Ski atop the worlds cleanest waste-to-energy plant in Copenhagen

October 9, 2019 by  
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Six years after breaking ground, CopenHill — a waste-to-energy plant topped with a year-round ski slope — is officially open, marking a major milestone in Copenhagen’s journey to becoming the world’s first carbon-neutral city by 2025. Bjarke Ingels Group , SLA, AKT, Lüchinger+Meyer, MOE and Rambøll designed the new architectural landmark that they describe as the cleanest waste-to-energy plant in the world. The building includes an environmental education hub as well as a landscaped roof for urban recreation including skiing, hiking and climbing. Designed to replace the neighboring 50-year-old waste-to-energy plant, the 41,000-square-meter CopenHill — also known as Amager Bakke — boasts state-of-the-art technologies in waste treatment and energy production. BIG, which won the 2011 international competition for the power plant, drew inspiration from the industrial waterfront of Amager that is now a hub for extreme sports. “CopenHill is a blatant architectural expression of something that would otherwise have remained invisible: that it is the cleanest waste-to-energy power plant in the world,” says Bjarke Ingels in a press release. “As a power plant, CopenHill is so clean that we have been able to turn its building mass into the bedrock of the social life of the city — its façade is climbable, its roof is hikeable and its slopes are skiable. A crystal clear example of Hedonistic Sustainability — that a sustainable city is not only better for the environment — it is also more enjoyable for the lives of its citizens.” Related: Are bioenergy facilities the solution to the growing garbage problem? In addition to the 9,000-square-meter ski terrain, visitors can enjoy hiking the building’s summit with the 490-meter-long hiking and running pathway landscaped with 7,000 bushes and 300 trees to mimic the look of a lush mountain trail. Soaring to a height of 85 meters, the 10,000-square-meter green roof also includes a rooftop bar, cross-fit area, climbing wall and observation area that can be reached via lift or glass elevator that provides views inside the 24-hour operations of the waste-to-energy plant that converts 440,000 tons of waste annually into enough clean energy to power 150,000 homes. The building also houses ten floors of administrative space for the ARC team and a 600-square-meter education center for academic tours, workshops and sustainability conferences. + BIG Images by Laurian Ghinitoiu, Aldo Amoretti, Dragoer Luftfoto, Rasmus Hjortshoj. and Soren Aagaard

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Ski atop the worlds cleanest waste-to-energy plant in Copenhagen

30 of world’s largest cities have hit peak greenhouse gas emissions milestone, C40 analysis shows

October 9, 2019 by  
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The international community has collaboratively crusaded to quickly reach peak global greenhouse gas emissions . By doing so, they hope to alleviate worldwide temperature rise and related climate disasters. A recent report confirms that 30 of the world’s largest cities — all members of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group — have completed their peak greenhouse gas emission milestones. What does it mean when a country or city “peaks” its greenhouse gas emissions? As part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Paris Agreement , first enacted in 2016, countries across the globe — and their respective cities, some of which are members of the C40 — have agreed to decrease global warming by keeping the collective planet-wide temperature rise to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. To ensure this, the countries that have signed the Paris Agreement have set goals to drastically reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. When a country’s emissions levels have reversed substantially, they are described as having “peaked” at last, so they are now capable of industrially operating at emissions levels far below their “peak” point. Related: Cities around the world lay the groundwork for a zero-waste future According to the World Resources Institute (WRI) , “peaking” really began even before the Paris Agreement was established. For instance, by 1990, 19 countries were documented to have peaked their greenhouse gas emission levels . By 2000, an additional 14 countries reached their critical milestones. A decade later, in 2010, 16 more countries joined the list of countries that have peaked, including the United States and Canada, which both peaked in 2007. Meanwhile, in 2005, the multinational organization now known as C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, or C40 for short, was founded when representatives from 18 mega-cities cooperatively forged an agreement to address widespread pollution and climate change. The group began with 18 cities and has grown significantly since then. Interestingly, the C40, on its 10th anniversary back in 2015, was instrumental in shaping the Paris Agreement prior to its 2016 ratification. Now, ahead of the C40 World Mayors Summit, a new analysis just revealed that 30 of the world’s largest and most influential cities — all members of C40 — have each achieved their respective peak greenhouse gas emissions goals. The 30 cities include Athens, Austin, Barcelona, Berlin, Boston, Chicago, Copenhagen, Heidelberg, Lisbon, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Melbourne, Milan, Montreal, New Orleans, New York City, Oslo, Paris, Philadelphia, Portland, Rome, San Francisco, Stockholm, Sydney, Toronto, Vancouver, Venice, Warsaw and Washington, D.C. The C40 analysis further disclosed that these 30 influential cities have helped to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 22 percent, which is encouraging. “The C40 cities that have reached peak emissions are raising the bar for climate ambition, and, at the same time, exemplifying how climate action creates healthier, more equitable and resilient communities,” said Mark Watts, executive director of C40 Cities.  To further its endeavors, C40 has launched the C40 Knowledge Hub . It is an online platform dedicated to informing and inspiring policies to ramp up global climate initiatives that can encourage even more sustainable changes to protect the planet. + C40 Image via Anne Hogdal

