Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Climate Week NYC: Events and Activities in Support of the UN Climate Summit

Climate Week NYC, which runs from September 22-28, is the collaborative space for all related events in support of the UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit. This is the sixth Climate Week NYC. It is the collaborative space for all events in support of the UN Climate Summit. It will be home to around 100 events, activities and high-profile meetings taking place across NYC.

It is a key international forum for governments, businesses and civil society to drive low carbon leadership through a busy week of high-profile events, business panels and public-facing activities happening in and around New York City.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Thunderclap: Spreading the Word About the People's Climate March

Thunderclap is a way of automatically sharing the message about the People's Climate March scheduled for September 21, 2014.

Thunderclap can best be understood as an opportunity to amplify the message and speak out for climate. The message reads as follows:

Apple's Sustainability Leadership

Apple has long been a technological leader and now they are morphing into a sustainability leader. On September 9, Apple unveiled a couple of new iPhones, a smartwatch device and a payment system. This is an important launch for Apple as its market share is declining. In 2012, it had a dominating 25 percent share of the smartphone market. As the demand for greener electronics grows, Apple understands that holding and capturing market share necessitates an increased emphasis on social and environmental responsibility.

Apple has produced some of the world’s greenest mobile phones. They are also a leading force in cloud computing, which is powered almost entirely by renewable energy. Now they are increasing their efforts to expand their sustainability initiatives.

Infographic - Urgent Need to do More on Climate Change (PwC)

Climate Reality: 24 Reasons to be Hopeful About Solving the Climate Crisis

On September 16 and 17, Climate Reality will share 24 reasons to be hopeful about solving the climate crisis at 12 PM EDT.

The climate crisis can be solved, but only when each of us does our part. People have signed up for a day for action – anything from voting to marching to speaking out in your community - and over the course of the next year climate reality will share a number of opportunities with you to help you reach your goal.

Climate Realities website describes the day of action as follows:

"I’m dedicating a day to make a difference.Every movement has its moment. This is ours.It’s time to stand up and stop climate change.It’s time to turn the solutions we have into the clean energy future we want. So I’m dedicating a day to doing my part.What can change in a day?With millions standing up together, what can’t?"

People's Climate March: Changing the Course of History

We are five days away from the People's Climate March which will take place on September 21. This will be the largest demonstration for action on climate change in world history. People will come together on the streets of New York and cities all across the globe.  The goal is to put pressure on world leaders to take action on global warming and forge a climate agreement.  The People's Climate March takes place two days before the UN Climate Summit which is scheduled for September 23rd in New York City.

Hundreds of thousands of people will be at the March in New York City and thousands of groups will be present. This includes environmental groups of all sizes, businesses, unions, faith groups, schools, social justice groups and parent groups all marching together to demand action on the climate crisis.

Monday, September 15, 2014

On Site Energy - EPA Green Power Partnership Rankings 2014

Canadian Prime Minister Will Not Attend UN Climate Summit

Last week Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that he is not going to the United Nations Climate Summit scheduled for September 23rd in New York. This summit is intended to prepare the way for a much needed global climate agreement in 2015.

The move is consistent with the Harper Conservatives flagrant disregard for climate action. They have worked to undermine a global agreement on climate change so that they can continue their unbridled exploitation of fossil fuels and the tar sands in particular. The tar sands are widely regarded as some of the most greenhouse gas intensive oil reserves on earth.

Canada was one of the nations that worked to undermine a successful outcome at last year's Conference of the Parties (COP 19). Canada is also an international laggard on emissions reductions. In 2011, the Harper government withdrew from the Kyoto Accord and admitted that it will not be able to meet its carbon reduction agreement.

Fossil Fuel Divestment Universities Will Not be Able to Resist

A number of schools have already divested from fossil fuels and many movements are underway to encourage remaining schools to divest. Universities running the gamut from tiny Unity College in Maine to major ivy league universities like Stanford have already succeeded in making strides to divest from fossil fuels.

Pitzer College

California based Pitzer College launched the Robert Redford Conservancy for Southern California Sustainability in 2012 and opened four mixed-use residential buildings that earned LEED Platinum certification. In 2014 they set some ambitious sustainability goals that include divestment from fossil fuels.

The Ironclad Case for Global Action on Climate Change

It is hard to avoid the overwhelming and irrefutable logic of acting to combat climate change. We must significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions or risk economic collapse and jeopardize life on earth as we know it. This point was made convincingly in a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers report.

The growing number of nations and corporations who see the need to act is growing alongside the vast numbers of people who are calling for action. For both businesses and people, the benefits of taking action to address climate change cannot be ignored.

