The United Nations’ Paris Climate Change Conference is getting closer and, while the broad term suggests that something will be decided at least in this regard, looking at what UN climate discussions focused on in the recent past  might provide us with a direction of what it is going to mainly tackle. This is the assessment given in the fourth and final edition of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The report lays bare in no uncertain terms the fact that we are staring at an apocalyptic future if drastic measures are not taken immediately. When asked if they agreed with the statement that human activity is the cause of climate change, only 54 percent of Americans surveyed in the study this past summer said yes. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. It has been known since the 19th Century that molecules in the earth's atmosphere trap heat from the sun, causing the atmosphere to be some 23°C warmer than it would otherwise be. Although a lot of attention has been given to rising sea levels, this data only tells part of the story.
Short-term readings of sea level rise are problematic due to large year-to-year variation, in part caused by events such as El Nino (which typically causes a large rise), and La Nina (a smaller rise or decrease). In Australia, a 20-centimetre rise is estimated to up the number of extreme seas by a factor of 10. Increased flooding has already forced some villagers to move inland, but that this short trip is a temporary solution since we are in danger of falling off if we keep moving back. The Kiribati Road Rehabilitation Project will provide more than 40 per cent of the population with better access to health clinics, schools and markets as well as assist the Government and the people of Kiribati in many other ways.
KAPIII project continues and expands on the highly successful work on mangroves to prevent further coastal erosion in local communities under KAPII in 2010.
Morning rain did not dampen the mood at Kiribati’s first-ever National High-Level Public Hearing on Climate Change at the nation’s capital on Friday. South Tarawa’s long-awaited new road is one step closer after the Government of Kiribati and New Zealand-based construction company McConnell Dowell signed the official contract recently. Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr visits Kiribati, announces $15 million in funding from Australia for road project.
The villagers of Tebunginako had no choice but to relocate because of coastal erosion and saltwater indundation.
Watch a very eloquent and powerful presentation of what Kiribati is facing, as its culture, lifestyle, and very sovereignty is under threat by climate change. Marshall Islanders have spoken of their growing fears after high tides have swamped some of the country’s major islands, flooding the airport and damaging homes. The tiny islands, which sit just two metres above sea level, are extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
In March 2013, king tides caused the government to declare a state of emergency, as 940 people were evacuated from their homes. In an interview with RTCC Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, the Marshallese poet who addressed the United Nations climate summit last month, said the level of flooding was unexpectedly high for this time of year.
Jetnil-Kijiner stunned heads of state at the UN when she recited a poem at the General Assembly, written orginally for her seven-month old daughter. The UN’s science panel recently reported that up to 15% of small islands could be wiped out if sea levels rise by just one metre. This is not a prospect for some distant future—a report by the UN Environment Programme released in June said that around some Pacific islands, the ocean is rising four times faster than the global average. The flooding is a symptom of these higher waters, as storm surges and tides encroach further onto the islands.
Also speaking to RTCC, the country’s education minister Hilda Heine said that the constant flooding was having a long term detrimental effect on children’s education. Schools are shut down due to lack of drinking water as salt permeates the supply, while classrooms are used for shelter.
The next round of international talks on limiting global warming to below 2C start in Bonn next week. The Marshall Islands, alongside other small island states, have called on governments to increase their ambition on tackling climate change, tightening the agreed target to 1.5C, instead of 2C.
The president of one small island nation, Kiribati, has already purchased land in Fiji, which could be used to house his people if they are forced to migrate. Under a business-as-usual scenario, UN scientists have predicted that the world could be around 5C hotter by the end of the century, which means governments will have to take sharp action to reduce their emissions quickly if the small island states are going to survive.
Thirty men and women from 13 Pacific islands have set sail towards Australia in traditional canoes that they made themselves. On Friday, they will paddle into the harbour of Newcastle, the world’s biggest port, to stop coal exports for a day.
The islanders, which are part of the green group, will then travel across Australia to tell the story of their sinking homelands. Sense and Sustainability is a podcast devoted to exploring the diversity of perspectives on issues of sustainable development. That work has not come without significant local opposition, as a recent Atlantic profile detailed.  But while the discussion of local opposition to Tompkins is well fleshed out, the article glosses over the potential benefits that conservation could have for these communities, only mentioning the employment opportunities once. Trees will be the first of five major goals organizers are undertaking in honor of the five-year countdown to our 50th anniversary. Located in the Veneto Region of Northeast Italy, the city of Venice and its lagoon was founded in the 5th century AD and became a maritime power in the 10th century.
Being spread over 118 small islands makes Venice a unique place, and probably what makes this city so attractive. During the winter months, Venice faces an annual high water phenomenon as a result of convergence of high tides and a strong south wind (sirocco) in the Venetian Lagoon; this is known as high water or Acqua alta.
High water is a phenomenon that the City of Venice’s Administration seems to understand very well, which allows it to implement the right strategies to mitigate the effects. Faced with the challenge of increasing sea levels, the Italian Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport entrusted Consorzio Venezia Nuova with the MOSE project. The MOSE project will install 78 mobile steel gates laid at the bottom of the seabed at the three inlets – Lido, Malamocco and Chioggia – which connect Venice and the Lagoon with the Adriatic Sea. When a tide of more than 110m height is expected, compressed air is pumped into the foundation structure, rising up the barriers (floodgates) to the surface of the water to block the flow of the tide preventing water from going into the lagoon.
In terms of cost, the estimated total investment for this monumental project is around €7bn ($8.8bn USD), which will be financed during the three installments of €450m ($568m USD), €709m ($896m USD) and €380m ($480m USD). As the barriers will be located in the open water inlets to the Venetian Lagoon, a number of concerns were raised by activist group about the environmental impact of the project. As Jim Titus, sea level rise expert at EPA’s Global Change Information Branch noted, “As the sea level rises, they’ll have to close the gates more…but if they do that, they’ll mess up the estuary”. Developing and implementing infrastructure projects at a large scale is a complex system that has to take into account many variables.
April 12 was declared as the International Day of Human Space Flight in recognition of the first manned space flight made on April 12, 1961 by the 27-year-old Russian Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.
