Thursday, August 28, 2014

Obama's End Run Around the Senate to Secure a Climate Deal

In an effort to bypass obstructionist Republicans the Obama administration is working on an international climate deal that does not require the approval of the Senate. A legally binding treaty would require the approval of two-thirds of the Senate. To circumvent partisan gridlock, in particular the anti science stance of Republican lawmakers, Obama is looking to craft a political agreement rather than a binding treaty. Republicans in the senate (alongside a handful of fossil fuel Democrats) will never ratify such a treaty. The sad reality is that these lawmakers, who represent less than 10 percent of the American population, have the power to kill a binding treaty.

This political agreement is being sought ahead of the December 2015 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (IPCCC) meeting in Paris.

Singapore Sustainability Training and Education Program

The Singapore Environment Council (SEC) has launched a sustainability training and education program for businesses and students. It will also provide companies with tools to start sustainability programs.

This initiative will meet the huge demand for such courses from the corporate sector, in addition to generating income for the non-governmental organisation.

The program was launched at the 17th Singapore Environmental Achievement Awards.

Educational Resource - Getting The Picture: Our Changing Climate

Earth Vision Trust has launched an education resource titled, "Getting The Picture: Our Changing Climate." This innovative visually rich online multimedia tool is designed to help provide accessible climate education.

Students and educators of all ages can use this free interactive educational tool to gain a fresh perspective on our biggest global challenge: our changing climate. Getting The Picture offers a modern, interdisciplinary approach to teaching climate science.

Especially useful for middle and high school levels, this educational content extends far beyond Earth science and biology and incorporates history, economics, geography, art science and social studies.

Critically acclaimed photographer James Balog and his team bring you the latest in climate science education, featuring unique archives of media, film, photography and first-hand accounts of our changing climate.

Singapore Environmental Achievement Awards 2014 (SEAA)

In August, 8 winners were recognized for outstanding sustainable business practices at the 17th Singapore Environmental Achievement Awards, the region's leading environmental achievement awards. These 8 companies were acknowledged by the Singapore Environment Council (SEC).

The winners were selected from among 19 applications from organizations in Singapore and the region. A panel of experts selected the winners in six categories (manufacturing, services, technological innovation, and public sector administration).

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Infographic: Investors and Sustainability


Online Certificates - Sustainability Management (University of Colorado Boulder)

The University of Colorado-Boulder is now offering online Non-Credit Certificates in Sustainability Management. This certificate is ideal for those wishing to increase their knowledge of sustainability and make tangible change in an organization. The content specializes in business or community sustainability management—or both.

This distance learning certificate provides interactive and practical programs lead by industry experts can help you learn how to develop sustainability initiatives, encourage stakeholder buy-in, and inspire employees and co-workers to act.

Lucrative Investment Opportunities are Driving the Growth of Sustainability

Climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts are helping to fuel the growth of stock markets. Investors are increasingly seeing the wisdom of factoring sustainability into their investment equations. The S&P 500 recently surpassed the 2000 level and surveys indicate that companies on this index are mindful of climate change.

According to a 2012 report from the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, almost 90 percent of S&P Global 100 Index companies identified climate change and extreme weather as current or future business risks. The growth of S&P mirrors the growth of the American stock market as a whole. One of the factors driving this growth is the increasing interest in sustainable investing.

The Growth of Business Opportunties from Climate Change

Climate change is a serious threat but it also affords some significant business opportunities. According to a 220 page report by Environmental Business International (EBI), companies positioned to help clients prepare for climate change can reap major dividends. Climate change and extreme weather in particular will drive rapid expansion of adaptation work in both the private and public sectors.

For the next two years companies will see modest growth, primarily from adaptation assessments, but once the work moves into the design, engineering and construction phases the growth will begin in earnest.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Course - Environmental Due Diligence (Online)

The Environmental Due Diligence, online course is being offered by Commonground University starting on October 13, 2014. This six week course covers approximately 30 hours. It provides the must-know information you need prior to conducting any type of environmental due diligence and includes Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs), Database Reviews, and Desktop Reviews.

