuscitation and this year Land&Water Summit will concentrate on learning about ways to improve watershed health.

Event - Energy and Climate Change: National Conference and Global Forum on Science, Policy and the Environment

The 15th National Conference and Global Forum on Science, Policy and the Environment will take place on January 27-29, 2015 in Washington DC. Organized by the National Council for Science and the Environment This event will engage over 1,200 leaders to expand and accelerate their efforts and work across the traditional boundaries. Through partnering organizations, the conference will advance solutions with specific initiatives and engage participants over the long term.

For climate change, this is time of urgency, big ideas, and hope. 2015 will be a year of decisions – particularly at the 21st Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris.

The 15th National Conference and Global Forum on Science, Policy and the Environment: Energy and Climate Change will develop and advance partnerships that focus on transitioning the world to a new "low carbon" and "climate resilient" energy system. It will emphasize putting ideas into action - moving forward on policy and practice.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Video - Fossil of the Day Awards at COP20

The first place Fossil of the Day in Lima at the UN Climate Talks goes to Australia, Belgium, Ireland and Austria for not contributing to the Green Climate Fund (GCF). After a string of encouraging initial contributions to the GCF, it seems a few free-riders within Annex 2 believe they are off the hook on this one. That translates into several billions of dollars missing in the fund’s coffer.

Video - Why Oil Prices Will Keep Falling

Oil prices are already low and they continue to decline as more downward pressure is expected. On Friday December 12th the International Energy Agency (IEA) forecast a decline in demand for 2015 and they further predicted that healthy non-OPEC supply gains were poised to aggravate a global oil glut. The current outlook for global oil demand for 2015 was cut from 230,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 0.9 million bpd.

Video - Summary of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report Synthesis Report

Friday, December 12, 2014

After a Failed Cover-up Shell Sub-Contractor Pleads Guilty

On December 11, Noble Drilling, Shell’s sub-contractor pleaded guilty to eight felony charges relating to environmental and safety violations on board the vessels Noble Discoverer and Kulluk in the Alaskan Arctic in 2012.

In addition to the offenses which include unsafe operating procedures Noble Inc. also tried to cover-up their illegal actions. According to the court ruling, Noble, “actively took steps to conceal its use of illegal [systems]”, and “knowingly made false entries” concealing problems from the authorities. Noble also admitted to illegally discharging bilge water from the Discoverer.

Webinar - EHS Lessons Learned in 2014 and Looking Forward to 2015

Air, water, waste, health and safety -- environmental regulations are evolving rapidly and so are the best practices for achieving compliance. Many companies endeavor to effectively manage their environmental programs, but few are true leaders in environmental excellence. This free December 17th webinar will offer you a rare opportunity to learn from industry leaders at four organizations that are pioneering new paths to environmental management and compliance. These companies are harnessing environmental technology in new ways to experience greater compliance breakthroughs and efficiencies. This session will highlight environmental successes and lessons learned in 2014, and what changes are in store for 2015. Attendees will learn how to improve technology use and increase efficiency to achieve greater environmental program outcomes in 2015!

Anti-Environmental Tidings in a Bill to Keep Government Running

A pre-Christmas bill contains some bad tidings for the environment. Republicans had an extortion list to avert a government shutdown that included blocking environmental protections. The so called Cromnibus bill, narrowly passed in the House with a vote 219 to 206, it will keep the government running until next September. The $1.01 trillion, 1,603-page spending bill is chalked full of pork including a number of anti-environment provisions.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and many of her colleagues were particularly displeased with two attached riders that would significantly increase the ceiling for political donations from wealthy patrons while scaling back the Dodd Frank Wall Street reform act designed to reign-in the kind of Wall Street activity that sparked the financial crisis of 2008.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Graphene May Herald Green Miracles

Graphene may provide technological solutions to a host of issues including the climate crisis. It is as hard as diamond, in fact, it is two hundred times stronger than steel, yet lighter than a feather, making it both ultra-light and durable. This, inexpensive tough new material is also as flexible as rubber and it can heal itself when it is damaged.