Today remote sensing from space is a cost-effective way of obtaining unbiased and essential data on the physical world. As the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space put it at the opening of its annual meeting in Vienna, “Space-based information technologies must be fully integrated into the international efforts to overcome such challenges to sustainable development as climate change and food insecurity. The context, and a key cause, for this crisis, is the legal doctrine that dominates western US water law. In the face of this, the farmers are petitioning the government to adopt their local plan, devised with input from Australian economist Mike Young from the University of Adelaide. Eureka’s key innovation, which is inspired by Australia’s well-developed water markets, is to ‘unbundle’ the use of the water, from the entitlement to the water.
But the extent of the crisis and the Diamond Valley irrigators’ enthusiasm present an opportunity for bold reform. If it goes well, this reform could spread to other basins ­– places with many more policy and environmental complexities.
In response to the devastating collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh 2013,  Fashion Revolution was formed in hopes of educating the public about their individual clothing consumption.
Organisations like Greenpeace focus on the environmental and health implications of the fashion industry, running simultaneous campaigns targeting companies that engage in environmentally unsafe practices.
Since 2011 the Berlin fashion label Aluc, has hosted the very successful Upcycling Fashion Store monthly ‘stammtisch’ where they bring together the sustainable fashion community of Berlin. Since 2011, the Greenpeace detox campaign has encouraged brands such as H&M, Zara, Puma, and Nike to commit to eliminating the discharge of hazardous chemicals throughout the entire supply chain by 2020.
Does this non-compliance from brands indicate that a significant proportion of the population care very little about the ecological and social issues surrounding the fashion industry? McNeill and Moore address the topic of sustainable consumption at the consumer level by investigating attitudes around sustainable fashion. Social Consumers’ claim to have a level of awareness regarding the environmental and social implications of their clothing choices, and thus could be deemed as ‘emergent’ sustainable fashion consumers.
These three identified categories reinforce that consumers understanding and attitudes towards sustainable fashion differs greatly. Be realistic about taking the leap towards a more sustainable wardrobe: take one small step at a time. As with any industry, there are businesses that are working towards a more sustainable model and those that unfortunately prioritise profits.
There was a subtle irony to an event on electronic consumption and waste taking place at The New School’s location on 5th Avenue. On Friday, March 11, students and community members gathered in a small auditorium for one of The New School’s thousands of events. The discussion opened with Prasad Boradkar, professor of industrial design at Arizona State University. Boradkar examined the notion of “conspicuous waste,” the flipped side of conspicuous consumption, which is manifested in all industries–from cars to washing machines to electronics.
Throughout the discussion were questions of ‘responsibility.’ Who is responsible for ensuring that developing nations don’t shoulder the burden of getting rid of our waste? Despite the harmful effects, co-author of the installation Shaun Fynn was quick to say that, while consumers may think they are throwing away their devices, in truth, “nothing goes to waste.” Much of the electronics are recycled and refurbished to some extent, the materials melted down and sold back to the mineral markets, but the difference is that this process may not be as efficient or sustainable as it could be. Outside in the lobby hung larger-than-life photographs of brown-skinned workers, processing heaps of rejected plastic and metal. While the disposal of e-waste can certainly improve and enhanced corporate sustainability is needed, the root of the issue is the fact that we are often ignore the side effects of our consumption. We are seeing extraordinary shifts across virtually every technology arena even though, in areas of large-fixed infrastructure (buildings, energy systems, etc.), it can sometimes be hard to see the change. With the breadth and pace of change in the energy market, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that it is hard even for those pushing innovation to keep up with that pace of change. Innovation is certainly a strong thematic in government energy policy discussions around the world. Building on this, four major ‘names’ (Arjun Majumdar (Stanford, first head of ARPA-E), John Deutch (MIT), George Shultz (former Secretary of State), and Norm Augustine (former Lockheed Martin CEO) have called for a major private-sector push for energy innovation. Each Energy Innovation Entity would be supported by roughly 10 companies, each committing about $10 million a year for 10 years — a “10-10-10” mechanism. Embedded within the discussion, however, is an example of just how hard it can be for innovators to keep up with the pace of change.
A battery that costs less than $100 per kilowatt-hour with a lifetime of more than 1,000 cycles would be a game changer for offering affordable and reliable renewable electricity across the world. The Chevy Bolt, being built today, has batteries that General Motors is buying at $145 per kilowatt-hour capacity. With the rapid advances in battery density and rapidly lowering costs, the GM graphic above is likely pessimistic about what we will actually see in the market place. That doesn’t take away from the author’s argument about the need for more investment in energy research however.
On Thursday, 25 February 2016, GreenBuzz Berlin organized a panel discussion on ‘Germany’s Energy Transition’ under their Sustainability Panel event series. As a response to multiple demands, including the Fukishima nuclear reactor disaster of 2011, and a desire and need to be more environmentally friendly, Germany has made impressive strides in its energy transition. Across Germany, individuals, house hold owners, small businesses are increasingly installing solar systems in order to generate their own electricity and reduce their reliance on the national electricity grid.
This model holds particular relevance for other countries of different geographic size, population or GDP, as a lack of energy generation continues to be a significant challenge for the entire African continent. The increased uptake and usage of various renewable energy solutions has, overall, resulted in the price of such solutions decreasing. Increased uptake of such solutions will also inspire further innovations in the field which will likely result in added benefits for the user. Although great progress has been made in Germany and beyond, an opportunity still exists for further innovation at all stages of the energy value chain, to take place. Though many organisations can still find a way to innovate, operate and supply products or services to a market in economies despite an instable political environment, the establishment of a stable policy and regulatory environment is likely to generate more support for the transition to a more energy efficient economy.
While the government is not immune to policy criticisms, policy makers and regulators in Germany are actively encouraging citizens to generate their energy needs through renewable energy sources rather than fossil fuels (although these still do represent a large component of Germany’s overall energy mix).
It is evident that both Germany and the rest of the world have a long way to go to fully transition to a more energy efficient economy. Leading financial firm JP Morgan has issued a new Environmental and Social Policy Framework document.
