Beyond emissions: The life of a carbon molecule

October 12, 2020 by  
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Beyond emissions: The life of a carbon molecule David Parham Mon, 10/12/2020 – 01:30 Carbon is everywhere. Carbon atoms flow through all living organisms, from the atmosphere to the earth to the oceans and back again. But carbon is also moving constantly through the global economy, which historically has been powered by burning fossil fuels for energy. As a result, carbon dioxide (CO2) and other emissions have risen dramatically since the industrial revolution, presenting a daunting array of challenges for people, planet and prosperity. As the most prevalent of the greenhouse gases (GHGs), CO2 plays an outsize role in global climate change — for example, it accounted for 81 percent of U.S. emissions in 2018. If human activity, including economic activity, is the primary driver of global warming, it only makes sense that an effective solution must start with changing that behavior. But how does one go about shifting the actions of thousands of businesses around the world? The critical role of emissions data First, let’s be clear: Measuring GHG emissions is incredibly important. GHG emissions are what directly contribute to global temperature rise and are therefore the ultimate target of any action to combat climate change. As a result, this data informs policy decisions, shapes more effective regulation and helps scientists and other experts understand trends and evaluate potential solutions. Metrics that focus on the direct levers available to a company — and measure how the company is using them — provide actionable data to management and decision-useful information to a firm’s investors. GHG emission data also helps business monitor the effectiveness of mitigation strategies, and it helps investors understand broadly how the systemic risk across their portfolio is distributed among exposure to emitters (Scope 1 emissions), energy users (Scope 2) and companies with significant supply chain or use-phase impacts (Scope 3). The value of GHG emissions data to these users is incalculable. However, at the end of the day, we don’t just want to observe the needle — we want to move it. And, especially when it comes to indirect emissions, that often requires a targeted approach — one that explores the important interconnections between the many points along the carbon value chain. Identifying the levers of influence So, how do we catalyze an evolution of carbon-related economic activity all over the world? As with most things in economics, the answer starts with incentives. Companies understand that financial success and thriving markets go hand-in-hand, so they’re naturally inclined to care about how climate change affects their customers, employees, suppliers, communities and more. But caring about an issue and managing it effectively are very different things. Effective risk management is often a function of the degree of control or influence a company has over the risk. With GHG emissions, that is a straightforward proposition for direct emitters. For everyone else, it can get significantly more complicated. According to an analysis of CDP data , just seven industries account for 85 percent of direct Scope 1 emissions. That means a lot of companies — and, indeed, entire industries — need to identify levers of influence that align with their operations, business models and value creation strategies. The questions companies must ask themselves are, “What business opportunities are inherent in this rapidly changing competitive landscape?” “What are the risks if we ignore climate change?” And, “What levers can we pull to help mitigate these risks, realize the opportunities and help society achieve its emission reduction goals?” Accordingly, the indicators companies use to measure and manage performance must capture these risks and opportunities, which often vary from one industry to the next. The microeconomic decisions such metrics enable can exert strong influence on emissions while simultaneously contributing to enterprise value creation. For companies, investors and the planet, it’s win-win. Figure 1. The Life of a Carbon Molecule through the Value Chain Moving along the value chain To illustrate, it may be helpful to trace the life of a carbon molecule through the value chain and explore the specific operational or product-design decisions that might be made at each stage. (See Figure 1, above.) Let’s start with the “emitters,” such as oil and gas companies and utilities. For these businesses, Scope 1 emissions data is actionable business intelligence. This is because they face potentially significant financial risks directly related to their emissions, including from existing or anticipated regulations to limit emissions, restrict or mandate specific energy sources, establish a price on carbon or other measures. Although, in many cases, these companies may pass their increased operating costs or capital expenditures on to customers, this can dampen demand, especially as alternative energy sources and technologies become increasingly competitive. But where direct emitters are in the driver’s seat in managing direct GHG emissions, companies further down the value chain have very different levers of influence. Take energy consumers, for example, such as the industrial machinery and goods industry, which manufactures equipment for a variety of industries, including engines, earthmoving equipment, trucks, tractors, ships, industrial pumps, locomotives and turbines. A company in this industry may benefit from measuring its emissions, but the financial risks it faces are more directly related to other issues: energy pricing and availability; fuel-economy standards; and materials sourcing. By measuring and managing its performance on these industry-specific issues, the company can reduce its own financial and operational risks and exert significant influence on emissions in a variety of ways, including the following: Action Influence on Emissions Financial Impact More energy-efficient manufacturing Reduces upstream emissions from generation Lowers manufacturing costs More fuel-efficient vehicles Reduces downstream emissions during use phase Increases revenue by meeting consumer demand Designing products that minimize the use of critical materials or that may be easily recycled Reduces upstream emissions associated with extractive activities Saves raw materials costs