Monday, February 29, 2016

DiCaprio's Climate Focused Oscar Speech

After winning the Best Actor Oscar for the film The Revenant, Leonardo DiCaprio took advantage of the opportunity to make a powerful statement about the urgency of combating climate change. While some may question the efficacy of stars making the pitch for climate action, DiCaprio is a man who takes environmentalism seriously.  He has been consistently at the forefront of environmental advocacy from his work at the United Nations in support of a global climate agreement to his tireless efforts to protect endangered species like tigers.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Event - Microgrid Markets Summit East

Infocast’s Microgrid Markets Summit East, March 16 – 18, 2016 in Washington, DC. Leading Utilities discuss microgrid adoption, integration and the grid of the future.

Event - 6th Defense Renewables Summit

This event will be held on March 15 & 16, 2016 at the Sheraton Pentagon City Hotel, in Arlington, Virginia. It is subtitled Meeting the DoD's 20 percent renewables goal and securing the nation's critical cyber and energy infrastructures. Leading Utilities and Renewable Energy Developers discuss working with the DoD and structuring bid-winning projects. IoT, ISP and Microgrid Providers discuss and explore how they secure nation's critical and cyber infrastructure.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Reflections on International Polar Bear Day (Videos)

February 27th is International Polar Bear Day, sadly this icon of the north is at risk of disappearing due to climate change. International Polar Bear Day is a time to raise awareness, it is also a time to reflect on what we must do to protect this magnificent creature.

A number of lifestyle campaigns focused on carbon reduction are associated with the day. This includes everything from driving less to home insulation. Zoos see the day as an opportunity to educate the public about polar bear conservation.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Energy Issues and Market Forces in 2016

Market forces may be the primary driver of energy shifts in 2016. The future of energy in the long term is clear, more efficiency and renewables and less fossil fuels. While we are already moving forward on all these fronts no one can predict exactly how long it will take to supplant fossil fuels.

It is clear that we are seeing tremendous growth in renewable energy and this can be expected to continue in 2016 and beyond. Although fossil fuels appear to be in their death throes, it may take far longer for hydrocarbons to die than some optimistic enviro-pundits are predicting.

In the wake of the COP21 deal signed by every nation on earth it is apparent that we will be substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However, no one should expect that the fossil fuel industry will go quietly, even if it they are the primary cause of climate change.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Best and the Worst of Sustainability and Climate in 2015

Last year was a momentous year for both climate action and environmental destruction. Perhaps most importantly, 2015 will be remembered as the moment in history when the world finally woke up to the threat of climate change.

Here is a review of the ten best and the ten worst sustainability and climate stories of 2015.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Top Sustainability Focused Innovations of 2015

Innovation is more than a buzzword, it is an absolutely essential component of the required efforts needed to address the environmental and climate crisis we are facing. Here is a summary of some of the best sustainability focused innovations of 2015 from Sustainia.

On December 6th, 2015 the fourth Sustainia awards celebrated a number of groundbreaking sustainability solutions, technologies and projects from around the world. In honor of COP21 the awards took place in Paris, home to the COP21 climate talks.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Exxon's Crimes Against Humanity

It is now public knowledge that Exxon has known for decades that their core business is directly responsible for climate change. Even more damning is the fact that they covered up this knowledge. To make matters even worse, they actively participated and funded a sophisticated campaign to fuel climate denial and delay climate action as long as they could.

As reviewed by InsideClimate News', 8 month multi-part investigative exposé, Exxon’s own research proves that they were aware of climate change and the salient role played by fossil fuels all the way back in the 1970s.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Top 2 Climate Leaders of 2015: A President and a Pope

When it comes to advocating and acting to combat climate change both Pope Francis and US President Barack Obama have made very significant contributions in 2015. Globally Pope Francis has been a stalwart advocate of climate action and US President Obama was the world's leading change maker last year.

