Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Bernie Makes the Case for Unity (DNC Speech Excerpts)

Bernie Sanders delivered a powerful speech at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) that not only endorsed Hilary Clinton's bid to be the next president of the United States, he delivered a logical rebuke to his supporters who refuse to back Hilary. From the economy to climate change Bernie makes its clear that Hilary is the better choice. He also speaks to the importance of this election and warns us against Democrats who are threatening to stay away from the ballot box this November.

Here are some excerpts from Bernie Sanders' speech at the DNC:

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Air Pollution Linked to Cognitive Impairment: A Review of the Research Evidence

A growing body of research demonstrates that air pollution affects the brain and causes cognitive deficits. When inhaled, fine particulate matter has been shown to be bad for your heart, lungs and brain. While we have known that air pollution compromises cardiovascular and respiratory health since the 70s, the connection with impaired cognition is a more recent discovery. Inhaled fine particulate matter crosses the blood brain barrier and adversely affects neurons. The research clearly demonstrates that the neurotoxicants contained in air pollution causes neuroinflammation, which can lead to neurodegenerative changes including diminished cognitive performance.

As reviewed in a 2012 paper titled "Smog in our brains," published by the American Psychological Association, the evidence linking air pollution to diminished cognitive abilities is mounting.

Monday, July 25, 2016

GOP Platform Augurs Environmental Destruction and Runaway Climate Change

The 2016 Republican platform is an environment destroying climate killer. Party delegates voted to adopt the GOP platform at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last week. If the GOP manages to fool the American electorate in November the environment will suffer and climate change will hurtle past irreversible tipping points. In addition to some archaic views on LGBT “conversion therapy,” the Republican platform ignores climate change while advancing policy positions that are harmful to the environment. This document defines the party’s official principles and cements their anti-science reputation. This is not just a matter of ideological differences, the Republican platform is utterly disconnected from even the most rudimentary appreciation of science. Worse still they are knowingly deceitful in their pursuit of self serving political gain. Fossil fuel funded lies have come to be the backbone of party policy. If Republicans take the White House, their platform could very well end civilization as we know it.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Event - The New Energy Future: Webinar and White Paper

This one hour webinar will take place on Wednesday, July 27, 2016 from 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time. Brought to you by Energy Manager Today this webinar with Edison Energy will help you make sense of the changing energy future . In this webinar energy experts will discuss the results of a comprehensive study showing how the energy world is changing at an unprecedented pace, the challenges that brings, and how companies are prevailing. If you are unable to watch the webinar live register anyways and you will be forwarded a followup email with links to the slides and the recording.

The energy world is changing at an unprecedented pace. The way large organizations acquire, manage and use energy is dramatically different today than it was ten years ago. And ten years from now, it will likely be different still, as technology, regulatory and business model innovations continue to yield new opportunities for energy management. So how will we power the world of tomorrow? What kinds of business models will prevail?

Friday, July 22, 2016

Trump Promises to Kill Climate Action in RNC Speech: The False Flags of Fear and Division

As the Republican National Convention drew to a close Donald Trump delivered a speech in which he made it clear that he will dismantle US efforts to address climate change all while exacerbating its cause. He wants to get rid of environmental regulations and expand the domestic production of fossil fuels. Here is a succinct analysis of climate and environment related remarks made by Trump during his acceptance speech at the RNC on July 21, 2016.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Corporate Sustainability in 2016: The Rise of the CSO

Sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) enable businesses to reduce their costs by being more efficient, build social capital by being more responsible and earn more revenues by offering products and services that customers find socially or environmentally attractive. There are also a host of ancillary benefits including enhanced employee recruitment and retention. One of the most cogent reasons why businesses are getting serious about sustainability has to do with risk mitigation. Sustainability helps to insulate a firm from the legal and business threats that include new regulatory environments and possible supply chain disruptions due to things like extreme weather or resource scarcity.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Climate No-shows, Discord and Nepotism Mark the Start of the Republican National Convention

As an omen of what is to come, the Trump motorcade had an accident on the way to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. A Trump presidency would not only be calamitous for the economy it would likely push us past climate tipping points. Trump has indicated that he will double down on fossil fuels and this means that if Trump wins we all lose

There continues to be determined focused resistance to Trump's Presidential bid from almost all quarters of American society. The small but growing number of Republicans who accept climate science will not be at the convention along with a surprising number of others. Trump has little support from Hispanics, blacks, millennials and women.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Event- IUCN World Conservation Congress 2016: Planet at the Crossroads