Finally, as another example, automakers face a similar challenge in that the bulk of their emissions are associated with the use-phase of their products — which falls outside their direct control. Nevertheless, a car manufacturer has an important lever of influence in designing products that meet high standards for fuel economy or in diversifying its set of product offerings to increasingly feature zero-emission vehicles. As consumer preferences shift, this approach enables automobile companies to capture market share while also addressing both downstream (use-phase) and upstream emissions (by decreasing the demand-side “pull”). The value of industry specificity As these simple, hypothetical examples demonstrate, companies can face different emissions-influencing decisions depending on the activities in which they are involved or the products they produce. Of course, reality is always messier. For example, when a company is involved in an array of activities or produces a wide range of products, aggregate emissions data can get especially unwieldy. Similarly, companies face different risks related to indirect emissions in their supply chain versus those that result from the use of their products. For these firms and their investors, only industry-specific metrics can help them tease apart the relative contributions of business functions and inform an effective risk management strategy. This dynamic is reflected in how we approach climate-related disclosure at the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB). Although our standards call for direct emitters to disclose their Scope 1 emissions in 22 industries, we also identify other industry-specific levers of influence. Applying our evidence-based, market-informed standard-setting process to each of 77 industries, we’ve identified metrics associated with the key operational or product-design decisions most likely to influence indirect emissions — topics such as materials sourcing, energy usage, product energy-efficiency and end-of-life management. Because the financial implications of each of these decisions are different, rolling them up into a single indirect emissions metric does not give investors insight into how a company is adapting its operations, business strategy and/or product mix to address climate-related risks and opportunities. Although a single indirect emissions metric may not account for this complexity, measuring factors that affect indirect emissions that are under a company’s direct control helps align incentives and drive mutually beneficial outcomes. For example, consider the financial impact of regulations designed to reduce tailpipe emissions at two points along the value chain (see bottom of Figure 1): The auto manufacturer is likely to face financial risks and opportunities related to regulations targeting the fuel economy of its products. The company can manage this risk at least in part by changing its product mix toward increasingly fuel-efficient or zero-emission vehicles, lowering use-phase emissions. At the other end of the value chain, the financial risk to the oil and gas company is several steps removed. Increasingly fuel-efficient vehicles likely would reduce the use of refined products, which would lower demand for hydrocarbons, which would decrease oil prices, which would impact the resiliency of the company’s reserves, which would impair the value of the assets on its balance sheet, which finally would put downward pressure on its stock price. The company could respond by investing in lower-cost, more resilient reserves or diversifying its business model toward alternative or renewable forms of energy — both metrics in the SASB Standard for this industry. While the ultimate effect is to reduce tailpipe emissions, the levers of control available to companies at different points in the value chain differ. SASB focuses on measuring the industry-specific factor that is most relevant to the financial impact at each point. And because these decisions and impacts are connected through the value chain, in both cases effective management of the issue would support both financial risk-return objectives and emissions mitigation goals. Conclusion The life of a carbon molecule is complicated but important. The point at which a molecule of carbon leaves the value chain and enters the atmosphere as CO2 is driven by a complex and interrelated set of financial drivers. At each point in the value chain, these incentives and the business decisions that result, have significant implications for both upstream and downstream emissions. Such complex systems-level problems require comprehensive solutions, and SASB standards offer an important set of industry-specific metrics that complement existing, widely used measures for indirect emissions. As a leading contributor to climate change, GHG emissions pose obvious threats to human health, infrastructure, natural resources, energy security and even international order. They also create daunting challenges for business. A landmark 2018 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggested the price tag of unchecked climate change will run from $54 trillion to $69 trillion. Similarly, a 2019 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that under a “business as usual” scenario, global GDP would drop by 7.2 percent per capita by 2100. Clearly, it’s critical for the world to have access to complete, reliable and timely GHG emissions data. But it’s not enough to simply know how much closer we’re getting to the iceberg; we also need to turn the ship’s wheel. Metrics that focus on the direct levers available to a company — and measure how the company is using them — provide actionable data to management and decision-useful information to a firm’s investors. As a result, they help mobilize global capital markets toward a future in which business can optimize its impacts and offer solutions at scale.  To learn more about SASB’s approach to climate-related disclosure, watch the recording of the recent Climate Week webinar  “Accelerating Change through ESG Disclosure.” Pull Quote Metrics that focus on the direct levers available to a company — and measure how the company is using them — provide actionable data to management and decision-useful information to a firm’s investors. Topics Carbon Removal ESG 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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Beyond emissions: The life of a carbon molecule