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30 of world’s largest cities have hit peak greenhouse gas emissions milestone, C40 analysis shows

Danone cultivates multinational effort to restore biodiversity

October 2, 2019 by  
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What’s at stake: the future of farming.

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Danone cultivates multinational effort to restore biodiversity

More than half of Europes native trees face extinction

September 30, 2019 by  
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Europe’s endemic trees are threatened by extinction, states a recent International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) assessment on biodiversity. The unfortunate decline is due to the combination of three paramount factors: problematic invasive species , unsustainable deforestation from logging and wood harvesting and urban development. According to the IUCN’s European Red List , there are 454 native European tree species, of which 265 species are found nowhere else on the planet except in continental Europe, and 252 species are found only in the 28 European Union (EU) member-states. Of these, 168 species (or 42 percent) are regionally threatened with extinction. Related: Ireland will plant 440 million trees in 20 years Circumstances adversely affecting European trees include changes in forest and woodland management. More poignant is the significance of ecosystem modification, as in the case of forest fire, land abandonment, agricultural encroachment, livestock farming and even tourism. But the three most hazardous are invasive species, deforestation and urban development. “It is alarming that over half of Europe’s endemic tree species are now threatened with extinction ,” said Craig Hilton-Taylor, head of the IUCN Red List Unit. “Trees are essential for life on Earth, and European trees, in all their diversity, are a source of food and shelter for countless animal species, such as birds and squirrels, and play a key economic role. From the EU to regional assemblies and the conservation community, we all need to work together to ensure their survival.” The IUCN report calls for more data gathering and analysis, especially regarding overlooked species. By improving knowledge of all these “overlooked” European species, the continent’s biodiversity can be better managed and protected. Tree species , unfortunately, are rarely prioritized in conservation planning and policy making. But it is hoped that the recent disclosure of the IUCN’s European Red List findings will change that. Growing public awareness can help galvanize urbanization control, conservation action and sustainable management. “This report has shown how dire the situation is for many overlooked, undervalued species that form the backbone of Europe’s ecosystems and contribute to a healthy planet,” explained Luc Bas, director of IUCN’s European Regional Office. “We need to mitigate human impact on our ecosystems and prioritize the protection of these species.” + IUCN Images via Noël Zia Lee

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More than half of Europes native trees face extinction

Climate Week: Big companies, big commitments

September 27, 2019 by  
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The historic announcements and procurements from businesses showed that climate action is picking up pace, but is it fast enough?

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Climate Week: Big companies, big commitments

Could planting 1 trillion trees counteract climate change?

September 20, 2019 by  
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The U.N. suggests that adding 2.5 billion acres of forest to the world could limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2050. But some researchers aren’t so sure.

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Could planting 1 trillion trees counteract climate change?

