All posts by Savina Venkova

Savina does Marketing and Research for Carbon Analytics. She has a background in biology and sustainable development, and much of her work is informed by her involvement in divestment activism. She has lived on three continents and intends to double that figure.

Top tips to leave a smaller carbon footprint this summer

We’ve teamed up with ClimateCare to deliver an online carbon calculator and to encourage everyone to leave a smaller carbon footprint this summer. 


‘Take only photographs, leave only footprints’ – a sentiment long associated with the idea of responsible travel, but whilst there’s no harm in leaving your footprints in the sand, leaving a carbon footprint is not harmless.

Travel and tourism accounts for 5% of global CO2 emissions. 75% of these emissions are associated with transport[1]. As we start the peak holiday season here’s a reminder of ways you can minimise the environmental impact of your holiday travel and protect the very places you want to visit.

And, once you’ve done everything you can to reduce your footprint, you can use our calculator to measure and offset what’s left.


If you fly to your holiday destination, the emissions from those flights will make up a significant proportion of your annual personal carbon footprint. Here are some things you can do to minimise that impact

  • Many short haul flights can be replaced by other forms of public transport such as trains or buses. If you are feeling really adventurous there are even many options for travelling long haul without flying, making the journey a core part of your trip.
  • Stay longer at your destination: Choosing one two-week holiday rather than two one-week holidays will reduce your travel impact.
    Consider flying direct if you can, aeroplanes use a lot of fuel taking off and landing.
  • Fly Economy: Flying business or first class means more emissions – both because of the space you take up and the bigger seats and extra kit carried.

When you do fly, measure and offset your emissions using our carbon calculator under the ‘FLIGHT’ tab.


Travelling by train, bus or bike is much better for the planet, but if you need to use a car, here are some tips to reduce its greenhouse emissions – and save you some money in fuel at the same time.

  • If you’re hiring a vehicle, ask your supplier for one with the best fuel economy (you’ll save yourself money too). Consider an electric vehicle or a hybrid with the lowest gCO2/km (grams of CO2 per km travelled).
  • Avoiding sharp acceleration and heavy braking saves fuel and reduces accident rates.
    The most efficient speed depends on your car but is typically around 55 – 65mph. Faster speed will greatly increase your fuel consumption.
  • Check your tyre pressure – under-inflated tyres can increase fuel consumption by up to 3%.
  • If you’re stuck in a jam, switch the engine off if you expect to be there for more than a minute or two. Cutting the engine will save fuel and reduce emissions.
  • For short journeys think about cycling or walking. A cold engine uses almost twice as much fuel and catalytic converters can take five miles to become effective.
  • Accessories such as roof racks, bike carriers, and roof boxes significantly affect your car’s aerodynamics and reduce fuel efficiency, so remember to remove them when not in use. A boot full of equipment you’re not using also wastes fuel.
  • Air-conditioning increases fuel consumption at low speeds, but at higher speeds the effects are less noticeable. The AA recommend opening your windows around town and saving the air conditioning for high speed driving. See more of their driving tips.

Measure and offset your driving emissions using our carbon calculator– under the ‘CAR’ tab.


Your choice of accommodation will affect your impact on the climate and on the local community.

  • Choose a hotel with a clear environmental policy and help them act on it. For example washing and pressing towels and sheets every day uses a lot of energy.
  • Use locally filtered rather than bottled water.
  • Find out how the hotel engages with the local community – does it provide fairly paid local employment, source locally produced goods and support local community projects.


Measure and offset your hotel stays using our carbon calculator – under the ‘EVENT’ tab.


  • Read up on these tips to make your holiday greener by the Travel Foundation.
  • Use water and other scarce resources sparingly.
    Get to know the local community and environment during your stay –awareness of local issues can help you make a positive impact.
  • Buy local, ethically produced gifts to support the local economy and environment.

Your Tips

Please share your top tips to leave a smaller carbon footprint. Tweet us (@co2analytics) and ClimateCare (@ClimateCare) using #carboncutting. If your tip gets selected in our top five favourites, you’ll win a 50% voucher against your next offset!

All tips shared on the ClimateCare website via the form or on Twitter including #carboncutting are valid entries. The ClimateCare team will pick their five favourite tips on Thursday 4th of August. Winners will be contacted on Twitter or by email if the tip was submitted through the website form by Thursday 11th of August. If winners can’t be contacted after two attempts another winner will be selected. Each winner will receive one 50 percent off voucher for their next offset with ClimateCare. ClimateCare will share and publish tips as part of its promotion to reduce the impact of holiday travel. ClimateCare reserves the right to remove tips that are not valid or positive and constructive.

