The world’s first subsidy-free offshore wind farm is being built in the Netherlands

March 21, 2018 by  
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The world’s first unsubsidized offshore wind farms are currently under construction in the Netherlands . The underlying economics of offshore wind energy have become so favorable in the country that the projects will require no public funds to be completed. “Thanks to drastically lower costs, offshore wind farms are now being constructed without subsidy,” Dutch Economic Affairs and Climate Minister Eric Wiebes told Climate Action . “This allows us to keep the energy transition affordable. Innovation and competition are making sustainable energy cheaper and cheaper, and much faster than expected too.” Scheduled to begin operations in 2022, the two wind farms are being built by Swedish energy firm Vattenfall. The electricity created by the wind farms will be sold on the open market, competing with fossil fuels. The wind farms will be located 14 miles off the coast of the Netherlands and will fill an area of 137 square miles. Once operational, the farms will produce enough energy to power 1.5 million homes. While the wind farms are being billed as subsidy-free, their construction benefited from the Dutch government accepting some risks involved in the project, such as covering the cost of grid connection. Related: World’s first floating wind farm performing better than anticipated The Netherlands has taken swift action to develop its clean energy capabilities. In 2017, the 600-megawatt, 150-turbine Gemini wind park off the Dutch coast opened as one of the largest wind farms in the world. “As a country we were heavily dependent on fossil fuels , and our way to renewables has been bumpy,” Dutch minister for the environment Sharon Dijksma told MIT Technology Review . “So this government decided that we needed to step up the pace.” The low-lying European country has much at stake in how the world deals with climate change . If the Netherlands were to face a powerful flood, “we would have a massive breakdown, it would tear the country into pieces and the economy would collapse,” Dijksma said. “So this Armageddon scenario has to be fought against.” Via MIT Technology Review Images via Depositphotos (1)

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The world’s first subsidy-free offshore wind farm is being built in the Netherlands

New pay-what-you-can restaurant opens in Fort Worth, Texas

March 21, 2018 by  
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A Texas couple have opened a new restaurant that offers a pay-what-you-can model. Taste Community Restaurant targets middle class people struggling to get by who still deserve excellent food at a price they can afford. “Specifically,” Taste Community chef and co-founder Julie Williams told Dallas Morning News , “the missing middle 90 percent of the hungry who are not homeless and don’t qualify for government assistance. They might be choosing between food and medical bills or medication, be a single parent trying to make ends meet, be between jobs.” To serve this community, Julie and her husband Jeff founded the Taste Project , the 501(c)3 nonprofit that supports the restaurant. Guests at the Taste Community Restaurant are greeted with a warmly lit space, a friendly staff, 80 percent of whom are volunteers, and a menu that has no prices listed. Guests are not given a check at the conclusion of the meal and are instead encouraged to donate what they can to support the restaurant ‘s mission. Julie and Jeff Williams were inspired and informed in their work by  One World Everybody Eats , which helped pioneer the community cafe model in the United States .  While it is still early in the restaurant’s history, the staff are encouraged. “We measure success in number of patrons who come through the door, percentage of folks in need, number of volunteer hours served, and program revenue,” explained Julie Williams. “We need to increase the number of folks who can pay what they typically pay or a little more in order to reach those in need.” Related: The free grocery store fighting food waste and hunger Taste is particularly appreciated for its shrimp and cheese grits, rib-eye steak chili and butternut squash risotto. There are exciting options for vegetarians and vegans as well. A celery root-green apple vegan soup is popular, as is a farro dish with cauliflower, snow peas and broccolini, all covered with a poached egg and lemon vinaigrette. The menu is seasonal, with winter’s pimento cheese bruschetta giving way to spring’s sweet pea bruschetta. Taste Community Restaurant is currently serving lunch from Tuesday through Sunday. Via Dallas Morning News Images via Taste Project

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New pay-what-you-can restaurant opens in Fort Worth, Texas

