Thursday, November 19th, 2009
Major corporations in the U.S. have shown an increased willingness to voluntarily reduce their impact on climate change despite a sluggish economy, according to a new scorecard produced by the nonprofit group Climate Counts.
Eighty-one of the 90 major companies assessed saw an average increase of 22 percent from last year’s scorecard, with Nike topping the list with a score of 83 out of a possible 100 points.
Scores are based on 22-criteria in four general areas: measurement of impact on global warming; reduction of impact; engagement in climate-related public policy; and transparency.
Tuesday, November 17th, 2009
“This is a story of betrayal, a story of selfishness, greed, and irresponsibility on an epic scale.” That’s how James Hoggan opens his newly published book Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming.
Hoggan initially thought there was a fierce scientific controversy about climate change. Sensibly he did a lot of reading, only to find to his surprise that there was no such controversy. How did the public confusion arise? There was nothing accidental about it. As a public relations specialist, Hoggan observed with gathering horror a campaign at work.
“To a trained eye the unsavoury public relations tactics and techniques and the strategic media manipulation became obvious. The more I thought about it, the more deeply offended I became.”
DeSmogBlog was born to research the misinformation campaigns and share the information widely. This book pulls together some of that research in an organised narrative. Richard Littlemore has assisted Hoggan in the writing.
Monday, November 9th, 2009
Al Gore, who barely lost (or won) the US Presidential election in November 2000, and vowed never to return to US political life, appears to have come out a winner for not doing so. The former Vice President for 8 years under the Clinton Administration decided to devote his time afterwards to teaching as well as making the world aware of the dangers of global warming, a warning that has been noted several times on Green Prophet, including a more recent article tying global warming and climate change with what is happening in the Middle East.
Friday, November 6th, 2009
Dr. Ken Caldeira, of the Carnegie Institution of Washington provided a balanced look at the potential benefits and also the costs and possible harm that geoengineering techniques could offer in our quest to find a “Magic Bullet” to counter global warming.
Can global warming be mitigated by a technological fix such as injecting light-blocking particles into the atmosphere or chemically “scrubbing” excess greenhouse gases from the atmosphere? Department of Global Ecology scientist Ken Caldeira addressed this question in his testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology in a hearing titled “Geoengineering: Assessing the Implications of Large-Scale Climate Intervention” on November 5, 2009.
Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009
As the world warms, how different societies fare in dealing with rising seas and changing weather patterns will have as much to do with political, social, and economic factors as with a changing climate.
Following the disastrous tsunami of December 2004, the government of Bangladesh embraced upgraded storm-alert systems that warn communities in a coordinated way and improved social support networks, resulting in a drastic reduction in typhoon deaths. In neighboring Myanmar, by contrast, deaths from natural disasters have risen in recent years. Indeed, the deaths that occurred there last year in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis cannot be separated from the fact that Myanmar has an authoritarian regime that prevents international assistance from reaching those in need, rendering its citizens unable to cope with extreme weather disasters – events that are expected to become more frequent with climate change.
Wednesday, October 21st, 2009
Interfering with the Earth’s climate system to counteract global warming is a controversial concept. But in an interview with Yale Environment 360, climate scientist Ken Caldeira talks about why he believes the world needs to better understand which geoengineering schemes might work and which are fantasy — or worse.
Atmospheric scientist Ken Caldeira first became known for his groundbreaking work on ocean acidification, a phrase originally coined as a headline for one of his papers. Of late, however, Caldeira’s research has led him into the controversial area of geoengineering — the large-scale, deliberate manipulation of the Earth’s climate system.
Many scientists have shied away from the subject because they feel it is a wrongheaded and dangerous path to pursue. But Caldeira — who heads a research lab at the Carnegie Institution for Science’s Department of Global Ecology at Stanford University — has not been so dismissive, in part because his climate modeling has demonstrated that some geoengineering schemes may indeed help reduce the risk of climate change. In fact, few scientists have thought harder about the moral, political, and environmental implications of geoengineering.
Wednesday, October 14th, 2009
The U.S. Energy Secretary, Steven Chu, and a leading senator predicted that Congress will make good progress on climate legislation — and may even pass a bill — before a meeting in Copenhagen in December to forge an international treaty to slow global warming.
The remarks by Chu and Sen. Barbara Boxer of California were markedly more optimistic than those of President Obama’s chief climate and energy adviser, Carol Browner, who said 10 days ago that a U.S. climate bill would not be passed before Copenhagen.
Friday, October 9th, 2009
Renewable energy and energy efficiency are key to solving crises in the economy, climate and security, said Al Gore on Friday (videos below).
The former vice president lauded fellow Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Barack Obama for efforts including an economic stimulus package with a significant renewable energy component.
“One way or another the reductions in emissions are about to accelerate,” said Gore at the conference of the Society of Environmental Journalists in Madison, Wis. “What is important, directly or indirectly, is that we put a price on carbon.”
He expressed hope that the U.S. Senate will pass a bill similar to that of the House, even in advance of the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December. “There is much more bipartisan dialogue behind the scenes than is publicly visible,” he added.
Friday, October 9th, 2009
A greater percentage of consumers are viewing leading brands as being socially responsible, according to preliminary numbers from a consumer survey.
The SHIFT Report, an annual survey of 5,000 people from the North American general population by sustainability marketing consultancy Conscientious Innovation studies attitudes towards sustainability and leading brands.
Thursday, October 1st, 2009
A couple of years after former Sierra Club President Adam Werbach founded ActNow, a sustainable business consultancy, he signed up Walmart as a client. This brought Werbach considerable notoriety in eco-activist circles. Walmart’s record of environmental responsibility had previously been spotty, to put it mildly. Werbach retorted to his critics that Walmart, with almost two million employees and 127 million customer visits per week, had the potential to do far more to save the world than the Sierra Club ever had.
I had the opportunity to visit Werbach’s company (now named Saatchi S) in San Francisco and attend a staff meeting. The participants sat on the floor and passed around a plate of organic banana bread. Yet despite the trappings of informality, the conversation had a focus, drive and ingenuity about it that I had rarely experienced in the non-profit world. The Saatchi staff certainly looked like the young, idealistic types whom I knew from environmental NGOs. But dropping a profit incentive into the motivational mix seemed to release a different level of creative zing.