Understanding the policy principles for a ‘just transition’

February 4, 2019 by  
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‘Just transition’ was the hot topic at last year’s COP24 climate conference in Poland, but how can governments and businesses deliver on their promises?

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Understanding the policy principles for a ‘just transition’

The evolution of big auto and Silicon Valley

February 4, 2019 by  
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With legacy automakers expanding their R&D programs, Tesla isn’t the only car startup in the Valley.

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The evolution of big auto and Silicon Valley

A new Polish film has exposed the illegal trafficking of sick cattle

January 31, 2019 by  
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After a film broadcast on Polish TVN 24 revealed that a slaughterhouse was illegally trafficking sick cattle , Polish police have launched an investigation into the matter. The film showed secret footage of cows too sick to stand being dragged into the plant, as well as slaughterhouse workers cutting carcasses at night “to avoid official supervision.” With no way of knowing where the meat went, the scandalous footage could end up being as serious as the 2013 EU horsemeat scandal that exposed Europe’s complex meat market and triggered product recalls. As first reported by the BBC, a statement issued just days after the movie premiered on TV, Poland’s chief veterinary officer said his inspectors and Polish police received a tip about the possible illegal slaughter at an abattoir in northeastern Poland near Ostrow Mazowiecka. On the night of January 14 eight sick cows were found at the facility and it was decided their suffering must come to an end and were ultimately killed. “During the check, the owners of the animals were identified, along with an animal dealer who transported cattle unfit for transport, and abattoir staff responsible for animal welfare there,” the statement said. Related: ChimpFace could help fight the illegal trade in chimpanzees The inspectors are continuing their investigation by attempting to identify buyers and sellers of meat from sick animals and are also checking other slaughterhouses in the region. According to Eurostat, an EU statistics agency, Poland is the EU’s seventh-largest producer of cow meat behind Ireland, Spain, Italy, the UK, Germany and France. In 2017, the country produced over 558,000 tons of beef and beef products, and each year they slaughter approximately two million head of cattle. However, just two percent of Poland’s meat consumption is beef, which means nearly all of Polish cow meat is exported. Data from UK Revenue and Customs (HMRC) shows that in 2018, the UK imported $85 million worth of Polish beef. Many are hoping that this latest revelation will lead to regulatory action that should have happened after the first scandal. The designated veterinarian for the slaughterhouse and his county supervisor have already been fired. “I think the police, which is at this moment already engaged in this issue, will be trying step by step to explain what has been the role of the supervisory authorities in this illegal, reprehensible, and downright criminal procedure,” says journalist Tomasz Patora of TVN 24’s Superwizjer. Via BBC Image via Shutterstock

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A new Polish film has exposed the illegal trafficking of sick cattle

Toxic smog causes school closures in Bangkok

January 31, 2019 by  
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Officials in Bangkok have closed schools for the rest of the week amid growing concerns of toxic smog . The Ministry of Education in Thailand announced the closing of around 450 schools in Bangkok and the surrounding area this week as the government tries to deal with a massive pollution problem. The air quality in the city of Bangkok has dipped to unacceptable levels. The amount of dust particles — also referred to as PM2.5 — deemed dangerous to health has far exceeded acceptable standards. This fine particulate matter is hazardous to health , because it is tiny enough to enter the body and do considerable damage to organs. Related: Scientists find air pollution leads to a significant decline in cognition According to The Guardian , the massive amount of pollution is caused by poor construction standards, car exhaust, factory fumes and crop burning. The pollution is so large in scale that it is unable to escape the city, leaving people trapped in a toxic environment. To combat the situation, residents in Bangkok have been wearing respirator masks to avoid inhaling the fine particles. The government, which has been under considerable criticism for not actively fighting pollution , has attempted to make it rain in the city by seeding clouds. The rain helps fight pollution by trapping the toxic particles. Officials have also sprayed water in strategic locations to help decrease the amount of dangerous particles in the air . Residents have been avoiding burning incense, which is a popular activity over the Chinese New Year. Despite their efforts, authorities were forced to close down 437 schools in Bangkok. They also declared a “control area” around the city that is over 580 square miles in size. Officials hope that closing schools will help alleviate some of the traffic and reduce vehicle emissions. “The situation will be bad until February 3 to 4, so I decided to close schools,” Aswin Kwanmuang, the governor of Bangkok, shared. School authorities plan to look at the situation next week to determine if the closing should be extended. The air quality index in Bangkok was measured at 171 this week, which is the highest it has been in more than a year. Via The Guardian Image via Shutterstock

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Toxic smog causes school closures in Bangkok

Timber-clad Polish kindergarten encourages kids to play on the green roof

January 1, 2019 by  
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A recently completed kindergarten in Poland is giving children a new way to reconnect with the outdoors and stellar views of the neighborhood. Designed by Polish architecture firm Biuro Toprojekt , the kindergarten in ?ory boasts an accessible roof terrace planted with ornamental grasses with plenty of space to play and gather. In addition to encouraging play and appreciation of nature, the inspiring design of the building has also earned it a nomination for the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award 2019. Located in the center of the Kleszczówka district in the Polish suburbs of ?ory, the kindergarten stands in stark contrast to the surrounding single-family homes. “A small parcel of an irregular shape similar to a triangle intended for the construction of a pre-school segment at an existing school, imposed rather two-story solutions, although a little overwhelming, but leaving a little space for the playground,” the architects explained of the kindergarten’s triangular design. “Instead, we decided to have a one-story building with rounded corners, which filled almost all of the possible surface, and for the outdoor play, we designed a large roof terrace.” Built with reinforced concrete walls wrapped in vertical strips of timber, the 1,060-square-meter kindergarten is protected against temperature fluctuations thanks to mineral wool insulation selected for low fire risk. The school is also equipped with a ground heat exchanger as well as heating and ventilation systems. A rectangular atrium at the heart of the kindergarten funnels daylight throughout the interior and offers a “piece of the outside world” where children can observe snow and rainfall. Related: MAD Architects to transform an ancient Chinese courtyard into a kindergarten with a “floating roof” Lined with wood and accessed via staircase from the atrium, the spacious roof terrace is punctuated with two circular islands of green space in the center. Curved metal railings wrap around the terrace , which is surrounded by gardens planted with ornamental grasses. + Biuro Toprojekt Photography by Juliusz Sokolowski via Biuro Toprojekt

