Earth911 Reader: This Week’s Sustainability, Recycling, & Science News Collection

November 28, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco

The Earth911 Reader summarizes the week’s sustainability, recycling, and science … The post Earth911 Reader: This Week’s Sustainability, Recycling, & Science News Collection appeared first on Earth 911.

See the rest here:
Earth911 Reader: This Week’s Sustainability, Recycling, & Science News Collection

Earth911 Reader: Sustainability, Recycling, & Science News, Summarized for You

November 21, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco

The Earth911 Reader summarizes the week’s sustainability, recycling, and science … The post Earth911 Reader: Sustainability, Recycling, & Science News, Summarized for You appeared first on Earth 911.

See the original post here:
Earth911 Reader: Sustainability, Recycling, & Science News, Summarized for You

NOAA report shows climate change is killing Floridas coral reefs

November 20, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

A status report released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) shows that overall, coral reefs in the U.S. are currently in fair condition, but these reefs are vulnerable to severe decline in the near future. This threat is the worst along the Florida coast, where few corals remain, and about 98% of the dead corals in this area were lost because of climate change. Prepared in collaboration with the Maryland Center for Environmental Science, the report provides a clear picture on the status of the country’s reefs. The report looks at the coral reefs along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts and is the first of its kind to take a comprehensive look at major coral reefs in the U.S., including around the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa and Hawaii. Researchers analyzed reef data collected between 2012 and 2018. Related: The Great Barrier Reef has lost 50% of its corals to climate change The main threats to the coral reefs in the U.S. include disease, fishing and ocean warming and acidification . NOAA officials say that although the corals are in a fair condition as a whole, their future looks dire. The state of ocean warming and acidification is on the rise in most coastal regions. At the same time, other threats, such as coral disease, are also worsening. To retain and revive the country’s corals, measures need to be put in place to curb the threats. Jennifer Koss, director of NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program, said that the threats to coral reefs have increased due to climate change. “It used to be mostly water quality … but now it’s pretty well accepted that it’s predominantly climate change ,” Koss said. Coral reefs are biologically rich zones and account for about 25% of all marine life. They also help protect shorelines from hurricanes and storms. Reefs are even economically beneficial, because they are a rich source of fish and serve as vibrant tourist attractions. NOAA researchers have now expressed their concerns about the future of corals in the U.S. Following the report, experts are urging agencies, individuals and the federal government to take actions that will protect the remaining coral reefs before it’s too late. + NOAA Via The Guardian Image via NOAA

