US and China make big climate pledges at UN General Assembly

September 23, 2021 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Two of the world’s largest economies — and by far the largest carbon contributors — have committed to stop financing the climate crisis. On Tuesday at the U.N. General Assembly in New York , the U.S. and China pledged to cut off financing for activities that fuel the climate crisis. These commitments are good news, especially as leaders struggle to build momentum for COP26 in November. According to President Xi Jinping, China will no longer build coal-fired plants overseas. When this policy is implemented, China could cut off up to $50 billion in foreign investment. Consequently, this could mean the end of coal power exploration, given that China is currently the largest investor in coal-powered plants internationally. China has up to 47 coal plants planned in 20 countries; these plans may be canceled as financing is cut off. Related: Climate clock ticks out shame for rich nations While speaking to members of the press, Joanna Lewis, an expert on China, energy and climate at Georgetown University, elaborated on China’s climate promises. “It’s a big deal. China was the only significant funder of overseas coal left. This announcement essentially ends all public support for coal globally,” said Lewis. “This is the announcement many have been waiting for.” As for the United States, President Joe Biden pledged to increase funding to underdeveloped countries to fight climate change . “In April, I announced the United States will double our public international financing to help developing nations tackle the climate crisis, and today, I’m proud to announce that we’ll work with the Congress to double that number again, including for adaptation efforts,” Biden said during his U.N. General Assembly address on Tuesday. While the news of the U.S. increasing its support for underdeveloped countries is welcomed, the action needed by developed countries to fight the climate crisis is still below expectations. For instance, the U.S.’s current climate pledges amount to $11.4 billion annually, despite statements from the independent Overseas Development Institute estimating that the country would need to contribute $43.4 billion to reach its “fair share.” Via EcoWatch Lead image via Patrick Gruban

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US and China make big climate pledges at UN General Assembly

Morgenfarm proposes vertical farms to replace Berlins Autobahn

September 23, 2021 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Costing 200,000 euros per meter to construct, the 3.2-kilometer (1.9-mile) extension of Berlin’s motorway ring road was always controversial. If completed, it would bring 130,000 cars per day to south and east Berlin by 2022. As the political will to act on the climate crisis builds, the extension is starting to look like an expensive and ugly mistake. Morgenfarm offers a utopian vision for  Berlin’s infrastructure where toxic fumes are replaced by green space and healthy vegetables. Berlin’s A100 motorway partially circles the inner city. It was constructed as part of a campaign in the 1960s to make Germany’s capital a ‘car friendly city.’ The southeastern extension from Sonnenallee and Treptower Park has been the target of several protests. Now, a new concept would turn the excavated path of the motorway into a vertical farm. The proposal hopes to inspire city dwellers with a vision of what’s possible when urban planners stop prioritizing cars. Related: Construction of Europe’s largest vertical farm is underway Campaign leader Perttu Ratilainen is convinced that the ‘ Autobahn ’ belongs to a bygone era. “It feels like we are stuck in the 60s when you hear about new motorways being built, surely we have progressed since then?” Developed by non-profit ‘Think and Do Tank’ Paper Planes e.V., this farm would save water and energy plus reduce the need for long haul transportation involved in conventional agriculture . Major investments are being made in the emerging market of sustainable urban farming, particularly in Asia and the United States. Europe’s largest vertical farm, Nordic Harvest vertical farm in Denmark , was completed in 2021 with 14 stories of stacked edibles. It acts as a living feasibility study for vertical agriculture. Vertical farms  are buffered from external influences (sun, rain, heat or cold extremes), which means they can produce food all year round. Current vertical farms produce fruit, vegetables, edible mushrooms, algae and insects. These farms make more efficient use of resources than conventional industrial agriculture and do not require any pesticides. They provide a reliable supply of fresh and vitamin-rich food for the local city population, even in times of crisis such as the drought conditions Germany has experienced in recent years.  Another crisis this project could address is the housing shortage in Berlin. With the Autobahn repurposed as vertical farming space, the areas next to the road could be used to construct housing. With the upcoming German election, there has again been debate about building housing on Berlin’s most popular park, the repurposed airport Tempelhofer Feld, so freeing up land that roads make unusable could be a big plus for the capital city. Fridays for Future  has announced a strike in Germany on the Friday before the election. Thousands are expected on Sept. 24 for a massive demo in Berlin, calling on politicians to rethink the system we live in and move faster on “Energiewende” and “Mobilitätswende,” the move away from fossil fuels and motor vehicles to better public transport , cycle infrastructure and renewable energy. Rather than a concrete proposal, the Morgenfarm project encourages the space needed to rethink the urban environment. If the Berlin city administration really wants to deal with  climate change , then projects like this should be discussed. What do you think about turning over roads to grow food? Would this approach allow more space for rewilding projects on the edge of the city? Do you have a vision about how Berlin should reconfigure this road-building project? + Morgenfarm Berlin Images via Paper Planes eV

