Friday, November 30, 2012

Radiative Forcing: Carbon Dioxide and Methane

Radiative forcing is the warming effect on our climate due to carbon dioxide (CO2) and other heat-trapping greenhouse gases (GHGs). In climate science radiative forcing is the change in net irradiance between different layers of the atmosphere. Typically, radiative forcing is quantified at the tropopause in units of watts per square meter. A positive forcing (more incoming energy) tends to warm the system, while a negative forcing (more outgoing energy) tends to cool it. Sources of radiative forcing include changes in insolation (incident solar radiation) and in concentrations of radiatively active gases and aerosols.

NOAA's Annual Greenhouse Gas Index

The US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) contributed to an alarming report from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). NOAA provided their own set of data arrived at independently and published in their Annual Greenhouse Gas Index (AGGI).

"The AGGI is a measure of the warming influence supplied by long-lived trace gases and how that influence is changing each year. The index was designed to enhance the connection between scientists and society by providing a normalized standard that can be easily understood and followed. The warming influence supplied by long-lived greenhouse gases is well understood by scientists and has been reported by NOAA through a range of national and international assessments. Nevertheless, the language of scientists often eludes policy makers, educators, and the general public. This index is designed to help bridge that gap. The AGGI provides a way for this warming influence to be presented as a simple index."

World Resources Institute Warning About New Coal Plants

Proposed coal projects around the world will quadruple the current capacity of all coal-fired plants in the US. The World Resources Institute  (WRI) released a report in November titled, Global Coal Risk Assessment. The report found that there are 1,199 new coal power plants in the works, totaling more than 1.4 million megawatts of capacity worldwide.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

PricewaterhouseCoopers Climate Change Warning

It may already be too late to keep global temperatures within the scientifically agreed upon upper threshold of 2 degrees. This is the conclusion of a report from the global business consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Their report entitled "Too Late for Two Degrees?" suggests that even with a modest effort, global temperatures will continue to increase.

"Even doubling our current rate of decarbonization, would still lead to emissions consistent with 6 degrees of warming by the end of the century," noted Leo Johnson, a partner in PwC's Sustainability and Climate Change unit, in the report. "To give ourselves a more than 50 percent chance of avoiding 2 degrees will require a six-fold improvement in our rate of decarbonization."

International Renewable Energy Institute Climate Warning

In a November 13 Press Release, the Renewable Energy Industry (IWR) indicated that last year greenhouse gases (GHGs) reached a record high. In 2011 there were 800 million more tons of GHGs than the preceding year. In total there were 34 billion tons of GHG emissions. In 1990, the global greenhouse gas output was estimated at 22.7 billion tons.

Warning from the International Energy Agency: The World's Ongoing Reliance on Fossil Fuels Crushes Hopes of Averting Climate Change

At its annual World Energy Outlook, the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) suggested that even if we factor the policy commitments already made or contemplated by world governments, energy-related emissions are will keep rising over the next 20 years. The key finding in the International Energy Agency's (IEA) 2012 edition of its World Energy Outlook is that ongoing reliance on fossil fuels will make it impossible to curtail climate change. The report indicates that Renewable energy is being neglected in favor of coal, oil, and natural gas.

“Taking all new developments and policies into account,” the IEA reported, “the world is still failing to put the global energy system onto a more sustainable path.” Rather than move aggressively towards the development of renewable energy we appear to be increasing our consumption of fossil fuels.

World Meteorological Organization Climate Warning

In November, the World Meteorological Association's (WMO) annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin stated that global CO2 levels are the highest they have ever been in human history, reaching 391 parts per million. Scientists warn that 350 parts per million is the upper limit for a a stable planet.

These levels of CO2 have been steadily rising at about 2 parts per million every year for the past decade. Current measurements of atmospheric carbon are 40% higher than at the start of the Industrial Revolution. The World Meteorological Organization, said that since the dawn of industrialization in 1750, humans have emitted 375 billion tonnes, of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The WMO indicates that future emissions will make the situation far worse.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

State of Green Business 2012

The fifth annual edition of the State of Green Business report continues efforts to measure the environmental impacts of the emerging green economy. In addition to documenting what progress companies are making -- if any -- in improving their environmental performance, they track larger trends that will affect corporate America in 2012.