It takes a village to succeed in climate tech

June 3, 2020 by  
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It takes a village to succeed in climate tech Ben Soltoff Wed, 06/03/2020 – 02:00 Solving climate change depends, to some extent, on technological innovation. The world’s leading climate authority, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), published a landmark 2018 report highlighting the urgency of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The report outlines four potential pathways for reaching that goal. The pathways are vastly different, but one thing they have in common is a central role for new technologies, all of which fall under the growing category known as climate tech . Relying on emissions-reducing technology isn’t the same as blind techno-optimism . New technology needs to complement existing solutions, deployed immediately. But the IPCC pathways make clear that the route to mitigation goes through innovation. So, what does it take to turn a societal need into a functional reality? Scientific breakthroughs are only part of the challenge. After that, there’s a long road before solutions can be implemented at scale. They require funding through multiple stages of development, facing many financial and operational risks along the way. There’s a parallel here with the response to COVID-19. Even if a working vaccine is developed, it must go through trials to determine efficacy and the logistical challenge of distribution to billions of people. But a key difference is that effective climate solutions are more varied than a single vaccine and usually more complex. At a webinar last week hosted by Yale, Stanford and other groups, Jigar Shah, co-founder of clean energy financier Generate Capital , noted that climate technologies, unlike medical breakthroughs, must compete with systems already in place.   “In the biotech industry, which I think folks herald as a well-functioning market, once companies reach a certain validation of their technology and approach, there’s a payoff there,” he said. “And in [climate tech], there really isn’t one [in the same way], largely because there are a lot of incumbent technologies that provide electricity, energy, water, food, land and materials.”   The period when a new technology is costly to develop but too early-stage to produce commercial revenue is often called the “Valley of Death” because even promising technologies often fail during this period. Success requires the collaboration of a wide set of partners and investors. As an Environmental Innovation Fellow at Yale, I’ve helped compile insights for investors on overcoming the unique barriers faced by nascent climate technology. Fortunately, many investors are already tackling this challenge.   The new wave of climate tech investors In the early 2000s, there was a well-publicized boom then bust in clean energy investing. According to Nancy Pfund, founder and managing director of impact venture capital firm DBL Partners , much of this interest was from “tourists” looking for an alternative to the dot-com failures earlier in the decade. On a GreenBiz webcast last week, she observed that the current interest in climate tech is markedly different. “Today there’s such a high level of focus, commitment and knowledge on the part of both the entrepreneurs and investors,” she said. Pfund said the interest in climate tech is partially due to the compelling economics of renewable energy compared to alternatives. “There’s been a stunning cost reduction over the past decade,” she said. “This brings in mainstream investors who are just making dollars and cents. They’re not even necessarily waving the climate banner. They want to rebalance their portfolio for the future.” During the same webcast, Andrew Beebe, managing director of Obvious Ventures , noted that an additional factor in the rise of climate tech has been the overwhelming public demand for climate action. “There’s been a societal shift as well,” he said. “In entrepreneurs today and investors, I see an urgency like we’ve never seen before. People are not that interested in doing yet another social media company, unless it has a real impact.” In entrepreneurs today and investors, I see an urgency like we’ve never seen before. It’s important to note here that climate tech takes many forms. There are software solutions that can help reduce emissions and that don’t face the Valley of Death I mentioned earlier. But some of the most critical solutions are physical technologies that require a lot of time and capital to succeed. “You can’t spell hardware without the word ‘hard,’ and everyone knows that,” said Priscilla Tyler, senior associate at True Ventures , at the Yale-Stanford webinar. “Hardware is hard, which isn’t to say it’s impossible. And if anything, in my opinion, it begets more impact and more opportunity.” There are promising signals that climate tech is here to stay. Tyler is part of a group of venture capital investors called Series Green , which meets regularly to discuss climate tech opportunities. Additionally, multiple weekly newsletters share the latest deals in climate tech, and in a recent open letter , a long list of investors confirmed that, despite the COVID-19 economic downturn, they remain committed to climate solutions. Going beyond traditional venture capital A notable climate tech deal that happened last week was the $250 million investment in Apeel Sciences . The