DiCaprio’s Before The Flood is an epic documentary on Climate Change

2 11 2016

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Leonardo DiCaprio spent two years traveling the globe to talk to those on the front line of Climate Change and focus on the key sources and impacts of the problems.  In the process, he talks to scientists, sustainability and carbon reduction experts, local government officials and world leaders including U.S. President Barack Obama and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

According to The Los Angeles Times:  “The origins of wanting to do this movie is to give the scientific community out there a voice,” DiCaprio said before the screening, to more cheers in the packed house, at Toronto’s giant and august Princess of Wales Theater. “Because we have ignored the predictions of the scientific community for way too long.”

You can watch the entire film on You Tube here.

 

https://www.beforetheflood.com





Most Americans Support Government Action on Climate Change.

30 01 2015

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The poll found that 83% of Americans, including 61% of Republicans and 86% of independents, say that if nothing is done to reduce emissions, global warming will be a very or somewhat serious problem in the future.

An overwhelming majority of the American public, including nearly half of Republicans, support government action to curb global warming, according to a poll conducted by The New York Times,Stanford University and the nonpartisan environmental research group Resources for the Future.

Among Republicans, 48 percent said they are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports fighting climate change, a result that Jon A. Krosnick, a professor of political science at Stanford University and an author of the survey, called “the most powerful finding” in the poll. Many Republican candidates either question the science of climate change or do not publicly address the issue.

Although the poll found that climate change was not a top issue in determining a person’s vote, a candidate’s position on climate change influences how a person will vote. For example, 67 percent of respondents, including 48 percent of Republicans and 72 percent of independents, said they were less likely to vote for a candidate who said that human-caused climate change is a hoax.

Over all, the number of Americans who believe that climate change is caused by human activity is growing. In a 2011 Stanford University poll, 72 percent of people thought climate change was caused at least in part by human activities. That grew to 81 percent in the latest poll. By party, 88 percent of Democrats, 83 percent of independents and 71 percent of Republicans said that climate change was caused at least in part by human activities.

Although the poll found that climate change was not a top issue in determining a person’s vote, a candidate’s position on climate change influences how a person will vote. For example, 67 percent of respondents, including 48 percent of Republicans and 72 percent of independents, said they were less likely to vote for a candidate who said that human-caused climate change is a hoax.

Jason Becker, a self-identified independent and stay-at-home father in Ocoee, Fla., said that although climate change was not his top concern, a candidate who questioned global warming would seem out of touch.

“If someone feels it’s a hoax they are denying the evidence out there. Many arguments can be made on both sides of the fence. But to just ignore it completely indicates a close-minded individual, and I don’t want a close-minded individual in a seat of political power.”

Source:  The New York Times.





Conservation International: Nature Is Speaking. And She’s Not Happy.

8 10 2014

“Nature doesn’t need people, people need nature.” 

In a series of short films debuting this week for Conservation International, Hollywood celebrities and advertising legend Lee Clow of TWBA Media Arts Lab lend a hand to raise awareness of the importance of protecting, preserving and nurturing the environment – for the good of mankind.

Narrated by various leading actors including Julia Roberts, Harrison Ford, Robert Redford, Ed Norton, Robert Redford, Penelope Cruz, Kevin Spacey, and Ian Somerhalder, each film highlights some aspect of the natural world and represents its point of view about the relationship with humanity.

Ford serves on the Conservation International Board of Directors and has been involved with the non-profit for twenty years.  He called on his celebrity friends to lend their voices to this important campaign.

In commenting on the campaign, Clow told Fast Company’s Co-Create:  “Like so many things right now in our culture and politics, everything seems so polarized that the two extreme ends are the loudest and everyone else in the middle is getting tired and sick of nobody being able to solve anything. That was the hope for this is to be a balanced message that everyone could get on board with.”

The films include the #NatureIsSpeaking hashtag the CI team is encouraging social media discussion with Twitter handles for each of the films’ subjects (@MotherNature_CI, @Ocean_CI, @Rainforest_CI, @Soil_CI, @Water_CI, @Redwood_CI, @CoralReef_CI).

HP, sponsor of the #NatureIsSpeaking hashtag will donate $1 to Conservation International, for every social media mention, up to $1 million.

 





SOGB: Business Sustainability Progress Has Stalled

27 01 2014
According to the 2014 State of Green Business report published by GreenBiz Group in partnership with Trucost plc., companies around the world are struggling to make progress on climate change, resource efficiency and natural capital dependency.
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“While more and more companies are undertaking a growing number of initiatives to reduce their environmental impacts, there’s very little progress to show for it. Company initiatives are not having an impact at the scale needed to address such challenges as climate change and the availability of water and natural resources,” said Joel Makower, GreenBiz Group executive editor and the report’s principal author.
The seventh annual edition of the report, which measures the global progress of large, publicly traded companies in addressing a myriad of environmental challenges, reveals little meaningful progress across most metrics, including greenhouse gas emissions, water use, waste disposal and other pollutant impacts.
“The environmental impacts of business – air pollution, biodiversity loss, ecosystem degradation and water scarcity – are threatening the ability of our finite stock of natural capital to deliver sustainable growth,” said Richard Mattison, CEO of Trucost. “The challenge for business is to identify growth models that result in reduced environmental impact.
”The report also names the 10 sustainable business trends for 2014. Among them are the growth of collaboration among big corporations to solve mutual sustainability challenges, the growth of chemical transparency for consumer products, the emergence of “shadow pricing” as a means for companies to assess their environmental risks and net-positive buildings.
The 2014 report includes the launch of the Natural Capital Leaders Index, a new methodology for identifying companies that are growing their revenue while reducing their environmental impacts. The 2014 Index found 34 companies from 10 countries that met Trucost’s criteria, which include increasing revenue between 2008 and 2012, disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions and a decrease in environmental impacts during that same period.Among the 34 “decoupling leaders” are Carnival Corp., CSX, Intel, Kimberly-Clark, National Australia Bank, Pearson, Tata Power and Verizon.The Index further identifies US and Global “efficiency leaders” that use the least natural capital to generate revenue compared to sector peers – the more traditional sustainability leaders – which include Adobe Systems, AMEC, BMW, Ford, Manpower, McGraw Hill Financial, Pepco Holdings and Sprint Corp.The metrics from the report were drawn from Trucost’s assessment of 4,600 of the world’s largest companies representing 93% of global markets by market capitalization.The State of Green Business report will be the centrepiece of the upcoming GreenBiz Forum (Feb 18-20), taking place in Phoenix, AZ, where speakers will address many of these trends and metrics.The free report can be downloaded from GreenBiz.com.





National Research Council: Abrupt, near-term impacts to rival dinosaur extinction

10 12 2013

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With little fanfare and a noticeable lack of press coverage, the National Research Council released its report:  Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises last week.  The 200 page report suggests that a wave of species extinctions rivaling the dinosaurs’ demise might well be coming within the century — and that the time has come to set up early warning systems to detect this and other imminent climate catastrophes.

One of the authors, Anthony Barnosky, made this comment on the report:  “Our report focuses on abrupt change, that is, things that happen within a few years to decades: basically, over short enough time scales that young people living today would see the societal impacts brought on by faster-than-normal planetary changes.”

The study was sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Science Foundation, U.S. intelligence community and the National Academies, which is made up of The National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine and National Research Council.

Abrupt Changes Already Underway

Some of the abrupt changes are already taking place, according to the report.

  • The disappearance of late-summer sea ice in the Arctic, with predictions that it may be gone entirely within decades, which “would have potentially large and irreversible effects of various components of the Arctic East Coast system including disruptions in the marine food web, shifts and habitats of summary mammals, and erosion of vulnerable coastlines.”

Because the Arctic region interacts with a large-scale circulation systems of the ocean and atmosphere, changes in the extent of sea ice could cause shifts in climate and weather around the northern hemisphere. The Arctic is also region of increasing economic importance for diverse range of stakeholders, and reductions in Arctic sea ice will bring new legal and political challenges this navigation routes for commercial shipping open and marine access to the region increases for offshore oil and gas development, tourism, fishing and other activities.

  • Rapidly increasing extinction of plant and animal species at a rate already “probably as fast as any warming event in the past 65 million years, and it is projected that its pace over the next 30 to 80 years will continue to be faster and more intense.”   The report cites the following scenarios for species extinction.

If unchecked, habitat destruction, fragmentation, and over-exploitation, even without climate change, could result in a mass extinction within the next few centuries equivalent in magnitude to the one that wiped out the dinosaurs. With the ongoing pressures of climate change, comparable levels of extinction conceivably could occur before the year 2100; indeed, some models show a crash of coral reefs from climate change alone as early as 2060 under certain scenarios.

  • Destabilization of the west Antarctic ice sheet, an “abrupt change of unknown probability,” carries the threat of sea-level rise “at a rate several times faster than those observed today. “

Early Warning System 

In the face of these threats, the report urges development of an Abrupt Change Early Warning System (ACEWS) to closely monitor signals of tipping points drawing near, digest the data and feed it into the best predictive models that can be developed.   “We watch our streets, we watch our banks,” the report’s chief author, climatologist James White of the University of Colorado at Boulder, told the Los Angeles Times. “But we do not watch our environment with the same amount of care and zeal.”  In a press statement releasing the report, Mr. White said “The time has come for us to quit talking and take action.  Right now we don’t know what many of these thresholds are.  But with better information, we will be able to anticipate some major changes before they occur and help reduce the potential consequences.”

