Can briefly raising emissions help us transition to solar?

December 1, 2021 by  
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A new study divides fueling the world into two options: we can continue with a  fossil  engine model, or we can jump on the solar engine. Considering that experts say humanity has only a 50% chance of keeping to the Paris Agreement target of keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius or under by century’s end, it’s clear the study authors are pro-solar. “ Climate heating  beyond 1.5°C induces potentially existential risks to humanity with rapidly increasing chances to exceed tipping points,” wrote authors Harald Desing and Rolf Widmer in  their study  on reducing climate risks, published November 24 in Environmental Research Letters. Related: A billion-dollar solar investment is coming to Texas However, building the  solar  infrastructure requires fossil fuels. The study authors focus on figuring out how much fossil fuel energy we can use to build the solar infrastructure while still minimizing climate risks. They don’t cover issues like cost or availability of materials. “The model simulations show that fast and complete transitions are energetically possible when temporarily increasing fossil emissions above current levels for the sole purpose of accelerating the growth of renewable energy capacity,” the authors wrote. The study concludes that humanity’s best bet is to temporarily increase  emissions  by up to 40% while building solar infrastructure as fast as possible. They think the energy transition could be completed within five years if we act at top speed. Then, the fossil engine can be shut down. This plan results in the lowest cumulative emissions, according to the study. Even if we start today and transition at breakneck speed, we still have a one in five chance of exceeding the 1.5-degree goal of the  Paris Agreement . But it’s probably already too late to have a prayer of going any lower. And the longer we sit around talking about it, the more the temperature will ultimately increase. The good news is that the authors suggest slapping  solar panels  on readily available surfaces, such as parking lots and roofs, rather than building out huge solar farms. “A fast and complete transition to a solar PV powered society is conceivable: the technology is mature, produced at scale and not constrained by material scarcity,” the authors wrote. “Integrating PV in existing built environment suffices to replace the fossil engine, so no additional land transformation is necessary.” Via Newswise Lead image via Pixabay

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Can briefly raising emissions help us transition to solar?

Will promises from world leaders at COP26 actually happen?

November 2, 2021 by  
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Leaders from around the world are meeting in Glasgow this week for a major summit on climate change. The 26th Conference of the Parties, or COP26 for short, includes almost every country in the world. In addition to world leaders, tens of thousands of government representatives, negotiators, businesspeople and concerned citizens have descended upon Scotland for twelve days of intense discussion. Here’s a little of what’s happened since COP26 started on Halloween. First of all, some important folks are missing. Many leaders of Pacific Island nations — those more directly affected by climate change because they’re likeliest to disappear — couldn’t overcome the economic barriers and pandemic restrictions to attend. Only the leaders of Fiji, Tuvalu, Papua New Guinea and Palau managed to get to Glasgow. Related: Officials worry COP26 climate conference is at “high risk of failure” Mia Mottley, prime minister of Barbados , spoke about overseeing an island threatened by rising seas. He also voiced frustrations that the most powerful countries weren’t doing enough to stem climate change. “Those who need to make the decisions are kicking the can down the road, and they believe that they can, because they are not seeing us — they see themselves,” she said, as reported by CNN. “For them, they don’t reach that period of peril for another 15 to 20 years… there are a lot of us who are going to be affected before Shanghai and Miami.”  Many countries are making promises, some more specific than others. The Brazilian delegation explained how they plan to end all illegal deforestation by 2028. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison talked about how Australia will lower its emissions 35% by 2030, which is actually one of the weaker pledges among developed nations. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged that India will hit net zero emissions by 2070. This is quite a while away, but as he pointed out, India is not chiefly responsible for the problem. “I’m happy to report that a developing country like India, which is working to lift millions out of poverty and working on their ease of living, accounts for 17% of the world’s population but only 5% of the world’s carbon emissions,” Modi said Monday, as reported by CNN. “But it has not left any stone unturned in fulfilling its promise, and the whole world agrees that India is the only big economy that has delivered on the Paris Agreement in letter and spirit.” China is currently the leading carbon emitter. President Xi Jinping is not attending COP26 in person. But he made vague promises in a written address about how China will “rein in the irrational development of energy-intensive and high-emission projects.” Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett discussed his plan for Israel to be a “climate innovation nation” and to phase out greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The small desert country has already proven itself innovative in water management. Bennett encouraged entrepreneurs around the world to launch startups that would address climate solutions.  “We’re in this together,” Mottley of Barbados emphasized. “If you haven’t learned from the pandemic that all of us are suffering, then you will not learn from anything. We need to move together.” Via CNN Lead image via Pexels

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Will promises from world leaders at COP26 actually happen?