Infographic - MBA Student Attitudes on Environmental and Social Factors


Make sure to see the article titled, "Comprehensive Green School Information and Resources."
It contains links to over 200 articles covering everything you need to know about sustainable academics, student's eco-initiatives, green school buildings, and college rankings as well as a wide range of related information and resources.

PVC Free Back to School Shopping

Plastic products are the single biggest problem when it comes to back to school supplies. Consumers are increasingly concerned about products that are toxic to human health and environmentally unsustainable. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC or vinyl) is a commonly used plastic that stands out as a particular hazard. PVC has been linked to cancer, asthma, developmental disorders and learning disabilities. PVC contains dangerous chemicals including phthalates, lead, cadmium, and/or organotins.

PVC is also a major source of dioxin, one of the most toxic chemicals known to science. Dioxin has been targeted for international phase-out by a treaty signed by over 170 nations across the world. Both Congress and the President's Cancer Panel have called for greater regulation of such toxic chemicals in consumer product.

Researchers Discover Hundreds of Methane Plumes Off the East Coast

In a surprise discovery, hundreds of gas plumes have been found emanating from the seafloor. The plumes are thought to be methane and they were discovered during a survey of the US Atlantic Coast. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. The find was published on August 24th in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Course - Solar Photovoltaic

This two-day course on solar photovoltaics (Basic + Advanced) will take place on the 26th - 27th September 2014, at Edinburgh Napier University. It is also available online. The course is designed for technicians and individuals intending to learn how to install, maintain and repair Solar Photovoltaic equipment.

Participants of this course learn how Solar Panels work and gain a thorough understanding of solar PV systems, this allows them to apply for registration with an Microgeneration Certification Scheme.

The Top 20 Sustainability Programs According to the Business as Unusual Guide 2013

Top sustainability programs, as judged by students, according to the 2013 Business as Unusual Guide.
Credit: Net Impact

Make sure to see the article titled, "Comprehensive Green School Information and Resources."
It contains links to over 200 articles covering everything you need to know about sustainable academics, student's eco-initiatives, green school buildings, and college rankings as well as a wide range of related information and resources.




Human Health and Climate Change

Climate change makes us sick both physically and mentally. We often hear about the economic costs associated with climate change, however, the physical and mental toll is often overlooked. Research reveals that the adverse impacts of climate change can have serious implications for people's physical and emotional well being.

In 2012, it was reported that climate change was already killing 400,000 people each year. The IPCC WGII AR5 report published in 2013 has a chapter (PDF) that specifically deals with the health issues associated with climate change. Although the impacts of climate change on mental health are just beginning to be explored, the initial research suggests that it causes a wide range of psychological disturbances.

10 Back to School Tips to Save Money Energy and the Environment

As people prepare to return to school, large sums of money are spent on environmentally destructive products. According to the National Retail Federation, the back to school spend is expected to be more than $26 billion in 2014.

In addition to minimizing purchases, there are a wide range of more responsible products available to consumers. Here are ten back to school  tips that can save money, reduce energy usage and minimize environmental impacts.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Event - Climate Ride NYC-DC

Climate Ride NYC-DC will take place from September 20-24, 2014. Cyclists will ride from New York City, NY to Washington DC. From the exciting departure by ferry in Manhattan to the hero’s welcome and rally at the steps of the US Capitol, the east-coast version of Climate Ride is more than a bike trip – it’s an inspiring journey with 200 like-minded people who are united by their passion for sustainability, renewable energy, and bicycles - the ultimate carbon-free form of transportation.

Event - 2014 Climate Leadership Summit

The 2014 Climate Leadership Summit will take place on September 30 - October 3, 2014 in Boston, MA. This Summit is designed by Presidents for Presidents and Sustainability Staff in higher education.

