UN releases inconceivable new estimate of Earth’s 2050 population

June 22, 2017 by  
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Right now there are 7.5 billion people on Earth and counting. But the world in 2050 will be even more packed, according to new United Nations (UN) projections. The new World Population Prospects: 2017 Revision report estimates that there could be nearly 10 billion people on the planet in a little over 30 years. By 2030, the global population could be 8.6 billion, according to the UN. 9.8 billion people might reside on Earth in 2050, and 11.2 billion in 2100. As around 83 million people are born every single year, the organization expects the total population to rise even if fertility levels go down. And while China currently has the most people of any country, the UN estimates India will surpass China in around seven years. Related: Earth’s population just hit 7.5 billion people Of the world’s 10 largest countries, Nigeria is growing the fastest. The country is currently the world’s seventh largest but the UN estimates they will surpass the United States to become the world’s third largest country just before 2050. And between now and 2050, around half of all the population growth on Earth will be centered in only nine countries: Nigeria, India, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, Indonesia, Pakistan, and the United States. The new report doesn’t just cover the amount of people in the world. It addresses fertility, life expectancy, and refugee movement. For example, fertility has fallen in almost all the areas of the world, even in Africa. One exception is Europe. A reduction in fertility has led to an aging population. Meanwhile life expectancy has risen globally from 65 to 69 years for men and 69 to 73 years for women, although the UN noted large disparities between countries in those figures. The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division put out the June 21 report. The organization says the statistics could help agencies better work to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Via the United Nations Images via Guillaume on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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UN releases inconceivable new estimate of Earth’s 2050 population

World’s greenest and healthiest office crowned in Washington, D.C.

June 22, 2017 by  
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The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) headquarters in Washington DC was just named the greenest and healthiest office on the planet! Perkins+Will designed the groundbreaking interior, which has received both LEED and WELL Platinum Certification under WELL Building Standard. The 8,500-square-foot office features human-centric design elements that reduce stress, increase air quality, mask sounds and regulate the body’s physiological processes. Employees have no assigned seats, but choose available workplace environments that support specific daily tasks. The interior includes meeting spaces and private areas that can be reserved for several hours at a time. Related: GSK’s US Headquarters Awarded Double LEED Platinum in Philadelphia’s Navy Yard Biophilic design strategies employed throughout the space include the use of natural materials , architectural forms, patterning, and state-of-the-art monitoring systems to create a world-class working environment. ASID staff participated in the design process by wearing sensors that measured speech patterns and body movement when they interacted with each other. These sensor readings were compared to show how their interactions changed as a result of the new office design. Related: NBBJ Unveils New Plans for Biosphere Greenhouses at Amazon’s Seattle HQ “We began this project with a clear goal of showcasing the many ways design can positively affect the health and well-being of employees while boosting resource efficiency ,” said ASID CEO Randy W. Fiser. “At ASID, we believe in research-based results in design and placed an emphasis on third-party validation of the space,” he added. + Perkins+Will + American Society of Interior Designers (ASID)

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World’s greenest and healthiest office crowned in Washington, D.C.

Renewables will reign supreme by 2040, latest BNEF report shows

June 21, 2017 by  
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Renewable energy is on track to take over the world, if Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF)’s predictions are correct. This month they released their annual New Energy Outlook (NEO) report, which reveals 51 percent of the world’s power generation could come from renewables by 2040. During the next 23 years, 72 percent of the $10.2 trillion spent on new power generation will go into solar power and wind power . The future sure looks bright for renewable energy. NEO 2017 lead author Seb Henbest said their report indicates “the greening of the world’s electricity system is unstoppable” as costs for wind and solar continue to plummet. Batteries will also play a role in the shift of the world from polluting fuels to clean ones. Related: Dropping costs in renewable tech spurs rapid shift to clean energy Coal is on its way out, if the NEO 2017 predictions are correct. The BNEF team wrote in Germany, Spain, Italy, Australia, and the United States, solar is at least as cheap as coal, and in just a few years – by 2021 – it will be less expensive than coal in Mexico, Brazil, the United Kingdom, China, and India. And while the report suggests 51 percent of the world’s power could come from renewables in 2040, Greentech Media pointed out that’s an average. Some countries could get more than 51 percent energy from renewables – countries like Mexico, Italy, Brazil, and Chile could get as much as 80 percent of their energy from clean sources. Wind and solar on their own will account for more than 50 percent of power in Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Mexico. Green technology adoption – like rooftop solar – will be on the rise. Electric vehicles will “bolster electricity use and help balance the grid .” Henbest told Greentech Media, “The cost declines that we are seeing with these technologies are so steep that it becomes a matter of time as to when they start crossing over and becoming competitive in different ways. These things are getting cheaper faster than we thought even a year ago.” Via Bloomberg New Energy Finance ( 1 , 2 ) and Greentech Media Images via Pixabay ( 1 , 2 )