Share our top tips on social media

You can download and share our top tips high-res images – access them here.


A New Way to Measure and Offset Carbon Emissions


27 June 2016

B Corporations ClimateCare and Carbon Analytics have pooled their expertise to develop a new Carbon Calculator.

The online calculator is powered by measurement experts Carbon Analytics and provides users with a tool to calculate their carbon emissions. Users can then immediately offset these carbon emissions through ClimateCare’s award winning portfolio of climate and sustainable development projects.

The calculator helps you measure the impact of specific activities like travel, attending an event, or energy use. For example, the image below shows a calculation of the carbon impact of a return economy flight from London Heathrow to New York – a distance of over 6800 miles. It shows that each passenger is responsible for 1.54 tonnes of CO2 emissions, and gives the opportunity to offset this for £11.53.


After purchase users receive an email confirmation which includes a certificate detailing the amount of carbon offset, information about the projects they have supported and guidance on how to reduce their carbon footprint further. There is even the opportunity to purchase offsets as a gift.Everyone who measures and offsets emississions through the calculator will support projects that both cut global carbon emissions and make a real difference to people’s lives, including the award winning LifeStraw Carbon for Water project – that provides safe drinking water to 4 million people in Western Kenya – and the Gyapa Project, which provides clean efficient cookstoves to families in Ghana.“Every organisation and every household has a climate impact. Most of us are aware of the issue, but while calculating your exact carbon footprint and taking steps to address it can seem complicated, it doesn’t have to be,” explains ClimateCare’s Head of Corporate Partnerships, Rob Stevens.”With our Carbon Calculator we want to help people take action. We hope that our simple, positive process will help everyone understand and take responsibility for their carbon emissions – both by identifying opportunities to reduce their footprint and offsetting what remains.”But it doesn’t stop there. For organisations further along their carbon management journey, there is the opportunity to use the business tab to delve into the detail and carry out in depth measurements of business, supply chain and product impacts.And, once people are engaged, ClimateCare and Carbon Analytics are committed to supporting them on a journey towards carbon neutrality – or even beyond, to becoming carbon positive.
“Most people and businesses want to reduce their direct energy emissions (what we call Scope 1 emissions) but they often underestimate their indirect emissions, which include the source of their electricity and transportation (Scopes 2 and 3 emissions). The good news is that there are ways to see, understand and reduce all your energy consumption and emissions,” says Michael Thornton, co-founder and CEO of Carbon Analytics.The calculator is freely available for anyone to embed in their own website and ClimateCare is encouraging people to do so, saying: “It will allow more people to understand their carbon impact and can be used by anyone to encourage their online visitors, staff, suppliers and even customers to take action, without leaving their own web pages.”See the ClimateCare Calculator here:

To request a copy of the ClimateCare Carbon Calculator to embed in your own website simply email or call the team on +44(0)1865 591000.



ClimateCare is a certified B Corporation. We believe that climate change, poverty and sustainable development cannot be tackled in isolation. And that we cannot rely solely on aid. Governments and businesses must work together to deliver the speed and scale of change required to secure a sustainable future.

That’s why, for the past 19 years, we have mobilised the power and scale of both private and public finance for integrated Climate+Care programmes, which deliver positive environmental and social impacts around the world.

We combine the vision of a social enterprise and the commercial experience of an investment bank. Leveraging mainstream funding, we profitably deliver some of the largest, most successful sustainability initatives around the world. To date we have worked with hundreds of partners to cut over 20.6 million tonnes of CO2 and at the sime time improved the lives of 16.5 million people.

Find out more at

Follow ClimateCare on Twitter: @ClimateCare

Carbon Analytics

Carbon Analytics is an award-winning environmental impact assessment firm whose mission is to bring environment impact data and analysis quickly and accurately to businesses.

Our unique platform and algorithm allow businesses to assess their environmental impacts across their entire supply chain and can be used as a tool for businesses to engage their suppliers in lowering their carbon emissions. We provide a certification scheme to guide businesses on the path to sustainability, from “Carbon Aware” to “carbon Advocate”. Our secure online platform is free for small- and medium-sized businesses.

Find out more at

Follow Carbon Analytics on Twitter: @co2analytics

About carbon offsetting

Find out more about carbon offsetting on the ClimateCare website –

Press enquiries and image requests

Please contact: Rhiannon Szmigielski, ClimateCare

Tel: +44(0)1865 591000


climatecare logo

Understanding and Protecting Our Coral Ecosystems

Climate change is one of the greatest global threats to coral reef ecosystems — corals die as temperatures rise and cause mass bleaching and outbreaks of infectious disease.

