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Jun 29, 2009

By Wendy Gordon

When the conversation turns to cap and trade, is your first thought: “Oh, that will never work, it’s too complicated?” It’s true, it can be harder to get one’s arms around than a gas tax  or even a carbon tax—who doesn’t get taxes, right?—but cap and trade is a familiar, and an effective, means by which to reduce pollution among regulators and industry. 

In the 1990s, the U.S. acid rain cap-and-trade program achieved 100-percent compliance in reducing sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions. In fact, power plants took advantage of the allowance banking provision to reduce SO2 emissions 22 percent (7.3 million tons) below mandated levels for the first phase of the program. And on the global warming front, cap and trade is up and running in 10 states in the New England and Mid-Atlantic regions, which have pledged to work together to reduce climate altering pollution from regional power plants by 10 percent by 2018.

While driving down pollution, cap and trade will also generate a lot of money for investing in energy efficient programs and clean energy. These investments, in turn, will help to create over 2 million new American jobs in just 2 years.

Cap and trade is a central feature of the American Clean Energy and Security Act which the House may vote on this week. Please take a minute to tell your representative “vote YES for ACES.” Click here for a quick and easy way to send your message. Thanks. 

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Posted: Jun 29, 2009 8:47am
Feb 4, 2009

Much of the cocoa that is produced around the world is grown using unsustainable farming practices. That sweet little treat could be contributing to deforestation, toxic pollution and exploitative labor practices. By choosing organic, fair trade or sustainably-grown chocolate, you can enjoy quality chocolate sweets that won't leave a bitter taste in your mouth. But read the label carefully to make sure you're getting the best chocolate for you and the environment.

Traditionally, farmers planted native cocoa plants underneath the shade of canopy trees, preserving the forest and using less pesticides. But many farmers have cut down forests to grow new hybrid cocoa varieties more intensively, using more pesticides and fungicides to keep pests at bay.

Choose chocolate that is better for the environment, look for organic or fair trade certified chocolate. "All natural" does not mean that the cocoa is organic or grown without pesticides. There are a number of certification programs, check the label before buying and choose chocolate that is certified by one of these programs:

USDA Organic: Cocoa with a USDA Organic label is produced without antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, irradiation or bioengineering. Organic cocoa farmers must adhere to soil and water conservation methods.

Fair Trade: Cocoa crops with this certification meet strict economic, social and environmental criteria both in their production and trade. That includes fair pricing, humane labor conditions, environmental sustainability and other regulations. Read more about Fair Trade Certified.

Rainforest Alliance Certified: This chocolate has met strict guidelines to protect the environment, wildlife, workers and local communities. Certification offers cocoa growers guidance on efficient production practices that will preserve resources and do not negatively impact local communities or the environment, including reduced pesticide use. More on the Rainforest Alliance

  • Choose a better chocolate for the environment. Look for USDA Organic, Fair Trade or Rainforest Alliance Certified products.

Organic chocolate can be a sweet way to introduce friends, coworkers and family to organic food and sustainable farming. Give organic chocolate on special occasions.

  • Learn which conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables contain the most pesticide residues and choose organic when it matters the most. Learn more


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Posted: Feb 4, 2009 10:15am


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