Chicago planted trees at a higher rate in wealthier, whiter neighborhoods over the past decade, Tribune investigation finds

Read the full story in the Chicago Tribune.

Over the past decade the city has backtracked on ambitious goals made years ago to provide residents with trees, particularly on the South and West sides where researchers say trees are needed the most, a Tribune investigation found.

The failures come as research shows trees blunt the warmer, wetter effects of climate change in the Great Lakes region. Fewer trees in neighborhoods can mean hotter temperatures, more flooding, dirtier air and higher electric bills — all of which can affect mental and physical health.

The city’s half million street trees, those often found on the strip of grass between roadways and sidewalks, make up a part of the overall canopy coverage, along with trees in parks and yards. How the city manages these trees can directly affect residents’ quality of life.

Tribune analyzed the rate at which street trees were planted per mile of streets from 2011 through 2021, finding higher planting rates in wealthier, whiter neighborhoods deemed less of a priority.

TURI releases guide to safer alternatives for halogenated solvents

TURI’s new Alternatives to Halogenated Solvents Used in Surface Cleaning Guide provides insight into safer options for specific applications, shows how to evaluate those alternatives, and determine information needed from equipment vendors. Links to case studies sprinkled throughout showcase safer alternative chemistries and equipment used, performance testing process, and return on investment.

Reuse Ecosystem Map

All For Reuse, a network of building professionals committed to the reuse of commercial building materials, created this map to connect the dots across the design and construction industry to move toward an inclusive circular economy in the building sector.

Deny, Deceive, Delay: Documenting and Responding to Climate Disinformation at COP26 and Beyond

A new report released Thursday by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) and the 20+ member coalition Climate Action Against Disinformation (CAAD) documents the extent and diverse nature of climate disinformation during last year’s international climate conference in Glasgow, COP26. The report, the most comprehensive of its type to date, offers seven key policy recommendations to stop disinformation from jeopardizing future climate action and policy-making.

Across social media, high-traction disinformation was found to originate primarily from a select number of pundits and political actors, who merge climate and “Culture Wars” narratives to violate multiple content moderation policies in tandem. Twitter carried the most false content by volume, while Facebook’s algorithm drove greater exposure to climate disinformation than its own Climate Science Center, and its fact-checking policies remain woefully under-enforced. 

Based on the narratives and tactics identified by CAAD’s bespoke monitoring system, the coalition recommends that policymakers formally recognize the threat, adopt a universal definition of climate disinformation and limit loopholes for traditional media outlets in tech regulation such as the EU’s Digital Services Act – all of which will help mitigate the risk that false or misleading content hinders climate negotiations and legislative agendas at this critical juncture.

Carbon capture and sequestration loses ground to carbon recycling

Read the full story at Triple Pundit.

Fossil fuel stakeholders continue to tout carbon capture and sequestration as an effective strategy for picking up the pace of global decarbonization, but they have yet to prove their case. The argument in favor of underground carbon sequestration has become even more difficult to prove with the advent of new carbon recycling technology, as recently illustrated by the latest breakthrough from the firm LanzaTech.

New research points to bad math behind corporate renewable energy claims

Read the full story from The Verge.

Even though more companies than ever are proclaiming that they’re powered by renewable energy, those claims are usually exaggerated, new research shows. That disconnect between a company’s claims and reality could jeopardize global efforts to stop climate change.

The problem stems from companies’ reliance on Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to back up their green claims. A company receives a REC by paying to support renewable energy projects around the world. When brands say that they’re powering their business with 100 percent renewable energy, they’re typically still using electricity generated by fossil fuels; they’re just buying up renewable energy certificates to try to cancel out the environmental impact of their energy use.

DOE aims to decarbonize heavy industry with $8B hydrogen hub project

Read the full story at Utility Dive.

The Department of Energy outlined its high-level vision for the creation of a series of “hydrogen hubs,” which will receive a total of $8 billion over five years through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, in a Notice of Intent, or NOI, released Monday.

Jobs, equity and technological diversity will be the focus of the hydrogen hub initiative, according to the NOI, which encourages prospective applications to reach out to disadvantaged communities and find ways to differentiate themselves.

Advocates and analysts were generally encouraged by the notice’s focus on using hydrogen to decarbonize hard-to-abate industrial sectors, but expressed ongoing concern that hydrogen from fossil fuels and other “misguided projects” could distract from long-term climate goals.

Researchers use CRISPR technology to modify starches in potatoes

Read the full story from Texas A&M.

Humble potatoes are a rich source not only of dietary carbohydrates for humans, but also of starches for numerous industrial applications. Scientists are learning how to alter the ratio of potatoes’ two starch molecules — amylose and amylopectin — to increase both culinary and industrial applications.

German startup digitizes restaurant orders to address food waste

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Every year, an estimated one-third of all food produced in the world — about 1.3 billion tons — is lost or wasted. The emissions related to food waste are equivalent to an estimated 3.3. billion tons of CO2, making food waste the third largest driver of greenhouse gas emissions. 

Startup Choco, on the heels of a substantial funding round, is proposing the digitization of the food system as one way to combat that waste. The Berlin-based company has created a platform that hones in on food waste in the hospitality industry, connecting food suppliers directly to restaurants and cafes.

As it stands, chefs in the industry typically source ingredients from various food distributors and are tasked with maintaining multiple contacts and manually keeping tabs on existing restaurant inventory. On both sides of the supply chain, this relationship and its lack of flexibility creates opportunity for food waste, with distributors struggling to sell produce at the end of their shelf life and restaurants over-ordering to ensure their menus are covered. Through its software, Choco hopes to expedite and optimize purchasing processes so less food gets tossed. It does this by boiling the previously multi-pronged process of ordering goods down to a simple chat message. 

Big Food’s sustainable packaging goals hit supply and demand reality

Read the full story in Waste Dive.

As CPGs set targets to cut virgin plastic use, chaotic forces like the pandemic, poor weather and war have complicated their timelines.