 Click here to read the stories and download the report.

World Bank Climate Change Warning

The World Bank has issued a report suggesting that the climate could warm a full 4 degrees by the end of the century. What is most troubling about this study is the fact that we may not be able to avert this temperature increase even if countries fulfill their current emissions-reduction pledges. Sadly, most countries are far from fulfilling even these modest pledges.

UNEP Warning: We are on the Brink of a Climate Catastrophe

The UN Environment Program’s Emissions Gap Report 2012, released Nov. 21, indicates that there is a massive gulf between what governments have pledged in terms of GHG emissions and what they are actually doing. To stave off a temperature increase of more than 2°C, nations have pledged to reduce their emissions a total of 44 gigatonnes by 2020. However, the UNEP report indicates that if we stay on our current trajectory we are likely to see temperature increases of 3-5 °C which risks a climate catastrophe.

According to UNEP, the gap between GHG emission reduction pledges and what is actually being done is 8 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent by 2020, which is 2 Gt higher than last year’s assessment.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Building Sustainable Infrastructure: The New Tools (Webcast)

Infrastructure is back in the news, in the wake of Superstorm Sandy and other severe weather events. Combine that with aging roads, bridges, pipes and other things, and governments around the world are facing a major challenge. Of course, with challenges come opportunities — in this case to design and build infrastructure projects that are resilient, long-lasting, and affordable, especially during lean times. And to do that with sustainability principles in mind.

Moving Markets: GISR and the Future of Sustainability Ratings Webinar

The GISR Standard Development Program GISR Webinar will take place on December 13th from 10:00 - 11:00 AM EST. This webinar will deal with the issues shaping the future of and impact for sustainability (ESG) ratings, rankings and indices.

The interactive webinar will include experts from the sustainability ratings community - asset owners, asset managers, companies, ratings analysts. Bob Willard and Allen White will also be present for an exploration of critical issues shaping the next generation of sustainability ratings and what it will mean for companies and capital markets. This webinar is the first opportunity for investors, companies, ratings experts, and NGOs to learn about the ways to and benefits for engaging in GISR’s standard development program in 2013.

Top Companies in the 2012 Climate Leadership Awards

A total of twenty companies were named the winners of the inaugural Climate Leadership Awards by the EPA, the Association of Climate Change Officers (ACCO), the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) (formerly the Pew Center on Global Climate Change), and The Climate Registry (TCR). The awards were presented at the Climate Leadership Conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. These awards recognize corporate, organizational, and individual leaders for their efforts to address climate change and reduce carbon pollution.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Ideal Bite's Green Tuesday Event

The Huffington Post recently reported on "Ideal Bite" which has a Green Tuesday event designed to help people "vote with their wallets"  Those participating in this Green Tuesday consumer event include the following 11 retailers:

Green Tuesday's Sustainable Consumerism

Green Tuesday is one of several ways people are trying to brand the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.  The Green Tuesday event was started on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011 by a non-profit environmental group. This group and others are now advocating that the Tuesday after Thanksgiving be dedicated to "green" shopping activities. Green Tuesday encourages holiday shoppers to make “eco-minded” choices and seek out fair-trade, sustainable, and artisanal products.

2013 ENERGY STAR Awards Applications Are Now Being Accepted

Each year, the ENERGY STAR program honors organizations that have made outstanding contributions to protecting the environment through energy efficiency. All organizations participating in the ENERGY STAR program are encouraged to apply for a 2013 ENERGY STAR Award. To be considered, an organization must meet the specific eligibility requirements in the award application and submit a complete online application package by 8 pm EST, November 28, 2012.

Submitting Your Application:

Sunday, November 25, 2012

International Conference on Forest, Mountain and People 2012 (Event)

This event will take place on December 12 and 13 in Columbo Sri Lanka. The ICRD/ Kumaon University joint Conference on FMP 2012 offers a valuable opportunity to network with colleagues from many countries who share the same goals.

WaterWorld Middle East 2013 (Event)

WaterWorld Middle East 2013 returns to Doha, Qatar for its 2nd season following its successful launch in 2012 as a co-located event with POWER-GEN Middle East. This event is the region’s premier event for the water and wastewater industry, it will take place from Februrary 4, 2013 to February 6, 2013.