This 23 page document has 16 uses of the words “climate change.” And, reflecting this, the document lays out explicitly that how a firm once one of leading financiers of coal projects will accelerate its move beyond coal. With this, JP Morgan has joined Morgan Stanley and Citigroup in creating ‘no go’ zones for coal as part of a shift toward climate aware financing. To be clear, these financiers haven’t renounced coal entirely — but have created significant restrictions and guidance as to what is and isn’t acceptable coal-related investing (see pages 8-9).
JPMorgan Chase believes that balancing environmental and human rights issues with financial priorities is fundamental to sound risk management and a core part of corporate responsibility. Moving the financial markets and financial firms toward climate-sensible policies is critical to fostering a climate-friendly and prosperous future.
This document is an interesting read, from the high-level objectives to the wording to enable their desired flexibility for financing that might conflict, in some manner, with those objectives.
As a global provider of financial advisory and lending services for clients in various sectors and geographies around the world, we recognize that our business decisions have the potential to impact surrounding communities and the environment. Protecting the natural systems which all life depends on while lifting people out of poverty and advancing economic development are among the greatest challenges confronting humanity.
Obviously the leaders of global finance are not going to solve climate change on their own – especially without explicit financial incentive to do so.
While the program is undeniably generous and while it will almost certainly help many of Starbucks’s employees, a number of commentators have pointed out that the program is actually less generous than it appears.  The tuition payments come primarily in the form of a significant initial discount (or scholarship) from ASU. As a response to this crisis, oil and gas companies have decided to reorganize their corporate structures and have started to cut down jobs.
Fossil fuels contribute to the increase of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, one of the key greenhouse gases causing climate change. Last year, at the Convention of Parties (COP21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), more than 150 heads of state and government gathered in Paris and proposed a global agreement to tackle climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions levels, promoting the transition to low-carbon economies and strategies that promote a global sustained development. Climate Change Action, in collaboration with the Climate Action Network, released an analysis report in 2015 showing that leading countries are spending 40 times more in fossil fuels subsidies than on clean energies. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has also measured fossil fuel subsidies with the objective “to demonstrate the positive impacts that their removal would have in energy markets, climate change and distribution of government budgets.” In the IEA’s World Energy Outlook, the agency estimated that fossil fuel subsidies worldwide amounted to $439 billion USD in 2014.
With the world in Paris, the attention was drawn to the imperative need to provide solutions to climate change from social, economic and environmental perspectives. The positive impacts of cutting subsidies to fossil fuels are not limited to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The International Institute for Sustainable Development hosted a side event at COP21 where it provided examples of successful cases where economic resources from fossil fuel subsidy-budgets have been reallocated.
Fossil fuels and climate change are definitely a hot topic, and reducing and eventually stopping the financial support that subsidies provide, require a strong political will. Despite these difficulties ahead, the Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform proves itself as a tangible demonstration of the opportunities that exist to provide real tangible solutions to climate change, not only from the expected and well-known aspired reduction in greenhouse gases; but to deliver a prosperous future characterized by a strong and sustainable growth, encouraged by the burning desire to bring about change for good.
When we think of climate change, certain sectors, such as agriculture and transportation, are most commonly considered key in addressing climate change posed challenges. Behind fashion shows and catwalks, what we wear everyday has become a popular topic of discussion. Cotton production is one of the most water intensive crops – responsible for 2.6 percent of global water use. Dyeing, printing and bleaching are one of the most energy and chemical intensive stages along the manufacturing line.
Most consumers assume that by donating their second hand clothes to charities, that clothes are being recycled or given to genuinely less fortunate people.
I have always worked in the energy sector and have had a long-term interest in environmental issues. This week the new Australian Government will sit down again with various society representatives to restart the discussion on emissions policy, with a particular focus on the delivery of a carbon price signal into the economy.  These meetings will take place over the next year as a number of policy ideas are considered, but given we are at the start of the process this presents an opportunity to look again at the options.
This isn’t the first time Australia has visited the climate policy issue, but it is clear that the subject remains high on the national agenda, not just because of the pressing nature of the underlying problem but also, somewhat ironically, because a number of countries in the region, both trade competitors and customers, are starting to move forward with new policy ideas. The goal of a carbon price is to create a change in the economy, whereby the market begins to differentiate between goods and services on the basis of their carbon footprint.
The environmental outcome in terms of absolute emissions is uncertain as it depends on the level of production.
It is complex to manage as it requires accurate benchmarking across many different sectors. With credits only issued after a given period of emissions, forward trade becomes very limited. There is also the indirect approach, in other words creating an implicit carbon price within certain sectors of the economy by implementing a regulation of some kind. A particular disadvantage of this approach is that it is often done in tandem with a direct carbon price mechanism, such as cap-and-trade, for example the renewable energy standard in the EU that operates in the same space as the emissions trading system (ETS).
In the wake of a deep recession and in the midst of a tough political environment, governments without comprehensive climate policy may well look to a variety of proxy approaches to deliver emission reductions across the economy. As the United Kingdom and many other economies contemplate the need for new power generation capacity, a range of options are clearly available. There are two issues that will really drive the offshore wind industry in the coming years – cost and capacity (or potential).
The capacity issue has been widely discussed and there is little doubt about the significant potential of onshore, offshore and deep offshore wind in the UK, but also recognizing the limits due to planning approval and intermittency. The cost issue is less widely discussed and in difficult economic times this is arguably where the focus should be.

Today in the EU the price of CO2 hovers around €15, driven to some extent by the cost of gas vs. So at least in the short to medium term, the push for certain renewable energy sources is having an economic impact.
There are credible and robust scenarios in which gas could play a major ongoing role in the United Kingdom energy mix while meeting both the 2050 carbon targets and the 2020 renewable energy targets.
Pathways with ongoing gas use could offer a cost-effective solution for a low-carbon transition relative to scenarios with higher levels of electrification. As noted by Redpoint, these calculations of course depend on the longer term view of energy prices. My thanks to my colleague Martin Haigh in the Shell Energy Scenario Team for helping with this post. I have been at the first Doha Carbon and Energy Forum this week, organized by Qatar Petroleum and the Qatar Foundation with support from ExxonMobil. There is no doubt that the Gulf region is very aware of the issue of climate change and its implications, particularly the potential economic impact going forward as the world looks to alternative energy sources. In the short to medium term natural gas offers a real opportunity for nations to quickly get to grips with emissions targets and begin to see reductions within the economy.