California-based company has developed an edible coating for fruits and vegetables that can help to preserve some of the 40 percent of food that normally gets thrown away. Investors in this round included Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund and celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and Katy Perry. A company such as Apeel doesn’t start out raising hundreds of millions of dollars from large institutional investors and celebrities. At the early stages, many new technologies depend on government grants and philanthropy. Apeel got started with a $100,000 grant from the Gates Foundation in 2012. Apeel coats fruits and vegetables with an edible layer that can is designed to extend shelf life by two to three times. Media Source Courtesy of Media Authorship Apeel Sciences Close Authorship Prime Coalition is an organization that helps foundations deploy philanthropic capital to climate solutions through flexible funding structures that allow for long periods of technology development and multi-faceted risk. It calls these funding sources “catalytic capital,” because they can help unlock other forms of finance further down the line.  In addition to helping others deploy catalytic capital, Prime also makes its own catalytic deals directly through an investment arm called Prime Impact Fund. “We’re looking to support companies that have specific things to be de-risked before they will be attractive to follow on funders, and then we can be the source of that de-risking capital,” said Johanna Wolfson, principal at Prime Impact Fund, at last week’s Yale-Stanford webinar. By collaborating with one another, investors such as Prime can help technologies move through the stages of innovation, until they’re ready for more traditional investment structures. Catalytic capital invested today could help create the next Apeel Sciences several years from now. At each stage, investors serve not only as sources of money but also strategic partners for the startups themselves. This is particularly true for corporate investors, who may have substantial industry knowledge to share and more flexible expectations than traditional investors. There’s a lot more sophistication on part of corporate investors now than there was 10 years ago. “There’s a lot more sophistication on part of corporate investors now than there was 10 years ago,” said Pfund. “Then, you saw the agenda of the corporation being pushed around the board table more than you do today, and that’s never a good idea.” If their interests are aligned, corporations and startups can create mutually beneficial relationships, where each offers the other something that it couldn’t have obtained on its own. “These corporate investors see so many different technologies, and they believe their own products are better than the startup products, so how do you actually get their support?” said Andrew Chung, founder and managing partner of 1955 Capital , on last week’s GreenBiz webcast. “Well, you need to have a widget or product they haven’t seen before or can’t build themselves.” Non-financial support also can be catalytic Investors such as DBL Partners often connect the startups in their portfolio to corporates and other partners. These connections can be hugely valuable for startups, especially in emerging industries where networks are largely informal. While investors’ main role is to provide capital, they also provide many forms of non-financial support, which can be essential to advancing innovation. In addition to connections, they also can help startups to navigate dynamic policy environments at the state and federal level. “Policy plays a pivotal role,” said Pfund. “We don’t invest in policy, we invest in people, but we know that our companies are going to have to address the changing policy landscape.” We don’t invest in policy, we invest in people, but we know that our companies are going to have to address the changing policy landscape. DBL Partners helps to shape the policy landscape by convening roundtable meetings, advocating for legislation and reaching out to regulators in order to help create a more favorable environment for innovation. This sort of engagement is relatively low-cost in the short term, but it can have massive benefits in the long term, especially as new technologies begin to scale up. Shah pointed out that the challenges facing climate tech don’t end once solutions reach commercialization. Nascent technologies still need to be deployed at a large scale to have impact. “A lot of us focus on going from zero to millions,” he said, “but then, in fact, millions to billions is still nascent.” Reaching the necessary scale requires a careful alignment of technological development, market creation, political support and investment across a wide spectrum of capital. “All of these things work together in tandem to really unlock nascent technologies,” Shah said. This story was updated June 4 to correct Apeel’s funding information. Pull Quote In entrepreneurs today and investors, I see an urgency like we’ve never seen before. There’s a lot more sophistication on part of corporate investors now than there was 10 years ago. We don’t invest in policy, we invest in people, but we know that our companies are going to have to address the changing policy landscape. Topics Innovation Climate Tech Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) On Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

