Feeling lucky about your numbers? Probably not if we’re talking the digits on your energy bill. Check out our tips to shrink your electricity payments and to keep both you and the planet rolling in green.

1. Raid your closet.

Rather than turning to the thermostat every time you catch a chill, grab a sweater instead. Dressing in layers is totally in: It’ll keep you off those fashion makeover shows, save you about $250, and keep 1,000 pounds of CO2 outta the environment per Biter, per year. Get the full Bite.

2. Break the (drying) cycle.

Save $25 a year by turning off your dishwasher’s drying cycle. It accounts for 15%-50% of dishwasher energy usage, and believe it or not, your dishes will indeed dry on their own. Get the full Bite.

3. Make your fridge chill.

Help your refrigerator run more efficiently by keeping it full, using glass storage containers, and cleaning the dust off the coils a couple times a year (if they’re at the base; this alone saves up to $20 a year). Bonus: Replace your current fridge with an Energy Star one to save $55 a year. Get the full Bite, and watch our vid.

4. Shed some light bulbs.

Replacing your standard bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) can save the average household about $180 a year. Plus, traditional incandescents generate about 2-10 times more mercury than CFLs when you figure in emissions from the power plants that usually power them. Get the full Bite.

5. Get outta hot water.

Turn down the temp on your tank water heater to around 120 degrees (many installers set to 140 degrees) – that’s hot enough to clean you and your dishes but still save you 6%-10% on water-heating costs. Plus, if every U.S. household did the same, we could prevent the amount of globe-warming CO2 emitted by the country of Kuwait. Get the full Bite.

6. Leave your clothes in the cold.

Doing your laundry in cold water instead of hot will save you $61 a year and will keep your clothes looking newer, longer – and it does the job on all but the worst cases of griminess. Households that wash only in cold water prevent 1,281 pounds of CO2 from mucking up the air every year. Get the full Bite.

7. Kick it old school with nonelectric appliances.

Burn a few calories and cut a few dollars off your energy bill by using a manual can opener rather than an electric one. If 10,000 people ditch their electric can openers, in a month we’ll save enough electricity to power a lamp for about 11 years. Get the full Bite.

8. See how your energy use measures up.

Get a home energy monitor to gauge your home’s power usage – down to the LCD TV you left plugged in and your kiddo’s night-light. Seeing where all that energy’s going will remind you to unplug and flip switches. Get the full Bite.

9. Exorcise your phantom loads.

A phantom load is the energy that’s sapped by your appliances when they’re plugged in but not on, and a whopping 40% of the electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while they’re turned off. Curb the energy drain by plugging ’em into power strips that you switch off each night. Get the full Bite.

10. Let the sun shine in.

Installing solar panels is an up-front investment for sure, but it’s a great way to cut energy costs (with the right system, you’ll never have another energy bill again) and pollution. Just 1 hour’s worth of the sunlight that hits the earth provides more energy than we use in a whole year. Get the full Bite.

Posted by: jharper on 06/29/2009

Date: 20-Nov-09
Country: US
Author: Belinda Goldsmith

Global Warming, 9/11, Obama Top Words Of The Decade Photo: Reuters
A villager walks through a partially dried reservoir in Yingtan, Jiangxi province October 29, 2009.
Photo: Reuters

LOS ANGELES – Concerns over the environment and terrorism have not only affected how people lived in the past decade but also their language, with “global warming” and “9/11” topping a list of the most used words of the 2000s.

The Global Language Monitor, which uses a math formula to track the frequency of words and phrases in print and electronic media, said “Obama” came third in the list with the surname of U.S. President Barack Obama used as the stem for other words.

“Bailout” was listed fourth after the bank bailout was one of the first acts of the financial crisis, “evacuee” came fifth in the wake of Hurricane Katrina devastating New Orleans, and “derivative” featured fifth.

“Google,” “surge,” “Chinglish” meaning a hybrid of Chinese and English, and “tsunami,” after the 2004 Asian disaster that left 230,000 people dead or missing, followed.

“Looking at the first decade of the 21st century in words is a sober, even somber, event,” said Paul JJ Payack, president of The Global Language Monitor.

“For a decade that began with such joy and hope, the words chosen depict a far more complicated and in many ways, tragic time. Nevertheless, signs of hope and renewal can be found in the overall lists.”

Payack said the top phrase of the decade was “climate change” followed by “financial tsunami” and “Ground Zero.”

Technology’s impact on the past decade was reflected in the list with “Twitter,” the micro-blogging site, one of the most used words while “blog” and “texting” featured on the list.

