These changes to our food systems could improve human and planetary health

October 26, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

These changes to our food systems could improve human and planetary health Oliver Camp Mon, 10/26/2020 – 01:30 On the recent World Food Day, the clarion call was clearer than ever: We must fix our food systems to improve human health, drive economic growth and save the planet from environmental collapse. The challenges facing us are wide-ranging. The way the world produces and consumes food causes huge environmental impacts, and yet 3 billion people worldwide are unable to afford a healthy diet, and up to a third of the food we produce is wasted. What’s more, hunger and micronutrient deficiencies are concentrated among the poorest and most vulnerable — often including those who produce the food we eat. Meanwhile, the so-called double burden of malnutrition is on the rise: hunger and malnourishment coexisting with overweight and obesity, often in the same countries, communities or even individuals. Tackling these multiple challenges and threats requires coordinated action from the public sector, private sector, NGOs, civil society, innovators and actors throughout the food value chain. In my role at the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (a Swiss-based foundation on a mission to advance nutrition outcomes by improving the consumption of nutritious and safe food for all people, especially the most vulnerable), I am constantly inspired by the passion and commitment of our partners across these sectors. In particular, young leaders who refuse to accept the status quo are already driving real change and positive impact in food and ag. Over the past two months, I reached outside my usual network to discuss this topic via email with six fellow honorees from the 2020 GreenBiz 30 Under 30 , to which I was named in June. In particular, our exchange explored how food systems can be made healthier and more sustainable as we look to a future in which we’ll need to find a way to produce enough food to nourish as many as 10 billion people while staying within planetary boundaries. We also considered the role of young leaders from the private and public sectors in this essential transformation. All comments expressed are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of their organizations. Below are excerpts, edited for style and length. If you’d like to discuss these subjects and the future of food systems, join Oliver Camp’s roundtable session Thursday at VERGE 20 . Jennifer Ballen, head of global market operations, Indigo Ag What concerns you about the current global food system when it comes to environmental sustainability and human health? Only eight countries in the world spend less than 10 percent of their household income on food, with the United States spending the least amount (around 6 percent). In contrast, Nigeria spends over half of its household income on food, followed by nine other countries that spend over 40 percent on food. This is not because food is more expensive in Africa than it is in the United States. Au contraire, it is the reverse. The average American spends $2,392 per year on food while the average Kenyan spends $543 per year on food (World Economic Forum, 2016). The global food system, like many of the world’s Achilles’ heels, is representative of the tragedy of the commons: a renowned economic theory by which individual agents of a system using shared resources act in accordance to their self-interest at the expense of society. As the demand for the resource overwhelms the supply, each additional unit consumed directly harms those who can no longer reap the benefits. The chief impediment is that the gain is private, yet the cost is public. One juicy hamburger for you equates to (about) 600 gallons of water consumed, 0.126 pounds of methane released, 13.5 pounds of cattle feed that could have been consumed by a malnourished human, 64.5 square feet of land and the assuaging of animal species distinction, water pollution and habitat destruction. My biggest concern is running out of time. Looking back with regret. My grandchildren wondering how our generation let this happen. The world seems to be less nourished than ever before. According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), there are almost 60 million more undernourished people now as compared to 2014. In 2019, 690 million people or 8.9 percent of the world population were undernourished. Moreover, to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, scientists posit carbon emissions must drop rapidly to 25 gigatons by 2030, or 7.6 percent emissions reduction every year over the next decade (United Nations). Pause and consider how difficult this will be considering the pace at which our population is growing. We must change our relationship with food. What gives you hope and optimism when you look at the future of our global food system? The problem is vast. In our world of finite resources, we need to revolutionize the way we produce and consume food to ensure enough nutritious food for 9.8 billion people by 2050. And we need to do so in a way that reduces the environmental devastation on our planet. Awareness is vital to ignite change. I am optimistic that the world is “waking up” Corporations, governments and individuals are enduring the conversation and mobilizing around solutions aimed at producing enough nutritious food for our growing population in a sustainable manner. We have access to myriad documentaries and books aimed at increasing awareness. I am witnessing the increase in education ignite behavior changes in some communities: less meat; less waste; more conscious decisions.  People, corporations and governments are seemingly taking action. We’re seeing a variety of interesting solutions and advancements from the private sector such as carbon sequestration on farms, meatless food that tastes like meat, greater access to vegetarian and vegan options and the use of technology to reduce food waste. The public sector is mobilizing around curbing hunger. We’re working with each other, not at each other’s expense. Collaboration is queen if we are to solve this thing. How can young sustainability leaders play a role in securing a nutritious and sustainable future of food? Long-lived, profitable habits are hard to change. While some ignore the issue at hand, others point to the food system as “broken.” Both are dangerous vantage points. The chief impediment to the notion that a system is broken is the illusion that a system can easily be fixed. A different point of view is that the food system is not broken, but instead working exactly the way it was built — by and to the advantage of the rich at the expense of the poor. We don’t need small tweaks and improvements: We need a revolution.  