The executive summary of the report concludes with this rather dire warning:

“Although there is much to learn about climate change and abrupt impacts, to willingly ignore the threat of abrupt change could lead to more costs, loss of life, suffering and environmental degradation.  The time is here to be serious about the threat of the tipping points so as to better anticipate and prepare ourselves for the inevitable surprises.”





Project Sunlight: Unilever’s Call To Action For Sustainable Living

21 11 2013

Unilever has launched  a worldwide new initiative to motivate millions of people to adopt more sustainable lifestyles.  Launched yesterday on Universal Children’s Day in Brazil, India, Indonesia, the UK and the US, Project Sunlight aims to make sustainable living desirable and achievable by inspiring people, and in particular parents, to join what Unilever sees as a growing community of people who want to make the world a better place for children and future generations.

Project Sunlight was launched with the four-minute film embedded here and created by DAVID Latin America and Ogilvy & Mather London at dawn on November 20th in Indonesia and then follow the sun to India, the UK, Brazil and the US. Additional information can be found at an online hub – www.projectsunlight.com – which brings together the social mission stories of Unilever’s brands across the world, and invites consumers to get involved in doing small things that help their own families, others around the world and the planet.

To mark the launch of Project Sunlight on Universal Children’s Day, Unilever will be helping 2 million children through its ongoing partnerships, providing school meals through the World Food Programme; supporting Save the Children to provide clean, safe drinking water; and improved hygiene through UNICEF.

Ogilvy & Mather Chairman and CEO Miles Young, explains: “Unilever asked us to find a new way to talk about sustainability that would make the benefits real for ordinary people. Project Sunlight is founded on the principle that even small actions can make a big difference and that together, we can create a brighter future.  We are honored to be a part of such a positive and significant movement for the good of our client and our communities.”  Famed film director Erroll Morris directed “Why bring a child into this world?” including moving interviews with expectant parents from around the world.

The project draws on the legacy of Unilever’s founder Lord Leverhulme, who believed that he could change the world with a brand of soap he called Sunlight.

Kudos to Unilever, Ogilvy, DAVID and everyone involved in this important initiative that hits at the heart of the matter: if we can’t work to improve living conditions on our precious planet, how dare you bring a child into this world.





CDP Report: World’s Largest Companies Doing Little On Climate Change

17 09 2013

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“As countries around the world seek economic growth, strong employment and safe environments, corporations have a unique responsibility to deliver that growth in a way that uses natural resources wisely. The opportunity is enormous and it is the only growth worth having.” – Paul Simpson, Chief Executive Officer, CDP

Fifty of the 500 largest listed companies in the world are responsible for nearly three quarters of the group’s 3.6 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, so finds the CDP Global 500 Climate Change Report 2013 released this week. The carbon emitted by these 50 highest emitting companies, which primarily operate in the energy, materials and utilities sectors, has risen 1.65% to 2.54 billion metric tons over the past four years.

The report is co-written by CDP, formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project, and professional services firm PwC. It provides the most authoritative evaluation of corporate progress on climate change.

Inadequate momentum to mitigate climate change is also true of the biggest emitters found in each of the ten sectors covered in the report. Titled Sector insights: what is driving climate change action in the world’s largest companies, the new publication includes industry-specific analysis which shows that the five highest emitting companies from each sector have seen their emissions increase by an average of 2.3% since 2009.

Guardian Sustainable Business offered a biting analysis of the report, concluding companies are making little progress in addressing climate change.

“For all the talk of companies taking the threat of climate change seriously, the latest evidence shows the corporate sector is failing to respond in a meaningful way to the threat of environmental catastrophe,” wrote GSB’s Jo Confino.

Paul Simpson, CEO at CDP says: “Many countries are demonstrating signs of recovery following the global economic downturn. However, clear scientific evidence and increasingly severe weather events are sending strong signals that we must pursue routes to economic prosperity whilst reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. It is imperative that big emitters improve their performance in this regard and governments provide more incentives to make this happen.” 

While the biggest emitters present the greatest opportunity for large-scale change, the report identifies opportunities for all Global 500 companies to help build resilience to climate and policy shocks by significantly reducing the amount of carbon dioxide they produce each year. For example, the emissions from nearly half (47%) of the most carbon intensive activities that companies identify across their value chains are yet to be measured. The lack of detailed reporting and information of GHGs from sources related to company activities (Scope 3 emissions), as opposed to those from sources owned or directly controlled by them, may lead companies to underestimate their full carbon impact.

Malcolm Preston, global lead, sustainability and climate change, PwC says: “The report underlines how customers, suppliers, employees, governments and society in general are becoming more demanding of business. It raises questions for some organizations about whether they are focused on sustaining growth in the long term, or just doing enough to recover growth until the next issue arises. With the initial IPCC report only weeks away corporate emissions are still rising. Either business action increases, or the risk is regulation overtakes them.”

Companies that demonstrate a strong commitment to managing their impact on the environment are generating improved financial and environmental results. Analysis of the corporations leading on climate progress, as based on CDP’s acclaimed methodology and including BMW, Nestlé and Cisco Systems, suggests that they generate superior stock performance. Further, the businesses that offer employees monetary incentives related to energy consumption and carbon emissions are 18% more successful at accomplishing reductions.

The CDP Global 500 Climate Change Report 2013 is available to download free. It launches this week at CDP’s annual Global Climate Forum which is broadcast live online. The public disclosures of climate change information from Global 500 companies taking part in CDP this year are also available on the CDP website. Over 4,500 businesses in markets around the world have disclosed through CDP this year. Their data will be disseminated to investors via various channels, such as Bloomberg terminals, where it is downloaded an average of 1 million times every six weeks.

Read the CDP Report here

Adapted from an original article at Sustainable Industries blog here





Gallup: 58% of Americans worry about global warming.

2 05 2013

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A new Gallup survey of American adults shows rising belief and continued concern about global warming, with 58% say they worry about it.

More specifically, 33% of Americans worry about global warming “a great deal,” 25% worry “a fair amount,” 20% “only a little,” and 23% “not at all.”

Public concern about global warming has waxed and waned over the past two decades, ranging between 50% and 72%. The average percentage over time for “worrying a great deal/fair amount” comes in at just under 60%, similar to the March 7-10 reading from Gallup’s 2013 Environment poll.

The same poll finds 54% of Americans saying the effects of global warming have already begun. This also matches the average in Gallup trends on this measure since 1997. The low points were recorded in 1997 and 2011, when less than half thought global warming’s effects were already manifest. The high point was recorded in 2008, at 61%. This year’s percentage represents a slight increase from the lows reached just a couple of years ago.

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Gallup trends throughout the past decade — and some stretching back to 1989 — have shown generally consistent majority support for the idea that global warming is real, that human activities cause it, and that news reports on it are correct, if not underestimated. However, those views have shown significant variability.

Americans’ concerns about global warming peaked at points in the late 1980s and the late 1990s, and again between 2006 and 2008, possibly related to strong environmentalist campaigns to raise awareness of the issue at those times — including the release of Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” in 2006.

Conversely, concerns receded in 2009 and 2010, particularly among Republicans and conservatives, corresponding with a flurry of publicity about scientists who doubt global warming is caused by human activities, as well as some controversy about global warming research. With all of this dying down somewhat in the last few years, attitudes are returning to previous levels, putting them near the long-term averages.

In contrast to majority acceptance of global warming as real, Gallup finds Americans less than alarmed. One-third worry “a great deal,” and 34% expect it to threaten their way of life. These could be the attitudes that matter most when it comes to Americans’ support for public policies designed to address the issue.





RAIN: Replenish Africa Initiative From Coca-Cola

1 05 2013

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Nearly one billion people do not have access to clean, safe water – that’s the equivalent of 1 in 8 people on the planet!  In Africa, preventable waterborne illnesses claim the lives of millions of people each year. No single organization can resolve Africa’s water crisis, but together, with a combination of civil society, non-governmental organizations and government, we can make a positive difference on Africa’s water challenges.

The Replenish Africa Initiative, or RAIN, is therefore the signature community initiative of The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation. Backed by a six-year, $30 million dollar commitment by The Coca-Cola Company, in partnership with other donors, RAIN’s goal is to provide over 2 million people in Africa with access to drinking water by 2015. RAIN will launch over 100 water access programs across Africa, including sanitation and hygiene education programs.

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The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation has been involved in community water programs since 2005. To date, 42 water projects in 27 countries have been supported, in partnership with and co-funded by USAID (United States Agency for International Development) under the Water and Development Alliance (WADA) and other partners. Within The Coca-Cola Company’s three-tier global water stewardship strategy which is focused on Reducing, Recycling and Replenishing the amount of water used in Coca-Cola beverages and their production, The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation’s focus is on Replenishing – or community based water interventions.

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The United Nations estimates that Sub-Saharan Africa alone loses 40 billion hours per year collecting water; that’s the same as a whole year’s worth of labor by France’s entire workforce! This is incredibly valuable time.

