Saturday, October 29, 2011

Health, Social and Economic Benefits of Global Leaded Gas Phase-Out

New York (UN) - Improvements in IQ, reductions in cardiovascular diseases, and decline in criminality are among the annual US$2.4 trillion benefits linked to ridding the world of leaded petrol.

These economic benefits, outlined in a new scientific study, may prove to be even higher if other diseases and factors such as cancer and rising urbanization, where the impacts of lead pollution are higher, were brought into the calculations.

Friday, October 21, 2011

MGM Highest Ranking Casino on Newsweek's List of Greenest Companies

LAS VEGAS - For the second consecutive year, MGM Resorts International has been listed among Newsweek Magazine's 500 most environmentally responsible companies in the United States, and also as the highest ranking company in the casino resort industry.

The company ranked as the third most highly rated hotel company on the list, and was one of only two hotel companies to move up in this year's rankings.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

New York Students to Survey Neighborhood Trees

New York City high school students will survey neighborhood trees next week as part of a program to teach students to think about the urban environment.

The students hail from the NYC iSchool. The iSchool program is geared to engage students in meaningful work in real world situations and provide the in-house classroom structure to support that development.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wax On Wax Off: New Enviro Surf Wax

As a surfer, it is your responsibility to be aware of your impact on the environment. It is every surfer’s obligation to protect and care for the place that gives us so much enjoyment. After all, without a healthy ocean ecosystem, surfing would be nonexistent. Everything from driving in search of waves, wetsuit production (and disposal), surfboard foam and resins, and even wax, have an impact. Surf wax is the only product in surfing which is truly disposable, yet is required by every surfer, for every session. The goal of wax is to displace water, while remaining sticky, and petroleum-based products are extremely effective at accomplishing those goals.

Friday, September 23, 2011

NYC Reduces GHG Emissions by Almost Five Percent in One Year

In conjunction with Climate Week NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that NYC was well on its way to meeting the commitments of the four-year-old PLaNYC.

Mayor Bloomberg said that, “We cut City government’s greenhouse gas emissions 4.6 percent during the 12 months ending June 30th, compared to the previous fiscal year. That keeps us on course to hitting our 2017 goal."

Sunday, September 18, 2011

European Parliament Calls for Fast Action to Cut Non-CO2 Climate Forcers

Washington, DC – The European Parliament is calling for fast action to reduce non-CO2 climate forcers including black carbon soot, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), methane, and ground-level ozone, which together are responsible for nearly half of climate forcing. The Parliament's call for action came in a Resolution passed today by an overwhelming majority (578 to 51 with 22 abstentions).

The Resolution calls for a comprehensive climate policy and “stresses that in addition to considering CO2 emission reductions, it should place emphasis on strategies that can produce the fastest climate response,” specifically strategies to cut black carbon soot, HFCs, methane, and ground-level ozone. Because these climate forcers are short-lived, reducing them produces a fast climate response.  This is in contrast to long-lived CO2, where a significant portion remains in the atmosphere for thousands of years. Even cutting CO2 emissions to zero today will not produce cooling for a thousand years.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Eco Art by Christopher Rodrigues @ NYC's RARE Gallery

New York City's RARE Gallery is pleased to announce ". . . all of you on the good Earth," an exhibition of Planets, a series of otherworldly photo-collaged digital images by British/Canadian artist Christopher Rodrigues. The show, which runs from June 30 to August 12, marks Rodrigues' solo debut at RARE.

The exhibition's title directly references the Apollo 8 crew's 1968 Christmas Eve address that was broadcast live from the Command Module during lunar orbit as the Earth came into view over the Moon's horizon. Much like the televised images beamed back to Earth during the mission, Rodrigues' focus is on a planetary view of nature, where the entire solar system is home to isolated, Eden-like environments, inherently sick places, and those made uninhabitable because of human interference.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bank of America to Invest $2.6 Billion in Rooftop Solar

NEW YORK - Rooftop solar generation takes a giant leap forward as a consortium of companies led by Bank of America Merrill Lynch to build the largest distributed rooftop solar generation project in the world. The loan guarantee - from the Department of Energy -  supporting $1.4 billion of debt facilitates a total project size of about $2.6 billion, which is being financed entirely by the private sector over the next four years.

