Posts

How to Minimize Your Environmental Impact While Flying

As you begin to plan your trips for the new year, rethink the way you fly. While flying can save you hours of travel, planes are the worst modes of transportation when it comes to CO2 emissions. Additionally, the manufacturing, processing and fuel transportation associated with mass flights has a negative impact on the environment. Liquid fuels such as oil or petroleum make up 36% of total carbon emissions. Here are five ways you can lessen your carbon emissions and still enjoy your trip.

Go for the direct flight.

Cut out the connecting flights whenever possible. The myth is that direct flights are more expensive, but it can actually be lighter on the wallet, depending on when you book your ticket. Reducing the number of flight connections will reduce fuel usage and manufacturing impact.

Fly during the day.

Rise and shine, travelers! Flying during the day is better for the environment, so book your travel to fly from dawn to dusk if possible. Contrails caused by your plane will reflect some sunlight away from the Earth in addition to securing warmth in the atmosphere. Contrails add to the greenhouse effect, according to researchers. This happens more at night.

Pack light.

Try a carry-on backpack that extends into an overnight bag, or one suitcase. The more baggage you bring, the more baggage the plane has to accommodate which can burn more fuel and thus more carbon emissions. Why? Because the heavier a plane is, the longer it takes to land and take off. An average of 50% of TOTAL carbon emissions come from takeoff and landing!

Buy carbon offsets

Purchasing carbon offsets ahead of time (or after) is another way to take the extra step toward conscious travel and making a difference in the environment. Carbon offset credits are purchased by you through an organization or third-party who has researched, selected, and verified a variety of renewable energy projects where your carbon emissions will be “offset” by these other projects elsewhere. So while you’re flying from North Carolina to California, you can rest assured that your carbon emissions from your flight will be offset by a project such as a hydroelectric grid plant in another state. Check out Carbonfund or TerraPass as two of many third-party organizations that offer carbon offset purchase options.

Take a train instead.

Another scenic route option is to take a train instead of flying. Trains are about 70% more efficient than planes when it comes to environmental impact. For short trips, this can be cost-effective, too.

With a little planning and your new know-how, you can fly in style and help the environment at the same time.

Three Investment Strategies To Tackle Climate Change

We’re proud to be featured in a new article at U.S. News and World Report, “Three Investment Strategies to Tackle Climate Change.”

EXCERPT:

In a post-election climate where much of an incoming White House administration is filled with anti-climate change proponents, some investors are trying to take a public stance.

Peter Krull, president of Krull & Co., a socially and environmentally responsible investment firm in Asheville, North Carolina, says he’s seen a surge in investors who are interested in investing in more sustainable companies since the election in November.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.

Meeting Katharine Hayhoe and Thoughts on Climate Change

Raised by an environmental scientist, I have heard about global warming for as long as I can remember. However, as I am reminded each holiday when I sit down with extended family and friends, there are still many people I know and love who do not accept climate change.

This past Thanksgiving, I experienced a major turning point when my grandmother said that based on all the changes she has noticed, she is ‘beginning to believe’ global warming is real.  She wondered aloud: how was global warming becoming a religious or political topic?

Dr. Katharine Hayhoe did a marvelous job covering that question during her keynote at First Baptist in Asheville on April 5.

photo by Dayna Ruggerio

photo by Dayna Ruggerio

In her talk, “Science, Faith and our Changing Climate,” Dr. Hayhoe said that discussing whether or not someone believes in climate change is like asking if someone believes in gravity – whether or not they do, they are still falling in one direction if they walk off a cliff.

When you ask someone about their belief on climate change, she explained, the problem with asking at all is that it ultimately questions their opinions, identity, and ideology.  This immediately makes a person defensive and emotionally involved.  If someone asked you if you believe in gravity, you would likely feel a little confused by the question, but not have the same strong emotions you experience when asked if you believe in global warming or if you believe in a certain religion.

Dr. Hayhoe makes it clear that she does not believe in global warming.  She knows based on scientific evidence that it is a fact and that humans are causing it.  Unfortunately, because we view and discuss global warming as if it is something to be believed in, it is associated with religious and political ideologies.  This has resulted in barriers in some faith communities to accept climate change as a fact.  And as long as we continue talking about global warming as if it is something to be believed in, there will doubt.

Faith communities can be powerful forces to combat climate change.  Through joint prayer and action, they can make an enormous impact.  A congregation divesting from fossil fuels makes more of an impact than one individual.  A place of worship installing solar panels on its roof makes more of an impact than solar panels on a small home.

Because of the power the faith community has to make this world a better place, it is critical for us to stand together against global warming.

Hopefully we will all one day live in a world where no one believes in global warming, because it is accepted as a fact.

