Archive for June, 2012

 

A federal appeals court upholds the EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions (LA Times).

Sea levels on the California coast could rise 5 feet by the end of the century (LA Times).

Another federally-backed solar firm goes bankrupt (Washington Post).

Increased recycling has caused a stink out west (NY Times).

Shell will likely get permits to drill off the Alaska coast (NY Times).

Renewable energy output is way up in Scotland (BBC). Meanwhile, home energy consumption is up in the UK (BBC).

The best thing you can say about last week’s Rio+20 environmental conference is that when it mercifully ended, at least there was no dog-and-pony show. All the leaders went home knowing they had failed. Perhaps, this is rock-bottom in the hope for a global treaty – it’s hard to figure how it can get much worse.

Almost all national leaders perfected the art of hiding their heads in the sand (or corporate contributions). Ironically, the cool conversation of Rio comes as the Earth’s average land surface temperature for May 2012 measured as the all-time warmest May on record (1.21°C (2.18°F) above average).
While Rio+20 failed the planet, it was a big success for powerful nations and corporations. We saw no definitive action on the health of the oceans. Attention to rich consumption footprints was ignored. Financial commitments were minimum. We took no steps to establish timetables and indicators of environmental progress.

The public grousing from negotiators was widespread:

“We’ve sunk so low in our expectations that reaffirming what we did 20 years ago is now considered a success,” said Martin Khor, executive director of the Geneva-based South Centre and a member of the U.N. Committee on Development Policy.

The EU commissioner was rather frank in discussing his disappointment:

“The thing which is missing is the part that would give a clear sense of how this should be done — some concrete steps or timelines. That can still be done and we think after Rio we should work on that.”

The timing of the summit and the upcoming U.S. election, which is focused on the economy, always meant that the U.S. would be mostly on the sidelines for this summit – especially in light of the Copenhagen debacle in 2009. One can only hope that after the election, whoever the president is, can make some steps forward in the fight against climate change. Until then – it’s on us to lower our energy use.

 

Summer 2012 Newsletter

LOGI founder honored by NE Patriots as Community MVP

Martinelli_Matthew2The New England Patriots Charitable Foundation awarded third prize in the 2012 Myra Kraft Community MVP Awards to Matt Martinelli of Lights Out, Green In. Martinelli was honored as one of 16 volunteers, among the more than 300 New England nominees, for his work in the community. The honor comes with a $2,500 grant for Lights Out, Green In.

According to the Patriots: “Martinelli is a great example of turning his passion about the importance of conserving energy into a nonprofit that is making a difference. As the founder of Lights Out, Green In, his vision is to educate and give people tangible tools to live more efficiently. He has collected hundreds of energy conservation pledges and works tirelessly to help curb climate change.”
Martinelli was nominated for the award by fellow board member Mary Welsh McBurney.
“It is such an honor to be recognized by the Kraft famly as a recipient of the Myra Kraft Community MVP Awards. Myra Kraft’s commitment to philanthropy and impact on the community was legendary during her life and it’s heartwarming to see it grow stronger in her memory,” said Martinelli. “This award will allow Lights Out, Green In, Inc. to reach many more people with its message of conservation and demonstrate how making simple changes to everyday habits can combat climate change. I feel blessed to be recognized with this award and hope I can continue to channel the spirit of the late Mrs. Kraft and focus on the health of future generations and our environment.”
“Like” us on Facebook
Facebook has changed over the years – and so has LOGI’s presence on the site. Lights Out, Green In is no longer a “group” that can send out messages to all of its friends. But – if you “like” LOGI and become a “friend” – news, photos and events for the nonprofit can show up in your timeline. “Like” LOGI and become a “friend” immediately.
Follow Lights Out, Green In on Twitter
As Twitter grows in popularity, so does Lights Out, Green In’s power to reach people with daily “pledge alerts” and news from our blog, which offers links and analysis on all environmental happenings throughout each week. FollowLightsOutGreen on Twitter and get daily alerts at 10:55 am reminding you to turn off your lights for the pledge. And check us out for other environmental links to our blog.

16 New Englanders honored at Gillette Stadium at the 2012 Myra Kraft Community MVP Awards.

Matthew Martinelli of Boston, Mass. wins third prize award of $2,500 for Lights Out, Green In, Inc.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Volunteers are the backbone of nonprofit organizations.