Presidential candidate Martin O'Malley deserves an honorable mention for being the greenest candidate to ever throw his hat in the ring to be president of the United States. Although he retired from the race, he should be recognized for putting a host of ambitious ideas on the table.

Event - RRA Tanzania: Validation Workshop

RRA Tanzania: Validation Workshop will take place on March 9-10, 2016 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The Renewables Readiness Assessment (RRA) validation workshop will bring together experts to discuss the needs-resource availability pairs previously identified and potential recommendations and actions to advance renewable energy deployment in Tanzania. Building on the initial background paper, the aim of the workshop is to develop a needs-based readiness assessment for renewables in the country.

For more information, please click here.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Event - Cost-effective Renewable Energy Generation in South East Europe: Consultative Workshop

This event will take place on March 3-4, 2016 in Vienna, Austria. IRENA, in collaboration with the Energy Community Secretariat, will organise a consultative workshop gathering governments, utilities, regulators, regional organisation and financial institutions from South East Europe to discuss implementation strategies to achieve renewable energy objectives for 2020.

Despite commitment from governments to advance renewable energy deployment with the recent adoption of National Renewable Energy Action Plans (NREAP), the Energy Community has noted slow progress in energy policy development with a lack of enabling frameworks and a limited knowledge of renewable energy capacity in the region.

Event - Solar Power PV Conference & Expo

PV America is now Solar Power PV Conference & Expo. This event will take place on February 24-25, 2016 at the Westin Boston Waterfront, in Boston, MA.

Join over 1500 professionals to explore PV solar solutions. With a regional focus, PV Conference & Expo brings together manufacturers and service providers with professionals interested in the technologies, innovations, research, and policy that is driving the PV industry today and into the future.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Oil Spill in Peru is a Life Threatening Emergency for Local Indigenous People (Video)

There is another fossil fuel tragedy taking place that is going largely unnoticed by the world. This one is taking place in Peru and like so many oil spills it does not get press attention despite its destructive human and ecological impact. It could be that this is due to the fact that spills are common. As has become common, there were dozens of oil spills in North America in 2015 making the point that there is no safe way of transporting fossil fuels. It is well known that fossil fuels are the leading cause of the climate crisis we are facing but the problems associated with extraction and transporting hydrocarbons often goes unnoticed.

In the northern jungles of Peru people are in peril after two pipeline ruptures spilled crude oil into various waterways, including the Marañon River, a principal tributary of the Amazon River. For indigenous people these waterways are their lifeline, they provide food and water for crops and consumption.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Rising CO2 Emissions and Ongoing Heat Records Especially in the Arctic

We may have signed a global climate agreement at COP21 in Paris but global levels of atmospheric emissions keep climbing along with temperature records.

The NOAA reports that we have passed 405 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere this year. According to NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, the global average temperature was 1.13 degrees C, or slightly more than 2 degrees F, warmer in January 2016 than the long-term average (1951-1980) for this month. This beats the previous record for the warmest recorded January that was set in 2007.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Growing Climate Refugee Crisis in the US and Around the World

The refugees pouring out of Syria and Iraq have 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 are 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.

Climate refugees are people who are forced to leave their homes and their communities due to global warming. The number of people who fall into this category is destined to get far worse in the coming years. Although climate change is not new, warming attributable to human activities is a recent phenomenon.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Justice Scalia's Death Bodes Well for the Clean Power Plan

The EPA's Clean Power Plan (CPP), the centerpiece of the Obama administration's climate efforts was stayed by the US Supreme Court on February 9, however the death of Conservative justice Antonin Scalia just a few days later breathes new life into the plan.

In total 27 states, the coal industry, and the Republican party want to stop the EPA's efforts to reign in emissions from US power plants. Their efforts to undermine the plan are at odds with American opinions. Polls show that the majority of Americans support the CPP even in states that oppose it.