Continued here:
NOAA report shows climate change is killing Floridas coral reefs

How Utah cities are pursuing 100% renewable energy

November 20, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

How Utah cities are pursuing 100% renewable energy Emily Elizabet… Fri, 11/20/2020 – 01:00 In the absence of federal action on climate change in the United States, local communities have taken on the responsibility of reducing their greenhouse emissions. To date, more than 150 cities, counties and states across America have passed resolutions to commit to 100 percent net-renewable electricity in the coming years, defined as meeting the city’s total electricity demand with the gross amount of electricity generated and purchased from renewable sources, such as solar, wind and geothermal as well as energy efficiency, demand management and energy storage. Six cities already have achieved this goal: Kodiak Island, Alaska; Aspen, Colorado; Georgetown, Texas; Greensburg, Kansas; Rock Port, Missouri; and Burlington, Vermont. In Utah, 23 cities and counties have resolved to adopt 100 percent net-renewable electricity by 2030, representing about 37 percent of Utah’s electricity load. How did a politically conservative, coal-dependent state such as Utah achieve such a commitment? We recently published a study in the journal Sustainability (access is free) exploring how it began with Salt Lake City, Park City and Moab, the first Utah cities to enact 100 percent net-renewable electricity resolutions in 2016 and 2017. Through interviews with the key players involved and secondary sources, our research uncovered the initial key obstacles facing the cities’ renewable electricity goals and the strategies they have initiated to resolve them. How did a politically conservative, coal-dependent state such as Utah achieve a 100% renewable energy commitment? The biggest hurdle was convincing Rocky Mountain Power, their existing fossil-fuel-dependent utility monopoly, to develop and provide the communities with sufficient clean, renewable electricity resources — not renewable energy credits or supplies from existing sources — and to retire fossil-fuel assets. The other significant challenge was securing buy-in from all city residents and businesses to accept 100 percent net-renewable energy, especially given that the costs for the transition were unknown. Would citizens voluntarily adopt renewable electricity under these circumstances, or would the cities have to mandate participation? Engaging the utility We found that the cities collaborated with each other (along with Summit County, which eventually passed its own resolution), each playing different roles to bring Rocky Mountain Power to the table. Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski initiated talks with the utility, and with the help of State Representative Stephen Handy, negotiations resulted in landmark legislation, the Community Renewable Energy Act (CREA) of 2019, which authorized the utility to procure renewable electricity resources and create a renewable electricity bulk-purchase program for participating cities. The Community Renewable Energy Act of 2019 Rocky Mountain Power required that the additional costs associated with procuring the renewable electricity would not increase rates for customers outside the program. Consequently, CREA stipulated that any new costs and benefits associated with renewable electricity procurement would be designated only to the cities receiving it. CREA also set a deadline for other Utah cities to join the bulk purchase program, and this resulted in 23 Utah cities and counties in total coming forward to take the renewable electricity pledge. These additional cities and counties included some of Utah’s most populated, including Salt Lake County, West Valley City, West Jordan, Orem and Ogden, totaling about 37 percent of the state’s electricity load. Finally, CREA specified that all participating cities’ residents and businesses would receive renewable electricity by default, with a provision for customers to have the opportunity to opt out if they so desired. Park City had found that automatic enrollment in its own WaterSmart conservation program resulted in very high participation rates among its citizens with few choosing to opt out. Thus, the automatic enrollment provision was a critical component of CREA. Academic research suggests that people typically accept defaults as a social norm, so the expectation is that few Utahns may opt out of the renewable electricity program. We argue that CREA may be a model