France aims to become the first country to ban all fossil fuel production

September 6, 2017 by  
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To meet its carbon neutral goal by 2050, the French government plans to phase out all oil and gas production in the country and its overseas territories by 2040. President Emmanuel Macron is introducing legislation to the French Cabinet with the hope of passing the measure by the end of 2017. If the bill passes, France would be the first country in the world to ban all fossil fuel production. As a result of the bill’s passing, the government would no longer issue any exploration permits for gas and oil, and all present allowances would be phased out over the next twenty-two years. Even though fracking is illegal in the country, the bill would go one step further and prohibit all methods — both current and proposed. “The law will halt the exploitation of hydrocarbons in our territory; existing concessions cannot be renewed beyond 2040,” states the bill draft. France, the same country that banned supermarkets from purposefully wasting food , is in an ideal situation to pass the ban. As Gizmodo reports, France’s dependence on fossil fuels is very low. The country only produces about six million barrels of hydrocarbons per year, ranking it 71st in the world. In contrast, the United States, Russia , Canada and a handful of Middle Eastern Nations rely heavily on fossil fuel extractions. Russia, for example, produces 10.5 million barrels each day. Related: Futuristic tiny homes in France look like they’re from Mars Because France’s present-day consumption of oil and gas represents just one percent of its total consumption, the country will continue to import and refine oil after 2040. France’s leading oil company, Total, has been granted permission to locate oil deposits in overseas territories. It is unclear how the new legislation will affect the company. Other measures adopted by France include plans to stop generating electricity from coal by 2022 and to reduce its share of nuclear in its power generation by approximately 25 percent. The move is largely symbolic, since France only gets 1% of its fuel within the country, but it is a clear indication that the country is taking its carbon goals seriously. Via  New York Times , Gizmodo Images via Pixabay , President of Russia , and Depositphotos

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France aims to become the first country to ban all fossil fuel production

France to ban all diesel and petrol cars in just over 20 years

July 6, 2017 by  
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New French president Emmanuel Macron aims to make his country carbon neutral by 2050. To work towards that goal, France’s new environment minister Nicolas Hulot just unveiled several measures. Perhaps one of the most dramatic is to totally ban by 2040all vehicles that run on diesel and petrol. Diesel and petrol vehicles could exit French roads in around 23 years. Hulot said the country will ban the polluting vehicles then, but does have a few plans to make the transition a little easier. He said the goal would put a burden on car manufacturers in France but the government has a few projects which “can fulfill that promise.” Households in France with lower incomes will be given a premium so they’ll be able to bid adieu to vehicles running on fossil fuels for cleaner options. Related: Volvo will only sell electric cars starting in 2019 That’s not the only goal Hulot unveiled. He also said France would stop burning coal for power in around five years, in 2022. As much as four billion Euros, around $4.5 billion, could be invested in energy efficiency . These targets are part of a five-year plan to boost clean energy and meet France’s goals under the Paris Agreement . France will also cease importing products like palm oil and soya that are largely produced unsustainably and are contributing to deforestation . Hulot said it would be schizophrenic to work towards reducing carbon dioxide emissions while also accepting deforestation since trees can act as carbon sinks and absorb carbon dioxide if they’re not chopped down. These goals are part of France’s efforts to help lead the battle against climate change , according to Hulot. He said, “We want to demonstrate that fighting against climate change can lead to an improvement of French people’s daily lives.” Via The Independent Images via Pixabay and Chris Karidis on Unsplash

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France to ban all diesel and petrol cars in just over 20 years

Sweden passes law to become carbon neutral by 2045

June 22, 2017 by  
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Sweden just took a huge step towards becoming even greener than they already are. A new law passed by the country’s parliament will slash carbon emissions all the way down to zero by 2045. The move makes Sweden the first country to upgrade its carbon goals since the 2015 Paris Agreement . A cross-party committee prepared the law, which then passed with an overwhelming majority, bringing the goal to become carbon neutral from 2050 down to 2045, and puting in place an independent Climate Policy Council. The law calls for an action plan that will be updated every four years. Related: Norway moves up zero emissions target to 2030 According to New Scientist, Sweden already obtains 83 percent of its electricity from hydropower and nuclear energy . They met a goal to obtain 50 percent of energy from renewables eight years before their target. They’ll work to meet this new carbon neutral objective in part by focusing on transportation , such as through increasing use of vehicles powered by electricity or biofuels . Sweden aims to slash domestic emissions by a minimum of 85 percent. And they’ll offset any other emissions by planting trees or investing in sustainable projects in other countries. Femke de Jong, European Union Policy Director at Carbon Market Watch , said Sweden has a high chance of success, and other countries in Europe could follow suit. “With the Trump decision to get out of the Paris Agreement, Europe is more united than ever and wants to show leadership to the world,” de Jong said. Public resistance can be an obstacle to cutting emissions, but according to New Scientist in Sweden there’s an unusually high amount of support for environmentally friendly policies. But de Jong warned the country must also show leadership in forests, not simply emissions. They were recently accused along with France, Finland, and Austria of attempting to weaken rules to obscure emissions from burning wood and deforestation . Via New Scientist Images via Håkan Dahlström on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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Sweden passes law to become carbon neutral by 2045