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Renewables will reign supreme by 2040, latest BNEF report shows

Seattle’s beloved Space Needle slated for much-needed makeover

June 21, 2017 by  
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Seattle ‘s famed Space Needle – a 55 year-old icon – is finally getting a much-needed makeover. Helmed by local architect Olson Kundig , the ambitious project will update the structure’s physical systems while renovating the restaurant with a rotating glass floor. In addition, a slanted, all-glass enclosure will be installed around the observation deck to enhance the already stellar views. Space Needle Chairman Jeff Wright, whose family owns the building, hailed the project as a necessity to keep the famed landmark up-to-date: “I believe we’ll look back at this as a pivotal moment in the history of the Space Needle. This project both connects us back to our roots, to the vision that my father and his partners had when they built the Space Needle in 1962, and guides us forward into the future for generations to enjoy.” Related: Olson Kundig Designs Office Made From Wind Turbine Parts In addition to renovated structural elements and more elevators, the proposal calls for adding lots more glass to the beloved structure. The walls surrounding the observation deck, which currently has a cage-like enclosure, will be replaced with massive floor-to-ceiling glass panels to provide uninhibited views of the Puget Sound . A rotating, all-glass floor in the restaurant will give visitors a view of Seattle from above. Although there is no specific time frame for the project, the privately-funded renovation will most likely take years. However, the revamped restaurant and observation deck are slated to be opened by summer of 2018. + Olson Kundig Via Fast Company Images via Olson Kundig and video via Brooklyn Digital Foundry

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Seattle’s beloved Space Needle slated for much-needed makeover

Federal court rules Trump’s Dakota Access Pipeline approval violated the law

June 16, 2017 by  
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Injustice has been a common theme of the Standing Rock Sioux’s battle against the Dakota Access Pipeline , as they faced fines , water cannons in sub-zero temperatures , and eviction at gunpoint . But the tribe said this week they just won a ‘ significant victory ‘ in court that could be a game-changer. A federal judge said the United States Army Corps of Engineers did not conduct an adequate study of the environmental risks associated with the controversial oil pipeline  when the Trump administration rushed through its completion. Embed from Getty Images District Judge James Boasberg, who sits on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, said in a 91-page decision the Corps “did not adequately consider the impacts of an oil spill on fishing rights, hunting rights, or environmental justice .” It’s an important step that could set a precedent – but the judge did not order the pipeline to be turned off. Instead Boasberg asked for additional briefing, requesting attorneys appear again next week for a status conference. Related: Dakota Access Pipeline springs first oil leak – before completion According to The Atlantic , the case isn’t about the potential harm to the tribe, but whether the Corps adequately researched and reported on the risks before they approved the pipeline. The Corps reportedly did not study whether a spill would kill most of the fish in the river, or if the chemicals that might be used to clean up after a spill would poison animals. Many members of the tribe source their food from the fish or animals that could potentially be impacted if a spill were to occur. Embed from Getty Images Even though the pipeline hasn’t been shut off, the tribe is still celebrating victory. Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault II said in a statement, “This is a major victory for the Tribe and we commend the courts for upholding the law and doing the right thing. The previous administration painstakingly considered the impacts of this pipeline, and President Trump hastily dismissed these careful environmental considerations in favor of political and personal interests . We applaud the courts for protecting our laws and regulations from undue political influence and will ask the Court to shut down pipeline operations immediately.” Via Stand With Standing Rock and The Atlantic Images via Wikimedia Commons and Becker1999 on Flickr

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Federal court rules Trump’s Dakota Access Pipeline approval violated the law