Connecting US Solar & Power Industry Leaders (Event)

This event will take place on January 15—16 January 2013, in Newport Beach, CA at the Marriott Resort and Spa. The US Solar Industry’s Best and Brightest to attend the 5th annual Solar Power Generation USA Conference, Exhibition and Awards! Cemented as THE kick-off industry event in the Solar calendar, the 5th Annual Solar Power Generation Conference, Exhibition and Awards brings together 500 leading players from across the value chain. Bigger, better and smarter than ever before, SPG 2013 is the ONLY conference and exhibition where you will get the opportunity to network with the who’s who of Solar Power!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Message to the Federation of Small Businesses: Every Business Can Go Green (Video)



In this video Tod Arbogast addresses the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) annual conference. Founded in 1974, FSB has more than 210,000 members across 33 regions and 230 branches, the largest organization representing the interests of small and medium businesses in the UK. 'Small Business and the Environment' was this year's conference theme.

Paul Hawken about Environmental and Social Justice: The Largest Movement in the World


There is an ever growing alternative to rampant consumerism and pervasive environmental neglect. In this video ecological guru Paul Hawken discusses his book "Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It. " This talk was part of the May 9, 2007, Authors@Google and Google.org series. This event took place at Google's main campus in Mountain View, CA.

The Ugly Consumer Spectacle of Black Friday (Video)



 It is tragically ironic that the day after Thanksgiving, millions of people across America come together to fight one another to save a few dollars on disposable consumer goods. This video shows people scrambling over cell phones. These phones are America's fastest growing source of toxic e-waste. The fact that Americans degenerate into angry mobs during this time of year illustrates just how profoundly confused people are about the environmental crisis we are facing.

Friday, November 23, 2012

How to Help Make Black Friday More Green from C2ES


While less shopping is always the more ecologically aware choice, here are some ideas for making Black Friday greener from the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES).

Practice precycling. Precycling is the practice of avoiding the purchase of items that will produce waste such as packaging, whether that waste is recycled or not. After all, the most environmentally friendly product is the one that minimizes resources altogether. Find some tips on precycling.

Tips to Make Black Friday More Green from FatWallet

Black Friday is a consumer spectacle that is rife with excess and waste. However, FatWallet offers some tips on how to make your black Friday more green. Try to find products that that are made from recycled or biodegradable materials. For example, several book publishers now only print books made from recycled paper. In terms of appliances and electronic devices, check for items that are rechargeable or energy-efficient. They should have the Energy Star logo on them if they are verified efficient machines. Another tip is to look for products that use minimal packaging. After all, if the box and plastic wrappings are going to be thrown away, why pay extra for them and add to the landfills? When it is time to pay, use a green credit card whenever possible. These are credit cards where a portion of each transaction that a customer makes goes towards support for green charities or causes. Finally, pack all of the new purchases into reusable shopping bags instead of reaching for a pile of plastic bags.

Consumer Spending for a Greener World

It should be obvious that we cannot sustain our current trajectory of consumption. We simply cannot afford traditional consumerism. By putting their spending power to work on less environmentally harmful products and services, consumers can dramatically lessen their impacts on the Earth. To be green consumers we need to be more mindful of what we are purchasing and why.

Green Consumers

Consumers have tremendous power to improve our world. While buying less is always well advised, there are ways we can put consumer dollars to work to advance the green economy. Green shopping implies spending money on products that are less harmful to the environment. In the final analysis where we spend our money determines the type of world we create. When we make green purchases we are helping to build a more sustainable economy.

Greenpeace’s Guide to Greener Electronics 2012

Each year Greenpeace publishes its guide to greener electronics just before the Thanksgiving holidays and the shopping event of the year known as Black Friday. This year is the 18th edition of Greenpeace’s Guide to Greener Electronics, it profiles a number of new developments.

The Guide evaluates leading consumer electronics companies based on their commitment and progress in three environmental criteria: Energy and Climate, Greener Products, and Sustainable Operations. Click here to download the Ranking Criteria Explained (pdf).

