Where progressives and conservatives agree on clean energy

April 9, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Where progressives and conservatives agree on clean energy Sarah Golden Fri, 04/09/2021 – 01:45 From an ideological perspective, it’s curious that clean energy became a partisan issue. Looking at it as a technology, there is a ton to like about renewables across the political spectrum.  This hasn’t escaped political conservatives outside the beltway. A number of conservative groups champion clean energy, from the Conservative Energy Network (CEN) and Young Conservatives for Energy Reform (YCER) to the Christian Coalition for America .  As the federal government considers a massive infrastructure bill that would spur clean energy growth and decarbonize the economy, it’s worth looking at where the conservative and progressive ideologies align on clean energy, and where they diverge.  CONVERGENCE: Energy independence Nothing should be more on-brand for conservatives than owning and controlling your own power. Solar panels could be rebranded as “don’t-take-my-gun-away energy.” Perhaps this is why CEN calls subscribers “energy patriots.” When millions lost power during Texas’ deadly energy crisis in February, former governor Rick Perry expressed this sentiment of rugged individualism — even if it came at the expense of grid resilience.  “Texans would be without electricity for longer than three days to keep the federal government out of their business,” Perry said.  Of course, independence and resilience shouldn’t be a tradeoff, and no one is advocating it should be. The point is that the concept of energy independence — be it from other nations or your own government — is an attractive idea across the political spectrum.  From a national security perspective, clean energy also allows the U.S. to become less reliant on foreign oil states. The Military Advisory Board, a group of retired high-level officers from the U.S. Armed Forces, sees getting off foreign oil and getting onto clean energy as a top national security concern — both in terms of the threats that emerge from climate change and the resources the U.S. expends to secure foreign oil interests.  “As new energy options emerge to meet global demand, nations that lead stand to gain; should the U.S. sit on the sidelines, it does so at considerable risk to our national security,” writes the group on its website .  CONVERGENCE: Local empowerment Some rural communities are beginning to reap economic development benefits from renewables, warming locals to the solar and wind industries. A report from RMI, ” Seeds of Opportunity ,” says that by 2030, annual revenues from wind and solar projects could exceed $60 billion. That’s on par with the expected revenues from corn, soy and beef combined, America’s top three agricultural commodities. In Texas, renewable energy projects are expected to generate upwards of $5.7 billion in tax revenue for communities and $7.3 billion directly to landowners in lease payments over the life of the projects. This is a welcome revenue stream for farmers trying to make ends meet and communities historically dependent on oil and gas.  “The cows love wind turbines; they walk around them all day and follow the shadows that they cast,” said Louis Brooks Jr. of Nolan County, a Texas rancher, in a report . “We now have good roads on our land [because of the wind farm] that make it easier to take care of our cattle. It has been super. … It is not perfect, but I wish we had more of them on our land.” In Wyoming, towns previously reliant on fossil fuels have seen local budgets grow thanks to wind tax revenue, including Cheyenne and Rawlins . The local potential of clean energy is key to some progressive clean energy organizations’ agendas, as well. The Solutions Project , for example, funds 100 local organizations designed to bring the benefits of clean energy to marginalized communities. BlocPower works to bring advanced energy technologies to low-income homes in urban settings.  At the core of these initiatives: owning and controlling energy supports local economies.  CONVERGENCE: American competitiveness America has a proud history of innovation. But the nation has fallen behind in clean energy investment and risks missing out on growing markets. The U.S. ranks fourth , behind Japan, China and the European Union, on research and development for energy technologies as a share of GDP. President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill includes investments to make American companies competitive in the race to develop affordable clean energy technologies. The goal would be to grow the economy and create millions of jobs. For example, China is dominating in battery innovation and manufacturing globally. Through Biden’s proposed $174 billion investment in the electric vehicle market , the administration sees a path to a domestic supply chain that would keep the economic benefits in America — and position manufacturers to sell abroad.  America’s innovative spirit fits nicely into conservative ideology, as summarized in this quote from Tyler Duvelius, CEN’s director of external affairs (and YCER alum): “America gave the world flight, we put man on the moon and harnessed electricity. Clean energy is the next great frontier of American innovation.” Of course, conservatives also have balked at the idea of the government picking winners, and they point to past clean energy failures as a sign of government overreach. The poster child for this is Solyndra , a solar company that received federal grant money from the 2009 stimulus bill and later went bankrupt.  Progressives point to these investments as an important part of spurring forward other burgeoning technologies, from smartphones to natural gas and the internet.  “You have to step up to the plate and take a swing in order to hit the ball, and sometimes you swing and you miss,” U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm to the New York Times . “But if you never swing, you will never hit the ball, and you’ll never get a run. So the overall benefits of the Obama-era clean energy investments were overwhelmingly a net positive.” DIVERGENCE: Equating social justice and clean energy policy Over the years, the fight for racial justice and climate actions have merged in some progressive circles. They are different sides of the same fight, so it is impossible to systematically address one without the others. As a candidate, Biden’s climate platform featured addressing environmental racism as one of its five planks. Today, the infrastructure bill features provisions focused on fighting racial and economic inequities.  According to reports, Republicans scoff at those provisions, calling them a “Trojan horse” of liberal policies. The CEN website echoes the idea that the infrastructure proposal is too sweeping in its focus on racial justice. “We cannot afford to wrap a costly political wishlist into a broader infrastructure package,” wrote CEN’s director of policy and advocacy, Landon Stevens, in an op-ed on the organization’s website. Of course, conservatives can see the economic potential of embracing clean energy without supporting the social justice elements. But this ideological divergence touches such polarizing topics, it seems to inspire everyone to dig in their heels.  DIVERGENCE: The role of fossil fuels in the transition Most progressive organizations, using climate science as a guide, advocate for the quick transition away from all fossil fuels.  Language from conservative clean energy advocates instead talks about “market-based” transitions for encouraging alternatives.  “Our solutions are simple yet effective,” wrote a group of Republican members of Congress in an op-ed last month, including Rep. Dan Newhouse (Washington) and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (California). “Where many Democrats want to shut down, ban and overregulate, we want to incentivize, innovate and progress through market-based solutions.” Those guided by climate science point to the need to rapidly transition — faster than market forces can act. They also note that decades-long disinformation campaigns from fossil fuels companies mean we’re decades behind on the transition and that delaying action is the latest incarnation of climate denial.  Rewiring America, an organization that has mapped out how to combat climate change through electrification that leans progressive, argues that policy mandate is the only way to reach our climate goals.  “The invisible hand of markets is definitely not fast enough; it typically takes decades for a new technology to become dominant by market forces alone as it slowly increases its market share each year,” the Rewiring America handbook says. “A carbon tax isn’t fast enough, either. Market subsidies are not fast enough.” While there are certainly differences in the conservative and progressive approach to America’s clean energy future, it’s possible we’re closer to agreement than we think. And that, perhaps, the points of divergence (which are truly important and shouldn’t be ignored), don’t need to stand in the way of progress where it can be made. Especially at a moment when two-thirds of Americans think the government should do more on climate. Want more great analysis of the clean energy transition? Sign up for Energy Weekly , our free email newsletter. Topics Energy & Climate Policy & Politics Featured Column Power Points Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Shutterstock Lightspring Close Authorship