Former industrial district in Finland to be transformed into an eco-friendly innovation hub

January 11, 2017 by  
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The Finnish city of Tampere just declared Schauman & Norgren Architects and Mandaworks the winners of an international competition for the redesign of Hiedanranta, a former industrial district. The 250-hectare masterplan, named Hiedanranta Innovation Bay, prescribes carbon neutral development to deal with the rapidly growing population. The design will be sensitive to the site’s industrial heritage and the natural lakeshore environment. Located northwest of the city of Tampere, Hiedanranta Innovation Bay will house 25,000 new residents and 10,000 new jobs created around a circular economy . Schauman & Norgren Architects and Mandaworks organized the area around two urban grids and divided the land into six diverse and productive neighborhoods. The neighborhoods will be connected by two major corridors—a north-south “innovation corridor” and an east-west “recreation corridor”—complemented with a cohesive landscape design integrated with passive stormwater management and habitat cultivation. Major civic buildings as well as manufacturing facilities and the innovation campus will line the innovation corridor, whereas the recreation corridor is defined by water elements such as the harbor and a grand canal. Related: Reykjavik announces plans to be carbon neutral by 2040 Public transportation and non-vehicular transport are prioritized in the masterplan. Two tram lines will crisscross the development, while cycle and pedestrian routes will make it easy for residents to move between neighborhoods. The masterplan will be installed in three phases, from 2025 to 2045. “Embracing the circular economy and creative potential of Tampere, the masterplan catalyses innovation, embraces the future of smart manufacturing and creates a robust platform for public life. Hiedanranta Innovation Bay embraces the site’s industrial character and builds upon its foundation to create an urban district that supports new technologies, emerging business trends and local energy production ,” says Patrick Verhoeven, partner in charge of Mandaworks. + Schauman & Norgren Architects + Mandaworks Images via Schauman & Norgren Architects

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Former industrial district in Finland to be transformed into an eco-friendly innovation hub

Finland may be the first country to completely ban coal

November 25, 2016 by  
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Canada and France both recently announced they plan to stop using coal , but Finland may beat them both to become the first country in the world to ban coal. The Ministry of Employment and the Economy released a statement announcing the country aims to stop using coal during the 2020s. The ultimate goal is to go carbon neutral , maybe even as soon as 2050. Right now, Finland receives 10 percent of its energy from coal and 40 percent from fossil fuels . But the country’s hoping to turn those statistics around. They want to increase energy consumption from renewable energy by 50 percent, ultimately hoping to create an energy system strongly based, according to the statement, on renewables. Related: Canada announces plan to kill coal power by 2030 Finland’s commitment could be more firm than either Canada or France. Peter Lund, Chairman of the Energy Steering Panel at the European Academies Science Advisory Council, told New Scientist that France’s plan to close their coal plants has “more degrees of freedom” than the ban Finland is considering. Similarly, Canada’s plan to close their coal plants includes wiggle room to keep using coal as long as carbon capture technology is used too. Finland’s energy system could still have its flaws, such as burning wood for energy. Finland currently obtains 27 percent of its power from burning wood, which still releases carbon dioxide; if trees aren’t planted in their stead, that CO2 won’t be absorbed. Yet a coal ban from Finland potentially could be good for curbing carbon emissions worldwide. Lund told New Scientist, “The more countries join the coal phase-out club, the better for the climate as this would force the others to follow.” Finland’s Parliament will begin discussing the ambitious energy strategy November 30, 2016. Via Quartz and New Scientist Images via Pixabay and Wikimedia Commons

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Finland may be the first country to completely ban coal

Plant-covered bamboo structure in Vietnam offers low-cost sanitation and food

November 25, 2016 by  
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The project is based on the same principle as the firm’s previous project in Son Lap, aiming to provide a low-cost sanitation solution that can be easily and quickly constructed and transported across the country. Toigetation 2 lightly touches the ground with a layer of vegetation on its four sides. This layer of foliage helps regulate indoor temperatures and functions as a food source. Related: Vo Trong Nghia Unveils Lovely Low-Cost Housing Made from Locally Sourced Palm Trees Local craftsmen used locally-sourced materials to construct the building. Solar panels provide energy for the lighting, while rainwater and waste water are used for cleaning and irrigating the adjacent garden. Efficient, low-cost construction methods and the use of local materials make this project replicable in areas experiencing a severe shortage of proper sanitation facilities , including schools in rural Vietnam . + H&P Architects Via Archdaily Photos by Nguyen Tien Thanh