for other cities and communities across the nation implementing 100 percent net-renewable electricity resolutions. Nevertheless, the next major challenge will be holding together Utah’s coalition of cities and counties in the coming years as the costs of the bulk renewable electricity program and its benefits to ratepayers become better understood and accepted. Preventing the coalition from unraveling In 2017, Salt Lake City-based Energy Strategies was commissioned by Park City, Salt Lake City and Summit County to evaluate various cost impacts for each community to achieve 100 percent net-renewable electricity. The studies concluded that electricity rates could be 9 percent to 14 percent higher (?$15 to $17 increase in a typical resident’s monthly electricity bill) over the standard rate should the cities transition to 100 percent net-renewable electricity by 2032. This amounted to about $200 more per year. In our study, officials of the small town of Moab in southern Utah expressed concerns about how these added costs could affect its town budget and residents of modest means. More recently, the city of Ogden announced that it is reconsidering its participation in CREA over fears of potential high costs and rate impacts on the city’s most vulnerable residents. Many cities in the coalition seek ways to offset implementation costs through third-party funding and grants as costs become better understood to minimize their impact on lower-income customers. Rocky Mountain Power seeks renewable electricity sources to fulfill the needs of the bulk purchase program and is developing its own cost estimates that must be approved by the state’s Public Service Commission. While it is a fact that the final costs of CREA by 2030 remain unknown, it is also true that the cost of Rocky Mountain Power’s standard fossil-fuel rate in 10 years is also unknown. Consequently, cities participating in CREA are grappling with these risks. Since the initial 2017 Energy Strategies’ cost studies, wind and solar prices have continued to fall, becoming increasingly cost-competitive with and in many circumstances, less expensive than traditional fossil-fuel electricity sources. Indeed, a key economic benefit of renewable electricity is its price stability because the “fuel” for wind and solar is free and not susceptible to the price volatility of the boom and bust cycles associated with fossil fuels. By 2030, renewable electricity may be the most fiscally responsible, price stable and least risky electricity choice. By contrast, fossil-fuel power plants face strong headwinds in the form of reduced subsidies and the prospect of carbon taxes. While the U.S. does not have a national carbon tax, 13 states do and several more are considering one. The forthcoming Biden administration already has signaled that it plans to cut federal subsidies for fossil fuels and will re-engage the U.S. in global efforts to protect the climate. In a world that is increasingly facing up to carbon emissions, fossil fuels are a risky and expensive bet. In short, by 2030, renewable electricity may be the most fiscally responsible, price stable and least risky electricity choice. Recent polling shows that Utahns want a stronger transition to cleaner energy and air. To date, CREA and its coalition of 23 Utah cities and counties representing 37 percent of the state’s electricity load is the state’s best opportunity to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions substantially, given that the state of Utah does not have a mandated renewable energy portfolio standard (it does have a voluntary standard of 25 percent by 2025). The challenge is keeping that impressive coalition of Utah cities and counties from unraveling before CREA’s costs and benefits are clearly understood vis-à-vis the future costs and expected emissions inherent with fossil fuel-generated electricity. The Utah experiences profiled in our research provide insights about the hurdles facing the implementation of 100 percent net-renewable electricity and the strategies cities are using to engage them that may help other communities chart their own paths toward a cleaner future. Pull Quote How did a politically conservative, coal-dependent state such as Utah achieve a 100% renewable energy commitment? By 2030, renewable electricity may be the most fiscally responsible, price stable and least risky electricity choice. Contributors EdwinRStafford Roslynn Brain McCann Topics Renewable Energy Community Resilience Partnerships Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Shutterstock

