Archive for Climate Change

Global Warming Explained

I often speak about my childhood fears, one of which was nuclear war killing everyone. If I were a child now, I’m sure global warming would be a major cause of concern for me. Heck, it is as an adult. The Earth Has Caught a Cold is written to explain global warming to young children and to give hope for the future. Global warming is probably closer to pneumonia than a cold, but I appreciate the publishers desire not to scare the children.

A Cool Kid’s Field Guide to Global Warming targets older children. I love the foldout pages and fun facts presented in the book. Again, the book focuses on what we can do to reverse the trend. One encouraging positive fact I particularly liked is “the United States currently has more wind turbines than any other country in the world.”

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How to Save the Planet

Thanks to filmmaker Jeff who sent me this film aimed at young people to conserve energy. Jeff, I think older people can learn from it, too.

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NYU Wants to Reduce Carbon Footprint

A news release received today:

For Immediate Release:
March 12, 2010
Contact: Christopher James

NYU Releases Climate Action Plan to Reduce Carbon Footprint

Aiming for Climate Neutrality by 2040 through Comprehensive Emissions Reduction Strategies

New York University today released its Climate Action Plan (CAP), a comprehensive approach to reducing the University’s carbon footprint and enhancing its overall sustainability. NYU’s CAP details the University’s current greenhouse gas inventory, lays out specific and effective projects to mitigate these emissions using current fiscally sound technologies while maintaining NYU’s vital teaching, learning, and research missions.

The full report can be found at:

The development of NYU’s Climate Action Plan was spurred on by the signing of two separate commitments to mitigate climate change: Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC Climate Challenge, and the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).

* PlaNYC Climate Challenge: NYU will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions per square foot by 30 percent from FY 2006 levels by FY 2017. This commitment offers a framework to reduce emissions in an immediate, ambitious and tangible way.

* ACUPCC: NYU commits to a goal of achieving “climate neutrality” (i.e. net zero emissions) by FY 2040. This will be accomplished by upgrading University buildings through efficiency and conservation, generating cleaner on-site and renewable energy, fostering behavioral shifts and culture change, planning for green building, and offsetting remaining emissions.

“Across the University – from academics to financial and space
planning to sustainability – we are striving to plan for the
long-term,” said Michael Alfano, NYU’s Executive Vice President. “This Climate Action Plan fits within that template, relying on a rigorous analysis to point the way toward a 30-year goal of attaining carbon neutrality.”

“Through energy saving initiatives, NYU has already made significant progress in reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, cutting them by 20% in just the past three years”, said Cecil Scheib, Director of Energy and Sustainability. “NYU total emissions have dropped from a fiscal year (FY06) peak of 171,000 MTCE to 136,000 MTCE in FY 2009. This decrease in global warming pollution is a measurable component of New
York City’s total emissions, and represents a major step toward
confronting the challenge of global warming,” said Scheib.

NYU’s CAP is structured around four major emissions reduction strategies:

1. Reduce Energy Intensity-50 percent of NYU’s climate neutrality goal: NYU will reduce the amount of energy used in buildings through conservation, “green” construction and renovation, retrofits and upgrades, and operational innovations to run buildings more effectively. In the coming years, NYU will set Energy Use Index (EUI) targets, which will help prioritize buildings to retrofit in order to maximize emissions reductions. This strategy will encompass the
largest share of NYU’s emissions reductions, while also accounting for the University’s physical growth. Initial efforts have already resulted in 20% emissions cuts.

2. Generate and Use Cleaner Energy-30 percent of NYU’s climate neutrality goal: NYU will generate cleaner energy on-site with an upgraded and expanded cogeneration power plant. Starting this year, the new plant will annually mitigate 23 percent of NYU’s baseline FY 2006 emissions. NYU will also minimize the use of fuel oil to heat buildings, replacing it where possible with cleaner, more efficient energy sources.

3. Generate Renewable Energy-10 percent of NYU’s climate neutrality goal: NYU is exploring options to develop on-site distributed renewable energy generation projects on its buildings, including wind and solar technologies. NYU sees immediate potential for viable projects offering a positive return on investment using current technologies and through support by state and federal incentives.

