For Immediate Release, April 11, 2007
Contact: Shane Jimerfield, (520) 241-0557
Tucson Headquarters of the Center for Biological Diversity Go Solar
Solar Plan Will Provide Sun Energy for 20-Person Office and Plug-in Cars
TUCSON, Ariz.— Today the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity successfully completed its first step towards energy independence at its national headquarters in Tucson. The Center’s 7.5-kilowatt solar array, which will provide 50 percent of its office energy needs, was installed by Technicians for Sustainability, also of Tucson. During the next several months, the conservation group will be raising money to reach its goal to be 100-percent solar powered. The final step will be to produce enough solar energy to use in charging plug-in hybrid cars.
“Everyone in Tucson and Arizona should go solar,” said Michael Finkelstein, the Center’s executive director. “This is a renewable energy source with big tax incentives for individuals and businesses to boot.”
“Federal, state and local governments should provide additional help to those that require financial assistance,” added Finkelstein. “We have subsidized oil companies and other industries that fuel global warming for far too long. It’s time to reward renewable energy producers, especially solar.”
Earlier this year the Center went climate-neutral, reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and offsetting those that can’t be eliminated.
The Center has embarked on a program to explicitly track and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, starting by reducing energy use — for example by ensuring that lighting is provided by the most efficient fluorescent or compact fluorescent bulbs, turning off computers when not in use, and switching to more fuel-efficient forms of travel whenever possible.
“As individuals, the most important change we can make in our global warming behavior is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Shane Jimerfield, climate scientist with the Center. “We have chosen to take the Center’s commitment even further, by eliminating our carbon footprint since our inception in 1989.”
The Center tracked energy and fuel usage for the years 2005 and 2006. It then calculated average emissions in previous years to obtain an estimate of its total emissions since 1989 — about 480 tons of carbon dioxide. Compared to most businesses and organizations of its size, this total is relatively small. After extensively researching carbon-offset purchasing options, the organization chose to purchase 500 tons of carbon dioxide credits in the Makira Forest Conservation Project. It will continue to track, eliminate, reduce, and offset emissions in future years.
The climate crisis threatens to devastate the diversity of life on earth. Scientists warn that just ten more years of continued greenhouse gas pollution trajectories may commit the planet to devastating warming, sea-level rise, and species extinction. Greenhouse gas reductions must begin immediately, and all sources must be addressed.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a nonprofit conservation organization with 35,000 members dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.