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Morgenfarm proposes vertical farms to replace Berlins Autobahn

Officials worry COP26 climate conference is at "high risk of failure"

September 22, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

The highly anticipated U.N. climate conference COP26 is at “high risk of failure,” according to U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres. Planned to take place this November in Glasgow , COP26 intends to bring together global leaders to address the climate crisis. However, mistrust and lack of commitment may hinder meaningful progress. While addressing the press in New York on Wednesday, Guterres spoke on his concerns. “I believe that we are at risk of not having a success in COP26,” Guterres said. “There is still a level of mistrust, between north and south, developed and developing countries, that needs to be overcome.” Related: Related: Failing to curb emissions puts Earth on “catastrophic pathway” Guterres says that the world must seriously think about the next step towards salvaging the climate . In a bid to bring more people on board, Guterres has been meeting with global leaders in preparation for COP26. “We are on the verge of the abyss and when you are on the verge of the abyss, you need to be very careful about what the next step is. And the next step is COP26 in Glasgow,” Guterres said. Developed countries have been called out for their lack of commitment to climate promises. Although most have pledged to address the issue, actions have been slow. Developing countries, which often experience the worst of climate change’s effects despite contributing to it the least, want wealthier nations to uphold their commitments. “We need the developed countries to do more, namely in relation to the support to developing countries. And we need some emerging economies to go an extra mile and be more ambitious in the reduction of air emissions ,” Guterres said. Scientists have warned that the world is doing little to mitigate climate change. Recent studies have shown that global warming might drive temperatures above 1.5 degrees Celsius in about two decades unless serious action is taken to deal with the emission problem. Via Reuters Lead image via Dean Calma / IAEA

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Officials worry COP26 climate conference is at "high risk of failure"

Extreme heat pushes Biden administration to pursue worker protections

September 22, 2021 by  
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President Biden has directed labor officials to draft laws that will protect workers under extreme heat conditions. The directive comes months after a hot summer, in which several workers were reported dead due to extreme heat. The severity of heatwaves has been on the rise, thanks to climate change. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been asked by the president to develop the new guidelines. The guidelines aim to protect workers threatened by heatwaves , such as construction, farm, and delivery workers. Further, regulations will also cater to the safety of indoor workers in places such as warehouses where there is no air conditioning. Related: Killer heatwaves threaten US farmworkers Biden said in a statement that his administration seeks to address the impacts of extreme weather experienced by minority groups across the country. “Over the past few weeks, I have traveled across the country to see firsthand the devastating human and economic toll of extreme weather exacerbated by climate change,” Biden said in a statement. “Rising temperatures pose an imminent threat to millions of American workers exposed to the elements, to kids in schools without air conditioning , to seniors in nursing homes without cooling resources, and particularly to disadvantaged communities.” Last summer, record-breaking heatwaves rocked the Pacific Northwest, leading to the death of at least two people. Other climate-related disasters, such as the storms in New York and Louisiana , were also recorded across the country. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 43 workers died in 2019 from heat-related illnesses . Due to such realities, employee rights advocates have been calling for laws that protect workers against the effects of extreme heat and other weather disasters. If formulated, the new OSHA rules would include breaks requirements and access to drinking water and shade. These laws would be applied when temperatures reach a certain threshold deemed dangerous for workers. Some states, such as California and Oregon, already have some laws to protect workers. These include rules forcing employers to provide cool water, shade and breaks. Via The Washington Post Lead image via U.S. Department of Agriculture

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Extreme heat pushes Biden administration to pursue worker protections

Companies, consumers can meet climate action goals together

September 22, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Sponsored: Climate change impacts are everywhere, and the time for transformative action is now. Both companies and consumers have vital roles to play.