Can the gene editing technology CRISPR help reduce biodiversity loss worldwide?

September 20, 2019 by  
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Though scientists are optimistic that CRISPR could help, they also emphasize caution and community engagement in order to get it right.

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Can the gene editing technology CRISPR help reduce biodiversity loss worldwide?

The climate solutions beneath our feet

August 15, 2019 by  
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if 2020 is about ending deforestation, 2030 must be about eliminating indiscriminate conversion of land for agricultural purposes.

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The climate solutions beneath our feet

Largest nature reserve in Niger threatened by oil development

August 5, 2019 by  
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One of the largest nature reserves on continental Africa may soon be destroyed by the China National Petroleum Corporation in the name of oil exploration and economic development. Just seven years after its establishment, and only months after finally becoming operationally managed, Termit and Tin Toumma National Nature Reserve could be reduced in size by half. The Niger government announced plans to remove over 17,000 square miles from what was originally a 38,600-square-mile park. The park is known for containing part of the Sahara desert and low mountain ranges. The specific area of the park that will be converted into oil operations is the most important section in terms of threatened biodiversity. It is home to the critically endangered addax (a type of antelope) and the dama gazelle. There are only an estimated 100 addax remaining, but they continue to be hunted for their meat. Now, the oil development project could shrink their habitat and decimate the addax’s main source of water. The China National Petroleum Corporation is one of the largest oil companies in the world. In exchange for a much-needed $5 billion investment in Niger, the Chinese have exploration rights and permission to build a pipeline that carries 20,000 barrels of oil out of the country every day. Paradoxically, China will be hosting the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity in 2020, yet government officials and oil executives seem unbothered by this localized biodiversity issue in the Sahara. The government has proposed to add land to the park along a different border. According to Sébastien Pinchon, a member of the nonprofit that manages the park on behalf of the Niger government, that new area “has little ecological value.” Via Mongabay Image via Shankar S.

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Largest nature reserve in Niger threatened by oil development

A native meadow green roof camouflages a low-impact Hamptons home

August 5, 2019 by  
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When a husband and wife purchased five acres of bluff top property overlooking the Peconic Bay in the Hamptons, they knew from the beginning that landscape preservation would be a major focus of their future home. To bring their vision of an environmentally sensitive residence to life, the couple turned to Mapos , a New York-based architectural studio that they had worked with previously. By treading lightly on the site, the architects crafted a modernist multigenerational family retreat—the Peconic House—that blends into its meadow setting with a lush green roof, Corten steel exterior and timber interior. Designed in part as a reaction against the “insensitive residential development…and reputation for showing off” that has characterized recent real estate development in the Hamptons , the Peconic House is a callback to the modernist legacy of Long Island’s South Fork. Featuring simple and low-slung proportions, the rectangular 4,000-square-foot shuns ostentatious displays and instead uses a roof of native meadow grasses to camouflage its appearance and minimize its impact on the watershed. The residence also embraces indoor/outdoor living with a 2,000-square-foot terrace that faces the Peconic Bay and culminates in a 75-foot-long infinity-edge lap pool. In positioning the building, the architects were careful to preserve the property’s existing vegetation—particularly a 70-foot-tall sycamore located at the center of the meadow. To relate the architecture to the old-growth forest, the architects relied on a predominately timber palette that includes cedar and reclaimed ipe wood that are complemented by concrete and Corten steel. All materials are left unfinished and will develop a natural patina over time. Related: The Beach Box is the First Hamptons Home Built With Recycled Shipping Containers! Inside the open-plan living area “further abstracts the bluff-top landscape, with unfinished cedar and reclaimed white oak,” note the architects. The blurring of indoors and out are also achieved with 100-foot-long walls of glass that slide open and seamlessly unite the indoor living spaces with the outdoor terrace. The cantilevered roof helps block unwanted solar gain and supports a thriving green roof of native grasses that promote biodiversity. + Studio Mapos Via ArchDaily Images by Michael Moran

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A native meadow green roof camouflages a low-impact Hamptons home

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