The Kraft family and New England Patriots Charitable Foundation’s Myra Kraft Community MVP Awards place a spotlight on those who give their time to help others and exemplify leadership, dedication and a commitment to improving their communities through volunteerism. In 2011, the Kraft family and New England Patriots Charitable Foundation announced the renaming of the awards as part of the “Celebrate Volunteerism” campaign in honor Myra Kraft’s example of being a lifelong volunteer.

On June 13, 16 honorees were recognized for their contributions in a ceremony at Gillette Stadium and received grants for their respective nonprofit organizations. Ten New England organizations were presented with $2,500 in honor of their volunteers’ work with five more receiving grants of $10,000 and one grand prize winner of $25,000.

“Volunteers are the unsung heroes of our nonprofit communities,” said Robert Kraft. “Unfortunately, they often go unrecognized for their contributions. These awards give us a chance to thank and recognize them. What I love most about this event is the touching stories and the opportunity to show a small token of our appreciation to these outstanding individuals.”

On hand to congratulate the award winners was Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft, New England Patriots Charitable Foundation President Joshua Kraft, Pro Football and Patriots Hall of Famer and Patriots Executive Director of Community Affairs Andre Tippett, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, tight end Rob Gronkowski and punter Zoltan Mesko.

Matthew Martinelli was one of ten $2,500 third prize winners.

“It is such an honor to be recognized by the Kraft famly as a recipient of the Myra Kraft Community MVP Awards. Myra Kraft’s commitment to philanthropy and impact on the community was legendary during her life and it’s heartwarming to see it grow stronger in her memory,” said Martinelli. “This award will allow Lights Out, Green In, Inc. to reach many more people with its message of conservation and demonstrate how making simple changes to everyday habits can combat climate change. I feel blessed to be recognized with this award and hope I can continue to channel the spirit of the late Mrs. Kraft and focus on the health of future generations and our environment.”

Martinelli is a great example of turning his passion about the importance of conserving energy into a nonprofit that is making a difference. As the founder of Lights Out, Green In, his vision is to educate and give people tangible tools to live more efficiently. He has collected hundreds of energy conservation pledges and works tirelessly to help curb climate change.

“The members of Lights Out, Green In are incredibly proud of Matthew’s selection as a recipient of the Myra Kraft Community MVP Award, and we are grateful to the Kraft family for its work in improving our community. As a small, grassroots, non-profit organization, this award will have a long-lasting impact on our work and allow us to reach an even wider audience in our goal to making our community more environmentally friendly,” said Joseph McBurney, Vice President of Lights Out, Green In, Inc. “This award is a testament to the work of Matthew who has worked tirelessly to build our organization. I am grateful to be a part of Matthew’s vision and I am particularly appreciative of the generosity and commitment to community service of the Kraft family in Mrs. Kraft’s memory.”

The 2012 MVPs represent all six New England states and a variety of nonprofit organizations. Nominations open each spring and for the most up-to-date information, visit www.patriots.com/community.

Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft, Patriots Charitable Foundation President Joshua Kraft, and Patriots and Pro Football Hall of Famer Andre Tippett were joined by Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, tight end Rob Gronkowski and punter Zoltan Mesko to congratulate the Myra Kraft Community MVP Award $2,500 third prize winner Matthew Martinelli from Lights Out, Green In, Inc. for his outstanding volunteerism. During the luncheon the Kraft family awarded $100,000 in grants to 16 New England nonprofits.

The 16 volunteer winners range from 18-82 years old, with one winner from each state in the region. Winning nonprofits include military member support, food cupboards, domestic violence and drug prevention as well as health and fitness.

 

Most Americans think the environment is getting worse (Washington Post).

Greenpeace wants the UN to declare the Arctic a sanctuary (BBC).

Prince Charles calls for action on climate change (BBC).

Fighting fires from the air has grown tougher (NY Times).

The Senate stops an effort to halt coal regulations (LA Times).

A dormant oil platform supports an impressive ecosystem (NY Times).

California’s bullet train won’t get environmental exceptions (LA Times).