The battle against climate change is vital. The more troops the merrier. Learn, share, act. Sustainability leaders of all ages must educate themselves on the systemic food production and consumption challenges and subsequently educate others. Sustainability leaders should vote those with strong environmental platforms into office. Leaders should also ‘vote’ with their wallets, supporting companies that are part of the solution and avoiding companies that are part of the problem. When designing solutions, it’s imperative to understand that the climate crisis and therefore the global food crisis disproportionately affects people of color, particularly Black and Indigenous peoples, who are more likely to live near toxic areas, be inflicted by pollution and climate-related diseases, experience lagging response to emergencies — the list, unfortunately, goes on. Sustainability leaders must vote at the polls and with their wallets. We need strong public sector commitments to mitigate the global food crisis. Sustainability leaders should vote those with strong environmental platforms into office. Leaders also should “vote” with their wallets, supporting companies that are part of the solution and avoiding companies that are part of the problem. Leaders must lead by example in their own food consumption habits. Is your household dependent on meat? Do you know where your food is coming from and how it is produced? Charlotte Bande, global head of climate strategy, Quantis International What concerns you about the current global food system when it comes to environmental sustainability and human health? I think the first element is how slow we are moving in the right direction. While I understand the complexity of these supply chains and how difficult it will be to fully transition to a more sustainable food system, we are losing critical time in endless debates that are not focusing on action.  A great example is accounting. Companies often spend months if not years trying to get the accounting perfect, and this can shift the focus away from action as a result. Accounting methodologies are yet to be refined and finalized and, in the meantime, companies need to try to find a balanced way to track progress while also taking action. Secondly, companies are setting individual targets to try to solve a global challenge. By focusing on reducing their own impacts instead of looking at things holistically, they sometimes end up losing sight of critical pieces and actually driving change. It leads them to focus on optimizing their current business models rather than taking a step back and look to transform it. To give some concrete examples of what I mean, let’s talk about three major transformations that our food system needs to undertake to become more sustainable, and where we are not seeing the right pace of change. Deforestation is a critical environmental challenge associated with the food system. It drives most of the food and beverage industry climate impacts, threatens biodiversity and water, as well as habitat for people and animals. While many companies are very aware of this issue, they are working on it in a siloed way, which significantly limits opportunities for improvement. Companies have targets that push them to fix their own supply chain, but this can lead to simply shifting the problem to another company’s supply chain. Companies are setting individual targets to try to solve a global challenge. By focusing on reducing their own impacts instead of looking at things holistically, they sometimes end up losing sight of critical pieces and actually driving change. Food loss and waste is another big environmental topic. And like deforestation, it affects much more than the environment alone. We need to feed 11 billion people in the future, and some studies estimate food loss and waste amounts to up to 50 percent of food production. Food loss and waste is very poorly measured right now, and most value chains are not equipped to understand the extent of food loss and waste that is occurring in their supply chain or at consumer levels. However, this is a topic that brings great economic and social opportunities. Reducing companies’ food loss and waste not only would help drastically reduce the food system’s heavy impact at the raw materials extraction stage, it also would help reduce costs, as less food would need to be produced to feed 11 billion people in the future. It might even help farmers earn more for what they sell. Finally, meat consumption. Animal protein production is heavily reliant on feed that is fossil-dependent and contributes to deforestation. To reach a 1.5 degrees Celsius world, we’ll need a paradigm shift in the way we raise animals, and regenerative agriculture practices can and should be a part of the solution. However, in addition to improving practices, there is an opportunity for producers to rally around the idea that less and more sustainable meat options, which will be critical to limit global warming, can still be good for business. These examples show the importance for every company to take a step back and look at the overall picture, understand what a 1.5 degrees C food system looks like, and define how their business model will need to shift to guarantee not only that we can stay within planetary boundaries, but also to ensure their business’ long term resilience. What gives you hope and optimism when you look at the future of our global food system? The first thing is the shift in consumer mindsets. In Southern California, where I live, I can see the explosion of interest in our local farmers’ markets or the appearance of plant-based options on restaurant menus. To me, this really shows a demand from consumers for these products. On a corporate level, working with companies at Quantis, I have seen a major shift over the past few years. Companies now have a good sense of where their major drivers lie and are seeing the case for some environmental actions. Additionally, they start to better identify where risks associated with a siloed approach might occur and ensure that their identified solutions aren’t simply shifting impacts. Finally, NGOs like the WWF are working to define what a sustainable food system looks like, and I’m hopeful that bringing more clarity on the level of sector-wide transformation needed will help companies take the transformative actions we need. How can young sustainability leaders play a role in securing a nutritious and sustainable future of food? I believe it is our role to make these risks and opportunities more visible. During conversations with companies we work with at Quantis, I always try to bring a more global perspective in our discussions, supporting companies in identifying the questions that will put them on the right path and broadening the conversation towards business model transformation rather than incremental changes.  