To create a broad-based coalition of non- and for-profit organizations committed to educating society about the benefits of environmentally responsible lawn care and gardening, and effect a quantum change in consumer and industry behavior.
San Francisco Baykeeper
The mission of Baykeeper is to protect and enhance the water quality of the San Francisco Bay for the benefit of its ecosystems and human communities.
To protect the water quality of the Savannah River and the integrity of its watershed and to promote an enlightened stewardship of this unique heritage.
Save the River
Save The River was formed in 1978 to protect and preserve the ecological integrity of the Upper St. Lawrence River through advocacy, education, and research.
Save Our Canyons
We are dedicated to protecting the beauty and wildness of the Wasatch canyons, mountains and foothills.
Save our Shores
Our mission is caring for the marine environment through ocean awareness, advocacy and citizen action.
Save Our Springs Alliance
The Save Our Springs Alliance works to protect the Edwards Aquifer, its springs and contributing streams, and the natural and cultural heritage of the Hill Country region and its watersheds, with special emphasis on Barton Springs.
Save Our Water
Save Our Water is a statewide program aimed at helping Californians reduce their everyday water use.
Save the Bay
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s (CBF) mission is to Save the Bay, and keep it saved, as defined by reaching a 70 on CBF’s Health Index.
Save the Colorado
The Save the Colorado campaign, initiated by New Belgium Brewing and the Clean Water Fund, will donate money to environmental nonprofits in the Colorado River basin working to promote water conservation and protect the river.
Save the Frogs
Their mission is to protect amphibian populations and to promote a society that respects and appreciates nature and wildlife.
Save the Prairie Society
Our mission is:
• Acquire natural areas and wildlife habitat
• Preserve, protect and enhance biodiversity
• Restore native ecosystems
• Offer field trips, prairie tours and natural historic and cultural programs and events at Wolf Road Prairie and the Prairie House
• Promote a connection to nature through the arts and
• Work to restore the historic Prairie House as a Nature Center and Museum
SaveOurEnvironment.org is a collaborative effort of the nation's most influential environmental advocacy organizations harnessing the power of the internet to increase public awareness and activism on today's most important environmental issues.
Save The Wild UP’s mission is to protect Michigan’s Upper Peninsula’s (UP) unique way of life, wildlife, landscape and freshwater resources. Through public awareness and education we strive to protect the Upper Peninsula from unsustainable development, degradation and dangerous contamination.
SavingSpecies is dedicated to conservation of biodiversity.
Scenic Hudson is dedicated to protecting and restoring the Hudson River, its riverfront and the majestic vistas and working landscapes beyond as an irreplaceable national treasure for America and a vital resource for residents and visitors.
Our mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species.
Seacoast Eat Local
Seacoast Eat Local connects people with sources of locally grown foods and advocates eating locally for the health of our environment, community, culture and economy. Through advocacy, organizing and education, we work toward a sustainable local food system that meets the needs of both producers and consumers.
Seas at Risk
Seas at Risk is an European association of non-governmental environmental organizations working to protect and restore to health the marine environment of the European seas and the wider North East Atlantic.
Part of the international Greendrinks network, Seattle Greendrinks is a volunteer-driven non-profit created to connect and grow Seattle’s environmental community.
Second Nature’s mission is to accelerate movement toward a sustainable future by serving and supporting senior college and university leaders in making healthy, just and sustainable living the foundation of all learning and practice in higher education.
Shaleshock Alliance is a major outreach and information hub about fracking in the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes region, connecting people to the growing movement to protect our communities and environment.
Our mission is to stop pollution and to restore clean water in the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers and tributaries through enforcement and community engagement.
The Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization. Inspired by nature, we are 1.4 million of your friends and neighbors, working together to protect our communities and the planet.
Sierra Club—Cascade Chapter
The Washington Chapter of the Sierra Club is working for a better future by leading the fight to stop global warming – addressing greenhouse gas pollution from all sources and promoting a green economy.