See the original post here:
How Utah cities are pursuing 100% renewable energy

What big bets by Bezos Earth Fund say about climate action in 2021

November 19, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

What big bets by Bezos Earth Fund say about climate action in 2021 Heather Clancy Thu, 11/19/2020 – 01:00 A group of 16 nonprofits dedicated to inspiring climate action has much to give thanks for this week. With little fanfare other than a lengthy Instagram post, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos pledged $791 million in donations from the Bezos Earth Fund — his $10 billion commitment to funding scientists, nonprofits and “others” that have made it their life’s work to fight climate change. For those of you keeping score, Bezos created the fund in February, although not much is known about who is behind the scenes running things — there’s isn’t even a public-facing web site. This is the first batch of grants bestowed by the organization.  Many of you will be familiar with the organizations that made the cut, and I see no reason not to list them all because they deserve as much attention as possible these days: The Climate and Clean Energy Equity Fund , ClimateWorks Foundation , Dream Corps Green For All , Eden Reforestation Projects , Energy Foundation , Environmental Defense Fund , The Hive Fund for Climate and Gender Justice , Natural Resources Defense Council , The Nature Conservancy , NDN Collective , Rocky Mountain Institute , Salk Institute for Biological Studies , The Solutions Project , Union of Concerned Scientists , World Resources Institute and World Wildlife Fund . The big green NGOs — EDF, NRDC, The Nature Conservancy, WWF and WRI — made out really big, each snagging $100 million. For perspective, EDF’s budget is usually about $230 million annually, so this is not an insignificant sum of money for any of these organizations. Poking more specifically into where the money is dedicated tells us a lot about where we can expect big corporations to prioritize climate action during 2021. With that in mind, here are three of my takeaways from Bezos’s big bets. 1. Climate equity and environmental justice is getting much-needed funding   Five organizations chosen for the grants this week are explicitly focused on addressing climate change through the lens of environmental justice. Three of them — the Climate and Clean Energy Equity Fund, The Solutions Project and The Hive Fund — are receiving $43 million each. I love that all of these groups are laser-focused on local communities and people of color. The Solutions Project, for example, has pledged 95 percent of its funding to the BIPOC community, with 80 percent designated for women-led organizations.  An organization I’ll be researching more closely next year is NDN Collective, an Indigenous-led group that received $12 million. I should also mention that climate justice also permeates the other grants. NRDC, for example, will be using its grant to help advance climate solutions at the state and community level that “strengthen equity and justice at the heart of climate advocacy.” And The Nature Conservancy is using a big chunk of its fund to protect the Emerald Edge old-growth forest in the United States and Canada in collaboration with Indigenous and tribal communities there.   I have to be honest, I’ve been somewhat discouraged over the past few months when I’ve asked corporate sustainability professionals how they’re embedding racial justice considerations into their strategies. While there have been some really meaningful commitments — including Microsoft’s vow to include environmental justice as part of its renewable energy strategy or Apple’s Racial and Equity Justice Initiative — the vast majority of companies I’ve asked outright are struggling with blending justice into their environmental strategies. That needs to change, and these investments have me greeting 2021 with newfound optimism. 2. Anticipate more attention to the potential of ocean carbon sequestration Nature-based solutions for removing atmospheric carbon dioxide were the rage this year, and that sensibility is scattered across the press releases issued by the recipients. The Salk Institute, for example, is getting $30 million for its Harnessing Plants Initiative, focused on the soil sequestration of the world’s six biggest food crops, including soybeans and corn.  But it isn’t all about the land. The money is also supporting a big WWF program to protect and restore mangroves, small trees that grow in the brackish waters along coasts, in Colombia, Fiji, Madagascar and Mexico. What’s more, it includes funds for another solution that is capturing more attention as we stare into 2021: seaweed farming. According to advocates , kelp beds sequester five times more CO2 than terrestrial leafy greens such as kale or lettuce. There’s a movement brewing to use seaweed as a feedstock for fuel alternatives; it’s also finding a place on menus, including at fast-casual restaurant chain Sweetgreen, and a role in packaging (such as Loliware, which is making seaweed straws). Note to self: Learn more about seaweed and mangroves. 3. Don’t underestimate the potential of satellites in the fight against climate change  EDF’s grant is largely focused on launching the MethaneSAT , a network for locating and measuring methane pollution around the world and sharing it to ensure accountability.  It should not be lost on any of us that aside from being the CEO of one of the world’s largest retailers and tech companies, Bezos is behind Blue Origin, one of the private space companies that hopes to put people back onto the moon. It’s only natural that he’d explore extraterrestrial climate solutions. EDF isn’t the only organization benefiting here: WRI will be using its grant to develop a satellite-based network for monitoring carbon emissions as well as changes to forests, grasslands, wetlands and farms.   Here’s hoping that all of these initiatives find it much easier to get off the ground under the Biden-Harris administration, which has made addressing climate change — and cultivating clean economy jobs — one of its four priorities. And just think, “only” $9 billion more to allocate from the Bezos Earth Fund. That’s an inspiring sum of money. Topics Innovation Social Justice Climate Tech Equity & Inclusion Carbon Removal Featured Column Practical Magic Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Emerald Edge, the largest intact coastal rainforest on Earth, spans 100 million acres through Washington, British Columbia and Alaska. It will benefit from the first set of grants by the Bezos Earth Fund.

Original post:
What big bets by Bezos Earth Fund say about climate action in 2021

Earth911 Podcast: Talking Carbon Offsets With Cool Effect’s Blake Lawrence

November 18, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco

Carbon emissions continue to accumulate, affecting the world’s weather patterns … The post Earth911 Podcast: Talking Carbon Offsets With Cool Effect’s Blake Lawrence appeared first on Earth 911.