It’s also our role to share our knowledge with the people we know. Not everyone works in our fields and has access to the information we have. We should use this to help others make better-informed decisions by helping them learn what we have learned throughout our careers.  And finally, ask more from our politicians and governments. This is a global challenge that will require collective action. We need everyone on board. Arturo Elizondo, CEO, Clara Foods What concerns you about the current global food system when it comes to environmental sustainability and human health? I am deeply concerned about our reliance on animals to make our food. From a sustainability standpoint, animal agriculture emits more greenhouse gases than the entire transportation sector (all the planes, ships, cars in the world combined). And from a health standpoint, it’s the cornerstone of the Standard American Diet directly fueling heart disease as the No. 1 killer in the country. What gives you hope and optimism when you look at the future of our global food system? Conscious consumers give me hope. People voting with their dollars. If it weren’t for conscious consumers actively trying to eat more sustainably, pushing companies to source better and more ethical ingredients, and striving to eat less meat and animal products, the sustainable food-tech startups that can scale massively to transform our food system would have a harder time getting off the ground. How can young sustainability leaders play a role in securing a nutritious and sustainable future of food? Advocate for plant-based options at your corporate cafeterias, get you and your colleagues at work to do Meatless Mondays, and get you and your friends excited about out all the new plant-based foods that are now ubiquitous. Demand drives supply. A tiny ripple can create a tsunami. It makes a difference. Alyssa Harding, executive director, Sustainable Food Trade Association What concerns you about the current global food system when it comes to environmental sustainability and human health? Our food system as it is today is broken and is disconnected from the needs of its stakeholders. Our planet’s 500 million smallholder farmers tend to be the most impoverished and malnourished groups, not to mention the disproportionate lack of equitable access to healthy, nutritious food that low income, minority communities often face. We need to find sustainable and equitable solutions that provide nutritious food to almost 10 billion people by 2050, and remedy the global food inequity that permeates our communities and supply chains. What gives you hope and optimism when you look at the future of our global food system? The global pandemic has illustrated that local, sustainable supply chains are more resilient, and with the rise of regenerative organic agriculture, it is clear that a redefined food system can provide an opportunity for climate impact and environmental justice. I’ve worked with many brands over the past few years who are intrinsically motivated to find good food solutions and think business as a force for good has a unique role to play in both climate action and social justice. Although sustainable food systems lag behind energy and health when it comes to investment and policy, we are at a critical mass to help push forward sustainable development, focus on equitable food access, and diversify our leadership to better serve our economies, people and planet. How can young sustainability leaders play a role in securing a nutritious and sustainable future of food? Many of my colleagues can be considered young leaders, and youth climate activists have been gaining a lot of momentum in terms of educational awareness and producer responsibility. I feel very fortunate to pursue both my personal and professional passions in one role, and I think that young leaders can bridge the gap between industry/sector leaders and bring new technology innovation, research hubs, new financing mechanisms and radical collaboration to our conversations on building a truly holistic food system. José Miguel Salazar, senior specialist, corporate sustainability services, CSRone What concerns you about the current global food system when it comes to environmental sustainability and human health? Since the Industrial Revolution, as humanity we have been achieving unprecedented progress in terms of decoupling famine from our living conditions due to advances in technological innovation, science and more efficient industrial practices, among others. However, our modern food systems also have brought a new set of global challenges that require urgent attention and action to fix systemic failures that threaten our way forward. In terms of environmental sustainability, our current global food system accounts roughly for 12.8 percent of our total global greenhouse gas emissions , and its contribution as a sector to climate change is quite significant. In addition, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has estimated that roughly a third of all food produced in the world is lost or wasted along different stages of the value chain. If food waste alone were a country, its emissions would rank third in carbon emissions after China and the U.S. Fixing our food system is an important component to address the urgent climate crisis and at the core lies decoupling our reliance on animal-based foods, which overall have a significantly higher footprint than plant-based foods. We as sustainability professionals have a unique positioning in our organizations, networks and communities to serve as ambassadors or influencers to communicate these challenges and emphasize the opportunities … In terms of human health, based on the latest estimates from the Global Nutrition Report, globally one in nine people is hungry or undernourished, and one in three people is overweight or obese. These findings indicate that a very significant percentage of the world’s population is affected by malnutrition and at least by one or some of the following health issues: poor child growth; micronutrient deficiencies; overweight and obesity; and non-communicable diseases. These health issues ultimately could bring serious and lasting burden for individuals and their families, for communities and for countries. The convergence of these challenges creates unprecedented risks for the sustainability of our natural environment and the development of societies and economies. Moreover, we need to keep in mind that our world population is expected to reach 10 billion people by 2050, hence food production would have to be increased to meet growing demands and, of course, we would have to bring innovations along the value chain. In this regard, what concerns me the most is our ability to accelerate the innovation and change at scale that is needed on time and in ways that respect human well-being and the environment. What gives you hope and optimism when you look at the future of our global food system? There are several positive signals of change I’ve been observing in the last few years. But I’d like to highlight three in particular: 1. Growing awareness and changing behaviors. Increased access to education and modern communication technologies have brought more attention towards these issues, and rapidly emerging groups of consumers advocate and favor food products that are more nutritious, with lower environmental footprint and that contribute to regenerative agricultural practices. This is still a niche market from the total, however many social enterprises, companies and even multinational corporations are understanding and designing or re-adjusting their operations to meet these emerging needs. 