Sierra Club—Delta Chapter
We advance the cause of protecting Louisiana’s environment in a variety of ways, including lobbying the state legislature in Baton Rouge, sponsoring a Mercury Public Education Campaign, raising public awareness about climate change, and working to keep the Atchafalaya Basin, America’s greatest river swamp, wet and wild.
Sierra Club—El Paso
We support conservation, smart energy solutions to combat global climate change and wise use and protection of public lands.
Sierra Club—Four Lakes Group Sierra Club
Offering nature outings, educational programs, activism campaigns addressing local environmental issues like public transit, recycling, sprawl, clean energy and more!
Sierra Club—Houston Regional Group—Bayou Banner
To explore, enjoy and protect the wild places of the earth; to practice and promote the responsible use of the earth’s ecosystems and resources; to educate and enlist humanity to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environment; and to use all lawful means to carry out these objectives.
Sierra Club—Lone Star Chapter
Our State Conservation Office located near the State Capitol in Austin serves as a lobbying office and grassroots communications center supporting advocacy and education about our environmental priorities:
• Clean Air & Water
• Smart Energy Solutions
• Texas Land & Wildlife Legacy
• Responsible Transportation Choices
• Water for People & the Environment
With over a forty year history in this chapter, the Massachusetts Sierra Club represents about 22,000 members throughout the state and nearly one million nationwide. We fight for clean air, clean water, the preservation of the Commonwealth’s most precious natural spaces and healthy, vibrant communities.
Sierra Club—Missouri Chapter
Resources on statewide environmental issues including information on current legislation and suburban sprawl.
The Oregon Sierra Club is a non-profit member-supported, public interest organization that promotes conservation of the Oregon natural environment by influencing public policy decisions—legislative, administrative, legal, and electoral.
Sierra Club—Rio Grande Chapter
Sierra Club—Southern New Mexico Group
Sierra Club—Virginia Chapter
The Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club is 17,000 members strong. We are your friends and neighbors working to build healthy, livable communities and to conserve and restore our natural environment.
Simply Living of Central Ohio supports individuals, families and organizations in creating a more compassionate and sustainable world.
Slow Food International
Slow Food is a global, grassroots organization with supporters in 150 countries around the world who are linking the pleasure of good food with a commitment to their community and the environment.
Slow Food Northern Ohio
Their mission is to foster awareness and appreciation of Northern Ohio’s foods, farms and culinary traditions, new and old.
Slow Food USA
Food is a common language and a universal right. Slow Food USA envisions a world in which all people can eat food that is good for them, good for the people who grow it and good for the planet.
Small-Scale Intensive Farm Training Program
Small-Scale Intensive Farm Training Program is an intensive, hands-on training program that will teach farmers and future farmers, urban food producers, community leaders, and citizens how to commercially produce high-value, nutrient-rich food on small parcels of land.
Smart Growth America
Smart Growth America advocates for people who want to live and work in great neighborhoods. We believe smart growth solutions support businesses and jobs, provide more options for how people get around and make it more affordable to live near work and the grocery store. Our coalition works with communities to fight sprawl and save money. We are making America’s neighborhoods great together.
Smart Growth Network
The SGN works to encourage development that serves the economy, community and the environment. It is a forum for:
• Raising public awareness of how growth can improve community quality of life;
• Promoting smart growth best practices;
• Developing and sharing information, innovative policies, tools and ideas;
• Cultivating strategies to address barriers to and advance opportunities for smart growth.
Society for Ecological Restoration International
To promote ecological restoration as a means of sustaining the diversity of life on Earth and reestablishing an ecologically healthy relationship between nature and culture.
Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests
As a non-profit membership organization, the Forest Society is dedicated to protecting the state’s most important landscapes while promoting the wise use of its renewable natural resources.