Original post:
Earth911 Podcast: Talking Carbon Offsets With Cool Effect’s Blake Lawrence

Driving, flying expected to spike after COVID-19 pandemic

November 12, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Driving, flying expected to spike after COVID-19 pandemic

Amidst the everlasting pandemic, fewer people yearn to squeeze into closely spaced airline seats or pack into crowded buses. As such, a new survey reveals a seemingly contradictory conclusion that post-pandemic , people expect to drive private cars more, even though the majority of respondents believe humans are responsible for the climate crisis. In some countries, people also planned to fly more after the pandemic. The YouGov-Cambridge Globalism Project polled about 26,000 people in 25 countries during July and August. It found that respondents held humans as the culprits of global warming by a ratio of more than three to one. This belief was most strongly held in Brazil, Spain, China, the U.K. and Japan. The countries with the largest number of doubters regarding human responsibility rely heavily on oil production, notably Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and the U.S. Related: Could a private car ban make NYC more livable? Air travel has long been an issue to climate campaigners, because it’s a huge source of emissions . People in the U.K., Italy, Germany and India all said they plan to fly less post-pandemic, although this could well be more for fear of contagion than love of the planet. But some respondents plan to fly more, especially those in Brazil and Nigeria. People in Brazil, Nigeria, Egypt and Sweden were more likely to be looking forward to holidays abroad. Meanwhile, those in Italy, the U.K., Germany, Thailand and China will be planning more domestic vacations in the future. Researchers were most alarmed by the fact that respondents in all 25 countries plan to drive more post-pandemic. Brazilians showed the most marked planned increase, with 62% saying yes to more driving and only 12% planning to drive less. South Africa was right behind, with 60% yay and 12% nay. More than 40% of Australians and Americans planned to spend more time behind the wheel, with only 10% anticipating leaving their cars in park more often. What do all these statistics mean? Human behavior is complicated and often contradictory, as our best intentions battle with fear and convenience. But if people begin to drive as much as predicted, they could undermine global efforts to meet the Paris Agreement targets. Via The Guardian Image via S. Hermann & F. Richter

Read more here:
Driving, flying expected to spike after COVID-19 pandemic

How Biden’s election could kickstart U.S. adoption of zero-emission vehicles

November 11, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on How Biden’s election could kickstart U.S. adoption of zero-emission vehicles