According to The Water Project, with much of one’s day already consumed by meeting basic needs, there isn’t time for much else. The hours lost to gathering water are often the difference between time to do a trade and earn a living and not. Just think of all the things you would miss if you had to take three hours out each day to get water.

When a water solution is put into place, sustainable agriculture is possible. Children get back to school instead of collecting dirty water all day, or being sick from waterborne illnesses. Parents find more time to care for their families, expand minimal farming to sustainable levels, and even run small businesses.  learn more at http://thewaterproject.org

In collaboration with various partners, volunteers, patrons and organizations, RAIN is not just for the immediate future of Africa, but also for the long-term sustainability of its resources. RAIN is also The Coca-Cola Company’s contribution to help Africa meet the UN Millennium Development Goal on water and sanitation.





ourhorizon.org: Climate Change Warnings On Gas Pumps

23 04 2013

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Canadian lawyer Robert Shirkey wants all Canadians who pump gasoline to understand the threat of climate change. He has started a campaign, ourhorizon.org that calls for labels to be put on gas pump nozzles. The campaign aims to get municipalities in Canadian provinces to pass legislation that require the labels.

If the name of the campaign sounds familiar, it is a reference to the offshore drilling rig, the Deepwater Horizon that spilled 4.9 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. As the campaign states, “Our name is a rejection of the system that made BP’s offshore drilling rig the Deepwater Horizon a reality.” However, the campaign makes it clear that it does “not blame BP,” but takes the position “that we each share in the responsibility for this tragedy.”

There are 4,000 municipalities in Canada. The campaign’s website contains a database of municipal councilors in Canada, and encourages people to send a letter to their local representative, called a councillor, in Canada. The database has “every single municipal councillor’s email in all of Canada.” Through the website, a user can email a letter to their local councillor just by clicking a button.

Here is a screen shot of the ourhorizon.org home page

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The campaign is funded through crowdsourcing via a donation page. The donation page asks users to donate in order to help the campaign do two things:

  • Fund a legal campaign for every province and territory in Canada in order to empower representatives to pass legislation, which carries an estimated $40,000 price tag
  • Send a postcard to every elected official in Canada with an image of the campaign’s concept and an explanation on the back, which carries an estimated $20,000 price tag

There are a few interesting facts about the campaign, including that it is market-based, as its website stresses. The purpose of the warning labels is to “supply the market with relevant information and let the market do its thing.” The way it will work is that the “label will change some behaviors but, more importantly, they will create a shift in the social environment to facilitate political action on climate change.”

Canadian Environment Under Siege

Many environmentalists and concerned citizens in Canada have been frustrated to watch the unbridled development of Canadian natural resources by the government at the urging of powerful lobby groups.  The continued oil industry development of the Alberta Tar Sands and the promotion of the building of the Keystone XL pipeline have alarmed many people concerned about the future direction of the country.  Activists such as Idle No More – a group of First Nations members – are protesting the government’s development of natural resources on Crown Land – in violation of treaties between First Nations groups and the Canadian government.  According to Wikipedia, The Idle No More movement generally opposes certain types of resource exploitation, particularly on First Nations territory.  The movement takes this stance against resource exploitation, as attributed to First Nations sovereignty and environmental sustainability.  The position is supported by many groups including non-governmental and grassroots organizations. In a human rights report on Canada, Amnesty International suggested that the government should have “respect for indigenous rights when issuing licences for mining, logging and petroleum and other resource extraction.”  Learn more at idlenomore.ca

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Warning Labels Work.

The European Union requires the use of climate change warnings in regards to new car sales. In 2008, the EU’s Department of Transport (DfT) issued new guidelines which required all promotional literature for new cars sales to include information about carbon dioxide emissions.

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Warning labels with graphic images are proven to raise public awareness.  ourhorizon.org compares the warning labels, which contain strong images, to those on “tobacco packages.” In 2001, Canada became the first country to use images in its cigarette warning labels. The use of such warning labels works, according to a 2009 report by the European Commission, Directorate General for Health and Consumers.  The report found the following:

  • Warning labels on cigarette packages “increase consumers’ knowledge about the health consequences of tobacco use and contribute to changing consumer’s attitudes towards tobacco use as well as changing consumers’ behavior”
  • Warning labels are “a critical element of an effective tobacco control policy”
  • Warning labels have a high impact in educating consumers about the risks of tobacco use, and a medium impact in changing smokers’ behavior
  • Fear-induced warnings (using shocking images related to health risks) are the most effective way to educate consumers on the health risks of tobacco use and to change their attitudes and behavior.

Original post at Triple Pundit by Gina-Marie Cheeseman.

http://www.triplepundit.com/2013/04/canadian-lawyer-climate-change-warning-labels-gas-pumps/

Photos by ourhorizon.org





U.S. Business Leaders Urge Strong Policy Action on Climate Change

11 04 2013

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As the President unveils his budget for the coming year, 33 major U.S. companies, including eBay Inc., Nike and Limited Brands signed a “Climate Declaration,” urging federal policymakers to take action on climate change, asserting that a bold response to the climate challenge is one of the greatest American economic opportunities of the 21st century.

“The signers of the Climate Declaration have a clear message for Washington: Act on climate change. We are, and it’s good for our businesses.  The cost of inaction is too high. Policymakers should see climate change policy for what it is: an economic opportunity.” said Anne Kelly, Director of BICEP (Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy) coalition. 

Together, the Declaration signatories provide approximately 475,000 U.S. jobs and generate a combined annual revenue of approximately $450 billion. Extreme weather events like Hurricane Sandy have affected several Climate Declaration signatories and exposed the United States’ economic vulnerability to climate change.  Signatories of the Climate Declaration are among the country’s best-known consumer brands, including Starbucks, Levis EMC Corporation, IKEA, Jones Lang LaSalle, L’Oréal, the North Face, the Portland Trail Blazers, Timberland and Unilever, among others.

“From droughts that affect cotton crops to Hurricane Sandy, which caused extensive damage to our operations, climate affects all aspects of our business,” said Eileen Fisher, CEO of New York-based apparel firm Eileen Fisher, which suffered severe damage and business interruption during the 2012 storm. “As a socially and environmentally responsible company, we are trying to affect positive change, but business can’t do it alone. We need the support of strong climate legislation.”

The signatories of the Climate Declaration are calling for Congress to address climate change by promoting clean energy, boosting efficiency and limiting carbon emissions – strategies that these businesses already employ within their own operations.

“Businesses understand that planning for a successful future takes investment today. One of the most important things Congress can do to grow our economy and protect our planet is to pass smart climate change legislation this year. Our workforce, supply chain and consumers are counting on us to lead the way,” said Anna Walker, Director, Government Affairs and Public Policy at Levi Strauss & Co.

BICEP members have supported several climate-driven policies, including historic automotive fuel economy standards signed into law in 2012 and the extension of the Production Tax Credit for wind power. Innovation within the transportation, electric power sectors and IT sectors, among others, will be essential to meeting the climate challenge.

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“eBay Inc. is committed to driving a future for commerce that embraces clean energy innovation and is ultimately more sustainable,” said Lori Duvall, Global Director, Green at eBay Inc. “Our efforts extend across our data, employee and distribution center portfolios, our shipping and logistics infrastructure, as well as the actions of buyers, sellers, and merchants on our platforms. We see our participation in this coalition as a key element in bringing to life our vision for enabling greener forms of commerce over the long term.”

The Climate Declaration comes on the heels of the President’s renewed commitment to combat the threat of climate change and a recent study from Ceres, Calvert Investments and WWF indicating that a strong majority of Fortune 100 companies have set renewable energy or greenhouse gas reduction goals. Recent polls conducted by Gallup and Yale University, respectively, indicate that a majority of Americans believe climate change is happening and that corporations, as well as government officials, should be doing more to address the issue.





PwC: Businesses need to be prepared for unpredictability – whether that’s policy, climate or consumer change.

13 03 2013

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PricewaterhouseCoopers, the world’s largest professional services firm, points to a catastrophic future unless radical action is taken now to combat climate change.

“The new normal for businesses is a period of high uncertainty, subdued growth and volatile commodity prices. If regulatory certainty doesn’t come soon, businesses’ ability to plan and act – particularly around energy, supply chain and risk – could be anything but ‘normal’.” said Malcom Preston, PwC’s global lead, sustainability and climate change. 

PwC says any investors in long-term assets or infrastructure — particularly in coastal or low-lying regions — need to consider more pessimistic scenarios. Sectors dependent on food, water, energy or ecosystem services need to scrutinise the resilience and viability of their supply chains. More carbon-intensive sectors need to anticipate more invasive regulation and the possibility of stranded assets.

The trigger for its dire warning comes from the failure of the global community to reduce carbon emissions by anywhere near the amount needed to restrict temperature rises.

“Business leaders have been asking for clarity in political ambition on climate change,” says partner Leo Johnson. “Now one thing is clear: businesses, governments and communities across the world need to plan for a warming world – not just 2C, but 4C or even 6C.”

PwC’s latest report shows the required improvement in global carbon intensity to meet a 2C warming target has risen to 5.1% every year from now to 2050. The improvement in 2011 was just 0.7% despite the global economic slowdown, and since the turn of the century the rate of decarbonisation has averaged 0.8%.