2. Advances in technologies and their applications. Solving these challenges requires addressing a number of gaps (food production gaps, agricultural land area use gaps, GHG mitigation gaps, inequities gaps, nutrition outcomes gaps, etc.) and this requires better collection and analysis of data. Emerging new technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence can help us to understand and identify areas to invest resources and increase positive impact. 3. The rise of multi-stakeholder initiatives. Organizations such as GAIN, the FAO, the Global Nutrition Report, the WEF and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) provide important platforms for different stakeholders to convene and develop system-wide proposals and solutions. These initiatives can be implemented on the ground through the collaboration of governments, investors, business, NGOs, civil society and consumers that have the capacity to accelerate change and scale up the innovations where needed the most while creating shared value. Solving the food systems challenge is an immense task and it could not be addressed by one stakeholder alone. How can young sustainability leaders play a role in securing a nutritious and sustainable future of food? Since this is a very complex and systemic challenge, I think there are plenty of areas where sustainability leaders can advance progress. Any sort of innovation brought along the value chain (production, storing, processing and packaging, distribution and consumption) will be important. There is a great report from the World Resources Institute (WRI) that offers a set of five solutions to ensure we can feed 10 billion people by 2050 without increasing emissions, fueling deforestation or exacerbating poverty. I highly recommend everyone interested in the topic to take a look at it. In my view, anybody can exercise the role of a positive agent of change in these topics and move forward solutions; however, in terms of how and where can young sustainability leaders be most influential, I believe it is through the advocacy of the risks and opportunities from the food system failures internally in their organizations and externally with the wider society and governments. We as sustainability professionals have a unique positioning in our organizations, networks and communities to serve as ambassadors or influencers to communicate these challenges, but also and most importantly emphasize the opportunities of creating shared-value and proposing practical initiatives that can bring these opportunities forward.   Katerina Fragos, manager, sustainability and climate change consulting, PwC What concerns you about the current global food system when it comes to environmental sustainability and human health? I have three concerns with the global food system. First, a large majority of medical practitioners will tell you that nutrition is not well-covered in medical school curriculum just as several farmers will tell you that regenerative agriculture techniques are not yet well-understood in their community groups. This means that two of the most important stakeholders in our health and food system are missing the knowledge and tools to entrench sustainability within the system. Second, modern life has decoupled us from the food system, with many of us never visiting a farm or tending to a garden in our lifetimes. A lack of exposure to the various steps in our food system value chain makes it challenging to understand just how damaged the system has become. Third, the cheapest and most available foods are also often the least healthy and sustainable. We need to start replacing calorie-dense, nutrition-devoid foods with plant-based, nutrition-rich alternatives to make the healthiest foods the most accessible and affordable. What gives you hope and optimism when you look at the future of our global food system? I am encouraged by the large number of medical professionals focusing on communicating and simplifying the complex science behind nutrition and health to empower people to make more informed food choices. There are fantastic sources of information available. To name a few: Dr. Michael Gregger’s NutritionFacts.org and Daily Dozen app as well as Dr. Will Bulsiewicz’s Fiber Fueled . There is also a great deal of momentum around regenerative agriculture with organizations such as the Land Institute , Regeneration International and RegenAg taking the lead. Interestingly, certain experts, like Dr. Zach Bush, have even begun to triangulate the concepts of health, nutrition and regenerative agriculture through efforts such as the Farmer’s Footprint . How can young sustainability leaders play a role in securing a nutritious and sustainable future of food? From a personal perspective, a few actions to consider: transition towards a plant-based diet; aim to grow our own food (start small with herbs) if possible; try to buy from local farmers; look for third-party certifications (RFA, organic, etc.). From a professional perspective, there are plenty of opportunities to drive action. For instance, aim to influence the spending habits of the organization you work for (catered events, cafeteria options), work for food manufacturers and retailers to help accelerate their transitions to more sustainable and regenerative models; participate in sustainable food advocacy groups or organizations. Pull Quote Sustainability leaders should vote those with strong environmental platforms into office. Leaders should also ‘vote’ with their wallets, supporting companies that are part of the solution and avoiding companies that are part of the problem. Companies are setting individual targets to try to solve a global challenge. By focusing on reducing their own impacts instead of looking at things holistically, they sometimes end up losing sight of critical pieces and actually driving change. We as sustainability professionals have a unique positioning in our organizations, networks and communities to serve as ambassadors or influencers to communicate these challenges and emphasize the opportunities … Topics Food & Agriculture 30 Under 30 VERGE 20 Collective Insight 30 Under 30 Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