The background to the coal to gas switch is discussed in a previous posting, “A Focus on the USA – Coal and Natural Gas”. The early evidence is that the change is already underway in the power sector, which has seen a sharp drop in CO2 intensity over the last three years. Such a strategy pays off handsomely in the medium term and offers natural gas the position as a transition fuel to a low carbon economy. Similarly, for a country such as Qatar with a large natural gas resource base, carbon constraints around the world offer opportunity now, but will be challenging later on. So much is now written about electric car development and particularly the push in China for this mode of transport that I now have expectations of seeing something on the street, but the reality is different.
Such is the story in Shanghai, where I am attending the Annual Council Meeting of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).
An extensive report on the scale of the industry and the technology behind these vehicles has been produced by Argonne National Laboratory in the United States. There are 10,000 enterprises, both large and small, involved in the Chinese national production of electric bikes.
What is visibly missing is the conventional bicycle (but there are some), once the primary mode of transport in China. Meanwhile, all that is seemingly missing in Shanghai is appearing in London, of all places.
It didn’t offer any surprises and was a mash up of the findings of three earlier reports which was released during the course of the previous 13 months.
It will include stopping the use of fossil fuels by the end of this century, if the world is to have a decent chance of surviving beyond the end of this century.
64 percent of the respondents in Britain and Australia agreed that human activity is causing climate change.
People in Kiribati are experiencing extensive coastal erosion, not just of the beaches, but also of the land. The atolls of Kiribati are experiencing increased wave heights and frequency and we can see that this is placing increased pressure on the shoreline and seawalls. The Australian National Tidal Centre reports that sea levels in Kiribati have averaged a rise of 3.7 millimetres a year since 1992. A 50-centimetre rise—now considered a conservative projection for this century unless emissions are curbed - is projected to bring about a 300-fold increase.
Some long term predictions of sea level rise for Kiribati have suggested that there is a margin of safety present, but this is regularly contradicted by local eye witness observations.
For example, less than a week before the Kyoto Protocol went into effect, Kiribati was ravished by a 'king tide'—an example of the kind of sea-level rise that is predicted to occur as global temperatures increase. Land is in short supply, particularly in the capital and urban centre in South Tarawa, which is one of the poorest and most densely populated areas in the Pacific. Reports indicate Kiribati’s capital, Tarawa, could be uninhabitable by mid-century if adaptation measures fail. Countries hope to have the outline of an agreement ready for a high-level meeting in Lima, Peru, in December.
The port ships around 560,000 tonnes of coal every day, and if it were a country would be the 9th highest emitter.
The benefits are not limited to the small subset of individuals able to get jobs in the conservation projects. Today, the hard cider industry is exploding, but only as global temperatures and the threats climate change rise with profits. Organizers of Earth Day set up ambitious goal of planting 7.8 billion trees over the next five years, as Earth Day moves closer to its 50th anniversary. These initiatives will make a significant and measurable impact on the Earth and will serve as the foundation of a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable planet for all. Recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage city, Venice treasures an infinite amount of culture and history and the city’s architectural masterpieces are simply extraordinary, not to forget the iconic gondolas strolling around the canals and the magnificent Piazza San Marco with its Basilica. But there is also the other side of Venice, the one exposing the high maintenance costs associated with the city being built over water: the cleaning of the canals, replacing construction materials disintegrating due to continuous exposure to the water, coping with the number of visitors per year, and of course the high tides. High water typically affects the lowest parts of the town, such as Piazza San Marco, for usually 3 to 4 hours with exceptionally high tides (when the water-line is equal to or more than 140 centimeters) occurring once every 3 years.
However, as the sea levels rise due to climate change, Venice is under serious threat from being submerged by the Adriatic Sea.
MOSE is an acronym for Experimental Electromechanical Module (in English), and its name in Italian alludes to the story of Moses parting the Red Sea. The construction work began in 2003 with building and completing the 23,000 tonne concrete foundations and putting them into the lagoon. Italy’s Green Party said that 453,000 meters cubed of the lagoon bed will be cleaned out and replaced with 8 million tons of brick and 700,000 tons of concrete, which would threaten the ecology of the lagoon, one of the Mediterranean’s most important wetlands.
The environmentalists tried to address this with the Consorzio Venezia Nuova but a press release from their spokesperson Francesca De Pol, did not address the environmental assessment and consequences from the MOSE project and only referred that the city has endured high sea levels and this will not last for that long; therefore, the MOSE project was the right solution to this problem.
Projects such as MOSE, with a strong impact in the short and long terms must embed sustainable strategies that address challenges and provide solutions that bring about economic, social and environmental benefits.
However, the construction of the MOSE project is a demonstration of the unavoidable changes that societies will have to make to adapt to a changed climate and the consequences associated with one. Decision makers use this information to understand trends, evaluate needs, and create sustainable development policies and programs in the best interest of all populations. Located over 200 miles from Reno, down a stretch of highway known to travelers as the ‘loneliest road in America,’ it’s a quiet place. But what’s happening in this town could change the way communities and governments manage water throughout the American West. But as droughts and population growth continue to squeeze rivers and groundwater basins, these laws are getting in the way of much needed efficiency. For decades, groundwater consumption has dramatically outstripped the rate of recharge: the groundwater has essentially been mined.
Traditionally, a farmer has a permit stating how much water can be extracted in absolute terms, what can be done with it, and where it can be used.
In line with the need to reduce extraction, the total is slowly decreased over time until the lower, sustainable target is reached.
There are plenty of problems to be ironed out: all farmers will need expensive new water meters, just to start. If Eureka can show that that ‘unbundled rights’ can drive economic efficiency and improved environmental outcomes, and that the rigid system imposed by the current, century-old, laws should be overturned, then farmers in in Diamond Valley will be growing much more than hay.
More and more companies are choosing to modify their practices to comply with specific sustainable guidelines.
The organization’s aim is to encourage consumers to be curious and develop a better understanding of who actually makes the clothes on our backs.
