The Often Invisible Impact of Maritime Trade

September 27, 2021 by  
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Maritime shipping is the lifeblood of our economy. The device you are using right now,… The post The Often Invisible Impact of Maritime Trade appeared first on Earth911.

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Big money flows into long-duration energy storage

September 17, 2021 by  
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Long-duration energy storage is the linchpin technology that will let the economy run off of intermittent renewable energy sources and backup power after grid disruptions. 

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Climate change-induced tuna migration may wreck island economies

September 2, 2021 by  
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Ocean warming may cause small states in the Pacific Islands to struggle economically due to fish loss. A recent study published in the journal   Nature Sustainability  has found that tuna caught in 10 Small Island Developing States (SIDS) will decline by an average of 20% by 2050. The study also found that all the 10 islands will be affected and may struggle economically as a result. As waters closer to the equator warm, tuna and other sea species move out in search of a favorable environment. According to Johann Bell, the lead author of the study and a senior director at  Conservation International’s Center for Oceans, fish can only live in conditions that suit their physiology. Related: Mysterious fish deaths in Mar Menor Spain prompt investigation “All fish have preferred water temperatures, i.e., temperatures that suit their physiology best and which provide optimum conditions for growth and reproduction,” Bell said. Conservation International’s Center for Oceans is a nonprofit organization that works to protect nature through science. The organization uses scientific data to show changes in nature and urge policymakers to make critical choices.  Bell explains that tuna follow other species favorable for prey. He says when the ocean warms, other species may move outward in search of cooler waters. Tuna have to follow such species, or they may fail to find food and experience stunted growth. The study looked at two key species of tuna: skipjack and yellowfin. These are the main target species for large-scale fishers in the Pacific Islands region. Researchers found that these species will progressively continue moving eastwards as the waters get warm . As a result, the species will only be available in high seas and regions outside the jurisdiction of SIDS. Most states in the Pacific Islands depend on fishing as a main economic activity. If the most popular fish species moves away from the area, locals will struggle economically.  For a long time, scientists have warned that the effects of global warming will be more economically costly than any amount invested in combating climate change. The tuna conundrum is just one example of how this issue manifests. Via EcoWatch Lead image via Pexels

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The generational divides on climate anxiety

September 2, 2021 by  
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Different generations suffer from different anxieties, and those anxieties influence economic models. While Baby Boomers worry about rising inflation draining their retirement funds while they’re still aboveground, Gen Z is terrified that  climate change  means there will soon be no safe air to breathe nor water to drink. Older Americans suffer from price growth, which is the fastest it’s been for more than a decade. In a  Bankrate.com  survey published Wednesday, three-quarters of Baby Boomers said inflation has negatively impacted their  finances . Contrast that with 54% of Millennials and Gen Zers. Related: Biden unveils $2 trillion infrastructure and green economy plan Meanwhile, 37% of Gen Z called climate change a “top concern,” according to a Pew  Research  Center study. A third of Millennials agreed, while only 29% of Baby Boomers were as worried. Gen Zers are likelier to push for a green economy, inflation be damned. In that scenario, climate-friendly ventures would be rewarded, and those contributing to global warming, penalized. A  carbon  tax and a shift toward domestic production would have environmental upsides but could add to inflation. A new mental  health  issue, eco-anxiety, may further drive the green economy. While there’s not yet an official clinical diagnosis or definition, a team of clinicians is working on it. “The symptoms of clinical anxiety are the same,” said Navjot Bhullar, a professor of psychology at the University of New England in Australia, as reported by Verywell. “There’s a sense of dread or doom and not being able to concentrate, with a physical side of heart palpitations.” Of course, Gen Z is hardly the first generation to suspect the world was about to end. People have been predicting apocalyptic disasters throughout recorded history. Ever since World War Two, people have lived in fear of atomic bombs ending life on Earth. Generations who attended school between the 1950s and 1980s may remember practicing duck and cover drills, and some suffered from a mental health condition called nuclear anxiety. The difference this time? Well, the world does seem in more peril than ever, and we see the pollution, suffering, death and devastation on social media 24/7. That’s enough to spur climate dread in any generation. The green  economy  isn’t perfect. But it might be all we have. Via Business Insider , VeryWell Lead image via Ittmust

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Digitalization enables the circular economy transition — it’s time to lean into it

August 27, 2021 by  
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To maintain the value of a product in the economy for as long as possible, information on the product design, composition, and condition is critical.

