In stopping climate change, time is as important as tech

March 1, 2021 by  
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In stopping climate change, time is as important as tech Jonathan Foley Mon, 03/01/2021 – 01:30 This article originally appeared on the author’s personal blog, and was written in that capacity. Italics are the author’s. The only sure path to stop climate change is to zero out greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible. That’s it. As simple as this sounds, it’s going to be an  enormous  job,  requiring hard work  over the coming decades. But I find that most people don’t understand the time dimensions of the problem very well. A useful way to think about the effort and timescales required is to consider the ” Carbon Law ,” which was coined by my friend Johan Rockström. Despite the name, this isn’t a physical “law” of the universe but rather a set of recommendations. So, what does the Carbon Law say? It says to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius, as outlined in the Paris Accords, we need to severely restrict the  total, cumulative amount of greenhouse gases  we release into the atmosphere moving forward. This idea is called the  “remaining carbon budget”  and refers to how much carbon dioxide (and other gases) we can still emit before warming the planet beyond a particular target. The more we burn, the warmer the planet gets. To keep within the remaining carbon budget for 2 degrees C, we have to cut our emissions drastically, reaching net-zero emissions as soon as possible. But cutting emissions takes time, so we have to find a balance between the severity and speed of these efforts. The Carbon Law outlines a possible path forward. It shows how we can limit the cumulative amount of greenhouse gases we emit in the future and quickly reach “net-zero” emissions. The path illustrated by the Carbon Law limits the warming of the planet to less than 2 degreesC while giving us some time to make the transition. But the speed and severity of the required cuts are still breathtaking. According to the Carbon Law, we need to peak greenhouse gas emissions roughly now — and then cut them in half in the 2020s. That’s not all. The Carbon Law says we need to cut them in half again in the 2030s. And then in half again in the 2040s. Alongside these deep emissions cuts, the Carbon Law suggests ramping up carbon removal projects , which will take many years to develop and deploy at sufficient scale, between now and 2050. Together, leading with steep emissions cuts early on, with carbon removal building up later, we can get to “net-zero” emissions around 2050, limit our cumulative emissions moving forward, and limit global warming to 2 degrees C. Let me illustrate how this might work with a simplified version of the Carbon Law. Historically, greenhouse gas emissions rose from about 27 Gigatons-CO2equivalent/year in 1970 to about 50 Gt-CO2e/yr in 2020. According to the Carbon Law, we need to stop this rise and hit peak emissions as soon as possible (Figure 1). Figure 1. Historical Greenhouse Gas Emissions. This includes all anthropogenic greenhouse gases, not just CO2. The total is expressed as an equivalent amount of CO2, using a single “global warming potential” for a 100-year window. Data from IPCC and the Global Carbon Project. Graphic by Jonathan Foley © 2021. Then we should cut emissions by about 50 percent in this decade, bringing them down to about 25 Gt-CO2e/yr around 2030 (Figure 2). Notice that this is a much steeper decline than the emissions rise that came before. It’s a  big  cut, no matter how you look at it. Figure 2. A simplified version of the Carbon Law, where we cut total emissions by ~50 percent in the first decade. (In the original Carbon Law paper, the authors considered energy & industrial emissions separately from land use. Here I combined them for simplicity. The general lesson is the same.) To achieve such rapid cuts in emissions, we need to deploy the fastest possible climate solutions. To me, this would include halting climate-destructive practices such as tropical deforestation, flaring and fugitive emissions of methane, and “black carbon” emissions from biomass burning, dirty cookstoves and other sources. These would have an immediate effect on the atmosphere. Other “quick wins” can come from rapid and cost-effective improvements in efficiency. There are  enormous  opportunities to be more efficient with electricity (especially in buildings and industry), food (where about 30–40 percent is wasted globally), industrial processes, transportation (higher fuel efficiency, more alternative transportation), and buildings (improved building envelopes, building automation and reduced refrigerant leaks). In addition, we will have to rapidly shut down fossil fuel energy sources and deploy renewable energy systems across the planet as quickly as possible. But given the enormous physical infrastructure and capital involved, this inevitably will take time. Even the most aggressive scenarios of this energy transition require the 2020s and 2030s to complete. We are in a race to stop climate change, and we will have to use the fastest solutions we’ve got. And those are usually the ones already on the shelf. After cutting emissions by about 50 percent in the 2020s, we have to keep going and cut emissions in half again in the 2030s and in the 2040s (Figure 3). Figure 3. And then we cut emissions by another ~50 percent in the 2030s and 2040s. I wish we could cut emissions to zero, period, before 2050, but this framework acknowledges that it may be very difficult to eliminate  all  greenhouse gas emissions by then. We’ll see. But if we assume that  some  emissions may continue in the 2040s, we will need to start relying on  carbon removal  — powered by nature (with trees, soil, or oceans) or technology. A lot of business and technology leaders are  very  enthusiastic about carbon removal right now. But don’t get too excited just yet. It’s going to take a  long time  to make a difference. In fact, the total sum of carbon removal projects done to date — whether with trees, crops, cattle, rock weathering, or technology —  isn’t even measurable in the atmosphere yet . Because carbon removal projects are still  very  small, the Carbon Law allows time for them to spin up between now and 2050 (Figure 4). In this scenario, carbon removal starts to take off in the 2030s and 2040s. Figure 4. As we cut emissions heavily in the first decades of the Carbon Law approach, we allow time for carbon removal projects to scale up by the 2040s, balancing out the remaining emissions. Together, the drastic cuts in emissions, front-loaded to the 2020s, with ongoing cuts in the 2030s and 2040s, combined with the ramp-up of large-scale carbon removal by the 2040s, would help us achieve net-zero emissions around 2050 (Figure 5). Figure 5. Together, the steep emissions cuts today and gradual increase in carbon removal later lets us reach net-zero by 2050. It’s important to stress this is  one possible way  we can stop climate change in the future. How we actually get there will likely be different. But the Carbon Law teaches us to focus on  deep and rapid  emissions cuts first, with continued cuts for decades, followed by the gradual build-out of carbon removal later. This sounds reasonable, but the most challenging part — that worries me the most — is that we have to  cut emissions   in half this decade. That’s a huge job, no matter how you look at it. To put this in perspective, the Carbon Law says we have to cut emissions more in this decade than emissions grew in the  previous five decades combined . Figure 6. A huge amount of the work we need to do today, according to the Carbon Law, is reduce emissions by 50 percent before 2030. How are we going to cut emissions in half in a decade? Simply put: We need to act  fast , without delay. We have to start with tools on hand, and not wait for new ones that may (or may not) appear in the future. This is important to remember. Time  is the most crucial parameter here, not whether we have the best possible tools. We have already squandered decades debating and denying climate change — a form of ” predatory delay ” that benefitted big polluters. But we’ve wasted all the time we can, and we cannot delay any longer. We will need to do everything we can to cut emissions in half during this decade. That means no more waiting. No more delays. Not even well-intended ones, including waiting for better technologies that can help reduce emissions a little better. We have to get started today and fold in any new tools that become available as we go along. As venture capitalist and entrepreneur  Ibrahim AlHusseini  likes to say,  “Now is better than new.”  And he’s right. I’d maybe add, ” Time is as important as tech.” Topics Climate Change Corporate Strategy Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Image by Shutterstory/BrAt82