For information on what you can do as part of a faith community, please visit the following sites:

  • ReVest — socially responsible investing for faith organizations and individuals
  • Climate Caretakers — a global community of Christians committed to prayer and action on climate change.
  • Katharine Hayhoe — Katharine Hayhoe’s official site

photo by Dayna Ruggerio

photo by Dayna Ruggerio

 

 

How Climate Change Will Greatly Impact the Global Economy

Recently, Schroders Economics Group released its Climate Change Survey 2016, which supplemented its report on The Impact of Climate Change on the Global Economy. Schroders sent the survey to 18 investment banks and brokerage firms, and received five responses, all of which stated that global warming presents an “Extremely Significant” or “Significant” threat to the global economy in the current century. Several negative effects are expected, most notably inflationary pressures.

Implications for Everyone:

As a result of global warming, prices of several goods and services are expected to increase. Food and water prices will increase due to reduced output per worker, agricultural production, and healthy water supply.

As oceans continue to rise and low lying areas are submerged, reduced land availability and mass migration will increase the cost of land.

Energy costs will increase as more extreme temperatures increase heating and cooling costs.

Insurance costs are already increasing and will continue to rise. Payouts from extreme weather events such as Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy have hurt companies’ profits and they are reacting accordingly. For example, in Gulf Coast states, flood insurance costs for customers have risen significantly.

Implications for Investors:

Several academic studies provide various estimates of annual losses in GDP in the current century due to global warming. However, most investment analysts do not account for these losses in their forecasting models. One assumption investment analysts make when estimating a company’s performance is that the company will continue operating and growing into perpetuity. Without accounting for the estimated losses in companies’ growth prospects due to climate change, analysts’ current company valuations may be overestimated.

Companies’ equity stock will decrease due to the added costs to repair damage to property and infrastructure. Consequently, equity investors will suffer losses.

Debt investors will suffer due to increased inflation because the purchasing power of fixed coupon payments is reduced as inflation increases.

Moving Forward…What Can We Do?

Shareholders can use their voting power to encourage the Board of Directors to align managers’ compensation with long-term, climate change mitigating goals.

In order to provide more accurate fundamental data for investors, investment analysts must start incorporating the economic effects of climate change into their forecasting models.

Many economists agree that a government policy incorporating a carbon pricing or carbon credit trading model will reduce carbon emissions. These policies properly reallocate external spillover costs back to the companies (i.e. companies pay for the negative environmental and health effects we as individuals incur).

The Bigger Picture

Because analysts view individual companies as “going concerns” that will exist into perpetuity, they are not alarmed when companies make large capital expenditures now, with the expectation that cash returns will exceed the initial up-front cost. Likewise, the earth is a “going concern” and will exist into perpetuity. Therefore, governments can also make large capital expenditures now and expect to receive cash returns in excess of the initial cost.

Alternatively, the future cost of not investing in climate change mitigation may be much higher than the savings today.

Don’t Miss Climate Change Scientist Dr. Katharine Hayhoe in Asheville

Krull and Company is a proud sponsor of “Science, Faith and our Changing Climate, An Evening with Katharine Hayhoe.”

Who is Dr. Katharine Hayhoe?

Katharine Hayhoe, named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People In the World in 2014, will visit Asheville, North Carolina during April 5-6 for a number of events prior to and after her evening talk. These events, co-sponsored and hosted by MountainTrue and the Creation Care Alliance of Western North Carolina, include a day of prayer, a reception, the evening talk, and a breakfast the following morning. For the full schedule, click here.

Dr. Hayhoe is well-known for the clear connection she makes between science and faith on the subject of climate change. Although she is an atmospheric scientist and Director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University, she is able to explain climate change in simple language and well-understood metaphors. As an evangelical Christian, she makes a strong case for why Christians should care about climate change.

She is featured in the Showtime documentary, “Years of Living Dangerously,” and she co-authored A Climate for Change: Global Warming Facts for Faith-Based Decisions with her husband, Evangelical pastor Andrew Farley.

Who should attend?

Dr. Hayhoe’s events, especially the evening talk, are a great fit for students, individuals, organizations, and religious leaders.

Most importantly, if you are a member of a congregation and you want to learn more about environmental stewardship and understand the faith-climate connection, don’t miss this special evening.

Is the event free?

Yes, and it is open to the public.

I don’t understand the term “faith-climate connection.” Can you explain a bit more?

Dr. Hayhoe introduces the idea in the short video below. We think she’s a wonderful speaker because she doesn’t use a lot of jargon or lingo–she is so clear and concise when discussing climate change. This is a great one to watch prior to seeing her talk next week. BONUS: it features polar bears!