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These changes to our food systems could improve human and planetary health

BP, Shell, oil giants fund research into mobile carbon capture from ships at sea

October 26, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

BP, Shell, oil giants fund research into mobile carbon capture from ships at sea Michael Holder Mon, 10/26/2020 – 00:05 A coalition of oil and gas majors are eyeing up the potential to capture carbon dioxide emissions from ships out at sea, teaming up with global tanker owner and operator Stena Bulk to evaluate the feasibility of technology they claim could play a key role in decarbonizing the hard-to-abate sector. The Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) — which represents 12 of the world’s largest oil and gas companies including BP, Shell, Exxon, Chevron, Aramco and Petrobras — revealed recently it is funding research alongside Stena Bulk into mobile carbon capture on board ships out at sea. The project aims to evaluate the technical and economic challenges involved in capturing CO2 from ships cruising the oceans, and is in part an extension to OGCI member Saudi Aramco’s research which it claims has successfully demonstrated carbon capture on board heavy-duty trucks on roads, it said. “Carbon capture will play an important role in reducing overall greenhouse gas emissions, but there’s no reason it needs to be limited to stationary applications,” said Michael Traver, head of OGCI’s transport workstream. “Expanding carbon capture to long-distance marine shipping could help accelerate its use, while addressing a difficult to abate sector of the transport industry.” Expanding carbon capture to long-distance marine shipping could help accelerate its use. OGCI claims mobile carbon capture technologies aboard ships could help the global shipping sector reach its current climate target to cut emissions by 50 percent by 2050, from a 2008 baseline — a goal that has faced criticism from green groups for lacking ambition. The research itself is also likely to provoke renewed criticism of the OCGI’s priorities, given it focuses on CCS technologies that would in effect prolong the use of fossil fuels to power ships, rather than on alternative, low or zero carbon shipping fuels that could transition the sector away from fossil fuels altogether. But Stena Bulk President and CEO Erik Hånell argued it was “increasingly evident that we need to evaluate as many potential solutions as possible that might help decarbonize the industry.” “Carbon capture might be such a solution with the potential to play a key role in this transition, and this feasibility study presents a unique opportunity for us to work with some of our key customers to understand and assess the technical and economic challenges involved in making carbon capture work onboard vessels,” he said. The global shipping sector is responsible for around 2.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and has received flak over its failure to come up with a detailed, ambitious plan to decarbonize in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement. The global shipping sector is responsible for around 2.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. In 2018 the International Maritime Organization (IMO) — the UN-affiliated body which oversees the global shipping sector — agreed on a draft target to cut global emissions by at least 50 percent by 2050 compared to 2008, alongside targets to cut the average carbon intensity by at least 40 percent by 2030. However, details of the strategy have yet to be fully thrashed out, and crunch negotiations over how the industry should go about meeting its near-term 2030 climate goals are set to kick off today at the IMO, amid concerns from green groups that current proposals amount to an “empty shell. ” Meanwhile, the OGCI today announced that its members collectively have reduced the cut their absolute upstream methane emissions by 22 percent since 2017, shrinking the methane intensity of members’ upstream oil and gas to operations to 0.23 percent. It surpasses its target to cut methane intensity to 0.25 percent by 2020, and as such the OGCI has set a stricter goal of 0.2 percent by 2025. Moreover, the group claims to have cut its carbon intensity by 7 percent collectively since 2017, as it pushes towards its target for a 13 percent cut.  However, carbon intensity targets have faced increasing criticism from green groups, as organizations potentially can still increase their overall emissions by expanding their business while reducing the CO2 intensity of their operations.  Pull Quote Expanding carbon capture to long-distance marine shipping could help accelerate its use. The global shipping sector is responsible for around 2.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Topics Oil & Gas Carbon Removal Shipping & Logistics BusinessGreen Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Stena Conqueror is a Oil and Chemical Tanker, built by Swedish tanker giant Stena Bulk. The company is participating in a novel carbon capture project for shipping. Flickr royvanwijk Close Authorship

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BP, Shell, oil giants fund research into mobile carbon capture from ships at sea

BP, Shell, oil giants fund research into mobile carbon capture from ships at sea

October 26, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

BP, Shell, oil giants fund research into mobile carbon capture from ships at sea Michael Holder Mon, 10/26/2020 – 00:05 A coalition of oil and gas majors are eyeing up the potential to capture carbon dioxide emissions from ships out at sea, teaming up with global tanker owner and operator Stena Bulk to evaluate the feasibility of technology they claim could play a key role in decarbonizing the hard-to-abate sector. The Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) — which represents 12 of the world’s largest oil and gas companies including BP, Shell, Exxon, Chevron, Aramco and Petrobras — revealed recently it is funding research alongside Stena Bulk into mobile carbon capture on board ships out at sea. The project aims to evaluate the technical and economic challenges involved in capturing CO2 from ships cruising the oceans, and is in part an extension to OGCI member Saudi Aramco’s research which it claims has successfully demonstrated carbon capture on board heavy-duty trucks on roads, it said. “Carbon capture will play an important role in reducing overall greenhouse gas emissions, but there’s no reason it needs to be limited to stationary applications,” said Michael Traver, head of OGCI’s transport workstream. “Expanding carbon capture to long-distance marine shipping could help accelerate its use, while addressing a difficult to abate sector of the transport industry.” Expanding carbon capture to long-distance marine shipping could help accelerate its use. OGCI claims mobile carbon capture technologies aboard ships could help the global shipping sector reach its current climate target to cut emissions by 50 percent by 2050, from a 2008 baseline — a goal that has faced criticism from green groups for lacking ambition. The research itself is also likely to provoke renewed criticism of the OCGI’s priorities, given it focuses on CCS technologies that would in effect prolong the use of fossil fuels to power ships, rather than on alternative, low or zero carbon shipping fuels that could transition the sector away from fossil fuels altogether. But Stena Bulk President and CEO Erik Hånell argued it was “increasingly evident that we need to evaluate as many potential solutions as possible that might help decarbonize the industry.” “Carbon capture might be such a solution with the potential to play a key role in this transition, and this feasibility study presents a unique opportunity for us to work with some of our key customers to understand and assess the technical and economic challenges involved in making carbon capture work onboard vessels,” he said. The global shipping sector is responsible for around 2.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and has received flak over its failure to come up with a detailed, ambitious plan to decarbonize in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement. The global shipping sector is responsible for around 2.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. In 2018 the International Maritime Organization (IMO) — the UN-affiliated body which oversees the global shipping sector — agreed on a draft target to cut global emissions by at least 50 percent by 2050 compared to 2008, alongside targets to cut the average carbon intensity by at least 40 percent by 2030. However, details of the strategy have yet to be fully thrashed out, and crunch negotiations over how the industry should go about meeting its near-term 2030 climate goals are set to kick off today at the IMO, amid concerns from green groups that current proposals amount to an “empty shell. ” Meanwhile, the OGCI today announced that its members collectively have reduced the cut their absolute upstream methane emissions by 22 percent since 2017, shrinking the methane intensity of members’ upstream oil and gas to operations to 0.23 percent. It surpasses its target to cut methane intensity to 0.25 percent by 2020, and as such the OGCI has set a stricter goal of 0.2 percent by 2025. Moreover, the group claims to have cut its carbon intensity by 7 percent collectively since 2017, as it pushes towards its target for a 13 percent cut.  However, carbon intensity targets have faced increasing criticism from green groups, as organizations potentially can still increase their overall emissions by expanding their business while reducing the CO2 intensity of their operations.  Pull Quote Expanding carbon capture to long-distance marine shipping could help accelerate its use. The global shipping sector is responsible for around 2.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Topics Oil & Gas Carbon Removal Shipping & Logistics BusinessGreen Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Stena Conqueror is a Oil and Chemical Tanker, built by Swedish tanker giant Stena Bulk. The company is participating in a novel carbon capture project for shipping. Flickr royvanwijk Close Authorship