This event is about defining the path to a sustainable future and it will take place on September 1 - 10, 2016 in Hawaii. The theme of this year's event is "planet is at a crossroads." The ecosystems that underpin our economies and provide us food and water are collapsing. Species are becoming extinct at unprecedented rates. Our climate is in crisis. This is all happening on our watch. So what is the world doing about it? The answer is: a whole lot, but not enough and not nearly fast enough.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Trump's Pick for VP Fails to Secure Support from the Koch Brothers (Videos)

The Republican presidential nominee's choice of VP suggests that the Trump camp may have been hoping to secure support from conservative Christians and the Koch brothers (David and Charles). Earlier this week Donald Trump unceremoniously revealed that Michael Richard "Mike" Pence as his pick for his Vice Presidential running-mate.

Pence is a climate denier and supporter of dirty energy who has sat in the House of Representatives where he amassed an anti-climate and anti-environment voting record.  He has been the governor of Indiana since 2013 where he has been a vocal critic of the Clean Power Plan.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Climate Polls Give the GOP Cause for Concern

Polls show that Republican voters have a small but growing interest in climate change and this may prove to be a troubling trend for the party. The GOP is now synonymous with being apologetically irrational on environmental and climate issues, but it was not always this way. The anti-science policy stance of Republicans and disagreeable disposition of a large part of their base, are relatively recent phenomena. Less than 2 decades ago there was no difference between Republicans and Democrats on the subject of climate change. Over the last 20 years the GOP has gradually allowed corporate interests, especially the fossil fuel industry, to gain control over party policy. The GOP's corporate servitude effectively excised science from the policy making process.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Climate Change and the US Federal Election of 2016

The impending catastrophe of climate change demands urgent attention from world leaders. This is particularly true of the leader of the weathiest and most powerful nation on Earth. This makes the US election of 2016 the most important election in American history and arguably in the history of the world.

Never before have so many lives been at stake nor have we ever faced this kind of global threat. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently stated that a quarter of a million people are being killed each year due to climate change. Others suggest that number is much higher. What is clear is that the death toll is destined to get far worse.

Leadership is desparately required as we approach what could prove to be civilization's final days if we fail to act.

We must quickly move forward with national action if we are to have a chance of staving off the worst impacts of climate change. What happens in the US this fall will reverberate around the world. Failure to vote for a leader who will engage climate action will have global repercussions. It will very likely move us past tipping points from which we will not be able to recover.

A Guardian survey indicates that one in five voters in the US are frustrated by the inadequacy of climate focus in the US presidential campaign. They complained about Republican climate denial and the failure of Democrats to make climate change a top tier campaign issue (although as evidenced by the new Democratic platform, there is good reason to believe that this may be changing).

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Democrats Adopt Climate Amendment to the Democratic Platform

On Saturday July 9 Democrats agreed to the most aggressive plan to combat climate change in the history of the party. This plan includes putting a price on carbon, methane and other greenhouse gases. It calls for massive investment in renewable energy, limiting fracking and forced disclosure of fracking chemicals. Finally, the platform calls for intense scrutiny of fossil fuel pipelines, the same kind of scutiny that cancelled the Keystone XL.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Decades of Hot Data: The Harbingers of an Impending Climate Castrophe

It is hot and getting hotter. The evidence for global warming is growing with a long string of successive global heat records. The hottest months, the hottest seasons and the hottest years are stacking up. While individual weather records should not be confused with climate decades of temperature data convincingly make the case for a warming world.

Hot weather forces people to acknowledge our changing climate. Unlike CO2, heat is tangible and accessible to all even those that are unfamiliar with or unmoved by the reams of climate research.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Event - International Conference & Exhibition on Clean Energy

The 5th International Conference & Exhibition on Clean Energy (ICCE 2016) will take place on August 22 -24, 2016 at the McGill University New Residence Hall (Formerly Renaissance Hotel) in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. ICCE 2016 provides a platform for researchers and scientists to share their research work while the participants from industry can promote their products . This is an excellent opportunity for the delegates from universities and institutes to interact with the their colleagues. ICCE 2016 is an opportunity to network with some of the world’s leading scientists, and to experience the vibrant culture and to explore the natural wonders of Montreal.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 Smart Car (Video)

Rolls-Royce has built a new concept car that is the embodiment of the future of high-end design. In addition to all the performance and design elements one would expect, the car boasts both a virtual chauffeur and a virtual assistant. The automaker is looking to own the electric ultra-luxury car segment but it has encountered its share of difficulties along the way. In 2011 a vehicle called the Phantom Experimental Electric (EE) also known as the 102EX was launched. This was Rolls-Royce's inaugural journey into zero emission electric power-trains. The 102EX was sent to the MIRA research facility in Warwickshire for a series of tests. The car then went on tour in Asia, North America and the Middle East. However, the project came to a screeching halt after potential customers complained about the cars lack of range and other issues.