Hyundai’s new emissions-free bus travels 180 miles on just one hour of charging

June 2, 2017 by  
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It isn’t just passenger vehicles  going green  these days – mass transit is jumping on the zero-emissions bandwagon. Hyundai just unveiled its first mass-produced electric bus called the Elec City . After one hour of charging, the bus can travel 180 miles thanks to a 256kWh battery pack. Best of all, the company’s first emissions-free vehicle will be available for order in 2018. According to a report from Yonhap news agency , the company has embraced green innovation “to diversify its lineup with environmentally friendly vehicles and enhance its brand image in global markets where clean modes of transportation have emerged a key point in auto manufacturing.” Hyundai launched the bus at the Truck & Bus Mega Fair, a local commercial vehicle exhibition. Tak Yeong-duck, senior vice president of Hyundai’s Commercial Vehicle R&D Division, admits that the Elec Bus has its flaws, but says it will undoubtedly become more efficient as  electric vehicle technology is improved upon. He said, “There still remain things to be improved in terms of the charging infrastructure for pure electric vehicles. But we have decided to launch the Elec City next year as the government plans to increase the number of charging stations in the coming years.” Related: The world’s fastest charging electric bus powers up in 10 seconds flat The sleek electric bus is estimated to cost more than 200 million won ($179,000 USD), and that price does not factor in the central government’s subsidy worth 100 million won. It has not been confirmed, either, if the company will sell the Elec City (which took eight years to develop) in the United States. If Hyundai does make the emission-free bus available in the U.S., it will face some fierce competition. Chinese manufacturer BYD has sold electric buses in California , as has the Canadian company GreenPower . Tesla CEO Elon Musk has also considered developing an electric bus and knowing his ambition, it might just happen. Now that Hyundai has unveiled its first emissions-free vehicle, it has a new goal of improving the fuel efficiency of its commercial vehicles up to 30 percent by 2020. Additionally, the company aims to sell 105,000 commercial vehicles in global markets, up from 102,000 units sold in 2016. According to recent reports, Hyundai may even release a long-range electric vehicle in 2018 – keep an eye out for that. + Elec City Via Yonhap News Agency Images via Elec City

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Hyundai’s new emissions-free bus travels 180 miles on just one hour of charging

“We must not waver”: Cities vow leadership in climate fight

June 1, 2017 by  
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As the United States sounds its intent to pull out of the Paris agreement, mayors around the world recommit to bold and pioneering actions to cut carbon emissions.

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“We must not waver”: Cities vow leadership in climate fight

BREAKING: Trump announces U.S. will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement

June 1, 2017 by  
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During a highly anticipated speech at the Rose Garden, climate denier President Donald Trump announced that the United States of America will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement secured under Barack Obama’s leadership. President Trump stated that the accord was “bad” and poorly negotiated by the Obama administration, and that he “is keeping his campaign promise to put American workers first.” Part of Trump’s speech read, ”The Paris Accord is a BAD deal for Americans, and the President’s action today is keeping his campaign promise to put American workers first. The accord was negotiated poorly by the Obama administration and signed out of desperation. It frontloads costs on the American people to the detriment of our economy.” Before the announcement was officially made, Donald Trump was cited by The Daily Best telling congressional staffers on a conference call that he is withdrawing from the Paris accord. Energy policy adviser for the White House, Michael Catanzaro, confirmed that “the United States is getting out of the Paris agreement.” Catanzaro added that Trump “will be open to and will immediately be looking for a better deal.” Reportedly, the Trump administration will follow steps for withdrawal laid out in the agreement. In total, says Catanzaro, removing the U.S. from the deal will take four years. “But we’re going to make very clear to the world that we’re not going to be abiding by what the previous administration agreed to,” he said. Despite the fact that countries such as Costa Rica run on 100% renewable energy and Denmark once generated 400% of the power it needs from wind turbines , the Trump administration remains resistant to transitioning the U.S. to run on renewable energy resources. This is because President Trump, a businessman, believes that energy sourced from fossil fuels is the solution to making America great again – and he thinks climate change is a “hoax” invented by the Chinese . Related: China says they’ll stay in the Paris Agreement – with or without Trump At the time of its signing, 195 countries, including the United States, pledged to reduce emissions that contribute to climate change in order to prevent global catastrophes which may result from rising temperatures. President Barack Obama committed America to a goal of lowering emissions by 26 percent to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. The broad aim was to increase these cuts over time. With the United States exiting the Paris Agreement, carbon emissions are likely to increase, potentially propelling global disasters resulting from rising sea levels , severe weather conditions, and increased temperatures. On a positive note, China and the European Union are prepared to publicly recommit to the agreement with or without the United States. Also, Trump cannot technically withdraw from the agreement until November of 2019. Finally, many U.S.-based companies, including Apple , have ambitious goals to run on 100% clean energy in the near future. With support from educated consumers, the U.S. may reach its previously contracted emissions goal with or without the President’s support. Via CNN Images via Pixabay , Wikimedia Creative Commons

