January is National Radon Action Month

January is National Radon Action Month and the EPA and the U.S. Surgeon General are urging all Americans to take action and protect their health by testing their homes, businesses, schools and other buildings for radon. Radon is impossible to detect by humans as you can’t see, smell or taste it but it is the leading cause of lung cancer deaths among nonsmokers in America, claiming the lives of about 20,000 people annually.

Here are four things the EPA recommends you do this month to take precautions against radon:

  • Test Your Home – EPA and the U.S. Surgeon General recommend that all homes in the U.S. be tested for radon. Testing is easy and inexpensive. Learn more about testing your home, including how to obtain an easy-to-use test kit here.
  • Attend a National Radon Action Month event in your area – Look for radon events in your community. Contact

Can you spot greenwashing? Technology gives environmental claims a power wash.

Ok, I know that I’m biased when it comes to how organizations can leverage technology to provide visibility into their CSR initiatives; after all, I work for a software company that actually provides this type of technology. But my bias is for good reason. It works.

The practice of claiming environmental responsibility without having metrics or processes to back it up certainly leaves a sour taste in the mouth of the eco-conscious consumer. Even if an organization is truly engaged and mindful of their environmental stewardship, the public is now wary and weary of corporate claims that don’t hold…um, water.

And the general appetite for responsible companies and governments when it comes to environmental protection is growing. Look at the recent survey of American attitudes created for Yale and George Mason University. It indicated that 3 out of 4 voters favor regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant and a majority … Read more...

EPA extends power plant emissions deadline…slightly

While its ambitious agenda to curb greenhouse gases (GHG) has been delayed, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is still moving ahead in full force to have power plants – one of the biggest contributors of GHGs – cut emissions drastically.

The EPA announced late last year it would move to push new, strict emissions performance standards on plants and refineries. The move faced stiff opposition from U.S. Republicans, as well as some others opposed to imposed limits on emissions, since it was viewed as a move by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to make up for the fact President Barack Obama failed to pass promised environmental legislation in his first term in office. However, the EPA had a legal mandate from the Supreme Court to move forward on carbon emissions cuts.

This week the EPA indicating it is budging, but only slightly. Its new deadline for proposing a GHG performance standard has … Read more...

U.S. Senate poised to tackle EPA’s emissions authority

The next few days are critical for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The organization declared late last year it would expand its mandate and regulate greenhouse gas emissions from plants and refineries, a move that has not been popular with Republicans and a handful of Democrats.

The Senate will vote in the coming days – potentially as early as Wednesday – on three amendments to a small business bill that could potentially limit the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gasses, an ability that is provided by both the Clean Air Act and a 2007 Supreme Court decision on the agency’s scope. By regulating the emissions of U.S. plants and refineries, the EPA would be able to regulate emissions from sources that represent more than 40 per cent of nationwide greenhouse gas emissions.

However, it must overcome the many legislative roadblocks that, to varying degrees, would prevent it from regulating emissions from … Read more...

So who reports anyway?

GRI Reports List

You’ve probably heard a lot of buzz about the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) in recent years. That’s because more and more organizations have been reporting every year since the organization launched in 1999.

But have you ever wondered who, exactly, is reporting? The answers are much closer than you think. The GRI website features a comprehensive, downloadable reports list containing information on all organizations that have provided sustainability reports along GRI guidelines through the past 12 years (that GRI is aware of). You can download the report as a Microsoft Excel file here.

While only a few organizations have reported in 2011 (we’re only in the second month of the year, after all), what is striking about the list is the sheer increase of the amount of organizations that report year after year. Nearly 1,800 organizations reported in 2010, up from about 1,450 in 2009.

After downloading the report, …

Can Congress thwart EPA’s emission standards proposal?

Late last month, the day after the U.S.’s 111th Congress officially adjourned, EPA administrator Lisa Jackson announced that, despite the fact lawmakers failed to pass President Barack Obama’s ambitious energy bill, the organization would tackle climate change within its own means by regulating greenhouse gas emissions for power plants and refineries.

In the wake of that announcement, a group of irked Republicans have vowed to bar the EPA from clamping down on emissions from some of America’s biggest polluters. A bill tabled on the opening day of the new Republican-dominated Congress and sponsored by Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) would prevent the EPA from regulating power plants and refineries by amending the Clean Air Act to state greenhouse gases are not subject to the law. The EPA derives its authority to regulate greenhouse gases from the decades-old Act, which calls for emissions controls.

Nearly 50 Republican representatives (and one Democrat) have … Read more...

EPA moves ahead on climate change, with or without Congress

U.S. President Barack Obama might have failed to pass any substantive climate change legislation in the outgoing Congress’ otherwise productive final weeks, but that hasn’t stopped some action on climate from occurring before the year’s end.

Lisa Jackson, head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), announced last week – on Dec. 23, no less, only a day after the 111th Congress officially adjourned for the year – that the agency would introduce new emission standards targeted at fossil fuel power plants and petroleum refineries in early 2011. These two sources alone represent almost 40 per cent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, according to the EPA.

Far from announcing any specific details surrounding emissions standards, Jackson simply laid out a timeline for issuing rules curbing greenhouse gas emissions, with standards for power plants and refineries to be proposed in 2011, and final rules to be issued, after consultation with stakeholders, in 2012.

While …