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Adorable goat playground raises awareness of upcycling waste

February 25, 2021 by  
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NOMAD architects and Karina Aramanda have transformed wood waste into GO[A]T WASTE?, an educational pavilion and animal playground that raises awareness about the merits of upcycling . Installed in the town of ?daži in Latvia, the eco-friendly project was inspired by the architects’ research into construction’s impact on climate change and environmental pollution; according to Latvia’s Ministry of Environment, the building industry is one of the biggest waste producers in the country. The architects repurposed timber off-cuts into three modular pavilions that can be joined together or used as standalone structures. The GO[A]T WASTE? project began with the collection of unwanted timber from a variety of sources, including new construction, renovation and demolition sites. Because the pavilions would only be built of upcycled waste, the final designs were limited by the materials the architects could salvage. They mostly collected short timber off-cuts with a few long, structural beams. Related: WOOMETRY upcycles salvaged wood into eco-friendly home goods The upcycled waste was transformed into three modular , mobile structures topped with roofs and equipped with tables and benches. Although the structures can be joined together into a united pavilion, each segment was individually designed with differing facades. Leftovers from the pavilion-building process were repurposed for an urban gardening project and workshop activities. The pavilions were temporarily used for an educational workshop on recycling, after which the structures were relocated near a mini-zoo and repurposed as a playground for goats. “Through the process we could identify certain topics that would improve future material reuse in building projects,” the architects said. “For example, design for disassembly principles should be kept in mind whenever new materials are used, so that later they can be handed over for reuse . During material collection from the demolition sites, much of the material had to be discarded because of too high damage. This was especially due to the excessive use of glue and nails which limit the disassembly process.” + NOMAD architects Images via ?dams Muzikants, Karina Armanda and L?va Mazure

