Horowitz: Obama Administration Forges Another Major Climate Change Agreement
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Scientists assert that, despite the fact that HFCs represent only a small percentage of the world’s production of greenhouse gases, this agreement alone will prevent nearly a one degree Fahrenheit increase in world temperature, according to the New York Times. When one considers that the over-all goal is to at least limit warming to an increase of no more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent the worst impacts of climate change, it becomes clear that this agreement is a truly big deal.
Under this agreement, the United States, members of the European Union and other developed nations will freeze the production and consumption of HFCs by 2018, while developing nations such as China and Brazil will freeze HFC use by 2024. A few nations with the world’s warmest climates, including India and Pakistan, are given to 2028 to freeze the use of this chemical. Over-time, the developed nations are required to limit HFC use to 15% of 2012 levels. The rest of the world is still required to achieve significant reductions, but is given less ambitious targets and a longer time horizon. The Air Conditioner industry is already moving ahead with the development of alternative refrigerants.
This consequential agreement comes on top of a recent international agreement to limit the production of greenhouse gases stemming from air travel as well as the sweeping climate change agreement reached in Paris at the end of last year in which more than 190 nations agreed to reduce greenhouse gases. Taken together, these international agreements forged by the Obama Administration put the world on the right path to avoid the worst consequences of global warming.
President Obama’s diplomatic successes on climate change abroad were made possible by his actions at home. The Executive Actions of the Obama Administration, mainly using the authority granted by Congress under the Clean Air Act, including mandating dramatic increases in vehicle mileage standards for cars and trucks, are what gave President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry the credibility to persuade the world, including the developing nations like China and India who had previously dug in their heels, to take significant actions on climate change.
President Obama will leave the next President well-positioned to make continued progress on this critical issue—leaving a well-marked path to preserving a livable planet.
Rob Horowitz is a strategic and communications consultant who provides general consulting, public relations, direct mail services and polling for national and state issue organizations, elected official and candidates. He is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at University of Rhode Island.
RELATED SLIDESHOW: 25 Ways to go Green in Providence This Fall
Related Slideshow: 25 Ways to Go Green This Fall - 2017
Walk & Bike More
There are only a few more weeks before the temperatures here in New England start to really dip to frigid numbers.
Enjoy the cool, crisp weather of fall and walk or ride your bike. You'll save on gas, save the environment, and it's good for you!
When it comes to getting to work, World Watch Institute says to "consider telecommuting if you live far from your work."
Donate Old Clothes
With the changing of the seasons comes the changing over of the closet from summer clothes to warmer clothes.
If you come across clothes that you don't wear, donate them to a local shelter or thrift store, instead of just holding onto them.
"Donate unwanted clothes to a thrift store so these unused garments can have a new life somewhere else," writes Williams.
Take Shorter Showers
Who doesn't love the feeling of a nice hot shower after spending some time outdoors in the brisk fall air?
Only one problem—those long showers waste lots of water. Try taking shorter showers in order to go green this fall.
Along with taking shorter showers, World Watch suggests Installing a low-flow showerhead.
Opt-Out of Junk Mail
Junk mail is the worst. No one likes it, and it only serves to clutter up our homes, trash cans and landfills. But, did you know there is a way to "opt-out" of junk mail?
You can get off most unsolicited mail lists simply by calling 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688).
Also, instead of browsing through catalogs, look at products online—most catalog companies publish online versions of their products, perfect for saving paper and going green.
During the holiday season, there is plenty of energy to be saved on the highway by sharing rides with family members or friends headed to the same place.
Before you’re going somewhere, start thinking about who you might be able to carpool with and make arrangements so one car instead of two or three are on the road for the trip. Even if it’s just for a few miles, this adds up and can reduce gridlock and air pollution.
Ditch Bottled Water
Everyone knows that water is the healthiest beverage option, but next time, instead of grabbing for a bottle of water, drink tap water out of a reusable cup or bottle.
World Watch says "use a water filter to purify tap water instead of buying bottled water. Not only is bottled water expensive, but it generates large amounts of container waste."
You can buy reusable water bottles at nearly any department or home goods store, and you'll save money by not constantly paying for bottled water.
Open The Shades to Let Natural Light in
Few things can warm a room as well as the sun. Those warm rays of the sun can heat homes, even when temperatures outside begin to dip.
"Before you go to work, open your blinds or curtains in your home where the sun shines most. When you get home, don't forget to close them to lock in your free heat. In areas where your home doesn't get much sun, especially in areas shaded from trees, keep your curtains and blinds closed," writes Save on Energy's Craven.
In order to save energy and reduce heating costs, open your shades during sunny days, even on colder days. The sun's radiation will do the work so your home heating system doesn't have to.
Changing the batteries to your smoke detector when you switch your clocks this Sunday? Make sure to recycle your batteries rather than throwing them away.