“It’s the boy scout motto – be prepared,” says Jonathan Grant, PwC’s director for sustainability and climate change. “Businesses need to be prepared for unpredictability – whether that’s policy, climate or consumer change. Extreme weather events have become more common, and unpredictability looks set to increase. Businesses that have failed to prepare will find it difficult to keep their operations running smoothly as the risk of disruption increases.

PwC, the largest of the big four accounting firms, points out that even if the 5.1% improvement might be achievable in the longer term, it is unrealistic to expect that decarbonisation could be stepped up immediately – which means that the reduction required in future years is likely to be far greater.

“We have passed a critical threshold – not once since the second world war has the world achieved that rate of decarbonisation, but the task now confronting us is to achieve it for 39 consecutive years,” says the report.

It adds: “Even doubling our current rate of decarbonisation would still lead to emissions consistent with 6 degrees [C] of warming by the end of the century. To give ourselves a more than 50% chance of avoiding 2 degrees [C] will require a six-fold improvement in our rate of decarbonisation.

“Governments’ ambitions to limit warming to 2C now appear highly unrealistic. This new reality means that we must contemplate a much more challenging future. Whilst the negotiators continue to focus on 2C, a growing number of scientists and other expert organisations are now projecting much more pessimistic scenarios for global temperatures. The International Energy Agency, for example, now considers 4C and 6C scenarios as well as 2C in their latest analysis.”

Grant add: “Tools like real options analysis, developed as part of the investment decision-making process in the oil industry for example, analyse the impact of significant uncertainty on a decision.

“Working with our clients, the reality is we will have to advise on a much wider range of climate scenarios. Resilience is the watch word. Businesses need to get engaged on the areas materially relevant to their business. For example if you’re a consumer goods company you need to consider the longer-term security of supply of the resources you need, where you will source them from, and the more day-to-day issues of how you deal with the potential for disruption to their supply or delivery caused by extreme weather events.”

PwC’s report says there will need to be radical transformations in the ways the global economy currently functions, a rapid uptake of renewable energy, sharp falls in fossil fuel use or massive deployment of carbon capture and storage, removal of industrial emissions and halting deforestation.

It also warns against seeing the dash for gas as a long-term panacea. While the boom of shale gas in the United States may buy some time to help limit emissions growth, low prices may also reduce the incentive for investment in lower-carbon nuclear power and renewable energy.

This post is adapted from an original article in The Guardian.  

http://www.guardian.co.uk/sustainable-business/blog/pwc-climate-change-reduction-business-investments





GlobalScan: Environmental Concerns At 20 Year Lows

12 03 2013

Cloud formation in the shape of a map of the world, over a green field

Environmental concerns among citizens around the world have been falling since 2009 and have now reached twenty-year lows, according to a multi-country GlobeScan poll.  Asked how serious they consider each of six environmental problems to be — air pollution, water pollution, species loss, automobile emissions, fresh water shortages and climate change — fewer people now consider them “very serious” than at any time since tracking began twenty years ago.

globescan-enviro-concerns

A total of 22,812 people from 22 countries were interviewed face-to-face or by telephone as part of the GlobeScan Radar annual tracking poll during the second half of 2012. Twelve of the represented countries have been regularly polled on environmental issues since 1992.

“Scientists report that evidence of environmental damage is stronger than ever—but our data shows that economic crisis and a lack of political leadership mean that the public are starting to tune out,” says GlobeScan Chairman Doug Miller. “Those who care about mobilizing public opinion on the environment need to find new messages in order to reinvigorate a stalled debate.”

Climate change is the only exception, where concern was lower from 1998 to 2003 than it is now. Concern about air and water pollution, as well as biodiversity, is significantly below where it was even in the 1990s. Many of the sharpest falls have taken place in the past two years.

The perceived seriousness of climate change has fallen particularly sharply since the unsuccessful UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen in December 2009. Climate concern dropped first in industrialized countries, but this year’s figures show that concern has now fallen in major developing economies such as Brazil and China as well.

Despite the steep fall in environmental concern over the past three years, majorities still consider most of these environmental problems to be “very serious.” Water pollution is viewed as the most serious environmental problem among those tested, rated by 58 percent as very serious. Climate change is rated second least serious out of the six, with one in two (49%) viewing it as “very serious.”





Oxfam: How The Top Ten Food Companies Rank As Responsible Brands.

28 02 2013

“The social and environmental policies of the world’s ten biggest food and beverage giants are not fit for modern purpose and need a major shake-up.”

– Oxfam Statement

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Oxfam released results today ranking the world’s Top Ten food and beverage companies on responsible brand behaviors – evaluating their performance on key measures such as land and water use, response to climate change, treatment of workers, farmers and women, and transparency.

According to the Oxfam report – Behind The Brands – “all of the big ten companies have acknowledged the need for a more just food system and have made commitments to that end.  But the Behind the Brands scorecard shows these very same companies are currently failing to take the necessary steps in their policies to ensure the well-being of those working to produce their products.  Instead they continue to profit from a broken system they should be helping to fix.”

Among several areas the Behind The Brands study identifies as serious improvement:

  • None of the big ten companies have policies to protect local communities from land and water grabs along their supply chains.
  • Companies are not taking significant steps to reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions responsible for the climate change affect their supplier farmers.
  • Most do not provide small-scale farmers with equal access to their supply changes or ensure they are receiving a fair price for their goods
  • Companies are overly secretive about their agricultural supply chains, making it difficult to verify and monitor sustainability goals and claims.
  • Only few efforts are in place to address the exploitation of female small-scale producers and farmers in their supply chains.

“None of the 10 biggest food and beverage companies are moving fast enough to turn around a 100-year legacy of relying on cheap land and labor to make mass products at huge profits, with unacceptably high social and environmental costs,” said Jeremy Hobbs, executive director for Oxfam International, in a statement. “No company emerges with a good overall score. Across the board, all 10 companies need to do much more.”





World Resources Institute: Launches Aqueduct Water Risk Mapping Tool

4 02 2013

Aqueduct provides companies with comprehensive, high-resolution picture of water risks worldwide.

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The World Resources Institute (WRI) has launched a new online tool that maps water risk worldwide based on the most current, highest resolution data available. Companies, investors, and governments can use the Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas to see how water stress will affect operations locally and globally, and help prioritize investments that will increase water security.

The online tool was developed by WRI, working with founding members of the Aqueduct Alliance, GE and Goldman Sachs, as well as Skoll Global Threats Fund, Shell, Bloomberg, Talisman Energy, Dow, United Technologies (UTC), DuPont, John Deere, Veolia Water, and the Dutch and Swedish governments.

The Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas is a customizable global map, based on 12 indicators of physical, regulatory, and reputational risk. In a user-friendly way, companies can now evaluate how water stress, flood occurrence, access to water, drought, and other issues may affect operations. Additionally, the global map can be tailored specifically for nine water-intense industry sectors – from oil and gas, to agriculture, to chemicals.

“Recent history is littered with companies that failed to anticipate emerging threats. Water scarcity is one such threat. Thankfully, forward-thinking business leaders are starting to get it. They understand that water risk is one of the top issues that they face,” said Andrew Steer, President, World Resources Institute. “This new platform will provide companies with comprehensive, high-resolution tools to measure water risk. It gives them an unprecedented ability to understand and better manage these risks.”

Companies have already been using earlier versions of the Aqueduct tool to understand how their operations and supply chains may be exposed to water risk. For example:

  • McDonalds has asked 353 of its global suppliers’ facilities to use Aqueduct to assess their local water risk;
  • Procter & Gamble, Owens-Corning, and AU Optronics have used Aqueduct to understand how local water supply, quality, and other risk factors may affect their global facilities, and to prioritize water efficiency and other investments;
  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch used Aqueduct to inform investors about water risks and opportunities in a recently released research report; and
  • Companies used Aqueduct to disclose and report on external water risk in the Carbon Disclosure Project’s (CDP) 2012 Global Water Report.

“Aqueduct’s global water risk map provides an innovative tool and important step forward in understanding critical water issues,” said Kyung-Ah Park, Head of the Environmental Markets Group at Goldman Sachs. “Assessing risk is challenging, and even more so with complex issues like water. Aqueduct provides a much more complete picture of the water issues affecting business globally than we’ve had before.”

Through the Atlas, users can plot the locations that matter most to them – from facilities, to suppliers, to potential new markets or proposed power plants – and compare those locations’ potential exposure to water stress and risk. They can also review maps of individual indicators, such as seasonal variability, which may be highly important to their operations.

You can link to the video demo of the Aqueduct Atlas below.

http://aqueduct.wri.org/aqueduct/how-to

“GE knows first-hand that water scarcity is a major challenge in many parts of the world,” said Heiner Markhoff, President and CEO of GE Water. “We’re very pleased that Aqueduct’s new global water risk maps will enhance understanding of these risks in ways that enable society to address them more effectively.”

The release of the global Water Risk Atlas is the culmination of a three-year effort by WRI to create a peer-reviewed and robust methodology for mapping complex water security around the world.

“Aqueduct’s global water risk mapping information is a valuable tool for understanding and addressing the pressing global threat of water security,” said Sylvia Lee, Water Manager, Skoll Global Threats Fund. “We understand that water is not just an environmental issue, but a real and substantial risk to communities, economies, and businesses. The new global water risk maps make it easier than ever to research and understand where in the world these risks are greatest, and where action is most needed.”