Solar Energy International
Solar Energy International was founded in 1991 as a nonprofit educational
organization to help others to use renewable energy resources and sustainable building technologies through education and technical assistance.
Solar Oregon is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit membership organization providing public education and community outreach to encourage Oregonians to choose solar energy.
Solar San Antonio
Solar San Antonio is a non-profit 501(c)(3) advocacy and resource center for renewable and sustainable energy applications. Utilizing community education and outreach, we strive to decrease energy costs and improve the quality of life in San Antonio and South Texas.
To promote the common good by being the most cost-effective provider of the most beneficial solar energy systems.
Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
Southern Alliance for Clean Energy promotes responsible energy choices that create global warming solutions and ensure clean, safe and healthy communities throughout the Southeast.
Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy
Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy works to protect the world’s oldest mountains for the benefit of present and future generation.
Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards
Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards is an organization of concerned community members and their allies who are working to stop the destruction of our communities by surface coal mining, to improve the quality of life in our area and to help rebuild sustainable communities.
Southern Environmental Law Center
Use the power of the law to protect the environment and health of the Southeast.
Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group
Southern SAWG's mission is to empower and inspire farmers, individuals and communities in the South to create an agricultural system that is ecologically sound, economically viable, socially just and humane.
Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance
The mission of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) is the preservation of the outstanding wilderness at the heart of the Colorado Plateau and the management of these lands in their natural state for the benefit of all Americans.
Southside Community Land Trust
Southside Community Land Trust provides access to land, education and other resources so people in Greater Providence can grow food in environmentally sustainable ways and create community food systems where locally produced, affordable and healthy food is available to all.
Southwest Energy Efficiency Project
Southwest Energy Efficiency Project promotes greater energy efficiency in a six-state region that includes Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming — a high-growth region that is making great strides in advancing energy efficiency since 2002.
Southwest Environmental Center
Their mission is to protect and restore native wildlife and their habitats in the Southwestern borderlands, through advocacy, education and on-the-ground projects.
The Center for Justice is a nonprofit law firm dedicated to the experience of justice for those of limited or no resources through compassion and an awareness of the sacredness of the Earth.
Sportsmen for Responsible Energy Development
Sportsmen for Responsible Energy Development is a coalition of more than 500 businesses, organizations and individuals dedicated to conserving irreplaceable habitats so future generations can hunt and fish on America’s public lands.
St. Johns Riverkeeper
Our mission is to work on behalf of the community for clean and healthy waters in the St. Johns River, its tributaries and its wetlands, through citizen-based advocacy.
Stand for the Land
Stand for the Land focuses on news relating to public land issues, treaty rights and related citizen activism in the Upper Great Lakes Region.
Stockholm Environment Institute
Stockholm Environment Institute is an independent international research institute engaged in environment and development issues at local, national, regional and global policy levels for more than 20 years.
Stop Climate Chaos
Stop Climate Chaos is dedicated to action on climate change and limiting its impact on the world’s poorest communities.
The Story of Stuff Project
They amplify public discourse on a series of environmental, social and economic concerns and facilitate the growing Story of Stuff community’s involvement in strategic efforts to build a more sustainable and just world.
The Student Conservation Association
The Student Conservation Association’s mission is to build the next generation of conservation leaders and inspire lifelong stewardship of our environment and communities by engaging young people in hands-on service to the land.
Fighting for people over profits.
Their mission is the protection and enjoyment of oceans, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network.
Sustain Dane works toward our vision by staying in touch with what is happening locally and globally, identifying opportunities, building networks and relationships and acting as a catalyst for big ideas and partnerships in our region.
• Shift mindsets—values, attitudes and beliefs—when they are out of step with the realities of a finite planet and a globally powerful human race.
• Restructure systems when the rewards and incentives of the system are inconsistent with long term social, environmental, and economic goals.
• Build the capability to manage and learn in complex environmental, social, and economic systems.