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BREAKING: Trump announces U.S. will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement

Tesla’s Musk to quit White House councils if Trump pulls out of Paris climate deal

June 1, 2017 by  
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Back in February,  Tesla  CEO Elon Musk defended his decision to stay on President Donald Trump’s business advisory council after facing a barrage of criticism, including from customers who claimed to have canceled their Model 3 orders. His reasoning was that there needed to be more moderate voices advising Trump on issues such as climate change and clean energy. Now with the president reportedly on the verge of pulling out of the landmark Paris climate agreement , it appears that Musk has had enough of Trump — threatening on Twitter to quit the two advisory councils he sits on (business and manufacturing jobs) if the president abandons the Paris accord. Trump is announcing on Thursday his decision about whether to keep the United States in the global pact, with a source saying he intends to exit the accord. If the US does withdraw from the Paris accord, it would join Syria and Nicaragua as the world’s only non-participants in the agreement signed by 195 nations and so far ratified by 147 parties . The agreement to significantly reduce planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions entered into force on November 4, 2016. Related: Elon Musk says Trump administration may be “positive on renewables” Don't know which way Paris will go, but I've done all I can to advise directly to POTUS, through others in WH & via councils, that we remain — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 31, 2017 Will have no choice but to depart councils in that case — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 31, 2017 Musk is joining other corporate CEOs in a last-minute push to convince the president not to cede US leadership on climate. The list includes Tim Cook of Apple Inc., Dow Chemical Co.’s Andrew Liveris, JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Jamie Dimon and General Electric Co.’s Jeffrey Immelt. Twenty-five companies, including Intel and Microsoft, signed onto a letter published as a full-page ad in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal on Thursday. “By expanding markets for innovative clean technologies, the agreement generates jobs and economic growth,” the letter reads. “U.S. companies are well positioned to lead in these markets. Withdrawing from the agreement will limit our access to them and could expose us to retaliatory measures.” Via LA Times Image via Facebook

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Tesla’s Musk to quit White House councils if Trump pulls out of Paris climate deal

White House official says Trump is pulling out of the Paris Agreement

May 31, 2017 by  
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President Donald Trump is set to withdraw from the historic 2015 Paris Agreement , according to several news outlets. It appears he’ll stick with his ill-advised campaign promise after all, and favor nationalist voices like that of Steve Bannon against the more moderate tones of his daughter Ivanka Trump. Even oil and gas companies like Shell and ExxonMobil called for America to stay in the deal. The move will likely mean the United States loses their footing as a global leader in the fight against climate change – but that’s not the worst of it. At a moment when decisive action against climate change has never been more crucial, the leader of one of the planet’s most influential countries could yank the nation out of the hard-fought, historic Paris deal praised as a victory for the entire world. Axios reported according to “two sources with direct knowledge of the decision,” Trump will withdraw from the agreement. That report is backed up by other news outlets such as Politico, which spoke with whom they referred to as a White House official. Related: G7 leaders openly say climate change consensus does not include US On Trump’s recent trip abroad, numerous world leaders and Pope Francis entreated the United States to stay in the deal. Trump’s Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also wanted America to stay on board with the deal. Axios reports 22 Republican Senators wrote a letter, however, that helped sway Trump’s mind against the accord. Supposedly for the past week the president has been telling people close to him that he intended to yank America out of the deal, even though he refused to share his intentions with G7 leaders. Working with a small team, Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt is working out how the US will pull out of the agreement, according to Axios. A formal withdrawal could take around three years. Such a drastic move from Trump could weaken the Paris Agreement, as the United States is the world’s second biggest carbon polluter. Via Axios and Politico Images via Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Flickr and Jim Mattis on Flickr

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White House official says Trump is pulling out of the Paris Agreement

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