Day: May 28, 2020

Big Oil loses appeal, climate suits go to California courts

Read the full story from the Associated Press.

Big Oil lost a pair of court battles Tuesday that could lead to trials in lawsuits by California cities and counties seeking damages for the impact of climate change.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected arguments by energy companies and ruled state courts are the proper forum for lawsuits alleging producers promoted petroleum as environmentally responsible when they knew it was contributing to drought, wildfires, and sea level rise associated with global warming.

The lawsuits claim Chevron, Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips, BP, Royal Dutch Shell and other companies created a public nuisance and should pay for damage from climate change and help build sea walls and other infrastructure to protect against future impact — construction that could cost tens of billions of dollars.

Preventing food waste nets Apeel $250 million from Singapore’s government, Oprah, and Katy Perry

Read the full story at Tech Crunch.

Food waste and the pressures on the global food supply chain wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic have captured headlines around the world, and one small startup based in the coastal California city of Santa Barbara has just announced $250 million in financing to provide a solution.

The company is called Apeel Sciences, and over the past eight years it has grown from a humble startup launched with a $100,000 grant from the Gates Foundation to a giant, globe-spanning company worth more than $1 billion and attracting celebrity backers like Oprah Winfrey and Katy Perry, as well as large multi-national investors like Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund.

What’s drawn these financiers and the fabulously famous to invest is the technology that Apeel has developed, which promises to keep food fresh for longer periods on store shelves, which prevents waste and (somewhat counterintuitively) encourages shoppers to buy more vegetables.

How the coronavirus is reshaping the recycling industry

Read the full story at Boulder Weekly.

The sky is clearer these days, as mountain views come into full focus. Air traffic has dropped significantly, production of some industries has ceased and people around the world have been sticking close to home. With that, global greenhouse gas emissions fell as much as 17% by April, according to new research published in the journal Nature Climate Change. While that’s good news in many regards, the coronavirus pandemic has also increased household and plastic waste, and disrupted the recycling industry. 

Buildings consume lots of energy – here’s how to design whole communities that give back as much as they take

Read the full story at The Conversation.

Although the coronavirus pandemic has dominated recent headlines, climate change hasn’t gone away. Many experts are calling for a “green” economic recovery that directs investments into low-carbon energy sources and technologies.

Buildings account for 40% of total energy consumption in the U.S., compared to 32% for industry and 28% for transportation. States and cities with ambitious climate action plans are working to reduce emissions from the building sector to zero. This means maximizing energy efficiency to reduce building energy use, and then supplying the remaining energy needs with electricity generated by carbon-free sources.

My colleagues and I study the best ways to rapidly reduce carbon emissions from the building sector. In recent years, construction designs have advanced dramatically. Net zero energy buildings, which produce the energy they need on site from renewable sources, increasingly are the default choice. But to speed the transition to zero carbon emissions, I believe the United States must think bigger and focus on designing or redeveloping entire communities that are zero energy.

Smashing eggs, dumping milk: Farmers waste more food than ever

Read the full story in the Chicago Tribune.

Food waste is taking on a new meaning in the pandemic era.

Dumped milk in Wisconsin. Smashed eggs in Nigeria. Rotting grapes in India. Buried hogs in Minnesota. These disturbing images have stirred outrage around the world. But here’s the surprising part: the world may not actually be wasting more than normal, when a third of global food production ends up in landfills.

What’s changing now is that rather than being thrown out by consumers as kitchen waste, an unprecedented amount of food is getting dumped even before making it into grocery stores.

Pop-up bike lanes and grassroots playgrounds: How COVID-19 will change cities

Read the full story at

Running through the middle Berlin’s vibrant Kreuzberg neighborhood, busy Kottbusser Damm has always been a nightmare for cyclists. For years, double-parked cars forced those brave enough to tackle the street to dodge in and out of rushing car traffic.

The scene along the half-mile thoroughfare is very different now. As the neighborhood’s businesses and restaurants begin to re-open after nearly two months of lockdown, cyclists pedal along a brand-new bike lane, carved out of what had been parking spaces and set apart from traffic by gleaming yellow lines and red-and-white striped bollards. Parked cars, meanwhile, were shifted to the middle of the street, and a single lane in each direction was open to car traffic.

Kottbusser Damm is just one of more than a dozen streets in Berlin where authorities have installed “pop-up bike lanes“—or “corona bike lanes,” as locals are already calling them—in the last two weeks. The idea is to give pedestrians and cyclists a way to commute and exercise safely from both cars and possible infection by SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Berlin’s far from alone. Other German cities, including Stuttgart and Essen, are setting aside space for cyclists too. In Milan, city officials announced that 22 miles of streets in the city center will be re-engineered to make them safer for cyclists and pedestrians as restrictions on movement start to lift. And in Brussels, authorities are moving quickly to transform 25 miles of car lanes into bike lanes.

Social Media Postings May Risk User Copyrights

Read the full story from the New York Law Journal.

Most people sign up for social media platforms without taking the time or effort to read the platform’s Terms of Use. In his Technology Law column, Peter Brown discusses a recent decision from the Southern District of New York that illustrates why this may be a risky proposition for professional photographers, artists, or anyone who values their creative intellectual property.

OPINION: Now’s the time to build a 21st century energy system

Read the full story from Thomson Reuters.

Clean and resilient energy provides a safe and strategic investment choice as $8 trillion is spent on virus stimulus packages

Bumblebees Bite Plants to Force Them to Flower (Seriously)

Read the full story in Scientific American.

Bumblebees are a resourceful bunch: when pollen is scarce and plants near the nest are not yet flowering, workers have developed a way to force them to bloom. Research published on Thursday in Science shows that the insects puncture the plants’ leaves, which causes them to flower, on average, 30 days earlier than they otherwise would. How the technique evolved and why the plants respond to bumblebee bites by blooming remain unclear. But researchers say the discovery of a new behavior in such a familiar creature is remarkable.

Climate change will make allergy sufferers suffer a little bit longer each year

Read the full story at Massive Science.

Data from 17 Northern Hemisphere locations indicates that plants are releasing more pollen and for a longer period of time as the globe warms.

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