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Where progressives and conservatives agree on clean energy

Episode 262: In praise of climate lobbying, renewable aggregation deals

April 2, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Episode 262: In praise of climate lobbying, renewable aggregation deals Heather Clancy Fri, 04/02/2021 – 02:00 Week in Review Stories discussed this week (2:00). ESG non-conforming: There’s more than one way to identify good companies How corporations can jump-start industrial electrification in the U.S . Netflix’s behind-the-scenes script for achieving net-zero Features Getting together to buy renewable energy (19:45) Last month, life sciences company MilliporeSigma teamed up with Akamai, Synopsis and Uber to commit to buying 111 megawatts from an Enel Green Power wind-plus-solar project in Texas. We get the details from Greg Rizzo, director of origination-commercial office at Enel, and Jeffrey Whitford, head of sustainability, social business innovation and life science branding at Millipore Sigma. Time for tech employees to speak up on climate lobbying (34:30) Nonprofit ClimateVoice is asking workers for Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft to sign a petition urging those companies to spend at least one-in-five of their lobbying dollars this year to support “bold, just and equitable climate policy.” Executive Director Bill Weihl discusses the campaign. *Music in this episode by Lee Rosevere : “Waiting for the Moment That Never Comes,” “Knowing the Truth,” “Thinking It Over” and “Introducing the Pre-Roll” Stay connected To make sure you don’t miss the newest episode of GreenBiz 350, subscribe on iTunes or Spotify . Have a question or suggestion for a future segment? E-mail us at 350@greenbiz.com . Contributors Joel Makower Topics Podcast Renewable Energy Policy & Politics Collective Insight GreenBiz 350 Podcast Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 44:56 Sponsored Article Off GreenBiz Close Authorship

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Episode 262: In praise of climate lobbying, renewable aggregation deals