World Bank: Bleak Future Without Action

2 02 2013

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World Bank President Jim Yong Kim was interviewed recently in The Washington Post about Climate Change and its impact  on populations of people around the world.

“If there is no action soon, the future will become bleak. The World Bank Group released a report in November that concluded that the world could warm by 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) by the end of this century if concerted action is not taken now.” said Yong Kim.

Especially vulnerable will be the largest population centers around the world who live near the oceans – who are expected to rise with melting polar ice.

He continued, “A world that warm means seas would rise 1.5 to 3 feet, putting at risk hundreds of millions of city dwellers globally. It would mean that storms once dubbed “once in a century” would become common, perhaps occurring every year. And it would mean that much of the United States, from Los Angeles to Kansas to the nation’s capital, would feel like an unbearable oven in the summer.”

Among the long-range scientific forecasts cited in the report, significant climate change is expected in key regions in the world.

• Drier conditions are projected for southern Europe, Africa(except some areas in the northeast), large parts of North America and South America, and southern Australia, among others.

• Wetter conditions are projected in particular for the northern high latitudes—that is, northern North America, northern Europe, and Siberia—and in some monsoon regions. Some regions may experience reduced water stress compared to a case without climate change.

• Sub-seasonal and sub-regional changes to the hydrological cycle are associated with severe risks, such as flooding and drought, which may increase significantly even if annual averages change little.





A4S REPORT: Future Proofed Decision Making

3 01 2013

“There was a time when we could say that there was either a complete lack of knowledge, or at least room for doubt, about the consequences for our planet of our actions.

That time has gone.

We now know all too clearly what we are actually doing and that we need to do something about it urgently. Better accounting must be part of that process.”

Prince Charles, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales

The Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) commissioned research into which types of information may be most effective in driving the integration of environmental and social factors into Board level decision-making.  The A4S research indicated that:

1. There is a growing recognition of the changing business landscape and a potential need for changes to decision-making processes and strategic objectives to reflect new risks and opportunities.

2. The business case for the inclusion of environmental and social factors at Board level is not yet clear, particularly for many CFOs, due to uncertainty around the relevance of these issues to their organization.

3. Environmental and social information is often assumed to have been formally considered by the CSR / Sustainability team (with sometimes limited impact on the wider business) before decisions reach Board level. Information is typically presented as traditional sustainability data e.g. tonnes of carbon — with little alignment to strategic objectives or financial information.

4. Scepticism over the quality and robustness of many types of environmental and social data is preventing more widespread use.

5. A belief among respondents that expressing many environmental and social factors in financial terms can be counter-productive as data can be viewed as unreliable, spurious or unethical.

6. A perception that action can be left to successors who will understand these issues more fully.

The A4S research highlights that there are a number of barriers to overcome before the majority of organizations truly integrate environmental and social factors into decision making, including:

Demonstrate the business case

There is a need to articulate more clearly the commercial rationale for incorporating social and environmental factors into decision making to help ensure that organizations are aware of the risks to mitigate and the opportunities to grasp over the short, medium and long term.

Speak the right language

Narratives that are aligned with the needs and ‘language’ of business need to be developed. These need to be focussed at a sector and organizational level and grounded in commercial understanding.

Develop more robust information

Organizations should work with existing collaborations to develop commonly agreed methodologies to value environmental and social inputs and impacts in financial terms. These should clearly demonstrate the link to an organization’s strategic objectives and financial performance, either directly or via reputational impact. They should work with others to develop a wider set of tools that enable future risk, opportunity and uncertainty to be incorporated into decision making processes.

Bridge the knowledge gap

The need for skills expansion at Board level and within the finance and accounting community should be recognized and addressed.

Create an enabling environment

Organizations need to be given clear signals to drive more sustainable behaviour, including the need to align national and global frameworks with business incentives and performance measurement systems.

Access the full report below.

Prince Charles Photo Credit:  The Guardian





Climate Counts: 15 Companies “Soaring” With Climate and Energy Strategy

8 12 2012

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In its 6th annual report, Climate Counts (CC) has released it scorecard of 145 companies’ performance of publicly available information regarding their efforts to reduce green house emissions, support the need for a comprehensive climate policy and report its progress.  15 of those companies have received a score of “soaring” by CC for their leadership and innovation in reducing their impact on the environment.

Unilever leads the pack with an amazing score of 91 (out of 100).  Here are the rest of the “soaring” companies:

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In the report, Mike Bellamente, Director of the non-profit Climate Counts, said, “Business leaders are making remarkably innovative progress to minimize waste, employ renewable energy, and design products with a lower carbon impact – all while turning a profit and growing their business. As the economy shows limited signs of improvement, top performers on our scorecard are demonstrating that economic prosperity and environmental sustainability can be achieved simultaneously. We would call that a win-win if it weren’t for the great distance we still have to go in squaring up human consumption with the true carrying capacity of our planet.”

However, some companies are “stuck” according to the CC report.  Among the least improved companies are some household brand names that people should re-consider their patronage based on their lack of progress in assessing and responding to their impact on the environment.  The fast food sector  is particularly guilty of ignoring its impact on climate change as McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s all squarely in the bottom six companies that rank as least improved over the six years of the Climate Counts reports.

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Cheers to the “soaring” companies and jeers to those that are “stuck”. according to Climate Counts.

Read the Climate Counts Report here.





Climate Vulnerable Forum: Climate Change Cost 1.7% of Global GDP in 2010.

2 10 2012

“A HUNDRED YEARS from now, looking back, the only question that will appear important about the historical moment in which we now live is the question of whether or not we did anything to arrest climate change.”

THE ECONOMIST December 2011

In the 2nd edition, The Climate Vulnerability Monitor (A Guide to the Cold Calculus of a Hot Planet) reports on the economic and social impact of climate change.  Among the highlights of this scientific report, 1.7% of global GDP losses are attributed to climate change and the carbon economy in 2010.  The report projects that by 2030, global GDP losses will rise to 3.2% by climate change and carbon emissions.  This includes a projection of a loss of 2% of the United States GDP by 2030.

But as important as the economic impact of climate change is the human toll.  The Climate Vulnerability Monitor reports:  “Continuing today’s patterns of carbon-intensive energy use is estimated, together with climate change, to cause 6 million deaths per year by 2030, close to 700,000 of which would be due to climate change. This implies that a combined climate-carbon crisis is estimated to claim 100 million lives between now and the end of the next decade.”

Here is a chart from the report that highlights the vulnerability based on regions in the world  to climate and carbon dependence.

Access an executive summary of the Monitor report here.

 

About CVF:

The Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) is an international cooperation group for coordination, advocacy and knowledge-building among countries that face significant insecurity due to climate change. The Forum has distinguished itself through a determination to catalyze more effective and broad-based action for tackling the global climate challenge, internationally and nationally. Founded in 2009 by the Maldives, it now includes 20 governments and is a major foreign policy initiative of its current chair, Bangladesh. The Climate Vulnerability Monitor’s second edition was commissioned at the November 2011 Ministerial Meeting of the Forum at Dhaka, Bangladesh.





World Water Week: The Relationship Between Water and Food.

28 08 2012

If the wars of the 20thcentury were fought over oil,

the wars of this century will be fought over water.

 The World Bank

World Water Week is sponsored by the Stockholm International Water Institute and is being conducted this week in Stockholm.  World Water Week provides a unique forum for the exchange of views, experiences and practices between the scientific, business, policy and civic communities. It focuses on new thinking and positive action toward water-related challenges and their impact on the world’s environment, health, climate, economic and poverty reduction agendas.

This year’s program is focused on Water and Food Security.  According to the SIWI, water interventions for food security, at production and household levels, need to focus on improved nutrition, better health, critical bio-diversity and sustainable livelihoods, achieving co-benefits for environmental as well as human health.

Says SIWI, “The food production in the world is more than enough to feed all its inhabitants properly. Yet, a billion are undernourished, around two billion are overeating, and staggering amounts of food are lost or wasted. In addition, food alone will not eradicate hunger as up to 50% of malnutrition is related to unclean water, inadequate sanitation or poor hygiene.”

Wonderwater:  An initiative to educate and inspire.

One group that is pioneering the campaign to raise awareness about the relationship between water and food production is the U.K. based Wonderwater.They have created public awareness campaigns and interactive learning opportunities to help educate people about the food and water.

How much water do you eat? This is the question posed by Wonderwater to consumers, businesses, politicians and NGOs around the world, as the pressures of population growth, climate change and water scarcity continue to pose serious challenges to our future food security. The group uses creative, thought-provoking design exhibitions and striking café installations to stimulate conversations relating to the water footprint of food, prompting visitors to consider how much of the world’s scarce fresh water (which represents just 3% of Earth’s water) are required to produce the food we consume.

Wonderwater’s latest project is another of its Wonderwater Cafe’s.  In September 2012 Wonderwater Cafe will arrive in London at Leila’s Shop in Shoreditch. Leila McAlister’s responsibly sourced and seasonal menu will be utilized to illustrate how much water it takes to produce our favorite foods, and highlight the importance of considering water consumption when making culinary decisions.

