Hawaii sets the most ambitious goal of any US state by vowing to be carbon neutral by 2045

May 9, 2018 by  
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The legislature of Hawaii has approved two bills that together put the state on the path to becoming carbon neutral by 2045 – the most ambitious climate change goal of any state in the United States. Bille bill 1986 establishes a carbon-offset program, while House bill 2182 convenes a task force to determine the best course of action to achieve carbon neutrality within the next three decades. “This is the biggest step forward on climate change any state has yet taken,” said Hawaii representative Chris Lee in a statement . As an island nation, Hawaii is taking such strong action to combat climate change in part because it is particularly vulnerable to its impacts. In passing the bills, legislators cited a study which estimated that Hawaii would endure $19 billion worth of damage on private property and significantly more on public infrastructure as a result of rising sea levels. In addition to its recently passed climate change legislation, Hawaii was the first state to formally adopt the goals established under the Paris climate agreement after President Trump withdrew the United States from it. Related: Helsinki unveils plan to reach carbon neutrality by 2035 Prior to the passage of these bills, Rhode Island was the American state with the most ambitious climate change goal, which pledged to achieve an 85% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2050. Hawaii now stands as one of the world’s most aggressive states in its fight against climate change, sharing the same carbon neutrality timeline as Sweden. For context, carbon neutrality is expected in Iceland by 2040, Norway by 2030, Costa Rica by 2021, and the Maldives by 2020. While these steps are important, they are not sufficient. More governments must make similarly aggressive pledges toward carbon neutrality if climate change is to be halted. Hawaii governor David Ige,  who has been supportive of sustainability initiatives in the past , is expected to sign the bills into law. Via Quartz Images via Depositphotos (1)

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Hawaii sets the most ambitious goal of any US state by vowing to be carbon neutral by 2045

Allianz is the latest insurer to bank on carbon neutrality

May 8, 2018 by  
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Changing regulations and cleaner technologies are leading the divestment from coal power plants and mines.

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Allianz is the latest insurer to bank on carbon neutrality

Lyft is making all their rides carbon neutral

April 19, 2018 by  
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If you use ride-sharing services but still worry about their impact on the environment, Lyft has got you covered. The company has just announced that it will invest millions of dollars to offset its carbon emissions. Co-founders John Zimmer and Logan Green said in a blog post that the ridesharing company will become “one of the world’s largest voluntary purchasers of carbon offsets” as they make all their trips carbon neutral from now on. According to Zimmer and Green, while all cars will be cleanly powered at some point in the future, climate change isn’t waiting, so they’re taking action. Lyft is partnering with 3Degrees to offset carbon emissions from their rides around the world. Zimmer and Green said, “The stark reality is that transportation is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions. As a growing part of the transportation ecosystem, we are holding ourselves accountable to being part of the solution.” Related: VW unveils fully electric six-seater specifically for ridesharing Lyft rides will be carbon neutral due to “the direct funding of emission mitigation efforts, including the reduction of emissions in the automotive manufacturing process, renewable energy programs, forestry projects, and the capture of emissions from landfills.” These projects will be based in the United States. 3Degrees will oversee “the independent verification of all projects according to rigorous third-party standards” and ensure the company is “only supporting emission reductions that are new and would not have happened but for Lyft’s investment.” The company offered nearly 50 million rides last month. Green and Zimmer said they feel responsible for Lyft’s impact on the Earth, and they joined the We Are Still In movement spearheaded by former New York City mayor and philanthropist Michael Bloomberg to show support for the Paris Agreement . Lyft expects to offset more than one million metric tons of carbon in the first year — the equivalent of taking hundreds of thousands of vehicles off the streets or planting tens of millions of trees . The co-founders said this isn’t their full solution to the issue of climate change, but it is one step forward. + All Lyft Rides Are Now Carbon Neutral Images via Lyft

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Lyft is making all their rides carbon neutral