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Seven Ways to Make Your Thanksgiving Greener

To help make this holiday greener a growing number of people are looking at better more ecologically sensitive alternatives. Thanksgiving takes a tremdous toll on the environment. Here are seven ways that people are enjoying the Thanksgiving Holiday while lessening their impacts on the Earth:

1) Reduce Food Waste: To help minimize waste create a detailed, organized plan to reduce waste and eliminate excess. Make what you need and no more. The Love Food Hate Waste organization, offers convenient tips for reducing food waste, they even provide a handy "Perfect portions" planner to calculate meal sizes for parties as well as everyday meals. Use leftovers by storing them safely. Make sure to compost all vegetable waste. Donate excess to food banks and shelters. To find a food bank near you, visit Feeding America's Food Bank Locator.

The Environmental Toll of Thanksgiving

The amount of waste and emissions generated during the holidays is staggering and shameful. Being conscious of the ways that we are wasteful can help us to seek more environmentally responsible solutions. Here is a brief summary of the waste and carbon emissions generated during the holdiay period.

Non-Food Waste

According to the EPA, the period from Thanksgiving to New Years Day, household waste increases by more than 25 percent in the US. That amounts to an extra 5 million tons of household waste each year. Shopping bags, packaging, wrapping paper, bows and ribbons create an additional 1 million tons a week to our landfills.

A Thanksgiving Infused with Environmental Gratitude

Today is Thanksgiving in the United States and people across the nation are celebrating by coming together to give thanks. Traditionally Thanksgiving is the holiday long weekend when people get together to celebrate the bounty of the fall harvest. The Thanksgiving tradition takes us back to the early days when European settlers were first making North America home. They were welcomed by Native peoples who showed them how to live in harmony with the Earth.

With our environment in crisis we need to cultivate the spirit of thankfulness that helps us to rekindle a harmonious relationship to nature. Gratitude of this kind may be difficult but it is essential if we are to find the motivation and the courage to advance ecological action.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Most Sustainable Companies in the World

We are seeing an ever growing number of companies address the issue of sustainability with sincerity and depth that go far beyond the public relations ploys of yesteryear. This preoccupation with efficiency is an important bottom line issue. As water, land, minerals, and fossil fuels get more scarce and costly, sustainability is an unavoidable imperitive. Here are some examples of companies that are leading the way towards this resource constrained future.

The Growth of Corporate Sustainability in 2013

Despite ongoing economic difficulties around the globe corporate spending on sustainability is expected to increase in 2013. However, we still have a long way to go before sustainability is where it needs to be to reverse our dangerous trajectory towards runaway climate change.

A Verdantix study indicates that corporate spending on sustainability, environmental, and energy programmes is likely to rise between one and nine percent next year. While this is trending in the right direction, it is nowhere near enough to arrest growing levels of greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts.

Winners of the EPA's 2012 Energy Star Awards

Energy Star is a United States government program created in 1992 by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Originally it was conceived as an attempt to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emission by power plants. What began as a voluntary labelling program has grown in to one of the largest efforts worldwide to promote energy efficient consumer products.

Energy Star labels are found on over 40 product categories and in the year 2005 alone is responsible for saving consumers over 12 billion dollars. On March 26th 2012, the EPA and DOE honored businesses and organizations for their outstanding contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency at the 2012 ENERGY STAR Awards ceremony.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Top Green Energy Management Software Companies

A 2011 Verdantix report singled out some of the most responsible information technology companies in the energy management applications space. The market is evolving quickly and the report identifies 15 companies that are emerging as leaders. Verdantix forecasts the US market for energy software will be worth $558m in 2014 and will reach a 51% compound annual growth rate over the five years from 2010 to 2014. According to the report titled "Green Quadrant Energy Management Software" here are the four leading companies:

Winners of the 2011 International Green Awards

The International Green Awards is the leading platform for sustainability intelligence, leadership and innovation. The awards launched in 2006 to critical acclaim with the objective of recognising the best-in-class examples of sustainability communications and have gone from strength-to-strength since then. In 2009, the Awards introduced an ‘International’ category, encouraging applications from the world over. The response to this category was overwhelming and thus, in 2010, the Awards opened all categories to global participation and culminated with an international Grand Prix winner – China Environmental Protection Foundation in association with DDB-China. Their inaugural 'Lifetime Achievement Award' was given to Sir David Attenborough for his lifelong commitment to biodiversity.