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Balancing resilient energy and clean energy

August 27, 2021 by  
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With extreme weather becoming the norm across the United States, communities and companies are in need of clean backup power that can be deployed today. 

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Can America Reach Net-Zero Emissions?

August 10, 2021 by  
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Almost every part of our economy must change if we’re to reach net zero. What will that look like and how can your organization contribute? Speakers: Eric Larson, Senior Research Engineer, Princeton University This session was held at GreenBiz Group’s VERGE Net Zero, July 27-28, 2021. Learn more about the event here: https://events.greenbiz.com/events/verge-net-zero/online/2021

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How the climate crisis will crash the economy

September 14, 2020 by  
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How the climate crisis will crash the economy Joel Makower Mon, 09/14/2020 – 02:11 The chickens are coming home to roost. Even before the western United States became a regional inferno, even before the Midwest U.S. became a summertime flood zone, even before an annual hurricane season so bad that the government is running out of names to attach to them, even before Colorado saw a 100 degrees Fahrenheit heatwave swan dive into a 12-inch snowstorm within 48 hours. Even before all that, we’d been watching the real-world risks of climate change looming and growing across the United States and around the world. And the costs, financially and otherwise, are quickly becoming untenable. Lately, a steady march of searing heat, ruinous floods, horrific wildfires, unbreathable air, devastating hurricanes and other climate-related calamities has been traversing our screens and wreaking havoc to national and local budgets. And we’re only at 1C of increased global temperature rise. Just imagine what 2C or 3C or 4C will look like, and how much it will cost. We may not have to wait terribly long to find out. It’s natural to follow the people affected by all this: the local residents, usually in poorer neighborhoods, whose homes and livelihoods are being lost; the farmers and ranchers whose crops and livestock are withering and dying; the stranded travelers and the evacuees seeking shelter amid the chaos. And, of course the heroic responders to all these events, not to mention an entire generation of youth who fear their future is being stolen before their eyes, marching in the streets. So many people and stories. But lately, I’ve been following the money. The financial climate, it seems, has been as unforgiving as the atmospheric one. Some of it has been masked by the pandemic and ensuing recession, but for those paying attention, the indicators are hiding in plain sight. And what we’re seeing now are merely the opening acts of what could be a long-running global financial drama. The economic impact on companies is, to date, uncertain and likely incalculable. The financial climate, it seems, has been as unforgiving as the atmospheric one. Last week, a subcommittee of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) issued a report addressing climate risks to the U.S. financial system. That it did so is, in itself, remarkable, given the political climes. But the report didn’t pussyfoot around the issues: “Climate change poses a major risk to the stability of the U.S. financial system and to its ability to sustain the American economy,” it stated, adding: Climate change is already impacting or is anticipated to impact nearly every facet of the economy, including infrastructure, agriculture, residential and commercial property, as well as human health and labor productivity. Over time, if significant action is not taken to check rising global average temperatures, climate change impacts could impair the productive capacity of the economy and undermine its ability to generate employment, income and opportunity. Among the “complex risks for the U.S. financial system,” the authors said, are “disorderly price adjustments in various asset classes, with possible spillovers into different parts of the financial system, as well as potential disruption of the proper functioning of financial markets.” In other words: We’re heading into uncharted economic territory. Climate change, said the report’s authors, is expected to affect “multiple sectors, geographies and assets in the United States, sometimes simultaneously and within a relatively short timeframe.” Those impacts could “disrupt multiple parts of the financial system simultaneously.” For example: “A sudden revision of market perceptions about climate risk could lead to a disorderly repricing of assets, which could in turn have cascading effects on portfolios and balance sheets and therefore systemic implications for financial stability.” Sub-systemic shocks And then there are “sub-systemic” shocks, more localized climate-related impacts that “can undermine the financial health of community banks, agricultural banks or local insurance markets, leaving small businesses, farmers and households without access to critical financial services.” This, said the authors, is particularly damaging in areas that already are underserved by the financial system, which includes low-to-moderate income communities and historically marginalized communities. As always, those least able to least afford the impacts may get hit the hardest. This was hardly the first expression of concern about the potentially devastating economic impacts of climate change on companies, markets, nations and the global economy. For example: Two years ago, the Fourth National Climate Assessment noted that continued warming “is expected to cause substantial net damage to the U.S. economy throughout this century, especially in the absence of increased adaptation efforts.” It placed the price tag at up to 10.5 percent of GDP by 2100. Last month, scientists at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research said that while previous research suggested that a 1C hotter year reduces economic output by about 1 percent, “the new