These top companies are to blame for climate change

October 28, 2021 by  
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The Guardian published an interesting opinion piece yesterday about who is really responsible for climate change . According to the progressive U.K. newspaper, the average person doesn’t need to feel so guilty about ruining the world. Mostly, it’s the fault of a dozen rich, white American men. Instead of blaming ourselves, working and middle-class people need to band together and hold the supervillains accountable. Not surprisingly, oil execs made the list. The Guardian deems Chevron CEO Mike Wirth a “notorious corporate polluter” and a greenwasher. Under CEO Darren Woods, Exxon is a climate denier and the fourth largest carbon emitter of any investor-owned company around the world. Attorney Ted Boutrous, a partner at Gibson Dunn law firm, got his villain status for defending oil companies. He insists that everybody shares equal blame for climate change and that oil companies are being unfairly singled out. Related: 60% of Americans blame fossil fuel companies for climate change Then there are the money people. Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, oversees a huge fossil fuel investment portfolio valued at about 87 billion dollars. Fink makes climate promises while profiting from deforestation. Chase Bank CEO Jamie Dimon has provided more than 317 billion in fossil fuel financing just since 2015, the year of the Paris Agreement’s adoption. Chase also dug two billion into heinous tar sand projects between 2016 and 2019, according to The Guardian. A couple of politicians made the list. Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell finally admitted humans cause climate change in 2020. But he did plenty of damage to progressive climate strategies before that and continues to do so. U.S. Senator Joe Manchin accepts more money from the fossil fuel industry than any of his fellow Democrats, and Exxon lobbyists have referred to the West Virginian as “their guy.” Others who made the list: CEO of Koch Industries Charles Koch, an early adopter of politicizing climate change; News Corps founder Rupert Murdoch, whose news outlets keep conspiracies flowing into the brains of rightwing nut jobs; Richard Edelman of Edelman PR, which peddles climate denial; Cargill CEO David MacLennan, whose global food company profits off rainforest destruction; and Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who profits from just about everything. Via The Guardian Lead image via Pexels

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These top companies are to blame for climate change