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Planet City explores housing the world population in one city

February 24, 2021 by  
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Los Angeles-based film director and architect Liam Young recently released his latest work — Planet City, a speculative and provocative glimpse into a future where urban sprawl is reversed and the entire world population is housed in a single, hyper-dense metropolis. Launched at the NGV Triennial exhibition, the 15-minute-long animated film was created with input from a global network of scientists, theorists and economists to inform the director’s depiction of sustainable technologies that are already available or are currently in development. As a result, Planet City shows a possible future where a population of 10 billion people could live with minimal impact on the environment to give the rest of the natural world outside of the city’s borders a chance to rejuvenate. Commissioned by the National Gallery of Victoria for the NGV Triennial, Planet City addresses climate change as an ideological challenge, rooted in culture and politics, rather than simply a technological one. The film-based work presents an alternative future where, through a global consensus, 10 billion people “retreat together” into a densely populated metropolis to allow the rest of the world to return to “wilderness.” The metropolis’ residents would engage in community-sharing of resources and draw on renewable energy and food systems as part of the city’s zero-waste , “closed-loop” system. Recycled materials would be used for the city’s construction. Related: Washington is the first U.S. state to hold a climate assembly “The cities of science fiction are often weighed down by dystopian tales and dark, fearful futures,” Liam Young explained in a National Gallery of Victoria press release. “However, Planet City, although wildly speculative, is a plausible and optimistic proposal developed from real calculations and research. It is both an extraordinary image of tomorrow and an urgent examination of our present.” The film, the trailer of which can be viewed here , is on view at the NGV Triennial, a Melbourne -based event with free entry that runs until April 18, 2021. + Planet City Photography by Liam Young via Planet City

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Texas power outages lead to deaths of animals in a sanctuary

February 23, 2021 by  
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Several animals, including monkeys, chimpanzees and lemurs, have died at a Texas animal sanctuary due to freezing temperatures and a power outage. According to a statement released by Primarily Primates, the sanctuary affected by the outage, they were not prepared for an outage of the magnitude experienced. “To be clear, we have never lost power for any significant amount of time, and have never experienced rolling blackouts multiple days without power. So no, we did not have commercial-grade generators to power all of the buildings, enclosures and heated bedrooms on our 78-acre property that would be required during such a catastrophic weather event ,” Primarily Primates said in a statement . Related: Redwoods, condor sanctuary are damaged in California wildfires The electricity went out at the sanctuary last Monday, forcing staff members to try to capture about 32 animals and herd them into a warmed-up enclosure. Unfortunately, some of the animals proved to be stubborn. At least 12 of the creatures died. “Some of these lemurs and monkeys would not go in,” said Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals, a group that manages the Primarily Primates sanctuary. “Alpha monkeys would not go into their heated bedrooms. Their subordinates went in. We lost a few monkeys that way.” One of the animals that died was the sanctuary’s 58-year-old chimpanzee, Violet. Although most of the animals are now in safe, warm enclosures, the sanctuary and the San Antonio Zoo have been calling on locals to donate items such as flashlights, blankets, generator fuel and other necessities. “We have been inundated with so much love and support and we can’t begin to thank everyone enough,” the sanctuary said. “We now have more than a dozen loaned small generators up and running along with numerous propane heaters keeping all our animals on the property safe and warm.” As power is restored to Texas, the sanctuary plans to put any additional donations toward generators of its own in case of future emergencies. Primarily Primates is home to animals formerly used and often neglected in labs, the entertainment industry and the exotic pet trade. + Primarily Primates Via Huffington Post Image via Gerrit Bril

