Climate change

Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals releases video highlighting climate change impacts on tribes in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska

The Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP) recently produced a video, “Adapting to Change,” that highlights climate change impacts on tribes and their resources in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, as well as their adaptation efforts. The video also includes information from ITEP’s Climate Change Adaptation training.

ITEP: Adapting to Climate Change from Jeremy Scott on Vimeo.

Federal Highway Administration and Georgetown Climate Center announce climate change adaptation and resilience case studies series

The Federal Highway Administration will be highlighting climate change adaptation and resilience work in the transportation sector through a new series developed by the Georgetown Climate Center under a cooperative agreement.  The first of these new resources is now available online with over 100 additional case studies to be added in the coming months. These resources will also be available through the Georgetown Climate Center Adaptation Clearinghouse.

Europe shouldn’t be afraid of leading the world on environmental regulation

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Nowhere else on the planet have 28 countries agreed to binding legislation on areas including hazardous chemicals, water quality, waste management and greenhouse gases, argues Hans Bruyninckx.

The Best Technology for Fighting Climate Change? Trees

Read the full story in The Atlantic.

When people talk about technologies that might offset climate change, they often evoke not-yet-invented marvels, like planes spraying chemicals into the atmosphere or enormous skyscrapers gulping carbon dioxide from the clouds.

But in a new report, Oxford University researchers say that our best hopes might not be so complex.

In fact, they are two things we already know how to do: plant trees and improve the soil.

Both techniques, said the report, are “no regrets.” They’ll help the atmosphere no matter what, they’re comparatively low-cost, and they carry little additional risk. Specifically, the two techniques it recommends are afforestation—planting trees where there were none before—and biochar—improving the soil by burying a layer of dense charcoal.

Between now and 2050, trees and charcoal are the “most promising” technologies out there, it said.

Climate Change & Manufacturing

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

“When you’re in a hole, stop digging.”

The subtitle to this article, the so-called “first law of holes,” is attributed to various sources (earliest going back to 1911 in the Washington Post) and is usually interpreted as “if you find yourself in an untenable position, you should stop and change, rather than carry on exacerbating it.” (fromWikipedia)

China became the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter in 2006, overtaking the US due primarily to electricity generation and industrial processes. However the per capita carbon footprint of a Chinese person is still much lower than the average US person. This is not good. Increasing industrialization and the slippery slope to more consumption.So, what’s the “hole” and how do we stop digging?

Standardize, analyze, monetize: Big Data and a carbon-free future

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

From historical weather records and future forecasts, to bushels and tons of each agricultural harvest, to phone books, to sports, to insurance actuaries and so on, people have been gathering, tracking and using data for centuries.

All that data is getting big. Really big. In 2012, the amount of data stored globally was greater than 2.5 zettabytes. (A zettabyte is 1.1 trillion gigabytes — a number with 21 zeros, or over three times the amount of all the grains of sand on all the beaches in the world).

Three converging trends have led to this rise of Big Data:

  • Granularity: we can collect finer and finer levels of detail than ever before
  • Speed: we can collect that data faster than ever before
  • Cost: we can rapidly collect that data more cheaply than ever before

This speeding avalanche of data — and all the information in it — can lead to great opportunities, especially in the areas we work in at RMI: electricity, buildings and transportation. The big questions are:

  • What value can we get from all that data?
  • What are the obstacles that prevent us from extracting that value?
  • How can we overcome those obstacles to lead us towards a carbon-free energy future?

5 top climate challenges for Capitol Hill — and how business can help

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

The politics of climate change are muddy, but businesses can play an important role in cleansing the conversation, according to former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin in his keynote address Tuesday at the 2015 Climate Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C.

It’s up to business and government to work together to come up with climate change solutions and build a more sustainable and resilient future.