Event - GRI Global Conference 2016

The fifth GRI Global Conference will take place on May 18 - 20, 2016 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Up to 1,500 sustainability leaders from around the globe will be present to exchange leading-edge knowledge on best practices, innovations and trends that are empowering sustainable decisions and changing the world. GRI is  the globally accepted standard for enabling business, governments and other organizations to understand and communicate their impacts on critical sustainability issues.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Event - This Way to Sustainability Conference XI

This event is subtitled "Many Voices ~ Common Ground," it will take place on March 24-25, 2016 This annual conference focuses on factors that allow communities and individuals to prepare for a dynamic future, one with uncertain, but generally increasing, socio-ecological stresses. It will explore opportunities to enhance community and individual well-being, and the resources needed to do so.

Here are some of the topics that will be addressed in the conference presentations or workshops::

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Dr. Brundtland the Mother of Sustainable Development (Video)

Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland is widely regarded as the mother of sustainable development and she is a highly effective political and environmental activist. On January 18, 2016, Dr. Brundtland received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Zayed Future Energy Prize 2016 for her global leadership on sustainability. Dr. Brundtland is the first female recipient of this award.

On behalf of the UN Foundation, President and CEO Kathy Calvin congratulated Dr. Brundtland and highlighted the legacy of her work:

Friday, February 12, 2016

Indigenous Women Struggling with Climate Change and Environmental Degradation

Women are on the front lines of climate change and environmental degradation and this is particularly true of indigenous women. Those who are socially and economically disadvantaged will be the hardest hit so this is an immense concern to indigenous women and the situation is even worse for such women living in developing countries. The climate-induced environmental threats they face include sea-level rise and shifts in the ranges of important species of food bearing plants.

Environmental insults are compounding the climate crisis. This is more than just a disruptive inconvenience for indigenous women, it is a direct threat to their physical, social and economic well being. For these women, many of whom live in a very close relationship with the natural world, climate change is an existential threat.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Obama Proposes Oil Tax and Clean Energy Infrastructure Investments

President Obama has recently proposed an oil tax and a clean energy infrastructure investment plan that would create a “more integrated, sophisticated and sustainable transportation sector." The proposal is part of a budget request that calls for annual spending of $32 billion and it will be paid for with a $10 a barrel oil tax. The ten year 320 billion is designed to finance a 21st century clean energy infrastructure in the US. This includes annual spending of $20 billion for national transportation initiatives, $10 billion in for cities and states and $2.4 billion for green vehicle research.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Empowering Women is Synonymous with Combating Climate Change

If we want to address climate change around the world and in the developing world in particular we need to see more women in leadership roles. There is good evidence to support the idea that when women lead communities are more sustainable.

Climate change is a critical issue for everyone, but it is especially hard on women. Happily women are also an essential part of the solution, not only because they make up half (48.1), but because women tend to be more green in their lifestyle choices and women in the workforce tend to more sustainable.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Green Sports Alliance: Making Athletics more Sustainable

With 344 members, 300 teams, 172 venues and 20 leagues, in 14 different countries the Green Sports Alliance is a major force in sustainable athletics.  The Green Sports Alliance helps sports leagues to be more sustainable.

Sports are an incredibly powerful activity that garner the attention and interest of billions of people around the world. With this is mind the Green Sports Alliance strives to leverage the cultural and market influence of sports to promote healthy, sustainable communities.

They inspire sports leagues, teams, venues, their partners and millions of fans to embrace renewable energy, healthy food, recycling, water efficiency, species preservation, safer chemicals and other environmentally preferable practices.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Event - National Conference on Microgrids

The fourth National Conference on Microgrids will take place on April 13 - 15, 2016 in Kansas City, MO. This three-day conference will focus on capitalizing on Microgrids for improved system energy efficiency, reliability and providing enabling technologies for grid independence.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Event - Clean Energy Finance Europe Conference

This event will take place on February 24th and 25th 2016 in London, United Kingdom. ACI’s Clean Energy Finance Europe conference will bring together the leading executives and experts from across the entire value chain (Investors, CEO’s, Finance Directors, and Technology Experts,) for two days of informative presentations, interactive discussion & excellent networking opportunities.