Hollywood continued to flex its muscle, with “slumdog” from the Oscar-winning film “Slumdog Millionaire,” referring to child inhabitants of Mumbai slums, making its mark in global languate. U.S. comedian Stephen Colbert’s “truthiness,” defined as truth that comes from the gut not books, came in at No. 25.

(Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

Date: 19-Nov-09
Country: US
Author: Reuters

Russia toughened on Wednesday its goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions, saying it would target a 25 percent reduction from 1990 levels by 2020 compared with a 10-15 percent pledge previously.

Following are the negotiating positions of the top greenhouse gas emitters before a U.N. meeting in Copenhagen in December due to agree a new global climate deal.

1) CHINA (annual emissions of greenhouse gases: 6.8 billion tonnes, 5.5 tonnes per capita)

* Emissions – President Hu Jintao promised that China would cut its carbon dioxide emissions per dollar of economic output by a “notable margin” by 2020 compared with 2005. The “carbon intensity” goal is the first measurable curb on national emissions in China. Hu reiterated a promise that China would try to raise the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to 15 percent by 2020.

* Demands – China wants developed nations to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2020 and to promise far more aid and green technology.

2) UNITED STATES (6.4 billion tonnes, 21.2 tonnes per capita)

* Emissions – President Barack Obama wants to cut U.S. emissions back to 1990 levels by 2020, a 17 percent cut from 2005 levels, and to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

* Obama says he wants an accord in Copenhagen that covers all the issues and that has “immediate operational effect.

Legislation to cut emissions by 20 percent from 2005 levels had been approved by a Senate Committee but people few think it can become law before the Copenhagen talks.

* Finance – The United States says a “dramatic increase” is needed in funds to help developing nations.

* Demands – “We cannot meet this challenge unless all the largest emitters of greenhouse gas pollution act together,” Obama said.

3) EUROPEAN UNION (5.03 billion tonnes, 10.2 tonnes per capita)

* Emissions – EU leaders agreed in December 2008 to cut emissions by 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and by 30 percent if other developed nations follow suit.

* Finance – EU leaders have agreed that developing nations will need about 100 billion euros ($147 billion) a year by 2020 to help them curb emissions and adapt to changes such as floods or heatwaves. As an advance payment, they suggest 5-7 billion a year between 2010 and 2012.

* Demands – The EU wants developing nations to curb the rise of their emissions by 15 to 30 percent below a trajectory of “business as usual” by 2020.

4) RUSSIA (1.7 billion tonnes, 11.9 tonnes per capita)

* Emissions – Cut greenhouse gases by 22-25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. That means a rise from now — emissions were 34 percent below 1990 levels in 2007.

5) INDIA (1.4 billion tonnes, 1.2 tonnes per capita)

* Emissions – India is prepared to quantify the amount of greenhouse gas emissions it could cut with domestic actions, but will not accept internationally binding targets, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said. [ID:nDEL381436]. India has said its per capita emissions will never rise to match those of developed nations.

* Demands – Like China, India wants rich nations to cut emissions by at least 40 percent by 2020. But Ramesh signaled room to compromise: “It’s a negotiation. We’ve given a number of 40 percent but one has to be realistic.

6) JAPAN (1.4 billion tonnes, 11.0 tonnes per capita)

* Emissions – Cut Japan’s emissions by 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 if Copenhagen agrees an ambitious deal.

* Finance – Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama told the United Nations that Tokyo would also step up aid.

7) SOUTH KOREA (142 million tonnes, 2.9 tonnes per capita)

* Emissions – Cut emissions by 30 percent below “business as usual” levels by 2020, which is equivalent to a 4 percent cut from 2005 levels.

8) BRAZIL (111 million tonnes, 0.6 tonnes per capita)

* Emissions – Will cut its emissions by between 36.1 percent and 38.9 percent from projected 2020 levels, representing a 20 percent cut below 2005 levels.

9) INDONESIA (100 million tonnes, 0.4 tonnes per capita)

* Emissions – Aims to cut emissions by 26 percent by 2020 below “business as usual” levels.

Taking CO2 from deforestation into account, Indonesia is the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

by Jaymi Heimbuch, San Francisco, California 10.27.09

light-switches-on-redPhoto via Robert S Donovan

It doesn’t take inventing a whole lot of new technology to save a whole lot of GHGs. It just take a whole lot of people utilizing the simple, inexpensive technologies we already have rolling out that help cut down on energy consumption. If US consumers used existing technology to its fullest, we’d save a whole France-worth of carbon emissions, according to a study in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science. And to get more people to be savvy about what options are already on the table, scientists say social networking will play a role.

