Planet FWD raises $10m to help CPG companies reduce their carbon footprints, develop eco-friendly products

Read the full story at Food Navigator USA.

With $10m in series A funding, the carbon assessment platform Planet FWD hopes to dramatically reduce the time it takes CPG companies to evaluate and neutralize their environmental impact while simultaneously speeding up their development of eco-friendly products that consumers want.

Four industrial emissions clusters partner to speed carbon emission reductions

Read the full story at Environment + Energy Leader.

Four large industrial emissions centers or “clusters,” involving oil and gas extraction and processing, shipping, heavy-duty transportation, and chemicals, are working together with the World Economic Forum to reduce their carbon emissions faster through the “Transitioning Industrial Clusters towards Net Zero” initiative. The World Economic Forum is collaborating with Accenture and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) for this.

The Turning Point: A Global Summary

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The Deloitte Economics Institute modeled region-level data from 15 geographies across Asia, Europe, and the Americas to estimate how much it could cost the global economy if we aren’t able to prevent global average temperatures from rising 3 degrees C by the end of the century.

Using scenario analysis from Deloitte’s Regional Climate Integrated Assessment Computable General Equilibrium Model (D.Climate), which demonstrates how climate impacts could affect economic output (GDP), employment, and industry, the researchers established a new economic baseline that incorporates the climate impacts described in IPCC reports. The team them compared this three degrees hotter world to a more hopeful scenario: a future in which the world makes a different choice — and changes.

To offset or inset? Carbon offset market insists it can provide ‘transparency and integrity’ as food firms look to supply chain solutions

Read the full story at Food Navigator USA.

Food companies are increasingly opting for insetting over offsetting their carbon emissions, it’s been claimed, as the voluntary carbon offset market continues to look to improve its credibility.

Solutions to the climate crisis will come from the multitudes

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Climate change is commonly discussed as a systemic problem, not an individual-level problem. But in our current system are very real, very powerful individuals with their hands on the controls, essentially turning the dials up or down on the levels of planet-warming greenhouse gases that are churning into our atmosphere every second. Utility commissioners empowered to approve yet another coal or gas plant or shut it down. American politicians emboldened to enact climate legislation or let it die. Corporate directors who with one vote can continue to pump funds into the fossil fuel industry or cut off its lifeline.

Climate change is not just a systemic problem, it’s also a leadership crisis.

But the climate solutions we have at our fingertips today come from and belong to the multitudes. They were born from farmers, builders, Indigenous knowledge holders, engineers, educators, foresters, healthcare workers and many more. And the multitudes will ultimately bring these solutions to scale. Here’s how.

Native forests serve better in restoration projects, study says

Read the full story at Sixth Tone.

Native forests with a mix of diverse vegetation provide more environmental benefits than monoculture plantations and should be prioritized in climate mitigation efforts, according to a new study published Thursday.

While tree-planting initiatives and reforestation drives have been seen as a vital tool to mitigate some of the impacts of climate change, not all forest restoration efforts yield the same results, said the study published in the academic journal Science. Researchers said it’s the first global study comparing the performances of two reforestation approaches.

As sea levels rise, coastal megacities will need more than flood barriers

A new artificial wetland runs through the city of Ningbo, China. Wang961201 / shutterstock

by Faith Chan, University of Nottingham and Olalekan Adekola, York St John University

Many of the world’s poorest people live in regions most susceptible to flooding. In northeast India, some residents have been forced to rebuild their homes at least eight times in the past decade. In Africa, the continent’s largest city, Lagos in Nigeria, may become unliveable due to severe floods, while a recent flood caused by tropical storm Ana affected hundreds of thousands of people across the south of the continent.

The situation is expected to worsen in the next few decades, especially for many of the world’s largest cities in lower and middle income countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America. This century, their population is projected to increase substantially. Lagos, for example, could reach a population of 88 million by 2100 according to one academic estimate.

These cities are already improving their infrastructure. But most of the focus remains on big engineering solutions (like flood walls and embankments) rather than a more holistic plans that would involve every level of society. As we have recently argued in our research, these cities must instead become truly “resilient societies” – before it is too late.

Blue-green infrastructure

There have been some attempts to move beyond a simple focus on engineering. For instance, one approach is to put in place so-called blue-green infrastructure, which uses the planning system to integrate rivers, canals or wetlands (the blue) with trees, lawns, parks or forests (the green). This can involve anything from small-scale “rain gardens” that allow water to drain naturally through soil, through to much larger-scale artificial wetlands or ponds.