China’s new frontier for VOC regulations

March 23, 2021 by  
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China’s new frontier for VOC regulations Shuying Xu Tue, 03/23/2021 – 01:15 As the global economy reawakens after the COVID-19 shutdown, air emissions and VOC enforcement in China remain a hot topic. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) combine with nitrogen oxide to create ozone, a key precursor to smog. Over the past several decades, public health and environmental concerns have made controlling smog a top national policy goal in China and enforcement an increasingly critical issue for companies to navigate. Industries getting particular focus when it comes to VOC management in China include electronics, packaging and printing, pharmaceuticals, petrochemical, chemical, industrial coating, oil storage and transportation. In March 2020, for example, China’s State Council announced four national requirements for VOC content in adhesives, coatings, inks and cleaning agents widely used in the electronics and electrical industry; the stringency and implementation of these mandates may have a significant impact on production and business risk moving forward. Implementation of these standards is scheduled to start in April. For any company operating in or with significant supply chain exposure to China, building an understanding of the national and local regulatory landscape and best practices related to VOC mitigation recently has become a vital step to reducing the risk of business interruption arising from environmental enforcement that began in 2016 . Air emission reform in China More than a decade ago, national policies laid the groundwork for reducing air emissions in China. In 2010, the Central Government of China integrated the “Guideline on Strengthening Joint Prevention and Control of Atmospheric Pollution to Improve Air Quality” into its 12th Five Year Plan. This enshrined into law China’s first air emissions management plan and formalized an approach to regional collaboration. The Law on Prevention and Control of Air Pollution, also known as the ” Air Law ,” was updated in 2015 (and again in 2018) to direct local governments in key regions to form emergency response plans for heavily polluting weather conditions. When energy use surges in the autumn and winter seasons, particulate matter and ozone increase to  dangerously high levels. Strategies include tackling large networks of smaller companies, which emit up to 60% of VOCs in China, and penalizing non-compliant companies by lowering their ‘social credit’ rating. The 2018 Three ? Year Action Plan for Winning the Blue Sky Defense Battle narrowed the scope of air emission management by focusing on the rectification of key regions and industries and establishing a goal of reducing 15 percent of emissions by 2020 (Chinese) , compared to 2015 levels. Strategies include tackling large networks of smaller companies, which emit up to 60 percent of VOCs in China , and penalizing non-compliant companies by lowering their “social credit” rating. For the past 15 years, the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE) has collected and analyzed publicly disclosed environmental quality and pollution source records from hundreds of local governments and corporations across China. IPE’s online data analysis tool shows that while the total number of regulatory violations in China decreased across industries between 2016 and 2020, the proportion of enterprises with air emission issues, including VOC violations, has increased year over year. The overall decline in total violations across industries has been attributed to increased transparency among local governments and a 2016 spike in factory inspections (and shutdowns) that took place across China: The 2016 wave of enforcement actions resulted in renewed effort by companies that hadn’t been shut down to take regulatory concerns more seriously since then. Targets for regulation The unique regulatory demands and opacity of local governments, which can insist on short-term, emergency action to reduce emissions, can be a challenge to navigate. Yet, a predictable pattern gradually has emerged in how authorities determine non-compliant behavior. First, industries that emit or consume large quantities of VOCs are prioritized. Companies from such key VOC-emitting industries will be honed in on regardless of specific processes, consumption rates or volume of emissions. Second, authorities focus on specific companies within these industries that are large emitters and key industrial processes (coating, painting, printing, etc.) at those companies. Third, regional and local governments adjust reduction measures according to a factory’s environmental performance level. For example, if a total emission reduction goal of a region or city can be achieved, the least polluting companies may take reduction measures voluntarily (and not necessarily fully in accordance with regional guidelines) — while all others will be required to strictly follow reduction requirements Local governments maintain and, in many cases, publish lists that rank factories according to their performance level. Factories with substandard performance are required to monitor emissions and make the results available to the public, not dissimilar to the U.S. The contents of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) and National Pollution Discharge Permit (PDPs) also may be used to determine if and how many VOCs will be generated when a factory completes a construction project or when a factory is fully operational. In a PDP, the maximum volume of VOC emissions that a factory can emit is stated. This number is calculated based on EIA documents, periodic factory monitoring and online monitoring data of a factory. Environmental capacity Local authorities have the ability to not only implement emergency restrictions during heavily polluting weather conditions but also may apply controls if total annual emissions by factories surpass regional emission caps. The Joint Group of Experts on Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP), a United Nations advisory body, describes the concept of environmental capacity as “a property of the environment and its ability to accommodate a particular activity or rate of an activity … without unacceptable impact.” Environmental capacity is widely used in China to define acceptable limits for the amount of pollutants produced or discharged into the atmosphere. Each region has its own capacity and local governments determine quotas for each factory. If no quota is available for a factory to construct, rebuild or expand the operation, they are generally prohibited from proceeding. Examples of best practices Once companies are identified and included in a governmental list, authorities can require industries and factories to set up online pollutant monitoring that is connected to the local authority’s supervisory system. Such systems are typically designed to capture instantaneous VOC emission data. While some multinationals with operations in China — such as Toyota and General Motors — have begun to establish VOC reduction goals comparable to their GHG emission reduction goals, efforts to address VOC emissions within industrial supply chains and operations remain varied and limited. Companies from key VOC-emitting industries will be honed in on regardless of specific processes, consumption rates or volume of emissions. Innovative practices often can be found at the local level. The municipality of Shanghai, China’s largest city, is often a leader in this regard. Shanghai offers an example of a municipal government that has established a long-term protocol for VOC emission management, aligning with the goals of the national Blue Sky Defense Battle. As part of its “One Factory, One Control Plan” (Chinese), Shanghai provides a comprehensive list of methods (and projected timelines) for reducing VOC emissions across 29 diverse industries, ranging from ink and adhesives to PVC and synthetic fiber production. Two industries that emit significant quantities of VOCs and have extensive supply chains in China are the electronics and cleaning agent industries. Shanghai outlines specific governance tasks for reducing VOC emissions along various stages of production. Selected examples of required and recommended actions include: For electronics production: Use powder or water-based coatings and UV curing processes. Use electrostatic spraying. Use automated and intelligent spraying equipment in place of manual application. Adopt processes in which coatings, thinners and cleaning agents are prepared, used and recycled within sealed storage and production spaces. Transport coatings, thinners and cleaning agents in closed pipelines or containers. Collect and treat wastewater in a closed process. For cleaning agent manufacturing: Specify limits on the use of chemicals such as methylene chloride, trichloromethane, formaldehyde, benzene and toluene and xylene, among others. Replace solvent-based cleaning agents with water-based and semi-aqueous alternatives. Reduce airflow around cleaning equipment; reduce the flow of liquid from items that are being cleaned. Designate rooms specifically for cleaning, exhaust air collection, and treating cleaning exhaust. Recycle cleaning solvents. Use activated carbon absorption; record the temperature, regeneration period and replacement amount of activated carbon. While this article provides select examples of steps being taken by companies and municipalities, corporate industry goals and action plans for VOC reduction remain unclear and inconsistent. The requirements and policies of VOC management in China are dynamic and growing more stringent both nationally and locally. Part of the challenge for global companies is understanding and interpreting requirements, identifying the potential for high-risk interruption and determining economical and environmentally responsible actions that can mitigate or avoid these risks. Furthermore, unique policy is being formulated according to the needs and specialties of different regions, industries and factory conditions. Companies that have responsibility for facilities and supply chains in China can benchmark against these to better understand their regulatory and business interruption risks. Pull Quote Strategies include tackling large networks of smaller companies, which emit up to 60% of VOCs in China, and penalizing non-compliant companies by lowering their ‘social credit’ rating. The 2016 wave of enforcement actions resulted in renewed effort by companies that hadn’t been shut down to take regulatory concerns more seriously since then. Companies from key VOC-emitting industries will be honed in on regardless of specific processes, consumption rates or volume of emissions. Contributors Christopher Hazen Topics Chemicals & Toxics Policy & Politics COVID-19 China Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off A regenerative thermal oxidizer unit in China. Image courtesy of Greenment

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China’s new frontier for VOC regulations