This distributed solar project will generate employment across 28 states and will create the equivalent of more than 10,000 full-year jobs. Once fully funded and completed, these installations are expected to provide approximately 733 megawatts (MW) of distributed solar energy, which is enough clean, renewable energy to power approximately 100,000 homes.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

ISO Launches ISO 50001 Energy Management Standard

With energy one of the most critical challenges facing the international community, the publication on 15 June of the ISO International Standard ISO 50001 on energy management systems is an eagerly awaited event because it is estimated the standard could have a positive impact on some 60 % of the world’s energy use.

ISO 50001 will provide public and private sector organizations with management strategies to increase energy efficiency, reduce costs and improve energy performance.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Expedition to Study Gulf of Mexico EcoSystem

BATON ROUGE, LA - Ocean Alliance, the University of Southern Maine and Albemarle Corporation launched a 14-week scientific voyage on June 8, 2011 to study the impacts of recent oil spills and natural disasters on the Gulf of Mexico, one of the world's most important ocean habitats.

The scientific mission left Key West, Florida with a ten-person team aboard the 93-foot floating laboratory, Odyssey. The team will collect samples from fish, squid, krill, sperm and Brydes whales, and the water from depths of up to 3,000 feet to try to monitor and gauge the health of the Gulf ecosystem. The expedition, set to leave on World Oceans Day, is supported by a number of foundations and individuals as well as by primary sponsor Albemarle.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

NHL Makes Stanley Cup 2011 Water Neutral

NEW YORK – NHL Green, the National Hockey League's sustainability initiative, unveiled the NHL Water Restoration Project on June 1, an unprecedented commitment to balancing the League's water footprint that will make the 2011 Stanley Cup Final the first ever water-neutral series in League history.

Through the project, the NHL has pledged to restore at least one million gallons of water to Oregon's Deschutes River, replenishing an important resource in a critically dewatered ecosystem.  Total water used throughout Rogers Arena and TD Garden, from the faucets to the ice surface, will be tracked and its equivalent restored through Bonneville Environmental Foundation's Water Restoration Certificates™.

"This is a monumental statement on the part of the NHL, its fans, teams, and players," says Todd Reeve, Vice President of Watershed Programs at the Bonneville Environmental Foundation.  "This commitment to match water used on the ice and in the arena with an equal amount restored to a critically dewatered river represents a cutting edge commitment to sustainability."

The portion of the river that runs between the City of Bend and Lake Billy Chinook is known as the Middle Deschutes River. It is a scenic gem with the potential to support world-class recreation and functioning aquatic ecosystems.  However, water rights holders, individuals who in addition to property ownership possess a legal right to remove river water for "beneficial economic use", divert most of the river's water at Bend.  These disruptions of stream flow have degraded habitats, resulting in poor water quality and a decline in the overall health of the river.  The NHL Water Restoration Project will help return the Middle Deschutes to the vibrant watercourse it once was.

Water not only is essential to the planet, but it's key to business -- especially when your business is hockey.  Many NHL players learned to play the game on outdoor ponds.  NHL Green is committed to keeping those bodies of water available for the next generation of hockey stars.  As droughts, water rationing and water pollution become more prevalent, water stewardship is developing into a top priority among the League's sustainability plans.

Innovative Market Solution to Water Sustainability

Historically, water rights holders have had to adhere to policies that foster a "use it or lose it" model for water use, resulting in waste, overconsumption and the deterioration of watercourses.  New, progressive water laws now consider water left in rivers and streams to be a "beneficial use", meaning water may be restored to rivers and streams without forfeiting the landowner's water rights.  

In 2009, Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF) created Water Restoration Certificates (WRCs), to provide an economic incentive for water rights holders to contribute to restoration efforts.  BEF's WRC program is the first national-level, market-based solution that restores flow to deteriorating fresh water resources in the United States.  BEF's WRCs help critically dewatered rivers and streams become healthy and flowing again.

The NHL Water Restoration Project provides financial support for BEF in its collaboration with the Deschutes River Conservancy, the organization facilitating negotiations with local water rights holders and managing construction of stream flow restoration projects in the Deschutes basin. The State of Oregon assures compliance by both parties.

Standards and criteria for the program have been certified by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to ensure water is returned in ways that provide the greatest environmental benefit to rivers, streams and fish and wildlife populations.  The League's purchase of each WRC is officially recorded and available for view online through Markit Environmental Registry.

