Day: July 16, 2015

Startup Uses Climate-Changing Methane to Make Eco-Friendly Plastic

Read the full story from the Los Angeles Times (via FutureStructure).

A small Costa Mesa, Calif., company has lined up contracts with major corporations to supply the plastic for packaging, containers and chairs from potent methane that would have instead seeped into the atmosphere.

Bloomington, Ill., Power Deal to Emphasize Renewable Sources

Read the full story in The Pantagraph (via FutureStructure).

The city of Bloomington, Ill., has decided to accept $100,000 a year less from the community’s electricity provider in exchange for stressing renewable energy sources.

The City Council voted 7-1 to modify its electric aggregation agreement with Homefield Energy to make the trade-off to achieve the equivalent of drawing its electricity solely from renewable sources.

EPA hosts 2015 Small Systems Webinar Series

Challenges and Treatment Solutions for Small Drinking Water and Wastewater Systems

Free webinars held each month from 2:00-3:00 PM EST

EPA’s Office of Research and Development and Office of Water are hosting this monthly webinar series to communicate EPA’s current small systems research along with Agency priorities. The series is providing a forum for EPA to communicate directly with state personnel and other drinking water and wastewater small systems professionals, which allows EPA to provide training and foster collaboration and dissemination of information. The site also includes an archive of past webinars.

Attendees have the option of receiving a certificate for one continuing education contact hour for each webinar. (Acceptance of certificate is contingent on state and/or organization requirements. EPA cannot guarantee acceptance.)

2015 Schedule and Registration for Upcoming Webinars

Satellites track Earth’s water movements to help complete climate picture

Read the full post from NASA.

Many pressing questions about Earth’s climate revolve around water. With droughts and flooding an ongoing concern, people want to know how much water is on the move and where it is going. To help answer those questions, a new NASA study provides estimates for the global water cycle budget for the first decade of the 21st century, taking the pulse of the planet and setting a baseline for future comparisons…

Read the papers

Webinar: Deep Dive into Chemical Footprinting

Wed, Jul 22, 2015 2:00 PM – 3:15 PM CDT
Register at

An overview and in-depth discussion of the Chemical Footprint Project’s Assessment Tool questions and response options for the four key indicators:

  • Management: what are a company’s chemical policies and strategies for integration into business practices;
  • Inventory: information a company knows about chemicals in its products and how these data are managed;
  • Footprint: what is a company’s baseline chemical footprint, what goals have been set to substitute toxic chemicals with safer alternatives, and what progress has been made;
  • Disclosure: what information on chemicals in products a company publicly discloses.Learn the intent of the Assessment Tool questions and how to answer them.

Webinar Panelists include Mark Rossi, Sally Edwards, and Tim Greiner.

Has the EU’s carbon trading system made business greener?

Read the full story in The Guardian.

The EU is celebrating 10 years of the world’s largest carbon trading system this year by looking at new reforms to keep it on track. The emissions trading scheme (ETS), which covers half of Europe’s CO2 emissions by limiting the number of carbon permits available to energy generators and industry, has been dogged by low prices and oversupply of allowances.

The problems are largely ones of success – carbon emissions are lower than anticipated. But much of the oversupply was caused by the recession in Europe, so has the trading system been a waste of time or has it changed business attitudes and operations?

To answer these questions the Prince of Wales’ Corporate Leaders Group commissioned a report, 10 years of Carbon Pricing in Europe – a business perspective, which was released last week. The report is based on interviews with a small number of companies from a variety of sectors that are mandated into the ETS to see what impact it has had on them.

Viaducts could be the best new place for wind turbines

Read the full story in Treehugger.

Solar power has the great benefit of being able to be installed in a wide variety of places, from large solar farms to residential rooftops, from floating on top of reservoirs to highway noise barriers. Wind power, unfortunately, is mostly limited to large swaths of land or offshore…

A new study says that there is another option than just large wind farms in the middle of nowhere: viaducts. The long bridge structures are typically high off of the ground and usually contain a series of arches within which wind turbines could be built.

Researchers from Kingston University in London used a viaduct in the Canary Islands for reference in computer models and simulations that showed that the wind blowing between the pillars on these infrastructures can move wind turbines and produce energy. The construction of these wind generators within viaducts could bring renewable energy to heavily built-up territories with little room for wind turbines or natural areas that have limitations placed on construction.

Resilience: A New Conservation Strategy for a Warming World

Read the full story at Yale Environment360.

As climate change puts ecosystems and species at risk, conservationists are turning to a new approach: preserving those landscapes that are most likely to endure as the world warms.

A thoughtful conversation about the Pope’s Encyclical

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

This week, an extraordinary private conversation took place online among a group of sustainability thought leaders. It began with an essay distributed by email, written by Terry Yosie, President and CEO of the World Environment Center (and an occasional GreenBiz contributor). He provided a critical assessment of the Pope’s Encyclical on climate change — including whether and how it might impact the global climate treaty negotiations taking place this year, culminating at COP21 in Paris.

The essay, distributed to about 80 of Yosie’s associates (including me), ignited a response — initially from Bob Langert, former McDonald’s sustainability head (and a GreenBiz columnist), with responses from, among others, a former EPA head, a former White House climate official, two distinguished sustainability professors, a corporate sustainability executive, and one of the foremost thought leaders on sustainability.

It was a private exchange, but I asked permission from Yosie and the respondents to reprint it here; nearly everyone agreed.

It begins with Yosie’s essay, followed by the various exchanges, edited ever-so-lightly. I hope you find it as thoughtful as I do. Feel free to add your own comments below.

400 consumer goods companies commit to cut food waste in half

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

A 2013 report (PDF) from the United Nations and the World Resources Institute documents the environmental and social damage inflicted by wasting up to one-third of food produced globally for human consumption…

Members of CGF [Consumer Goods Forum] have responded to the food waste crisis by incorporating the issue into its Sustainability Pillar, which also includes commitments to zero net deforestation by 2020 and, starting this year, the phasing out of ozone-depleting hydro fluorocarbons (HFC) in refrigeration.

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