China’s new frontier for VOC regulations

March 23, 2021 by  
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China’s new frontier for VOC regulations Shuying Xu Tue, 03/23/2021 – 01:15 As the global economy reawakens after the COVID-19 shutdown, air emissions and VOC enforcement in China remain a hot topic. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) combine with nitrogen oxide to create ozone, a key precursor to smog. Over the past several decades, public health and environmental concerns have made controlling smog a top national policy goal in China and enforcement an increasingly critical issue for companies to navigate. Industries getting particular focus when it comes to VOC management in China include electronics, packaging and printing, pharmaceuticals, petrochemical, chemical, industrial coating, oil storage and transportation. In March 2020, for example, China’s State Council announced four national requirements for VOC content in adhesives, coatings, inks and cleaning agents widely used in the electronics and electrical industry; the stringency and implementation of these mandates may have a significant impact on production and business risk moving forward. Implementation of these standards is scheduled to start in April. For any company operating in or with significant supply chain exposure to China, building an understanding of the national and local regulatory landscape and best practices related to VOC mitigation recently has become a vital step to reducing the risk of business interruption arising from environmental enforcement that began in 2016 . Air emission reform in China More than a decade ago, national policies laid the groundwork for reducing air emissions in China. In 2010, the Central Government of China integrated the “Guideline on Strengthening Joint Prevention and Control of Atmospheric Pollution to Improve Air Quality” into its 12th Five Year Plan. This enshrined into law China’s first air emissions management plan and formalized an approach to regional collaboration. The Law on Prevention and Control of Air Pollution, also known as the ” Air Law ,” was updated in 2015 (and again in 2018) to direct local governments in key regions to form emergency response plans for heavily polluting weather conditions. When energy use surges in the autumn and winter seasons, particulate matter and ozone increase to  dangerously high levels. Strategies include tackling large networks of smaller companies, which emit up to 60% of VOCs in China, and penalizing non-compliant companies by lowering their ‘social credit’ rating. The 2018 Three ? Year Action Plan for Winning the Blue Sky Defense Battle narrowed the scope of air emission management by focusing on the rectification of key regions and industries and establishing a goal of reducing 15 percent of emissions by 2020 (Chinese) , compared to 2015 levels. Strategies include tackling large networks of smaller companies, which emit up to 60 percent of VOCs in China , and penalizing non-compliant companies by lowering their “social credit” rating. For the past 15 years, the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE) has collected and analyzed publicly disclosed environmental quality and pollution source records from hundreds of local governments and corporations across China. IPE’s online data analysis tool shows that while the total number of regulatory violations in China decreased across industries between 2016 and 2020, the proportion of enterprises with air emission issues, including VOC violations, has increased year over year. The overall decline in total violations across industries has been attributed to increased transparency among local governments and a 2016 spike in factory inspections (and shutdowns) that took place across China: The 2016 wave of enforcement actions resulted in renewed effort by companies that hadn’t been shut down to take regulatory concerns more seriously since then. Targets for regulation The unique regulatory demands and opacity of local governments, which can insist on short-term, emergency action to reduce emissions, can be a challenge to navigate. Yet, a predictable pattern gradually has emerged in how authorities determine non-compliant behavior. First, industries that emit or consume large quantities of VOCs are prioritized. Companies from such key VOC-emitting industries will be honed in on regardless of specific processes, consumption rates or volume of emissions. Second, authorities focus on specific companies within these industries that are large emitters and key industrial processes (coating, painting, printing, etc.) at those companies. Third, regional and local governments adjust reduction measures according to a factory’s environmental performance level. For example, if a total emission reduction goal of a region or city can be achieved, the least polluting companies may take reduction measures voluntarily (and not necessarily fully in accordance with regional guidelines) — while all others will be required to strictly follow reduction requirements Local governments maintain and, in many cases, publish lists that rank factories according to their performance level. Factories with substandard performance are required to monitor emissions and make the results available to the public, not dissimilar to the U.S. The contents of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) and National Pollution Discharge Permit (PDPs) also may be used to determine if and how many VOCs will be generated when a factory completes a construction project or when a factory is fully operational. In a PDP, the maximum volume of VOC emissions that a factory can emit is stated. This number is calculated based on EIA documents, periodic factory monitoring and online monitoring data of a factory. Environmental capacity Local authorities have the ability to not only implement emergency restrictions during heavily polluting weather conditions but also may apply controls if total annual emissions by factories surpass regional emission caps. The Joint Group of Experts on Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP), a United Nations advisory body, describes the concept of environmental capacity as “a property of the environment and its ability to accommodate a particular activity or rate of an activity … without unacceptable impact.” Environmental capacity is widely used in China to define acceptable limits for the amount of pollutants produced or discharged into the atmosphere. Each region has its own capacity and local governments determine quotas for each factory. If no quota is available for a factory to construct, rebuild or expand the operation, they are generally prohibited from proceeding. Examples of best practices Once companies are identified and included in a governmental list, authorities can require industries and factories to set up online pollutant monitoring that is connected to the local authority’s supervisory system. Such systems are typically designed to capture instantaneous VOC emission data. While some multinationals with operations in China — such as Toyota and General Motors — have begun to establish VOC reduction goals comparable to their GHG emission reduction goals, efforts to address VOC emissions within industrial supply chains and operations remain varied and limited. Companies from key VOC-emitting industries will be honed in on regardless of specific processes, consumption rates or volume of emissions. Innovative practices often can be found at the local level. The municipality of Shanghai, China’s largest city, is often a leader in this regard. Shanghai offers an example of a municipal government that has established a long-term protocol for VOC emission management, aligning with the goals of the national Blue Sky Defense Battle. As part of its “One Factory, One Control Plan” (Chinese), Shanghai provides a comprehensive list of methods (and projected timelines) for reducing VOC emissions across 29 diverse industries, ranging from ink and adhesives to PVC and synthetic fiber production. Two industries that emit significant quantities of VOCs and have extensive supply chains in China are the electronics and cleaning agent industries. Shanghai outlines specific governance tasks for reducing VOC emissions along various stages of production. Selected examples of required and recommended actions include: For electronics production: Use powder or water-based coatings and UV curing processes. Use electrostatic spraying. Use automated and intelligent spraying equipment in place of manual application. Adopt processes in which coatings, thinners and cleaning agents are prepared, used and recycled within sealed storage and production spaces. Transport coatings, thinners and cleaning agents in closed pipelines or containers. Collect and treat wastewater in a closed process. For cleaning agent manufacturing: Specify limits on the use of chemicals such as methylene chloride, trichloromethane, formaldehyde, benzene and toluene and xylene, among others. Replace solvent-based cleaning agents with water-based and semi-aqueous alternatives. Reduce airflow around cleaning equipment; reduce the flow of liquid from items that are being cleaned. Designate rooms specifically for cleaning, exhaust air collection, and treating cleaning exhaust. Recycle cleaning solvents. Use activated carbon absorption; record the temperature, regeneration period and replacement amount of activated carbon. While this article provides select examples of steps being taken by companies and municipalities, corporate industry goals and action plans for VOC reduction remain unclear and inconsistent. The requirements and policies of VOC management in China are dynamic and growing more stringent both nationally and locally. Part of the challenge for global companies is understanding and interpreting requirements, identifying the potential for high-risk interruption and determining economical and environmentally responsible actions that can mitigate or avoid these risks. Furthermore, unique policy is being formulated according to the needs and specialties of different regions, industries and factory conditions. Companies that have responsibility for facilities and supply chains in China can benchmark against these to better understand their regulatory and business interruption risks. Pull Quote Strategies include tackling large networks of smaller companies, which emit up to 60% of VOCs in China, and penalizing non-compliant companies by lowering their ‘social credit’ rating. The 2016 wave of enforcement actions resulted in renewed effort by companies that hadn’t been shut down to take regulatory concerns more seriously since then. Companies from key VOC-emitting industries will be honed in on regardless of specific processes, consumption rates or volume of emissions. Contributors Christopher Hazen Topics Chemicals & Toxics Policy & Politics COVID-19 China Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off A regenerative thermal oxidizer unit in China. Image courtesy of Greenment