6 vegan jackfruit recipes to try for your next meal

October 28, 2021 by  
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The jackfruit has an otherworldly look. You may have sampled it at some point in your life or you’ve likely walked past it in the supermarket. What is this strange fruit and how can you get more of it into your vegan diet ? What is jackfruit? Jackfruit is a tropical fruit, but you won’t easily confuse it with the likes of pineapple, kiwi or mango. Instead, it has a look, flavor and texture unique to its own. Although commonly grown in regions of Asia, Africa and South America, jackfruit is readily available in most major markets. If you can’t track any down, look for canned or dried variations to get you started. Note: some jackfruits are packed in water , while others are combined with a sweet syrup. When using canned jackfruit as a meat substitute, go with those packed in brine or water. This is a huge fruit, so when in season, you may find a whole one fresh or sold in sections like a watermelon. Related: Enjoy these delicious hot vegan Starbucks drinks this fall What’s the appeal of jackfruit in vegan cooking? Jackfruit has a unique texture that somewhat resembles pulled pork. Like cooking with tofu, jackfruit tends to pick up the flavor of whatever it’s cooked with, especially when coupled with sauces and spices. Although jackfruit makes a flavorful meat substitute, it offers significantly less protein. Try pairing it with other higher protein, plant-based foods such as nuts, beans or chickpeas. When stepping in to replace chicken or pork, you’ll want to use unripe jackfruit. However, jackfruit is still a fruit, so it is quite sweet once ripe and can be used in many recipes. Jackfruit tacos Street tacos are all the rage and converting them into vegan form is easy with jackfruit on the ingredient list. Try this recipe from Simply Vegan Blog to get you started. Here’s another option that relies on red wine to deglaze the pan and uses hard shells instead of soft for the taco. You can make whatever substitutions fit your dietary needs and preferences. Although these are shaped into taco form, don’t let that hold you back from using the same process for tostadas, burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas, carnitas or bowls. Here’s a recipe for quick and easy jackfruit fajitas for a different spin. You can also try making your own tortillas too! Jackfruit sandwiches Perhaps the most ubiquitous pairing for jackfruit is BBQ sauce. The stringy segments pick up the flavor of the sauce and the texture is very similar to pulled pork. The Minimalist Baker has this BBQ jackfruit sandwiches with avocado slaw recipe to show you the technique. Unlike pulled pork that can take several hours to cook, jackfruit can be ready in 30 minutes for a quick weeknight option.  For a different set of flavors, jackfruit also makes a vegan substitute for steak in this vegan Philly cheesesteak with jackfruit recipe . To get your fill from Philly, build on the jackfruit with creamy cashew cheese and sautéed onions and peppers . Pick a quality hoagie to pair with your culinary artistry.  Similar, but not quite the same, you can ditch the peppers in favor of an au jus dip in this vegan French dip sandwich with au jus. While we’re talking meat-replacement sandwiches, we should add the classic Rueben to the mix. Include your favorite vegan cheese alongside the trademark sauerkraut, thousand island dressing and marbled rye in this vegan Rueben jackfruit sandwich. Jackfruit pizza I mean, why not? If you can put it on a bun or in a taco, it can go on a pizza. Try this BBQ jackfruit pizza from The Healthy Kitchen. She even includes an Instant Pot option for preparing your jackfruit. Of course, recipes are merely a suggestion, so with your base of vegan cheese and prepared Jackfruit, line up your favorite toppings. Consider green or black olives, pineapple, red onion, peppers, garlic and herbs . Some toasted pine nuts might add an interesting dynamic too. Jackfruit crab dip If you’re looking for a creamy dip for your next holiday or event, jackfruit works as a substitute to crab in this jacked up vegan crab dip . The base comes from cashews and seasonings bring out the seafood flavor. Pair with your favorite vegan breads , crackers or veggies as an appetizer or potluck contribution.  Bulgogi In Korean cooking, bulgogi typically relies on sliced, marinated and cooked meat. But you can replicate the dish using jackfruit in this vegan bulgogi bowl from Feasting at Home. Combine with your favorite rice or other grain and combination of vegetables to bring the taste of Korea into your home.  Crunchy jackfruit rags In addition to the pulpy portions typically used for recipes, the rags are another component in the structure of this massive fruit. Think of it a little like the skin between the sections in an orange. The rags are edible and can be combined in any of the recipes above. However, they’re not typically included in canned jackfruit. When cutting up fresh jackfruit for smoothies, yogurt bowls, dressings, salsas and slaws, save the rags and cook them up as baked jackfruit rags fries . Via Simply Vegan Blog , Cadry’s Kitchen , Thi s Healthy Kitchen , Everyday Health , Feasting at Home , Cook with Renu Images via Pixabay 

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6 vegan jackfruit recipes to try for your next meal

How banks can accelerate net-zero emissions commitments

October 27, 2021 by  
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On the eve of COP26, large banks have yet so shift fundamentally towards the Paris Agreement.

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How banks can accelerate net-zero emissions commitments

Scottish climate activist shames Shell CEO

October 18, 2021 by  
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At a public talk at the Ted Countdown Summit in Edinburgh last Thursday, participants played to type. Royal Dutch  Shell  CEO Ben van Beurden tried to look sincere about the oil behemoth’s commitment to fighting climate change. Young climate activist Lauren MacDonald delivered a scathing commentary about van Beurden and his company’s character, then stormed off the stage, refusing to further engage. There were four people on the stage. Chris James, co-founder of activist fund Engine No. 1, which has managed to install three new directors on ExxonMobil’s board, was also speaking. Costa Rican diplomat Christiana Figueres, instrumental in the 2015 Paris Agreement, moderated. But people will likely most remember MacDonald, a  Scot  who is part of the Stop Cambo campaign, which is trying to prevent Shell from developing an oilfield off the Shetland Islands. Related: Shell Oil CEO says his next car will be electric After van Beurden said all the expected things about Shell’s alleged commitment to clean energy, MacDonald got on the mic. “You should be absolutely ashamed of yourself for the devastation that you have caused to communities all over the world,” she said as the audience cheered. “You are responsible for so much death and suffering.” MacDonald began to get emotional, talking through tears as she went on. “Every single day that you fail to stop making evil decisions is a day that the death toll of the  climate  crisis rises. You are one of the most responsible people for this crisis in the world and in my view that makes you one of the most evil people in the world.” She accused Shell of spending millions covering up the warnings from climate scientists, bribing politicians and paying soldiers to kill Nigerian activists.  Finally, she got to her question. “If you’re going to sit here and act like you care about climate action, why are you appealing the recent court ruling that Shell must decrease its emissions by 45% by 2030?” Then she asked a yes or no question, whether or not Shell would continue its appeal. Of course, once van Beurden got the mic back, he was unwilling to keep his answer to a single word. He began equivocating. MacDonald canceled him. “I will not be sharing this podium with you anymore,” she said. Figueres entreated MacDonald to stay, saying that she knew the audience wanted to hear more from her. But MacDonald slipped off the stage and left them to it. Via TED Blog , EcoWatch and Fortune Lead image via Frankie Leon