BMW Celebrates a Century of Automaking with its Sustainability Vision (Video)

To celebrate its 100th anniversary BMW has released an all-electric futuristic vehicle called the Vision Next 100 sporting saloon. Although BMW struggled with some early battery pack issues, the high-end automaker is determined to be an electric vehicle leader. In 2013 BMW announced that it would make PHEV versions of its entire lineup. BMW's early efforts, the i3 and i8 did not win universal approval, nor did the MW X5 eDrive SUV. However this brand new high-tech prototype may prove to be irresistible to critics and consumers alike.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Two Down and Two to Go: Half of Canada's Tar Sands Pipeline Proposals Stymied

The prospects for new Canadian fossil fuel pipelines are looking increasingly bleak. The election of the federal Liberals under Justin Trudeau marked a new day, and a new more rigorous and open approval process for Canadian pipelines. This is in stark contrast to the approach of former Prime Minister Stephen Harper. His dream of ferrying tar sands oil through pipelines may be dying along with his political career.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Folly of Canadian Fossil Fuel Subsidies

Canadian subsides to the fossil fuel industry amount to $2.7 Billion US ($3.6 billion CDN) a year. Much of these subsidies come from tax breaks. A report from Oil Change International says that $1.6 billion US of those subsidies came come from the federal government with the rest covered by the provinces. As reported by the BBC, Canada spends more on fossil fuel subsidies than any developed nation except the US. To explore exactly where that money goes click here.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Now is the Time for Carbon Pricing in Canada

The low price of oil make this an ideal time to put a price on carbon. Putting a price on carbon is one of the most powerful and far reaching actions Canada (and other governments) can take to reduce emissions is to enact national carbon pricing. In fact this was listed at the top of policy recommendations by the Sustainable Canada Dialogues report. Carbon pricing incentivizes competitiveness by making operations more efficient and more lean management and practices.

In a Wall Street Journal post last year, economist Margaret Walls argued that low oil prices make this an ideal time to implement carbon pricing. "[A] carbon tax might help to avert some capital investment decisions that would lock in higher emissions," she said.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Canadian Renewable Energy: Federal and Provincial Government Policy Initiatives

Prior to the election of Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party, Canadian provinces were forced to go it alone as the ruling federal Conservatives under Stephen Harper focused on fossil fuels at the expense of renewable energy. Harper's Conservatives actively thwarted climate action on the international stage.  While the Harper government made emission reduction pledges, there was no way that their policy position could not possibly have delivered on these promises.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Accelerate the Declaration of Independence from Fossil Fuels

This is an Independence Day unlike any that have preceded it. For the first time in history the world has signed a global climate agreement that will add significant pressure to end our dependence on fossil fuels.

However, we need to expedite the transition away from fossil fuels and towards renewable sources of energy. This is a great time for Americans to declare their independence from dirty sources of energy and begin working towards a future free of fossil fuels. Two hundred and fourty years ago, US colonies freed themselves from the injustice of British rule, now America needs to free itself from the tyranny of fossil fuels.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Event - CR Reporting & Communications Summit 2016

The 10th Annual CR Reporting & Communications Summit will take place on October 20 - 21, 2016 at the Grange Tower Bridge in London, UK. At this Ethical Corporation event attendees can:
  • Engage Stakeholders.
  • Identify Business Risks.
  • Prove the Financial Value of Sustainability.
The CR Reporting & Communications Summit is Europe's leading conference for CSR, Sustainability, Reporting and Communication professionals looking to improve their sustainability reporting and communications strategy. Featuring 20+ expert speakers and 18+ interactive sessions.

Event - Growing Sustainable Communities Conference

The 9th Annual Sustainable Communities Conference will take place on October 4-5, 2016 at the Grand River Center, 500 Bell Street, Port of Dubuque, Dubuque, Iowa.

