Verizon’s Sustainability Initiatives Help Protect California’s Environment
Initiatives Include Alternative-Energy Vehicles, Aggressive Recycling Efforts and Energy-Efficient Buildings
With the observation of World Environment Day on Sunday (June 5), Verizon is reaffirming its commitment to finding ways to reduce the environment impact of its operations – in California and throughout the rest of the country – by conserving energy, recycling and developing greener products.
Last year, in California alone, Verizon removed and recycled more than 5 million feet of unused cable, including 2 million feet of old lead cable, enough to stretch from San Diego to Crescent City and beyond. The company also recycled 2,895 mobile phones and accessories in California, via Verizon Wireless’ HopeLine® program, which resulted in keeping electronic waste and batteries out of landfills.
Also last year, Verizon contracted with the Steelweld Equipment Co. of Helmet, Calif., to convert 300 gasoline-powered Ford E-250 cargo vans to CNG (compressed natural gas), a move that will reduce vehicle carbon emissions by 480 tons per year. Used by the company in Southern California, the CNG engines emit 23 percent less carbon dioxide than comparable gasoline-powered vans.
“We’re an essential part of the technology ecosystem, and as demand for our high-IQ networks continues to increase we will grow our business responsibly,” said Tim McCallion, Verizon West region president. “Verizon continues to find ways to partner with our employees, customers and vendors to find opportunities to reduce the environmental impact of our business.”
In 2010, Verizon reduced its CO2 emissions by 876 million pounds as a result of aggressive recycling and energy reduction efforts. That is equivalent to the amount of energy used by 33,779 homes for a year. The company also improved its rate of emissions per terabyte of data by more than 15 percent in 2010.
Earlier this year, Verizon developed a new metric for measuring carbon efficiency, called the carbon intensity metric, which is derived by first combining the company’s total carbon emissions (in metric tons) from the electricity, building fuels and vehicle fuels used to run the company’s business. Then, that total is divided by the number of terabytes of data that the company transports across its network. (One terabyte equals about 300 feature-length movies.)
Verizon’s other sustainability initiatives include:
• A Trade-In Program that rewards California consumers with a Verizon Wireless gift card when they trade in their used cell phones and tablets in a convenient and responsible way.
• Verizon billboards are being collected and converted into tote bags and other products under an “upcycling” project.
• Twenty Verizon Plus and 17 Verizon Wireless stores were built to meet LEED green building certification in California.
• Deployment of 1,642 hybrid-engine and alternative fuel vehicles throughout the company’s territory in 2010, bringing the total to more than 1,900, or about 5 percent of the company’s fleet. The company expects to have 7.5 percent of its fleet run on alternative fuels by year-end and 15 percent by 2015. (http://businessforums.verizon.net/t5/Responsibility-Blog/April-Showers-Bring-a-Greener-Fleet-and-the-President/ba-p/298241)
• A plan to add several new all-electric Chevrolet Volts to the company’s fleet this year. The Volts can travel up to 350 miles on a single charge.
• The trialing of smart-building technology in 16 office locations last year, which will save the company a projected $2.1 million a year in energy costs. The program is being expanded to more than 200 locations this year.
UN Environment Program warns global use of resources not sustainable
Rising demand and use of the Earth’s resources is above sustainable levels and humans need to cut back and conserve, the United Nations Environment Programme said recently.
Some cheap and high quality sources of essential materials are already running short, UNEP said. Those materials include oil, copper and gold and the remaining sources require more fossil fuels and fresh water to produce than in the past.
Population growth and increasing prosperity for many of the world’s people is fueling demand for natural resources that is pushing consumption toward levels that are well above anything that is sustainable.
UNEP officials said decoupling an increased growth in the use of natural resources from economic growth was critical.
“Decoupling makes sense on all the economic, social and environmental dials,” says UN Under Secretary-General Achim Steiner, UNEP’s Executive Director.
For example, people in developed nations consume an average of 16 tons of minerals, ores, fossil fuels and biomass per capita. In addition, that ranges up to 40 tons or more per person in some developed nations. By contrast average consumption of those resources is only four tons per per person per year in India. But as more nations develop, consumption of those items increases and that kind of growth in consumption simply is not sustainable.
UNEP called on people to do more with less to conserve resources. The agency called for furthering that goal with “an urgent rethink of the links between resource use and economic prosperity, buttressed by a massive investment in technological, financial and social innovation, to at least freeze per capita consumption in wealthy countries and help developing nations follow a more sustainable path.”
On Your 40th Anniversary, Thank You EPA
Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins – Forty years ago today, the Environmental Protection Agency was created. It’s fitting that the anniversary falls just one week after Thanksgiving, because every American from every state should be grateful for the Agency’s work.
Consider that by 1990, the EPA’s actions had prevented 205,000 premature American deaths, 189,000 cardiovascular hospitalizations and 18 million child respiratory illnesses. The EPA has reduced 60% of dangerous air pollutants in the air we breathe. They have transformed 67% of contaminated Superfund Brownfield sites nationwide into livable neighborhoods and active business centers. In the four decades of its existence, millions of lives have been impacted by the EPA.