Ars Technica reports, “The authors make a compelling case that behavioral changes [such as getting people to use simple, inexpensive technologies and low-tech solutions to energy efficiency], which can be amplified by social networks, are probably easier to generate and produce quicker results than the actual deployment of high-tech hardware. And they cite a variety of studies to indicate that, in a lot of ways, we probably understand how to produce behavioral changes better than we know how to deploy unproven tech.”

Some of the low tech solutions with the highest adoption rates are home weatherization, with 90% adoption, more energy efficient appliances, with an 80% adoption, and fuel-efficient vehicles, with a 50% adoption. These now-tech solutions, when calculated over a 10-year adoption rate, would cut US carbon emission by about 7.4% of total national emissions – an amount just a touch higher than what France spits out. On top of that, about 60% of the total financial savings of reduced energy use would come within the first five years, making the payoff for behavioral changes readily apparent.

So what will get people to make the behavioral changes? The authors point out programs that offer money for efficiency, such as with the cash for clunkers program, or with rebates for purchasing energy efficient appliances. However, we’ve also seen that making energy usage information available to people will also help reduce energy consumption or improve driving practices. A financial incentive to save more on monthly energy and fuel bills will likely spur more consumers into improvements like weatherization, and better driving (or carpooling) practices.

The idea of social networking factoring in is interesting as well. Several energy dashboard companies mention elements to their products that allow users to compete with people in their area, using that competitive spirit to boost energy efficient behavior. We’ve also seen the idea of World of Warcraft-like games as a way of getting people to put the environment first, and of course there’s the example of Tweet-A-Watt as a way to blast your energy usage data out to followers and having to publicly walk the talk. All of these are behavioral incentives that use existing technology.

While cutting carbon emissions by 7.4% won’t get us nearly to our goal – we need to cut our emissions by 80%, like, now – it is a big chunk that helps us get to the goal, and it’s all changes based on tools we already have at our disposal.

Will we actually make the changes that would cut a whole country’s worth of GHGs from our output? Well, let’s hope so. With’s Day of Action just passed and COP15 rapidly approaching, carbon emissions are at the top of people’s minds, and ways to reduce them have never seemed so important. The fact that we don’t need to wait on futuristic technologies to make some big changes is encouraging.

More on Cutting Carbon Emissions
Contraception Five Times Less Expensive Than Low-Carbon Technology in Combating Climate Change
7 Overrated Technologies and Their Underrated Low-Tech Alternatives
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint by Half in Three Steps

Model Forest Policy Program


Why are forests so vital in solving the climate crisis

and protecting our communities?

You’re invited to a free 60 minute telephone seminar where staff from the Model Forest Policy Program, will discuss the often ignored climate solution: forests. Learn why forests are so vital in protecting citizens from impacts of climate change and what’s the cost of not preserving their natural “services”…or doing nothing?

Use this seminar to build your case to decision makers and the public. Choose one of the dates below:

Monday August 31 Scheduled Start Time: 9:00 P.M. Eastern, 6:00 P.M. Pacific
Wednesday Sept 9 Scheduled Start Time: 3:00 P.M. Eastern, 12:00 P.M. Pacific
Thursday Sept 17 Scheduled Start Time: 2:00 P.M. Eastern, 11:00 A.M Pacific

Here’s what you’ll take away from the 1-Hour Teleseminar:

  • Clearer understanding of critical role of forests in protecting citizens from flooding, drought and increasing CO2 levels.
  • Questions answered about your community’s forest and water climate planning problems.
  • The synergy of multiple communities tackling these issues together.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • The top 5 reasons you need to address forest conservation locally.
  • Facts YOU can use to make the case for conserving your local forests.
  • Learn from success stories and failures.
  • Learn how to position your community to get future funding for climate planning.

This information is needed now by your community so don’t miss out on this free presentation. Copy and paste this link into your browser.

Here are the experts on the call:

Toby Thaler, JD, has over thirty years experience in forestry and related natural resource management issues in the Northwest. He has worked for a broad range of clients-Tribes, public interest groups, local governments-to promote sustainable resource management policies, including forest practices and forest land conservation, shoreline and water resource management.

William Paddock is a sustainability expert who works with local government and business clients on the implementation of sustainable practices and strategies. William is the Cookeville, TN, Project Director helping that region create a forest water climate action plan. William holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Alabama and a MBA in Sustainability from the Institute for Sustainable Practice at Lipscomb University.