Recycling your batteries keeps them out of the landfill, where heavy metals may leak into the ground when the battery casing corrodes, causing soil and water pollution. If batteries are incinerated with household waste, the heavy metals in them may cause air pollution.
Use Pinecones as Natural Bird Feeder
Are you an ornithology enthusiast? Do you love the sights and sounds of songbirds outside your window?
Keep your feathered friends returning to your yard by using a pinecone as a natural bird feeder. Recycle pinecones found in your yard by adding birdseed and peanut butter to your pinecone.
Find more instructions here.
Reusable Lunch Boxes
Do you send your kids off every day with their lunch in a brown paper bag? Try using a reusable lunch box instead to cut down on waste.
Even after middle and high schoolers have grown out of using their favorite superhero lunch box, there are plenty of subtle and understated designs to complement their style.
Don't Dry, Clean Only
Dry cleaning is far more harmful to the environment than your standard load of laundry done in a conventional washing machine.
If you have clothes that can be machined washed rather than dry cleaning, try giving them a run through the washer. And, if you're in the market for a new wardrobe, don't buy clothes with the "dry-clean only" label on them.
"Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible. As much as 85 percent of the energy used to machine-wash clothes goes to heating the water.
Use a drying rack or clothesline to save the energy otherwise used during machine drying," says World Watch.
Visit a Pick-Your-Own Farm
Visit a pick-your-own farm and grab some of the freshest food that you can find.
Save on Energy writes, "visit a pick-your-own farm for fresh produce such as apples, pumpkins, and root vegetables. You may even find locations that let you pick fresh nuts such as pecans or walnuts."
Eat Less Meat
Unbeknownst to most people, meat requires a far larger ecological footprint to produce than fruits and vegetables.
World Watch suggest adding one extra meatless meal per week.
Next time you plan a family dinner, try cooking with more vegetables and less meat.
You'll save the environment and cook a healthier meal.
Carve Fewer Jack-O-Lanterns
Halloween celebrators beware!
According to the U.S. Energy Department, pumpkins cause major waste issues each year on Halloween. The majority of the 1.3 billion pounds of pumpkins produced in the U.S. end up in dumps and landfills, according to the Energy Department’s website.
Reverse the Spin of Ceiling Fans
If you have a ceiling fan in your home, reverse the spin of it.
According to Save on Energy, "If you reverse the direction to clockwise, your ceiling fans will push warm air back down. It will also redistribute the warm air from your heating system, making sure pockets of cold air don't settle in the corners of each room."
Turn Down the Thermostat
In order to save some energy (and some money) turn down your house's thermostat a few degrees this fall. You may not notice the difference, but the environment sure will.
If you're still a little cold, throw on a sweatshirt. For even more savings, turn your heat down even lower when your family leaves for work school or a vacation.
Erica Mattson, Legislative Director for the Environmental League of Massachusetts, said that working to make changes to local, state and federal laws surrounding energy use can have a huge impact.
"Policies play a huge role in shaping how healthy our communities are and how clean our environment is," Mattson said. Get involved with an environmental advocacy organization like the Environmental League of Massachusetts. We’re working to get strong environmental protection laws passed and implemented. Start learning about our work by signing up for our e-bulletins on our website."
Put Down The Leaf Blower
When it comes time to get all the fallen leaves off of your lawn, don't reach for your electric or gas-powered leaf blower. Appliances like those can release pollutants into the atmosphere, and that is definitely not going green.
Instead, use manual lawn tools like a rake to save energy.
"Once you're done, reuse the leaves by transforming them into mulch for your plants or compost them to enrich your soil," wrote Williams.
Preparing for your holiday? Want to make sure your house is sparkling clean for your friends family and other guests?
For more information, click here.
Make Fewer Trips to Grocery Store
If you're headed to the grocery store to pick up food and supplies for your next party try to make as few trips as possible. You'll save money on gas, and have to drive less, making this a perfect way to go green.
If you can, try to get all your items at one store. This way, you'll use even less gas when shopping.
To keep the cold fall wind out of your home, and keep your warm air inside, be sure to seal up any drafts around windows or doors in your house or apartment.
"If your air conditioning was running non-stop all summer, then you might have unnoticed leaks in your home. Before it gets too cold, check all your doors and windows for drafty chills that could keep your heater running non-stop too," writes Save on Energy's Jordan Craven.
Drafts can do serious damage to your heating bill, and will be a major drain on energy usage, so make sure to seal them up soon.
For more information on how to seal them, click here.
Insulate Your Home
Insulation is one of the best ways to save money and energy in your home. Insulation will keep the cold air out of your home, and, better yet, keep the warm toasty air right inside your house where you want it.
If you better the insulation in your home, not only will your home be warmer, you'll go green and save money on your heating costs.
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