Already, almost 30% of the world’s reefs have been destroyed. The time to act is NOW. Check out this gorgeous infographic shared by Fix about corals and coral bleaching!

Source: Blog

Carbon Analytics and Almach Energy educate the next generation about sustainability at “Eco Hack”

Last week Carbon Analytics joined forces with Almach Energy to support ‘Eco Hack’, a ten week program designed to educate young people about the importance energy efficiency and sustainability. Eco Hack’s aim is to provide students with the real world skills and knowledge of coding and website design and by doing so to inspire them to embark their own entrepreneurial journeys in the future.

Michael Thornton, our CEO, delivered a session on energy and climate change to a group of over thirty students at the Tech Cit College. We were pleased to support this initiative and to work together with Almach Energy in delivering this inspiring project.

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Michael introducing students to greenhouse gas sources.


Eco Hack: Supporting the environment through innovations in education


Although there are various technological solutions available to those who strive to reduce energy consumption and live their lives more sustainably, influencing behavioural change still remains a challenge. This inspired initiation of the Eco Hack, a ten week project that will be delivered as a part of the curriculum at the Tech City College. The event is a result of a collaboration between inspiring organisations that have sustainability and education at the heart of their business models. Eco Hack was initiated by Almach Energy and is delivered in collaboration with the Aspirations Academies Trust, Voltaware and Acorn Aspirations.

Eco Hack’s aim is to effect a shift in mindset towards energy efficient behaviours at an early age. The brief is to create an interactive application for Primary and Junior aged children that will influence the way they think about energy efficiency within their own school environment. The application should be fun and interactive and ultimately it must enable children to understand how energy is used in their school and the environment and financial impacts that behavioural change can effect. The winning group will have a chance to turn their prototyped website into a real digital product. The application will then be deployed as part of a pilot within number of Primary Schools before a wider roll out.

Organisers and partners are excited about the event, Steve Kenning, the CEO of the Aspirations Academies Trust said: ‘we are delighted to be involved with Eco Hack as it is vitally important to educate our young people about climate change. We are using the development of the Eco Hack website as a real world problem for our post 16 students at Tech City College and Rivers Academy West London to develop the range of skills essential for success in today’s world’.

Eco Hack creates opportunity to engage young people with sustainability, as Managing Director of Almach Energy highlights: ‘We are proud and excited to be supporting the Eco Hack project as we believe that educating children in their formative years about the benefits of living sustainably, in particular energy usage, has the greatest chance of instilling good behaviours throughout their lives.’

The combination of imaginative flair and design capabilities of the students at Tech City College with the industry knowledge and technical expertise of the involved partners, ensures that Eco Hack will bring some outstanding applications and websites that can revolutionise the way that children are being taught about the energy consumption.

Event will begin on 12 April 2016 with the final presentations taking place on 21 June. To find out more visit Eco Hack’s website:

For any media or partnership enquiries email: or call +44(0)7823 333 535


Issued on behalf of Johnnie Walker


Johnnie Walker® partners with Earth Day Network to plant trees to offset users’ carbon footprint

18 April 2016: You might not realise it but the amount of time you spend and what you do online takes its toll on the environment.

Research* suggests that the average online user consumes 130 kgs of carbon a year – the equivalent to driving 740 km in a car – which could be offset by planting four trees.

A new plug-in for Google’s Chrome browser launched ahead of Earth Day on Friday (22 April) will help educate people about how much energy they consume online by calculating their digital carbon footprint and, as a result, inspire them to think about their everyday energy efficiency.

The new Chrome plug-in comes from Johnnie Walker®, makers of the world’s best-selling Scotch whisky, who are partnering with Earth Day Network to urge people to take a small but progressive step towards helping the environment.

Earth Day Network is a global movement that aims to inspire, challenge ideas, ignite passion, and motivate people to take action on environmental issues.

By measuring online usage over four weeks, the plug-in calculates the user’s annual consumption of energy. To offset it, Johnnie Walker will plant up to 75,000 trees as part of Earth Day Network’s Canopy Project, which has planted more than three million trees since 2011 in areas in need of reforestation in East Africa.

Michael Thornton, Chief Executive of Carbon Analytics, which helps businesses manage their environmental impact, has worked with Johnnie Walker on the development of Earth Mode and says it is sometimes difficult for people to understand how using the internet creates a carbon footprint.

He said: “Each time that you use a website or search the internet it requires a lot of energy to provide the data. Cumulatively across the world, this creates a large carbon footprint. The Earth Mode plug-in is an easy-to-use calculator that is a helpful tool for understanding that footprint. Individuals will be able to see their carbon usage displayed as the equivalent of everyday activities such as using a microwave, driving a car or taking a flight.”