Please RSVP here.

Washington Advocacy Trip: Part 3

Sometimes you have to meet where you have to meet. Representative Beyer of Virginia is one of the new kids on the block. Because of that, his office space is limited. So, when we met with his staff on Wednesday, our meeting room doubled as a storage locker.

Wednesday morning started off with a visit to the White House Conference Center complex, including going thru a secret service checkpoint. The White House had extra security because the Japanese Prime Minister was in town. We met with folks from the Council on Environmental Quality whose focus is on climate, public health and resilience. I found it interesting that the word resilience was used often by members of the administration, both from CEQ and Agriculture.

The EPA’s Clean Power Plan also was big on their agenda. Basically, they’re looking to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to 30% below 2005 levels over the next fifteen years. States are given the choice of how they do it – solar, wind, geothermal, energy efficiency, etc – or a combination. We believe that the plan will be a big job generator as states take action to implement the plan.

A little later in the day, we met with Undersecretary of Agriculture, Robert Bonnie. He reiterated to us that the President is personally very engaged on climate change and energy solutions. He said that the Forest Services sometimes spends as much as 50% of it’s budget on fire fighting – a direct result of a warming climate. From the agriculture perspective, Undersecretary Bonnie is focused on:

  • Resilience
  • Rural development banks
  • Market-based approaches to climate problems
  • Working in social impact investing on agriculture and natural resources
  • Energy efficiency loan program
  • Quantifying greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural practices across the country
  • Providing solutions for emissions offsets.
A plaque on Representative Morgan Griffith's wall

A plaque on Representative Morgan Griffith’s wall

We rounded out our advocacy trip by heading back to the Hill and visiting with five House of Representatives offices. We met with staff from both sides of the aisle again, and were greeted with interest and good questions.

General Seip was our expert on military research and use of renewable energy. I enjoyed working with him, because he’s been at the front lines of our energy supply. When he was overseeing the air war in Iraq, his charges had to protect the convoys supplying oil to the ground troops. He said lots of soldiers were lost delivering and protecting the oil. He strongly advocated for continued research into advanced biofuels and other renewable energy technologies by the military as a matter of national security and to avoid putting more soldiers in harms way.

We wrapped up our visit with a tour of the Capitol and the viewing galleries of both the House and Senate.

Overall, it was outstanding trip. I learned much about advocating for causes, engaging with lawmakers and the overall governmental process in Washington. Given the opportunity, I would gladly head back.

Preparing to Meet Lawmakers

Melissa and I arrived safe and sound in DC this morning. I’m very much looking forward to heading to Capital Hill tomorrow morning with my colleagues from E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs).

We are divided up into several groups. My group will include two other green entrepreneurs and a retired General. Our first day will include meetings with nine Senators (or their staff.) Our second day we’ll be meeting with five House Members plus a couple folks from the Administration.

As I was spending the last couple of hours researching the different Senators and Representatives, I find it so amazing the wide variety of “opinions” on economic, environmental and energy issues. Even within parties!

Our goal is to educate on the importance of legislation designed to foster green economic growth, reduce emissions and make our transportation system as efficient and safe as possible. I look forward to the opportunity!

What if it’s all a hoax?

This is one of my favorite cartoons from Joel Pett. He offers a great question, what if it’s all a hoax?

Personally, I do not believe it’s a hoax because the data supports scientists’ claims of man-made climate change. So, I guess it’s not that I “believe,” it’s that the hypothesis has been validated by the vast majority of scientists (around 97%.)

Admiral David Titley expresses the same sentiment in an article I read this morning, “People ask me if I ‘got religion,’” Titley said. “No, I don’t ‘believe in climate change – I’m convinced by the evidence.” Read the article

But to go back to the original cartoon, what if it’s a hoax? Some claim that proactively addressing the issue will ruin the economy, but the World Bank has shown those claims to be untrue and even said that tackling climate change would grow the global economy. Read the article

Furthermore, studies continue to show significant clean energy jobs growth. Our friends at E2 are keeping on top of this. More information

So again, what if it’s a hoax and all of these scientists are wrong? Well, unless you’re the CEO of a fossil-fuel company whose very existence (not to mention multi-million dollar compensation package) is in jeopardy, there’s really not much to complain about:

       Energy independence

       Preserve rainforests

       Sustainability

       Green jobs

       Livable cities

       Renewables

       Clean water & air

       Healthy children

       Etc, etc

So let’s focus on the positives, nurture the opportunities and make the world a better place – together.

Peter Krull is President and Founder of Krull & Company, an Asheville, NC-based socially and environmentally responsible investment management firm. For more information, visit www.investwithyourvalues.com