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Timber-clad Polish kindergarten encourages kids to play on the green roof

UNStudios green-roofed TBC Forum breaks ground in Tbilisi

January 1, 2019 by  
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Construction has recently broken ground on the TBC Forum, a green-roofed complex in Tbilisi designed by UNStudio to champion openness, sustainability and creativity throughout. Located within the Lisi Lake resort outside Tbilisi’s city center, TBC Forum will consist of the new headquarters for the TBC Bank, an Innovation Lab, and a mixed-use Culture Hub. Drawing inspiration from the surrounding highland landscape and traditional Georgian architecture, the large-scale development features a terraced design covered with green roofs to tie the buildings together with the Lisi green valley. The design for the new TBC Forum was conceived as a contemporary take on the historic highland village of Shatili, a stepped stone and mortar village that embraces the landscape with its clustered towers, large balconies and terraces . As a result, TBC Forum features buildings of varying heights grouped into three main clusters — the Headquarters Cluster, Subsidiaries Cluster and Public Cluster — surrounding a centrally located TBC Plaza and public esplanade. The Subsidiaries Cluster will include the Innovation Lab, a new center for research and development, while the Culture Hub will offer gallery spaces, restaurants, a children’s daycare facility and co-working spaces. Health and social sustainability were key driving features in the design of the interiors that are filled with natural light, plants and natural materials. In contrast to the “closed and introverted working model” traditionally used in the banking industry, UNStudio wanted to create an open environment conducive to socializing, collaboration and connection with nature. The headquarters will include diverse and flexible workplace environments, from seated work areas and standing desks to open lounge areas and flex spaces in the corridors and stairways. Related: UNStudio unveils twisting “Green Spine” high-rise proposal for Melbourne “UNStudio has carried out extensive research into the design of optimal work environments and the positive impact these can have on the health, wellbeing, creativity and therefore, productivity,” the firm said in a press release. “Within the design, both physical vitality and psychological wellbeing are understood to be synonymous, while the creation of community is considered fundamental to the encouragement of communication, interaction, knowledge exchange and creativity. In the design of the TBC Forum, environmental concerns are not merely related to the energy performance of the building, but to social sustainability and the performance of its users.” + UNStudio Images by Luxigon and Aand3 via UNStudio

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UNStudios green-roofed TBC Forum breaks ground in Tbilisi

Episode 150: Mobility insights from Lime, clean-energy policies that work

November 30, 2018 by  
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Also in this episode, digging into sustainable agriculture and what’s in store at the upcoming Sustainable Innovation Forum, being held alongside COP24 in Poland.

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Episode 150: Mobility insights from Lime, clean-energy policies that work

Episode 149: Mobility insights from Lime, clean-energy policies that work

November 30, 2018 by  
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Also in this episode, digging into sustainable agriculture and what’s in store at the upcoming Sustainable Innovation Forum, being held alongside COP24 in Poland.

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Episode 149: Mobility insights from Lime, clean-energy policies that work

Will power: Developing countries are driving the renewables transition, says BNEF

November 30, 2018 by  
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A new report shows a dramatic shift in global energy markets.

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Will power: Developing countries are driving the renewables transition, says BNEF

Historic Polish microbrewery and mountain lodge gets a beautiful 21st-century update

June 12, 2018 by  
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Architecture firm  ADR has just unveiled a spectacular renovation of the Trautenberk Microbrewery in the Polish village of Horní Malá Úpa. Located right at the foot of the Krkonoše mountain range, the historic brewery was in bad need of repair. To breathe new life into the outdated building, the architects stripped it down to its skeleton, but they were careful to maintain the brewery’s historic character during the renovation process . The architects began the project by stripping the structure down to its bare bones. Due to its location in a climate with severely harsh winters, the building had undergone quite a few renovations over its history, mostly in the late 1900s. To bring the structure into the 21st century, the designers wanted to give the building a more modern interior all while retaining the building’s original character. Related: Schmidt Hammer Lassen designs BREEAM-seeking brewery renovation in Riga Today, the brewery is a contemporary and inviting space that includes a hotel and restaurant, as well as brewery facilities in the basement. Visitors enter the renovated building through a modern lobby with wooden ceiling and floors. Red metal columns throughout the building give the space an industrial touch. The most important part of the structure is, of course, the brewery. Visitors start their tour of the brewery in the basement, which houses a revamped microbrewery that produces some 1,000,000 liters of of cold, frothy beer per year. Stumbling up from the beer tasting, guests make their way to the restaurant on the first floor. This space has also been completely renovated, but the architects managed to keep some of the building’s original features, such as lamps that date back to the pre-war years. The restaurant is an open space, with plenty of natural light and seating to enjoy fantastic views of the surrounding hills and slopes. After a few more beers, guests can make their way to the guest rooms on the upper levels of the brewery. Set up in dorm-like configurations, the hotel has a mountain lodge feel, with 130 beds, shared bathrooms and common areas. + ADR Architects + Trautenberk Microbrewery Photography by Jakub Skokan and Martin T?ma via BoysPlayNice

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Historic Polish microbrewery and mountain lodge gets a beautiful 21st-century update

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