They aim to eliminate the use of hazardous chemicals through the production process and ultimately make the clothing safer to wear.
Trade events like the Green Fashion showroom and Ethical Fashion showroom, which take part in association with Berlin Fashion Week, highlight that, to some extent, sustainable fashion is being recognised. However, in the 2014 ‘Rank a Brand’ report they found that there is a discrepancy between companies’ formal agreements and their sustainable actions. This group typically gives little consideration or thought to any ethical or environmental problems involved in the fashion industry.
Yet this group also believes that there are many barriers in fully accessing sustainable fashion, which could explain why their attitudes sometimes did not align with their purchasing choices.
This group is aware of sustainable fashion practices and makes informed decisions dependent upon this information. Even though some consumers can see the worth in moving away from current fast fashion practices, the perceived barriers towards a more sustainable wardrobe tend to dictate the lack of action by many consumers.
For one, big and small businesses alike might read into these findings and begin by enhancing transparency via social media and other avenues. Before buying new items, find out whether the brands are forthcoming with information about their clothing production. With the fashion industry being one of the biggest polluters in the world, our behaviour needs to change. After making a joke about the dedication of an audience willing to talk about electronic waste (or “e-waste”) on a Friday night, he projected a photo of Apple’s flagship store on 5th Avenue, its glass spiral staircase ascending towards the light in an almost cosmic fashion. Who is responsible for directing our ‘obsolete’ electronics towards recycling facilities, rather than trash heaps? Technology products become waste when deemed unusable by the consumers, but their actual lifespan extends far beyond this timeline.
Singh characterized the e-waste supply chain as a “delicate ecosystem,” involving many participants.
One photo showed a pile of old desktop monitors stacked against a wall, their shapes wedged together like an M.C. With an ever-growing global population, mitigating waste in the first place is crucial in improving social and environmental sustainability. Whether solar PV or wind pricing, the ability to squeeze out efficiency in systems or battery capacity per pound, the pace of change in systems commercially available is often hard to comprehend. The announcement of the “billionaires’ club” Breakthrough Energy Initiative provided one of the major side elements of the COP21 in Paris. It is heavily focused on developing tomorrow’s options without mentioning today’s and it is not clear how combining corporations would sit with the existing firm’s corporate governance.
The authors use, as their major example of where large-scale private business investment is required, battery technology. Guests from many sectors participated, including: Andreas Brabeck, Head of Politics for Grid and Distribution at RWE, Florian Simon, Key Account Manager at Naturstrom, Fabian Zuber, former Managing Director at Bundnis Burgerenergie and Senior Consultant in New Energy Markets at Bu?ro F, Dr. Although challenges still exist, many important lessons can be taken from the German case study and applied to other countries, both developed and developing.
Typically, excess energy that the user generates can be sold to the national supplier by being fed back into the local or national electricity grid for an agreed price. Many countries have also struggled to reliably transmit power to rural and remote locations at an affordable price. The more users that switch to renewable energy solutions, the cheaper the costs will become. Innovation could lead to improvements in many different areas including generation efficiency, life span of systems, energy storage and system protection against surges (from lots of wind or sunshine) as well as in energy payment techniques and systems.
Start-ups in particular, are playing an increasingly important role in the German business environment and economy.
Different solutions, products, distribution channels, funding and payment mechanisms will have to be invented or adapted to meet the needs of local markets. A stable environment can help attract new investment, organisations (including start-ups) and innovation while it can also generate ‘trust’ for the government. Different incentives, whether direct from the government or through renewable energy companies and operators, have been developed and provided to speed up the transition. One exception has been the creation of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Procurement Programme (REIPPP) implemented by the South African government. Great progress has been made, more is expected, and innovation in the sector will continue with pace.
Most notably, ‘green field’ coal mining is now to be treated like projects using child labor and those that endanger world heritage sites. We recognize that the policies and practices we adopt today will shape not only our lives but also those of future generations.
However, this report is just more evidence that makes it clear that even Wall Street is taking the threat of climate change seriously.
The only requirement to receive the funding is that they complete the degree.  Remaining at Starbucks once the degree is finished is not necessary. Starbucks has commented publicly that they are relying on their workers qualifying for, and receiving, federal Pell grants. Hopefully other companies are inspired by Starbucks and make similar commitments to educating their staff. For instance, Royal Dutch Shell recently announced plans to cut 10,000 jobs including staff and contractor positions in 2015-2016. On the other, the oil crisis has deeper and more complex entanglements at national and international levels. The 2014 report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels have increased by 90% since 1970. The international attention that the climate change agenda received before and during COP21 put the oil and gas industry in the spotlight, in particular, attention was brought to the large national subsidies that it receives. However, in 2015 there was a decrease by $39 billion USD mainly impacted by the drop in oil prices.
During COP21, the New Zealand Primer, Minister John Key, presented the Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform to Christiana Figueres, the UNFCCC Executive Secretary.
It would also release financial resources that could be allocated to social topics like education, health, infrastructure, air pollution reduction programs, and would also provide fair competition grounds for investments in renewable energy sources. For instance, the Philippines have increased its expenditure in health care programs, and India has removed subsidies to diesel and diverted them to irrigation programs and microfinance of solar energy technologies. Indeed, this will not be easily accomplished and patience must be exercised while global leaders pushed by society’s consciousness, debate the long-term implications of cutting subsidies down. However, “fast fashion”, fashion that is cheap, quickly discarded and that spirals into ever shorter and faster production and sales cycles, also has a role in climate change related challenges. The Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh in 2013, which killed more than a thousand people, put a spotlight on the industry.
Apart from that, there is hardly any data available on emissions and pollution generated by the global fashion industry.
Moreover, it is dependent on high volumes of pesticides and fertilizers in order to increase output per acre. China for instance, home to 53 percent of the world’s total textile, produces and then discharges about 40% of all dyeing chemicals worldwide, most of them untreated.
There's lots said about why climate change now confronts us, and what it means, but the real issue is what to do about it. Of course a carbon price is one part of a broader policy framework, which needs to cover a number of very different sectors and also respond to commercial realities such as the development and demonstration of emerging technologies. Although there is no immediate threat, Australia runs the risk of longer term price exposure simply because of the actions of others. This operates in much the same way as a cap-and-trade approach, although is arguably less efficient in delivering a clear environmental outcome.