analysis points to output losses of up to three times that much in warm regions.” Another report last month, by the Environmental Defense Fund, detailed how the financial impacts of fires, tropical storms, floods, droughts and crop freezes have quadrupled since 1980. “Researchers are only now beginning to anticipate the indirect impacts in the form of lower asset values, weakened future economic growth and uncertainty-induced instability in financial markets,” it said. And if you really want a sleepless night or two, read this story about “The Biblical Flood That Will Drown California,” published recently in Mother Jones magazine. Even if you don’t have a home, business or operations in the Golden State, your suppliers and customers likely do, not to mention the provenance of the food on your dinner plate. Down to business The CTFC report did not overlook the role of companies in all this. It noted that “disclosure by corporations of information on material, climate-related financial risks is an essential building block to ensure that climate risks are measured and managed effectively,” enabling enables financial regulators and market participants to better understand climate change’s impacts on financial markets and institutions. However, it warned, “The existing disclosure regime has not resulted in disclosures of a scope, breadth and quality to be sufficiently useful to market participants and regulators.” An analysis by the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure found that large companies are increasingly disclosing some climate-related information, but significant variations remain in the information disclosed by each company, making it difficult for investors and others to fully understand exposure and manage climate risks . The macroeconomic forecasts, however gloomy, likely seem academic inside boardrooms. And while that may be myopic — after all, the nature of the economy could begin to shift dramatically before the current decade is out, roiling customers and markets — it likely has little to do with profits and productivity over the short time frames within which most companies operate. Nonetheless, companies with a slightly longer view already are considering the viability of their products and services in a warming world. Consider the recommendations of the aforementioned CFTC report, of which there are 20. Among them: “The United States should establish a price on carbon.” “All relevant federal financial regulatory agencies should incorporate climate-related risks into their mandates and develop a strategy for integrating these risks in their work.” “Regulators should require listed companies to disclose Scope 1 and 2 emissions. As reliable transition risk metrics and consistent methodologies for Scope 3 emissions are developed, financial regulators should require their disclosure, to the extent they are material.” The Financial Stability Oversight Council “should incorporate climate-related financial risks into its existing oversight function, including its annual reports and other reporting to Congress.” “Financial supervisors should require bank and nonbank financial firms to address climate-related financial risks through their existing risk management frameworks in a way that is appropriately governed by corporate management.” None of these things is likely to happen until there’s a new legislature and presidential administration in Washington, D.C., but history has shown that many of these can become de facto regulations if enough private-sector and nongovernmental players can adapt and pressure (or incentivize) companies to adopt and hew to the appropriate frameworks. Finally, there is collaboration among the leading nongovernmental organizations focusing on sustainability reporting and accountability. And there’s some news on that front: Last week, five NGOs whose frameworks, standards and platforms guide the majority of sustainability and integrated reporting, announced “a shared vision of what is needed for progress towards comprehensive corporate reporting — and the intent to work together to achieve it.” CDP , the Climate Disclosure Standards Board , the Global Reporting Initiative , the International Integrated Reporting Council and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board have co-published a shared vision of the elements necessary for more comprehensive corporate reporting, and a joint statement of intent to drive towards this goal. They say they will work collaboratively with one another and with the International Organization of Securities Commissions, the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation, the European Commission and the World Economic Forum’s International Business Council. Lots of names and acronyms in the above paragraph, but you get the idea: Finally, there is collaboration among the leading nongovernmental organizations focusing on sustainability reporting and accountability. To the extent they manage to harmonize their respective standards and frameworks, and should a future U.S. administration adopt those standards the way previous ones did the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, we could see a rapid scale-up of corporate reporting on these matters. Increased reporting won’t by itself mitigate the anticipated macroeconomic challenges, but to the extent it puts climate risks on an equal footing with other corporate risks — along with a meaningful price on carbon that will help companies attach dollar signs to those risks — it will help advance a decarbonized economy. Slowly — much too slowly — but amid an unstable climate and economy we’ll take whatever progress we can get. I invite you to follow me on Twitter , subscribe to my Monday morning newsletter, GreenBuzz , and listen to GreenBiz 350 , my weekly podcast, co-hosted with Heather Clancy. Pull Quote The financial climate, it seems, has been as unforgiving as the atmospheric one. Finally, there is collaboration among the leading nongovernmental organizations focusing on sustainability reporting and accountability. Topics Finance & Investing Risk & Resilience Policy & Politics Climate Change Featured Column Two Steps Forward Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Shutterstock