Top 50 Companies in the 2012 Sustainability Leadership Report

Each year Brandlogic examine 100 prominent global brands for their report. The select group of 16 companies listed below are Leaders that excel in both real sustainability performance and stakeholder perceptions. Six Challengers from 2011 are new to the Leaders list.

In 2011, Brandlogic introduced a powerful new tool for sustainability and communications executives called Sustainability IQ. It represents a valuable methodology and framework that guides strategic decision making on a global scale. The Sustainability IQ Matrix plots both real and perceived performance for 100 prominent global brands, revealing the opportunities.

The Importance of Urgently Addressing SLCPs and GHGs

While we need to reduce all greenhouse gases (GHGs), cutting short lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) alone can reduce the rate of global warming in half. Cutting SLCPs could save millions of lives per year and prevent billions of dollars in agricultural losses and reduce Artic warming by two-thirds. As reported in an ENN article, a new World Bank report warns that we must act quickly to cut SLCP. This is the finding of a report titled "Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4C Warmer World Must be Avoided."

“This report should be a wakeup call to the world that we must work harder and faster to combat climate change,” said Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development. “Rapid cuts in CO2 emissions are necessary to stabilize long-term temperatures, but in the near-term, aggressively addressing short-lived climate pollutants such as black carbon, methane, tropospheric ozone, and HFCs can provide rapid climate, health, and food security benefits, particularly in the critical vulnerable regions that are already suffering some of the worst impacts of climate change.”

Monday, November 19, 2012

World Bank Report Predicts 4°C Temperature Increase

Business as usual will cause temperatures to rise by 4°C by 2060. If we fail to act on to reduce global warming causing GHG emissions we can expect food shortages, extreme weather and sea-level rise. These are the finding of a World Bank report published on November 19, 2012. The report is titled Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must be Avoided. It predicts that sea-levels could rise by more than a meter by 2100.

As a direct corollary of a 4°C world we can expect more flooding in cities, as well as increasingly intense tropical storms, droughts and extreme rainfall. These affects will further damage ecosystems, and cause more species to go extinct.

The Costs of Oil: BP Liable for up to 90 Billion

BP has been ordered to pay an unprecedented 4.5 billion in fines as the costs of their 2010 oil fiasco in the Gulf of Mexico continue to mount. On Thursday November 15, 2012, BP pleaded guilty to 14 felony counts related to the explosion and subsequent oil spill at the site of its Deepwater Horizon oil rig. The plea agreement with federal prosecutors includes charges of manslaughter for the 11 workers who were killed and one felony count for obstruction of justice for false statements made to Congress about the amount of oil leaking from the out-of-control well.

The breakdown of the 4.5 billion in fines is as follows:

Acterra 2013 Business Environmental Awards: Call for Applications

Founded in 1990, Acterra’s Business Environmental Awards is one of the Bay Area’s oldest and most prestigious environmental recognition programs. The program’s goals include celebrating the accomplishments of businesses with innovative sustainable programs, recognizing leaders in the industry, and providing an educational forum that increases awareness and motivates all companies to adopt sustainable business practices. Since its inception, the program has recognized over 150 businesses and organizations for exemplary environmental leadership.

Recent recipients include: NVIDIA, Symantec Corporation, Alter Eco, MedShare, Give Something Back Office Supplies, City of San Jose, Adobe Systems Incorporated, Fenwick & West LLP, Numi Organic Tea, and the Humane Society of Silicon Valley. The 2013 award categories include Sustainability, Environmental Project, Environmental Innovation, and Sustainable Built Environment.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Renewable Energy World Awards Gala and Networking Event

On December 10th the annual awards gala will take place at the Hilton Orlando Hotel between 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM. Presented by Power Engineering magazine, the Annual Awards Gala begins with a cocktail reception, followed by a three-course dinner and includes award presentations for the Papers of the Year as well as the Projects of the Year.

The Papers of the Year recognizes the top three papers in each conference track. The Project of the Year Awards recognize the world’s best power projects, honoring excellence in design, construction and operation of power generation facilities.