Nancy Gilliam, PhD., has helped over 5,000 landowners implement sustainable forestry practices. She initiated the Virginia General Assembly’s study of forest health. Nancy founded the Model Forest Policy Program in 2000 due to proliferation of chip mills in the south and lack of forest policy. She has worked with state and local government officials in VA, TN, ID, and WA guiding model forest policy development and education.

Todd Crossett, MA, has over fifteen years experience in government relations, strategic planning, facilitation, organizational development, project management and advocacy for sustainable practices. Todd served for two years as County Commissioner introducing groundbreaking water protective land use codes in conservative North Idaho.

Gwen Griffith, MA, DMV, program director in sustainable building and low impact development, brings the watershed perspective to the work of climate change mitigation and adaptation. She takes the continuum of care approach from land use planning to smart growth to green building to low impact landscaping to efficient site management. She provides in-depth education on the energy, water, climate connection with an emphasis on water efficiency and source water protection.

Thanks for registering!

Nancy Gilliam

Executive Director

P.S. Any problems registering, call me (509) 432-8679, or email me at

Help Me

Help Me

Seals, whales, and walruses are just a few of the arctic species depending on you today. In fact, entire ecosystems in America’s Arctic are still under threat from oil and gas development.

Your voice is needed to help reverse aggressive Bush-era plans to expand oil leases in pristine Arctic waters already under stress from climate change.

We need your help immediately. Right now, Shell is aggressively seeking to start exploratory drilling in both the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, as early as 2010. Take action now to protect our Arctic waters from drilling!

As a WildAlert subscriber, you helped defend sensitive Arctic ecosystems earlier this year. Together we sent an overwhelming 98,000 letters to the Department of the Interior, and the Obama administration has since put the most recent Bush-era plans on hold! While the hold did not apply to previous controversial leases that opened 80 million acres in the Arctic Ocean and Alaska’s Bristol Bay, federal courts have ruled that additional scientific review of those leases is needed.

Now the administration is giving the public the chance to weigh in on all of these controversial plans. Won’t you join us in voicing concern for America’s Arctic?

Please urge Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to create a new science-based plan that will ensure the health and survival of America’s Arctic. Tell Salazar that until such a plan is completed, the only solution that will truly protect arctic species is a “timeout” from all oil and gas related activities in the Arctic Ocean.

Please take action today. Once America’s Arctic is destroyed, it will be gone forever.


Kathy Kilmer
The Wilderness Society

Date: 05-Aug-09
Country: US
Author: ClimateBiz Staff

Gap Inc. shrunk its carbon footprint by 20 percent over the past five years through lighting retrofits, sourcing renewable energy and an energy management program that targets energy-intensive stores.

Its performance helped the San Francisco-based company exceed the goal it set as a member of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Leaders Program. Gap planned to reduce emissions by 11 percent between 2003 and 2008.

The company has focused on its energy use as part of a multi-pronged approach to reducing its environmental impacts, Gap explained in its latest social responsibility report released Friday. Other planks include reducing waste and advancing sustainable design and fabrics.

Gap formed its Environmental Council in 2008 to improve its performance in energy use, waste and sustainable design and cotton. The council is made up of senior executives and mid-level managers from all of its brands, representing functional areas such as logistics, real estate, marketing, trade compliance and merchandising. It meets quarterly to identify opportunities, share best practices, and engage senior leadership. The company joined the Ceres-led Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy in March to lobby Congress to pass progressive climate change legislation.

The company is currently undergoing an environmental footprint assessment scheduled for completion this year. The assessment will examine energy, water use, effluents and waste at more than 2,800 retail stores, transportation, seven distribution centers, 11 headquarters and five design studios. A second phase focusing on its supply chain will begin early next year.

By far, the company’s retail stores account for nearly 82 percent of its energy consumption in 2008. Between 2007 and 2008, Gap shrunk its average U.S. store energy consumption by 2.8 percent.

In 2008, the company installed a one-megawatt solar energy system at its West Coast distribution center in Fresno, Calif.

The company also shrank the amount of waste generated, leading to a drastic reduction in recycled materials. Gap expects a program being implemented that shifts to new containers at its distribution centers will cut its cardboard waste by 57,000 tons and save the company about $20 million annually.

In 2008, Gap introduced a new denim laundry policy that requires all suppliers to meet wastewater quality guidelines. All denim laundry locations participate; about 79 percent have passed requirements.