Sunday, March 31, 2019

Solar Decathlon: The Design Challenge Weekend

The Design Challenge Weekend will take place on April 12-14, 2019, at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado. The Solar Decathlon is a little known green building event that has been held every two years since 2002. After years in Irvine, California and Denver, Colorado the 2020 event is coming back to its original home in Washington, D.C.

The DOE's Solar Decathlon® is a collegiate competition, comprising 10 contests, that challenges student teams to design and build highly efficient and innovative buildings powered by renewable energy.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Earth Hour 2019: Nature and Our Connection to Earth

Earth Hour is an annual global event. It is a call to act on climate change and a broad range of environmental issues. This worldwide grassroots movement unites people to protect the planet. Organized by WWF, this event is celebrated by hundreds of millions of people around the world making it the largest environmental action in history.  People in more than 180 countries and thousands of cities and towns around the world will take part.

Friday, March 29, 2019

What Would Happen if Fossil Fuel Subsidies Were Redirected Towards Renewable Energy?

Subsidies are at the heart of energy issues. Clean power receives a tiny fraction of this money while the fossil fuel industry continues to reap the lion's share.  Fossil fuel subsidies are four to ten times larger than those given to renewable energy.

Governments around the world gave about $490 billion in subsidies to the fossil fuel industry in 2014 and only $112 billion in subsidies for renewable power generation.  Governments are planning on continuing their preferential allocation of resources to fossil fuels. According to the IEA, over the next 25 years, only 15 percent of the G20's investment in energy will be devoted to renewables.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Ending Fossil Fuel Subsidies is a Crucial First Step

Ending fossil fuel subsidies is the first step towards addressing climate change. We know that the climate crisis is a genuine emergency and we also know that fossil fuels are the leading cause, hence transitioning away from them is central to addressing the crisis we face.

"The first step towards that is to stop supporting the industry with our public dollars," Stephen Kretzmann, the executive director of Oil Change International is quoted as saying in a Center for Biological Diversity press release. "These subsidies are a raw deal for American taxpayers, and a disaster for our climate."

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Trump's Department of the Interior is at War with Science

Trump's Department of the Interior (DOI) has a pattern of killing science especially studies that cast aspersions on its support for industry. This includes burying research on coal strip mining, offshore oil & gas development, sulfide ore mining and pesticides. It is not only existing research that is being buried, proposals for new studies are being quashed alongside the findings of completed research.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Republicans Will Embrace the Facts about Climate Change

Climate denial is a cynical political strategy with no future. Although it may be hard to envision from where we are today, the truth will eventually win the day. The facts about climate change can only be denied for so long and the time will come when climate denial will be political suicide.

While polls indicate there is increasing acceptance of climate change, these polls also reveal that Republicans continue to deny reality.

An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll indicates that almost two-thirds of Americans think the Republican Party’s position on climate change is "outside the mainstream".

Monday, March 25, 2019

Maria Caffrey: Trump Administration Censoring Science

Censorship is a central pillar of the Trump administration's efforts to hide climate science. The Trump White House was in the news late last year for its attempt to bury a government report that squarely refuted the administration's climate denial and government scientists who resist the Trump administration's censorship are being let go by the federal government. Maria Caffrey is a 37 year old scientist who is a model of scientific integrity. She worked under contract for the National Park Service and produced a report outlining the risks of rising seas at national parks.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Event - Sustainable Brands '19 Detroit

Sustainable Brands '19 Detroit will take place at the Cobo Center on June, 3–6, 2019. Sustainable Brands hosts 12 conferences annually. SB'19 Detroit is the flagship event where global brand and sustainability leaders come together to shape the future of commerce worldwide. Since its inception, the SB community has worked to redefine the path to brand success by inspiring and enabling breakthrough innovation for environmental and social benefit.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Climate Science can Bridge the Divides that Separate Us

Climate action is not only necessary to stave off a civilization altering threat, it can also build bridges between disparate groups of people by fostering ties around shared ecological values. Uniting around common goals helps us to move beyond tribal divisions.The first step is to acknowledge a common reality, and science is the best approach we have to do so.

UN Secretary General Amplifies the Urgent Message from the Climate Strikes

Unprecedented student climate strikes have earned the support of many senior officials including António Guterres the Secretary General of the United Nations. Adults don't seem to be able to grasp the seriousness of our situation, Guterres said in a Guardian article. "[W]e are in a race for our lives, and we are losing. The window of opportunity is closing – we no longer have the luxury of time, and climate delay is almost as dangerous as climate denial. My generation has failed to respond properly to the dramatic challenge of climate change. This is deeply felt by young people. No wonder they are angry."

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Trump and his New Flame are Warming our Climate

The fledgling relationship between US president Donald Trump and Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has deeply troubling international repercussions for both climate and the environment.