How Biden’s election could kickstart U.S. adoption of zero-emission vehicles Katie Fehrenbacher Wed, 11/11/2020 – 00:15 Relief. Most of us in clean economy circles are feeling it after the historic and protracted win by America’s President-elect Joe Biden and VP-elect Kamala Harris over the weekend.  The industries that make up the zero-emission vehicles sector — infrastructure providers, automakers, mobility startups — are one of the sectors that could gain the most from the Biden win. Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, and a Biden administration that takes the threat of climate change seriously will make it a priority to tackle transportation emissions.  Here are five things I’m watching for in a Biden bump that would accelerate ZEVs across the U.S.: Trump’s weakening of the auto emissions standards is toast: Earlier this year, the Trump administration officially weakened the federal auto emission standards that the Obama administration had enacted. The Trump administration called for just a 1.5 percent increase in carbon emissions standards per year through model year 2026, while the Obama plan called for a 5 percent yearly increase.  Expect a Biden administration to not only revert back to the Obama-era emissions standards but potentially strengthen them considerably, moving more aggressively toward zero emissions. California also sued the Trump administration, attempting to protect its right to set stricter auto emission standards than the weakened one. You can expect this battle, too, to die on the vine as the Biden administration is not likely to challenge California’s clean air waiver.  The U.S. could follow California’s ZEV mandates: If the federal government follows California lead, it already could use enacted ZEV mandates and incentives as a model for the U.S. The World Resources Institute’s Dan Lashof advocates that the Biden administration should set a clean car standard that models California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recently enacted executive order to ban new gas car sales by 2035. The U.S. also could implement zero-emission commercial vehicles through legislation such as the Advanced Clean Truck Rule, WRI notes, that would set timelines to convert trucks and buses to zero emissions. Aggressive? Yep. But we can hope! Look for new transportation and clean air leadership: With a new administration comes new leaders that will have a dramatic effect on the shape of building back climate and environmental regulations. Politico has a great rundown on some potential Biden appointees. The ones that sustainable transportation advocates will be most interested in: California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols told GreenBiz at VERGE 20 last month that she’d say “yes” if Biden called on her to help rebuild the EPA. She’s supposedly the front-runner. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is reported to be the leading candidate for Transportation Secretary. Garcetti has committed to moving Los Angeles to zero-carbon transportation by 2050. Ernie Moniz and Arun Majumdar , two former Department of Energy leaders, are reported to be in the running for top spots in the DOE.  Watch for a ZEV infrastructure build-out: Earlier this year, the Biden administration revealed a $2 trillion climate plan that specifically calls out investments in electric vehicle charging infrastructure to help build back the economy. On Biden’s transition website , the administration says it will create millions of new jobs funding new infrastructure and investing in the future of a domestic auto industry. The administration says it also will fund zero-emission public transit in cities — from light rail to better bike infrastructure to buses.  Anne Smart, vice president of public policy for EV charging company ChargePoint, said: “In his campaign platform, President-elect Biden called for the deployment EV charging stations across the nation. Now we have the opportunity to turn this promise into action through legislative initiatives such as the Clean Corridors Act , which will drive significant investment in EV charging and create jobs across the country.”   Non-profit Veloz, focused on electric vehicle advocacy in California, said it hopes to see a Biden administration overcome the three remaining barriers to the electrification of transportation; upfront cost; building out charging infrastructure; and increasing public awareness. Hope for stimulus for EV buses: If the federal government were able to provide stimulus incentive money for cities to convert their bus fleets to electric, it could be an effective stimulus strategy, noted WRI’s Lashof in a call with media Monday. Why? EV buses already can save cities money on fuel and maintenance costs, and also reduce air pollution, but it’s just the upfront cost of the EV bus that’s the barrier. If stimulus money can eliminate the extra cost between a diesel bus and an EV bus — the way incentives do in some states such as California — the ZEV transition could happen more quickly. What do you think? How do you think a Biden administration could kick start the zero-emission vehicle revolution? Drop me a note: katie@greenbiz.com . Topics Transportation & Mobility Carbon Policy Zero Emissions Electric Vehicles Public Transit EV Charging Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off President-elect Joe Biden walking with supporters at a pre-Wing Ding march from Molly McGowan Park in Clear Lake, Iowa, in May 2020. Shutterstock Pix Arena Close Authorship

Here is the original:
How Biden’s election could kickstart U.S. adoption of zero-emission vehicles

These are the winning environmental measures on ballots across the US

November 9, 2020 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on These are the winning environmental measures on ballots across the US

While it took a long time to determine the new president of the U.S., the environment was a clear winner in many smaller elections this year. Many of the 49 conservation-focused measures on the ballots in 19 states have passed. The year of sheltering in place seems to have heightened people’s appreciation of open space for recreation. “During the current pandemic we have seen that our parks and public lands are more important than ever for people to safely get outside for their physical and mental health,” Will Abberger, director of conservation finance at the Trust for Public Land, said in a statement. Related: Gray wolves at risk after being delisted as an endangered species This love of land took many forms. In Denver, voters approved a “climate sales tax” that could generate $800 million over the next two decades. The tax is earmarked for climate projects in minority and/or low-income communities. Oakland passed a $725 million school bond for green schoolyards. Montana voters endorsed legalizing recreational marijuana, with taxes going to land conservation .  “The ballot measures approved by voters will provide more equitable access to parks, protect air and water quality, help address climate change , and protect critical wildlife habitat in communities across the country,” Abberger said. In Colorado, one conservation measure was running about as close as the presidential race. Proposition 114 would reintroduce gray wolves into Colorado’s western mountains. This measure was more popular with urban environmentalists than with the ranchers and hunters likelier to encounter the wolves. Critics called the measure “ballot box biology.” When opponents conceded the race, the wolves were leading by half of one percentage point. Colorado is the first state to decide to reintroduce gray wolves by popular vote rather than by a decision by the federal government. It’s a sweet victory for the wolves after Trump axed them from the endangered species list. Somewhere in the west, you might hear a celebratory howl about who won … and who lost. Via NPR and Yale Environment 360 Image via Huper