Because of the trade of credits, benchmarks should also represent an equivalent effort when comparing sectors. One reason is that there is no immediate constraint on emissions as production increases, which can mean a weak price signal.
This is operating today in many developing countries as they use the carbon price opportunity delivered through the CDM to start the process of reducing emissions through targeted projects.
There is huge scope here, but each regulation will typically target a specific point on the abatement curve, rather than the more ordered left to right approach that delivers a lowest cost outcome. The two are not really compatible in that the renewables requirement results in certain projects to taking place that are further up the carbon abatement curve than would otherwise be the case with the ETS acting on its own. These will certainly deliver something, but matching the efficiency and order imposed by establishing a very market responsive approach will be difficult.
Much has been made in recent years of the potential for offshore wind in the UK and some believe that this should even be the cornerstone of the UK power industry. With the need to meet the UK’s 2020 emissions targets as a given,  what is the most cost effective way of achieving this? In looking at this further, the first  question is whether wind is meeting incremental demand (i.e. As I illustrated in my post last week, quick uptake of natural gas is one way of meeting the 2020 targets, although on its own it is not a long term solution to managing emissions – it will have to be combined with CCS to do that.
Our baseline assumptions indicate potential savings of almost ?700bn over the 2010 to 2050 period on a Net Present Value (NPV) basis – around ?20,000 per household or ?10,000 per person – with consequential benefits for consumers, the economy, and the competitiveness of UK industry. If high, it makes the case for wind more compelling, particularly as the cost of new wind continues to fall as the technology matures.
The event focused on steps that could be taken in Qatar and the region to begin to address the issue of carbon emissions. In Qatar there is also a feeling of optimism because of the very substantial natural gas reserves there.
This is showing up very clearly in the USA, where rapidly increasing shale-gas production, in combination with tougher emission standards in the coal sector (other than CO2 that is)  is pushing the USA towards its 17% Copenhagen Accord target even without the benefit of federal carbon emissions legislation.
In 2005 average on-road vehicle efficiency remained around 20 mpg, so that means about 30 mpg by 2020.
But this is not sustainable in the longer term as emission reduction targets become much tougher. The forum in Doha recognized this and proposed an increased focus on carbon capture and storage and the role that it could play in allowing natural gas to remain a key part of the global energy mix for much of this century – in other words to be as much a destination fuel as it is a transition fuel. Electric motorbikes are everywhere and appear to be in the majority when compared to conventional gasoline motor bikes. At present, China has 50 million battery-operated bicycles on the road, of which a very small percentage operate on Li-ion batteries.

I assume that as Chinese city centres have deurbanized to make way for office and industrial developments and urbanization has moved further out, the distances involved for daily transit of the population have defeated cyclists.
With inner-London boroughs reurbanizing, bicycles are back in force, recently further supported by the city bikes provided by London Transport. If such measures are not taken, it would require the deployment of technologies to suck green house gasses from the atmosphere.
A majority of respondents in countries like France, Brazil and Germany agreed that human activity is causing the climate to change.
This is now displacing come people from the traditional house plots they have occupied since the early 1900s, the same people who are losing their coconut trees, papaya trees and other varieties of vegetation they rely upon. In a report for the World Bank, oceanographer John Hunter, a sea level researcher from the University of Tasmania, says it is reasonable to think that the impact in the Pacific—where data collection and analysis are under way - will be similar. For example, in 1997 Kiritimati (Christmas Island) was devastated by an El Nino event that brought heavy rainfall and flooding, resulting in a half-meter rise in sea level.
During the king tide many people were affected by waves that reached 2.87 meters, devastating some villages, sweeping farmland out to sea, and contaminating fresh water wells. But just a small high tide is enough to create flooding now, because of sea level rise and a number of other factors,” she said.
What are the results of climate change on the apple and cider business and food production in general? Throughout its history, Venice has experienced high water, dating back to November 1927 and most recently in November 2012. Besides rising sea levels, the city also risks sinking because of the extraction of ground water and methane gas within the surroundings of the Venetian Lagoon. The objective of the project is to protect the Venetian Lagoon from being submerged by the Adriatic Sea and to protect Venice from being flooded.
If there is no risk of flooding, the barriers will be filled with water and lowered into the seabed. Meanwhile, anodes protecting the gates from corrosion will release more than 10 tons of toxic zinc per year. It is tough to find an equilibrium but with climate change altering the natural state of our ecosystems, there is no question that integrating sustainability is a must-go and must-do. The project also exposes an undeniable truth: that climate change is real and it seems to be catching up sooner than we thought. The economic mainstay is the growing of hay, which takes place on the irrigated plains of the Diamond Valley surrounding the town.
Secondly, they want set up an exchange that will allow them to trade unused portions of their own allocations, much like a cap-and-trade system for pollution control.
This rigid, ‘bundled rights’ arrangement doesn’t leave much room for creativity or efficiency.
Farmers would be free to apply all of their share to their fields, as per usual, or to save a portion of it – either for their own future use or to trade with their neighbors. And older rights holders, who don’t want to face any cuts to their water entitlement, are going to grumble. Bodies such as the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) & Fair Wear give businesses the opportunity to attain certain environmental and social standards.
Designers are also taking a stand, forming local communities of designers and sustainable fashion enthusiasts who meet regularly to discuss how they can contribute at the local level. It was reported that “a large number of the fashion brands researched create the impression that they are doing the right thing for sustainability, but then fail to produce relevant and tangible information about the action they are taking.” With only 10% of the brands investigated complying with agreements to a high level, why are brands not choosing to follow through with their commitments? Inadvertently, these consumers’ nonchalant attitude toward the ethics in fashion could reinforce the big brands behaviour and lack of action. This group seemed to be concerned with how they were perceived by their peers and may be the most prone to being influenced by social media. McNeill and Moore suggest that businesses would find this group the least appealing in terms of profits as they are the least likely to buy garments regularly. In the Rank a Brand report, they found that 63% of the researched brands had included information about sustainability on their websites, however according to the report it seems that only a small percentage of these companies are acting on their commitments. This change can happen and with the help of organisations such as Fashion Revolution and Greenpeace, we can continue to challenge the fast fashion model to move towards a more sustainable future.