The National Hockey League partnered with Bonneville Environmental Foundation for the 2011 NHL Winter Classic and 2011 NHL All-Star Game, purchasing 426 Renewable Energy Certificates to support the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the development of new renewable energy facilities.  In 2009 and 2010, BEF was recognized by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the United States Department of Energy and the Center for Resource Solutions as Green Power Supplier of the Year.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Bicycling from Canada to New York City...Almost

May is Bike Month across America with many cities hosting events. New York City hosts many rides and activities. This is just one New York biking story. The bike pictured above is the bike that took the following journey.

My bicycle trip to New York City from Ottawa, Canada was supposed to start in Ottawa. It didn't. The bicycle trip was my 40th birthday present to myself and as I didn't think I'd be able to get my bicycle over the border I had my son drive me down to Ogdensberg, sans bike.

Since I wasn't bringing my own bike, I needed to find one in New York State. I could have picked one up at Wal-Mart in Watertown but I wanted my bicycle to have character, to have a history. Bike's from Wal-Mart have neither.

What I needed was a second hand bike that had its own character. It didn't have to be 40 years old like me. I didn't want it to be 40 years old like me. As the bike was going to be my best friend until we pedaled into Manhattan together it needed human qualities that only a bike with a history could provide.

There was no bicycle to be found in Pulaski. There were bikers however - not bicycle bikers but real bikers - and over the course of a few beers we mapped out my route to New York City. The next morning I said goodbye to my son, and started walking down the road. I had heard that there was a yard sale "a couple of miles down the road" with lots of bikes. Surely one of them would have the character and strength I needed for my ride into the Big Apple.

Williamstown is where I finally found my bike. I had walked into town just as the late June skies opened up. Fortunately the skies opened as I was passing the one bar in town and so I sought refuge and a cold beverage. The one patron at the bar couldn't believe that I had walked from Pulaski to there.
"That's 25 miles," he said incredulously. I shrugged, mileage didn't matter to me, I was on a quest. I told Mr. Incredulous my story and why I was walking. I had to find that one particular bike. An hour later and the barfly had sold me his 10 year old Huffy for $50. He had stopped riding it after his eighth heart attack two years before. My bicycle trip had officially begun.

As most of the day was behind me I only managed to make it to Rome that night, just as the skies opened again. But it was a good start - I didn't over-exert myself and I got a good night's sleep.
The next couple of days consisted of pedaling up some hill (in my mind it was a mountain) for 20 minutes then racing down the other side of that hill (in my mind it was a mountain) in 20 seconds. There was no time to catch my breath - 20 minutes up a hill, 20 seconds down - repeated ad nauseum.

Beaten from yet another day of little progress - I had expected to average between 14-20 miles per hour and I had been averaging closer to seven owing to the hills (in my mind they were mountains) - I checked into a rundown little motel in the middle of nowhere.

The elderly owner shook his head at me when I told him what I was doing. He wasn't impressed. "A couple of years ago we had this 80-year-old guy on a bike spend the night here. And he was coming from California," he said shaking his head in disdain for me. The old guy wanted to charge me $107 for my room. Until then I had been paying between $30-40 per night on the road.

"There's another motel 20 or so miles down the road," he offered with a wicked smile. We both knew I didn't have another 20 miles of cycling in me and it was now 9PM. I paid his rate and cursed both old men under my breath before falling asleep in my $107 bed which was as comfortable as the backseat of a '78 Camaro.

Fittingly, it was the Fourth of July when I crossed the George Washington Bridge into Manhattan. I quickly found Broadway and started to cycle down America's Main Street towards Greenwich Village and the end of my journey. My body was beaten up after five days of riding over the Adirondacks and the Catskills but I had a grin from ear-to-ear. I was 40 and I had just completed the longest bicycle ride of my life.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

EPA Launches Climate Awards Program

Washington, DC – The Climate Registry (The Registry), the Pew Center on Global Climate Change (Pew Center) and the Association of Climate Change Officers (ACCO) announced that they will jointly sponsor a new national awards program with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to recognize exemplary corporate, organizational and individual leadership in response to climate change.

By showcasing voluntary action on climate and energy under a unified banner, EPA, The Registry, Pew Center and ACCO are sending a strong signal that innovative and sustained leadership in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) management will be recognized in the United States.