Including my own. As I relayed in my introductory post here, I grew up in a community where “affordability” was a code word for low income and high pollution. The industries responsible for earning the region the dubious distinction as the worst place to live in the Bay area weren’t likely to prioritize public health – nor was a local government desperate to keep any and all employers. That’s where the EPA comes in. So on this anniversary, I want to say: thanks. And we at Green For All have made it easy for you to say thanks as well at ThankYouEPA.com. There, we identified our favorite accomplishments from the last 40 years and made it easy for you to share those accomplishments with your friends and colleagues.
Some day, in the hopefully near future, we’ll build industries that don’t trade job opportunities for pollution. Today, though, the EPA continues to face strong opposition from those chained to a dirty energy economy. It is incumbent on all of us to help the EPA continue on a trajectory that will maintain our clean air protections and open the door to a new era – an era in which our nation is no longer addicted to dirty energy; no longer dependent on overseas supplies of oil; and finally able to put millions to work in new, green industries.
Whether EPA Administrator Jackson is joining us in Harlem to plant community gardens as she did last Earth Day, or working to ensure green job training for low income communities, it is clear that the EPA shares our vision to make our country not green for some, but truly Green For All. Express your thanks to the EPA on this important anniversary. Visit ThankYouEPA.com and celebrate their success in cleaning our air and water, creating thousands of jobs, and saving tens of thousands of lives. Source Huffington Post
Election Winners: California’s economy and environment
Political Director, Environmental Defense Fund (West Coast)
I joined millions of Californians in celebrating the defeat of the dirty energy ballot initiative, Proposition 23. While not quite as raucous as the World Series victory (Go Giants!), the defeat of two Texas oil companies was just as sweet.
The result couldn’t be clearer: Californians overwhelming rejected Prop 23 and voted for a clean energy future.
By rejecting Prop 23, Californians voiced their support for economic expansion in the booming clean tech sector and improved air quality and public health. By supporting the implementation of the landmark AB 32 clean energy law, California will be able to pioneer a range of pollution reduction measures that spur cleaner energy technology. It’s a true win-win situation for a state with 12.5% unemployment and in which 91% of residents live in a county with substandard air quality.
AB 32 also helps ensure the United States can compete with China and the European Union, countries that are aggressively pursuing this booming market. In 2010, the market was $10 billion. By 2020, it will reach $80 billion, becoming the world’s third-largest industrial sector.
Darkest before Dawn
Earlier this year, climate deniers and a few bad actors in the oil industry from Texas took aim at California. They unveiled a measure to repeal the most promising clean energy law in the country, AB 32, and promised an expensive and brutal campaign. The Valero and Tesoro oil companies bankrolled signature gathering effort, and voila, the Prop 23 attack confidently took shape. Nine months later, they find their attack beaten back with a strength few would have imagined. And their campaign went out with a whimper. In one of their last public announcements, representatives from Valero and Tesoro actually wrote an opinion piece that attempted to convince voters that they are neither Texas companies nor oil companies.
How did it all happen?
The Prop 23 vote unwrapped
In voting down Prop 23, Californians rejected the scare tactics and the false arguments of these two Texas oil companies. Amidst a major economic downturn, these two oil companies argued that clean energy policies cost jobs. Their transparent goal: make California’s energy policies into a scapegoat for California’s struggling economy. Californians just didn’t buy it.
Why didn’t these scare tactics work?
1. More people and communities are witnessing the benefits of clean energy. From small energy efficiency contractors to large wind farms, clean technology is putting Californians back to work. Californians understand that.
2. Voters heard from a wide range of voices they can trust about Prop 23: public health groups, environmental and community leaders, organized labor groups, business leaders from large and small businesses alike.
3. Bipartisanship — a rare commodity these days, but a powerful and effective force — trumped a polarizing attack. A broad, bipartisan coalition of Californians came together — to reduce pollution, grow clean tech jobs and increase our energy independence as never before — to rebuff the attack. A true mainstream movement for clean energy: Republicans and Democrats, large business groups, small ‘main street’ business leaders, organized labor, public health groups, minority leaders and community organizations, and national security and faith-based leaders. The passion on our side — displayed by thousands of everyday Californians who spread the word about Prop 23 — was unprecedented.
The clear public mandate for clean energy and clean air expressed in the Prop 23 vote — combined with Governor-elect Jerry Brown’s energy agenda positions — will enable California to take quantum leap forward on clean energy and technology.
Consider Brown’s ambitious goals:
• 20,000 megawatts of new renewable energy — 12,000 in distributed generation and 8,000 megawatts in large scale renewable projects like solar and wind farms.
• A fully implemented Renewable Portfolio Standard to ensure that California utilities get 33% of their energy from renewable resources.
• Develop an action plan to expand greatly expand large scale energy storage, a critical missing piece in expanding renewable energy.
• Establishing a strategy to move California homes toward ‘zero net energy.’