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Texas power outages lead to deaths of animals in a sanctuary

US officially rejoins Paris Agreement

February 23, 2021 by  
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As promised, President Joe Biden has helped the U.S. rejoin the Paris climate accord after Donald Trump’s reign of eco-terror. As of last Friday, it’s official. But now comes the hard part: getting the U.S. to set and meet a national target for cutting fossil fuel emissions. Although the U.S. president is also busy with COVID-19 deaths surpassing 500,000, the climate just can’t wait. As Biden said to the Munich security conference, “We can no longer delay or do the bare minimum to address climate change . This is a global existential crisis, and all of us will suffer if we fail.” Related: Biden signs executive order to rejoin Paris Agreement Biden’s challenge is to set a realistic target while balancing tricky financial and political realities in a country where many citizens deny the climate is even changing. His administration wants to settle on a U.S. emissions goal by April, in time for the Earth Day summit Biden is hosting. Climate leaders are hoping that a strong U.S. plan will serve as a good role model for other countries figuring out how to cut their emissions. Many Republican leaders are skeptical. “Returning to the Paris climate agreement will raise Americans’ energy costs and won’t solve climate change,” tweeted Wyoming Senator John Barrasso, the Senate energy panel’s top Republican. “The Biden administration will set unworkable targets for the United States while China and Russia can continue with business as usual.” Paris accord leaders want to keep global warming from reaching 3.6°F (2°C) higher than pre-industrial times. Already the world is up 2.2°F (1.2°C), leaving us very little wiggle room. Thanks to Trump’s stance on the environment, the U.S. was officially out of the Paris Agreement for 107 days. Some environmental leaders worried that when a Trump-led U.S. abandoned the accord, other countries would follow. Fortunately, none did. Now, Biden has the challenge of reversing Trump’s four years of climate inaction. The world awaits the nation’s new emission -cutting plan. Via AP Image via H. Hach

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Corporate philanthropy becomes a renewed focus for leadership companies