Guy Escolme, Johnnie Walker global brand director, said: “We believe that everyone wants their tomorrow to be better than today and Earth Mode gives people the opportunity to make a positive impact on the environment. It is just one environmentally-friendly act but we hope it will educate and inspire users around the world to take other small actions to help Earth Day achieve its goal of reaching three billion ‘Acts of Green’.

Johnnie Walker is proud that our parent company Diageo has reduced its carbon emissions by 33% over eight years and one of the ways they have done that is to make its 35,000 employees across the world aware of the energy they use every day and through.”

Kathleen Rogers, President of Earth Day Network said: “Carbon footprints seem like a foreign concept to far too many of us, perhaps especially those of us in urban environments or not living along a coastline. But we should all be aware of what our energy needs and consumption are doing to our shared global environment.”

“The more readily-available the information on our carbon footprint becomes, the more in contact with it in real-time we are, the more of an impact it will have. No more out-of-sight-out-of-mind. Now, like tracking the battery life on our cell phones, we will know what our computer usage is costing. And it will be eye-opening.”

The Johnnie Walker Earth Mode plug-in is available from the Chrome Store for PC and laptop users. Once installed, users click on the Johnnie Walker ‘Striding Man’ icon to reveal a drop-down window that displays real-time online energy usage, and shows how many trees will be planted to offset their annual carbon footprint.

To download the plug-in, visit:

For more information on using the plug-in visit:
#earthmode #billionactsofgreen

Enjoy Johnnie Walker responsibly.


For more information, please contact:

Selina Wallace, Smarts Communicate
E: /
T: 0044 2890 39 55 00
M: 0044 7724 477 087

Carol McAllister, Smarts Communicate
T: 0044 2890 39 55 00
M: 0044 7967 758 491

Notes to Editors
*Research conducted by Carbon Analytics concludes that an average internet user consumes 130kgs of carbon a year. Using sources provided by Earth Day Network, we estimated that the average tree consumes 34kgs of carbon a year, therefore requiring the planting of four trees per person to offset their annual online carbon consumption average of 130kg.

About Johnnie Walker
Johnnie Walker is the world’s number one Scotch whisky brand, enjoyed by people in over 180 countries around the world. Since the time of its founder, John Walker, those who blend its whiskies have pursued flavour and quality above else.

Six generations of skilled Master Blenders have pioneered and crafted bold new flavours that have transformed a small Scottish grocery store business, founded in 1820, into an international whisky business selling stylish, authentic, and iconic blends.

Today’s range of award-winning whiskies includes Johnnie Walker Red Label®, Black Label®, Double Black™, Green Label™, Gold Label Reserve™, Platinum Label™ and Blue Label™. Together they account for nearly 19 million cases sold annually (IWSR, 2014), making Johnnie Walker the most popular Scotch whisky in the world.

About Diageo
Diageo is a global leader in beverage alcohol with an outstanding collection of brands including Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, J&B, Buchanan’s and Windsor whiskies, Smirnoff, Cîroc and Ketel One vodkas, Captain Morgan, Baileys, Don Julio, Tanqueray and Guinness.

Diageo is listed on both the London Stock Exchange (DGE) and the New York Stock Exchange (DEO) and our products are sold in more than 180 countries around the world. For more information about Diageo, our people, our brands, and performance, visit us at Visit Diageo’s global responsible drinking resource,, for information, initiatives, and ways to share best practice.

Celebrating life, every day, everywhere.

The Johnnie Walker, Keep Walking, Red Label, Black Label, Double Black, Green Label, Gold Label Reserve, Platinum Label and Blue Label words and associated logos are trademarks © John Walker & Sons 2016.

About Earth Day Network:

The first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, activated 20 million Americans from all walks of life and is widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement. Growing out of the first Earth Day, Earth Day Network (EDN) works with tens of thousands of partners in 192 countries to broaden, diversify and mobilize the environmental movement. More than one billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world. For more information, visit

About Earth Mode:

Earth Mode is a new plug-in for Google’s Chrome browser which is available to PC and laptop users only. It is available for download from Monday 18 April – 16 May 2016.