Learn more about Wonderwater Cafe London here

Read more about Wonderwater at 2degrees with blogger Katharine Earley





Project Earth: School kids worldwide unite to solve environmental problems.

21 06 2012

In advance of the Rio+20 summit this week, winners were announced in the Project Earth competition recognizing the best school projects addressing environmental problems from around the world.  More than 2,400 schools and clubs from 117 countries are currently participating in Project Earth, creating real projects to improve our global environment. All winners are featured on the Project Earth (www.projectearth.net) website.  

Congratulations to all the winners and kudos to the kids who are stepping up to protect the planet even while their leaders debate and deny.

Highlights of a press release announcing the winners are featured below.

Whether or not their countries agree to move forward, thousands of schools representing 117 countries are collaborating to solve the world’s biggest environmental problems. As today’s world leaders gather at the RIO+20 Conference to define pathways toward a more resilient and sustainable world, tomorrow’s world leaders were also recognized. The best school projects from around the world were announced at the conference today.

Project Earth is an online forum created to foster environmental and cultural exchange, networking schools and clubs around the world. Recognizing that environmental issues are global, that tomorrow’s leaders must be prepared to work across borders and cultures, and that technology makes connecting on a global scale more accessible than ever, Project Earth is a space where classes and clubs can post environmental projects of all kinds and begin to network with like-minded students around the world.

Partner countries like Chile, Russia, Brazil, and the United Arab Emirates have embraced Project Earth on a country-wide scale and global outreach efforts have contributed to Project Earth’s swift growth — from ten participating countries 18 months ago to 117 countries today.

Maurice Strong, the first executive director of the UN Environment Programme and Secretary General of the first Rio Earth Summit, congratulated this year’s Project Earth World Environment Day project winners at the RIO+20 conference. “In embracing Project Earth’s power to foster global collaboration and understanding, these students and educators assume a leadership role in our collective future,” said Strong. “These projects are pioneering examples of the kind of environmental stewardship that can and will make a difference.”

Project Earth was launched in late 2010 by Ecology and Environment, Inc. (E & E). E & E president and CEO Kevin Neumaier is encouraged by the quality of this year’s contest entries. “These are meaningful projects, like keeping grease out of the sewers, reclaiming biodiversity by harnessing community involvement, and creating gardens out of what once went to the landfill,” he said. “The students go energetically and quickly toward solutions and work in creative and innovative ways — their enthusiasm illustrates that collectively we can all have a genuine impact.”





U.N.: “Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A Future Worth Choosing.”

1 02 2012

The UN High-Level Panel Global Sustainability released its report in Addis Ababa yesterday entitled “Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A Future Worth Choosing.” The panel’s 99-page report, which will serve as an input to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in June, (otherwise known as the Rio+20 Summit) is a call to action, “to address the sustainable development challenge in a fresh and operational way.”

The executive secretary of the panel, Janos Pasztor said:

We cannot go into sustainable development without making a radical transformation of the economy.”

The long-term vision of the Panel is to eradicate poverty, reduce inequality and make growth inclusive, and production and consumption more sustainable, while combating climate change and respecting a range of other planetary boundaries. In light of this, the report makes a range of recommendations to take forward the Panel’s vision for a sustainable planet, a just society and a growing economy.

 In their summary report, the panel reminded us of the sober reality of the world today.
  • 27 per cent of the world’s population lives in absolute poverty (down from 46 per cent in 1990)
  • Global economic growth is up 75 per cent since 1992 but inequality is still high
  • An increase of 20 million undernourished people since 2000
  • 5.2 million hectares net forest loss per year
  • Ozone layer will recover to pre-1980 levels in 50 years plus
  • Two thirds of the services provided by nature to humankind are in decline
  • 85 per cent of all fish stocks are over-exploited, depleted, recovering or fully exploited
  • 38 per cent increase in annual global carbon dioxide emissions between 1990 and 2009
  • 20 per cent of the world’s population lack access to electricity
  • 884 million people lack access to clean water
  • 2.6 billion people are without access to basic sanitation
  • 67 million children of primary school age are out of school
  • 3.5-year increase in life expectancy between 1990 and 2010

The report says:

“The signposts are clear: We need to change dramatically, beginning with how we think about our relationship to each other, to future generations, and to the eco-systems that support us. Our mission as a Panel was to reflect on and formulate a new vision for sustainable growth and prosperity, along with mechanisms for achieving it.

With seven billion of us now inhabiting our planet, it is time to reflect on our current path. Today we stand at a crossroads. Continuing on the same path will put people and our planet at greatly heightened risk.”

Article originally posted on Triplepundit.com





She’s Alive. Beautiful. Finite. Hurting. Worth Dying For.

22 01 2012

The anthem for 2012.  

This cut was put together by Vivek Chauhan, a young film maker, together with naturalists working with the Sanctuary Asia network (www.sanctuaryasia.com).





Portfolio 21 Investments: PEAK > Investing at the edge of ecological limits.

16 01 2012

Congratulations to Portfolio 21 Investments in Portland for a remarkably blunt, clear and inspiring strategic approach to managing investments in “the age of volatility.”

In one of the most compelling presentations regarding the need to re-think investment criteria in a world of ecological crises, Portfolio 21 Investments calls for re-thinking traditional criteria for investment and puts forward a unique pov to navigate a new landscape.  They are making a commitment to factor in new levels ecological risks and to seek the rewards from those that are bringing forward innovation and new ways to confront new realities.

By evaluating companies’ energy and resource efficiencies as well developing new strategies for operating in an ecologically limited world, Portfolio 21 is bringing timely and refreshingly enlightened thinking to the investment sector.

Portfolio 21’s report cautions:  “Investors must be aware of a stark and fairly recent truth:  Our economic system has become so large that is is overpowering and threatening the natural systems that support it.  Our failure to anchor the economy within the earth and its systems facilitates a fallacy:  the belief that the economy can grow infinitely, regardless of the planet’s physical limits.”

Kudos to Portfolio’s 21 fresh and importantly provocative pov.  Let’s hope investors listen and companies heed the wisdom.

Get the PEAK report here.





American Sustainable Business Council: Reject Keystone XL Pipeline

16 01 2012

The American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), a coalition of 45 business organizations, urged President Obama to reject the Keystone XL Pipeline.

“Contrary to the claims of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Petroleum Institute and other pipeline advocates who threaten political retaliation if the pipeline is not approved, Keystone XL would not deliver on jobs, energy, safety or economic competitiveness,” said ASBC Executive Director David Levine.

  • Most of the oil that Keystone XL would carry from Canada to the Gulf Coast of Texas is destined for export, and the jobs the pipeline would create would be just as fleeting. The State Department estimated the pipeline construction workforce at 5,000 to 6,000 workers and as the Vice President of Keystone Pipeline for TransCanada told CNN, long-term jobs would be in the “hundreds, certainly not in the thousands.”
  • Keystone would deliver far less bang for the buck when it comes to job creation than alternative energy. A dollar of spending in clean energy generates three times as many jobs as a dollar spent on oil and gas, according to U.S. Commerce Department data.
  • Keystone is a boondoggle for oil companies, not an investment in our nation’s economic competitiveness. Keystone will leave us even further behind Germany, China and other countries that are dominating the rapidly growing global clean technology market.
  • Keystone would increase the kind of catastrophic environmental risk the World Economic Forum warns about in its just released Global Risks 2012. Keystone oil will be extracted from tar sands and its carbon emissions are 82% greater than the average crude refined in the United States, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Keystone will increase carbon emissions and environmental risk. The pipeline would threaten the Ogallala aquifer, a large and irreplaceable supply of drinking water and irrigation in the Great Plains.

“Keystone is a sneak attack on American’s wallets,” said Frank Knapp, Vice Chairman of ASBC and CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce.” Its real aim is to import oil from Canada, refine it, and then export it to foreign buyers. For most businesses and consumers in the mid-west, the pipeline will serve up higher energy prices and higher food prices, since food prices include the price of energy and oil-based fertilizer needed to grow crops. That’s the last thing we need for real economic recovery.”

“The Keystone pipeline endangers the Ogallala aquifer — the only clean and reliable water source for drinking and agriculture for much of the Great Plains,” said Fran Teplitz, ASBC board member. “If this supply were contaminated by an oil spill, the costs to the public and business would be incalculable, and some of America’s most productive farmland would be lost.”

“Keystone makes no economic sense for America,” said ASBC co-founder and Director David Brodwin.  “Once we take into account the true cost of oil including subsidies, environmental damage, and military costs, oil is far more expensive than the alternatives.  The best thing we can do for the American economy and for American businesses as a whole is to wean ourselves from oil as quickly as possible.”

About The American Sustainable Business Council

The American Sustainable Business Council is a growing coalition of businesses and business networks representing over 100,000 businesses and more than 200,000 entrepreneurs, owners, executives, investors and others committed to advancing policies that support a vibrant and sustainable economy. www.asbcouncil.org.





WindMade: First Consumer Label Attracts Leading Global Brands

26 11 2011

Major global companies including Motorola Mobility, Deutsche Bank, Bloomberg, Method and BD (Becton, Dickinson and Co.) have produced or have pledged to procure at least 25 percent of their operations’ power consumption from wind energy. They announced their commitment to become certified under the new WindMade consumer label at a Global Launch event in New York.