Stricter climate regulations could save 150 million lives worldwide

March 21, 2018 by  
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Researchers have calculated that stronger climate regulations across the globe could help prevent up to 150 million premature deaths. Much of the public health benefits of strictly regulating greenhouse gases would be concentrated in South Asia, with nearly 13 million lives spared in large Indian cities alone if air pollution is curtailed. Cairo, Egypt and Lagos, Nigeria would also experience more than 2 million fewer deaths under strong international greenhouse gas regulation. While the Clean Air Act has improved public health outcomes in the United States, hundreds of thousands of lives could be saved in the cities of Philadelphia, Detroit, Atlanta , Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Pittsburgh and Washington if stricter greenhouse gas regulations were implemented. “Americans don’t really grasp how pollution impacts their lives,” study lead author Drew Shindell told the Washington Post . “You say, ‘My uncle went to the hospital and died of a heart attack.’ You don’t say the heart attack was caused by air pollution, so we don’t know. It’s still a big killer here. It’s much bigger than from people who die from plane crashes or war or terrorism, but we don’t see the link so clearly.” Related: Despite Trump’s rhetoric, US officials are still working to stop climate change To determine the public health benefits of stricter greenhouse gas regulations, the research team created computer simulations of future emissions and pollutants. According to a statement , they then “calculated the human health impacts of pollution exposure under each scenario all over the world — but focusing on results in major cities — using well-established epidemiological models based on decades of public health data on air-pollution related deaths.” However promising the benefits of strong climate change regulations may be, time is running out, says Shindell. “There’s got to be a significant amount of progress within the 2020s or it’s too late.” Via the Washington Post Images via Depositphotos   (1)

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Stricter climate regulations could save 150 million lives worldwide

Newly launched GOES-S satellite will help scientists make accurate predictions about extreme weather

March 21, 2018 by  
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No matter what the current presidential administration wants you to think, the climate is changing . Storms have become more powerful, and natural weather disasters are more common than ever. Today’s meteorological infrastructure, however, is having trouble keeping up with the sheer size and scope of these changes — until now.  The GOES-S Satellite , launched by the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA) in March 2018, plans to fill in those gaps, changing how we look at weather forecasting in many ways. GOES stands for Geostationary Operational Environment Satellites. These satellites, once launched, are placed in what is known as a geostationary orbit — they circle the Earth at the same speed as the planet’s rotation, allowing the satellites to effectively stay in one place. Because they sit over a specific target area and take pictures as often as every 30 seconds, the satellites enable disaster trackers to see problem areas as they’re developing — instead of after they’ve already become a problem. This feature can be essential for things like wildfire tracking — in some cases, the satellites have spotted potential wildfires before people on the ground even reported the fires. The satellites can also detect hurricanes or typhoons in their infancy, allowing people in the storm’s path more time to prepare. Meteorology and disaster prediction may never become an exact science, especially with the changes happening to the climate worldwide, but GOES can give meteorologists and researchers a leg up when it comes to preparing for whatever the world’s brewing. These satellites are also changing the way meteorologists look at weather forecasting. Instead of warning people after the storm forms, GOES allow meteorologists to watch the storms as they’re building. Areas that could develop severe weather are spotted much earlier and, as a result, residents receive notification sooner. Even if a tornado doesn’t touch down, those at risk will receive more time to prepare and react—two of the most important strategies for surviving many natural disasters . Related: New satellite paves the way for full-color, full-motion video from space GOES, including GOES-S, are not perfect prediction tools — many variables still make meteorology an educated guessing game. Meteorologists may never be able to tell you exactly where a hurricane is going to make landfall or where a wildfire is going to spread, but with tools like GOES, weather teams can make much more accurate predictions and, in doing so, help residents deal with extreme weather throughout the United States. + NOAA Images via NOAA on Flickr

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Newly launched GOES-S satellite will help scientists make accurate predictions about extreme weather

Helsinki unveils plan to reach carbon neutrality by 2035

March 21, 2018 by  
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Finland’s capital city has unveiled a new plan to reach carbon neutrality by 2035, accelerating the goal by 15 years. The plan, called Carbon Neutral Helsinki 2035 , outlines 143 specific actions that will result in reduced energy consumption and a greater share of renewable energy sources . In a press release, city officials said, “Helsinki’s definition of carbon neutrality is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions generated within the city borders by 80% and to offset the rest.” The Nordic city currently has a population of 640,000, according to the press release. Although they expect that to grow to 780,000, officials are convinced they can reach their carbon neutral target by taking specific actions to improve energy efficiency, increase renewable uptake, capture and reuse waste energy and improve public transportation . Most of Helsinki’s current greenhouse gas emissions stem from heating. The action plan, co-written with input from various civic organizations, stakeholders and researchers, proposes to reduce the energy consumption of buildings by one-fifth by upgrading infrastructure, enforcing stricter standards, and incorporating both heat recovery and geothermal heating technology . Solar power, despite the city’s northern latitude (slightly further north than Russia’s St Petersburg), is expected to produce sufficient power to cover one-sixth of the city’s overall electricity consumption. Related: Detox your troubles away in this new public sauna built with natural materials By introducing more sustainable transportation, including electric vehicles, the city could cut related greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 69 percent — according to the plan. Esa Nikunen, Director General of Helsinki Environment Services says, “Helsinki can achieve its goal in transportation, which is much stricter than the national goal, owing to the increasing density in our urban structure . Helsinki has excellent opportunities to promote public transportation, walking, and cycling”. Although these long-term goals will take time to implement, the city has already cut their CO2 emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels, or by 1,000 kilotons per year (kt/a). By 2035, their target is to generate only 700 kt/a, which they will offset. With such progressive, proactive plans in place, it is perhaps little wonder that Finland was recently rated the happiest country on Earth . + Helsinki’s Climate Action Images via DepositPhotos Helsinki 1 , Helsinki 2

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Helsinki unveils plan to reach carbon neutrality by 2035

Mind the gap: Are corporates translating climate risk disclosure into business action?