Sustainable Green Country
Sustainable Green Country actively advocates in the areas of: sustainably-grown local food, clean air, mercury emissions, green building, energy conservation & renewable energy, and “greening” local churches and city governments.
Sustainable OKC is a grassroots organization working at the crossroads of business, social justice and the environment. Sustainable OKC promotes community sustainability by facilitating local action, fostering awareness of sustainability, and serving as an informational and networking resource in the Oklahoma City area.
Sustainable Woodstock, a not-for-profit organization founded in 2009, builds on Woodstock’s legacy as the birthplace of the modern conservation movement. We’re working to create a vibrant, inclusive, thriving community where we live sustainably, now and in the future.
Take Action Spread Knowledge Ohio
Take Action Spread Knowledge Ohio is students, parents, faculty, neighbors, public officials and industry representatives who believe in Taking Action and Spreading Knowledge about social and environmental issues, both locally, nationally and globally.
Tar Sands Action
To stop the Keystone XL pipeline.
Terra Madre Foundation
The Terra Madre Foundation is made up of all those who wish to act to preserve, encourage, and support sustainable food production methods.
Texas League of Conservation Voters
The Texas League of Conservation Voters works to preserve and enhance the quality of life of Texans by making conservation a top priority with Texas elected officials, political candidates and voters.
Tilth Producers of Washington State
Tilth Producers promotes ecologically sound, economically viable and socially equitable farming practices that improve the health of our communities and natural environment.
To lead in fostering healthy and active living communities through innovative programs, planning and policy that promotes walking and bicycling throughout the St. Louis bi-state region.
To conserve, protect and restore North America’s coldwater fisheries and their watersheds.
Trout Unlimited – Central Wisconsin Chapter
Trout Unlimited’s mission is to conserve, protect and restore North America’s trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds.
The Trust for Public Land
The Trust for Public Land conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come.
Thousands of Superfund sites exist around the U.S., with toxic substances left open, mismanaged and dumped. Despite the high levels of toxicity at these sites, nearly 21 million people live within a mile of one of them, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Currently, more than 1,300 Superfund sites pose a serious health risk to nearby communities. Based on a new study, residents living close to these sites could also have a shorter life expectancy.
Published in Nature Communications, the study, led by Hanadi S. Rifai, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Houston, and a team of researchers, found that living in nearby zip codes to Superfund sites resulted in a decreased life expectancy of more than two months, the University of Houston reported.
"We have ample evidence that contaminant releases from anthropogenic sources (e.g., petrochemicals or hazardous waste sites) could increase the mortality rate in fence-line communities," Rifai told the University of Houston. "Results showed a significant difference in life expectancy among census tracts with at least one Superfund site and their neighboring tracts with no sites."
The study pulled data from 65,000 census tracts – defined geographical regions – within the contiguous U.S., The Guardian reported. With this data, researchers found that for communities that are socioeconomically challenged, this life expectancy could decrease by up to a year.
"It was a bit surprising and concerning," Rifai told The Guardian. "We weren't sure [when we started] if the fact that you are socioeconomically challenged would make [the Superfund's effects] worse."
The research team, for example, found that the presence of a Superfund site in a census tract with a median income of less than $52,580 could reduce life expectancy by seven months, the University of Houston reported.
Many of these toxic sites were once used as manufacturing sites during the Second World War. Common toxic substances that are released from the sites into the air and surface water include lead, trichlorethylene, chromium, benzene and arsenic – all of which can lead to health impacts, such as neurological damage among children, The Union of Concerned Scientists wrote in a blog.
"The EPA has claimed substantial recent progress in Superfund site cleanups, but, contrary to EPA leadership's grandiose declarations, the backlog of unfunded Superfund cleanups is the largest it has been in the last 15 years," the Union wrote.
Delayed cleanup could become increasingly dangerous as climate change welcomes more natural hazards, like wildfires and flooding. According to a Government Accountability Office report, for example, climate change could threaten at least 60 percent of Superfund sites in the U.S., AP News reported.