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BP, Shell, oil giants fund research into mobile carbon capture from ships at sea

Love trees? Prioritize wildfire restoration and fighting deforestation

October 22, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Love trees? Prioritize wildfire restoration and fighting deforestation Heather Clancy Thu, 10/22/2020 – 02:00 Back in my former life as a tech journo, my coverage was informed by the infamous ” hype cycle ” phrase coined by research firm Gartner to describe the arc of emerging technology adoption from the spark of innovation to mainstream adoption. Lately, I’ve been mulling that framework a great deal in the context of a much-ballyhooed nature-based solution for removing carbon emissions: planting trees. Heck, even the climate-denier-in-chief loves the idea . Right now, we are clearly in the “peak of inflated expectations” phase of the tree-planting movement, with new declarations hitting my inbox every week. Pretty much any company with a net-zero commitment has placed tree projects at the center of its short-term strategy, often as part of declarations related to the Trillion Trees initiative.   As a verified tree-hugger, I’m encouraged. But, please, it’s time to refine the dialogue: While tree-planting events in parks or schoolyards make for great photo opps, we should devote far more time to acts of restoration and conservation. That’s where we really need corporate support, both in the form of dollars and any expertise on the ground your team can provide.  That’s the spirit of the Wildfire Restoration Collaborative launched this week by the Arbor Day Foundation along with AT&T, Facebook, FedEx, Mary Kay, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble and Target. The first order of business: digging in to support the restoration of 8,000 acres in the burn scars of the 2018 Carr and Camp Fires. Projects in Australia, Canada and other affected U.S. forests are on the future agenda. This translates into roughly 8 million trees. Wildfire restoration is more important than ever, given the intensity of blazes fueled by climate change in the form of hotter, drier weather, according to Arbor Day Foundation President Dan Lambe. It’s critical for rebuilding forest ecosystems and watersheds.  “What we’ve seen lately is tree seed source being destroyed by usually hot and long-burning fires, making it difficult for forests to fully regenerate,” he told me in written remarks. “Meanwhile, shrubs and brush are being left behind to act as fuel for the next megafire. Our local planting partners help determine the species, number and space of trees to promote regeneration while preventing fires of this drastic severity in the future.” P&G actually has partnered with Arbor Day on wildfire restoration since 2019, when it became the lead support for the foundation’s activity in Northern California. So far, the Family Care division of the consumer products giant has planted 50,000 trees there and 25,000 in Saxony, Germany, where forests are being damaged by storms, drought and beetle infestations. A P&G spokeswoman said this is a long-term commitment, because restoration takes years, and the company is prioritizing sites near its operations. (One of P&G’s Charmin and Bounty paper plants is in Oxnard, California.) The replanting for these two fire sites will take place over four years. In written responses to my questions, Tim Carey, vice president of sustainability at PepsiCo Beverages North America, which has provided a $1.5 million grant to support restoration, pointed to water replenishment as a key benefit. “Our investment will not only reforest the burn scars, it will result in 458 million gallons of water being replenished annually — which will be desperately needed as wildfires continue to ravage California,” he wrote. “This grant is just one of our many commitments to reforestation and water replenishment. Our goal is to replenish 100 percent of the water we use in manufacturing operations in high-water-risk areas by 2025 — and ensure that such replenishment takes place in the watershed where the extraction has occurred.” When I asked Arbor Day Foundation’s Lambe how the collaborative will prioritize restoration in the future, he said it will be a combination of factors: the damage done; how difficult it will be for the forest to regenerate on its own without intervention; how restoration might help prevent future fires. Just as important is the role the forest plays in human lives. In the months to come, I’d love to see the trillion-trees get far more sophisticated: lasering in on the vitally important nature of this restoration work, as well as importance of encouraging regenerative forestry practices.  And here’s a challenge: I’d love to see every company that jumps onto the tree-planting hype train double down on their strategy for authentically fighting deforestation. As I reported back in February, big business has a terrible track record on deforestation. Very few companies that embraced a strategy actually have accomplished that goal.  A few weeks back, Mars stepped out as a rare exception, declaring a “deforestation-free” palm oil supply chain. It managed this by cutting hundreds of suppliers, which makes me wonder where those businesses are selling their wares, and by requiring the ones that are left (just 50 by 2022, down from 1,500) to commit to specific environmental practices.  I can guarantee you institutional investors are paying more attention than ever, especially as deforestation maps directly to horrific human rights abuses all over the world — from the Amazon to Indonesia. Banks, on other hand, have fallen way short on scrutinizing deforestation risks, as I reported in February. That needs to change. Rant over, I promise. Want an early view into my weekly rants? Subscribe to the VERGE Weekly newsletter, and follow me on Twitter: @greentechlady . Pull Quote What we’ve seen lately is tree seed source being destroyed by usually hot and long-burning fires, making it difficult for forests to fully regenerate. Topics Carbon Removal Forestry Wildlife Deforestation VERGE 20 Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

