2020 was a very challenging year for many people around the world, and especially as a consequence of the ongoing global health situation. As we begin a new year we think about all those who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the same time it is important that we don’t forget about other global challenges, and as Runbox celebrated 20 years in 2020 we naturally considered the current state of the environment compared to the year 2000.
Since the year Runbox was founded, global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions have increased over 40% from approximately 23 to 33 gigatons as illustrated by the figure below.
There was a significant increase in emissions over the past year, and despite the pandemic-related drop during 2020 world liquid fuels production and consumption is forecast to continue nearly unabated in 2021 and beyond.
It is clear that the global environmental crises in all likelihood remain the most essential and existential challenges facing mankind, and that 2020 only represents a temporary interruption.
The year 2019 has confirmed that humanity’s collective activities have pushed Earth’s ecosystems towards the boundaries of what they can sustain.
In fact, for many ecosystems and species the boundary has already been crossed, and species are now vanishing at a rate higher than ever before in recorded history.
The realized threat of global warming
In addition to more obvious drivers of species extinction such as over-exploitation of natural resources and habitat loss caused by agriculture and other land development, the greatest immediate threat to the existing biosphere is global warming.
However, in spite of repeated and increasingly dire warnings from the scientific community for more than a century, greenhouse gas emissions from human activities have increased dramatically and continue to do so.
The chemical composition of the atmosphere and the oceans are undergoing dramatic changes with accelerating positive feedback loops involving not only CO2 but methane, nitrogen, and sulfur as well as several other essential components.
When the Earth’s temperature increases and its distribution is altered, it affects geophysical systems such as prevailing wind patterns and ocean currents — the global conveyor belt responsible for carrying salt, nutrients, and other essential chemical components upon which marine life depends.
In addition to the catastrophic loss of biodiversity, the accelerating changes in our natural environment lead to regional famine, mass migrations, conflicts, and war between peoples fighting for dwindling resources.
Current mitigation plans are inadequate
According to the UN’s Climate Action Summit report we have until 2030 to cut CO2 emissions by 45% in order to limit global warming to 1.5°C . This entails a global average reduction of 4.5% per year over the next 10 years, while emissions on average have increased 1.5% annually in recent years.
This may not sound like much, but in reality it constitutes an enormous challenge on a scale unlike any we have successfully undertaken in the past.
The bottom line is that every person, every organization, every business, and every government have to do their uttermost to reduce their ecological footprint.
Although governments, large industrial companies, and international institutions can do the most to reduce hydrocarbon dependency and restore the depletion of natural resources that is taking place, even small contributions will have an effect — but we are short on time.
At Runbox we have decided to have a positive impact on the planet and our environment, and we want to achieve this with a net negative ecological footprint.
We will take responsibility in several different ways, and have implemented the first version of our Environmental Policy to this end.
In our policy we commit to reducing our ecological footprint as much as possible through reducing, reusing, and recycling the resources we utilize.
This includes our data center, servers and other equipment we acquire, where we source our hardware, how we use and power our office spaces, and the communication and transportation involved in our operations.
For the greenhouse gas emissions that do result from our operations and activities we shall compensate doubly.
We will accomplish this by funding the planting of trees through OneTreePlanted sufficient to absorbing twice the amount of greenhouse gas emissions we are responsible for.
Planting trees is the best existing method of capturing carbon from the atmosphere, and has several other beneficial side-effects as well. So we will support rewilding the forests in order to restore and protect ecosystems, our natural environment, and a habitable climate.
We will also encourage partners, stakeholders, and associates to become more environmentally friendly. Furthermore, we will push for the development and implementation of green and renewable technologies and help encourage governments to become more environmentally responsible.
We are extending our commitment to provide free email services to non-profit organizations with an environmentally oriented profile.
We hope to inspire other companies to adopt similar policies and contribute to a positive impact on the only planet we can call home.
In Norway, aside from the polar bear and the arctic fox, especially the seabirds along the Norwegian west coast are endangered. Among these the lomvi (thin-billed murre; Uria aalge aalge) in Norway has seen its population decrease 90% in the past 50 years due to climate change, food shortages, fisheries, and fishing gear and is now critically endangered here.
In order to improve the condition of these birds it’s crucial that information about their condition is gathered through observations and reported through the media so that the authorities can make informed decisions.
Therefore, instead of a special holiday offer to improve our result for the year, we want to give back to the environment. We have decided to donate NOK 10,000 to Lista Bird Observatory, an organization on the southwestern coast of Norway whose purpose is “to document development of bird populations by monitoring bird migration over time”.
We encourage other small businesses around the world to do the same for their preferred non-profit environmental organization. We may be small, but if we all contribute according to our ability we can make a difference.
From all of us at Runbox, we wish everyone the very best for 2019.
This includes both our email hosting and web hosting services, up to 100 email accounts and 1 000 MB website storage per organization. If you are a registered environmental NPO/NGO, please contact us to apply.
We encourage other email and web hosting providers to do the same.
And we wish everyone the very best for the new year.
6. Vitousek, P. M., H. A. Mooney, J. Lubchenco, and J. M. Melillo. 1997. Human Domination of Earth’s Ecosystems. Science 277 (5325): 494–499; Pimm, S. L. 2001. The World According to Pimm: a Scientist Audits the Earth. McGraw-Hill, NY; The Guardian. 2005. Earth is All Out of New Farmland. December 7, 2005.