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Study finds pollution is more deadly than war, natural disasters, and disease

October 23, 2017 by  
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Environmental pollution isn’t just inconvenient, it’s also deadly. Every year, more people are killed by pollutants — from toxic air to contaminated water — than by all war and violence. Pollution is also responsible for more deaths than AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined. This disturbing revelation was revealed in a new study published in the Lancet medical journal. Scientists determined that one out of every six premature deaths (about 9 million in 2015) results from pollution; and while life is more important than money, these deaths cause $4.6 trillion in annual losses or about 6.2 percent of the world’s economy. Epidemiologist Philip Landrigan, lead author and Dean of global health at the Icahn School of Medicine in New York, said, “There’s been a lot of study of pollution, but it’s never received the resources or level of attention as, say, AIDS or climate change. ” Landrigan added that pollution is a “massive problem” few truly comprehend, as what they’re witnessing are “scattered bits of it.” This is the first study of its kind to take into account data on all diseases and death caused by pollution combined. According to the study , developing countries — primarily in Asia and Africa — are putting the most people at risk due to a lack of air and soil pollution monitoring systems. In 2015, one out of four (2.5 million) premature deaths in India and one out of five (1.8 million) premature deaths in China were caused by pollution-related illness. “In the West, we got the lead out of the gasoline, so we thought lead was handled. We got rid of the burning rivers, cleaned up the worst of the toxic sites. And then all of those discussions went into the background,” said Richard Fuller, head of the Pure Earth and one of the 47 scientists who contributed to the report. In Bangladesh , Pakistan, North Korea, South Sudan and Haiti, nearly one-fifth of premature deaths are pollution-related. Based on this information, it should not come as a surprise that the poorest suffer most from pollution-related illness. 92 percent of sickness related to environmental toxicity occurs in low- or middle-income countries. Phys reports, “Environmental regulations in those countries tend to be weaker, and industries lean on outdated technologies and dirtier fuels.” Fuller noted that this safety of the public is being compromised for industrial growth, which has negative repercussions. He said, “What people don’t realize is that pollution does damage to economies . People who are sick or dead cannot contribute to the economy. They need to be looked after.” To determine the global impact of pollution , the study’s authors used methods outlined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for assessing field data from soil tests, in addition to air and water pollution data from the Global Burden of Disease. Though 9 million pollution-related deaths is a “conservative” estimate, it is still 15 times the number of people killed in war or other forms of violence, and six times the number killed in road accidents . Ernesto Sanchez-Triana, the lead environmental specialist at the World Bank, said, “The relationship between pollution and poverty is very clear. And controlling pollution would help us address many other problems, from climate change to malnutrition . The linkages can’t be ignored.” + Lancet Via Phys Images via Pixabay

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Snhetta designs Europes first underwater restaurant

October 23, 2017 by  
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Europe’s first underwater restaurant offshore of Norway will put a new spin on the meaning of “dining with a view.” Snøhetta just unveiled designs for “Under,” a submerged restaurant that will offer spectacular views of the seabed and double as a research center for marine life. Advanced heating pump technology that taps into the seabed’s thermal mass will maintain the restaurant’s comfortable interior temperatures year-round. Under—which translates to “wonder” in Norwegian—will be housed in a monolithic concrete shell that appears to have sunk halfway into the sea. Located by the village of Båly at the southernmost point of the Norwegian coast, the building will rest directly on the seabed five meters below the water’s surface, where it will become an artificial mussel reef as a water-purifying mollusk community attaches to the building’s coarse surface. Meter-thick concrete walls will protect the structure from pressure and shock in the sea, while an 11-by-4-meter panoramic acrylic window frames views of the seabed and wild fauna. Related: Snøhetta unveils spectacular makeover for nation’s second-largest waterfall Visitors to Under will enjoy locally sourced seafood fare prepared by Danish chef Nicolai Ellitsgaard Pedersen as well as an educational journey thanks to informational plaques mounted along the trail to the restaurant entrance. The interior is fitted out in locally sourced materials and a warm-toned, natural materials palette, as well as muted lighting, to keep the emphasis on underwater views. The restaurant, which seats 80 to 100 guests, will be used as a marine biology research center on its off-hours. Snøhetta writes: “Through its architecture, menu and mission of informing the public about the biodiversity of the sea, Under will provide an under-water experience inspiring a sense of awe and delight, activating all the senses – both physical and intellectual.” + Snøhetta

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