Earth Mode Calculation Approach:

Carbon Analytics arrived at an algorithm for converting online energy usage into carbon by taking a cross section of measurable variances into consideration: country power mix, browsing device, local network use and data throughput.
First they estimated the energy impact of a users’ activity by:

  • User device and network time of use
  • Data usage and processing throughput

Then they took the overall energy used and looked at the location of the user to calculate their carbon footprint. Location is one of the key factors because where you live affects how much energy is required to provide the online data.
So essentially the formula is based on:

  • Energy impact = time of use + data throughput
  • Carbon footprint = energy x location factors

About Michael Thornton:

Michael Thornton is Founder and CEO of Carbon Analytics, an award-winning London based environmental impact assessment firm whose mission is to bring environmental impact data quickly, affordably and accurately to the world’s businesses. Carbon Analytics is committed to removing the barriers to environmental management, and to guide as many companies as possible on their journey to building great, sustainable businesses.

Gotta catch ‘em all! Our new certification scheme helps businesses become leaders in sustainable business

We’ve updated our certification scheme! Keep reading to find out the benefits of certification, and (for those who have been with us for a while) how it has changed.

Why get “certified”?

Who doesn’t like getting credit for doing something right? We hope our certification scheme rewards businesses who challenge themselves to be more sustainable and encourages them to keep going! It’s also a way for businesses to showcase their increasing commitment to accountability, action, and leadership to their customers. We also hope that businesses start amiably competing with each other to earn different badges.

If every organisation—even the smallest business—takes these steps, we will make incredible progress on slowing climate change, and moving toward a clean, verdant world for all.


carbon awareWhat it means: Carbon Aware companies have a holistic understanding of their environmental impacts. They have taken the initiative to assess the carbon and water footprint of every purchase they make. This provides a strong foundation to manage their impacts and make choices that enable them to improve over time.

Certification requirements: Companies must assess at least their past year of purchases using the Carbon Analytics platform, and have their results verified and validated by a member of the Carbon Analytics certification team, to ensure that you have accurately categorised your suppliers and your footprint is representative of your impacts. This is free.


Carbon efficientWhat it means: Carbon Efficient companies take meaningful action by switching to renewable sources of heating and electricity, such as wind and solar power. This creates larger demand for and greater affordability of renewable energy.

Certification requirements: Companies must switch to (or already use) 100% renewable energy.


Carbon offsetterWhat it means: Carbon Offsetter companies take accountability for the emissions they create by purchasing carbon offsets for their full “cradle-to-gate” (direct organizational + supply chain) footprint. This pays for projects that help to reduce the amount of carbon being released to the atmosphere (e.g. by funding efficient, low-emissions cooking stoves in communities that otherwise cannot afford them), or to take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere (e.g. by converting land into protected, forested areas).

Certification requirements: Companies must first achieve the Carbon Aware certification (or otherwise calculate and provide documentation of their full cradle-to-gate footprint), then offset their footprint with an accredited carbon offset provider.

For an introduction to what carbon credits are, how they work, and some of their benefits and challenges, check out our Carbon Credits 101 post.


carbon advocateWhat it means: Carbon Advocates take a leadership role to usher in the low-carbon economy by recruiting other companies to measure, improve and share their environmental impacts. This increases awareness, and spurs the rest of the economy to engage on this critical issue.

Certification requirements: Companies must successfully recruit 5 companies to the Carbon Analytics platform, and these companies must in turn demonstrate that they are progressing their low-carbon journey by achieving one of the aforementioned Carbon Analytics certifications.

How is this scheme different from our original scheme? 

Our original scheme had three sequential steps — in other words, you couldn’t attempt Step 3, without completing Steps 1 and 2.

Our newer version has four badges, and they generally don’t require earning one badge as a requirement for earning another. (Except Carbon Offsetter: a business needs to be Carbon Aware first.)

We did this to acknowledge that different companies start their journey at different places, and to encourage companies to do what they can as soon as they can.

Are you ready to be a sustainability leader? It’s as easy as 1,2,3,4! To get started on collecting your badges, contact us at or via our website’s contact form.

Catching up to COP: Where’s everyone with their commitments?

Now in our fifth month after COP21, we thought we’d take a tour around the world to see where the biggest emitters are with their climate change commitments.

China and the USA

Exactly two weeks from today (April 22), the USA and China will sign the Paris Agreement they agreed to sign at the COP21. The hope is that this will compel other countries to formally join the agreement they agreed to join at the Paris COP and to start taking steps to cut carbon emissions.

So what does the agreement contain? There’s no way of being sure yet. In the joint Presidents’ announcement, they mention supporting an “HFC amendment under the Montreal Protocol pursuant to the Dubai Pathway and on a global market-based measure for addressing greenhouse gas emissions from international aviation at the International Civil Aviation Organization Assembly”. We’re curious to see what the agreement will mean for the heavily subsidised Chinese production of solar power products that have so far threatened American industry.

