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State and regional governments commit to GHG savings greater than US annual emissions

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The leaders of sub-national governments spanning North and South America, Europe and Australia have today announced collective climate targets that would save 7.9 GtCO2e by 2030 – greater than the U.S.’s carbon emissions in 2012.

Announced at Climate Week NYC, the data comes from the Compact of States and Regions, a UN supported initiative that aims to drive major emissions reductions after the COP climate summit in December, where the expected deal will come into force in 2020. The ambitious target-setting by some of the world’s largest regional economies is expected to put pressure on global leaders at the talks.

Launched at the UN Climate Summit in New York in 2014, The Compact of States and Regions is a partnership between The Climate Group CDP, R20 and nrg4SD. It is supported by the UN, Climate-KIC, the Center for the New Energy Economy (CNEE), ICLEI and ENCORE.

The governments which have so far signed up to the Compact represent over 10% of GDP and 220 million people. The plans – which will be achieved through a combination of measures including renewable energy and energy efficiency programmes – will:

– Cut emissions by 2 GtCO2e by 2020 relative to ‘business as usual’ — more than the combined emissions of Brazil and Germany in 2012 (1.9 GtCO2e source).

– Cut emissions by 7.9 GtCO2e by 2030 —greater than U.S. emissions in 2012; the U.S. being the world’s second-largest emitter (6.2 GtCO2e source).

Premier Philippe Couillard of Québec, and North America co-chair of The Climate Group States & Regions Alliance, said: “This proves yet again that the work of state and regional governments is not only supporting a transition to a low carbon economy, but accelerating it. We are implementing innovative programmes that will allow this prosperous future to become a reality. The Compact of States and Regions creates the opportunity for us to accurately and publicly record data against our climate targets. We continue to lead the way, and do so because we know it will not only create a healthier environment for our citizens, but because it is a significant economic opportunity for a more prosperous,sustainable economy. Indeed this is the only pathway to long- term and sustainable economic growth.”

The data released today includes commitments from the first 20 subnational governments to sign up to the Compact. However, a total of over 40 States and Regions have now submitted data in support of their targets,nwhich are being verified and compiled in time for the COP climate conference in December. The governments span 18 different countries and 6 continents.

In a video message, and in her first public statement on climate change since being elected party leader, Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, said: “Rapid action to a low carbon economy will benefit everyone. It tackles climate change,supports the development of new technologies and creates new jobs. We want to work closely with partner governments, businesses and non-governmental organisations from around the world to upscale this transition. Platforms like theCompact of States and Regions allow us to lead by example and shows the need and way towards a strong agreement in Paris.”

Janos Pasztor, Assistant Secretary-General on Climate Change, said: “This very welcome announcement shows that state and regional governments are showing bold and effective leadership on climate change. The Compact of States and Regions, which was launched at the UN Climate Summit last year, has been instrumental in promoting effective climate action. Ambitious leadership by governments at all levels is needed to meet the climate challenge and build a safer, healthier and more prosperous future for all. ”

The Compact of States and Regions also works closely with the Under 2 MOU, a complementary and coordinated initiative. Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. of California, one of the founding signatories of the Under 2 MOU, said: “States, provinces and regions across the globe aren’t waiting to act on climate change. With this Compact – and the Under 2 MOU – we’re facing the future and seriously confronting the existential threat of climate change.” The Under 2 MOU brings together sub-national jurisdictions to commit to ambitious long-term reduction goals to limit the increase in global average temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius. A number of Under 2 MOU signatories report to the Compact so that progress toward their emission-reduction targets can be accurately and publicly measured, and others are encouraged to do so as well.

The figures in today’s announcement are based on climate data reported by 20 sub-national governments : British Columbia, California, Ontario, Oregon, Quebec, New York and Washington in North America; Jalisco, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo in Central and South America; Basque Country, Catalonia, Lombardy, Rhone- Alpes, Scotland and Wales in Europe; and Australian Capital Territory and South Australia in Australia.

The Compact commitments will also be part of the Non-state Actor Zone for Climate Action (NAZCA) platform, the onlinetool developed by the United Nations with the governments of France and Peru ahead of COP21. Through NAZCA, businesses, cities, regions and investors have already showcased 3,704 climate initiatives.

 

Environment

4 Common Items That Can be Reused Again and Again

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reuse reduce recycle plastic bottles etc
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Vanatchanan | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/vanatchanan%20buahom

As a society we are getting much better at taking our obligations to the world and environment around us more seriously. This is undoubtedly a good thing! The effects of climate change are beginning to manifest across the world, and this is turning the issue from an abstract threat into a very real danger. Trying to introduce some greener, more eco-friendly practices into your life isn’t just a great way of doing something beneficial for society and the world around you. It is a wonderful way of engaging positively with the world and carries with it numerous psychological benefits.