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Companies, consumers can meet climate action goals together

The world is failing to limit global warming

September 16, 2021 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

A newly released assessment by Climate Action Tracker (CAT) shows that nearly every nation has failed to meet a major climate goal. The goal in question is to keep global warming from rising 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, as per the Paris Agreement. The report, released on Wednesday, showed only one country’s actions to be compatible with meeting this goal. According to the new CAT rating system, “Only one country – a developing country – The Gambia scored an overall 1.5 degree compatibility.” While every other country varies in how close it is to meeting this climate target, most had their actions deemed “highly or critically insufficient” by the report. CAT’s analysis reviewed policies in 36 countries, plus the European Union. Related: G7 leaders commit to curb climate change, but fall short on coal “Almost all developed countries need to further strengthen their targets to reduce emissions as fast as possible, to implement national policies to meet them, and to support more developing countries to make the transition,” the assessment explained. Behind The Gambia, there are only seven nations deemed “almost sufficient” by the report. These countries include Costa Rica , Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco, Nepal, Nigeria and the U.K. On the opposite end of the rating system, Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Thailand were all found to be “critically insufficient” in their attempts toward achieving 1.5 degree Celsius goal compatibility. While these findings are troubling for many environmentalists, German climate activist Luisa Neubauer emphasizes that “this study shouldn’t be a moment of pity.” Instead, Neubauer says, “the adequate answer to this study would be drastic climate action.” The CAT assessment details several areas of improvement needed to meet climate goals. Suggested improvements include scaling up renewable energy developments and canceling coal and pipeline construction projects. But change must come quickly. As the assessment points out, “The most important target date is 2030, by which time global emissions must be cut by 50%, and governments are nowhere near this. We estimate that with current actions global emissions will be at roughly today’s level in 2030, we would be emitting twice as much as required for the 1.5°C limit.” + Climate Action Tracker Via EcoWatch Images via Pixabay and Climate Action Tracker

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The world is failing to limit global warming

There were 227 environmental defenders killed in 2020

September 15, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

As if it’s not bad enough that the world is suffering from  weather  extremes and other climate-related disasters, last year a record 227 environmental defenders died for protecting the planet, according to an  annual report by Global Witness . The report, which was released Monday, says that the number of murdered land defenders has more than doubled since 2013. “It’s the communities that are most impacted by the  climate  crisis who are speaking up to protect their land, their communities and our planet,” said Julie Anne Miranda-Brobeck, head of U.S. communications and global partnerships for Global Witness, as reported by EcoWatch. “It’s those environmental and land defenders who are especially vulnerable to killings and attacks.” Since the counts are based on publicly available data, the true number of fatalities may be underestimated. Related: Indigenous land defender Félix Vásquez murdered in Honduras Global Witness began publishing its annual report in 2012. Since then, the number of fallen environmental or land defenders has increased every year but one. According to the  U.N. Environment Programme  definition, environmental human rights defenders are “individuals and groups who, in their personal or professional capacity and in a peaceful manner, strive to protect and promote human rights relating to the environment, including  water , air, land, flora and fauna.” The report found that like climate change, violence against land defenders disproportionately impacts the Global South.  Colombia  (65 murders), Mexico (30 murders) and the Philippines (29 murders) were the most dangerous countries for those defending land. Latin America was especially deadly, while Africa’s fatalities more than doubled since the previous study, from 7 to 18. A killing in Canada was the only land defender murder recorded last year in the Global North. More than 71% of the land defenders killed in 2020 died defending forests. Other extractive industries, such as mining, large hydroelectric projects and agribusiness, were also deadly. The study authors noted that government inaction contributed to the deaths and that governments used the pandemic to limit protesting and free press rights. In 2020, 158 countries imposed new restrictions along these lines. Via EcoWatch Lead image via Fabrice Florin

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There were 227 environmental defenders killed in 2020

Financing 1.5 Celsius: What’s driving ESG-related mergers?

September 15, 2021 by  
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Large companies are seeking to improve their climate risk capabilities, but that’s not the only factor.

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Financing 1.5 Celsius: What’s driving ESG-related mergers?

Rapidly Reducing Methane Emissions to Halt Climate Change

September 14, 2021 by  
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As concern about the climate crisis increases, we regularly hear about the urgency of reducing… The post Rapidly Reducing Methane Emissions to Halt Climate Change appeared first on Earth911.

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Rapidly Reducing Methane Emissions to Halt Climate Change

We Earthlings: Beer and Climate Change?

September 14, 2021 by  
Filed under Eco

Did you know that the beer you drink contributes to climate change? According to the… The post We Earthlings: Beer and Climate Change? appeared first on Earth911.

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We Earthlings: Beer and Climate Change?

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