24 October 2009: International Day Of Climate Action

350.org is an international campaign dedicated to building a movement to unite the world around solutions to the climate crisis–the solutions that science and justice demand…More at http://www.350.org/mission and at http://www.350.org/multimedia

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University Fights Climate Change

In an earlier post here on RGdot I wrote about the initiative set up to fight climate change by pledging to be smarter in use of technology. The University of Maine at Farmington has beat out several other colleges with the most number of pledges on it campus. Read below for the details courtesy of Enviromedia and also about the video portion of the competition whose winner will be announced on May 4th.

Honor Given to Top U.S. University Fighting Climate Change Through Smart Computing

The University of Maine at Farmington beat out 18 other colleges nationwide in a competition to recruit faculty, students and staff to pledge to commit to sustainable computing practices. The university won with more than 24 percent of the campus community pledging to power down their computers and support the Climate Savers Computing Initiative’s mission.

The first-of-its-kind contest significantly helped the environment by collecting more than 17,000 pledges that will offset more than 3,000 tons of carbon per year and save 4.2 million kilowatt-hours of energy. Cost savings will collectively top more than $450,000 a year.

“The University of Maine at Farmington won by getting the highest percentage of their campus to pledge,” said Pat Tiernan, executive director of Climate Savers Computing Initiative. “Their commitment means they’ll offset 125 tons of carbon per year, save 164,000 kilowatt-hours of energy and more than $17,000 in energy costs.”

Climate Savers Computing, an international nonprofit organization committed to reducing IT-related energy waste, collaborated with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program to present the pledge challenge called Power Down for the Planet. All university pledge rankings can be viewed at http://www.powerdownfortheplanet.org/view-all-pledge-drivers/.

“Our success was the result of students talking to other students, faculty spreading the word in classes, student organizations hanging up posters, and so on,” said Tom O’Donnell, Manager of UMF Computer Center’s Network and Server Systems. “Farmington is a close-knit community, and people pull together for a good cause. In fact, environmental stewardship is written right into our mission statement. Winning the Power Down for the Planet contest is another exciting example of our dedication to the environment.”

Additional Victories
Nineteen universities competed, with Jackson State University coming in second, and the University of Iowa coming in third. The University of Iowa also received honorable mention for garnering the highest number of total campus-wide pledges with 6,013.

“Most importantly, there are only winners here because each university’s administration stepped up to join the challenge and implement broader energy-saving measures,” said Tiernan.

Other participating universities included: Adelphi University; Arizona State; California State University, East Bay; Cornell University; Furman University; Montclair State University; Ohio State University; Pennsylvania State University; Portland State University; Purdue University; UCLA; University of California at San Diego; University of Florida; University of Maryland; University of Michigan; and University of Mississippi.

Each university is now a Climate Savers Computing member, and participating universities also agreed to make a commitment to use power management on university-owned PCs and agreed to incorporate energy efficiency criteria for future PC and server purchases. Climate Savers Computing, along with each university, is also now a pledge driver with the EPA’s Change the World, Start with ENERGY STAR campaign.

In a related contest, Climate Savers Computing also issued an open call for videos that would help tell the Climate Savers Computing story of efficient computing through power management. The winners of the Grand University Prize and Grand Prize will be announced May 4 at http://www.powerdownfortheplanet.org/video/. All Power Down for the Planet Video Challenge submissions can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/group/powerdown.

For Earth Hour (www.earthhour.org/home/) , Climate Savers Computing held a weeklong promotion starting March 23 and culminating March 28. It resulted in 1,080 new individual Climate Savers Computing pledges. The Climate Savers Computing Web site had more than 19,000 unique visitors on March 28, accounting for the highest single-day count in 2009.

Climate Savers Computing also helped present an IT Power Management Summit to share how businesses of all sizes can eliminate wasted energy and cost. A recording of the Webinar is available in the Press Room section of the Climate Savers Computing Web site under the Video and Audio section: http://www.climatesaverscomputing.org/news/latest-news/.

About Climate Savers Computing
The Climate Savers Computing Initiative is a nonprofit group of eco-conscious consumers, businesses and conservation organizations dedicated to reducing the energy consumption of computers. More than 450 companies and organizations have joined the Initiative since its launch in June 2007, and thousands of individuals have pledged their support. The Initiative is led by Dell, Google, HP, Intel, Lenovo, Microsoft, and World Wildlife Fund. Sponsors include Acer, AMD, Delta Electronics, Fujitsu, Hitachi, Intuit, Lite-On, NEC, Sun and Supermicro.

For more information and to pledge your support, visit www.climatesaverscomputing.org

Carbon Neutrality Around The World

Carbon Neutrality is a concept of reducing or balancing the amount of greenhouses gases released into the atmosphere. Massive evidence points to fossil fuels causing extreme harm to the environment and while some voices of propaganda or even legitimate scientists do not agree the evidence seems to confirm extreme dangers. Even if the dangers are overblown there is no denying that city life where fumes and other pollutants are very much present has detrimental effects on each human’s health.

Many worldwide or United Nations (and other organizations) sponsored meetings and summits have been convened to reach a worldwide (or close to worldwide) agreement on controlling the release of CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) and other so-called greenhouse gases that at the very least have local health effects. The Kyoto Protocol is the most famous and perhaps the most criticized. It is however local governments and nations that have taken things into their hands and try to do their part in virtual unilateral fashion. Over the past few years Costa Rica, Norway, Maldives, New Zealand and Maldives and some others have set their own targets of becoming carbon neutral under an UN initiative called the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). While some concepts such as selling carbon credits might be questionable as to shift the problem elsewhere for cash it is still commendable and necessary that some form of concrete action is being taken by countries that may not even be the richest.

Costa Rica’s example seems to be the most ambitious by setting a target of 2021, the country’s 200th anniversary, for becoming carbon neutral. Others like Norway have set dates like 2050 as a target. Such things as moving forward and increasing existing hydroelectric power generation, starting or adding to wind power and solar power generation projects are all steps that help and have long term and short term benefits. Other steps such as halting deforestation add to the arsenal by adding carbon consuming plants. Removing pollutants from the assembly lines and the roads help as well.

As one concrete example one can look to the the introduction of electric cars into a market place. Recently the India based REVA Electric Car Company (RECC) entered the Costa Rican market and will sell its electric car in that country. Initiatives like this that include profits will help bit by bit and the chances of improving our health and most certainly the well-being of the planet are increased.

Help The Environment With The Climate Savers Computing Initiative

I do not know of a person or organization who doesn’t own or use computers or appliances that bear the Energy Star logo or who do not use their computers’ power management features such as those that turn off the hard drive and monitor after a set of amount of time. However the Climate Savers Smart Computing started by Google and Intel is taking that baseline further and in conjunction with Energy Star’s newer 4.0 specification has launched an initiative in the hopes of taking more steps in reducing CO2 emissions. The effort is mainly aimed at buinesses but consumers influence the initiative as well by buying products that support the standards and by using the power management features of the products they buy such as the aforementioned and well known feature native to most if not all computers. To make the consumer side further appealing a video challenge has been set up with a chance to win $5000 and other prizes. See video below.