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China’s new frontier for VOC regulations

What you should know about new Interior Secretary Deb Haaland

March 17, 2021 by  
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What you should know about new Interior Secretary Deb Haaland Shaandiin Cedar Wed, 03/17/2021 – 02:00 According to a Wilderness Society analysis of U.S. Geological Survey data, life-cycle emissions from oil, gas and coal pulled from public lands and waters were equivalent to more than 20 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2018. If those emissions were attributed to a single country, it would rank fifth in life-cycle emissions, a sobering fact that exposes the need for bold leadership at the helm of historically slow-moving federal agencies. Early in his presidency, President Joe Biden made it a priority to select a diverse team proficient in climate work, and his cabinet appointment of Deb Haaland as Secretary for the Department of the Interior is no exception.  Born in Winslow, Arizona, Haaland spent summers with her grandmother in the Laguna Pueblo in Northwestern New Mexico and identifies as 35th generation Indigenous New Mexican with ties to the region dating back to the 13th century. Haaland was one of the first Native women elected to Congress, representing New Mexico’s 1st congressional district, and her appointment to the Interior makes her the first Native person to lead a U.S. cabinet agency. This breaks a 245-year record of non-Native leadership in a department directly responsible for managing the relationship with the nation’s 574 tribes and the 50 million acres of Native land held in trust by Interior bureaus. Haaland will oversee nearly 500 million acres of land — that’s one-fifth the land area of the U.S. and 70% of all public lands — and almost 700 million acres of natural resources that lay beneath it and its coasts. As Interior Secretary, Haaland will oversee nearly 500 million acres of land — that’s one-fifth the land area of the U.S. and 70 percent of all public lands — and almost 700 million acres of natural resources that lay beneath it and its coasts. The department is responsible for 422 national parks, 129 national monuments and 567 wildlife refuges, stewarding biodiversity conservation projects and protecting more than 1,000 endangered species. “It was in the cornfields with my grandfather where I learned the importance of water and protecting our resources and where I gained a deep respect for the earth,” Haaland said in her confirmation hearings, emphasizing that her experiences make her uniquely qualified to lead the Interior Department.  Climate advocates believe this is a significant turning point for the Interior, creating a pathway for private sector collaboration in the agency’s efforts to decarbonize and bolster federal production of renewable energy.  The Interior’s dirty fuel challenge  Given the sheer size of land and water under management, the Interior represents a valued powerhouse of domestic output and natural resource development. During Haaland’s confirmation hearings, Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) pointed out that the agency “generates $12 billion for treasury, $315 billion to the U.S. economy and nearly 2 million jobs,” a statement made to underline the importance of the department’s current and future operations. In terms of resource development, Haaland inherits a department that produces the resources for 20 percent of U.S. energy , including 12 percent of its natural gas, 24 percent of its oil and 43 percent of its coal. Leases managed by the Interior hit a record 1 billion barrels in 2020 — a 23 percent increase from 2016 levels. By contrast, sites primarily consisting of Bureau of Land Management projects — an Interior-managed department — produce only 1 percent of the country’s wind and virtually none of its solar power. Fossil fuels development on public lands and waters is responsible for almost one-quarter of the country’s emissions, according to a 2018 U.S. Geological Survey report , making public lands a net emitter of greenhouse gas and the subject of priority review by the Interior’s new leadership. Public land-based solutions As a valuable carbon sink, America’s public lands and waters are an essential part of a successful federal climate strategy, writes Alison Kelly, senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council. U.S. federal forests and grasslands are a major carbon pool and a significant component of the national greenhouse gas inventory, encompassing 248 million acres estimated to contain more than 12 billion tons of carbon .  Currently, the country’s 154 national forests absorb about 10 percent of the nation’s total carbon emissions each year, and a U.S. House of Representatives Special Select Committee on the Climate Crisis report states that there’s potential for capacity increases if deforestation is prevented, new forests are planted and agencies bring new lands into federal ownership. There’s no question that fossil energy does and will continue to play a major role in America for years to come. But we must also recognize that the energy industry is innovating, and our climate challenge must be addressed. According to the committee report, protecting and expanding federal “blue carbon systems” — those that include ocean and wetland ecosystems, including mangroves, seagrasses and marshes — are essential to offset department emissions since they store carbon at a faster rate than terrestrial forests, a finding likely to inform the Interior department’s emission reduction strategies. The Interior’s bold to-do list  Historically, the agency has adhered to traditional notions of energy development, and Haaland has been an outspoken critic of that strategy. She was an early sponsor of the Green New Deal resolution in the House and has said she’s “wholeheartedly against fracking and drilling on public lands.”  As Secretary of the Interior, Haaland acknowledges that the role primarily consists of following the law and directives from the White House, not making them. “I understand that [my] role, it’s to serve all Americans, not just my one district in New Mexico,” said Haaland in her confirmation hearings. To that point, while climate change has become a political tension point, Haaland has emerged as someone who can work effectively with colleagues across the aisle. During her first term in the House, she was named the most bipartisan freshman congresswoman, a trait seen as an asset in aiding efforts to transform the Interior department into a climate-positive entity and potential ally for private sector contractors in the renewable energy space. During her confirmation hearings, Haaland was diplomatic and realistic. “There’s no question that fossil energy does and will continue to play a major role in America for years to come,” she told the committee. “But we must also recognize that the energy industry is innovating, and our climate challenge must be addressed.”  As Haaland settles into her new role, federal and private sector companies should look to the following key priorities for early indications on how business can expect to plug into achieving the administration’s ambitious goals.  1. Pausing new oil fossil fuel development As directed in the recent Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad executive order , the Interior has put a pause on new oil and natural gas leases pending the completion of a “comprehensive review and reconsideration of Federal oil and gas permitting and leasing practices.” This is seen as a bold step to systematically quantify climate impact, using it to inform future leasing processes. 2. Doubling offshore wind by 2030 As Secretary of the Interior, Haaland said she is committed to finding the right balance between economic growth and investing in a clean energy future.  “As part of this balance, the Department has a role in harnessing the clean energy potential of our public lands to create jobs and new economic opportunities,” she said. “The president’s agenda demonstrates that America’s public lands can and should be engines for clean energy production.”  To this end, Haaland will be responsible for reviewing opportunities to increase renewable energy production on Interior lands and waters, with the goal to double offshore wind by 2030. Currently, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management — an Interior managed department — has 15 active commercial leases in various, early stages of development in the Atlantic which, if developed fully, have the potential to support more than 21 GW of energy generating capacity — enough to power almost 7.5 million homes On a national scale, offshore wind for the contiguous United States and Hawaii has a potential capacity of 2,058 gigawatts, or 7,203 terawatt-hours per year, nearly double the electricity consumption of the U.S., according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s 2016 Offshore Wind Resource Assessment for the United States report . 3. Creating jobs with the Civilian Climate Corps Within 90 days, the Interior will submit “a strategy creating a Civilian Climate Corps Initiative, to mobilize the next generation of conservation and resilience workers and maximize the creation of accessible training opportunities and good jobs,” as directed by the executive order, and Haaland is fully onboard.  The creation of a Civilian Climate Corps “demonstrates that America’s public lands can and should be engines for clean energy production” and “has the potential to spur job creation,” Haaland said during her confirmation hearings. 4. Centering equity and environmental justice “Communities of color, low-income families, and rural and Indigenous communities have long suffered disproportionate and cumulative harm from air pollution, water pollution, and toxic sites,” states the Interior’s recently updated priorities list .  As a Congresswoman, and through her lived experiences with Indigenous communities, Haaland says she understands that negative environmental and social impacts are not evenly distributed in our society. As leader of the Interior, and a new member of the White House Environmental Justice Interagency Council, she will be held accountable for addressing environmental injustice in accordance with Biden’s executive order directing the Interior to provide a comprehensive justice strategy and performance metrics. A fierce new climate ally   With the confirmation of Haaland as Secretary of the Interior, government leaders, activists and businesses expect to see major disruptions to business-as-usual public lands management. Haaland will be tasked with preserving natural spaces for generations to come, reducing the department’s sizable environmental impact and reorienting a team of 70,000 employees. While her supporters expect her to be strong on climate action, her skeptics expect her to listen and work with them, something that she says she’s willing and able to do.  In an open letter to Senate leaders during Haaland’s confirmation hearings — signed by nearly 500 national and regional organizations representing Native communities, environmental justice groups and private sector businesses — Haaland was described as “a proven leader and the right person to lead the charge against the existential threats of our time: tackling the climate, biodiversity, extinction and COVID-19 crises and racial justice inequities on our federal public lands and waters.”  At the helm of the Interior, Haaland will play a central role in realizing the federal government’s promises to combat climate change, deploy clean energy and address environmental racism.  Pull Quote Haaland will oversee nearly 500 million acres of land — that’s one-fifth the land area of the U.S. and 70% of all public lands — and almost 700 million acres of natural resources that lay beneath it and its coasts. There’s no question that fossil energy does and will continue to play a major role in America for years to come. But we must also recognize that the energy industry is innovating, and our climate challenge must be addressed. Topics Policy & Politics Social Justice Environmental Responsibility Equity & Inclusion Indigenous People 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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What you should know about new Interior Secretary Deb Haaland