Inside, photos depicting piles of ‘obsolete’ electronics, being picked and sorted by the urban poor in the outskirts of Delhi, India.
The panel was moderated by Rama Chorpash, director of the MFA Industrial Design at Parsons School Of Design.
He spoke of the idea of object obsolescence–technological, planned, or simply psychological.
The problem is growing especially exponentially in India and China, where in the last seven years, e-waste has grown eight-fold. That fee goes from the place of purchase to the state budget, and helps fund efforts directed towards responsible disposal of electronics. Singh argued that trying to force individuals and families out of the informal labor market of “waste picking” for the sake of their health would have serious economic effects. If designers and consumers both can lengthen their time horizons past the “use” phase of a product, the environment and its inhabitants will benefit. And getting from there to $100 will be a challenge that we do not appear to be on the road to solving. But it is a good reminder that there are reasons to be optimistic about our ability to combat climate change. Commenting on this, Ulrike Hinz, a founding member of GreenBuzz Berlin and organiser of the panel discussion, says “Collaboration is key to a successful energy transition. The use of decentralised systems – from basic models that can power a few lights and a charger to high tech models able to generate power for entire households and energy intensive devices like fridges and TVs – are a realistic and viable alternative option. A dramatic reduction in costs (at all levels from manufacturing to installation to maintenance) has already occurred in recent years and this is set to continue. The greater the cost reduction, the more likely it is that other countries (in particular developing ones) and their citizens will have the opportunity to benefit from all of these factors.
In acknowledging the high level of entrepreneurship across many developing countries, there is the potential that these entrepreneurs could be a driving force for innovations, similar to start-ups in Germany.
A major reason as to why Germany has embarked on such a large scale transition to renewable energy is due to its stable policy and regulatory environment. Through this programme, independent power providers enter into a public private partnership with the government, and are licensed to develop renewable energy that can be fed into the national grid for an agreed price. Therefore, we have designed policies that ensure environmental and human rights impacts are identified early, carefully evaluated and managed responsibly. Starbucks will then cover the difference in tuition after the ASU discount and federal aid are applied. Meanwhile, the UK oil company British Petroleum – which at the end of 2014 had 84,500 employees worldwide – made public their plans to lay off 7,000 employees; of which 4,000 will be reduced in its upstream business in 2016 and 3,000 jobs will be cut in 2017 from its downstream segment. This Reform is a coalition of approximately 40 governments, businesses and influential organizations calling for accelerating actions to phase out fossil fuel subsidies. The documentary “The True Cost”, released in 2015, helped inform a broader audience about the unfair manufacturing conditions and the enormous environmental impacts of an ever-growing demand-driven industry.
This might be due to a long and complex global supply chain, which mainly consists of cotton farming, fibers manufacturing, dyeing, printing and bleaching.
The use of such chemicals contributes to the pollution of groundwater and air, as well as the reduction of soil fertility. Its volumes have been noted in policy and ecological discussions because they impact entire economic development trajectories in poor countries“– Anguelov (2015). Plenty is said about that too, but there's not enough discussion on the practical aspects of implementation.
Whatever the result, the policy approach adopted needs to trigger the implementation of emission reduction projects throughout the economy, with the lowest cost result being delivered by doing the most attractive projects first and progressively moving from left to right across the abatement curve.
By design it delivers a specific environmental outcome (through the overall cap) and does so at the lowest overall cost to the economy by driving participants to progressively implement projects from left to right across the abatement curve. The participants can earn credits by exceeding the baseline or have to surrender credits if they fall short. There is also no net change in the cost of goods and services, but only a limited redistribution around a mean. However, it is not a mechanism to decarbonise the economy on a large scale, with say the national government operating as the credit purchaser.
Examples include low carbon fuel standards, efficiency standards, renewable energy requirements, emission performance standards and so on. This results in two outcomes – it forces the carbon price to a lower level than it would normally be and it drives up the total cost of the solution for the economy as a whole.
It will also cost the economy more than is necessary, a difficult route to justify in the current global economic conditions. This isn’t sufficient to bridge the cost gap for wind, but nevertheless both offshore and onshore wind projects proceed, driven by the various renewable energy targets in EU Member States, which in turn are fed by the EU wide 20% renewable energy by 2020 target. Sensitivity analysis indicates that cost savings are still present under assumptions of higher commodity price trajectories and faster technology learning rates, although the difference in costs is reduced relative to the baseline. But basing a renewable energy strategy on the assumption of ever increasing energy prices may not be the prudent thing to do during challenging economic times.
Sessions on carbon capture and storage, energy efficiency and alternative energy each produced a set of proposals to take forward.
But there is also a realization that a very well thought through strategic approach will be required to capitalize on the long term value of the resource in an increasingly carbon constrained world.
A quick “back of the envelope” calculation shows that if the USA replaces 120 GW of coal fired power generating capacity (about a third of the fleet) with natural gas, in combination with the tough new laws on vehicle efficiency, it can, at least on paper, meet its 2020 target. This is why the USA, for example, needs emissions legislation now, not so much for the period up to 2020 which is now largely set, but for the energy mix in the decades afterwards which will be set by decisions made in the next 5-10 years. The development of a Gulf region CCS Technology Platform with a focus on CCS+NG demonstration plants was tabled as a potential way forward. Most of the E-bikes use lead acid batteries, yet in 2007, the entire industrial production of Li-ion batteries for electric bicycles had surpassed 100,000 ETWs.
Electric cars are just starting to appear and recharging infrastructure can be found in a few inner city streets and in some shopping mall carparks.
The impact of such a measure will be immense ranging from changing male-female ratio to changes which are already being observed, including rising sea levels, a warmer and more acidic ocean, melting glaciers and Arctic sea ice and more frequent and intense heat waves.
91 % of the respondents in China agreed that mankind is heading towards a disaster which can be halted only if we change our habits quickly. High waves break over coastal land and seawalls causing flooding and destruction to settled areas and fruit trees.
