Freeware Shorts: The Carbon Footprint Calculator

The Carbon Footprint Calculator (Version: 2.1 as of this post) is a small and simple tool that helps act as a rough guide to how much Carbon Dioxide emissions a person or household is responsible for.

The Carbon Footprint Calculator

Environmental concerns and the issue of climate change are often debated and mentioned, even here on RGdot.com, and some of us believe that the time for debate has long passed and we must act quickly to ensure a better and healthier future. That debate aside, The Carbon Footprint Calculator provides rough estimates and is educational at least.

It asks and uses numbers for fuel efficiency of owned vehicle(s), total distance driven, flown, traveled by rail and by bus in one year. Other numbers used for the calculation are the amount of electricity, gas and oil used. More curiously it also asks about the types of bank accounts one uses, the type of clothes one buys and also about the types of appliances purchased and recreational and food eating habits too. The final result is given in the standard unit for emissions, tons. The program is free of spyware – this can be checked on softpedia.com for example – and it does not ask any personal details so it is safe to just play around with it.

Reports can be printed and/or saved in its own cfc format and a details or summary pie chart is generated too. The Carbon Footprint Calculator is good for a simple look at what harm each of us do to our planet.

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A Nissan Leaf Ad And A Word On Clean Power

Nissan Leaf

Nissan Leaf (Leading, Environmentally friendly, Affordable, Family car) begins its US roll out very soon and it will be available in some other world wide markets before a more widespread roll out. It is Nissan’s all electric car with a range of 100 miles (160 km). It has a top speed of over 140 km/h (87 mph). Its motor is rated at 80 kW (110 hp) and 280 Nm (210 lbft).

Some responses to electric cars can be paraphrased as such:

The electricity you are using to charge your car is produced in a non environmentally friendly manner, such as coal, so you are still polluting

That shouldn’t diminish the importance of electric cars and additionally it is the job of the consumer and the voter to make sure electricity comes from clean sources. That is done by voting for the politicians who would make sure clean energy happens and also those would make sure that electric cars, such as the Nissan Leaf, make it to dealerships near you in mass numbers and are not dismissed or removed from the market place altogether.

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4 Degrees Celsius Increase

A presentation was launched last month by the UK climate ministry. It is a Google Earth (*.KML file or plugin) which ‘highlights some of the changes that may occur if the global average temperature rises by 4°C above the pre-industrial climate average.’

It spurns us, not just in the UK or the US – where a potential congressional climate bill was recently abandoned due to mostly right wing opposition – but everywhere to make sure we do our part not only at the ballot box but by our daily actions to help alleviate or eliminate such bleak future scenarios.

http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=News&id=22534587

Note: 4 Celsius is 7 Fahrenheit

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Visualizing Carbon Emissions

Burning fossil fuels has contributed immensely to the problem of climate change or global warming as some call it. It is clear that some countries have contributed far more in terms of pollution and emissions. One of the big political debates hampering progress in the ‘climate debate’ is the acceptance of the share of responsibility and any extra costs for those more responsible. In the final analysis important conferences like the upcoming Copenhagen 15 or COP15 need to produce near term and tangible results if we are to survive.

The Washington Post science section has produced an interactive global emissions chart. Using the chart it is possible to visualize pollution levels per country or region since 1950 and track changes through the decades to the present time by using a slider. No prizes for guessing the present top 2 or top 3 polluters.

Click to view the chart: Explore changes in carbon emissions from fossil fuels for G-20 countries, selected developing nations and others critical to the climate debate.

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Chevy Volt To Get 230 Miles Per Gallon?

chevyvolt

General Motors has claimed that the first generation of its new electric car the Chevy Volt can run on an equivalent of 230 miles per gallon (one gallon equals almost 4 litres). If this is the case this is some of the best news to come out of the auto industry in a long while, not to mention it is coming from a US big three manufacturer. Further claims are that it will cost 40 cents a day to charge it via a standard plug at home. The miles per gallon compares exceptionally well with the Prius, Toyota’s hybrid electric that is considered by many to be a good environmental alternative these days. The Prius run in the low 50s miles per gallon range.