During the summer of 2018, a major wildfire took over the Iron Mountain Superfund site near Redding, CA, ruining wastewater treatment infrastructure that is responsible for capturing 168 million gallons of acid mine drainage every month, NBC News reported.
"There was this feeling of 'My God. We ought to have better tracking of wildfires at Superfund locations,'" Stephen Hoffman, a former senior environmental scientist at the EPA, told NBC News. "Before that, there wasn't a lot of thought about climate change and fire. That has changed."
In the study, researchers also looked at the impacts of floodings on Superfund sites, which could send toxins flowing into communities and waterways.
"When you add in flooding, there will be ancillary or secondary impacts that can potentially be exacerbated by a changing future climate," Rifai told the University of Houston. "The long-term effect of the flooding and repetitive exposure has an effect that can transcend generations."
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A weather research station on a bluff overlooking the sea is closing down because of the climate crisis.
The National Weather Service (NWS) station in Chatham, Massachusetts was evacuated March 31 over concerns the entire operation would topple into the ocean.
"We had to say goodbye to the site because of where we are located at the Monomoy Wildlife Refuge, we're adjacent to a bluff that overlooks the ocean," Boston NWS meteorologist Andy Nash told WHDH at the time. "We had to close and cease operations there because that bluff has significantly eroded."
Chatham is located on the elbow of Cape Cod, a land mass extending out into the Atlantic Ocean that has been reshaped and eroded by waves and tides over tens of thousands of years, The Guardian explained. However, sea level rise and extreme weather caused by the climate crisis have sped that change along.
"It's an extremely dynamic environment, which is obviously a problem if you are building permanent infrastructure here," Andrew Ashton, an associate scientist at Cape-Cod based Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, told The Guardian. "We are putting our foot on the accelerator to make the environment even more dynamic."
This was the case with the Chatham weather station. It used to be protected from the drop into the ocean by about 100 feet of land. However, storm action in 2020 alone washed away as much as six feet of land a day.
"We'd know[n] for a long time there was erosion but the pace of it caught everyone by surprise," Nash told The Guardian. "We felt we had maybe another 10 years but then we started losing a foot of a bluff a week and realized we didn't have years, we had just a few months. We were a couple of storms from a very big problem."
The Chatham station was part of a network of 92 NWS stations that monitor temperature, pressure, humidity, wind speed and direction and other data in the upper atmosphere, The Cape Cod Chronicle explained. The stations send up radiosondes attached to weather balloons twice a day to help with weather research and prediction. The Chatham station, which had been observing this ritual for the past half a century, sent up its last balloon the morning of March 31.
"We're going to miss the observations," Nash told The Cape Cod Chronicle. "It gives us a snapshot, a profile of the atmosphere when the balloons go up."
The station was officially decommissioned April 1, and the two buildings on the site will be demolished sometime this month. The NWS is looking for a new location in southeastern New England. In the meantime, forecasters will rely on data from stations in New York and Maine.
Nash said the leavetaking was bittersweet, but inevitable.
"[M]other nature is evicting us," he told The Cape Cod Chronicle.
By Douglas Broom
- If online deliveries continue with fossil-fuel trucks, emissions will increase by a third.
- So cities in the Netherlands will allow only emission-free delivery vehicles after 2025.
- The government is giving delivery firms cash help to buy or lease electric vehicles.
- The bans will save 1 megaton of CO2 every year by 2030.
Cities in the Netherlands want to make their air cleaner by banning fossil fuel delivery vehicles from urban areas from 2025.
"Now that we are spending more time at home, we are noticing the large number of delivery vans and lorries driving through cities," said Netherlands environment minister Stientje van Veldhoven, announcing plans to ban all but zero-emission deliveries in 14 cities.
"The agreements we are setting down will ensure that it will be a matter of course that within a few years, supermarket shelves will be stocked, waste will be collected, and packages will arrive on time, yet without any exhaust fumes and CO2 emissions," she added.