4. Reduce / Offset Remaining Emissions-10 percent of NYU’s climate neutrality goal: Given the constraints of a dense urban environment, it is likely that NYU will purchase high-quality, credible offsets to accomplish long-term climate goals. The University will seek out transparent, local-based offsetting programs that offer added social, environmental, and educational value.

Jeremy Friedman, NYU’s Manager of Sustainability Initiatives, said, “NYU’s CAP fuses the short-term climate change mitigation strategies of the Mayoral Challenge commitment with the broader goals of the ACUPCC; each complements the other and anchors NYU’s overarching commitment to sustainability.”

In addition to these efforts to reduce climate change, NYU is
committed to fostering a University-wide culture of sustainability
through expanded environment-related course work at both NYU and the affiliated Polytechnic Institute of NYU, as well as through deepened engagement efforts that directly involve the university community.

“The Sustainability Task Force wishes to thank the dozens of students, faculty, staff and others who contributed to the development of this Climate Action Plan,” added Friedman. “To meet the challenge posed by the climate crisis, we’ll need help from every member of the NYU community. The size and scope of this problem are equaled only by our collective capacity to confront it together – by reducing greenhouse
gas emissions as individuals, and by educating the next generation of leaders in the struggle to create a more sustainable and just world.”

About NYU’s Sustainability Task Force: NYU’s Sustainability Task Force is an advisory body composed of students, faculty, administrators, and staff, who develop recommendations for new policies and practices that advance NYU’s long-term future as a sustainable university. For more information on the Sustainability Task Force, please see the NYU Sustainability website.

About New York University: New York University is located in the heart of Greenwich Village. Founded in 1831, it is one of America’s foremost research universities and a member of the selective Association of American Universities. It is one of the largest private universities, it is a leader in attracting international students and scholars in the U.S, and it sends more students to study abroad than any other U.S. college or university. Through its 14 schools and colleges, NYU
conducts research and provides education in the arts and sciences, law, medicine, business, dentistry, education, nursing, the cinematic and performing arts, music and studio arts, public administration, social work, and continuing and professional studies, among other areas.

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Win a Copy of Climate Cover Up

If you are interested in a free copy of DeSmogBlog’s new book on Astroturf by corporate lobbyists, answer the question below correctly by leaving your answer plus your name and address as a comment to this blog post.

Using fake grassroots organizations and funding third-party groups to say things you might not want to say yourself has been a tactic used by less-than-ethical public relations practitioners for many years. In his new book, 35-year public relations veteran Jim Hoggan speaks out against so-called Astroturf and other tactics that are being used to undermine democracy.

The book is called  Climate Cover Up: the crusade to deny global warming. It chronicles the history of unethical PR through the years, using the attack on climate change science as the most relevant, contemporary example.

Quiz Question: The American Petroleum Institute increased its lobbying budget by what percent in the second quarter of 2009, relative to 2008?

A: 82%

B: 57%

C: 97%

D: 34%

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A Refreshing Start

This is great, but we still need to work to change behavior patterns:

House Passes Bill to Address Threat of Climate Change

Published: June 26, 2009

WASHINGTON — The House passed legislation on Friday intended to address global warming and transform the way the nation produces and uses energy.

The vote was the first time either house of Congress had approved a bill meant to curb the heat-trapping gases scientists have linked to climate change. The legislation, which passed despite deep divisions among Democrats, could lead to profound changes in many sectors of the economy, including electric power generation, agriculture, manufacturing and construction.

The bill’s passage, by 219 to 212, with 44 Democrats voting against it, also established a marker for the United States when international negotiations on a new climate change treaty begin later this year.

At the heart of the legislation is a cap-and-trade system that sets a limit on overall emissions of heat-trapping gases while allowing utilities, manufacturers and other emitters to trade pollution permits, or allowances, among themselves. The cap would grow tighter over the years, pushing up the price of emissions and presumably driving industry to find cleaner ways of making energy.

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