Accounting for the Expanding Carbon Shadow From Coal-Burning Plants

Read the full post at Dot Earth.

Steven Davis of the University of California, Irvine, and Robert Socolow of Princeton (best known for his work dividing the climate challenge into carbon “wedges”) have written “Commitment accounting of CO2 emissions,” a valuable new paper in Environmental Research Letters showing the value of shifting from tracking annual emissions of carbon dioxide from power plants to weighing the full amount of carbon dioxide that such plants, burning coal or gas, could emit during their time in service.

Upcoming report tracks P2 results at U.S. public agencies

In this article for GreenBiz, Jeffrey Burke from National Pollution Prevention Roundtable (NPPR) announces the upcoming P2 results report for 2010-2012 findings.

The archives for the P2 Impact column are at

GHG Emissions Changes: Redrawing baselines

Read the full post at Environmental Leader.

Greenhouse gases (GHG) can be measured by recording emissions at source by estimating the amount emitted using active data and applying relevant conversion factors. These conversion factors allow organizations to calculate GHG emissions from a range of activities. Accurate greenhouse gas reporting is a key deliverable of any sustainability software. A significant part of this challenge is to ensure that the appropriate conversion factors are in place and being applied to energy expenditures correctly. With recent changes to how the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) calculate CO2 emissions, the potential exists for companies in the UK to experience significant shifts in both individual emission factors and overall Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions. These changes have been published as part of DEFRA’s greenhouse gas conversion factors for company reporting: methodology paper for emission factors which reviewed the format and content of GHG conversion factors.

GSA’s “Green Button” to Save Energy Costs Across Federal Government

The head of the General Services Administration, Dan Tangherlini, announced today that GSA will use Green Button technology to save energy and shrink costs across the federal government. The agency launched this initiative in partnership with industry leaders following a 2013 Presidential memorandum directing federal agencies to strengthen efforts to use renewable energy and manage energy usage more efficiently and effectively.

What is Green Button?

  • Inspired by a White House call to action, Green Button is an industry-led effort that allows electricity customers to download their household or building energy-use data in a user-friendly format.
  • The December 2013 Presidential Memorandum set a new target for federal agencies to increase their consumption of renewable energy to 20% of their total amount of electric energy use by 2020 and instructs them to use.
  • More than 43 million household and business customers, reaching well over 100 million Americans, already have access to their Green Button data. In the future, more than 61 million customers will have access based on utility commitments.
  • GSA, along with the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency, with support from the National Institute of Standards and Technology have worked with Schneider Electric, Pepco Holdings, and FirstFuel Software to launch a Green Button Pilot demonstrating integrated Green Button energy analytics. The pilot built upon earlier 2012 GSA Energy Management activities where energy management of 100 GSA buildings uncovered $16 million in total energy savings.

GSA Administrator Tangherlini said the agency is committed to supporting the President’s green goals: “Creating a more sustainable government is vital to our mission and drives the agency’s priorities.  As one of the largest real estate managers in the country, adopting Green Button technology across our real estate portfolio allows us to improve building performance and save taxpayer dollars.”

For more information on Green Button, visit

WEBINAR: Mercury in Products: What the Numbers Say

Friday, June 13, 2014, 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM CDT
Register at

For nearly 15 years, state governments across the U.S. have been pursuing, enacting, or implementing legislation to reduce the amount of mercury that goes into certain products, such as thermostats, auto switches, lamps, dental amalgams, and batteries. What progress has been made in these efforts? What challenges lie ahead? This webinar will explore trends in mercury use and mercury-containing product sales since 2001 using data from the Interstate Mercury Education and Reduction Clearinghouse (IMERC). IMERC, a program of the Northeast Waste Management Officials Association (NEWMOA), collects and manages data submitted by manufacturers of mercury-added products to implement the notification provisions of state mercury reduction legislation. Webinar attendees will learn what these trends in mercury use mean for product stewardship programs; how states are implementing phase-outs, labeling, sales bans, and collection plans for mercury-containing products; how to find this information on the IMERC database; and what these trends mean for the long-term management of mercury from these sources.

Management, Measurement & Metrics

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

I’m sorry to trot out the old chestnut about “what gets measured is what gets managed,” but this last week has been a trying game of numbers for me. As I head toward the weekend, I am once again forced to question the utility of so much of what we spend our time measuring.

From where we are standing today, the key questions are:

  • How do we make economic progress without destroying the natural, life-sustaining resource base necessary for that progress?
  • How do we achieve progress for all rather than progress for just a few?
  • How do we address the real issues of our time: poverty alleviation, infectious disease, famine and civil strife?


EnviroAtlas is a collection of interactive tools and resources that allows users to explore the many benefits people receive from nature, often referred to as ecosystem services. Key components of EnviroAtlas include the following:

Though critically important to human well-being, ecosystem services are often overlooked. EnviroAtlas seeks to measure and communicate the type, quality, and extent of the goods and services that humans receive from nature so that their true value can be considered in decision-making processes.

Using EnviroAtlas, many types of users can access, view, and analyze diverse information to better understand how various decisions can affect an array of ecological and human health outcomes. EnviroAtlas is available to the public and houses a wealth of data and research.