Brazil's newly elected far right president is a fitting paramour for a narcissist like Trump. Bolsonaro, (or Mini-Me as Trump calls him), was warmly received by the White House on March 19th. Trump's new love interest is entirely consistent with the procession of foreign leaders he has courted over the last two years. Trump's fondness for far right leaders was evident when he offered his support for France’s xenophobic presidential contender Marine Le Pen. However, Trump seems to reserve a special place for dictators and despots. He hasn't concealed his envy for leaders who are not constrained by the fetters of democracy. Trump cozied up to dictators like Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoan and he covered for the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after he murdered Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

A Response to Elon Musk's Detractors

Elon Musk is battling a number of obstacles, including production problems and legal hurdles. Musk is the genius behind Tesla Motors, Tesla Energy, SpaceX, and the Hyperloop. The list of his accomplishments is impressive. He has innovated online payments, shown EV leadership, pioneered commercial space exploration, revolutionized power storage and brought residential solar to the home energy market.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Who is the Greenest of them All? Ireland or Norway?

The governments of Norway and Ireland are leading the transition away from fossil fuels to renewable forms of energy. Four years ago Norway announced that it was divesting its assets from coal and now Ireland has decided to fully divest from all fossil fuels. Earlier this month Norway announced that they would begin withdrawing their investments from 134 international fossil fuel companies.

In 2015 Norway decided to divest 8 billion in coal holdings from their sovereign wealth funds.  Recently the Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), which manages roughly $1 trillion worth of the nation’s assets announced it was withdrawing its investments from 134 international fossil fuel companies. In 2017 the Irish parliament voted to divest $361 million of public money from fossil fuels to became the first country to fully divest from coal, oil and gas. The Irish Parliament passed the Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill in January which gives the National Treasury Management Agency five years to withdraw $8.5 billion of the fossil fuels assets from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Sustainability in the City and Beyond Conference by Loyola College for Diversity & Sustainability

This conference will take place on March 19-21, 2019 in Montreal and it will cover research being done on sustainability in general and urban sustainability in particular at Concordia University and beyond. Presented by the Loyola College for Diversity and Sustainability and the Loyola Sustainability Research Centre this year's edition of the annual Sustainability Across Disciplines conference has an urban theme and a new partnership with the Institute for Urban Futures.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Unprecedented Global School Strikes for Climate Action

On Friday March 15th millions of students in 2,000 cities around the world came together to peacefully demand climate action. Young people in at least 123 countries protested the inaction of government officials and called for immediate climate action. The students are asking governments to declare a climate emergency, and they also want to see more education about climate change and the environmental crisis. The movement know as "Fridays for Future" was launched by Greta Thunberg. Although her efforts have been rewarded with a Nobel Peace Prize nomination she remains focused on the only metric that matters, reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Greta's Strikes for Climate Action and Her Game-Changing Global Movement

Greta Thunberg is the 16 year old Swedish environmental activist behind the climate strikes that are sweeping the globe. Last year Greta decided to protest the governments inaction on climate change by sitting on the steps of the Parliament building in Stockholm. What started in Sweden soon spread throughout Scandinavia, then to Europe, Britain and Australia. Now it seems as though the whole world is taking part including countries like China, Tanzania, Vanuatu, Cuba, and Pakistan.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Trump's Budget Cuts Target Climate Science and Environmental Programs

Trump has been at war with science and climate action from the beginning of his mandate. In addition to cuts to education and medicare Trump's proposed 2020 budget slashes funding to climate science and environmental programs.

Trump has made similar budget proposals in 2017 and 2018. The 2020 budget proposal includes cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of the Interior, NASA, and NOAA. This is but the latest installment of the Trump administration ongoing war with science.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Trump's Swamp is Full of Fossil Fuel Advocates

The Trump administration is awash with fossil fuel lobbyists and advocates. Republicans are the minions of the oil industry and Trump's swamp is full of it's supporters. This administration is rife with industry influence from the initial beachhead team to cabinet secretaries. The Trump transition team was chalked full of operatives tied to climate denying Koch Industries. Some of these people came from the Institute for Energy Research, which wrote Trump's insane energy policy. Other early members of the Trump administration are Mark Maddox, a coal company lobbyist and Kerrie Carr, who worked for the coal industry.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Trump Shares Russia's Fossil Fuel Agenda

The Trump administration is a champion of fossil fuels.  They have killed 40 regulations and expanded extraction including offshore drilling in the Arctic.  They have begun drilling on public lands putting 42 national monuments at risk. To add insult to injury this is an administration that opposes efficiency.

With support from fossil fuel lobby organizations like, API, Count on Coal, the National Mining Association, the Western Energy Alliance, and the National Petroleum Council in the Department of Energy, the administration has dismantled progress made on energy during the Obama administration.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Virtual Conferences Offer Global Reach with Smaller Footprints

There is a new way of conferencing that connects participants from all around the world without the massive environmental impacts commonly associated with such events. When academics fly to international conferences, they burn up to a ton of carbon each, significantly increasing their personal greenhouse-gas footprint. This is particularly inappropriate in the context of sustainability focused conferences.