Biden to replace entire federal fleet with electric vehicles

January 28, 2021 by  
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President Joe Biden has announced his administration’s plans to replace the entire federal fleet with electric vehicles . According to his remarks while signing the “Made in America” executive order, all the new electric cars will be made in the United States. “The federal government also owns an enormous fleet of vehicles, which we’re going to replace with clean electric vehicles made right here in America , by American workers,” Biden said in an address. Although political campaign promises take time to materialize, this move signals the potential for positive change. Biden’s commitment to changing the way the federal government carries out its transport is a good gesture, in line with his climate agenda . The federal fleet consists of more than 645,000 vehicles, according to the latest Federal Fleet  report . If the promise comes to pass, the government will have to replace approximately 254,000 civilian vehicles , 173,000 military vehicles and 225,000 post office vehicles with electric ones.  Even though Biden has expressed his commitment to the matter, there are no timelines set. The fact that the federal government owns such a large number of vehicles may mean that the process takes several years.  While some of the government vehicles may take time to replace, others are prime for the switch. For instance, the Grumman Long Life Vehicles (LLV) that have been serving the postal service since the 1980s may appreciate a change. Postal service vehicles perform light duties over short distances with many stops; this use pattern perfectly suits electric cars. The announcement comes at a time when Biden has been busy signing several executive orders that could help alleviate the dire climate crisis. On his first day in office, Biden canceled the Keystone XL pipeline permit and started the process of having the U.S. rejoin the Paris Agreement. Biden also set up a team of experts to formulate a comprehensive plan on how to deal with the climate crisis. Despite all this, substantial change remains a wait-and-see game for observers. While replacing all federal vehicles with electric ones might seem ambitious, it is a move that could help the country start cutting its emissions .  Via Electrek Lead image via Gage Skidmore

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Biden to replace entire federal fleet with electric vehicles

Hyper-efficient prefab home hovers above a wetland in Minnesota

January 28, 2021 by  
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Minneapolis-based prefab purveyors Alchemy Architects has completed the Lake Elmo weeHouse, one of the newest additions to its growing portfolio of weeHouses, a series of eco-friendly homes built with the firm’s patented prefabricated housing system. Named after its location in Minnesota, the Lake Elmo weeHouse demonstrates efficient and space-saving design by fitting three bedrooms, two bathrooms and an open layout in 990 square feet without compromising a sense of spaciousness or views. The home is elevated above the ground on helical piers embedded 22 feet underground to minimize site impact. Completed in 2019, the Lake Elmo weeHouse was commissioned by clients who split their time between Australia and Minnesota. As a result, the architects wrapped the home in low-maintenance and durable weathering steel as well as black cedar cladding to recede the building into the forested landscape. The simple, boxy design responds to the project’s constraints that include a modest budget as well as a maximum zoning height of 16 feet above the flood plain, which was also a major factor of the project. Related: Alchemy Architects build tiny prefab weeHouses that connect with nature Surrounding views of the forest and the need for privacy from neighboring plots informed the placement of Lake Elmo weeHouse’s many windows, including the full-height glazed doors that slide open to connect the living spaces to a wide, enclosed deck for a seamless indoor/outdoor living experience. A spacious entry porch provides additional elevated outdoor space. Inside, the bright, light-filled interiors provide a striking contrast with the dark, weathered steel facade. A kitchen located in the open-plan heart of the home draws the eye with its silver accents, while a built-in bench provides views of the wetland at the end of the hallway. To minimize visual clutter, mechanical equipment is tucked underneath a trap door in the kitchen. In-floor hydronic heating keeps the home warm and cozy during Minnesota’s long winters.  + Alchemy Architects Photography by Brooks Geenen via Alchemy Architects