March 19, 2018 by  
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Analysis by CDP and the Climate Disclosure Standards Board shows that while more and more corporates are aware of climate risks, few are driving meaningful action to address them.

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Mind the gap: Are corporates translating climate risk disclosure into business action?

Scientists predict catastrophic loss of forest fauna and flora with existing CO2 emissions

March 19, 2018 by  
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If we don’t do something to slow down carbon emissions, we could lose up to half of all the plant and animal species in the world’s forests. A new report by the World Wildlife Federation shows that a temperature increase of more than 1.5 degrees Celsius would decimate the flora and fauna of vital ecosystems in Asia, Africa, North America, South America and Australia. Since scientists project that we are likely headed towards a rise of 3.2C, the implications could be disastrous. According to the study, a rise of 3.2C would kill off 60 percent of plant species and 50 percent of animal species in the Amazon . If countries get their act together and limit temperature rise to 2C, we will lose fewer species, but the devastation will still destroy 35 percent of species. Then there’s the grim forecast of a rise of 4.5C, which is what many experts believe we will hit if emissions remain unchanged. In that scenario, we could expect to lose more than 70 percent of reptiles and plants, and 60 percent of mammals and birds. Related: Scientists warn Amazon jungle faces “death spiral” The picture is just as dire in Africa and Australia, but with an additional impact to some species based on tension with human needs. According to the study, competition for resources in Africa, Bangladesh, Madagascar and the Caribbean could devastate animals, such as elephants , even more. “For the Amazon and Guianas, the WWF report is scary as hell. The loss of half or more of the region’s stunning plant diversity would be a biological blow of almost unimaginable severity,” said William Laurence, director at the Center for Tropical Environmental and Sustainable Science. “However, such computer models with all their assumptions and complexities are really ‘scientific cartoons’ giving us only a rough sketch of the future. But even if they’re only half right, these are very frightening cartoons indeed,” he continued. The study was published by the WWF, James Cook University and the University of East Anglia in the journal Climate Change . Via The Guardian Images via Deposit Photos ( 1 , 2 )

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Scientists predict catastrophic loss of forest fauna and flora with existing CO2 emissions

Swiss police to replace diesel fleet with 7 Tesla Model X-100Ds

March 19, 2018 by  
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The Swiss police are electrifying! The Basel-Stadt canton announced in a recent press release that they plan to replace their fleet of diesel vehicles with seven Tesla Model X-100D electric vehicles. Although the purchase will be expensive, at about $147,000 a piece, the police are convinced their overall costs will fall. Plus, they expressed concern about reducing their environmental impact . In addition to lower maintenance costs, the police expect the resale value of Tesla vehicles to be greater than that of their existing fleet. And they aren’t concerned with running out of juice while on a high-speed chase. “With a current charge the Tesla drives at least 500 kilometers,” they wrote in their press release. “Vehicles of the alerting patch cover an average of 200 kilometers per day per day.” Related: Dubai police unveil electric hoverbikes Dutch security firm Force Pro have customized the Basel city police’s new vehicles, according to regional daily the Basellandschaftliche Zeitung . Force Pro sales director Theo Karanfantis told the paper cited connectivity and communication as among the Tesla vehicle’s key benefits. “A conventional car brings a police officer from A to B,” he said. “What Basel police are now buying is a laptop on wheels”. Two charging stations will be installed at Kannenfeld and Clara police stations, according to the press release. Lastly, the police said the Tesla X-100D is the only electric vehicle on the market that is capable of meeting their needs. + Basel Police Via The Local Images via Tesla

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Swiss police to replace diesel fleet with 7 Tesla Model X-100Ds

Can we tackle climate change by hiding the language?

March 19, 2018 by  
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There’s a way to talk up the benefits of climate goals without riling adversaries. The way that intelligent buildings are being marketed is one living example.

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Can we tackle climate change by hiding the language?

Photographing a fragile, yet resilient, world

March 18, 2018 by  
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Environmental artist Anne de Carbuccia travels to Earth’s most extreme places, documenting the effects of climate change.

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Photographing a fragile, yet resilient, world

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