Carbon Data to Provide Baseline for Assessment
Scientists at the Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts are releasing data from nine project mapping zones of the National Biomass and Carbon Dataset for 2000. All data products are being made available for download on a zone-by-zone basis and free of charge from the project Web site (www.whrc.org/nbcd).
Through a combination of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) satellite datasets, topographic survey data, land use/land cover information, and extensive forest inventory data collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service -- Forest Inventory and Analysis Program (FIA), the dataset will provide an invaluable baseline for quantifying the carbon stock in U.S. forests and will improve current methods of assessing the carbon flux between forests and the atmosphere.
"The availability of a high-resolution dataset containing estimates of forest biomass and associated carbon stock is an important step forward in enabling researchers to better understand the North American carbon balance," said Josef Kellndorfer, Ph.D., an associate scientist at the center and project leader,
As part of the initiative, begun in 2005 and funded by NASA's Earth Science Program with additional support from the USGS/LANDFIRE, mapping is being conducted within 67 ecologically diverse regions, termed "mapping zones," which span the conterminous United States. Of the nine completed zones, five were finished during a 2-year pilot phase. Work on the remaining zones will be completed at a rate of roughly one zone every seven days. The project is scheduled for completion in early 2009.
"The data sets that are now available should be of interest to natural resource managers across the U.S. For the first time, high-resolution estimates of vegetation canopy height and biomass are being produced consistently for the entire conterminous U.S," said Wayne Walker, a research associate at the center who is also working on the project.
Climate Savers Program Gains another Convert
HP has joined the WWF Climate Savers program, a group of leading corporations from around the world that are working with World Wildlife Fund to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, WWF and HP announced recently.
At a Climate Savers summit in Tokyo, HP officials pledged to reduce emissions from operations and the use of its products by 6 million tons below 2005 levels by 2010. In addition, the company committed to reduce energy consumption by 15 percent in its operations from 2005 levels, while achieving a 25 percent reduction in the energy used by its products and operations combined below 2005 levels by 2010.
"WWF commends HP for its strong commitment to energy reductions—not only within its own operations but in placing a strong emphasis on increasing energy efficiency in its products," said Carter Roberts, WWF-US President and chief executive officer. "HP's bold actions should serve as a model for other technology companies seeking to transform the way they do business to help protect the planet."
"HP has been an environmentally sensitive company for decades; it's simply part of our culture and DNA," said Mark Hurd, HP chairman and chief executive officer. "We take a leadership role in climate change initiatives like WWF Climate Savers, and we will continue to seek innovative ways to reduce our carbon footprint."
HP's announcement comes as companies from around the world gathered to discuss business strategies to reduce climate change at the Climate Savers Tokyo Summit. During the summit, HP said it will sign the Tokyo Declaration – a call to action and renewed commitment on global warming.
HP officials said the company has already made great strides in reducing its emissions through operational efficiency and product recycling. In 2007, HP announced it would reduce energy use from its products and operations by 20 percent over 2005 levels by the end of 2010. But by the end of October 2007, HP had already reached a 19.2 percent reduction, so it strengthened the goal further to 25 percent.
Between 1987 and 2007, HP recycled 1 billion pounds of its products, representing 900,000 tons of avoided greenhouse gas emissions, and it set a new goal to recover another 1 billion pounds by the end of 2010. HP made further progress in January 2008 when it announced a commitment to reduce the energy consumption of its volume desktop and notebook PC families by 25 percent by 2010, and today it is working to consolidate its 85 data centers worldwide into six data centers with high-efficiency servers and cooling technology.
Beginning in 2006, HP embarked on a joint initiative with World Wildlife Fund-US to establish an absolute reduction target for greenhouse gas emissions from HP's operating facilities worldwide, explore efficiency goals for products, educate and inspire others to adopt best practices for climate change initiatives and use HP technology in conservation efforts around the world by 2010.
WWF's Climate Savers was founded in 1999 and currently comprises 15 major international companies committed to reducing their total emissions by over 10 million tons of carbon dioxide per year. Climate Savers companies were among the first to recognize that climate change poses both risks and opportunities to business. Leading corporations are partnering with WWF to establish ambitious targets to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions voluntarily. By increasing efficiency, Climate Savers companies are saving hundreds of millions of dollars, proving that protecting the environment is sound business practice.