The companies pioneering the use of the world’s first wind power consumer label were unveiled today at an event hosted by WindMade and the UN Global Compact in New York.

The label allows participating companies to communicate the share of wind power and other renewable sources as part of the overall power demand of their operations. The objective behind WindMade is to drive demand in wind power, thereby boosting investment and growing the renewable energy market.

Here is a video that tells the story of the WindMade label.

“These companies are at the forefront of the global sustainability movement,” said Henrik Kuffner, WindMade’s CEO. “We are delighted to have them on board the unique WindMadeTM initiative, and are confident that many others will follow suit in the coming weeks and months.”

“Consumers are ready to act. 67 percent of 31,000 consumers globally have told us they would favor WindMade products, even at a premium,” said Morten Albæk, SVP Global Marketing and Customer Insight at Vestas Wind Systems, the company spearheading the WindMade initiative. “WindMade empowers people to choose brands that choose wind.”

“We believe clean growth is good economics,” said Sabine Miltner, Group Sustainability Officer for Deutsche Bank. “We are committed to leveraging our core business expertise towards a cleaner and more energy efficient global economy. We believe in leading by example and have increased our use of clean electricity from seven percent to 65 percent over the last four years. WindMade is an important step toward more market transparency and we are pleased to join this new partnership.”

“It is Motorola Mobility’s intent through our participation in the WindMade initiative to encourage greater use of renewable energy sources like wind and solar around the globe,” said Bill Olson, director office of sustainability and stewardship, Motorola Mobility.

“The supply side of the clean energy sector can clearly deliver, but now it is time to galvanize demand. Government has done their part, and it is now up to the corporate community to demonstrate leadership by committing to clean energy development. WindMade provides us with a roadmap for achieving this,” said Curtis Ravenel, head of sustainability, Bloomberg.”Corporations investing in wind energy technology need a global set of standards if they are to provide the transparency that’s critical to their stakeholders as well as gain the competitive advantage that such investments can mean for their businesses,” said Kathy Nieland, U.S. sustainable business solutions leader, PwC.

”Using wind power helps BD become a more sustainable organization, and the WindMade label sends a message to our customers and the industry that supporting clean sources of electricity is a sound business decision and an important choice in reducing a corporation’s environmental footprint,” said Glenn Barbi, vice president, Global Sustainability, BD.

For more information on the founders and pioneers, see http://www.windmade.org.

According to the WindMade requirements, companies using the label must source a minimum of 25 percent of the electricity consumed from wind power. The wind energy share can be procured through a company-owned wind power generation facility, a long-term power purchase agreement for wind power, or the purchase of high quality Renewable Energy Certificates approved by WindMadeTM. The exact percentage of the wind energy share will be stated on the label. Companies can choose to certify global, regional or facility level operations, a distinction that will be clearly communicated on the label itself.

WindMade, which was introduced to the world at this past year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, is backed by the UN Global Compact, Vestas Wind Systems, World Wildlife Fund, Global Wind Energy Council, Bloomberg (as the official data provider), and the LEGO Group. PwC is the official verification partner.

A separate label for products is in development and will be released during 2012.





Sweet Sixteen: World Economic Forum finds New Sustainability Champions

19 09 2011

Congratulations to the World Economic Forum and Boston Consulting Group for their work in identifying 16 companies in emerging markets that are setting new standards for sustainability.

In the new report by WEF and BCG, they highlight that Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, the Russian Federation and South Korea will account for more than 50% of the world’s economic growth by the year 2025.

From the Executive Summary of the report:

“The World Economic Forum and The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) set out to seek unconventional, practical solutions to the current challenges of growth, aiming to identify and support key business practices, and to relay them to the global community. This project deliberately did not look to governments, environmental organizations or multinational corporations from advanced economies – all sources of well- practiced but as yet insufficient answers. Instead, it went to agents who deal with a wide range of constraints in their daily business: rapidly growing companies originating and operating in the emerging markets, where economic prosperity and populations are growing fastest, and where environmental constraints and stresses are often highest.

As a result of a rigorous research process, the project identified and assessed 16 emerging market-based companies that share a unique mindset and set of best practices: these are the New Sustainability Champions.

Based in countries such as Brazil, Costa Rica, Egypt and Kenya, these companies provide inspiring examples for any corporation around the world interested in tackling the challenges of performance, innovation, growth and sustainability. Specifically, the New Sustainability Champions:

1. Proactively turn constraints into opportunities through innovation

2. Embed sustainability in their company culture

3. Actively shape their business environments

Moreover, they demonstrate superior financial performance when benchmarked against their peers.

The mindset, practices and business models of these New Sustainability Champions offer critical insights for emerging market-based businesses, established multinationals and governments. They could provide multiplier effects and create the basis for replication and extension among companies operating in emerging markets. They also serve as a starting point for redefining the future of growth: one that is robust and efficiently binds together all elements of sustainability – economic, environmental and social”

Here are the 16 companies that the report highlights.

Download a copy of the report here





Green is Universal Reports Green Consumersim and Brand Loyalty Are On the Rise.

27 04 2011

A new report from Green Is Universal reports that 78% of consumers believing more than ever that buying green is a way to shop with their values and ethics (up 9 points vs. two years ago).  The poll also reveals that an overwhelming majority of consumers feel they have a personal responsibility to take care of the earth (93%), and believe that if we don’t do so, there will be negative consequences for future generations (91%).  Nine out of 10 consumers say companies have a social responsibility to protect the environment.

Sixty-eight percent (68%) of consumers say it’s worth paying more for a green product or service if it is a brand they trust (an increase of 8 points vs. 2 years ago).”These findings underscore that consumers are increasingly shopping with their values, particularly when it comes to the environment,” said Beth Colleton, Vice President, Green is Universal. “This is an enormous opportunity for marketers to communicate their brand’s commitment to green, as a way to build both loyalty and returns for their business.”

Not only do consumers hold themselves accountable when it comes to protecting the earth, but they believe companies should be held to the same standard. and three-quarters (77%) say they have a more favorable impression of companies that promote environmental causes. Putting their money where their mouth is, findings show substantially more consumers who say they have boycotted a company/product in the past year, because it had policies and practices that were not environmentally responsible (27%) (up 8 points from 2009).

Additional highlights from a related but separate Green is Universal poll on re-use, “From Trash To Treasure,” include the following:

  • 62% say they are making a conscious effort to purchase products made by environmentally responsible companies
  • 68% say they are paying more attention to whether products are made from recycled materials
  • 84% appreciate companies who make it easier for them to recycle
  • 78% appreciate companies who make using recycled materials a priority because it provides them with an easy way to help the environment
  • 57% say they are likely to encourage others to buy products that are made from recycled materials
Reposted from Sustainable Life Media.




Global Research: People are divided over concern about climate change.

20 04 2011

A survey of more than 18,500 people across 24 countries has revealed that concern over climate change is eclipsed by other environmental concerns such as energy security and waste disposal.

Global warming was voted a top priority in just four of the nations polled – South Korea, India, Japan and Mexico.

Energy security is the leading environmental issue for Britons, over and above climate change, according to the new international Ipsos poll of working age adults.

Half of Britons (50%) feel that future energy supplies and sources is one of the most important environmental issues facing the nation. Other leading issues are waste management (48%); overpopulation (41%).

Only a quarter of Britons (25%) believe climate change is their leading environmental concern.

Of the 24 nations polled across the globe, Britain is in the bottom third in terms of prioritising climate change. Lower placed nations include South Africa (23%), China (21%), Poland (19%) and Russia (9%).

In contrast the UK is in the top three nations most concerned about energy security, behind Sweden (58%) and Germany (56%).

Ipsos MORI’s Head of Environment Research, Edward Langley, said: “The public are cautious about climate change. They feel there is a lack of consensus on whether it is man-made and the degree to which it will impact their lives.

“In contrast, our dependency on fossil fuels is a more immediate and tangible risk that they can get their heads around, and one where they see an obvious need to take action to maintain living standards.”

The survey was conducted last month in 24 countries around the world via the Ipsos Online Panel system. The countries included Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Great Britain, Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States of America. The international sample included 18,675 adults. Those interviewed were aged 18-64 in the US and Canada, and 16-64 in all other countries.

According to Ipsos MORI, the survey results reveal a number of potential implications for environmental campaigners. Firstly, it is important for the public to realise that the science community is in broad agreement that man-made climate change is happening, and to link the impacts with risks the public care about, that is, economic prosperity and that of future generations.

Secondly, campaigners need to consider the degree to which energy security can be used as a hook to encourage participation in sustainable behaviours.

Looking further afield, campaigners may also consider why other nationalities are more likely to feel Climate Change is a key environmental issue. For example, Japan (48%), Canada (40%), Spain (40%) and Germany (38%) are much more likely to say climate change is a key issue for them. Are there lessons which can be learnt in terms of how the public have been engaged there?

Reposted from Clickgreen.org.uk

http://www.clickgreen.org.uk/analysis/general-analysis/122174-climate-change-fatigue-as-global-survey-reveals-lack-of-concern.html





Congrats to Nissan and TBWA/Chiat Day: Nissan Leaf

10 09 2010

Nice new spot launching the Leaf – the all-electric car from Nissan.





Seventy percent of major companies plan to increase climate change spending.