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Green Living: Improving Health Today And Tomorrow

Green Living: Improving Health Today And Tomorrow

Much attention has been paid in recent years to what seems to be a growing environmental conscience in the United States. Going green used to be considered expensive and a luxury for those who could afford the trend. Now it appears that we are learning that not only is adopting more environmentally conscious attitudes good for our economic situation, but also our…health? Yes, if we dig a bit deeper we can see that dirty industries and backwards policy is actually harming the health of the earth for our children and the health of her inhabitants today.

How Does Environmental Policy Affect Public Health?

There are two levels of health consequences associated with dirty industry, both direct and indirect. The direct consequences are examples like increased asthma rates in areas with high smog indices. Chlorofluorocarbon release into the atmosphere has shown to decrease the filter of direct sunlight on the planet, resulting in more concentrated ultraviolet light reaching the surface of the earth. Perhaps it is no surprise then that in countries with depleted atmospheric gas, skin cancer rates are among the highest in the world.

The indirect health consequences are harder to see immediately, but closer examination reveals that these are, in fact, perhaps the most hazardous. Bi-products of dirty and backwards industries, such as coal and oil processing, include cancer causing substances like asbestos and benzene. A U.K. study conducted in 2002 indicated that coal and oil industry workers are at a much higher risk of developing pleural mesothelioma (associated with asbestos exposure) and leukemia (traced to benzene and heavy-metal exposure). Dr. Valerie Rusch among many other doctors who specialize in this area understand that these are substances that can be directly traced to antiquated pre-regulation equipment in industries whose environmental hazards are even more inherent.

Can we really afford to continue on the path we were on before? Investment in clean industry means not a healthier planet for our children and grandchildren, but also a healthier place for us to live today.

June 25, 2009 Written by Bill Hawthorne with the maacenter

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Electric Vehicles Speed Ahead

One of the important but yet incomplete moves towards reducing harmful emissions has been the advent of the hybrid electric vehicle. Those include the now famous Honda Insight and Toyota Prius for example, running on a combination of the old and outdated propulsion system plus different forms of rechargeable batteries. Recently Honda Insight has for the first time been a best selling car in Japan and that in itself is an important indicator of the mood and the need of the population. While hybrids of different kind contribute well to the low emissions needs of our planet ‘full’ electric vehicles can and certainly have the potential for even better results. For the time being, although not scientifically limited, the number of choices for full electric vehicles are more limited and not fully supported by the traditional big auto makers.
Coda

Two companies that do manufactures the vehicles and are slowly gearing towards providing cars for everyday use are Miles Electric Vehicles and Tesla Motors. The former has begun launching the Coda Automotive brand which, while expensive, is targeted at the no-frills environmentalist. The company is trying to get a 5 star highway safety rating from the US government agency National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and sell the cars online. Tesla Motors has taken a more luxurious and high performance route with the likes of Tesla Roadster.

With the bigger traditional companies manufacturing their own or investing in startups, legislative bodies taking the lead in making sure cars can be made available in the market and barring ‘outside’ destructive propaganda against the developing technology the future is looking clean (poor pun intended) for electric vehicles and the health of the environment.

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Wind Power Storms Ahead

The world is slowly and surely pushing ahead with green and sustainable technologies. Wind power, using turbines, is growing and is one way to generate electricity using the second most abundant source of energy after sunlight.

Today there is news that China plans to increase its existing wind power output threefold by 2020. The original plan was to have a 30 Gigawatts output by then but that has been increased to 100 Gigawatts and plans to forge ahead even further after 2020.

China is one country that has realized coal is not the way to go and as the second most polluter in the world is taking some steps necessary now.

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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

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