"The co-sponsorship of this new recognition opportunity reflects EPA’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and recognizing leadership on climate change," said  EPA  Assistant Administrator Gina McCarthy. "We are pleased to be partnering with three non-profit organizations that have demonstrated expertise in GHG emissions management."

An event to honor award recipients will be held in early 2012. Specific award categories will include:
  • Sustained Excellence in Public Reporting –Recognizing companies that continually raise the bar in the area of public disclosure of GHG emissions data. This would include regular public reporting and verification of corporate GHG inventories, GHG goal setting and achievement of GHG emissions reductions.
  • Supply Chain Leadership –Recognizing companies that have their own comprehensive GHG inventories and emissions reduction goals and can demonstrate that they are at the leading edge of managing carbon in their supply chain.
  • Organizational Leadership –Recognizing companies that have “mainstreamed” climate change across their operations and can demonstrate that they factor climate change into their business decisions.
  • Individual Leadership –Recognizing individuals exemplifying extraordinary leadership in leading their organizations’ response to climate change and/or affecting the responses of other organizations.
These award categories provide a legacy for EPA’s Climate Leaders program, which provided support to private sector corporations who voluntarily set and achieved greenhouse gas reduction targets, and ACCO’s Climate Leadership Awards, which recognized exemplary leadership by organizations in industry, government, academia and the non-profit community.

“Corporate leadership is essential to advancing climate and energy solutions,” said Eileen Claussen, President of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. “In growing numbers, companies and their employees are working tirelessly in pursuit of cost-effective solutions that reduce carbon and benefit consumers. Recognizing these great accomplishments serves to motivate and accelerate efforts throughout the business community toward a cleaner, more efficient energy future."

“The Climate Registry is delighted to partner with EPA, the Pew Center and ACCO on this important program, which will build on the work of Climate Leaders as well as our own carbon management program,” said Denise Sheehan, Executive Director of The Climate Registry. “Together we look forward to continuing to provide the tools, resources and recognition that organizations need to take their climate and carbon leadership to the next level.”

"Amongst ACCO’s primary missions is bringing together climate executives from across sectors to collaborate and establish best practices," said Daniel Kreeger, ACCO's Executive Director.  "We look forward to undertaking such a timely and important effort with our partners - The Climate Registry and the Pew Center - who have been on the cutting edge of climate response, and of course EPA, whose Climate Protection Awards inspired ACCO’s 2010 Climate Leadership Awards program and whose Climate Leaders program has been so instrumental in driving climate response."

More information is available online at Additional information on the award categories and nomination process will be made publicly available in the next few weeks.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Green Grid Completes Energy Efficiency Recommendations

Portland, OR –  The Green Grid Association together with The Data Center Metrics Coordination Taskforce, delivered its latest recommendations for energy efficiency measurement and reporting earlier this week.

The new report, titled “Recommendations for Measuring and Reporting Overall Data Center Efficiency: Version 2 – Measuring PUE at Data Centers” completes the guidelines for applying the Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE™) metric, created and promoted by The Green Grid. The new information includes specific recommendations for how to measure and calculate PUE in mixed-use data center facilities and introduces a condenser water source energy weighting factor.

Alignment on these methodologies across the industry will lead to consistent and repeatable measurement strategies that allow data center operators to monitor and improve the energy efficiency when operating their existing data centers, or when designing new facilities.

For a dedicated data center, the total energy in the PUE equation will include all energy sources at the point of utility handoff to the data center owner or operator. For mixed-use data centers, the total energy will be all energy required to operate the data center, similar to a dedicated data center, and should include cooling, lighting, and support infrastructure for the data center operations.

“The task force has accomplished a tremendous amount of work to help the data center industry have a common understanding of energy efficiency metrics to improve data center efficiencies and reduce energy use,” said Dan Azevedo, Symantec representative and Board member of The Green Grid. “We are looking forward to working with our colleagues on the next steps for the industry, including identifying a roadmap for future efficiency programs such as IT productivity and carbon accounting.”

The task force intends to continue collaborating in the years ahead to ensure that data center resource efficiency and productivity is delivered as consistently as possible across regions. The Green Grid, which encourages worldwide industry collaboration, is actively working on dozens of strategic and tactical projects to improve data center resource efficiency.