This is the largest and longest standing sustainability conference in the Midwest. There will be more than 25 workshops, three mobile tours, two keynote luncheons, a breakfast plenary session, a networking reception and dozens of vendors and exhibitors.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Review of Canadian Climate and Energy Policy (Videos)

Eco-conscious people had something to celebrate during this year's Canada Day festivities. After a decade of failed climate leadership the country is undergoing a radical transformation, thanks to new federal government and a changing global environment. Canada has much to be thankful for, not the least of which is the demise of oil obsessed Stephen Harper's climate and environment destroying federal government. After being elected in November, 2015, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal party's December Throne Speech made it clear that they intend to deliver on their raft of climate and environmental promises. It became clear that their promises were more than just words when the Liberals released their budget.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

North American Leaders Unite to Combat Climate Change and Protect the Environment

North America is setting the pace for international climate and environmental cooperation. At a summit hosted by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday June 29th, American President Barack Obama and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto announced an historic continent wide clean energy plan. The deal known as the North American climate, clean energy and environment partnership contains "aggressive but achievable" goals.

The three "Amigos" agreed to an unprecedented North America clean energy partnership. They also agreed to work with indigenous people on environmental issues and protect the rights of the LGBT community. As a tangible refutation of the Brexit and Donald Trump's isolationist policy stance the three leaders emphasized the importance of working closely together.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Solar Roadways: Science Fiction Becoming Reality

Solar roads are entering a new test phase that will see them installed along a portion of the iconic route 66. Solar Roadways is the brainchild of Scott and Julie Brusaw of Idaho.  It all started ten years ago when Scott, an electrical engineer and his wife Julie began to imagine how solar panels could be embedded into the road. The concept eventually incorporated LEDs that could illuminate highways, and replace road lines. These solar panels can also be heated enabling them to melt snow and ice. The panels used in olar roadways are made out of recycled glass and in addition to collecting renewable energy, the panels can even redistribute storm water.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Costs of Volkswagen's Greenwash Continue to Mount

The chickens are coming home to roost over Volkswagen's epic greenwash. Earlier this year it was reported that Volkswagen's pre-tax profits fell 20 percent. The disgraced auto company has just reached a more than 14 billion settlement in the US. However, their legal troubles are far from over. They are being sued by multiple litigants ranging from governments to groups of private citizens.

VW's sales have dropped precipitously and their most recent quarterly market share in Europe has dropped to a five year low. May marked the eighth consecutive month of falling market share in Europe.

Monday, June 27, 2016

40 More Eco-Apps that put Technology to Work for the Environment

There are more than two million apps and a growing number of them have an ecological purpose. The huge and growing eco-apps market is making a significant contribution to the welfare of the planet and its inhabitants.

This post is a follow-up to a 2012 eco-apps article. When that article was published four years ago there were less than 800,000 apps. As of June 2016, there are approximately 2.2 million apps available for download from the major sellers. In 2015, global mobile app revenues amounted to $41.1 billion. Consumers are projected to more than double their spend on apps over the next four years. By 2020, the apps market is expected to be worth more than $100 billion.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Event - Global Summit on Smart, Secure & Sustainable Cities

The Global Summit on Smart, Secure & Sustainable Cities: Opportunities and Challenges in India will take place on July 17 - 20, 2016 at Harte & Garter, Windsor, Royal Berkshire, UK.

The conference will focus on the opportunities and challenges that India offers in building ‘Smart,Secure and Sustainable Cities’ in the context of energy, infrastructure, communications, Internet of Things, cybersecurity, water, and waste management.

Event - UK Marine Energy Conference 2016

The UK Marine Energy Conference 2016 will take place on July 5th at the Glasgow Marriott Hotel, 500 Argyle Street, Glasgow, G3 8RR, United Kingdom.

The conference will focus on accelerating wave and tidal energy as viable energy alternatives, while maintaining the UK & Ireland's position at the forefront of marine energy development. This Conference will bring together those at the forefront of wave & tidal technology within the UK and Ireland. This event aims to accelerate marine energy as a viable energy alternative and maintain the UK & Ireland’s position as leaders of this emerging market..

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Brexit Implications for the Climate and the Environment (Video)

The Brexit is a pyrrhic victory. Make no mistake about it, Britain's exit from Europe is bad news for environmental and climate policy and not just in the UK. Compounding the problem is the fact that uncertainty will further destabilize a less than stable economy. Brexit has already wiped $2 trillion off world markets.

We can expect less external pressure to address environmental and climate issues and it could ultimately gut the UK's green policy initiatives.