Sponge cities”, an approach first introduced in China in 2013, are a nice example of this in practice. The idea of a sponge city is that rather than using concrete to channel away rainwater, it is best to work with nature to absorb, clean and use the water. So, much like a sponge, the cities are designed to soak up the excess stormwater without becoming over-saturated.

For instance, the port city of Ningbo, where one of us is based, transformed a 3km strip of brownfield into an eco-corridor and public park.

Swampy land
Artificial wetland ‘eco corridor’ in Ningbo, a coastal city of several million people. Lei Li, Author provided

Shanghai has also turned its new “Land of Starry Sky” park (so named because it neighbours an astronomy museum) into a sponge facility, using permeable materials to absorb rainwater. The Chinese government recognised sponge cities can achieve more sustainability goals than solely relying on traditional engineering structures.

In contrast, there is a more worrying scenario in Lagos and other coastal cities which heavily rely on insufficient engineering systems to protect from flooding.

People walk past cars on flooded street
Flooding after a rainy week in Lagos. Mikayleigh Haarhoff / shutterstock

We need resilient cities

In our new research, we studied existing practices and identified a lack of adequate engagement with key stakeholders (such as local industry, small businesses and communities) as the main problem. Engagement with stakeholders such as these is key to improving outcomes of blue-green infrastructure, and such engagement is easier than ever thanks to the widespread use of mobile and digital technologies. Ideally, climate resilient infrastructures should be considered a co-production of all these various groups.

For example, sponge cities have successfully integrated nature-based solutions with traditional engineering. Yet these cities often struggle to get everyone involved in proactively thinking about the risk of floods. We argue that the key to resilient flood management lies in getting the whole society engaged in preventing floods where possible, in adapting to their worst impacts and in ensuring a timely return to the pre-disaster state.

The absence of this social engagement exacerbates flood impacts especially in poorer and more vulnerable parts of the world. Our research stresses that any truly resilient city must have a flood management plan that integrates natural, engineered and social systems.

Faith Chan, Associate Professor of Environmental Sciences, University of Nottingham and Olalekan Adekola, Senior Lecturer in Geography, York St John University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Latest UN climate change report highlights urban mitigation strategies, circular materials management

Read the full story at Waste Dive.

Urban planning that incorporates widespread electrification and carbon-sequestration while increasing density is the best way cities can slash emissions within the next decade to limit global warming, according to authors of the highly anticipated United Nations climate change mitigation report released Monday.

The report, the third release from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report, addresses buildings, transportation, and energy systems, as well as entire urban systems. It also delves into the importance of “using materials more efficiently, reusing, recycling,” as well as minimizing waste and encouraging circular material flows in the industrial sector, which are “currently under-used in policies and practice.”

“Without a strengthening of policies beyond those that are implemented by the end of 2020, GHG emissions are projected to rise beyond 2025,” the IPCC laid out to policymakers. Some of the authors said the report ought to gravely reinforce to leaders the importance of making changes immediately, even though the information and strategies it contains largely are not new and the IPCC isn’t meant to be a prescriptive body.

Revolutionary changes in transportation, from electric vehicles to ride sharing, could slow global warming – if they’re done right, IPCC says

Electric vehicle sales are growing quickly. Michael Fousert/Unsplash

by Alan Jenn, University of California, Davis

Around the world, revolutionary changes are under way in transportation. More electric vehicles are on the road, people are taking advantage of sharing mobility services such as Uber and Lyft, and the rise in telework during the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the way people think about commuting.

Transportation is a growing source of the global greenhouse gas emissions that are driving climate change, accounting for 23% of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions worldwide in 2019 and 29% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.

The systemic changes under way in the transportation sector could begin lowering that emissions footprint. But will they reduce emissions enough?

In a new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released April 4, 2022, scientists examined the latest research on efforts to mitigate climate change. The report concludes that falling costs for renewable energy and electric vehicle batteries, in addition to policy changes, have slowed the growth of climate change in the past decade, but that deep, immediate cuts are necessary. Emissions will have to peak by 2025 to keep global warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 F), a Paris Agreement goal, the report says.

Charts showing falling costs and rising adoption
Costs are falling for key forms of renewable energy and EV batteries, and adoption of these technologies is rising. IPCC Sixth Assessment Report

The transportation chapter, which I contributed to, homed in on transportation transformations – some just starting and others expanding – that in the most aggressive scenarios could reduce global greenhouse gas emissions from transportation by 80% to 90% of current levels by 2050. That sort of drastic reduction would require a major, rapid rethinking of how people get around globally.

The future of EVs

All-electric vehicles have grown dramatically since the Tesla Roadster and Nissan Leaf arrived on the market a little over a decade ago, following the popularity of hybrids.

In 2021 alone, the sales of electric passenger vehicles, including plug-in hybrids, doubled worldwide to 6.6 million, about 9% of all car sales that year.