There’s a California fault far more dangerous than San Andreas – and it’s ready to go off

April 19, 2018 by  
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Everyone knows that California’s San Andreas fault is a ticking time bomb ready to erupt – but a new study shows that another fault right under the East Bay is far more dangerous. The Hayward fault could decimate major cities like Oakland and Berkeley, killing hundreds and destroying tens of thousands of homes. And according to scientists, “it’s just waiting to go off.” ? This week, scientists published a landmark study that detailed a 52-mile fault centered under Oakland, California. If the fault were to erupt – and it is only a matter of time until it does – the US Geological Survey estimates the toll would include at least 800 killed, 18,000 injured, 400,000 displaced and 52,000 homes destroyed. Most homes would be destroyed by the 400 fires scientists estimate would ignite, and the shattered water infrastructure would complicate firefighter’s efforts to put them out. Related: The mega-earthquake that will probably someday wipe Seattle off the map “This fault is what we sort of call a tectonic time bomb,” USGS earthquake geologist emeritus David Schwartz said. “It’s just waiting to go off.” There are certainly larger faults out there (like the San Andreas), but what makes the Hayward fault so deadly is that 2 million people live right on top of it. For reference, the 1906 quake that devastated San Francisco was centered off the coast and impacted a city of 400,000 residents. The Hayward fault is relatively active, with a major earthquake every 150 years or so (give or take 75 years). Its last major earthquake – a 6.8 – was 150 years ago this October. In 1989, the 6.9 Loma Prieta shook the Bay Area and caused about 60 deaths and $82 billion in damage. A similar quake on the Hayward fault today would be 10 times as bad, and even homes that stood during the Loma Prieta quake could be shattered. The bottom line is that the cities and citizens along the fault need to work to improve infrastructure, secure homes and make sure that they are prepared for the next big one. It’s easy to get complacent when it has been a while since the last earthquake , scientists say, but that’s when you have to be most prepared. Via LA Times Images via Jeff Pierre

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There’s a California fault far more dangerous than San Andreas – and it’s ready to go off

Gorgeous Belize eco-resort will be 100% carbon neutral

December 13, 2017 by  
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A new eco resort in Belize is pulling out all of the stops to be the Caribbean’s first carbon-neutral luxury lodging. Itz’ana Resort & Residences will feature a green building portfolio unprecedented in the area. The complex – designed by Boston-based architect Roberto de Oliveira Castro – will consist of multiple four- and five-bedroom villas, built with locally-sourced materials and completely powered by a combination of solar and hydro-electricity. The complex will offer 50 resort suites and 46 waterfront residences located on a heavenly 16-mile long stretch of Caribbean shoreline. The sustainable design of the resort was created by Boston-based architect Roberto de Oliveira Castro in collaboration with NYC-based interior designer Samuel Amoia . The program is reflective of Itz’ana’s “Mission-Driven Luxury” concept, which envisions a lifestyle that is as sustainable as it is high-end. With luxury beach lodgings in the Caribbean obviously high in demand, the Itz’ana design caters to travelers and homeowners who want to experience the beautiful region, but without leaving a harmful footprint on the environment. Related: Nevis is on track to become the world’s first carbon-neutral island Each of the villas will be equipped with rooftop solar panels , which will cut energy and consumption in half. Although the resort will source the remaining energy from Belize’s national power grid, that energy is generated by eco-friendly hydroelectric dams. The resort will also work through its Belizean forestry partner to offset any additional carbon emissions that the complex produces. Along with its clean energy sources, the complex will also be installed with various sustainable features such as a rainwater collection system, LED-efficient lighting systems, and an organic garden. Additionally, the building materials will consist of locally-sourced wood and designer furnishings throughout the buildings. An eco-friendly system will be used to clean the pools and green cleaning solvents will be used in the laundry service. + Itz’ana Resort & Residences + Roberto de Oliveira Castro

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Gorgeous Belize eco-resort will be 100% carbon neutral

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 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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