Saturday, 26 May 2007

Climate Change Sinks a Village

The New York Times reports that the permafrost on which an Alaskan village was built is melting due to climate change.

Newtok, a native Alaskan village, is collapsing into the mud as rising temperatures melt the frozen soil. The village, home to a Government-recognised Indian tribe, could completely wash away within a decade.

"The earth beneath much of Alaska is not what it used to be. The permanently frozen subsoil, known as permafrost, upon which Newtok and so many other Native Alaskan villages rest is melting, yielding to warming air temperatures and a warming ocean. Sea ice that would normally protect coastal villages is forming later in the year, allowing fall storms to pound away at the shoreline."

Friday, 11 May 2007

Practical Solutions to Climate Change

Hardly a day goes by without more dire warnings about the impacts of climate change.

Last week, however, there was some good news. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a report stating that we could take action to avoid the worst impacts of climate change at negligible cost. They pointed out that there are a host of practical carbon-reducing solutions that will actually save people money and make their lives easier. There are other measures we can take that cost a little more than current practice - but result in much less climate pollution.

So good news, at last. But "negligible" doesn't mean the same thing to everyone. A family in Ethiopia might need only $50-$100 (£27-£55) to buy an improved stove that will save ten tonnes of CO2 over its lifetime. To save the same amount with a solar water heater would cost a UK household at least £1,700 - and the Government is cutting its subsidies for renewable energy.

Businesses face the same challenge. While companies need to take responsiblity for their emissions, it can be difficult to convince the finance department to invest in a new heating and cooling system when other initiatives are competing for scarce funds. We may have to save up for a couple of years to enact some measures - it's hard to reduce your impact to zero overnight.

And while the cost might be "negligible" to us, that $100 clean cook stove might seem impossibly expensive to someone who earns just a few dollars per day.

Carbon offsets help bridge the gap. As far as global warming is concerned, it doesn't matter whether the CO2 comes from a car in America, a power plant in Britain, or a cookstove in Ethiopia. But each dollar or pound we spend in, for example, Ethiopia will achieve a greater carbon reduction than in the other two cases. cleaning up that cookstove provides the added benefit of reducing energy poverty and improving health in a poor community. Carbon offset payments provide funding for these kinds of practical, highly effective carbon reduction solutions. So you can balance out your unavoidable emissions now, while gearing up to make bigger changes at home.

If we work together, we may prove the IPCC right and make a real difference in reducing our global carbon impact.

(Carbon Clear Homepage)

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Kingsferry Coaches Goes Carbon Clear!

Kingsferry Coaches has announced their new zero-carbon initiative.

The Carbon Clear team is thrilled with Kingsferry's achievement. They have followed all the steps we recommend when we help a company dedicated to controlling its carbon impact:
  1. Know your carbon footprint. We worked with Kingsferry to calculate emissions from the offices and from their coaches.
  2. Reduce what you can. Kingsferry has trained its coach drivers in fuel-efficient driving and is replacing its entire fleet with the most fuel-efficient vehicles on the road.
  3. Offset your unavoidable emissions. Driving a 40-seat coach cannot help but release carbon into the atmosphere. Kingsferry is investing to help Nicaraguan artisan brick producers build new, energy efficient kilns to offset the emissions from their coach fleet.

We congratulate Kingsferry on going zero-carbon.

(Carbon Clear homepage)