Game to Make Super Bowl 50 a Net Positive Event

This year there is a campaign to make this the most healthy, sustainable, shared, and socially responsible Super Bowl ever. An initiative called "Play Your Part" is trying to make Super Bowl 50 a net positive event. Play Your Part arises organically from the fact that Super Bowl 50 is being played in San Francisco Bay, an area well known for its leadership in innovation, sustainability, and technology.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Germany Continues its Green Dominance in 2015 (Video)

Europe has the highest concentration of national sustainability efforts in the world. In 2015 Nordic countries once again assumed a leadership role along with France. In addition to being an economic giant Germany is also an environmental titan. Germany is ranked fourth in the Global Green Economy Index.and seventh in a RobecoSAM study. Germany has distinguished itself as an early adopter of clean power and it has a secure place in history as a renewable energy pioneer.

Friday, February 5, 2016

France: One of the Most Sustainable Countries in 2015

In 2015 France stood out as one of the most sustainable countries in the world due to the scope of their national efforts and the wider economic implications of their actions. While Nordic countries and their neighbor Germany have ranked very highly on a number of national sustainability assessments, France must be including on any list of the greenest European countries in 2015. France is listed among the top ten countries in the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) ranking of 180 nations. 

As hosts of the COP21 climate talks last December French leadership was essential. This is particularly true in light of the Paris terror attacks that took place just prior to the start of the final round of negotiations. Under the leadership of Francois Hollande France has been a global climate leader. In addition to being the host of the most important climate conference in human history, France introduced a number of sustainability measures in 2015. From managing food waste to supporting renewable energy France showed that it is walking the talk last year.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Diminishing Profits Signal the Beginning of the End of Oil

Oil is dying. Low oil prices are erasing profits and setting into motion a death spiral from which fossil fuels will not recover. Big Oil is cutting costs, and scaling back production, this results in smaller returns and diminished investor confidence. The addition of carbon pricing schemes and the elimination of subsidies will ultimately inflate prices and reduce demand.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Lessons Learned from Volkswagen's Epic Greenwash

Volkswagen's emissions test deception has turned the world's second largest car brand into a liar, a cheat and a fraud. At issue is the falsification of nitrogen oxide and CO2 emissions data for 11 million VW cars globally including about 500,000 in the U.S. The automaker is guilty of emissions that were as much as 40 times above the official estimates. This translates into the concealment of about a million tonnes of air and climate pollution.

From design to manufacturing and recycling, Volkswagen was once considered to be a sustainability leader. Now the German automaker is a global disgrace.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Thank You for Your Climate Leadership Mr. O'Malley

Martin O'Malley, the greenest candidate to ever throw his hat in the ring to be president of the United States, has decided to call it quits after coming in a distant third in the Iowa Democratic primary. O'Malley has had a distinguished political career and he will surely continue to meaningfully contribute to ongoing discussions about climate and other issues.

Nordic Countries are the Most (and Least) Sustainable: Spotlight on Sweden and Denmark

There has been a surge in government action to address environmental degradation and Nordic countries (Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland) are leading the way. In Europe France and Germany are dominant green nations, but they still rank behind their northern neighbors. Two separate authoritative rankings consider Sweden and Denmark as being among the most sustainable countries in the world.

According to a RobecoSAM study, Sweden was ranked as the most sustainable country in 2015. The study assessed green metrics like the country's response to environmental threats, and government metrics like support for "liberty and equality," investments in its education system. The RobecoSAM study analysis ranked countries based on a total of 17 indicators including ESG factors.

Monday, February 1, 2016

COP21 Energy Implications for Your Business (Webinar)

Do you want to know how the COP21 agreement will impact how your businesses uses energy? Check out the webinar on Thursday, February 4th at 11am Pacific / 2pm Eastern. Titled, A New Energy Landscape: What COP21 Means for Your Business, this 30 minute webinar will also feature an extensive question and answer session.