We are Running out of Time to Avert a Climate Catastrophe (PwC Report)

PricewaterhousCoopers (PwC) is hardly known for hyperbole, but their latest report warns of catastrophe if we fail to reign in carbon emissions. The report says that every passing year we are getting further away from averting a climate disaster.

PwC's “Low Carbon Economy Index,” chronicles our ongoing failure to act on the climate crisis. They refer to an “unmistakable trend” of growing emissions and a warming world. The report states that we have failed to do what we must to keep temperatures below the internationally agreed upon upper threshold limit of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.

The Importance of the UN Climate Summit 2014

The United Nations Climate Summit 2014 will take place on September 23. Although it is not part of the UNFCCC negotiating process, this meeting is a critical part of efforts to develop a global agreement to tackle climate change by 2015.

Climate change is not just a problem for future generations it is a problem that we all face here and now. The climate crisis has serious real world consequences for people and businesses all around the world.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Event - CanSIA Solar West 2014 Conference

CanSIA Solar West Conference takes place on October 1 and 2, 2014 in Calgary Alberta. Alberta is well known for its fossil fuels but the province is also fortunate to have one of Canada’s greatest solar energy resources. In an average day, an amount equivalent to all of the province’s remaining conventional established oil reserves (estimated at 1.5 billion barrels) falls on the province. Despite the fact that solar is a high-value proven reserve with a negligible environmental impact, it remains largely untapped.

Event - Phasing-out coal: an healthy decision

This event will take place on September, 30 2014 at University of Calgary Main Campus. "Coal-fired plants make people sick and die, particularly children and those with chronic illnesses, and they cost society huge amounts of money desperately needed for other purposes."

Dr Alan Lockwood, MD, The Silent Epidemic, inside of the cover page, MIT , 2012

The majority of Alberta's electricity is generated by coal fired plants (Alberta Energy, 2012). The research is now clear that burning coal comes with substantial human health costs. In Alberta alone coal contributes to over 100 fatalities and more than 4,000 asthma symptom days every year. What are the impacts of coal on human health? How can Alberta include health issues related to burning coal in its energy strategy?

Event - Companies and Causes Canada: Plenary Sessions

The first inaugural Companies and Causes Canada Conference will take place on October 28, 2014 at the Toronto Board of Trade.

Here is some of the content you can expect at the forthcoming Company and Causes Canada event. Check out the following six plenary sessions:

Event - NAPHN14 Conference & Expo

The North American Passive House Networks' 2014 Conference and Expo will take place on September 22 - 23, in Portland, Maine. It will feature Passive House projects from across the continent and around the world - small and large - from homes, to schools, office buildings and city districts.

The conference will provide an unparalleled in-depth look at what Passive House is achieving today. Presentations will also look at detailed technical aspects, policy and regional based solutions for this international standard. The Expo will showcase over 30 industry leaders and Workshops before and after the conference will allow for in-depth training at introductory to expert levels.

Event - Net Impact's Off Site Business Tours

Net Impact's Off-site Business Tours will take place on Thursday, November 6th, 2014 in and around Minneapolis. These off-site business tours offer participants a unique, behind-the-scenes look at some of the Twin Cities' most impactful organizations—big and small. These site visits are a great opportunity to explore the surrounding area while hearing from local organizations that are striving to break boundaries in their respective fields.

Event - the 2014 Net Impact Conference

This 22nd Net Impact Conference will take place on November 6-8 in Minneapolis. This Conference is the leading forum for students and professionals who want to tackle the world’s toughest social and environmental problems. This conference enables participants to "break boundaries—leaving limits behind, forging unexpected alliances, and exploring creative solutions—to transform the world." This weekend will provide inspiration, learning, and connections to set positive change in motion.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Video - Murray State’s New M.S. in Sustainability Science Degree

Murray State University's new graduate-level program in sustainability (M.S. in sustainability science degree) started in the fall of 2014.The new degree is the first graduate level program of its kind in Kentucky. This degree is meant to meet the demand from students in a wide range of disciplines that have expressed an interest in a cleaner earth and a healthier environment.

Video - Positioning Green and Socially Focused Products and Services: Why Were All in this Together

Positioning green and socially focused products and services is no easy feat. There are a number of elements that must be considered which can make such efforts appear unwieldy and complex. In this video you will find out how to bring your product or service from the planetary to the personal. This includes balancing your message with ecology, economy and efficacy. This also involves avoiding greenwashing which is one of the most dangerous pitfalls. Key to this success is finding ways of working with both environmentalists and corporations to solve the most pressing problems on the planet today.

Video - Norway's EV Leadership Sets a World Record

Powered by hydroelectric energy, Norway is one of the leading markets in the world for electric cars. Norway now has the distinction of holding the largest meeting of electric vehicles in the world. The record was set when a total of 260 electric cars came together.