She expects 30 cities to announce zero emission urban logistics by this summer. City councils must give four years' notice before imposing bans as part of government plans for emission-free road traffic by 2050. The city bans aim to save 1 megaton of CO2 each year by 2030.
Help to Change
To encourage transport organizations to go carbon-free, the government is offering grants of more than US$5,900 to help businesses buy or lease electric vehicles. There will be additional measures to help small businesses make the change.
The Netherlands claims it is the first country in the world to give its cities the freedom to implement zero-emission zones. Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Utrecht already have "milieuzones" where some types of vehicles are banned.
Tilburg, one of the first wave of cities imposing the Dutch ban, will not allow fossil-fuelled vehicles on streets within its outer ring road and plans to roll out a network of city-wide electric vehicle charging stations before the ban comes into effect in 2025.
"Such initiatives are imperative to improve air quality. The transport of the future must be emission-free, sustainable, and clean," said Tilburg city alderman Oscar Dusschooten.
Europe Takes Action
Research by Renault shows that many other European cities are heading in the same direction as the Netherlands, starting with Low Emission Zones of which Germany's "Umweltzone" were pioneers. More than 100 communes in Italy have introduced "Zonas a traffico limitato."
Madrid's "zona de baja emisión" bans diesel vehicles built before 2006 and petrol vehicles from before 2000 from central areas of the city. Barcelona has similar restrictions and the law will require all towns of more than 50,000 inhabitants to follow suit.
Perhaps the most stringent restrictions apply in London's Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), which charges trucks and large vehicles up to US$137 a day to enter the central area if they do not comply with Euro 6 emissions standards. From October, the ULEZ is being expanded.
Cities are responsible for around 75% of CO2 emissions from global final energy use, according to the green thinktank REN21 - and much of these come from transport. Globally, transport accounts for 24% of world CO2 emissions.
The Rise of Online Shopping
Part of the reason for traffic in urban areas is the increase in delivery vehicles, as online shopping continues to grow. Retailer ecommerce sales are expected to pass $5billion in 2022, according to eMarketer.
The World Economic Forum's report The Future of the Last-Mile Ecosystem, published in January 2020, estimates that e-commerce will increase the number of delivery vehicles on the roads of the world's 100 largest cities by 36% by 2030.
If all those vehicles burn fossil fuels, the report says emissions will increase by 32%. But switching to all-electric delivery vehicles would cut emissions by 30% from current levels as well as reducing costs by 25%, the report says.
Other solutions explored in the report include introducing goods trams to handle deliveries alongside their passenger-carrying counterparts and increased use of parcel lockers to reduce the number of doorstep deliveries.
Reposted with permission from the World Economic Forum.
The bill, SB467, would have prohibited fracking and other controversial forms of oil extraction. It would also have banned oil and gas production within 2,500 feet of a home, school, hospital or other residential facility. The bill originally set the fracking ban for 2027, but amended it to 2035, The AP reported.
"Obviously I'm very disappointed," State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), one of the bill's two introducers, told the Los Angeles Times. "California really has not done what it needs to do in terms of addressing the oil problem. We have communities that are suffering right now, and the Legislature has repeatedly failed to act."
The bill was introduced after California Gov. Gavin Newsom said he would sign a fracking ban if it passed the legislature, though his administration has continued to issue permits in the meantime, Forbes reported. Newsom has also spoken in favor of a buffer zone between oil and gas extraction and places where people live and learn, according to the Los Angeles Times. The latter is a major environmental justice issue, as fossil fuel production is more likely to be located near Black and Latinx communities.
Urban lawmakers who want California to lead on the climate crisis supported the bill, while inland lawmakers in oil-rich areas concerned about jobs opposed it. The oil and gas industry and trade unions also opposed the bill.