February 23, 2021 by  
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Corporate philanthropy becomes a renewed focus for leadership companies Myisha Majumder Tue, 02/23/2021 – 00:05 In 2020, philanthropic donations by major donors saw an almost 7 percent increase on a year-to-date basis. As companies direct more of their money to external charitable causes, internally decision-makers are assessing how the companies’ philanthropic efforts tie into their values, corporate responsibilities and sustainability strategies. For many, this includes weaving sustainability into their already established practices. Jeannette Astorga, head of sustainability at Zoetis, explained during the recent GreenBiz 21 event that the company’s philanthropy needs to be strategic and in line with the company’s sustainability strategy. During the session, Cecily Joseph, adviser for the Presidio Graduate School Initiative for Equity and Social Justice, highlighted the three major components of sustainability in business today — racial equity, climate change, and health and wellness. Joseph noted that racial equity is especially at the forefront of philanthropic strategy given a rise in calls for racial justice in 2020 in the corporate sector. “For companies, [racial equity] encompasses talent and workforce development that are internal to the company,” Joseph said. “[But also] systemic and institutional racism, policies, education.” A multifaceted approach for achieving racial equity is at the center of philanthropic efforts. For example, JPMorgan Chase committed $50 billion towards the advancement of racial justice — including $2 billion specifically for philanthropic efforts — while also working inside the company to diversify its employees. Joseph also cited Apple ’s and Intel’s recent initiatives dedicated to racial equity, pointing out that those initiatives are fueled by philanthropy dollars. While racial justice has become a top corporate priority for many companies this past year, the increased prevalence of the climate crisis has led to further emphasis on using philanthropic dollars on climate change. The violent North American wildfire season , the midwestern and southern winter storms last week and 2020 ending as the hottest year on record, tying with 2016, have made it clear we are entering a new phase of climate catastrophe. And while philanthropic donations towards climate change, in particular, have doubled in the last five years, they still only account for less than 2 percent of total philanthropic donations. But 2020 also presented an opportunity for corporate leadership to look closer to home than a typical philanthropic venture. As the coronavirus pandemic pushed people into isolation, drastically increased burnout and created intense stress, companies worked to support the well-being and the emotional sustainability of their employees.  Philanthropic donations towards climate change have doubled in the last 5 years, yet still only account for less than 2% of total philanthropic donations. In addition to her normal philanthropic work, Kimberly Paxton-Hanger, co-owner of Kwik Lok, worked to give her employees a sustainable lifestyle that supported their communities and families, and helped them be good stewards of their home environment. According to her, this holistic approach made it so that “[the company’s] values are reflected in everything you choose to do.” According to Kwik Lok’s 2020 Corporate Social Responsibility report , the company covered 100 percent of health insurance costs in the U.S. during COVID-19 and nearly one-third of U.S. employees participate in “a company well-being program.”  Astorga explained how during the pandemic, Zoetis looked for ways it could help people struggling outside the company and support healthcare workers. The animal health company donated its cold storage equipment to food banks and personal protective equipment to local hospitals. But to enact true and lasting change, both Paxton-Hanger and Astogra highlighted the need for long-term partnerships. “We want to have partnerships where we are actually interacting with them in a way that is part of our core business operations,” Astogra said. In doing so, sustainability can become a part of the business, rather than solely a one-off philanthropic goal. As Joseph looks to the future, she finds a powerful truth and wisdom in BlackRock CEO Laurence Fink’s 2021 letter to CEOs. In his letter, Fink underscores the importance that no issue is independent of social consequences. Philanthropic work is one pathway of many, that must work in conjunction with others, to achieve equity and justice. “[We are seeing] interconnectedness between philanthropy and sustainability in a way we hadn’t seen before,” Joseph said. Pull Quote Philanthropic donations towards climate change have doubled in the last 5 years, yet still only account for less than 2% of total philanthropic donations. Topics Corporate Social Responsibility Corporate Strategy Philanthropy Corporate Social Responsibility Corporate Strategy ESG GreenBiz 21 Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off There is a renewed focus on what corporate money can and should be doing in the philanthropy space.  Via Shutterstock.

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This "super plant" can actually absorb air pollution

February 19, 2021 by  
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Scientists at the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) have found that Cotoneaster franchetii could help absorb pollution on heavily trafficked roads. In a study that compared how different plants tame pollution, RHS scientists found this species of cotoneaster to be the most effective. The plant was compared to other shrubs, including western red cedar and hawthorn. According to the researchers, cotoneaster turned out to be a “super plant” that could act as a carbon sink for fossil fuel pollution. However, the study established that the plant was really only helpful in areas with high traffic. In comparison to the other plants in the study, cotoneaster was found to be 20% more effective in absorbing pollution. In quiet regions with limited pollution, the plant was found to be less effective. Related: The Ray integrates plants and pollinators along I-85 “On major city roads with heavy traffic, we’ve found that the species with more complex, denser canopies, rough and hairy leaves such as cotoneaster were the most effective,” said Tijana Blanusa, lead researcher. “We know that in just seven days, a one-meter length of well-managed dense hedge will mop up the same amount of pollution that a car emits over a 500 mile drive.” Air pollution is a big concern in the modern world. RHS conducted a survey that involved over 2,000 participants to find out their take on pollution matters. The survey revealed that 33% of respondents have been affected by pollution but only 6% had taken steps to combat the situation in their own gardens. But researchers are hopeful that sharing how powerful cotoneaster and similar plants are could help the public participate in improving air quality through gardening . “We are continually identifying new ‘super plants’ with unique qualities, which, when combined with other vegetation, provide enhanced benefits while providing much-needed habitats for wildlife,” said Alistair Griffiths, director of science and collections at RHS. “We’ve found, for example, that ivy wall cover excels at cooling buildings, and hawthorn and privet help ease intense summer rainfalls and reduce localized flooding . If planted in gardens and green spaces where these environmental issues are most prevalent, we could make a big difference in mitigating against and adapting to climate change.” + Royal Horticultural Society Via The Guardian Image via Père Igor

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This "super plant" can actually absorb air pollution