25 05 2010

Here’s a report on the recent Ernst & Young survey about companies intentions to invest in climate change initiatives.  We love the idea that 89% report the efforts are driven by changing customer demands.

Seventy percent of major companies plan to boost spending on climate change efforts in the next two years, according to a new report from Ernst & Young.

Of the 300 corporate executives surveyed this spring, 89% said their green activities were driven by changing customer demands while 92% also pointed to energy costs as a driver. The fact that 43% of those surveyed said that equity analysts will soon consider climate change actions while valuing companies was also a factor.

Thirty percent said their company had a staffer in charge of climate change initiatives, a trend The Times explored in December.

The respondents hail from 16 countries, representing firms in 18 industry sectors that pull in at least a billion dollars a year in revenue. Nearly half said they intend to shell out between half a percent to more than 5% of that revenue – or about $5 million to $50 million each year – for climate change initiatives.

Two-thirds said they are talking with their suppliers about programs to limit carbon emissions; 36% said they are already in the process of cutting greenhouse gases from their supply chains.

Nearly 95% said national policies played a critical role in their company’s climate change strategy and 81% said the same of global laws. But in countries such as the U.S., Japan and Germany, regulatory and compliance issue was ranked as the largest challenge to accomplishing environmental goals.

The study was conducted by the research group Verdantix.

Tiffany Hsu, The Los Angeles Times





Fighting climate change would also benefit human health.

25 11 2009

Measures to combat climate change could have appreciable direct as well as indirect benefits for public health, say authors of a series of six papers and four comments in The Lancet Online First.

In the first comment, authors from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine say that many policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions can also have a range of ancillary effects, including effects on health. The authors of the first paper in the series looked at the effects of two hypothetical interventions: to improve the energy efficiency of UK housing stock (combined fabric, ventilation, fuel switching and behavioural changes); and to introduce 150 million low-emission household cookstoves in India. The UK housing changes were estimated to cut disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) by 850 and to save 0.6 megatonnes of carbon dioxide per million population in one year. Introducing cookstoves was calculated to result in substantial reductions in acute lower respiratory tract infection in children, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and ischaemic heart disease resulting in 12,500 fewer DALYs and a saving of 0.1-0.2 megatonnes of carbon dioxide per million population per year.

A further paper modelled the health and environmental effects of changes to urban land transport in Delhi and London, which included lower-carbon-emission motor vehicles and a higher level of active travel. Increasing active travel – in either city – gave rise to more health as well as environmental benefits than increasing use of lower-emission motor vehicles. Much of the benefit arose from a reduction in the number of years of life lost from ischaemic heart disease, by 10-19% in London and 11-25% in Delhi. Other papers looked at the health effects of strategies linked to low-carbon electricity generation, short-lived greenhouse pollutants, and food and agriculture. In his own comment, Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet, points out how this research could help combat the public’s negative perception of initiatives to combat climate change: “The overwhelming impression among the public is that any response to global warming will be negative … We will have to drive less, fly less, eat differently, change the way we generate energy, and alter our lifestyles in ways that will limit our freedom to do as we please … Not surprisingly, this political message is hard to sell to a public already struggling during a time of global financial insecurity.” “Health is likely to become an increasingly important concern, not only for a public anxious about the impact of climate-change mitigation policies on their lives, but also for politicians eager to sweeten the climate-change policy pill. This latest report aims to accelerate political and public assent for large cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions.”

Professor Vivienne Nathanson, head of science and ethics at the British Medical Association, said of The Lancet’s papers: “Climate change not only contributes to disease and premature death but exacerbates existing health inequalities in the UK and globally. Today’s research shows that a reduction in emissions will have a positive effect on health in both high and low-income settings, and that lifestyle changes made by all us will have direct health benefits.”





Help fund The Stupid Show Webcast from Copenhagen.

25 11 2009

The filmmakers behind the groundbreaking documentary on climate change–The Age of Stupid—hope to webcast The Stupid Show live from the United Nationals Climate Summit in Copenhagen in December.  To make this happen, they need your support.

Learn more about how you can make The Stupid Show happen.





Age of Stupid Filmmaker Saved By Mayor of London from iron bar yielding girl gang.

25 11 2009

I can’t believe I just wrote that headline – but the truth is stranger than fiction.  The Guardian reported today:

Boris Johnson came to the rescue of a high profile climate change activist and filmmaker who was being attacked by a group of young girls brandishing an iron bar, it was revealed today.

Franny Armstrong, the director of The Age of Stupid, described the mayor of London as her “knight in a shining bicycle” after he came to her defence as she was walking home in Camden, north London, last night.

She called out for help to a passing cyclist after being surrounded by a group of hoodie-wearing young girls who pushed her against a car, one holding an iron bar.

She called out for help to a passing cyclist after being surrounded by a group of hoodie-wearing young girls who pushed her against a car, one holding an iron bar.

The cyclist turned out to be none other than Johnson, who has made tackling youth crime a key mayoral priority.

He stopped and chased the girls down the street, calling them “oiks”, according to Armstrong, who praised the mayor’s intervention.

Johnson returned and insisted on walking her home.

Armstrong is the founder of the 10:10 campaign, which aims to cut 10% of carbon emissions in 2010 and has attracted support from leading firms – including the Guardian – and personalities.

“I was texting on my phone so didn’t notice the girls until they pushed me against the car, quite hard,” she said.

“I noticed that one had an iron bar in her hand. It was very frightening. At that moment a man cycled past and I called out for help.

“He said to the girls: ‘What do you think you are doing?’ He picked up the iron bar, called after the girls and cycled after them. He returned a few minutes later and walked me home.

“He was my knight on a shining bicycle.”

Watch an interview with Franny Armstrong.





Six Powerful Voices

7 10 2009

Sign the petition, upload your photo and send a message about your concern for climate change.  Copenhagen is right around the corner.

Sign the petition.





Seeking an audience for The Age of Stupid

7 10 2009

“The first successful dramatisation of climate change to hit the big screen.”

– The Guardian

Last month saw the world premiere of The Age of Stupid on the eve of the United Nations conference on climate change.  The Age of Stupid’ is the new cinema documentary from the Director of ‘McLibel’ and the Producer of the Oscar-winning ‘One Day in September’. Filmed in seven countries over four years, this enormously ambitious drama-documentary-animation hybrid stars Oscar-nominated Pete Postlethwaite as an old man living in the devastated world of 2055, watching ‘archive’ footage from 2008 and asking: why didn’t we stop climate change while we had the chance?

Visit the world of The Age of Stupid

Watch a United Kingdom televised report on The Age of Stupid and other eco-documentaries soon to be released.

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan at the world premiere event in New York on the eve of the United Nationals General Session on Climate Change.

Picture 2

The exterior of The Archive in which Pete Postlethwaite’s character, the archivist, lives.   This animation was produced by animator Greg McKnealley.

Picture 1





Abandon Ship! Follow-up on U.S. Chamber…

1 10 2009

Pendleton_Sinking_Ship

The momentum of disengagement from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce based on their draconian position denying climate change continues. The chamber in recent weeks has challenged a federal Environmental Protection Act finding that greenhouse gases can be regulated by the Clean Air Act.

Nike announced Wednesday that it has resigned from the Board of Directors of the Chamber.  In a statement, Nike said “we fundamentally disagree with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on the issue of climate change and their recent action challenging the EPA is inconsistent with our view that climate change is an issue in need of urgent action.”

Nike joins PG&E Corporation, PNM Resources and Exelon Corporation— all of whom have left the Chamber in the past week based on the Chamber’s position denying climate change.  Speculation continues that Chamber President Thomas Donohue will be forced to resign based on the defection of member companies and allegations of conflict of interest based on his board position at Union Pacific Railway, a company fighting climate change legislation in part based on the large amount of revenues they receive from the shipment of coal.





What nobody is talking about in the U.S. and everyone is buzzing about in the rest of the world.

15 09 2009

SEEEEEL THE DEAL ENGLISH 2D“Now is the time for decision-making. We must seal a deal in Copenhagen for a global, equitable and comprehensive deal for the future of humanity and the future of Planet Earth.”

– U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon

In December in Copehagen, the United Nations will host a global conference from governments around the world to achieve a comprehensive agreement on climate.

Reaching a deal by the time the meeting ends on December 18 will depend not only on complex political negotiations, but also on public pressure from around the globe.

The United Nations has launched “Seal the Deal” campaign that encourages users to sign an online, global petition which will be presented by civil society to governments of the world.

Visit the Seal the Deal website

Watch U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon talk about the “Seal the Deal” campaign.

CoolPlanet2009 is also on board to support the Seal the Deal campaign.

The week of September 21st has been desiganated as Global Climate Week.  Rallies in more than 100 cities across the global are being organized by young people as a major push to keep global warming high on the international agenda. More than 800 young people pledged a comprehensive campaign at the conclusion of the Tunza International Youth Conference in Daejeon, Korea at the end of August.

Learn more about Climate Week

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Now is the time to spread the world about the United Nations’ Seal the Deal campaign.  You can follow them on Twitter or join a Seal the Deal group on Facebook. Let’s get Copenhagen and climate change on minds in the U.S. as it is across the world.





your pal…global warming.

27 08 2009

A fun user generated video contestant for the MTV Europe Play to Stop competition.