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Hyper-efficient prefab home hovers above a wetland in Minnesota

One key to moving the Biden agenda: Bring all three sectors to the table

January 20, 2021 by  
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One key to moving the Biden agenda: Bring all three sectors to the table Laura Deaton Wed, 01/20/2021 – 01:30 The incoming Biden administration unquestionably will bring new focus to sustainable development goals at home and abroad. Joe Biden has produced plans in an array of key areas — environmental protection, clean energy and racial equity among them — and has promised action in his first 100 days as president. His administration will be playing catch-up in all these key areas, and the best way to make rapid progress is one that doesn’t get talked about enough: building three-sector collaboration into every major initiative. Government partnerships are nothing new, but they’re usually binary: Government agencies work with nonprofits or with businesses or gather feedback separately from each. Collaborations across all three sectors are less typical, but they generate more deeply informed, comprehensive solutions and yield wider support. The clearest way to illustrate the value of cross-sector collaboration is to contrast what happens when one sector isn’t at the table with what’s possible when all sectors are present. The following examples of initiatives related to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals show the consequences of leaving out or engaging key stakeholders — and point to how the Biden administration can do better. When the nonprofit sector isn’t at the table: the lost opportunity in Opportunity Zones The Trump administration’s Opportunity Zones were a good idea on paper but were more effective at creating massive tax benefits for already wealthy investors than at creating new jobs and economic opportunities in disinvested communities. That’s largely because communities were left out of program design and implementation, which resulted in capital flowing into projects that didn’t target community needs and sometimes usurped preferred community uses. Working alongside government and corporate actors, community-based nonprofits could have ensured that the investments promoted equitable opportunity and contributed rather than extracted value from communities. A couple of successes show what’s possible: The Economic Equity Network, a pop-up Multiplier project, created a network of more than 300 people committed to equitable community transformation and wealth building and brought them high-impact investment opportunities in three cities. The project helped broaden female and minority investor and entrepreneur networks, and promoted the use of Opportunity Zone funds not only for real-estate investments, but also to scale up minority- and women-led businesses. The clearest way to illustrate the value of cross-sector collaboration is to contrast what happens when one sector isn’t at the table with what’s possible when all sectors are present. Moving into 2021, national community development organization LISC is collaborating  with local investment platform Blueprint Local on projects across the Southeast that will align small businesses loans, federal programs and community plans to build community wealth. The Biden administration has indicated support for Opportunity Zones, as well as acknowledged the need for fixes. The first action should be to look at these models and restructure the program with a new priority: bringing community-rooted organizations together with investors committed to creating public as well as private returns. When the for-profit sector isn’t at the table: The sidelining of sustainable fishing Environmental NGOs have been lobbying for the 30×30 initiative to conserve 30 percent of the world’s ocean habitat by 2030, and the Biden administration is embracing that goal. Sounds great, right? The problem is, the  legislation on deck was created without meaningful input from the small-scale fishermen who have helped make U.S. fisheries the most sustainable in the world. This proposal would ban commercial fishing in at least 30 percent of U.S. marine areas, overturning the successful fisheries management system, harming coastal communities and cutting off consumer access to sustainable local seafood. The end result could be to increase long-distance imports from far less sustainable sources. Contrast that with an example of what can happen when all three sectors work together: The nonprofit program Catch Together partners with fishing communities to create and launch community-owned permit banks, which purchase fishing quota (rights to a certain percentage of the catch in a fishery) and then lease that quota to local fishing businesses at affordable rates. The centerpiece of the program is a foundation-supported revolving loan fund that capitalizes the permit banks and allows communities to invest in tradable quota. That makes it easier for small-scale fishing businesses to access capital and compete against larger players for the ability to fish in their own local waters. So far, the Catch Together team has helped fund quota acquisitions and leasing in Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico and New England. The goal is to build a nationwide network of next-generation fishermen who are strong advocates for sustainable fisheries and ocean stewardship. This network and other local fishermen — especially Indigenous fishing communities — deserve a seat at the table to explain how their sustainable fishing techniques contribute to climate resilience and conservation. By insisting on collaborative approaches such as the Catch Together model, the Biden administration could ensure that the effort to mitigate the harm caused by large-scale fishing doesn’t undermine responsible small fishermen. It is possible to reach the 30×30 goals by working with fishing communities — in fact, that may be the only way it will happen. When government hides under the table: A power player blocks renewable energy Pacific Northwest residents and wildlife are caught in the grip of a self-funding federal power marketing entity holding fast to an antiquated model that forces consumers to buy more expensive, less environmentally friendly energy. The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) produces supposedly clean hydroelectric energy from the dams it owns — but its high-maintenance, high-cost infrastructure damages salmon habitat and produces pricier power than solar and wind installations. BPA has maintained the status quo despite these deficits by pacifying environmental NGOs with funding to develop environmental solutions (which have no chance of working unless the dams come down) and using its control of the grid to keep cheaper, greener renewable energy out of the market. Another thread runs through the success stories: science, scientists and diverse perspectives. In this case, a public agency essentially has gone rogue, using its monopoly power to privilege its own perceived interests. Collaboration with the nonprofit and for-profit sectors could create solutions that serve the public interest, but neither the Department of Energy (the BPA’s overseer) nor Congress has come to the table to demand it. Columbia Rediviva , a network of citizen activists, is working to change that by engaging Congress members in a plan to reimagine the Pacific Northwest power grid and bring salmon back to the Columbia River. One focus is freeing NGOs to be independent voices by shifting control of conservation funds to a different government agency (so that the BPA is not funding their operations). Another is building support for newer, better clean energy supplies by sharing research that shows taking down dams would deliver both cheaper energy and more jobs. The Biden administration can promote progress in the Pacific Northwest and on clean energy goals nationally by putting government on the side of innovation and aligning the players’ incentives with the public good. When everyone is at the table: The emergence of the first carbon-neutral U.S. city Menlo Park, California, is on its way to becoming the first carbon-neutral city in the U.S., thanks to Menlo Spark ’s work to activate stakeholders in pursuit of that vision. The nonprofit program has collaborated with local government, businesses, residents and experts to institute proven sustainability measures designed to not only reduce the Silicon Valley hub’s carbon emissions but also increase the prosperity of the entire community. Menlo Spark created community buy-in to the carbon-neutral initiative by outlining how it would allow Menlo Park to continue to thrive economically. This support brought the corporate and government sectors on board as well. The city adopted groundbreaking codes requiring that all new buildings operate entirely on electricity, and the Menlo Spark coalition spurred other Silicon Valley cities to do the same, creating a regional effect. The coalition also catalyzed 20 cities to commit to pursuing 100 percent carbon-free power for all customers by 2021. Solar installations for low-income families, improved transit tools and stops, an infrastructure initiative that paves the way for apartment dwellers to own electric vehicles, the Menlo Green Challenge for households, and educational tools all contribute to progress.  This example illustrates a key advantage of bringing all sectors into the conversation: the nonprofit sector is highly skilled at taking the pulse of a community and figuring out effective ways to gain support from all sectors for innovative ideas. Biden’s climate agenda will require all-sector support to succeed, and the administration should center the nonprofit sector as a valuable partner in building community support. The upshot: We need bigger tables As the examples above illustrate, three-sector engagement is crucial. And another thread runs through the success stories: science, scientists and diverse perspectives. Biden already has taken steps on the crucial task of bringing scientific assessments and ongoing research back into policymaking, but there’s a lot of catching up to do in this area. At the same time, we need to be sure we’re involving a true cross-section of the community in initiatives that affect us all. The National Science Policy Network is addressing both needs: this network catalyzes early-career scientists to take an active role in policymaking at all levels of government. It also focuses on racial justice and diversity in science, with initiatives to promote women and people of color and model inclusive and successful science communication. Having all the right people at the table is the essential first step in creating lasting solutions to our long-running environmental and social challenges. That means involving all three sectors, a cross-section of our communities and scientific advisers who themselves represent diverse perspectives and are committed to translating science into policy. In short, we need bigger tables where everyone gets a seat. The Biden administration would be wise to incorporate this principle throughout its policy agenda. That is how it will truly achieve Biden’s goal of uniting America. Pull Quote The clearest way to illustrate the value of cross-sector collaboration is to contrast what happens when one sector isn’t at the table with what’s possible when all sectors are present. Another thread runs through the success stories: science, scientists and diverse perspectives. Topics Innovation Policy & Politics Corporate Strategy Public-Private Partnerships Environmental Justice 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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One key to moving the Biden agenda: Bring all three sectors to the table