Strong regulatory policies have encouraged the production of electric vehicles, including California’s Zero Emission Vehicle regulation, which requires automakers to produce a certain number of zero-emission vehicles based on their total vehicles sold in California; the European Union’s CO2 emissions standards for new vehicles; and China’s New Energy Vehicle policy, all of which have helped push EV adoption to where we are today.

Beyond passenger vehicles, many micro-mobility options – such as autorickshaws, scooters and bikes – as well as buses, have been electrified. As the cost of lithium-ion batteries decreases, these transportation options will become increasingly affordable and further boost sales of battery-powered vehicles that traditionally have run on fossil fuels.

An important aspect to remember about electrifying the transportation system is that its ability to cut greenhouse gas emissions ultimately depends on how clean the electricity grid is. China, for example, is aiming for 20% of its vehicles to be electric by 2025, but its electric grid is still heavily reliant on coal.

A Rivian EV pickup sits in front of a TV studio in New York with people walking around it.
Pickups and SUVs, which typically have much lower gas mileage than cars, make up the majority of new car sales in the U.S. Electric versions could be game-changers for emissions. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

With the global trends toward more renewable generation, these vehicles will be connected with fewer carbon emissions over time. There are also many developing and potentially promising co-benefits of electromobility when coupled with the power system. The batteries within electric vehicles have the potential to act as storage devices for the grid, which can assist in stabilizing the intermittency of renewable resources in the power sector, among many other benefits.

Other areas of transportation are more challenging to electrify. Larger and heavier vehicles generally aren’t as conducive to electrification because the size and weight of the batteries needed rapidly becomes untenable.

Cranes load shipping containers onto a ship docked in port.
Ships that can connect to electric power in port can avoid burning fuel that produces greenhouse gases and pollution. Ernesto Velázquez/Unsplash, CC BY

For some heavy-duty trucks, ships and airplanes, alternative fuels such as hydrogen, advanced biofuels and synthetic fuels are being explored as replacements for fossil fuels. Most aren’t economically feasible yet, and substantial advances in the technology are still needed to ensure they are either low- or zero-carbon.

Other ways to cut emissions from transportation

While new fuel and vehicle technologies are often highlighted as decarbonization solutions, behavioral and other systemic changes will also be needed to meet to cut greenhouse gas emissions dramatically from this sector. We are already in the midst of these changes.

Telecommuting: During the COVID-19 pandemic, the explosion of teleworking and video conferencing reduced travel, and, with it, emissions associated with commuting. While some of that will rebound, telework is likely to continue for many sectors of the economy.

Shared mobility: Some shared mobility options, like bike and scooter sharing programs, can get more people out of vehicles entirely.

Car-sharing and on-demand services such as Uber and Lyft also have the potential to reduce emissions if they use high-efficiency or zero-emission vehicles, or if their services lean more toward car pooling, with each driver picking up multiple passengers. Unfortunately, there is substantial uncertainty about the impact of these services. They might also increase vehicle use and, with it, greenhouse gas emissions.

New policies such as the California Clean Miles Standard are helping to push companies like Uber and Lyft to use cleaner vehicles and increase their passenger loads, though it remains to be seen whether other regions will adopt similar policies.

Public transit-friendly cities: Another systemic change involves urban planning and design. Transportation in urban areas is responsible for approximately 8% of global carbon dioxide emissions.

Efficient city planning and land use can reduce travel demand and shift transportation modes, from cars to public transit, through strategies that avoid urban sprawl and disincentivize personal cars. These improvements not only decrease greenhouse gas emissions, but can decrease congestion, air pollution and noise, while improving the safety of transportation systems.

How do these advances translate to lower emissions?

Much of the uncertainty in how much technological change and other systemic shifts in transportation affects global warming is related to the speed of transition.

The new IPCC report includes several potential scenarios for how much improvements in transportation will be able to cut emissions. On average, the scenarios indicate that the carbon intensity of the transportation sector would need to decrease by about 50% by 2050 and as much as 91% by 2100 when combined with a cleaner electricity grid to stay within the 1.5-degree Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) target for global warming.

These decreases would require a complete reversal of current trends of increasing emissions in the transportation sector, but the recent advances in transportation provide many opportunities to meet this challenge.

Alan Jenn, Assistant Professional Researcher in Transportation, University of California, Davis

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change

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The Working Group III report provides an updated global assessment of climate change mitigation progress and pledges, and examines the sources of global emissions. It explains developments in emission reduction and mitigation efforts, assessing the impact of national climate pledges in relation to long-term emissions goals.

Reuters has an overview of the key takeaways.