• Californians are ready for such visionary progress; the election results are unequivocal on this point. Businesses and entrepreneurs already are investing in technology to realize this vision: more than $10 billion of clean tech investment has flowed into the state since Governor Schwarzenegger signed AB 32 into law only four years ago.What’s needed now is strong public policy that creates a level playing field for renewable energy and incentives to expand new technologies. Brown’s platform will accomplish this goal.
• The broad, bipartisan coalition of Californians that united to reject the Prop 23 attack is ready to support this progress. This mainstream coalition is not going away but rather ready to support –and push for — a clean energy future.
Remarks to the Solar Power International, Los Angeles, California
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar
Good morning! Welcome to Solar Power International. And welcome to a key chapter in America’s New Energy Frontier as we move forward to stand up the largest solar projects in the world, right here in the United States! I want to thank Rhone Resch for his kind introduction. I also want to thank the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) and Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) for hosting this event.
It’s an honor to be here. Being at the largest solar conference and expo in North America gives you a real sense of possibility and promise. Just look around the exhibit floor at the pace at which your technologies are advancing. Or listen to the jobs report following my remarks to feel the momentum of this industry.
Or better yet: look at the large-scale solar projects we at the Department of the Interior have approved for construction in the past two weeks alone. They are the firsts of their kind on public lands and some will be among the largest solar projects in the world. In Imperial County, California, we’ve approved Tessera Solar’s 709-megawatt Imperial Valley solar project. Imperial Valley will create more than 900 jobs, and it will be the first to make use of SunCatcher technology on public lands.
In San Bernardino County, we’ve approved Chevron Energy’s 45-megawatt Lucerne Valley solar project. It is the first large-scale solar project to use photovoltaic panels on public lands. Also in California – not far from Las Vegas – we have approved the 370-megawatt Ivanpah solar project by BrightSource Energy. Ivanpah, which will create more than 1,000 jobs during peak construction and another 100 in operations and maintenance, will be the first solar project on public lands to use “power tower” technology.
And today, at the end of my remarks, I will sign off on the first large-scale solar project ever to be approved for construction on public lands in Nevada. That project is the Silver State Solar Project by First Solar. It will supply more than 15,000 homes in Clark County, Nevada, with renewable power. Ken Salazar Solar Power Intl 2010 pdf download
Serengeti on road to ruin, scientists warn
• Serengeti under threat from proposed trade road slated to bisect the northern section
• Group of 27 scientists say road will hamper migration of 1.3 million wildebeests
• Arusha-Musoma highway will cause “environmental disaster” scientists predict
• Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park is one of the world’s great natural wonders.
London, England (CNN) — Plans to build a highway through Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park will destroy one of the world’s last great wildlife sanctuaries, a group of conservation experts has warned.
Writing in the journal Nature, 27 scientists have called for a re-think on a proposed 50 kilometer (31 mile) road which they say will cause “environmental disaster.”Under plans approved by the Tanzanian government earlier this year, the trade route would bisect a northern part of the park, forming part of the 170 kilometer-long Arusha-Musoma highway slated to run from the Tanzanian coast to Lake Victoria, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Construction is expected to begin in 2012.
In “Road will ruin Serengeti,” lead author Andrew Dobson, professor at the department of ecology and evolutionary biology at Princeton University, says laying a track across the park would disrupt the annual migratory patterns of tens of thousands of zebras and gazelles, and 1.3 million wildebeest. Using computer simulations the scientists estimate that if the wildebeests’ access to the Mara river in Kenya is blocked their numbers “will fall to less than 300,000.” “This would lead to more grass fires, which would further diminish the quality of grazing by volatizing minerals, and the ecosystem could flip into being a source of atmospheric CO2,” the scientists said. In addition to simulations, the scientists also cite the experience of other park ecosystems where large mammal migration has been hindered by roads and fences.
In Canada’s Banff National Park in Canada, “habitat fragmentation” has led to the “collapse of at least six of the last 24 terrestrial migratory species left in the world.” In Africa, the ecosystems of Etosha National Park in Namibia and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in Botswana have collapsed to “a less diverse and less productive state,” the scientists said.
Scientists say a different route running south of the Serengeti should be considered to preserve the 1.2 million hectare UNESCO World Heritage Site. This alternative route could utilize an existing network of gravel roads and would only be 50 kilometers longer than the proposed northern route, the scientists said. While they acknowledge that Tanzania needs improved infrastructure to facilitate economic development, they argue that the road would damage wildlife tourism — “a cornerstone” of the country’s economy which was worth an estimated $824 million in 2005.
The Nature article adds weight to the growing pressure on the Tanzanian government to reconsider its position regarding the road.
Last month, the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Zoological Society of London voiced their concerns and campaigns against the highway are gaining support on social networking sites Facebook (“Stop the Serengeti Highway”) and Twitter (“SaveSerengeti”).
Earlier this year, Tanzania’s President Jakaya Kikwete tried to placate opponents of the project by announcing that the section of new road running through the Serengeti would not be tarmacked.
“I am also a conservation ally and I assure you I’m not going to allow something that will ruin the ecosystem to be built,” President Kikwete said in an address to the nation in July.