View original here:
These are the winning environmental measures on ballots across the US

How alt-protein companies Impossible Foods, Memphis Meats hope to reshape diets

November 9, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on How alt-protein companies Impossible Foods, Memphis Meats hope to reshape diets

How alt-protein companies Impossible Foods, Memphis Meats hope to reshape diets Holly Secon Mon, 11/09/2020 – 01:00 By 2050, nearly 10 billion people will be on the planet. That’s about 2 billion more hungry mouths to feed. Figuring out the best way to feed everyone so they receive enough nutritious food, while using the planet’s finite resources sustainably, is a growing challenge. Typically, as people’s incomes rise throughout the developing world, they consume more resource-intensive animal-based protein, as opposed to unrefined grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables. An alternative to that consumption could exist. Alternative proteins, that is. Alternative proteins, which have gained more mainstream attention in U.S. supermarkets and direct-to-consumer models during the COVID-19 pandemic, include both plant-based or food-technology (so-called “clean meat”) alternatives to animal protein. The alternatives replicate the look, mouthfeel and taste of meat, but have a lower sustainability impact, advocates claim.  At GreenBiz Group’s virtual clean economy conference VERGE 20 late last month, representatives from two of the biggest alternative protein companies, plant-based Impossible Foods and cell-based Memphis Meats, discussed the ways in which alternative proteins could do just that. From providing a buffer for supply chain shocks and price volatility that hit early during the pandemic while making sure consumers eat nutritious food, alternative proteins could make an impact.  Alternative proteins could provide a buffer for supply chain shocks and price volatility that hit early during the pandemic while serving consumers nutritious food. Each company has its own theory of change for full-scale market transformation. Impossible Foods CEO Patrick Brown is on the record saying that by 2035, he wants to eliminate the need for animal farming in and of itself. Meanwhile, Steve Myrick, vice president of operations at Memphis Meats, who spoke at VERGE 20, wants to “augment, not disrupt” the mix of food production methods in the next five to 10 years. Impossible Burger wants to eliminate the need for animal agriculture Impossible Foods has been one of the most hyped-up alternative protein companies, and one of the most successful. Impossible makes a plant-based burger designed to maintain a realistic taste and mouthfeel to beef, primarily using a soy-based version of the protein found in meat called “heme” plus oils and other ingredients. The company also offers plant-based pork and sausages. The products are sold in higher-end restaurants around the world, and recently entered grocery stores as well. Rebekah Moses, head of impact strategy at Impossible Foods, said during VERGE 20 that the key to Impossible Foods’ goal of replacing animal agriculture is “exponential growth.” “What we’re trying to do here even at our relatively small scale is figure out how to tap into consumer behavior without asking consumers to change,” she explained. What we’re trying figure out is how to tap into consumer behavior without asking consumers to change. “So knowing that livestock product consumption is driving climate change by occupying huge amounts of land that would otherwise be capturing carbon … we need to address the system,” she said. “It can’t scale anymore. It’s already scaled to a point where we’re seeing huge problems for climate change and ecosystem services reductions.” Moses believes that Impossible Foods can still scale, and that it can take away market share from traditional animal agriculture to alleviate these issues. “It’s a lofty goal, but it’s exponential scaling,” she said. “We want to double or triple in size every year … The inherent economies of scale of plant-based meat are vastly superior to that of the livestock system — an incredibly environmentally destructive technology because of the amount of inputs required to sustain it.” At scale, Impossible is able to use 96 percent less land, emit 89 percent fewer greenhouse gases and use 87 percent less water, Moses claimed. “It’s just a question of efficiency and how you’re using resources and frankly, animal metabolisms are not going to work for a population of 10 billion people,” she added. It’s just a question of efficiency and how you’re using resources and frankly, animal metabolisms are not going to work for a population of 10 billion people. In addition, she