There is also some trepidation, as the US and China were frequently blamed for the lack of progress at the UN climate talks, arguing that limiting their emissions would jeopardize economic growth. While the USA was reluctant to set targets unlesss major competing economies such as China did the same, China, India, and other nations argued that the richest nations, which have historically released the most carbon, should be the first to commit to stricter standards.

Photo of Obama and Xinping from .

Photo of Obama and Xinping from USCNPM .

Now that there is increasing proof that carbon emissions can be de-coupled from economic growth, there are fewer and fewer reasons why China and the United States cannot take strong action on climate change. In the USA, plans to limit carbon emissions from power plants have been stalled by a Supreme Court review of the Clean Power Plan — see our post from last week.


David Cameron has no new plans to appoint a climate change envoy, a role created in the run-up to the Paris talks.


The EU’s renewable energy targets may actually have increased GHG emissions because the dirtiest biofuels–especially those made from palm oil–produce three times the emissions of diesel.An analysis of the EU Emissions Trading System for 2015 showed little change, despite efficiency gains and plant closures. A draft UN plan to offset the aviation industry’s emissions (one of two sectors NOT covered by the Paris agreement) has been met with a lot of criticism.


Australia has also pledged to sign the Paris agreement this month.


Canada and the USA have been developing a relationship grounded in cutting methane emissions from the oil and gas industry by up to 45% from 2012 levels by 2025. Canada will also be hosting a climate change symposium–Adaptation Canada–in a few days in Ottawa.


Obama and Trudeau comparing increases in commitments to renewable energy. Photo in public domain, by Pete Souza.


India will be signing the Paris accord later this month, but coal will remain a major source of power in the years to come, according to the country’s environment minister Prakash Javedekar, in order to bring power to the 300 million Indians without electricity by 2019. NASA and India’s space agency ISRO are also working on launching a satellite to monitor climate change. The EU has recently pledged to help develop India’s electricity grid with large solar parks, to support the development of smart grids, and to help plan India’s first offshore wind array.


Brazil, along with South Africa, India, and China–the “BASIC” countries–asked for developed nations to “scale up” their level of financial support and “honour” their obligations to provide $100 billion per year in support for climate change actions by 2020.

The shortest explanation of the USA’s Clean Power Plan you are ever likely to see

The Clean Power Plan proposed by President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been floating in the news, but it’s a pretty big document to digest all at once. Here we’ll share what it aims to do and how, and what stage it is at right now.

The goals of the Clean Power Plan are to:

  • Protect the health of American families by preventing up to 3,600 premature deaths, preventing 90,000 asthma attacks in children, and preventing 300,000 missed workdays and schooldays. These deaths and illnesses are largely attributable to climate- and pollution-related threats.

  • Save American families money (nearly $85 a year in 2030).

  • Boost renewable energy generation by making up to 30% more renewable energy generation in 2030, lowering the costs of renewable energy, and creating jobs.

  • Provide benefits to low-income, minority, and tribal communities.

  • Mitigate the significant costs it expects to incur when faced with “unchecked” climate change.

So why is this plan needed? It addresses carbon pollution, which is the biggest driver of climate change. Electricity and transportation are the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions.

What does the plan intend to do?

While the EPA sets the goals, each state, tribe, and territory makes its own final plan and that it consults with a reliability or planning agency when it does so.

The plan was announced in August 2015. So where is the plan at now? In February, 2016, the Supreme Court decided that the Clean Power Plan is pending judicial review. The decision on the case can be made as early as July 2016 and no later than February 2017.

There are several legal issues with the Clean Power Plan that merit review. Some of them are:

  • Violation of the 10th Amendment. The Clean Power Plan “tramples” on States’ rights.

  • Violation of the 5th Amendment. The Clean Power Plan confiscates property without due process or just compensation.

Opposition came from states West Virginia — a major coal producer — and Texas –a major oil producer –as well as from various business groups (e.g. U.S.Chamber of Commerce) and utilities (e.g. American Electric Power Co., Southern Co., Peabody Energy Corp.).

Because the Clean Power Plan is a deeply partisan issue, it is likely that its approval will be decided after the presidential election, when a new Justice will be selected (following the death of Scalia). On the one hand, some groups point out that many states have already begun a shift toward renewable energy and that they do not need the plan to do so. On the other hand, a rejection of this plan indicates a lack of responsibility for climate change and carbon emissions — a continuation of Kyoto-era affairs. The EPA, at least, would like the USA to lead on the issue of climate change, in contrast to its past. “The Clean Power Plan is changing the international dynamic, and leveraging international action because when the U.S. [sic] leads, other nations follow. U.S. [sic] action has helped spur announcements from China, Brazil, and Mexico to limit their emissions or increase RE deployment.

