Officials worry COP26 climate conference is at "high risk of failure"

September 22, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

The highly anticipated U.N. climate conference COP26 is at “high risk of failure,” according to U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres. Planned to take place this November in Glasgow , COP26 intends to bring together global leaders to address the climate crisis. However, mistrust and lack of commitment may hinder meaningful progress. While addressing the press in New York on Wednesday, Guterres spoke on his concerns. “I believe that we are at risk of not having a success in COP26,” Guterres said. “There is still a level of mistrust, between north and south, developed and developing countries, that needs to be overcome.” Related: Related: Failing to curb emissions puts Earth on “catastrophic pathway” Guterres says that the world must seriously think about the next step towards salvaging the climate . In a bid to bring more people on board, Guterres has been meeting with global leaders in preparation for COP26. “We are on the verge of the abyss and when you are on the verge of the abyss, you need to be very careful about what the next step is. And the next step is COP26 in Glasgow,” Guterres said. Developed countries have been called out for their lack of commitment to climate promises. Although most have pledged to address the issue, actions have been slow. Developing countries, which often experience the worst of climate change’s effects despite contributing to it the least, want wealthier nations to uphold their commitments. “We need the developed countries to do more, namely in relation to the support to developing countries. And we need some emerging economies to go an extra mile and be more ambitious in the reduction of air emissions ,” Guterres said. Scientists have warned that the world is doing little to mitigate climate change. Recent studies have shown that global warming might drive temperatures above 1.5 degrees Celsius in about two decades unless serious action is taken to deal with the emission problem. Via Reuters Lead image via Dean Calma / IAEA

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Officials worry COP26 climate conference is at "high risk of failure"

Climate clock ticks out shame for rich nations

September 22, 2021 by  
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Activists in  New York  are trying to shame rich countries into keeping an expensive promise to the Global South. A new version of a digital “climate clock” displayed in Union Square shows a climate-action timeline along with an amount rich countries still owe. These richer countries promised to invest $100 billion annually in a global  green energy  fund to help developing nations. According to one photo taken of the digital clock, those countries are wondering about the whereabouts of the other roughly $90.5 billion promised this year. Related: NYC Metronome clock now displays deadline for irreversible global warming The climate clock forms part of the backdrop in which the United Nations General Assembly began its meeting in New York on Monday. The U.N. recently labeled the sorry state of our climate as a “code red for humanity.” According to the clock, we have about seven years and 300 days to slash emissions before facing the worst climate  emergency . “The new IPCC report sent a clear, unequivocal message: we are in a  climate  emergency, and without drastic corrective action on track for climate catastrophe,” said Laura Berry, Climate Clock research and advocacy director, in a statement, as reported by Common Dreams. The original climate clock was unveiled last September. Organizers of the display aren’t impressed by the progress made since then. They’re especially irate that the U.S. has failed to honor its  financial  obligations. “ Africa  needs countries like the U.S.—that are the greatest contributors to the problem—to also contribute the most to helping solve it,” said Climate Clock global ambassador Jerome Ringo. “The United States is only 5% of the world’s population but is responsible for 25% of the world’s carbon emissions. We must contribute our fair share to the Green Climate Fund.” A lot of individuals and organizations are pessimistic about whether the richer countries will step up. Oxfam International estimated that “wealthy nations are expected to fall up to $75 billion short of fulfilling their longstanding pledge to mobilize $100 billion each year from 2020 to 2025 to help the most vulnerable countries adapt to the dangerous effects of climate change and reduce their  emissions .” Via Common Dreams Lead image via Pixabay

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Climate clock ticks out shame for rich nations

Off-grid design helps rebuild school structures lost in fire

September 22, 2021 by  
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Frederick Fisher & Partners recently completed a project at the Ojai Valley School’s Upper Campus in Ojai,  California , replacing structures previously lost to the Thomas Fire in 2017. Situated on a 195-acre site in Ventura County, the new and permanent buildings span 37,000 square feet to include the Aramon Science and Technology Center, the Grace Hobson Smith House dormitory and the Littlefield Student Commons dining and library complex. Related: A LEED Gold-targeted health education hub joins University of Washington campus The school had a head start even before the  wildfire  struck, as it had already been in contact with Frederick Fisher & Partners in 2015 to develop a master plan for future growth. Because of this, they were able to begin work quickly in June of 2018. “OVS showed great resilience in transforming the tragedy of the Thomas Fire into a reimagination of the Upper Campus,” said Frederick Fisher, founding partner and design principle of the project. “We reset from our previous planning with the OVS community and seized this rare ‘blank canvas’ opportunity to create a functionally and aesthetically unified state-of-the-art learning, living, and gathering village interwoven with the extraordinary landscape.” Built to support the school’s growing science and technology curriculum, the single-story Aramont Science and Technology Center contains a range of classrooms, labs and spaces for  science , technology and the arts both indoors and outdoors. At two stories, the Littlefield Student Commons is made up of a dining hall,  library  and student center with space for events and a library on the top floor. The new Grace Hobson Smith House dormitory was completed to house resident and faculty apartments surrounding a community courtyard. To achieve  LEED Gold  status, the design integrates passive cooling with photoelectric power generation and lithium-ion battery energy storage. Altogether, the system will eliminate substantial CO2 emissions while allowing the campus to work off-grid during normal operations.  + Frederick Fisher & Partners Images courtesy of Logan Hall for Ojai Valley School