Technological solutions have been around for years and now YouTube is live streaming events. Other existent and emerging internet communication technologies are making promising conference formats possible. Besides reducing emissions, these technologies allow smart conference organizers to reduce costs for participants -- especially those from non-rich countries who would not otherwise have been able to participate. The international conference of the future will be truly global, with a bigger and more diverse program, higher cultural diversity, and much lower emissions.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

The Transition Away from Fossil Fuels Towards Renewables is Already Underway

Several indicators suggest that renewable energy is gradually replacing fossil fuels. Coal use is down, renewable energy is growing and we are seeing increased fossil fuel divestment.

Even some oil companies see the writing on the wall. In 2017, Royal Dutch Shell, the world’s second largest publicly-traded oil company, announced plans to increase its investment in renewable energy to $1 billion a year by the end of the decade. Ben van Beurden, the company's CEO supports a carbon tax and he indicated that he is concerned about the loss of public support if progress is not made in the transition to cleaner energy.

Friday, March 8, 2019

27 Inspirational and Motivational Posts Commemorating International Women's Day

Women are the Key to a More Sustainable Future

The importance of women to the future of our species goes way beyond their procreative power. Female leadership is better leadership and this augurs a better world.

Women's Day is an opportunity to advocate for true equality and to share the evidence revealing why women are the more sustainable sex. Empowering them is good for people, the planet and profits. If we want to move forward we need to unambiguously assign blame. Women's rights are human rights and men that deny these rights need to be called out.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

National Petroleum Council Influences the US Government from the Inside

The National Petroleum Council (NPC) may be part of the US government but it is anything but non-partisan. They are a group composed largely of fossil fuel advocates who have openly professed an anti-science pro-dirty energy agenda.

There are a lot of fossil fuel front groups that influence government from the outside but the NPC is a federally chartered and privately funded advisory committee established in 1946.  As explained on their website: "The purpose of the NPC is solely to represent the views of the oil and natural gas industries in advising, informing, and making recommendations to the Secretary of Energy with respect to any matter relating to oil and natural gas, or to the oil and gas industries submitted to it or approved by the Secretary."

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

The Fossil fuel Industry Owns the University of Calgary

While the fossil fuel industry clearly has a hold on American universities Canada is not much better. It was not that long ago that Stephen Harper's conservative government pulled the country out of the Kyoto Protocol, cut research funding and silenced scientists. Although they were replaced by Justin Trudeau's Liberals in 2015, they have continued to push for expanded fossil fuel exports. In Alberta the newly elected NDP aggressively support their oil industry.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

The Tar Sands are a Threat to Biodiversity

Tar sands not only increase climate change causing greenhouse gas emissions, they destroy habitats and contaminate air, soil and water. Tailing ponds at tar sands extraction sites have been growing in Alberta for decades and they keep getting bigger. There are now more than a trillion litres of tailings in artificial ponds covering cover 230 km² or 88 square miles. By 2030 there will be a trillion and half.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Event - BC Power Symposium

The 13th annual BC Power Symposium will take place on March 19th 2019 in Vancouver, Canada This conference will focus on the the growing demand for clean power. demands in the province. Participants will have the opportunity to network with the greatest minds in the power sector to develop your clean energy strategy.
The Canadian Institute will combine insights on further developments to Site C dam in addition to exploring newer clean energy methods, keeping in line with the Federal and Provincial commitments to generating clean energy.

British Columbia is rapidly progressing towards generating and sustaining clean energy. The 2018 conference explored a myriad of views of the developments and consequences of the Site C dam. Community views, stakeholder insights and regulatory perspectives provided a holistic overview to impacts and outcomes.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

The Energy Paradox: Environmental Defence on Canada's Escalating Oil Subsidies

Both Canada and the province of Alberta want to have it both ways. They want to be climate leaders and major oil and gas exporters.  The Canadian federal government and the provincial government in Alberta provide massive subsidies to the oil and gas industries in the form of tax breaks, fiscal support and direct grants.  Canada is the largest provider of government support for oil and gas production per unit of GDP in the G7.

After decreasing federal payments to Big Oil by $150 million in 2017 Justin Trudeau's Liberal government appears to have changed direction in 2018. Last May the Canadian government announced it was going to buy Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline for $4.5 billion. Last December the Liberals announced that they were giving oil and gas companies $1.65 billion in new grants, loans and financial supports. This is in addition to Export Development Canada, the country’s export credit agency, that provides, on average, $10 billion in government-backed support for oil and gas companies every year.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Ivy League Science Awash with Oil: How the Fossil Fuel Industry Controls Academia

As explored in a 2017 article by Benjamin Franta and Geoffrey Supran the fossil fuel industry's invisible colonization of academia is a threat to climate action. They point to devious techniques employed by oil companies to use academia to influence people's reality. They further say this is part of a "systemic pattern".

One year ago, the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center hosted a film screening of the "Rational Middle Energy Series." The university promoted the event as "Finding Energy’s Rational Middle" and described the film’s motivation as "a need and desire for a balanced discussion about today’s energy issues."