US Presidential Elections 101: Everything You Need to Know About Their Environment Policies

The USA presidential race is heating up! And there are a lot of issues to keep track of. But as environmental issues are falling off the news cycle post-COP, we’d like to make sure that they’re on the agenda. In this post, we see where the major candidates stand on climate change and the environment.

The players

In the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders agree on several things:

  • Humans are responsible for climate change.
  • Climate change is a pressing problem.
  • Climate change can be addressed in the form of (a) clean energy tax breaks, (b) rejecting drilling in the Arctic and offshore, and (c) rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline.
  • The transition to renewable energy must keep in mind the livelihoods of those involved in the fossil fuel energy sector.

But before we get to how they differ, let’s take a quick look at the Republican Party.

We have Ted Cruz, who will seize every chance he can to flatly deny climate change. Donald Trump has only recently decided that “a lot of [climate change] is hoax”–we’re guessing that is the bit manufactured by China. John Kasich is moderate as far as the Republican Party goes — meaning that he’s believed climate change is real since 2012most of the time, anyway. However, he doesn’t believe that humans are the primary cause of it.

Presidential candidates Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich. Modified from NewsNinja.

Presidential candidates Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich. Modified from NewsNinja.

No further analysis of the Republicans needed. Let’s jump to the Democrats! Ding ding ding! Hillary vs Bernie, issue by issue.

Carbon tax

While Bernie supports legislation to impose a carbon tax, Hillary does not (in contrast to her previous presidential run).

Public lands

Hillary’s September 2015 plans for public lands were somewhat conservative. At that point, she was open to the the additional leasing of these lands to fossil fuel companies; climatologist and director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center, Michael Mann, pointed out that, given the cheap nature of those leases, this acts, in effect, as a subsidy to fossil fuel interests. In February 2016, when asked whether she supports banning fossil fuel extraction on public lands, she stated “It’s a done deal… No future extraction. I agree with that.” However, she has not changed her policy to specify how far in the future she is talking about, and her past is mixed on this issue.

Check out the video: Hillary Clinton Thinks Banning Fossil Fuel Extraction on Public Lands is a “Done Deal”

In the fall of 2015, Bernie Sanders co-sponsored the Keep It in the Ground Act to ban all fossil fuel extraction on public lands.

Energy infrastructure

In September 2015, Hillary unveiled her agenda for US energy infrastructure that seeks to transform the country into “the clean energy superpower of the 21st century”. This followed support for renewable energy with a focus on solar in the summer. Her plan incentivizes clean energy, prices carbon emissions, and aims to work with Canada and Mexico in a coordinated effort to lower carbon emissions. It notes the pollution and oil consumption that need to be addressed as a consequence of oil spills, chronic methane leaks, disrepair, and explosions. It also builds upon the Obama administration’s new EPA rules to reduce GHG emissions under the clean power plan. While her plan identified issues of grid security, rail safety, and modernizing the pipeline system, Bernie’s identified issues with the fuel economy standard, mountaintop removal coal mining, and pollution.

Bernie’s goal for clean energy use is  more ambitious than Hillary’s. While he wants to create a 100% clean energy system for electricity, heating, and transportation, Hillary’s goal is to create a system which generates enough clean renewable energy to power every home within 10 years of her taking office (not taking into account transportation). Bernie’s plan has a few more details on how to transform the transportation system (e.g. building electric vehicle charging stations, high speed trains) while Hillary’s remains vague.

Offshore drilling

Bernie wants to ban offshore drilling altogether.

Hillary, on the other hand, supported offshore drilling in 2006 (voting in favour of a bill opening new Gulf Coast areas to oil drilling).  But in December 2015 she expressed her full opposition to offshore drilling, stating that there was “so little to gain and so much to lose” with Obama’s Department of Interior’s draft plan to allow drilling in areas off the east coast.

Fossil fuel subsidies

Bernie is in favor of repealing fossil fuel subsidies. In 2015, he proposed the End Polluter Welfare Act to that effect. Hillary’s plan is also against fossil fuel subsidies, but check out the “Public lands” section (above) to see in what ways her policies could indirectly be subsidizing fossil fuel companies. She has also voted yes on removing oil and gas exploration subsidies in the past.


Hillary’s views on fracking are tempered; not wholly for it, but advocating being “smart”, putting in place the “right safeguards”, and recognizing that “natural gas is no long-term answer”, and with various other conditions. This view has remained stable over the past few years.

Bernie is firmly against fracking, and he has made this a major issue with which to draw the line between himself and Hillary.