The focus is on climate mitigation, resiliency, and regional and national collaborations will be discussed within the framework of: New Science and Solutions for a Changing Climate, Higher Education's Climate Leadership Imperative, Creating a Culture of Sustainability, Investment Strategies and Institutional Values: How, Why, and at What Risk? and Corporate Partnerships for Climate Leadership.

Event - The Evolving Financial Landscape for Renewable Energy

This event will take place on September 10, 2014 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., New York University School of Law, Lipton Hall, D'Agostino Hall, 108 W 3rd St, New York, NY 10012 The Evolving Financial Landscape for Renewable Energy will involve .eading experts from industry, finance, and government. They will provide insights into the current financing landscape for renewable energy.

Some of the questions they will address include:

What new structures are emerging to support renewable energy development?
What financing barriers remain?
What changes in tax policy are anticipated?

Event - A New Social Covenant

This event will take place on August, 27 and 29, in Cape Town, South Africa. Stellenbosch University and the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Values have arranged a series of events to investigate how the concept of a Social Covenant can make a contribution to the improvement of society.

The objective of the event is to facilitate a discussion on how the concept of a Social Covenant can make a contribution to the improvement of society.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Video - Local Consumption at the Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD)cal Consumption



Here is what Roli Mahajan, Volunteer in UN Major Group for Children and Youth in India, had to say about the importance of Local Consumption at the inaugural session of the Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD) which was held from 19 to 21 May 2014, Pattaya, Thailand.

The APFSD discussions focused on "Green Transformation," they aligned with the theme of “Achieving the Millennium Development Goals and charting the way for an ambitious post-2015 development agenda, including the Sustainable Development Goals”.

Video - Responsible Agriculture at the Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development



Here is what Meena Bilgi, Core Associate in Women Organizing for Change in Agriculture & Natural Resource Management in India, had to say about specifically Responsible Agriculture at the inaugural session of the Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD) which was held from 19 to 21 May 2014, Pattaya, Thailand.

The APFSD discussions focused on "Green Transformation," they aligned with the theme of “Achieving the Millennium Development Goals and charting the way for an ambitious post-2015 development agenda, including the Sustainable Development Goals”.

Video - Green Schools at the Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development


Here is what Oyun Sanjaasuren, Minister of Environment and Green Development in Mongolia, had to say about Green Schools at the inaugural session of the Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD) which was held from 19 to 21 May 2014, Pattaya, Thailand.

Video - Master of Science in Sustainability Management (Earth Institute and Columbia University)



Master of Science in Sustainability Management is a program designed to train and educate sustainability practitioners. It was developed by the Earth Institute and Columbia University's School of Continuing Education. The program draws upon the most sophisticated environmental measurement tools, cutting-edge environmental science, and world class management and policy studies to help students fully understand the systematic and organizational role of sustainability in any organization. This program provides practical training for students seeking to further their careers as sustainability professionals or transition into a sustainability field.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Charts and Graphs - US Drought Severity

George Washington University's Green Buildings

George Washington University is committed to building green. The school was the first in D.C. to sign the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment, agreeing to reduce its total carbon footprint by 40 percent by 2025. The university also has four green roofs, eight LEED-certified buildings, with six more targeting certification.

Canada's Ruling Conservatives Suppress Arctic Ice Loss Research

The ruling Conservative party of Canada under the leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper are well known for silencing scientists, cutting funding for environmental research, and gutting environmental oversight. However, their latest attempt to suppress government research on the rapid loss of sea ice in the Arctic has plunged them to a new low.

Conservative ministers are now prohibiting Canadian Ice Services (CIS) from disclosing their research findings. CIS scientists have been denied the right to hold a "strictly factual" press briefing on the catastrophic loss of northern ice. Under the Harper governments new rules CIS and other government researchers must secure nine levels of government approval. The latest attempt to share information paid for by the Canadian taxpayer has been vetoed at the sixth ministerial level.