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IPCC landmark report warns about the state of the oceans, polar ice content and the climate crisis

September 26, 2019 by  
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The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — which is, in fact, the UN body responsible for communicating on the deteriorating climate — has officially recognized the oceans as a critical component in the climate change crisis. Warming ocean temperatures are becoming commonplace and are melting ice sheets and glaciers and contributing to rising sea levels. Additionally, the warm waters affect the ocean’s oxygen levels. As these phenomena accelerate toward a tipping point, nature’s ecosystems will be disrupted, and human society will be adversely affected. The IPCC’s announcement of its Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate — which is based on almost 7,000 peer-reviewed research articles — signals a crucial milestone. If things remain as the status quo, then ecological upheaval is imminent. Related: Even scientists are shocked by the latest UN report on climate change Our oceans comprise an important habitat that many living things, including humans, rely on for food and sustenance. Oceans also collectively absorb more than a quarter of the human-made carbon dioxide being produced, while simultaneously providing half of the oxygen created on our planet. Similarly, more than 90 percent of the heat generated via greenhouse gas emissions is likewise absorbed by our oceans. In this way, the oceans play a significant role in global climate regulation. But our climate is in dire crisis. Rising global temperatures are making oceans warmer through marine heatwaves. Warm ocean water is less likely to hold oxygen, leading to subsequent ocean acidification. Plus, warmer waters bleach coral reefs and also increase the likelihood of water chemistry disruptions, so that both bacterial and algal blooms become more common, as do red tides. Marine biodiversity is thrown off-kilter, leaving certain ocean regions devoid of life. Mass endangerment and extinctions of particular marine species becomes inevitable, and fishing yields dwindle considerably. Hence, for the 70-member coalition known as the Ocean and Climate Platform, the ocean’s sustainability comes into question. To stem the tide of climate catastrophe, the authors of the report are warning humanity and calling for policy change. If human-induced warming continues, there will come a time when the damage can no longer be healed. Immediate collaborative action is required, before it is too late, to reverse and remedy the climate crisis. + IPCC Image via Oregon State University