Generating Growth: Renewable Energy World Event

On December 11 - 13, 2012, the Renewable Energy World event titled "Generating Growth" will take place in in Orlando, Florida. This event is the world’s premier power generation exhibition, it affords the opportunity to see the future of the industry first-hand.

This event is co-located with POWER-GEN International in 2012. It uniquely offers unprecedented access to the latest information, solutions and technologies driving the success of your business and the future of our industry. Join thousands of colleagues as one clean energy industry and see how three days can inspire new strategies and provide answers to your most critical questions.

3rd Annual Electric Energy Storage 2013 (Event)

The 3rd Annual Electric Energy Storage will take place on January 8-10, 2013 at the Embassy Suites Biltmore, in Phoenix, AZ. The event is subtitled, "Assessing the Technological and Economic Potential of Electric Storage Operations for Real-Time Applications."

World Future Energy Summit 2013 (Event)

Starting on January 15, 2013 and ending on January 17, 2013 the World Future Energy Summit will take place in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. The World Future Energy Summit (WFES) is the world’s foremost annual event, dedicated to advancing future energy, energy efficiency and clean technologies. Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, WFES includes a world class summit, an international exhibition, the Project & Finance Village, Round Table Discussions, the Young Future Energy Leaders program, corporate meetings and social events.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Problems and Solutions of e-Waste (Video)

This video reviews the issues related to e-waste, it also addresses some of the solutions. This video specifically reviews how Sprint, through its buy-back program, is helping to solve the monumental problem of e-waste.

Since 2001, Sprint's takeback program has collected more than 4,000 metric tons of electronic waste which comprises more than 40 million wireless devices. These programs not only keep phones out of landfills they have helped the company avoid more than $1 billion in costs. In 2011 Sprint recycled more than 11 million wireless devices, over 211,000 on average per week. Sprint is the first and only US wireless carrier to outline specific commitments that address electronic waste (e-waste) holistically.

US e-waste is Polluting Toxic Dumps in Ghana (Video)



How are the west's 'recycled' TVs and computers ending up in a toxic dump in Ghana? Dateline investigates the trade in e-waste which is poisoning a once picturesque part of Africa.

The US Desire to be "Green" is Causing an e-waste Hell China (Video)



The best intentions to be green can flow from the United States into a e-waste hell. In with the new, means out with the old. The US throws out over 100 million cell phones per year and while people may think they are disposing of the phones in an eco-friendly fashion, the truth of where this waste actually ends up is a far different story.

Greenpeace e-Waste Investigation (Video)



Greenpeace has been investigating the immoral and illegal e-waste dumping in developing countries since 2002. After China, India, Pakistan and Ghana, this is the story of how one very broken TV managed to avoid being tested and recycled according to EU regulations and instead ended up in Nigeria as "second hand goods.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Growing Problem of Cell Phone Waste

Electronic devices continue to be the fastest growing waste stream in the US and cell phones are a major part of this. In 2011, manufacturers produced more than 1.68 billion wireless phones worldwide. In the United States alone, it’s estimated that fewer than 10 percent of discarded mobile phones will be recycled.

Regular phone upgrades are driving the growth of electronic waste. Companies like Apple regularly upgrade their technology and encourage users to buy new models. This built-in obsolesce is the kind of irresponsible business practices that drive profits but destroy the environment.

AT&T's Record Breaking Recycling for Wireless Devices

As reported in an Environmental Leader article, Guinness World Records have certified that AT&T customers broke a world record by recycling 50,942 wireless devices during a one-week period. In 2011 AT&T collected about three million cell phones for reuse and recycling and the company's new trade in program is expected to help AT&T surpass that number in 2012.

The recycling of these AT&T devices in 2011 avoided sending 25,471 pounds of waste to landfills. In September, AT&T launched a line of phone chargers with housings made of at least 30 percent post-consumer plastics. The chargers are also Energy Star 5-rated, meaning that they use “minimal” power when plugged in.

Sprint's Industry Leading Cell Phone Recycling

Since 2001, Sprint's takeback program has collected more than 4,000 metric tons of electronic waste which comprises more than 40 million wireless devices. These programs not only keep phones out of landfills they have helped the company avoid more than $1 billion in costs. In 2011 Sprint recycled more than 11 million wireless devices, over 211,000 on average per week. Sprint is the first and only US wireless carrier to outline specific commitments that address electronic waste (e-waste) holistically. Sprint is ranked No. 3 on Newsweek’s Green Rankings of American companies and it is the only wireless carrier to crack the top 25 for Newsweek's Green Rankings of global companies.