Paul Polman’s rallying cry for courageous leaders

February 15, 2021 by  
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Paul Polman’s rallying cry for courageous leaders Jean Haggerty Mon, 02/15/2021 – 02:15 In addition to having a devasting effect on lives and livelihoods, COVID-19 has been the biggest global disruptor in recent memory. It also has pushed us to a new moment of corporate leadership. “This is where the moral leaders [will] separate themselves from the greenwashers,” Paul Polman, global sustainability leader and former Unilever CEO, said in a GreenBiz 21 keynote conversation about what leadership means today. The scale and scope of the climate change, biodiversity loss and inequality challenges facing corporate leaders is extensive. “[We] need leaders who know that by investing in others, they will be better off themselves. But that takes courage,” said Polman, who in 2019 created Imagine, a foundation aimed at eradicating poverty and inequality and stemming runaway climate change. It is now much cheaper to design right and invest in that. In the coming years, the speed and skill with which progress is made on these issues will be critical. With that in mind, Imagine is trying to help corporate leaders be more courageous. It does this by bringing together 20-25 percent of the CEOs from the same sector to drive system changes, Polman said. For example, in the food sector, Imagine is working with 30 companies on a project that involves looking at regenerative agriculture, setting up a common data bank and creating a joint labeling system. “Because they are together, they become more courageous, and because [you] have critical mass, governments want to work with you. [Also], civil society comes in, and you [can] form partnerships that lead to breakthroughs,” he explained.  Spend back better Governments already have spent $12 trillion to $13 trillion just to stabilize global economies ravaged by COVID-19. Many of these same governments are devising ways to reconstruct global economies by spending back better, addressing climate change and inequality along the way. During the last economic crisis, an opportunity to green the economy was missed. Only 3-5 percent of the money that governments spent went toward greening the economy, and in the years that followed, climate change worsened and inequality grew. “We don’t want to repeat that. It led us to this current crisis … It is now much cheaper to design right and invest in that,” Polman said. “People are starting to realize that the cost of inaction is now significantly higher than the cost of action.” Uneven COVID-19 vaccine distribution between developed and developing countries is a case in point. In addition to directly affecting lives and livelihoods, a new report commissioned by the International Chamber of Commerce Research Foundation found that if governments fail to ensure access to COVID-19 vaccines in developing countries, the global economy stands to lose about $8 trillion to $9 trillion. As much as half of this bill will fall to advanced economies, and economies and sectors with a high degree of international exposure will bear the brunt of these economic losses, the study said. Another shot The COVID-19 vaccine itself offers a lesson about the impressive speed with which humanity can deliver change. “We invented a vaccine within one year. We put communities together that rallied and filled in where others fell short,” Polman said. This, when combined with the coming of age of ESG investing, offers hope, but caution is essential. “Now there is a bit of euphoria, and we need to watch for it,” Polman said, underscoring that many issues are far from solved. Only about 10 percent of companies have climate commitments that are approaching seriousness, and nature loss needs to stop by 2030, he pointed out. To stay below a 1.5 degrees Celsius temperature increase, continued development and progress on science-based targets is needed. The objectives for science-based targets for climate risk and for nature are closely related, but more granularity is needed and work still needs to be done, particularly on science-based targets for nature. Against this backdrop, Imagine, Conservation International and the Global Environment Fund are working with 65 fashion companies — representing about 30-35 percent of the fashion industry — to design a set of industry-specific science-based targets for nature. “I think that we will be able to do that very quickly for other industries too,” he added. The simple truth Ultimately, corporate leadership has to change because “less worse” is not an option anymore, Polman said. To be successful today, leaders need to be “systematic” thinkers. The work required to attack climate change and inequality is difficult, and these issues need to be solved at different levels and in ways that the current system was not set up to deliver. In light of this, today’s and tomorrow’s corporate leaders need to be purpose-driven, able to work in partnerships and equipped to think intergenerationally, Polman said. They also need to lead with a high degree of humanity and humility, he said.  A new crop of moral leaders who understand that the role of business goes beyond shareholder primacy is already emerging, he added. Now there is a bit of euphoria, and we need to watch for it. In the face of these transformational changes, corporate boards need to keep pace. They need to adapt, become more diverse and gain greater competency on climate risk issues, Polman said. Until recently, MBA programs were not producing the multi-disciplinary leaders needed to meet today’s challenges. Instead, programs were offering up “Milton Friedman on steroids,” he quipped. Last year was a wake-up call, but the real black swan revealed itself to be the lack of global cooperation. “And you can’t solve many of these global problems that we have [without global cooperation]. That is needed to redesign our economic system,” Polman said. Pull Quote It is now much cheaper to design right and invest in that. Now there is a bit of euphoria, and we need to watch for it. Topics Corporate Strategy Leadership GreenBiz 21 Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) On Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Paul Polman at the 2014  One Young World  Conference in Dublin, Ireland. Photo: Stefan Schäfer, Lich

