Friday, September 19, 2014

Infographic - Funding of Climate Denial

Report Highlights Investor Action on Climate Change

Investor groups have published a report detailing examples of action being taken to combat climate change. The report sites numerous examples of investments that support a low carbon, climate resilient economy.

While ambitious policy is required in order for low carbon investments to be brought to scale, these examples demonstrate that investors are already acting on climate change in a variety of ways. These activities include direct low carbon investments, the creation of low carbon funds, company engagement, and reducing exposure to fossil fuel and carbon intensive companies.

Solar Power in US Schools: Study and Rankings

A new SEIA study not only ranks US schools it shows solar is making a difference. This study is the first nationwide assessment of how solar is helping to reduce utility bills which in turn is paying for teachers salaries and textbooks. The study also suggests that more than 70,000 additional schools could also benefit.

Investors Support the UN Climate Summit Objectives

Investors are lining up in support of the objectives of the UN Climate Summit. According to a Ceres Press release, almost 350 global institutional investors representing over $24 trillion in assets have called on government leaders to provide stable, reliable and economically meaningful carbon pricing that helps redirect investment commensurate with the scale of the climate change challenge, as well as develop plans to phase out subsidies for fossil fuels.

The International Energy Agency says that a total of one trillion per year will need to be invested in clean technology by 2050 if we are to keep global temperature increases below the upper threshold limit of 2 degrees Celsius. However in 2013 global spending was pegged at just $254 billion.

Scotland's No Vote Good for the Environment

Scotland has voted "no" on independence from the UK and while the "yes" camp had the support of the greens, the final outcome is probably for the best. A yes vote would not have changed anything in terms of conservation policy as this is already under Scottish control. This includes Scotland’s two main green agencies, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, which has jurisdictional control over the Forestry Commission and determines the siting of wind farms.

A draft of the Scottish Independence Bill, “contains requirements that the Scottish Government and public authorities must promote the conservation of biodiversity and measures to tackle climate change”. However, this is already happening.

Some had expressed concerns that an independent Scotland would have made environmental matters worse not better. The more difficult economic picture in an independent Scotland could have diminished funding for environmental issues. This is the view of leading Scottish historian Professor Christopher Smout expressed in the current issue of the journal British Birds.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Environmental Management Program at the Univeristy of San Francisco

The University of San Francisco founded its Master of Science in Environmental Management in 1977. Designed for graduate students and working professionals who seek or hold careers in the environmental field, over 700 graduates have received quality education and training as environmental managers.

UN Climate Summit: Thematic Sessions and Programme

The UN Climate Summit 2014 is scheduled to take place on September 23, at the United Nations Headquarters. It will address some very important issues in preparation for an international climate agreement in 2015. Here is a breakdown of the climate summit's thematic sessions and programme.

Thematic Sessions

Heads of State and Government will co-chair the four Thematic Sessions being held during the Climate Summit at United Nations Headquarters.

An integral part of the Summit, each session will feature a moderated discussion amongst four panel speakers as it zeroes in on an essential facet of the global climate change discussion: climate science; the co-benefits of climate action with a focus on health and jobs; the economic case for climate action; and voices from the climate front lines (including the views of women, youth, indigenous and other vulnerable populations).

Renewable Energy at Risk If Scotland Votes for Independence from the UK

If Scotland votes to be independent from the UK on September 18 it may kill renewable energy projects and put thousands of jobs at risk. A yes vote would create an uncertain environment for Scotland's renewable energy industry and future development.

According to a Bloomberg article, a vote for independence in Scotland may jeopardize 14 billion pounds ($23 billion) worth of renewable energy projects. Also at risk are 12,000 jobs.

A yes vote on independence would end subsidies to renewable energy providers in Scotland as the newly formed nation would be forced to negotiate the details of electricity payment. Under a nationwide program known as the Renewables Obligation, the newly independent nation of Scotland would no longer be eligible for UK subsidies. In 2013, renewable energy projects in Scotland got about 560 million pounds of support from the UK's Renewables Obligation representing approximately about 28 percent of the total U.K. funding. Scotland itself accounts for about 10 percent of electricity sales in the U.K.

Is Cloud Computing Environmentally Sustainable?

The iCloud's high profile security breaches have been making headlines recently, but there has been little coverage of whether or not cloud computing is environmentally sustainable.

Cloud computing and storage is a fast growing industry that is helping to drive our economy forward, but is it a revolutionary sustainability game changer or a sad example of greenwash. The defining feature of the cloud is the fact that instead of relying on local servers, it uses a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data. Fast data transfers and real time information updates are two of the reasons why so many see the benefits of moving to the cloud.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Infographic - US Clean Energy Economy

UN Climate Summit: UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon

Here are comments from United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon ahead of the forthcoming UN Climate Summit 2014.

Climate change has been one of my top priorities since the day I took office in 2007. I said then that if we care about our legacy for succeeding generations, this is the time for decisive global action. I have been pleased to see climate change rise on the political agenda and in the consciousness of people worldwide. But I remain alarmed that governments and businesses have still failed to act at the pace and scale needed.

University Students Supporting the People's Climate March

University students have proven themselves to be a driving force behind the divestment from fossil fuels movement and they are also key players in the forthcoming People's Climate March which will take place on September 21. The march is meant to put pressure on political leaders who are convening for the UN Climate Summit in New York on September 23. Students on over 250 campuses have been organizing, to make sure strong delegations attend the People's Climate March.

Students are well known for the propensity to protest for societal betterment, social justice and environmental issues. They are also central to efforts to push political leaders to act on climate change. Students know what must be done to effectively tackle climate change, but we are missing the political will.

Business and the UN Climate Summit

The UN Climate Summit, which is taking place on September 23, has invited a number of business leaders, however, those businesses not in attendance can also participate in a number of ways. Interested parties can follow the summit online through live broadcasts. There will also be a wide assortment of events of interest to businesses taking place throughout climate week (September 22-28).

The UN Climate Summit: Eight Action Areas

The UN Secretary-General has invited leaders from Government, business, finance and civil society to come to the Climate Summit on 23 September and make bold commitments to action in areas that are critical for keeping global temperature increases to less than two degrees Celsius.

The eight Action Areas are: Agriculture, cities, energy, financing, forests, petroleum and industry, resilience and transportation.


Food production will need to increase by at least 60 per cent over the next 35 years to provide food security for the 9 billion people expected to be living on the planet by 2050. The changing climate directly impacts food security and the supply of nutritious, ample and safe sources of reasonably priced food for the planet’s 7 billion people as well as their growing demands. The warming of the planet is already affecting yields of crucial crops . Moreover, approximately one-quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions come from land-use, making sustainable practices in agriculture critical.

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.