Video - Bhutan's National EV Strategy

Bhutan, has launched a unique partnership designed to help it on its way to becoming a global leader in electric vehicles. Bhutan and Nissan are working together to electrify government vehicles and taxi fleets. They are also working on a national charging infrastructure. The partnership was announced by Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay and Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn.

Video - FIA Formula E the Dawn of Fully Electric Motorsports

The FIA Formula E is the world's first fully electric car racing series that launched on September 13th, 2014, in Beijing. The Formula E is committed to the promotion of clean energy and sustainability. In addition to being an exciting spectator sport the Formula E Championship is also an R&D testing ground for electric vehicle technology like extended battery life.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Fully Electric Motorsports: The Launch of the Formula E

The future of motorsports has dawned in the form of the world's first fully electric car racing series. These races are designed for a whole new generation of motorsport fans.

On September 13th, 2014, the FIA Formula E Championship kicked off in Beijing for the first of a ten race circuit.

The Formula E Championship is not only an exciting spectator sport, it also focuses on the promotion of clean energy and sustainability. The Formula E is centered around three core values: Energy, Environment and Entertainment.

Sustainability Development Metrics: Indices, Approaches and Frameworks

Sustainability development metrics are aggregate measures that extend the concept of value beyond gross Domestic product (GDP). Commonly referred to as sustainability development indicators (SDI), these are measures of sustainability go beyond the generic concept.

Sustainability indicators, indices and reporting systems are of growing importance in both the public and private sectors. SDIs are seen as useful in a wide range of settings, by a wide range of actors this includes international and intergovernmental bodies; national governments and government departments; economic sectors; administrators of geographic or ecological regions; communities; nongovernmental organizations; and the private sector.

New Sustainability Metrics from KoAnn Skrzyniarz

Businesses are extending their metrics beyond the measurement of profit to other forms of value of creation. The new sustainability imperatives demands that we include new metrics. In response to both consumers and supply chain pressures businesses are under pressure to provide metrics that measure their sustainability efforts. While these metrics measure more than just profit, they are closely tied to financial performance and creating a competitive advantage.

Here are five new metrics from KoAnn Skrzyniarz. She is the originator of sustainable brands and Sustainable Life Media. She is one of the world's leading innovators in sustainability metrics. She explores ways of measuring new forms of environmental and social value.

Infographic - People's Climate March

Climate Science Bill of Rights and a Fact Based Education

In the US a battle is brewing between those who want to teach children the science behind climate change and those who want to teach kids politically motivated revisionism that caters to the agenda of the fossil fuel industry.

The National Research Council is collaboratively working with federal agencies, the National Governors Association, teachers and education experts to develop a new set of science education standards. This science based approach will apply to contentious topics like evolution and climate change.

Peru's Massive Illegal Logging Industry

The murder of indigenous activists is drawing attention to the massive trade in illegal forest products from Peru. The vast majority of logging activities in the country are illegal. Although Peru has a large rainforest current rates of illegal logging are unsustainable.

According to a 2012 World Bank report, as much as 80 percent of Peru’s logging exports are harvested illegally. Sophisticated wood laundering schemes help to bring this wood to international markets. This involves doctored papers that make the wood appear legal.

The US is among the nations that buy this illegal timber. According to a 2012 report by the Environmental Investigation Agency, at least 40 percent of cedar exports to the US include illegally logged timber. The wood from a single old-growth mahogany tree can earn more than $11,000 on the US lumber market.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Infographic - Greenpeace Rating of Electronic Companies

Interesting and Amusing Things You Learn in Environmental Policy School

Here 50 things learned at environmental policy school written by a blogger who calls herself the "Pragmatic Idealist." She completed her masters in International Environmental Policy in California. So without further ado here are interesting and sometimes amusing things she learned from her graduate education:

Sustainable Design in the New World Trade Center Buildings

Thirteen years ago today the twin towers were destroyed by terrorists, but from the ashes of that terrible day new green World Trade Center buildings have taken their place. Seven World Trade Center (7 WTC) was completed in 2006 and the much larger One World Trade Center (1 WTC) also known as "Freedom Tower" was completed in 2013. These building are models of sustainable design.

Seven World Trade Center

7 WTC is a pioneer in terms of environmental responsibility, energy efficiency, and quality of life. The building has earned the U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) gold status under its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-rating system. This is the first green commercial office building in New York City to have such certification. It is also part of part of the USGBC Pilot Program for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design - Core and Shell Development (LEED-CS).

The Ongoing Environmental Impacts of 9/11 on Health and Finances

This is a repost of an article that was originally published in The Green Market Oracle in 2012. It covers the ongoing environmental, health and financial impacts of the tragic destruction of the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001.