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Plant-covered bamboo structure in Vietnam offers low-cost sanitation and food

Urban Rigger: affordable floating dorms made from shipping containers in Copenhagen

September 22, 2016 by  
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Copenhagen icon and world-renowned architect Bjarke Ingels designed the Urban Rigger units, but the idea was the brainchild of Kim Loudrop, an entrepreneur who founded the Urban Rigger startup. Loudrop sought to create a “revolutionary and innovative floating dwelling system” that took advantage of unused prime real estate—the water. The urgent student housing shortage galvanized the entrepreneur, who also noticed that 80 percent of major universities in Europe were centrally located in cities, with many near bodies of water. The floating Urban Rigger dorms built on the water seemed like a natural solution. Copenhagen was used as the first testing ground—the city is one of the ten costliest cities in the world to live in—but the startup has hopes of expanding the patented concept worldwide. Flexible, floating, and undeniably cool, the mobile Urban Rigger units offer waterfront living at a fraction of the normal cost. BIG’s 680-square-meter modular design comprises nine stacked shipping container units organized in a circle to frame a centralized winter garden and common area. Each modular shipping container dorm houses 12 students, who have their own bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen, but also have access to a 160-square-meter common green courtyard, kayak landing, bathing platform, barbecue area, and 65-square-meter communal roof terrace. Related: 7,500 affordable floating homes could help fight London’s crippling housing crisis To meet carbon neutral status, the floating dorms are powered by solar energy and a hydro-based heat-exchange system that draws on seawater as a natural source of heat. NASA-developed aerogel is used to insulate the interiors, while Grundfos energy-saving pumps are installed for wastewater, heating, circulation, and drinking water. Urban Rigger says the shipping containers, made entirely of Corten Steel, are upcycled to save on materials, energy, and cost . According to Fast Company , each energy-efficient shipping container dormitory is manufactured at a Polish shipyard for $700 to $800 per square foot. Urban Rigger has already begun plans to build their next 24-unit project in Sweden and is fielding requests from North America. But the success of the startup will depend on the willingness of cities to open up their waterfront properties to the affordable floating dwellings. Fortunately, the company and Ingels are optimistic. “We might be in a situation where the goodwill of addressing an issue that is important to the government means that we’d get some access to the key waterfront sites under their control,” Ingels told Fast Company . The architect also sees potential in the experimental model for future applications in refugee housing and his firm even has plans of building Urban Rigger housing for their interns. + Urban Rigger Via Fast Company Images via Urban Rigger and BIG

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Urban Rigger: affordable floating dorms made from shipping containers in Copenhagen

First U.S. Airport Achieves Carbon Neutral Status

September 22, 2016 by  
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Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport has become the first airport in North America to achieve carbon neutral status after the Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) Program upgraded DFW Airport to “Level 3+ Neutrality,” the highest level of…

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First U.S. Airport Achieves Carbon Neutral Status

Reykjavik lays out plan to be carbon neutral by 2040

September 14, 2016 by  
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Iceland’s capital has laid out some ambitious plans to become completely carbon neutral by the year 2040. By controlling urban sprawl , increasing public transportation, and shaping all forms of transit to run on green energy, the city will become a model for other global and local governments in creating a more sustainable future. “Cities play a key role in the fight against climate change. They can react quickly… and are more often than naught far more progressive than the world’s governments,” said Reykjavik Mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson earlier this month. He claims his city is in a far better position to accomplish the points in his plan, seeing as their carbon emissions are already very low and their location is prime for green operation. Residents’ homes are already heated by geothermal energy and all of the city’s electricity is generated through hydroelectric power. Related: 6 ways Copenhagen plans to achieve carbon neutrality by 2025 One strategy of the new plan, according to Business Insider , is to increase the number of locals using public transportation from 4 percent to 12 percent, coupled with the task of converting all buses and cars to green energy within the next few decades. The goal of “urban densification” will be obtained by requiring 90 percent of new residential units to be built within city limits, which will, in turn, promote the use of mass transit and reduce carbon emissions. Via Business Insider Images via Flickr , Wikipedia

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Reykjavik lays out plan to be carbon neutral by 2040

Boeing’s Julie Felgar on the sustainability craft

July 6, 2016 by  
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The aviation leader says that whether going carbon neutral or boosting biofuels, you need to take big goals step by step.

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Boeing’s Julie Felgar on the sustainability craft

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