World leaders, minus heavy-hitters such as Angela Merkel and Barack Obama, arrive at Rio+20 today with an agreement already in place to fight global warming. If only the agreement actually did something in the fight against global warming.
The mood has changed greatly from when world leaders met in Rio 20 years ago.
The first Earth Summit 20 years ago was filled with promise, as nations supported international agreements to protect biological diversity and establish a framework to curb climate change. About 180 nations signed off on a long list of goals and agreements, including a plan for the 21st century called Agenda 21, which instituted long-term planning for sustainable development and an agreement to halt the advance of deserts claiming farms and grazing land. Since then, little progress has been made.
Deserts continue to expand. The loss of plant and animals species has accelerated, with scientific tallies showing one fifth or more of all species of mammals, birds and amphibians now at risk of extinction. And greenhouse gasses have continued to build up in the atmosphere, despite ongoing deliberations under the climate convention, which included the Kyoto Protocol, and series of unsuccessful efforts to negotiate a new climate treaty.
In behind-the-scenes efforts, an agreement has been reached before the summit has even started. I suppose since the agreement included nothing substantial it was easy to reach.
Barring a last-minute rejection by one of the main negotiating blocks, the draft that will be presented to the 100 leaders attending the summit will contain almost no timetables, definitions or ways to monitor new sustainable development goals, nor will it strongly commit nations to move to a “green economy” that integrates environmental and social costs into decision-making.
Instead, civil society groups say the new text simply acknowledges the world’s dire environmental and social problems without spelling out how to deal with them.
“It’s pathetic,” said Jim Leape, the head of WWF. “If this text proposed by Brazil is accepted, then the last year of negotiations has been a colossal waste of time. If you saw this document without knowing what it was supposed to be, you might think Rio+20 was convened as a seminar.”
Of course, the finger-pointing has begun.
Nobody escapes criticism. Brazil has been criticised for producing a weak text, the EU has pulled back on financial support, the US has tried to backtrack on the long-agreed principle of “common but differentiated responsibility”, while China and other emerging economies have been reluctant to accept any strong terms that might commit them to monitoring.
Europe is dismayed by the pact, as it was hoping for more leaders by its side in the fight against climate change.
The European Union was unhappy with the level of ambition in the text, in particular Denmark, which holds the EU presidency.
But Danish Environment Minister Ida Auken told BBC News that she believed it would be signed off.
“The EU would have liked to see a much more concrete and ambitious outcome, so in that respect I’m not happy with it,” she said.
The lack of clear commitments, timetables, financing or means of monitoring progress in the text prompted dismay among many delegates and observers.
“Nobody in that room adopting the text was happy. That’s how weak it is,” tweeted EU climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard, though the EU later said it welcomed the outcome despite failing to achieve what it had hoped.
As for, the U.S.? Well, the spin has already begun.
“I think it was a good strong step forward,” US Climate Change Envoy Todd Stern told reporters. “I think the outcome that we finished today will help advance goals in this area.”
It’s sad, but true that in the years since the failed Copenhagen summit, the environmental activist community has become numb to feigned optimism and weak international agreements. Rio+20 does nothing to change that — and it hasn’t even begun.

 

Energy and water pledges could be weakened at Rio (BBC). The summit has also been hurt by uncertainty (BBC).

Kevin Costner wins an oil cleanup dispute against Stephen Baldwin (BBC).

The Colorado wildfire could burn all summer (LA Times).

The latest accusation against the EPA: it uses drones to spy on farmers (Washington Post).

OPEC considers cutting production (Washington Post).

 

The EPA is set to propose tighter soot standards (Washington Post).

Little progress has been made on protecting ocean life, a study says (BBC). But Australia and California are taking positive steps (Washington Post).

Banks are looking for green (NY Times).

Canada looks to increase pipeline capacity (NY Times).

Scientists tell the Rio summit that population and consumption levels must be addressed (BBC).

Environmental concerns are yet another hurdle for California’s proposed high speed rail (LA Times).

 

Romney’s energy plan reflects changing views (Washington Post).

National Forest Land in the East is suddenly attracting bidders (Washington Post).

Drought in Texas prompts water rate increases (NY Times). Meanwhile, the state is embracing desalination (NY Times).

“Smart” pumps may mean cleaner water for Africa (BBC).

A new study says global trade drives nature loss (BBC).

Shell and Greenpeace play a cat-and-mouse game (LA Times).

L.A.’s in a battle over an inland lake bed (L.A. Times).

 

A UN panel warns of irreversible climate change (BBC, also see LA Times).

Canada’s changing rules to aid oil extractions (Washington Post).

Brazil’s biggest landfill closes (BBC).

The Exxon Valdez is still causing controversy (LA Times).

Commodity prices are falling (Washington Post).