Representatives from EnergyUSA joined The Conservation Fund at the University of Notre Dame today to announce a new initiative that will pool customer donations to help address climate change, restore sensitive wildlife habitat and enhance parks and wildlife refuges across the United States. Beginning immediately, EnergyUSA's 4,500+ commercial and industrial customers can choose to offset the carbon dioxide emissions that result from their natural gas use by adding a contribution of $0.25 per dekatherm to their monthly bill. The company will pool its customers' donations and pass 100% of those donations on to The Conservation Fund, a land conservation nonprofit hailed for its fiscal efficiency by charity watchdog groups.
Contributions will support The Conservation Fund's Go Zero(SM) Carbon Sequestration program -- an effort to plant native trees that will clean the air, filter water and help control flooding, restore once-forested habitat for wildlife and enhance America's public recreation areas. For every $4.30 received from EnergyUSA as part of this effort, the Fund will plant trees intended to offset one short ton of carbon dioxide emissions equivalent from the atmosphere.
"Thanks to the extraordinary leadership of EnergyUSA-TPC and the generosity of its customers, we are raising much needed capital to address the most pressing environmental challenges of our time -- climate change and habitat loss -- by restoring critical forestlands," said The Conservation Fund's Go Zero director, Jena Thompson.
The World Bank estimates that 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions are caused by deforestation. In the Lower Mississippi River Alluvial Valley, more than 20 million acres of native forestland have been cleared in the last century.
"While restoring America's forests alone will not stop global warming, given the scale of the effort required to tackle climate change, we need to pursue new technologies that help us reduce our footprint and at the same time, recognize and use the tools we have at our fingertips," added Thompson. "One of those tools is reforestation."
Since 2000 the Fund has restored nearly 20,000 acres of forestlands and planted more than 6 million trees through its carbon sequestration programs. Over the next 100 years, these new forests will capture an estimated 8 million tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.