Indigenous land defender Flix Vsquez murdered in Honduras

December 31, 2020 by  
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Honduran environmental hero Félix Vásquez was murdered on December 26 for his brave work defending the land. Vásquez, 60, a long-time leader of the  indigenous  Lenca people, was shot at his home in front of his family. He lived in the rural community of Santiago de Puringla in western Honduras. Four assailants also beat his adult children who were present, but they survived. Vásquez had defended indigenous land rights since the 1980s. He was known nationally for his work opposing megaprojects such as environmentally destructive  mines , logging, wind farms and hydroelectric dams. He also worked on reclaiming ancestral titles for dispossessed communities. Related: Environmental activist Berta Cáceres found murdered in her home It takes a lot of courage to be an environmentalist in  Honduras . A 2009 military coup ousted President Manuel Zelaya and used harsh measures, including beatings and media blackouts, to set a new tone of controlling the people. For the last 11 years, the Honduran government has been better known for electoral fraud, corruption and drug trafficking connections than for eco-friendliness. Hundreds of environmental defenders have disappeared and/or been murdered, and others are locked up on contrived criminal charges. In 2020, the Honduran government stepped up persecution of land defenders. In July, armed assailants wearing police uniforms disappeared a group of Black indigenous environmental defenders. Eight  water  activists from the Guapinol community have been detained this year for protesting against an iron oxide mine. On December 29, just days after Vásquez’s murder, indigenous farmer  Adán Mejía  was murdered on his way home from tending his corn.  “Every single community leader is threatened, without exception, as part of the intimidation campaign to silence us and stop our resistance to projects to exploit natural resources imposed on our territory without consultation,” said Marlen Corea, a leader of indigenous and campesino environmental groups in La Paz. Corea worked closely with Vásquez. “That’s why Félix was killed, but our struggle is just.” Via The Guardian and NPR Image via Trocaire

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Indigenous land defender Flix Vsquez murdered in Honduras

A French wine cellars updated facade doubles as housing for local bats

December 31, 2020 by  
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Bordeaux-based design studio MOONWALKLOCAL collectif d’architectes has recently crafted a new facade for a French wine cellar that doubles as shelter for local bats. Although contemporary in design, the new construction pays homage to its rural surroundings with its simple, gabled shape. Eleven bat nesting boxes have been discreetly integrated into one of the building’s timber-clad, gabled end walls. Simply titled the Bat Wine Cellar, the multifunctional project combines a low-maintenance yet beautiful facade with ecological purpose. The inhabitable facade of the contemporary wine cellar features 11 bat nesting boxes that run the width of the gabled end wall and are constructed of timber to camouflage them into the wooden exterior. To ensure a dark and safe environment for the bats, the architects created a small opening at the bottom of each box as well as ridges on the interior for the bats to hang upside down. Related: Dutch town helps out rare bat species by installing “bat-friendly” streetlights “Useful in the vineyards to regulate insect and butterfly populations, the future inhabitants of this place will have all the necessary comfort: darkness, warmth and height to protect themselves from predators,” MOONWALKLOCAL collectif d’architectes explained in a project statement. In addition to eliminating unwanted pests from the vineyards, the bats can also serve important pollination roles. The dark timber cladding takes cues from the local agricultural vernacular, which includes wood-clad sheds as well as tobacco dryers finished with tar and used oil that dot the rural Bordeaux landscape. The architects used the traditional Japanese wood charring technique of shou sugi ban to treat the wood, which takes on a handsome appearance. Although the process can be time consuming, charring the wood offers benefits such as resistance against rot and pests. As a result, the preserved cladding requires little maintenance. The Bat Wine Cellar project was completed in 2016. + MOONWALKLOCAL collectif d’architectes Images via MOONWALKLOCAL

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