Environment Forum

from Mario Di Simine:

WWF, businesses deal on emissions

The debate over lowering greenhouse gas emissions is sometimes depicted as a fight between environmental groups concerned over the health of the planet and businesses concerned about economic growth and bottom-line erosion.

Occasionally, though, there is a meeting of like minds between the two.

The WWF has a program in which it partners with companies to target emissions reductions. The Climate Savers program is an agreement between the WWF and its partner companies to lay out targets and set out projects to meet those goals.

"We want to show that doing business and reducing emissions go hand in hand," said Matthew Banks, a senior program officer at the WWF and an economist.

The program, started in 1999, is aimed at getting companies to reduce their carbon footprint. Twenty-three companies have signed on, including Coca-Cola, Hewlett-Packard, Nike and JohnsonDiversey. The companies negotiate targets and projects to reach those targets with the WWF and independent experts. Each contract is tailored to the company's specific circumstances  and progress is verified by an outside experts like ecofys.

Hewlett-Packard,  for instance, has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 6 million tonnes below 2005 levels by 2010.  Japanese transportation company Sagawa aims to reduce its gross CO2 emissions by 6 percent by 2012 compared with 2002.

from Adam Pasick:

Crunching the numbers on a vegan in a Hummer

Photo by Kris Krüg

(Updated below with Michael Pollan's response)

You want some petroleum with that Big Mac?

Journalist and food writer Michael Pollan broke down the hidden cost of America's best-known burger on Saturday to an eager audience at the Poptech conference. He traced the Big Mac's origins all the way back to the oil fields, used to make fertilizer that is crucial to the corn grown for cows in massive feeds lots.

“Our meat eating is one of the most important contributors we make to climate change," said Pollan, who is best known for his book "The Omnivore's Dilemma."

"A vegan in a Hummer has a lighter carbon footprint than a beef eater in a Prius.”

from MediaFile:

In latest green move, Apple quits U.S. Chamber

Apple, which made news in environmental circles recently with its new approach to environmental accounting, took another high-profile action on climate change Monday when it resigned its membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over the group's environmental policies.

Apple became just the latest defection from the business lobbying group. And given that Apple's every move generates buckets of publicity, the action may serve to thrust the climate change issue into greater focus for the buying public.

Last month three big power utilities -- Exelon Corp, PG&E Corp and PNM Resources Inc -- said they were leaving the Chamber over its stance on global warming legislation. Nike last week resigned from the board of the Chamber, which has pushed for public hearings to challenge the scientific evidence of manmade climate change.

Americans go fishing: but is it good for the environment?

As Americans forgo expensive vacations, costly dinners and shopping mall splurges, many are opting instead for the quiet simplicity of fishing, according to the sport fishing industry and reports from bait shops and fishermen.

My colleague Jason Szep has done a report on this which you can read here.

As a life-long angler and fly fishing addict, I have long held that my passion is a green one. Anglers and hunters spend money on license fees that is ploughed into conservation programs. Guide services provide income and employment which gives local communities, tax payers and voters a vested interest in conservation.

There are also organizations like Trout Unlimited  that are dedicated to freshwater conservation and get much of their support from anglers.

The greenest car?

On an icy but sunny Sunday morning we drove from Nash Hall, a mediaeval farmhouse near the Welsh town of Presteigne, to Ludlow in a 100-year-old open car. The 20-mile trip through the border country was about as exhilarating as a short car journey can be.

Despite being wrapped up like Edwardian motorists, we were still freezing cold. Our pleasure in the stark winter landscape was tinged with a slight worry about how the old car’s brakes (rear wheels only) would handle an emergency stop at its rather sporting pace of around 45 mph.

At the wheel was Roger “Wilkie” Collings, formerly in charge of the Gilbern sports car company and currently the owner of two sporting Bentleys from the 1920s. Cars like these are worth a fortune and most owners keep them spotless in heated garages. Collings’ cars live in a barn, spattered with mud from their last competition outing.

Citi mulls moving (coal) mountains after Bank of America acts

Now that Bank of America is cutting back on lending to mountain top removal mining companies, citing the environmental costs, rival Citigroup is weighing its options.

“Bank of America’s announcement has just been released so Citi will study the content,” the bank said on Friday. Citi and Bank of America were prime targets of Rainforest Action Network and others for their support of mountaintop removal mining for coal in Appalachia. Cutting the top off a mountain is a cheap and efficient way to get coal — and environmental groups call it an ecological disaster.

“We are continuing to learn about this issue through engaging and listening to a variety of stakeholders, including our clients. Today we met with a number of industry, scientific, and community experts to listen and learn from their perspectives. Citi has a long history of engaging in dialogue with our stakeholders on this and other critical environmental issues,” the bank said.

Save money, cut CO2 and lose weight cycling to work

Peter Jebautzke cycles to workBy Peter Jebautzke

Getting caught speeding changed my life — for the better.

It inadvertently turned me into a devoted bike commuter, has saved me lots of money, aggravation — and even saved the world a little bit of carbon dioxide to boot. Since giving up the car for my daily commutes by bike to work in August, I’ve also lost about 2 kilos and now look forward to my daily 16 km journeys each way to and from the office.

Other colleagues who cycle to work had long tried to encourage me to try out commuting by bike. We’ve even got a little shower here where I work in the centre of Berlin. But it was always so much easier to jump into the car.

In April, I jumped into the car and stepped on the gas a bit too hard. I got a late-night call from the office and had to get there in a hurry. The motorway was clear so I got up to 117 kph. That was 37 kph over the 80 kph limit. The police caught me — and I lost my driver’s licence for a month.

Maps, Online Communities and Games for the Environment

Kenyan blogger Juliana Rotich is the editor of Green Global Voices, which monitors citizen media in the developing world, and will be a regular contributor. ReutersThomson is not responsible for the content – the views are the author’s alone.

Earlier this year, GV Environment listed the web2.0 tools for environment activism. Since then many more tools have been developed to help concerned citizens make decisions about their carbon footprint and engage with others using maps and games. This post will highlight some mashups, online communities, carbon footprint calculators and one online game.

Mashups

Rory of Carbon Smart Blog announced the Greening Africa Map by outlining the goal of the google map mashup and asking others to send in information about projects to be included.

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