This opposition meant the bill failed to get the five votes it needed to move beyond the Senate's Natural Resources and Water Committee. Only four senators approved it, while Democrat Sen. Susan Eggman of Stockton joined two Republicans to oppose it, and two other Democrats abstained.
Eggman argued that the bill would have forced California to rely on oil extracted in other states.
"We're still going to use it, but we're going to use it from places that produce it less safely," Eggman told The AP. She also said that she supported the transition away from fossil fuels, but thought the bill jumped the gun. "I don't think we're quite there yet, and this bill assumes that we are," she added.
Historically, California has been a major U.S. oil producer. Its output peaked in 1986 at 1.1 million barrels a day, just below Texas and Alaska, according to Forbes. However, production has declined since then making it the seventh-most oil-producing state.
Still, California's fossil fuel industry is at odds with state attempts to position itself as a climate leader.
"There is a large stain on California's climate record, and that is oil," Wiener said Tuesday, according to The AP.
Wiener and Democrat co-introducer Sen. Monique Limón from Santa Barbara vowed to keep fighting.
"While we saw this effort defeated today, this issue isn't going away," they wrote in a joint statement. "We'll continue to fight for aggressive climate action, against harmful drilling, and for the health of our communities."
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By Brett Wilkins
As world leaders prepare for this November's United Nations Climate Conference in Scotland, a new report from the Cambridge Sustainability Commission reveals that the world's wealthiest 5% were responsible for well over a third of all global emissions growth between 1990 and 2015.
The report, Changing Our Ways: Behavior Change and the Climate Crisis, found that nearly half the growth in absolute global emissions was caused by the world's richest 10%, with the most affluent 5% alone contributing 37%.
"In the year when the UK hosts COP26, and while the government continues to reward some of Britain's biggest polluters through tax credits, the commission report shows why this is precisely the wrong way to meet the UK's climate targets," the report's introduction states.
The authors of the report urge United Kingdom policymakers to focus on this so-called "polluter elite" in an effort to persuade wealthy people to adopt more sustainable behavior, while providing "affordable, available low-carbon alternatives to poorer households."
The report found that the "polluter elite" must make "dramatic" lifestyle changes in order to meet the UK's goal — based on the Paris climate agreement's preferential objective — of limiting global heating to 1.5°C, compared with pre-industrial levels.
In addition to highlighting previous recommendations — including reducing meat consumption, reducing food waste, and switching to electric vehicles and solar power — the report recommends that policymakers take the following steps:
- Implement frequent flyer levies;
- Enact bans on selling and promoting SUVs and other high polluting vehicles;
- Reverse the UK's recent move to cut green grants for homes and electric cars; and
- Build just transitions by supporting electric public transport and community energy schemes.
"We have got to cut over-consumption and the best place to start is over-consumption among the polluting elites who contribute by far more than their share of carbon emissions," Peter Newell, a Sussex University professor and lead author of the report, told the BBC.
"These are people who fly most, drive the biggest cars most, and live in the biggest homes which they can easily afford to heat, so they tend not to worry if they're well insulated or not," said Newell. "They're also the sort of people who could really afford good insulation and solar panels if they wanted to."
Newell said that wealthy people "simply must fly less and drive less. Even if they own an electric SUV, that's still a drain on the energy system and all the emissions created making the vehicle in the first place."
"Rich people who fly a lot may think they can offset their emissions by tree-planting schemes or projects to capture carbon from the air," Newell added. "But these schemes are highly contentious and they're not proven over time."
The report concludes that "we are all on a journey and the final destination is as yet unclear. There are many contradictory road maps about where we might want to get to and how, based on different theories of value and premised on diverse values."
"Promisingly, we have brought about positive change before, and there are at least some positive signs that there is an appetite to do what is necessary to live differently but well on the planet we call home," it states.
The new report follows a September 2020 Oxfam International study that revealed the wealthiest 1% of the world's population is responsible for emitting more than twice as much carbon dioxide as the poorest 50% of humanity combined.
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
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