Support from grassroots environmental groups

When the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) endorsed Hilary in November 2015, headlines boomed that she had widespread environmentalist support. But despite the backing of this particular environmental group, Hillary generally does not have the support of grassroots environmental groups, such as Friends of the Earth and However, the LCV does have ties to the Clintons, and their support was more indicative of hedging political bets rather than disagreement with Bernie. (Bernie’s LCV “scorecard” has a higher score than Hillary’s!)

There are many reasons for widespread disapproval of Clinton by grassroots environmental groups. One is her longtime silence and “waffling” on the Keystone XL pipeline; although she finally stated she is against it, she did so after it had already been rejected. Her calling it “a distraction” from more broad climate change policy also alienated her from many grassroots groups who considered the issue emblematic and representative of American climate change policy, rather than a specific issue. Her statement that the Copenhagen 2009 [climate] talks were a victory also indicated her being out of touch with the reality of grassroots environmental groups, which considered those talks a massive failure. Even at last year’s COP21 in Paris, the failures of Copenhagen loomed large.

Bernie, like many grassroots environmental supporters, not only found Copenhagen to be a failure but was critical of COP21 as well. In proposing a worldwide climate summit involving engineers, climate scientists, policy experts, activists, and indigenous communities, his plan states: “The [UN] Paris climate talks in December are an important milestone toward solving climate change, but even optimistic outcomes of these talks will not put the world on the path needed to avoid the most catastrophic results of climate change. We must think beyond Paris.” This not only agrees with grassroots environmental group assessment of the talks, but mirrors their language (many groups talked of “planning through Paris”).

Tweets from Mother Jones.

Tweets from Mother Jones.

Hillary also became known for her “flip-flopping” on the Trans-Pacific Partnership and her mixed support for other free trade partnerships (including CAFTA and NAFTA); most grassroots environmental groups are firmly against free trade agreements.

Bernie has a good record of pro-environmental policies and proposals that further indicate he is well attuned to the needs of grassroots environmental movements. His “Keep It in the Ground Act”, mentioned above, is a direct reference to a particularly large and loud one. His climate plan also differs significantly from that of Hillary’s in that it directly and heavily focuses on the impact of the fossil fuel lobby on politics.

Another reason Bernie is favoured by grassroots environmental groups is that he is known for (and still actively advertises) his having “the courage to stand up to big oil, because he won’t take their money”. Meanwhile, Hillary’s ties to the fossil fuel industry are well documented–see this, this, this, and this article. What’s made it arguably worse is her denial of knowledge and distancing herself from these donations.

Environmental justice

Bernie has been responsive to addressing issues that tie together race, class, and gender, and has further attempted to address issues of environmental justice that are widespread in the United States. Sanders has offered an environmental-justice amendment to legislation. This legislation  calls on Congress to affirm a wide array of statistics that point to the public health risks faced by minorities in the United States as a result of air pollution, and pushes for the creation of “a national environmental and climate justice climate change plan” intended to address “the disproportionate impacts of air pollution to low-income and minority communities”.

Hillary has connected climate change to women’s rights in her advocacy for clean cookstoves and her launching the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves for the UN. However, she has not had a history of “connecting the dots” in the United States.

The verdict

There are many issues to consider when evaluating a political candidate–environmental ones are a subset of these, but not more or less important than others!

Hillary’s plans are likely to be appealing to those who see climate change as a technical problem that can be changed by modifying a few rules, and slowly. They are also likely to appeal to those who see social and environmental problems as separate from each other. She finds the politics of climate change very daunting, and only takes a position on them when she feels politically safe doing so. She is a highly strategic and tactical politician, often fond of waiting for a decision to be made before she publicly expresses her opinion of it. While this can be frustrating–Anderson Cooper put it best: “Will you say anything to get elected?”–it is part of her package of her highly polished diplomatic and political skills and a large reason for her success.

Bernie’s plans tend to appeal to those who see climate change as a problem that cannot be distinguished from wider social issues, and to those who want to see a lot of things done differently and quickly. Bernie has shown great consistency in understanding, representing, responding to, and defending environmental groups. He appeals to many environmentalists because he is known for his “straight talk” and “what you see is what you get” persona. As far as environmental issues go, that is rare and thirsted for–more than any other set of issues, except perhaps foreign policy, they are obtuse and filled with rhetoric that often obscures intended action. For many an environmentalist, Bernie is a dream candidate. But his style of politicking may not be as well suited to other realms.

Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Photo modified from PopSugar.

Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Photo modified from PopSugar.

The majority of Carbon Analytics is not eligible to vote for this election. At any rate, we wish the United States a President who not only sees climate change as a pressing problem but can help the country become a world leader in addressing it!