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Love trees? Prioritize wildfire restoration and fighting deforestation

Our COVID-19 response can make our cities more resilient to heat waves

October 6, 2020 by  
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Our COVID-19 response can make our cities more resilient to heat waves Roland Hunziker Tue, 10/06/2020 – 01:00 The COVID crisis has exposed our interdependencies and the insufficient preparation of our urban systems for coping with shocks. It also has highlighted the stress we put on the environment and in many places greatly increased inequality — including the response to heat. Now, with climate change, come scorching hot temperatures during the summer months which bring additional challenges to healthcare systems that already operate under great pressure due to the pandemic. On Aug. 16, California recorded what could be the hottest temperature ever on earth: 54.4 degrees Celsius, in the shade. COVID-19 wasn’t a bolt from the blue. Experts have long warned about the potential outbreak of a major pandemic, yet governments around the world were woefully unprepared for its catastrophic consequences. Let’s not make the same mistake with global warming. The dangers of anthropogenic climate change have been known for decades and with the vast amount of existing data, tools and guidelines, taking action should be seemingly straightforward. Yet extreme heat is progressively posing fatal danger for humanity, particularly for young children and elderly people. In fact, in Europe and the United States, more people die of heat waves than from all other natural disasters combined. And temperatures will continue to rise. Cities are particularly vulnerable to heat waves. Air pollution, tall buildings, building materials, lack of green spaces and wind all contribute to trapping heat from the sun, traffic and industry and result in the creation of Urban Heat Islands (UHI). Due to the UHI effect, cities on average record 2-4 degrees higher temperatures than surrounding rural areas. Moreover, many cities, particularly in the north, are ill-prepared for extreme heat with buildings primarily designed to keep the cold out and not the other way around. In the wake of COVID-19, when governments will provide massive stimulus funding to restart economies, it’s more important than ever to consider the long-term value creation of urban infrastructure investments. There is an urgent, global need for building urban resilience to heat and, as usual, business has a key role to play. Over the past months, it has become clear that resilience strategies for COVID-19 in cities could help us approach other threats as well. We have seen that in times of pandemics, we need almost the same things as we do during heat waves. We need spacious green and blue areas close to our homes where we can walk, exercise and rest — places where we can enhance our well-being while maintaining the necessary physical distance. We also need comfortable dwellings that are neither too hot nor too cold, as well as gardens and parks that are accessible to the whole community. In Sweco’s most recent Urban Insight report, “Building resilience: being young and getting old in a hotter Europe,” more solutions for how we can create sustainable, livable cities are proposed:  Architects, urban planners, building managers and developers need to implement and apply new guidelines and innovative design and technology solutions that minimize the impact of heat on buildings and their surroundings and better accommodate the needs of building users. Collaborative platforms should facilitate sharing of knowledge, data and best practices between industry, policymakers and academia to accelerate climate action and building resilience. This is crucial for enabling the connectivity, flexibility and resourcefulness needed for adaptation and quick recovery. We need to build resilience into both physical and social structures of our cities. Behavior change and effective communication can help in preparing for and mitigating risks. Organizations such as nursing homes or hospitals should be involved in designing livable and healthy cities of the future. Many cities are already taking action against increasingly frequent extreme heat events. In the slums of Delhi, roofs are coated with a sun and heat-reflective paint to reduce indoor temperatures and lower energy consumption. In Paris, streets and building walls are cooled down with water in the advent of heat waves and in Seoul, cooling shelters offer relief from sweltering weather for those who cannot afford air conditioning in their homes. WBCSD is actively transforming the built environment towards one that is resilient, net-zero emissions, circular, healthy and inclusive. Through our City-Business Climate Alliance, we have established several local partnerships between public and private actors for joint climate action. One of our key goals is to support these collaborations in designing and implementing adaptation measures and to build urban systems resilient to climate change. But we need to accelerate our efforts to cope with global population growth and rapid urbanization.  More stakeholders must engage, and we need to improve institutional and governance aspects of how cities, business and other stakeholders can work together to realize the vision of a sustainable built environment. To tackle these issues, WBCSD is developing a “blueprint” with a non-prescriptive collection of targets, mechanisms and principles that can channel investment toward sustainable projects in the future. The blueprint will reflect both the business case as well as the wider value of these investments, to align and compare the competing objectives that need to be managed with a holistic, long-term vision in mind. In the wake of COVID-19, when governments will provide massive stimulus funding to restart economies, it’s more important than ever to consider the long-term value creation of urban infrastructure investments. If we manage to take advantage of the momentum spurred by this global public health emergency to build back better, we can prepare our cities for a warmer future and create healthy living spaces where people and biodiversity can thrive. Pull Quote In the wake of COVID-19, when governments will provide massive stimulus funding to restart economies, it’s more important than ever to consider the long-term value creation of urban infrastructure investments. Contributors Mattias Goldmann Topics Cities COVID-19 Climate Change Smart Cities Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