As it is only one atom thick, graphene is the thinnest known material, a million times thinner than a human hair and hundreds of thousands of times thinner than a sheet of paper. To put this in context, three million sheets of graphene would be only one millimeter high. A very small amount of this revolutionary material is required to cover a huge area (one gram could cover an entire football field). It weighs only 0.16 milligrams per cubic centimeter and the cost is negligible at a few hundred dollars per kilo.

Event - Faculty of Environmental Studies Graduate Program Information Session -York University

The Faculty of Environmental Studies Graduate Program at York University in Toronto, Ontario is holding an information Session on Tuesday, January 13, 2015 12:30 - 2:00pm MES Room 140 Health, Nursing and Environmental Studies (HNES) Building, York University, Keele Campus Campus.

At this session participants can learn details about their Master in Environmental Studies (MES) program and Doctorate in Environmental (PhD) programs and speak to professors and current students.

Defend the COP 20 Draft Restricting Fossil Fuels

The COP 20 UN climate talks in Lima Peru are tasked with the ambitious goal of crafting a draft for a global climate agreement that is scheduled to be signed next year in Paris (COP 21).

It is widely understood that fossil fuels are the leading cause of climate change. With this in mind negotiators at the UN Climate Talks have proposed a new draft text that addresses the deleterious impacts of the fossil fuel industry.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

New Emissions Elimination Technology from HIT

A new technology has been developed that according to the manufacturer, safely and effectively neutralizes almost all pollution emissions including those from fossil fuels. The warnings from scientists are clear, we must stop burning fossil fuel if we are to have a chance of staving off the worst impacts of climate change. However, fossil fuels will be with us for decades as we wean ourselves off of them. Consequently, we will have to find ways to reduce the impact of carbon emitting fuels in the interim.

Carbon Accounting Software from FoundationFootprint

While carbon accounting is growing in popularity there are some things that you need to think about when selecting carbon accounting software.

Carbon accounting is about more than just the environment or counting units, it's about building a more sustainable business. Carbon accounting is also about a smarter way of doing business. Whether it's lifting brand value, reducing costs or improving compliance, there's never been a better time to start thinking about measuring your carbon footprint.

Graphene Could Revolutionize Green Energy

A discovery that some have suggested rivals the splitting of the atom, could augur a new green energy revolution. According to the research, graphene can be used to extract hydrogen fuel from the air and burn it as a carbon free source of energy in a fuel cell. This would enable the collection and generation of emissions free electricity and water from abundant hydrogen.

This capability hinges on the discovery that graphene, a form of carbon graphite, allows positively charged hydrogen atoms or protons to pass through it despite being completely impermeable to all other gases. The collected hydrogen could then be used to power fuel cells.

Graphene was first discovered in 2004 at the UK's University of Manchester by Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, a discovery which earned them the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Infographic - Smog

Victory for Responsible Palm Oil Plantations

A multi-year campaign from organizations like Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network, and the Forest Trust has managed to arrest deforestation and human rights abuses from palm oil plantations. One of the last big company holdouts has finally agreed to purchase palm only exclusively from responsible sources. The Singapore based company known as Musim Mas made the announcement last week. This is significant because Musim Mas it is responsible for 18 percent of the world's palm oil.

In a press release Musim Mas announced its new sustainability policy, which, it said, “re-affirms its commitment to bring benefits to the community, respect the rights of smallholders to develop or conserve their land, while maintaining a strict guideline of No Deforestation, No Peatland Development and No Exploitation.”

Supreme Court Gives BP a Lump of Coal for Christmas

The US Supreme Court has rejected BP's bid to decrease the settlement it agreed to pay to businesses and individuals. British Petroleum (BP) is well known for having produced the biggest offshore oil spill in history.