Friday, June 24, 2016

New Pipeline Safety Law Followed by Another Oil Spill

Mere hours after President Obama signed the PIPES safety bill into law, a pipeline spilled thousands of gallons of oil. Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety Act of 2016 became law on June 22nd. Within hours of the signing an oil pipeline erupted in Ventura County, California. It was first noticed by a local rancher early Thursday morning.
The spill emanated from a ten inch underground pipeline owned by Colorado-based Crimson Pipeline LLC. It sent an estimated 29,400 gallons of crude oil down into an arroyo that flows through the city of Ventura and reaches the ocean near the Ventura Pier. The spill marks Crimson’s 11th such incident in the last ten years.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Apple's Apps for Earth Initiative Raised Awareness and Funds for WWF

Apps are big business and a partnership between Apple and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) funneled some of these revenues to ecological causes.  Given the number of apps and the volume of demand  using apps to generate revenues for the environment is a boon. As of June 2016 there are approximately 2.2 million apps available and 2 million in the Apple App Store. In 2015, global mobile app revenues amounted to $41.1 billion. In 2020, consumers are projected to spend over $101 billion on mobile apps via app stores.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Clmate Change Fueling Wildfires in North America and Russia

Wildfires fueled by record heat have ravaged areas across North America and Russia this year. This year is very much like last year. However, the western fires of 2015, were not as widespread and they came later than they did this year. 

There is strong evidence that global warming has lengthened wildfire seasons. This research is corroborated by recent observations in North America and Russia. Across the continent warm temperatures are melting snowpacks, exacerbating droughts and contributing to the number and size of wildfires. Heat is an important catalyst for forest fires and temperatures continue to soar. Even before the start of summer Phoenix hit a sweltering 127 degree F [or 53 C]. Heat records are being broken in many states and in parts of Southern California temperatures exceeded 120 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Celsius).

Monday, June 20, 2016

Climate Refugees Need to be Formally Recognized

We need to start preparing to address the flood of climate refugees that will continue to increase as the planet warms. Climate change will make the current refugee crisis look insignificant. Climate refugees are already being forced to flee their homelands.

The Coming Climate Refugee Crisis

To commemorate International Refugee Day, here is a re-post of an article from earlier this year on the scope of the climate refugee problem both present and future. 

The refugees pouring out of Syria and Iraq has focused global attention on migrants however the unfolding human catastrophe will be dwarfed by the coming climate refugee crisis. The issue of climate refugees is an international problem that is already impacting the US.

The refugees streaming from Syria and Iraq was caused in part by climate impacts in the Levant. However, the refugees that streamed out of Syria and Iraq in 2015 is nothing compared to the number of climate refugees we can expect in the years to come.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Event - New Energy Forum, NEF-2016: The Light of Hope for New Energy

The 6th Annual New Energy Forum, NEF-2016: The Light of Hope for New Energy will take place on June 30 - July 3 in Goyang City, Gyeonggi, South Korea

With the reduction of traditional fossil fuels and increasingly serious global environmental degradation and health dangers, we are ready to meet new age of energy production. While human demands for energy will not decrease, the largest shifts are the increase in the renewable energy share and the decline in the traditional energy share. New energy occupies an increasingly important position in the whole energy system. New sources of energy, aided by improved technology and productivity, underpinned by large-scale investments make a significant contribution to supply growth. Entering its 6th year, New Energy Forum (NEF) has been grown substantially, NEF-2016 will provide a perfect opportunity to researchers from academia and professionals from industry, as well as government regulators to tackle energy challenges, and exchange best practices about improved new energy technology and cooperation.

Event - ISEE Conference: Environmental Ethics and Economics: Values & Choices

The 2016 edition of the annual ISEE Conference will take place on June 29 - July 2 at Pace University One Pace Plaza, New York City, NY 10038. The theme this year is "Environmental Ethics and Economics: Values & Choices".

This conference asks the question: Can environmental philosophy avoid a sustained critique of the current political-economic system and remain sincere participants in the environmental community?

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Fort McMurray Fire Post Mortem: Forest Fires, Climate Change and Fossil Fuels (Videos)

The Fort McMurray fire forces us to take a closer look at the relationship between fires and climate change as well as the relationship between fossil fuels, climate change and ecological degradation. We cannot attribute an individual fire to climate change with any certainty, however it would be inaccurate to say the climate change plays no role in wildfires. We can explore wider trends that do indicate that forest fires will increase as the planet continues to warm.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Green Banks Leverage Private Investments for Climate Finance

In addition to creating new jobs and improving the environment Green Banks are essential to ramping-up clean energy finance. Such banks are capable of helping to unleash the vast potential of climate focused investing. Green Banks reduce the cost of clean energy and efficiency. They are helping to change market thinking by taking a holistic, long-term view of industry support.

A Green Bank is a government-created institution that facilitates private sector financing for clean technology projects. Different Green Banks have different programs, however, they all leverage public funds to attract private investment.