Roughly 40% of the island’s coral died and their 14 million birds, reputed to be among the world’s richest bird population, left the islands.
In this interview with host Aroop Mukharji, David Dolginow, co-founder of Shacksbury Cider in Shoreham, Vermont, explores the cider industry’s deep-seeded history and looks towards the future of industries dependent on both climate and innovation for success. During the last century Venice has sunk by 11 inches and according to Yehuda Bock, a research geodesist with Scripps, “Venice appears to be continuing to subside at a rate of about 2mm a year”. The movable gates lay at the bottom of each inlet channel supported by 38m long steel and concrete foundations, which measure 500mm in diameter and 20m in length.
Additionally, when the gates close they will trap industrial and agricultural pollution, and the city’s untreated sewage. The farmer whose water right is the oldest gets the water first, while the most recent purchaser must wait.
Prior appropriation means that the remaining water will be allocated only to the oldest of water rights, those issued prior to 1960. This market-based approach won’t refill the aquifer, but it may incentivize the improvements in water efficiency needed to get Diamond Valley irrigation on a sustainable footing.
Legal uncertainty about changes to water rights could lead to lawsuits, stopping the plan in its tracks. The water in question is not troubled by state boundaries or by conflicts with urban users. Various organisations such as Fashion Revolution and Greenpeace continue to put pressure on the industry by advocating for additional widespread changes in the fashion industry. The Sacrifice consumers feel that brands need to be more transparent and offer more information to their customers. Leading consumers to feel like they are doing the right thing, when in actual fact very little has changed. As we waited for the panel discussion to begin, audience members reached for their phones; the extent to which technology has permeated our lives is astounding at times. While connectivity can be an asset in the developing world, little work has been done towards mitigating the harmful effects of chemicals and materials that often end up being shipped to the backyards of the world’s poorest. From the photos, it is clear that the existence of these waste-pickers is also infiltrated by machinery and technology, albeit in a very different way from the consumers. Not least of which is that innovation is moving so fast that even innovators can sometimes fail to keep up.
An awareness of available alternative solutions and knowledge of the benefits of such solutions is also essential. To facilitate innovations, innovators and start-ups should not be restricted and held back by bureaucracies. Panel discussions like these enable progress, findings, learnings as well as challenges to be shared. Such policies not only promote positive environmental stewardship, but also highlight business opportunities to support investments in renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable water management, sustainable forestry and sustainable supply chains.
In addition, large quantity of textiles go to waste each year due to production non-conformities. The result is that the cost of most goods and services will rise, but a new cost ranking will emerge which in turn will change the purchasing patterns of consumers. Once mature, allowances are typically auctioned by the government into the market with the funds being recycled back to the consumers purchasing the goods and services from the sectors covered by the system. But it does establish the new capital flow through the economy and does force price differentiation on the basis of relative carbon footprints and market response. However, it is well suited to some sectors where a direct response to a carbon price may be limited.
Without these targets the CO2 price would be higher in the EU as they are forcing a particular outcome which is not necessarily the next best option along the abatement curve. In 2007, China exported about 395,000 electric bicycles; exports to Japan, the United States, and the European Union (EU) numbered 203,300, which was 58% of production. I recently even rode on a trial electric bus service from Paddington Station to Bank, provided as an extension of the Heathrow Express rail service.
Kiribati has more than 100,000 citizens and its main island, Tarawa, suffers from severe overcrowding. Cyclones and hurricanes occur more frequently in the ocean area surrounding Kiribati and these generate waves that damage the atolls.
David discusses some of these innovations, and explains how food and beverage industries like his can draw upon history and local resources for answers to building a business model rooted in sustainability. They can accept the drastic cutbacks to groundwater use mandated by the state government, or they can devise their own policy to conserve and share the resource, and convince the government that their policy will work. The majority of farmers will be left with nothing, and as they leave their farms for jobs elsewhere, the town’s vitality will dry up too. Water shares will shrink in quantity as the total amount of water available decreases, but will increase in value as water became scarcer. Simply put, Eureka’s Diamond Valley is a policy test-lab, where the problem is contained and the impact of the treatment is easily measured. While the exhibition is rooted in data surrounding e-waste, the visceral imagery of the photography allows for greater recognition of the scope of the problem than one might ascertain from statistics, alone.
Incentives such as tax breaks and a stable policy environment would certainly help enable entrepreneurs to drive further developing of the renewable sector. Although focused on the German case study many such findings, learning and lessons can be applied to other countries and continents. Attention to environmental and social (E&S) issues helps us to better manage risk, attract and retain critical talent, develop expertise and provide clients with suggested solutions to pressing sustainability issues in their businesses. Most synthetic fibers – accounting for about half of all fiber usage – do not decompose and wool releases methane during landfill decomposition. Products with a high carbon footprint will be less competitive, either forcing their removal from the market or driving the manufacturer to invest in projects to lower the footprint. Early on, as the economy begins adjusting to the carbon pricing mechanism, the government may allocate some or all of the allowances for free.
The government buys from the emitters, which means it must raise taxes to extract this money from the consumer. That also means the overall cost to society of meeting the 2020 emissions target is raised. The only warning the pedestrian gets is the horn or, somewhat too late, the sound of rubber on bitumen rolling along. All of the large companies producing electric vehicles (EVs) have E-bike models that are powered by Li-ion batteries, but the performance-to-price ratio for those E-bikes is still not compatible with that for E-bikes powered by lead acid batteries. Second, the doctrine of beneficial use says that water must be put to an economically productive endeavor, or it will be confiscated by the government. Relative to the existing approach, trading should see water move to the most water efficient farmers, those who can make the most profits from each drop (and thus are prepared to pay the most for it on the new exchange). The consumer might get some of this back through a lower cost of goods and services as efficiency should have increased as a result of the projects but it means that the market does not determine the way forward – rather the government does through its selection of projects to fund. This efficiency keeps production higher than it otherwise would be, lessening the total economic pain caused by the water cuts. It will also be a major exercise for the government to establish the necessary evaluation boards to assess projects etc.
Finally, this approach will result in a somewhat random attack on the abatement curve, rather than the comprehensive and ordered attack that a carbon price, ideally via cap-and-trade, would deliver.

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