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Even scientists are shocked by the latest UN report on climate change

October 10, 2018 by  
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According to a Monday report on climate change from the United Nations, maintaining the Earth’s temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius is crucial if more extreme weather events and species’ extinctions are to be avoided. The current ceiling on temperature increase is set at 2 degrees Celcius since the 2015 Paris Agreement , to which nearly 200 nations are committed. However, new UN research shows that this pledge is not enough to avoid possibly irreparable damage to our planet’s ecosystems. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO) both weighed in on the report, saying that as of now, the world is not even on course to achieving the 2C benchmark, let alone a lower target. The UN is calling for rapid changes on the part of nations, businesses and individuals. The unprecedented changes to travel and lifestyle may be jarring but are the only way to avoid catastrophic damage to our planet in the near future. Related: Flood frequency of the Amazon River has increased fivefold “There is clearly need for a much higher ambition level to reach even a 2 degrees target, we are moving more toward 3 to 5 (degrees) at the moment,” explained Petteri Taalas, secretary-general of the WMO. The 1.5C target would slow coastal flooding and ocean rise by the end of the century, giving people in these areas time to adapt to changes. Many species would also be given a greater chance of survival. Under the 2C target, coral reefs are still projected to disappear. The lower target would allow anywhere between 10 to 30 percent of coral reefs to possibly survive. “Even the scientists were surprised to see … how much they could really differentiate and how great are the benefits of limiting global warming at 1.5 compared to 2,” IPCC Vice-Chair Thelma Krug told Reuters . According the the IPCC, the human carbon footprint must fall by at least 45 percent by 2030 in order for the planet to maintain the 1.5C temperature rise and reach “net-zero” by mid-century. The report also stated that 70-85 percent of energy needs to be supplied by renewable sources by 2050 to stay at the 1.5C target — right now, renewable energy accounts for about 25 percent. Amjad Abdulla — board member for the IPCC and chief negotiator for small island states at risk of flooding — said, “The report shows we only have the slimmest of opportunities remaining to avoid unthinkable damage to the climate system that supports life as we know it.” While the U.S. is on target to meet the previous goal, the UN is still stressing that more action is needed. Urging individuals to make changes to their lifestyles, even at the smallest of levels, the report believes that every small incentive will make the difference. For us, this means reducing meat consumption and dairy intake, choosing public transportation or switching to electric and hybrid vehicles and demanding companies to supply low-carbon products for purchase. + United Nations Via Reuters Image via  Natasha Kasim

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Old Sydney warehouse is transformed into an industrial-chic home

October 10, 2018 by  
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Rather than strip Balmain, Sydney of its post-industrial architectural heritage and history, award-winning practice Carter Williamson Architects has taken care to sustainably breathe new life into the area’s old buildings. Case in point is the local studio’s transformation of a former timber factory into a stunning, modern home with industrial-chic styling woven throughout its four levels. Dubbed 102 The Mill, the unique home boasts 403 square meters of space with soaring ceilings and plenty of natural light. The adaptive reuse design is part of a greater redevelopment project in which a sawmill, cottage and factory were repurposed into multiple residences. All of the renovated buildings retain parts of the original construction. In 102 The Mill, these deliberately exposed frameworks are complemented by industrial-inspired lighting fixtures and minimalist, streamlined furnishings. Timber floors and warm fabrics help imbue the former factory with a sense of cozy warmth. Entering from the street-facing north facade, 102 The Mill allocates the main living and bedroom areas to the west side that faces the garden, while the staircase and elevator shaft are set on the eastern side of home. The ground floor includes a spacious entrance foyer that leads to an entertainment room and a guest suite; both rooms have access to the garden . An open-plan living room, kitchen and dining area are on the first floor, and an outdoor terrace has been added to the rear side. The second floor houses the master suite in addition to two bedrooms. The roof terrace offers extra entertaining space. Related: A historic farmhouse is transformed into a modern home with a green roof “By embracing its former factory life, The Mill manages to capture the gritty feel of industrial Balmain, sympathetically redefining the traditional Sydney terrace house,” reads the project description. “The result sits with an inevitability, blending in with its inner Sydney surroundings, yet striking forward as a jewel of modern Australian architecture.” + Carter Williamson Architects Photography by Brett Boardman