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Off-grid design helps rebuild school structures lost in fire

These shipping container tiny homes provide for the unhoused

September 22, 2021 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

The pandemic showed us all how close anyone can come to having nothing. Many people are much closer to losing everything than they even want to know. Monarch Village, created by Studio 804, offers a shelter solution to meet the needs of unhoused people and families. Everyone deserves a clean, safe place to live. And when someone is transitioning between permanent living situations, temporary housing like Monarch Village can be a real lifesaver. Studio 804 worked through the pandemic to build 12 clean and comfortable housing units. These units provide the privacy and safety people need to live well. Related: LEED Gold apartments provide supportive housing in Los Angeles These private housing units are different from the large, open-style housing that shelters traditionally provide. Each unit is a tiny home that shares a covered patio area. The units are built around a community vegetable garden and a spot that will soon become a butterfly garden. There’s also a large public space just north of the garden . Monarch Village’s main building houses a cafeteria where meals are served to the entire shelter population. The food is prepared and served with a farm-to-plate concept. Each tiny home has enough space to sleep four people in two separate sleeping areas. There’s also a full bathroom and kitchenette in each unit, and one is fully ADA accessible. Students of Studio 804 built the furniture and cabinetry for each home. Studio 804, a not-for-profit corporation, offers hands-on design and build experience for students. Graduate students from the University of Kansas Department of Architecture join the program to further their studies and learn more about the innovative building solutions that can create a better future. Students here work on all aspects of design and construction over a nine-month academic year. Built to meet USGBC LEED Platinum sustainable design standards, Monarch Village is Studio 804’s latest completed project. Used shipping containers form the structure of the tiny homes, repurposed materials are used throughout the project and passive strategies address heating and ventilation concerns. + Studio 804 Images courtesy of Studio 804

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These shipping container tiny homes provide for the unhoused

Failing to curb emissions puts Earth on "catastrophic pathway"

September 20, 2021 by  
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According to a new United Nations report, the world will face catastrophic weather events unless governments cut greenhouse gas emissions. The report reviewed all the commitments submitted by the Paris accord signatories and found that they would result in a 16% rise in greenhouse gasses by 2030 compared to 2010 levels. Scientists have warned that the world will be uninhabitable if governments do not curb greenhouse gas emissions and keep global warming under a 1.5 degrees Celsius increase. Extreme events such as flooding, disease outbreaks and droughts would lead to massive losses of life if this were to happen. Related: It’s code red for Earth, says new UN study “The world is on a catastrophic pathway to 2.7 degrees (Celsius) of heating,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said. “We need a 45% cut in emissions by 2030 to reach carbon neutrality by mid-century.” In 2015, 200 countries made environmental pledges as part of the Paris Agreement . However, most countries have been slow to show serious commitment. In the latest review, the U.N. found that 113 countries had updated their commitments, with the latest submissions made by 30 July. Emission targets, commonly known as nationally determined contributions or NDCs, are vital in determining cumulative emissions. For the countries that submitted targets, the U.N. report found that there would be a 12% drop in emissions by the end of the decade. “That’s the positive side of the picture,” U.N. climate chief Patricia Espinosa said. “The other one is more sobering.” The other side of the picture is that many major emitters did not submit commitments. This includes countries such as China , Saudi Arabia and India. Espinosa has now called for leaders from these countries and more to submit stronger commitments at the U.N. gathering in New York this week. “Leaders must engage in a frank discussion driven not just by the very legitimate desire to protect national interest, but also by the equally commanding goal of contributing to the welfare of humanity,” Espinosa said. “We simply have no more time to spare, and people throughout the world expect nothing less.” Via PBS and The New York Times Lead image via Pixabay