In 2010 BP's Deepwater Horizon exploded killing 11 people and spewing almost 5 million barrels of crude into the Gulf of Mexico. The environmental effects of this spill are being felt to this day.

A study published in October showed how there is a 1,235 square mile ring of coagulated oil residue on the ocean floor.

Another study published in March found that the BP oil spill has caused morphological abnormalities including heart deformities potentially leading to heart failure in several large predatory fish including Atlantic Bluefin tuna, Yellowfin tuna and Amberjacks.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Infographic - Canada's Green Economy

The Best Pipeline is the Pipeline that does not get Built

Slowing or stopping the building of fossil fuel pipelines is an important part of efforts to decrease emissions. In addition to a series of delays for pipelines originating in Canada, Russia has recently been forced to cancel a major pipeline to Europe.

Russia's annexation of Crimea and ongoing destabilization of the Ukraine has resulted in the cancellation of the $29 billion, 63 billion cubic meter South Stream gas pipeline project. Gazprom confirmed that the pipeline is being diverted through Turkey and Greece, instead of going through Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and Austria.

Philippines Typhoon Underscores Urgency of Climate Action

The most recent extreme weather to ravage the Philippines is a powerful reminder that we must engage both climate mitigation and adaptation. Once again the Philippines serve as an ominous backdrop to yet another UN Conference of the Parties meeting. This year's twentieth COP in Lima, Peru is tasked to come up with a working draft for a global climate agreement scheduled to be signed in 2015.

The Philippines are the world's canary in the coal mine. Each year for the last few years the island nation has been devastated by extreme weather. Although the typhoon has been weakening as it approaches Manilla, Hagupit has already killed at least 27 people and destroyed thousands of homes mostly on the island of Samar. There has also been destruction of croplands, power outages, flight cancellations and a virtual shutdown of all business activity in the nation. This is but the latest example of extreme weather to hit the Philippines, just 13 months ago Typhoon Haiyan struck the nation and in 2012 Typhoon Bhopa left a trail of devastation. While Hagupit does not appear to be as destructive as the two major typhoons that preceded it, it still had wind speeds of up to 250 km/h.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Event - ANJEE 30th Annual Conference

Alliance for NJ Environmental Education (ANJEE) 30th Annual ANJEE Conference will take place on January 23-24, 2015, at the Conference Center at Mercer, 1200 Old Trenton Road, West Windsor, New Jersey.

Making connections between STEM education and the natural world Join environmental educators of every description and discipline from across New Jersey and beyond to learn and share innovative ways to connect students of all ages with the natural world – and help them be better equipped to defend it.

Event - 2015 National Energy Education Summit

The National Energy Education Summit will take place on January 26, 2015, at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City at the Washington, DC National Airport in Washington, DC. Organized by the Council of Energy Research and Education Leaders (CEREL) the Summit will engage energy educators at all levels and students to build, improve, and expand energy education and serve the needs of diverse populations of students and citizens. The Summit will cover what we teach in energy education, how we teach it, how we can collaborate to teach it better, and how we can overcome critical challenges.

Event - Investing in the UK Green Economy

Investing in the UK green economy: challenges and next steps for policy will take place on January 22, 2015, at Glaziers Hall, 9 Montague Close, in London UK. Hosted by Westminster Forum Projects (WFP), this CDP certified conference aims to provide a timely opportunity to examine the progress and next steps in the ongoing transition towards a green and low carbon UK economy - examining the remaining challenges in meeting 2020 objectives, implications for sustainable investment with ongoing negotiations for 2030 targets, and priorities for Government policy in the next Parliament.

Event - Intersolar Summit USA East

This event will take place on May 7, 2015 from 9:00am to 6:00pm in Newark, New Jersey. East Coast states have become a backbone of US the solar industry development. Intersolar Summit USA East will feature both a conference and accompanying exhibition in order to strengthen the networking aspect and foster exchange of ideas between attendees.