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US and India reach a climate deal, but no agreement to curb emissions

January 26, 2015 by  
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In the first day of talks between President Barack Obama and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the two leaders agreed to some renewable energy policies in the developing nation, which is the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases. But the talks did not result in a clear-cut commitment by India to curb carbon emissions, such as the pact made between the U.S. and China late last year. Read the rest of US and India reach a climate deal, but no agreement to curb emissions Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: barack obama , Climate Change , coal power , developing nation , green energy , India , India nuclear energy , India PM , India US agreements , India US climate change agreements , India US renewable energy , India US talks , IPCC , modi , Narendra Modi , renewable energy , Solar Power , US , US India nuclear energy

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World’s largest candy carpet made from 13 tonnes of sweets pops up in Chengdu, China

January 26, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of World’s largest candy carpet made from 13 tonnes of sweets pops up in Chengdu, China Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Allrightsreserved , art installation , candy , candy carpet , Chengdu , china , craig and carl , IFS , IFS department store , sweet as one , underprivileged children , world’s largest candy carpet

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X-rays allow researchers to read ancient scroll buried by Mt. Vesuvius eruption 2,000 years ago

January 26, 2015 by  
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An ancient scroll buried beneath Mount Vesuvius has been read without ever having been opened. The scroll, which found with other items in Herculaneum—a town near Pompeii that was destroyed by the famous  eruption  of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 CE—was preserved by the hot gas and ash of the volcano . Missing Attachment Missing Attachment Missing Attachment Read the rest of X-rays allow researchers to read ancient scroll buried by Mt. Vesuvius eruption 2,000 years ago Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: eruption , Mount Vesuvius , Mt. Vesuvius , Mt. Vesuvius volcano , pompeii , Pompeii eruption , reading scrolls by x-ray , scroll , scroll xray , scrolls , searles , x-ray , x-ray scrolls

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How Cameroon’s exploding “killer lakes” claimed over 1,700 lives

January 26, 2015 by  
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In 1986, Cameroon’s Lake Nyos was the scene of an extraordinary and devastating natural disaster. The lake quite literally exploded, releasing 80 million cubic meters of carbon dioxide in just 20 seconds, which caused the suffocation deaths of 1,746 people and 3,500 livestock. The lake experienced what is known as a limnic eruption. Lake Nyos is not the only body of water in the region to carry properties that lead some to term them “killer lakes,” but scientists are working to ensure that this never happens again. Read the rest of How Cameroon’s exploding “killer lakes” claimed over 1,700 lives Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: cameroon , carbon dioxide , crater lake , degassing , exploding lake , killer lake , lake monoun , lake nyos , limic , nyos , volcano

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Can Ford’s new Palo Alto research center make self-driving cars accessible to everyone?

January 26, 2015 by  
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It looks like  Ford is making a big leap into the autonomous vehicle game, as the automaker recently announced the opening of its new Research and Innovation Center in Palo Alto, California. The center will employ a total of 125 researchers, engineers, and scientists, all of whom will be working to help Ford accelerate its development of technologies and experiments in connectivity, mobility and autonomous vehicles. Ford’s goal? To make autonomous cars accessible to everyone – not just luxury vehicle owners. Read the rest of Can Ford’s new Palo Alto research center make self-driving cars accessible to everyone? Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: autonomous car , ford , Ford autonomous vehicle , ford fusion , Ford self-driving car , green car , green transportation , palo alto , Research and Innovation Center , San Francisco , self driving vehicle , self-driving car , silicon valley , stanford

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