Sprint celebrated America Recycles Day by raising awareness of the importance of recycling. Sprint has launched a phone recycling pledge where customers can win one of five rewards cards worth $500 (now through Nov. 30). Sprint has also posted a video online that illustrates how old cell phones can gain a “second life” while reducing the amount of electronic waste in the marketplace.

Recycling is a Business Imperative

Recycling is a core feature of responsible business practices. An ever growing number of companies are treating recycling as a serious corporate priority. Almost 75 percent of corporate waste can be recycled and recycling waste can also benefit the bottom line. There is high residual value of the metals used in cable, especially copper, both production waste and discarded cable needs to be recycled. Metals, paper, newspapers, bottles, cans, plastic waste and residue are also high priority recyclable materials in the work place.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

What Businesses Can Do on America Recycles Day

The business community has a crucial role to play in recycling. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as much as 45 percent of the 250 million tons of municipal waste generated in 2010 was from commercial and institutional locations such as business and government offices, retail establishments, schools and hospitals. Recognizing the power of individuals in the workplace to engage in recycling which results in saving energy, reducing emissions and landfills, conserving natural resources and generating jobs.

Keep America Beautiful has launched a Recycling Pledge Inviting Businesses and Governments to Commit to 10% Increase in Workplace Recycling. Keep America Beautiful is challenging corporate America and government to sign up for its Recycling at Work pledge. The pledge requires businesses, governments and institutional entities to commit to a 10 percent increase in the recycling of paper products, beverage containers, electronics and batteries in the workplace through a variety of actions by 2015. It also encourages the recycling of food waste and other biodegradables.

America Recycles Day 2012

Every year on or around November 15 the America Recycles Day event encourages people to enhance awareness and encourage action through thousands of events. America Recycles Day is a program of Keep America Beautiful, in 2012 it is celebrated on Thursday November 15. America Recycles Day is a nationally recognized day dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the United States. On this day thousands of local events will be held across the country ranging from electronics collections and document shredding events to plastic bag collections and recycled art shows. Throughout the month of November, an estimated 2 million people will join in the celebration.

California's Cap-and-Trade Leadership

On Wednesday November 14, California held its first auction to sell carbon credits. For six years that state has been working on its cap-and-trade system, more than six years in the making. Finally California has imposed a limit on the amount of carbon emissions and this limit will be reduced over time so that by 2020 the state can cut emissions by 15 percent as compared to 1990 levels. Companies that exceed their limit are forced to buy credits from projects that cut greenhouse gas emissions. Almost all of the 23.1 million credits California has distributed to utilities and big industry for 2013 compliance have been free

Cap-and-trade puts market mechanisms to work on behalf of the environment. This approach to emissions reductions is a model for the rest of the nation. It was market driven forces that caused the build-up of climate change causing greenhouse gases. It therefore stands to reason that similar market mechanism can be brought to bear to reduce emissions and curtail warming.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

National Security Officials on the Threat of Climate Change

Here are 15 current and former national security officials in their own words reviewing the threats posed by climate change:
  • Thomas Fingar, former chairman of President Bush’s National Intelligence Council: “We judge global climate change will have wide-ranging implications for U.S. national security interests over the next 20 years … We judge that the most significant impact for the United States will be indirect and result from climate-driven effects on many other countries and their potential to seriously affect U.S. national security interests.”

The Electric Tesla S is Motor Trend's Car of the Year

Motor Trend has announced that the made in California, Tesla Model S luxury cruiser is their pick for the 2013 car of the year. This is the first time an electric vehicle has won the distinction. This selection is momentous not just for Tesla but for the future of electric cars. For the first time ever, two electric cars were in the running, in addition to the Tesla S, the Chinese built, California assembled CODA was also amongst the finalists.

In describing the finalists for the 2013 Car of the Year, Motor Trend stated that this is the most competitive field of vehicles they have ever assessed. One of the criteria used to assess the winner is efficiency which, according to Motor Trend is up across the board for 2013.