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Extreme heat leads to extreme behavior in humans

August 26, 2021 by  
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Many individuals have personally experienced that when folks are uncomfortable warm, they are correspondingly cranky. And many studies have found a correlation between rising temperatures and violence. But as we experience more extreme  heat  episodes around the world, scientists are finding that heat may not only increase our aggression but also reduce our coping mechanisms and lower our cognitive abilities. And who is likeliest to be affected by extreme heat? Lower-income individuals and countries with no way to cool off. “The physiological effects of heat may be universal, but the way it manifests … is highly  unequal ,” said economist R. Jisung Park of UCLA, as reported by Science News. Related: Gradient offers cooling and heating with a lower energy footprint Park analyzed test scores of nearly a million New York City students who took a combined 4.5 million exams between 1999 and 2011. Students took tests in rooms in their home schools with temperatures ranging from 59 to almost 99 degrees Fahrenheit. Park concluded that if the temperature was about 90 degrees or higher, students were 10% less likely to pass their test than if the exam day temperature had been a balmy 75. Park also did a nationwide review of 21 million PSAT scores, examining data from weather stations and digging up info on schools’ air conditioning systems. The verdict? The air conditioning gap of  schools  in lower-income neighborhoods could account for between 3-7% of the PSAT’s notorious racial achievement gap. Things are even worse on hot days outside the classroom. Violent crime can rise 12% in Los Angeles on 95 degree days compared to when the temperature is 65 to 70 degrees. But this, too, is uneven. “Beverly Hills doesn’t have much violent crime on any of those days,” said environmental economist Matthew Kahn of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, as reported by Science News. “But in the poorest communities in  Los Angeles , you see a larger correlation between heat and violence.” So, does fairness mean everybody should have air conditioning? Uh, maybe not. In 2018, AC and other cooling equipment hogged about 17% of the globe’s total  electricity  demand. And as emerging economies install more AC units, we’re going to be even farther from hitting those Paris agreement targets. Instead of more fossil fuel-powered AC, cooling through green energy could be a strong solution. Via Science News Lead image Pexels

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This prefab home expansion in Ecuador enjoys gorgeous views

August 26, 2021 by  
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The province of Pichincha in the northern Sierra region of  Ecuador  wraps around the slopes of a dormant stratovolcano. Although its capital and largest city is Quito, one of the most visited destinations in the entire country, Pichincha also boasts some spectacularly secluded forested landscapes in the highland areas of the Andes Mountains. It was here that architects at RAMA Estudio were tasked with a modular home expansion for a largely nomadic family that decided to stay put in their home during the COVID-19 lockdowns. Whereas the family could previously get away with smaller spaces due to keeping their stays short and sporadic in the house (which totaled just 65 square meters) pre-COVID, the challenge came in creating a larger space once they decided to move in permanently. The clients requested expanding the existing home to include social areas and independent bedrooms for each of their children, all to be completed within three months. RAMA Estudio responded with an industrially  prefabricated  piece that could subtly sit on the ground, attaching itself to the existing structure. Related: Stunning family home in Ecuador offers serenity in an increasingly noisy world As the home is positioned over a slope overlooking the valley, care was taken to understand the natural environment and refrain from disturbing the soil or degrading the vegetation. Additionally, no construction waste was created that wasn’t reused for other projects or within the site itself. For example, all material that could be reused from the facade demolition was sorted to improve the ground in areas surrounding the building. The project features a system of metal channels that work as the structure for the floor and roof, both of which are thermally  insulated  and allow for vegetation to grow, similar to a green roof. Hanging plants overflow from the rooftop to complement the floor-to-ceiling windows, helping the building camouflage into its naturally vegetated surroundings. Regular modules built with  plywood  panels run from each end to create storage, decorative surfaces and screens toward the bedrooms. There are separate modules for the stove and television, including one for the kitchen that contains other appliances and cabinets. + RAMA Estudio Via ArchDaily Images courtesy of Jag Studio

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This prefab home expansion in Ecuador enjoys gorgeous views

Advice for scaling nature-based carbon removal programs

August 24, 2021 by  
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Sponsored: Carbon removal is an important and immediate part of the many actions companies are taking to reach the aims of the Paris Agreement.

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China’s new emissions trading has transformational potential

August 24, 2021 by  
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China’s sheer population size means it is already the largest absolute emitter.

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