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Our COVID-19 response can make our cities more resilient to heat waves

UNStudio designs sculptural, driverless metro stations for Doha

October 1, 2020 by  
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UNStudio has completed the first 37 stations for Qatar Railways’ Doha Metro, one of the most advanced and fastest driverless metro systems in the world. With phase one and three metro lines — Red, Green and Gold — now complete, citizens of Doha who previously relied primarily on cars now have access to an efficient and reliable public transit service that will grow over time. To create a strong station identity for the new metro network and encourage public transit habits, UNStudio tapped into urban design principles to turn the eye-catching stations into attractive public spaces rooted in Qatari architecture and culture. In collaboration with the Qatar Rail Architecture Department, UNStudio has created a vision for all stations in the new Doha Metro Network based on an extensive set of design guidelines, architectural details and material outlines as laid out in the newly developed ‘Architectural Branding Manual.’ The comprehensive manual provides a framework for the design of different station types that respond to local contextual differences while integrating visually cohesive elements shared across all stations, including wayfinding , passenger flow and daylight penetration.  Related: Zaha Hadid’s 2022 World Cup stadium in Qatar adapts for future use The concept design for all of the Doha Metro stations are rooted in the notion of Caravanserais, a type of roadside inn for travelers (caravanners) historically common across the Middle East, including in Qatar . With dramatic vaulted ceilings, a rich mother-of-pearl effect interior and uniquely Qatari ornamentation and material palette, the Caravanserai-inspired stations strengthen Qatari identity while encouraging social interaction within beautiful public spaces. “We are going to move differently in the future,” said Ben van Berkel of UNStudio. “Mobility is changing fast, from the introduction of autonomous vehicles to urban cable cars and the Hyperloop . The mobility hubs of the future have to respond to and cater to these changes. In order to encourage the use of more sustainable forms of transport, these stations not only have to ensure smooth passenger flows, but they need to truly appeal to the public; to be places they want to visit and return to.” + UNStudio Photography by Hufton+Crow via UNStudio

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UNStudio designs sculptural, driverless metro stations for Doha

Earth911 Inspiration: For Future Generations

August 14, 2020 by  
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Today’s quote is from Senator Gaylord Nelson, Co-founder of Earth … The post Earth911 Inspiration: For Future Generations appeared first on Earth 911.

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Earth911 Inspiration: For Future Generations

Innovative Future Tree was built by robots and 3D-printing

July 29, 2020 by  
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Robotic construction has taken another step forward with the Future Tree, a recently completed timber canopy built with robots in a project by Gramazio Kohler Research and ETH Zurich . Completed in October 2019, following 2 years of planning and approximately 4 months of construction, the Future Tree is a study of complex timber structures and digital concrete. The tree-like canopy was installed over the courtyard of the office building extension of Basler & Hofmann in Esslingen, Switzerland. An industrial robot was used to fabricate and assemble the Future Tree’s 380 timber elements made from acetylated pine wood and fitted with full-threaded screws and tension cables to form a reciprocal frame. The structure’s canopy-like crown is supported by a single, trunk-like concrete column and anchored to the office building on two sides while cantilevering on the opposite corner. Related: Robots weave an insect-inspired carbon-fiber forest in London “The frame’s geometry is informed by its structural behaviour, differentiating its flexural rigidity by playing with the opening of the reciprocal knots to achieve a higher stiffness in the cantilevering part,” Gramazio Kohler Research’s explained. “To integrate geometric, structural and fabrication concerns we developed a custom computational model of the design.” Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of the project is Future Tree’s reinforced concrete column, which was made with a novel fabrication process called “Eggshell” that combines an ultra-thin, robotically 3D-printed formwork with fast-hardening concrete. As the first built example using this fabrication process, Future Tree “shows [how] non-standard concrete structures can be fabricated efficiently, economically and sustainably,” according to Gramazio Kohler Research. Because the formwork — which is 3D-printed to a thickness of 1.5 millimeters using a robotic arm — is filled with fast-hardening concrete in a layer-by-layer casting process to minimize hydrostatic pressure, it can be recycled and reused after the concrete has hydrated. + Gramazio Kohler Research Images by Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich and Basler & Hofmann AG

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Innovative Future Tree was built by robots and 3D-printing

Checking On the Future of Sustainable Tires

June 30, 2020 by  
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The tire has been around for approximately 200 years — … The post Checking On the Future of Sustainable Tires appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Checking On the Future of Sustainable Tires

We Earthlings: Laundry Tips To Reduce Microplastic Pollution

June 30, 2020 by  
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Did you know that by reducing the temperature of a … The post We Earthlings: Laundry Tips To Reduce Microplastic Pollution appeared first on Earth911.com.

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We Earthlings: Laundry Tips To Reduce Microplastic Pollution

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