Photovaltaic Panel Shortages - The Downside of the Solar Boom

The solar industry is booming but a looming shortage of photovoltaic panels reveals that there is a downside to the industry's prodigious growth. A glut of photovoltaic panels drove prices down sharply. The oversupply that drove the price decline forced some companies into bankruptcy and slowed capital investment. Now the industry is expecting the first supply shortfall since 2006.

Although there will be huge demand from small scale solar, particularly home based, suppliers may sell most of their supply to big customers. If utility-scale solar farms get priority this will be a serious limiting factor inhibiting the growth of rooftop systems.

The news is not all bad. The fact that production capacity is not keeping up with demand is causing some companies to expand. Companies that are already expanding or planning to expand in the near term include Canadian Solar Inc SunPower Corp. The gap between supply and demand is expected to narrow by the end of 2014 and this is expected to lead to increased investments in advanced equipment.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Infographic - The Growth of Solar Energy


Course - Microgrid Executive MBA Training

This course will take place from November 3rd - December 12th, 2014. The instructor is Mahesh Bhave, Ph.D. This course helps students become knowledgeable participants in the evolution of microgrids. The intricacies of microgrid development and finance represents the future topology of the grid. What are their economics, how do they interact with each other and with the macro grid?

Microgrids represent an opportunity for new entrants, a threat for incumbent utilities, and a credible solution for emerging economies quest for 100% electrification. Navigant projects the market to grow from $8.3B worldwide in 2013 to more than $40B by 2020.

Solar's Prodigious Growth in the US

Home based solar, commercial scale solar and on-site solar for businesses are growing in the U.S. and around the world. US solar energy capacity grew 418 percent from 2010 to mid 2014 (2,326 megawatts to 12,057 megawatts).

Solar is one of the fastest-growing power sectors in the US and around the world. Over the last several years we have seen a 20 percent annual growth rate in the US solar industry. US solar power expanded by 100 percent in 2013.

New US Energy Capacity in 2013 (Charts and Graphs)

Wind Power Capacity Under Construction

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sustainability at American University

American University has adopted a number of initiatives designed to make the school greener. This includes a climate commitment, a sustainability plan, and sustainability policies. The University will be carbon neutral by 2020. They are home to the largest combined solar array in the District. They are dedicated to growing green power through their purchase of renewable energy certificates and they are a part of the largest non-utility solar energy purchase in the US.

The University has 10 green roofs and is also one of three universities in the world using the US Green Building Council‘s LEED Volume certification program. All new buildings are LEED Gold certified, and are many existing buildings have also achieved LEED certification. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized American University for its efforts to advance the development of the country’s voluntary green power market through purchase of renewable energy certificates.

The EPA's Clean Power Plan and US Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is inadvertently a central tenant of the Environmental Protection Agency’s new Clean Power Plan. The scheme will mandate substantial reductions in carbon emissions from US power plants. The net effect of this plan is that many power plants will be forced to close and efficiency efforts will go a long way to help address this energy shortfall.

The US is ripe for significant increases in energy efficiency as it is currently a laggard compared to the rest of the world. As reviewed by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) the US ranks 13 out of 16 countries in terms of energy efficiency policies and programs. The ranking is based on four categories, building, industry, transportation and national effort. The US received a failing grade with 42 out of a possible 100 on the ACEEE scorecard.

International Energy Efficiency Ranking (ACEEE)


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Course - Electrics for Solar PV and Renewable Systems

This course on Electrics for Solar PV and renewable systems will address safety, instruments and controls. This intensive two-day course offers an exam for the Galileo Master Certificate. It is intended for professionals and individuals with a strong interest in the electrical equipment side of renewable systems, safety instruments and controls.

It will take place on the 24th - 25th September 2014, at Edinburgh Napier University. It is also available online with live tutorial.

