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Mayors in U.S. Central States Receive Honors for Implementing Green Sustainability Practices  

U.S. Department of Energy partnering with the University of Houston to research wind power technology. Photo courtesy of cleantechnica.com.

In working to make the U.S. a more sustainably green country, the way that seems to be producing the most visible and effective results is by doing it at the city level.

In recognition, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Walmart jointly honor two cities every year – both large and small, with populations over and under 100,000 – for their green sustainability achievements.

This year’s newly announced honors go to Houston, Texas and Evanston, Ill. with both receiving the 2011 Mayors’ Climate Protection Award.

Houston received its award because of achievements in both the public and private sector, largely through working with the city’s green office challenge, which works in conjunction with the city’s energy efficiency incentive program and municipal energy efficiency program.

These programs also incorporate free technology, software training, environmental, and energy efficiency consulting from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

There are currently about 330 private companies that have already taken part in the challenge. As part of this green challenge, the city offers eligible businesses and building owners the ability to apply for funding to make permanent energy efficiency improvements to reduce utility expenses and greenhouse gases.

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UK Community Group Spreading Outreaching: Donating Unused Paints To More In Need 

It’s always a great feeling when you can donate things you don’t need anymore and make a difference in the lives of others. Community RePaint is helping people do this in the UK and is now expanding too!

Photo courtesy of dexknows.com.

Community RePaint is a non-profit network that collects unused paints from individuals, groups, and companies, and then donates them to those in need such as individuals with economic hardships, community organizations, charities, and public establishments (i.e. schools, hospitals, nursing homes, etc.).

Community RePaint has now launched a new chapter in Cambridgeshire, adding to its current network of over 50 community-based chapters, including locations in Cornwall, Belfast, and Inverness.

It’s the first new chapter in the network this year. The Cambridgeshire chapter will collect residents’ unwanted paints through six household waste recycling centers run in partnership with the Cambridgeshire County Council and Donarbon, a waste management company.

The Cambridgeshire chapter will then distribute the paints to local charities, community groups, and people in need, according to Nikki DiGiovanni, the chapter’s program manager, who said, “We already have a waiting list of people wanting paint – from schools to play groups, to people who are unemployed and just want to do up their house.”

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Californians Vote Down Prop. 23, Saving the State’s Upcoming Global Warming Law

Despite scare tactics from oil and chemical companies, by an overwhelming margin on Election Day the people of California voted against Proposition 23, also called the “California Jobs Initiative,” which would have killed the state’s global warming law scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, 2012.

Now secure, California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, more commonly known as AB 32, will require California’s State Air Resource Board to design and implement measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to their 1990 levels in the next eight years (by 2020).

They don’t know what the 1990 levels are yet, so the law has given the board the job of evaluating “the best available scientific, technological, and economic information on greenhouse gas emissions to determine the 1990 levels.”

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Election Day Giving California Voters Choice Over Global Warming Law Through Ballot Prop. 23

Graphic courtesy of climateactionmoreland.org.

Californians will have a very important decision to make this Election Day beyond who will represent them over the next term. On the ballot, voters will find something called the “California Jobs Initiative,” also commonly known as Proposition 23.

The ballot will inform voters that if they vote ‘yes’ and the proposition passes, that it will suspend the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (also known as AB 32), which is scheduled to become operative on Jan. 1, 2012.       

The goal of the proposition is to suspend law - which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions - until California’s unemployment rate drops to 5.5 percent or below for four consecutive quarters (a 12-month span).

If the global warming law goes into effect, it will require California’s State Air Resource Board to design and implement measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to their 1990 levels in the next eight years (by 2020).

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Climate Change Expected to Give Rise to Major Economic Challenges as the Century Progresses

Climate will potentially cause major shifts in the global economy if the world continues with its current “business-as-usual” approach to manufacturing and trade policies, according to reports from this year’s Conference on Climate Change, Trade, and Competitiveness held by the World Trade Organization.

Image courtesy of the phoenixprojectfoundation.us.

The major areas expected to be effected, include:

  • Rises in sea levels.
  • Water availability.
  • Agricultural outputs.
  • Tourist travel.
  • Energy demands.

The rise in mean temperature of 2.3º C could induce an overall economic decline of 1.8 percent, translating into a loss of some $2.4 trillion by the year 2050, according to calculations from the conference report - Climate, Trade, and Development.

The predictive model also expects that, “Overall the developing countries would bear the brunt of the negative impacts with an average net loss of 3.7 percent in 2050. Russia would be the only developing region (of the model) with positive gains. The high-income countries on average would see little loss, if any, though there are regional variations as well among them.”

Part of the forecasted economic impacts are attributed to changes in sea levels and water distributions. Among the projected effects, a significant portion of the loss in Southeast Asia would be related to sea-level rise as well as loss in tourism revenues, according to the report.

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