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Being a greener, more ecologically friendly person doesn’t require any dramatic life changes. Breaking or making a few small habits is all it takes to make your life a greener one. In this article we look at one of the easiest, yet most effective green practices to get into: reusing everyday items.

Jars and Containers

Glass and metal are widely recycled, and recycling is a good thing! However, consider whether any containers you buy, whether it’s a tub of ice cream or a jar of coffee, can be washed out and reused for something else. Mason jars, for example, can be used to store homemade pasta sauce and can be washed for future use. Once you start thinking about it, you will find endless opportunities to reuse your old containers.

Soda Bottles

An ice-cold soda is a wonderful treat on a hot day, but buying soda can get expensive, and the manufacturing and distribution of the drinks themselves isn’t great for the environment. However, by holding on to your old soda bottles and repurposing them as water bottles, you can save money on drinks, or use them to measure out water for your garden.

Plastic Bags

Most of the time groceries come in paper bags, which are better for the environment than the plastic alternatives, but they are less durable and thus harder to reuse. Whenever the store places your items in a plastic bag, hang onto it so you can reuse the bags again. If you want to take it one step further, consider looking into buying some personalized recycled bags. These bags are designed to last for a long time and are made of recycled materials. They look striking and unique, they’ll turn heads, and maybe even attitudes!

Seeds

If you’re a keen gardener, then you will already probably know how to reseed your plants in order to ensure a fresh crop after each plant’s lifecycle. If you have space in your garden, or haven’t yet tried your hand at gardening, then consider planting a small vegetable plot. Growing your own veggies means that you’ll be helping to cut back on the emissions generated by their transport and production. The best part about growing your own food in this way is that, by harvesting properly and saving the seeds, you can be set up with fresh vegetables for life!

Reusing and recycling common household items is an easy way to make your world a little bit greener. Once you start looking for these opportunities you’ll realize that they’re everywhere!

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Environment

These 5 Green Office Mistakes Are Costing You Money

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eco-friendly green offices
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Stokkete | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/cyano

The sudden interest in green business is very encouraging. According to recent reports, 42% of all companies have rated sustainability as an important element of their business. Unfortunately, the focus on sustainability will only last if companies can find ways to use it to boost their ROI.

Many businesses get so caught up in being socially conscious that they hope the financial aspect of it takes care of itself. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to go green and boost your net income at the same time.

Here are some important mistakes that you will want to avoid.

Only implementing sustainability on micro-scale

The biggest reason that brands are going green is to improve their optics with their customers. Too many businesses are making very minor changes, such as processing paperwork online and calling themselves green.

Customers have become wary of these types of companies. If you want to earn their business, you are going to need to go all the way. Bring in a green business consultant and make every feasible change to demonstrate that you are a green organization from top to bottom.

Not prioritizing investments by long-term ROI

It isn’t realistic to build an entirely green organization overnight. You will need to allocate your capital wisely.

Before investing in any green assets or services, you should always conduct a long-term cost benefit analysis. The initial investment for some green services may be over $20,000. If they don’t shave your cost by at least $3,000 a year, they probably aren’t worth the investment.

Determine which green investments will have the best pay off over the next 10 years. Make these investments before anything else. Then compare your options within each of those categories.

Implementing green changes without a plan

Effective, long-term planning is the key to business success. This principle needs to be applied to green organizations as well.

Before implementing a green strategy, you must answer the following questions:

  • How will I communicate my green business philosophy to my customers?
  • How will running a green business affect my revenue stream?
  • How will adopting green business strategies change my monthly expenses? Will they increase or decrease them?
  • How will my company finance green upgrades and other investments?

The biggest mistake that too many green businesses make is being overly optimistic with these forecasts. Take the time to collect objective data and make your decisions accordingly. This will help you run a much more profitable green business.

Not considering the benefits of green printing

Too many companies believe that going paperless is the only way to run a green organization. Unfortunately, going 100% paperless it’s not feasible for most companies.

Rather than aim for an unrealistic goal, consider the option of using a more environmentally friendly printer. It won’t be perfect, but it will be better than the alternative.

According to experts from Doranix, environmental printers have several benefits:

  • They can process paper that has been completely recycled.
  • They consume less energy than traditional printers.
  • They use ink that is more environmentally friendly.

You want to take a look at different green printers and compare them. You’ll find that some will meet your needs as a green business.

Poorly communicating your green business strategy to customers

Brand positioning doesn’t happen on its own. If you want to run a successful green business, you must communicate your message to customers as clearly as possible. You must also avoid the appearance that you are patronizing them.

The best approach is to be clear when you were first making the change. I’ll make an announcement about your company‘s commitment to sustainability.

You also want to reinforce this message overtime by using green labels on all of your products. You don’t have to be blatant with your messaging at this stage. Simply provide a small, daily reminder on your products and invoices.

Finally, it is a good idea to participate in green business seminars and other events. If your community has a local Green Chamber of Commerce, you should consider joining as well.

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