Emissions Free Net Positive Building at UBC

One of the buildings at the University of British Columbia harvests and produces more energy than it uses. This emissions free net positive building has earned LEED platinum certification. The building is known as the Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS), it employs innovative HVAC technologies including heat scavenging from neighboring buildings, it also generates power though dual renewable energy systems (solar and geothermal).

The four-story, 65,000-sq-foot CIRS building uses both photovoltaic electric and hot water solar panels. The solar panels are also dual use as they provide both energy and shade. The geothermal field supplies heat in the winter and cooling in the summer through an 118-kW and two 196-kW heat pumps. There is a backup 200 kW electric boiler that can also be used during periods of peak-demand.

The Dangerous Feedback Loop Between Wildfires and Climate Change

In North America, wildfires are destroying vast swaths of forest and creating massive plumes of smoke which extend across the continent and all the way to the Mid-Atlantic.

In Canada, there are huge fires raging in B.C., the Northwest Territories, and Ontario. As of August 6, a total of 3,840 wildfires have destroyed over 3,508,582 million acres so far this year. As of August 12 there were a total of 41 large wildfires burning in the U.S. Ten in California, ten in Washington and ten in Oregon. A total of eight fires are burning in Idaho and three in Montana. The land mass impacted by these fires totals 714,044 acres.

As revealed by a Climate Central analysis, wildfires are on the increase. Their examination of 42 years of U.S. Forest Service records for 11 Western states shows that there are now 7 times more fires greater than 10,000 acres each year and nearly 5 times more fires larger than 25,000 acres each year. There are also twice as many fires over 1,000 acres each year, with an average of more than 100 per year from 2002 through 2011, compared with less than 50 during the 1970’s. On average, wildfires burn twice as much land area each year as they did 4 decades ago.

Businesses are Increasingly Engaging Sustainability

Driven by bottom line concerns, businesses all around the world are adopting sustainability. This includes lean manufacturing practices, cutting down on raw materials, decreased energy usage, waste reduction and recycling.

Sustainability is buoyed by growing interest in responsible business practices from governments, investors and consumers. Businesses are also concerned about mitigating risk.

The trend towards sustainable business is evident in almost every sector of the economy. Manufacturers are increasingly adopting more environmentally sustainable methods that reduce costs and contribute to the bottom line. Supply chains are getting greener to meet increasingly stringent procurement demands. In fact, sustainable supply chains have become an imperative for a whole host of good reasons.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Video - Sustainability Consulting Projects Course

This Webinar introduces the Sustainability Consulting Projects Course. The course imparts skills and knowledge for planning sustainability projects and developing solutions for organizations including:

• businesses
• non-profits
• cities and municipalities
• universities, colleges and other institutions

In this program, Individually or as part of a small team, you will work with a client to develop and deliver a customized, actionable plan with the goals of reducing operating costs, minimizing the environmental footprint and improving environmental sustainability of an organization.

In collaboration with the client, opportunities are identified and initiatives developed for both short term and long term action. Deliverables include: a Sustainability Action Plan (SAP) and a presentation to the client stakeholders; e.g., the leadership team and staff. And it is all under the guidance of Will O'Brien, an accomplished business executive, change agent, entrepreneur, consultant, teacher and attorney. Will has over 40 years experience in business start-ups, service management, professional services, marketing, project management, web operations and in managing large global teams in the sustainability area.

Instructor, Will O'Brien has delivered this program on-line for Clark and Harvard University

Areas of focus can include: energy efficiency, water conservation, waste reduction,

Learn innovative education approaches to integrate Sustainability Consulting into graduate level curricula for business, environmental science or environmental engineering programs.

Click here to learn More about Sustainability Consulting Projects Course.

Make sure to see the article titled, "Comprehensive Green School Information and Resources."
It contains links to over 200 articles covering everything you need to know about sustainable academics, student's eco-initiatives, green school buildings, and college rankings as well as a wide range of related information and resources.