Day: April 5, 2021

‘I see myself in these kids’: Why education is key to Aurora, Illinois’ smart city concept

Read the full post at Centered.

Michael Pegues credits his mother with instilling in him a love of technology in his youth and encouraging him to pursue a STEM-based career…

As Aurora’s chief information officer, Pegues has made it a priority to build out its Smart Aurora long-term strategic program. As part of its strategy, the city is implementing data analytics to regulate traffic signals and water utility management and create smart parking decks to make it easier for motorists to park. The city also plans to expand its existing 129 miles of fiber-optic cable to 645 miles — to attract new business and to help close the digital divide. 

Despite Pledges to Cut Emissions, China Goes on a Coal Spree

Read the full story at e360.

China is building large numbers of coal-fired power plants to drive its post-pandemic economy. The government has promised a CO2 emissions peak by 2030, but the new coal binge jeopardizes both China’s decarbonization plans and global efforts to tackle climate change.

Duke, other utilities see dollar signs in becoming EV experts

Read the full story at Utility Dive.

As this year’s Super Bowl viewers learned, parts of Europe are well-ahead of the U.S. in electric vehicle adoption.

Energy providers there have developed an array of services to help business customers make the switch to electric, with large utility companies such as E.ON not just installing and maintaining charging stations at businesses and employees’ homes but also advising customers on where to locate chargers and use them to manage an EV fleet.

The U.S. EV services market is not as developed by utilities, but as the federal government and major U.S. automakers step up their investment into EVs U.S. power companies like Duke and Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) are finding opportunities more enticing and harder to ignore, according to several experts on utilities and mobility strategy. 

Starbucks to improve sustainable coffee sourcing, reducing its largest carbon culprit

Read the full story at Restaurant Dive.

Starbucks is targeting greenhouse gas emissions by setting goals focused on farm practices and land usage to become carbon neutral for green coffee by 2030, the company announced Monday.

Specifically, the company said it would provide coffee farmers with precision agronomy tools, distribute climate-resistant coffee plant varietals, and invest in protecting and restoring coffee-producing lands, first, in Columbia and Peru. Starbucks also said it would cut water usage for green coffee 50% by 2030.

The goals prioritize reducing emissions in how green coffee is grown — which the company says is the largest source of emissions — before addressing the rest of the value chain, such as transportation, roasting or packaging.

Rising Temperatures, Falling Ratings: The Effect of Climate Change on Sovereign Creditworthiness

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Enthusiasm for ‘greening the financial system’ is welcome, but a fundamental challenge remains: financial decision makers lack the necessary information. It is not enough to know that climate change is bad. Markets need credible, digestible information on how climate change translates into material risks. To bridge the gap between climate science and real-world financial indicators, we simulate the effect of climate change on sovereign credit ratings for 108 countries, creating the world’s first climate-adjusted sovereign credit rating. Under various warming scenarios, we find evidence of climate-induced sovereign downgrades as early as 2030, increasing in intensity and across more countries over the century. We find strong evidence that stringent climate policy consistent with limiting warming to below 2°C, honouring the Paris Climate Agreement, and following RCP 2.6 could nearly eliminate the effect of climate change on ratings. In contrast, under higher emissions scenarios (i.e., RCP 8.5), 63 sovereigns experience climate-induced downgrades by 2030, with an average reduction of 1.02 notches, rising to 80 sovereigns facing an average downgrade of 2.48 notches by 2100. We calculate the effect of climate-induced sovereign downgrades on the cost of corporate and sovereign debt. Across the sample, climate change could increase the annual interest payments on sovereign debt by US$ 22–33 billion under RCP 2.6, rising to US$ 137–205 billion under RCP 8.5. The additional cost to corporates is US$ 7.2–12.6 billion under RCP 2.6, and US$ 35.8–62.6 billion under RCP 8.5.

Vilsack: US carbon market needs a focus on farmers

Read the full story at Agri-Pulse.

A priority for the USDA in the coming years will be judging the feasibility of setting up, executing and paying for a federal carbon bank to help farmers reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reward them for their actions, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Monday.

50% of All Coal Plants in Europe Set to Close, Marking Major Milestone in Phase Out of Coal in Europe by 2030

Read the full story at Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Bloomberg Philanthropies and Europe Beyond Coal announced today that 162 of Europe’s 324 coal plants have closed or confirmed pre-2030 retirements, marking the halfway point in the campaign to retire all coal plants on the continent by 2030 at the latest. This is a major milestone ahead of this year’s U.N. Climate Summit, COP26, and demonstrates the global momentum in the transition away from fossil fuels consistent with the United Nations Secretary-General’s call to phase-out coal in OECD countries by 2030 and everywhere else by 2040.

Russia Wants to Use a Forest Bigger Than India to Offset Carbon

Read the full story at Bloomberg Green.

The world’s biggest energy exporter—and home to billions of trees—is coming under international pressure over emissions ahead of United Nations climate change talks later this year.

As EV Startups Enter the Market, They Say Dealerships — and a Decades-Old Legal Structure — Stand in Their Way

Read the full story at Morning Consult.

Arguing that traditional dealerships and direct-to-consumer sales should coexist, EV startups are waging a campaign for access to state markets that currently only allow dealerships or online sales.

But dealerships have pushed back, saying the EV companies are welcome to operate within the existing system, and that the patchwork of state laws blocking direct sales protects customers from vertical integration in the automotive industry.

Meanwhile, legacy automakers like GM that have begun working toward goals of producing all EVs in the next decade have repeatedly said they are committed to their franchise relationships, though they also plan to move more toward online sales and a new consumer experience. 

The Use of Ethanol as an Alternative Fuel for Small Turbojet Engines

Andoga R, Főző L, Schrötter M, Szabo S. (2021). “The Use of Ethanol as an Alternative Fuel for Small Turbojet Engines.” Sustainability 13(5):2541.

Abstract: The use of alternative fuels to traditional kerosene-based ones in turbo-jet engines is currently being widely explored and researched. However, the application of alternative fuels in the area of small turbojet engines with thrust ratings up to 2 kilo-newtons, which are used as auxiliary power units or to propel small aircraft or drones, is not as well researched. This paper explores the use of ethanol as a sustainable fuel and its effects on the operation of a small turbojet engine under laboratory conditions. Several concentrations of ethanol and JET A-1 mixtures are explored to study the effects of this fuel on the basic parameters of a small turbojet engine. The influence of the different concentrations of the mixture on the start-up process, speed of the engine, exhaust gas temperature, and compressor pressure are evaluated. The measurements shown in the article represent a pilot study, the results of which show that ethanol can be reliably used as an alternative fuel only when its concentration in a mixture with traditional fuel is lower than 40%, yielding positive effects on the operating temperatures and small negative effects on the speed or thrust of the engine.

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