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Failing to curb emissions puts Earth on "catastrophic pathway"

Zip around the city with CAKE’s new electric moped, the Makka

September 20, 2021 by  
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Gasoline-burning vehicles have created enormous environmental problems, and they continue to pollute the air. It’s not just burning the gas that causes issues — it’s the whole industry. But electric vehicles can help provide solutions for these problems. One brand bringing new designs to the electric moped world is CAKE, and its new Makka model is one you have to check out. The Makka moped comes in two versions, the Flex and Range. Both run on an exchangeable lithium -ion battery and weigh in at about 132 pounds, including the battery. Charging that battery will take three hours to reach 100%, or 2 hours to reach 80%. The versions vary in speed and range; the Flex reaches a top speed of 28 mph with a range of 31 miles, and the Range reaches a top speed of 15 mph with a slightly longer range of 37 miles. Related: Crowley to build the US’s first fully-electric tugboat CAKE designed the Makka with efficient transportation in mind. As Stefan Ytterborn, CAKE CEO and Founder, explained, “With cities and urban mobility changing faster than expected with cleaner and more efficient solutions, we have been eager to share the Makka: An urban short-haul vessel, compact in size and price, reaching a wide audience in the process of deciding what their future means of transportation will be.” With an adjustable seat, the Makka can adapt for your comfort. This zero- emission transportation option also accommodates various racks and mounts to store bags and gear. Aimed at commuters in dense, urban areas, the Makka offers a quick, unobtrusive way to get around. Want to include a passenger seat? No problem. The Makka Flex can be outfitted with a passenger seat for whoever you want to bring on an adventure with you. Available in either white or gray and street legal in both the U.S. and Europe (though only the Flex is available in the U.S.), the Makka is part of CAKE’s mission toward “a zero-emission society.” + CAKE Images courtesy of CAKE

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Zip around the city with CAKE’s new electric moped, the Makka

Past deforestation awaits a world of conversion-free supply chains

September 17, 2021 by  
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Grasslands are one of the most in danger landscapes in America. The World Wildlife Fund is working to raise awareness about the conversion of these lands.

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Past deforestation awaits a world of conversion-free supply chains

Big money flows into long-duration energy storage

September 17, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Long-duration energy storage is the linchpin technology that will let the economy run off of intermittent renewable energy sources and backup power after grid disruptions. 

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Big money flows into long-duration energy storage

The climate is changing. How are central banks responding?

September 10, 2021 by  
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From the Bank of England to the People’s Bank of China, monetary authorities of the world’s largest economies are gauging how climate change could rock the financial system.

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The climate is changing. How are central banks responding?

MIT innovation may make fusion energy a reality soon

September 9, 2021 by  
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Commercially viable fusion energy may soon be a reality, following the successful trial of a new superconducting magnetic field. On September 5, scientists at MIT tested a large high-temperature electromagnet for the first time to gauge its strength. The first-of-its-kind magnetic field successfully demonstrated that it was possible to generate commercially viable fusion energy. For decades, scientists have been trying to find a way of capturing fusion energy. The problem has always been the inability to capture more energy than is used. Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS), an MIT startup company, is the first firm in the world to achieve this. Related: DC Microgrids, building infrastructure for energy’s future “Fusion in a lot of ways is the ultimate clean energy source,” said Maria Zuber, MIT’s vice president for research and E. A. Griswold Professor of Geophysics. “The amount of power that is available is really game-changing.” Water helps fuels the creation of fusion energy, and “the Earth is full of water — it’s a nearly unlimited resource. We just have to figure out how to utilize it.” In light of the successful demonstration, MIT and CFS are collaborating to build the world’s first fusion device. The demonstration device known as SPARC is scheduled to be completed by 2025. Fusion is what powers the sun. The process involves merging two small atoms into one, which generates an enormous amount of energy. The problem with this process has always been that replicating it on Earth requires higher temperatures than most materials can hold. To solve the problem, scientists use intense magnetic fields to form an “invisible bottle” that contains “the hot swirling soup of protons and electrons.” The MIT innovation introduces changes to the type of magnetic fields used in containing fusion atoms. The project used high- temperature superconductors, which helped create higher magnetic fields in a smaller space. Traditional technology requires a much larger apparatus to create this same kind of magnetic field. The design was made possible due to a new kind of superconducting material becoming commercially available a few years ago. If the process is successful, fusion energy will be able to replace traditional energy sources and get rid of the stubborn carbon emissions problem. Via MIT Lead image via Gretchen Ertl, CFS/MIT-PSFC, 2021

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MIT innovation may make fusion energy a reality soon

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