pointed out that Impossible burgers can have slightly different ingredient compositions, making the product resilient to certain commodity shortages and logistical shipping backups. “Plant-based beef can be far more agile because we don’t really have to use the same ingredients all the time,” she said. “So now we use what we have, but there’s nothing saying we can’t use tahil or fava beans or any of a rich array of inputs that are out there. “You have to have binding proteins, you have to have high quality bulk to provide this chew-down, you have to have oils to provide this fat source, but ultimately you can get that from any number of different ingredients. Globally there’s such a diverse array of crop production that is going to provide things like proteins, fats and oils that what the Impossible burger is made of in the United States might be completely different than what it’s manufactured in other parts of the world with other supply chains, especially small local supply chains.” Memphis Meats wants to be a part of the large ‘food production’ tent Memphis Meats is at an even earlier stage of scaling than Impossible Foods, but the company also has generated a good amount of buzz. The company is piloting a new process of producing animal meat, without the animal. In a lab, scientists select specific types of animal cells that could become meat and put them in a cultivating tank, where they undergo a process similar to fermentation to grow muscle and tissue. The company hasn’t reached commercial scale yet, but has received cash infusions from investors including Bill Gates and Richard Branson, as well as industry giants such as Tyson Foods and Cargill. Myrick explained Memphis Meats’ value proposition: “The food system is almost more vast than any of us can really grasp … the world consumes hundreds of billions of pounds of meat and seafood a year. So five to 10 years from now, we think of it as augment, not disrupt. “We’ll still need a lot of different food production methods to keep feeding 8 billion people in that timeline. You can’t do it without large-scale intensive animal agriculture, small-scale subsistence farming, animal husbandry — we think cell-based meat will be a part of that picture, very quickly a bigger part. But I think what it means for us is that we have this philosophy of a big tent. We want to partner with existing industry, coexist, respect consumer traditions.”  Myrick sees the potential to increase the nutrition profile of cell-based meats through chemistry. For now, the company is working on making the product the best it can be, while also considering how to scale to be a meaningful part of food production, according to Myrick. The question for the future is whether Memphis Meats wants to do manufacturing in-house and begin building out that capacity or find a manufacturing partner. “We feel really confident in our path, both to reduce the complexity and the cost of our inputs and also to build out our production system that’s at a scale where the cost makes sense to measure for unit economics that consumers will get,” he said. Once the product is established, in the future, Myrick sees the potential to increase the nutrition profile of cell-based meats through chemistry. “It’s very much a goal to have our product have the identity of conventional meat products,” he said. “It’s very important from a chemistry point of view, from a nutritional point of view, to be within the frame of reference. We think of that as step one, to exceed the expectations of meat-eaters based on their current expectations. But we’re very excited about the next chapter to ideally start to adapt the nutrition profile and hopefully bring products to the consumers that have significant nutritional benefits over that.” Pull Quote Alternative proteins could provide a buffer for supply chain shocks and price volatility that hit early during the pandemic while serving consumers nutritious food. It’s just a question of efficiency and how you’re using resources and frankly, animal metabolisms are not going to work for a population of 10 billion people. Myrick sees the potential to increase the nutrition profile of cell-based meats through chemistry. What we’re trying figure out is how to tap into consumer behavior without asking consumers to change. Topics Food & Agriculture Food Systems VERGE 20 Alternative Protein Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off A plant-based Impossible Whopper from Burger King. Flickr Tony Webster Close Authorship

See original here:
How alt-protein companies Impossible Foods, Memphis Meats hope to reshape diets

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 1948 access attempts in the last 7 days.