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Episode 255: Reflections and highlights from GreenBiz 21

February 12, 2021 by  
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Episode 255: Reflections and highlights from GreenBiz 21 Heather Clancy Fri, 02/12/2021 – 00:15 Week in Review Stories discussed this week (5:00). The Wild West of plastic credits and offsets 9 key takeaways from the 600-page Dasgupta Review on the Economics of Biodiversity How climate change can be addressed through executive compensation Features GreenBiz 21 highlights (18:00) Enjoy some highlights from the rich keynote program at this week’s GreenBiz 21 event .  Sanda Ojiambo, executive director and CEO, United Nations Global Compact Sherri Mitchell Weh’na Ha’mu Kwasset, Indigenous rights attorney and executive director of the Land Peace Foundation Tara Houska (Couchiching First Nation), attorney, environmental and Indigenous rights advocate Learning from a young Indigenous activist and educator (30:15) VERGE Executive Director Shana Rappaport chats with 20-year-old Indigenous educator Danielle Boyer, founder of the STEAM Connection. Boyer was a featured speaker at this week’s GreenBiz 21. Her cause: Ensuring young people of color have access to an education in science, technology, engineering, art and math. Read the Q&A here . Is it just? A label helps answer that question (37:30) “Social justice is really the new frontier of transparency,” says Rochelle Routman, chief sustainability and quality officer of HMTX Industries, one company embracing the Just Label designation developed by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI). This segment features Routman, along with ILFI Director of Business Development Shawn Hesse. Read more about the process here . *Music in this episode by Lee Rosevere : “Here’s the Thing,” “I’m Going for a Coffee,” “Looking Back,” “Arcade Montage” and “Knowing the Truth” Stay connected To make sure you don’t miss the newest episode of GreenBiz 350, subscribe on iTunes or Spotify . Have a question or suggestion for a future segment? E-mail us at 350@greenbiz.com . Topics Podcast GreenBiz 21 Collective Insight GreenBiz 350 Podcast Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 42:53 Sponsored Article Off GreenBiz Close Authorship

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Climate change increases pollen and worsens allergies

February 11, 2021 by  
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If you feel like you’re going through hankies faster than ever, you’re not just imagining it. Climate change is making allergy season even worse, according to a new study. Researchers concluded that pollen and planetary warming are closely tied in a study published on Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences . Allergy season is both beginning sooner and generating more pollen overall, thanks to a sneeze-inducing mixture of warmer air and more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The study’s authors found that pollen season in North America now starts about 20 days earlier than it did in 1990 and produces about 21% more pollen. Research predicts that this trend will accelerate. Related: Avoid allergies this spring with these 7 natural remedies The study used attribution science techniques to estimate the degree to which wildfires, rainfall during hurricanes, and other extreme weather events are worse than they’d be if the planet wasn’t getting toastier. “It’s a great piece of work,” Kristie Ebi of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the University of Washington said of the study. “There has been very little research on the application of detection and attribution analysis to the health risks of a changing climate.” By examining data from 60 pollen-monitoring stations around the U.S., the researchers found the runniest noses and most watery eyes in Texas, the Southeast and the Midwest. Less pollen-driven mucous production was happening in the northern states. The greatest increase in pollen is coming from trees, not the more traditional culprits of grasses and weeds. While a runny nose is annoying enough, allergies can have serious effects on public health. Asthma and respiratory diseases are life-threatening and can increase the severity of respiratory viruses like COVID-19 . + PNAS Via The New York Times Image via Magda Pawluczuk

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