In addition to the horrific cost to human life, 9/11 has had a devastating environmental impact that continues to harm human health. The felling of the twin towers in Manhattan on September 11th 2001, killed 2973 people, and the toll on human life continues to be felt more than a decade after the tragic event. First responders charged with cleaning up the carnage, along with others who spent time on or near the 9/11 site continue to suffer from serious health effects.

Top 200 Environmental Firms 2014 (ENR)

Here are the top 200 environmental firms for 2014 from Engineering News Record (ENR). There has been little change from the previous year and no new companies cracked the top ten.

The top three firms remained unchanged from 2013 (CH2M Hill, URS and Veolia North America). CH2M has dominated the ENR rankings over the years earning the top spot nine times.

One notable change is revenue increases reported in 2014. There was an overall revenue increase of almost 4 percent, to $53.7 billion, over the 2013 results. ENR attributes this increase to the growing demand for environmental services in the overseas oil-and-gas sectors.

The top 10 environmental firms, locations and 2013 revenues are as follows:

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Case Studies on the Importance of Sustainability in Business Strategy

This analysis highlights case studies demonstrating the importance of sustainability in business strategy. Leading companies know that sustainability is a critical success factor. Benefit from the wisdom of leading participants at the Responsible Business Summit earlier this year. This analysis includes the views of CEOs and C-suite executives from some of the world's top companies (Interface, SABMiller, Western Union, Sainsbury’s, Bupa, Orange, Alliance Boots, Natura, Mars, Roshan and Vodafone).

The Internet Slowdown: Stop Cable Companies from Extorting Money from Websites

Online access to information is critical to disseminate information on climate change and essential for spreading the word about game changing sustainability innovations. However, this access will be undermined if US cable companies are allowed to extort money from websites. Failure to pay these cable companies could slow access to your favorite sites.

On May 15, 2014, the Federal Communications Commission proposed proposed rules, that would allow cable giants like AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon to create a two-tiered Internet, with slow lanes (for most of us) and fast lanes (for wealthy corporations that are willing pay fees in exchange for fast service).

Electronics Industry Problems and Solutions (2014 Greenpeace Report)

The proliferation of electronics represents a major environmental hazard. It is estimated that we will buy 2.5 billion mobiles, computers and tablets this year. In total there will soon be more digital devices than people on the planet. As of 2012 that amounted to nearly 8kg of e-waste for every person on the planet. As the amount of electronics grows it has never been more important to consider how these devices are made and how they are disposed of.

Many big electronics firms are responding to public pressure to make improvements to the way these devices are made and how they are managed at the end of their life cycle. Electronic devices now contain less hazardous substances and are more efficient. However, far more needs to be done. The industry will need to develop innovative solutions to curb this growing problem.

Activists Opposing Illegal Logging Murdered in Peru

The persecution and murder of environmental activists is an all too common event in our world, now four more people have been added to that list. The murders took place on September 1, 2014, near the Peruvian border with Brazil. All indications are that the four Asheninka natives were killed by illegal loggers. The Ashaninkas are Peru's leading Amazon ethnic group and they have been subject to growing violence.

One of those killed was the prominent anti-logging campaigner, Edwin Chota. Chota had been repeatedly threatened before his assassination and had asked for protection from Peruvian authorities. He was the leader of Alto Tamaya-Saweto, a community in Peru’s Amazon Ucayali region. He has fought for his people’s right to gain titles to their land and expel illegal loggers.

Sustainability Students Having a Tough Time Finding the Jobs they Want

Students studying the environment and sustainability appear to be having an increasingly difficult time securing the kind of work they want. A Net Impact Study surveying graduate students suggests that those who complete and environmentally oriented degree are increasingly less likely to get jobs that are aligned with their values.

In the absence of their ideal jobs many students feel obliged to settle for what they can get. There has been an 8 percent increase in the number of students that say, "At this point, I feel pressure to take any role," (27 percent in 2013 to 35 percent in 2014).

This is part of a trend that has been emerging for the last couple of years. Starting in 2012 The percentage of students expressing confidence that "I’ll find a job aligned with my values, interests and passions" has decreased from 91 percent to 83 percent in 2014.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

WMO Report Documents Rapid Surge Driving Carbon Levels to Record High

Levels of atmospheric carbon have surged in 2013 causing new record highs. Concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere between 2012 and 2013 grew at their fastest rate since 1984.

According to the WMO's annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin the globally averaged amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached 396 parts per million (ppm) in 2013, an increase of almost 3ppm over the previous year. This is the fastest rate of carbon increase in nearly 30 years. Atmospheric CO2 is now at 142% of the levels in 1750, before the start of the industrial revolution.