A photo of Peter Rinaldo

Peter Rinaldo

COO Blockhomes
Peter Rinaldo has worked for over thirty years as an investigative journalist and documentary filmmaker for SVT and TV4 in Sweden and for a number of international broadcasters. His main area of journalism has been the causes and long-term effects of war and malice throughout the world. In recent years, he has devoted himself to developing renewable energy and real estate. His contact network for finding good investment objects is a great opportunity for investors in Blockhomes.

Science based companies dedicated 18 billion on climate spending

The impact of the Science-Based Target initiative launched in 2015 reveals wide-ranging action from large companies to become climate neutral.

 

Today corporates striving to become sustainable have tough criteria to gain approval from the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTI). Those companies which have succeeded to improve their climate imprint  according ti the Science-Based Targets criteria, will now drive $18bn of investment in climate change mitigation measures, boosting renewable electricity generation by up to 90TWh a year in the process, according to a new analysis of corporate climate action from the Science-Based Target initiative (SBTi).

The SBTi was launched in 2015, providing an independent mechanism to validate whether companies emissions reduction targets were in line with the Paris Agreement goal to keep global temperature rises to 'well below' 2C. Targets are assessed by an independent panel of experts to ensure they are ambitious enough. 

The SBTi tightened its rules in line with the landmark report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on the risks of exceeding 1.5C of warming so that all companies with new targets validated under the scheme must now publish goals in line with a 1.5C trajectory. 

According to the report out today, 285 companies now have their targets approved by the SBTi, including 76 with goals deemed to be compatible with less than 1.5C of warming. Together they account for emissions totalling 752 million metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent - greater than the carbon output of France and Spain combined.

If all the approved companies meet their targets, 265 million metric tonnes of emissions would be eliminated, equivalent to closing 68 coal-fired power plants, the report calculated.

More than 90 per cent of the companies have also set emissions reduction targets for their supply chains, SBTi added. 

The combination of emissions goals for suppliers and multi-billion dollar investment programmes in support of the approved targets suggests the initiative is delivering on its aim of catalysing the development of low carbon technologies and business models.

The report also found that more than 20 per cent of large companies in fashion, biotechnology, food and beverage, healthcare, hospitality, information technology, pharmaceuticals and telecommunications have set Science-Based Targets, indicating that they are becoming standard business practice in some sectors of the economy.

Power One AB takes the fight against global warming

Power One does not consider that it is right to buy itself free of CO2 emissions and the company is now launching Ceeotoo Token.

 

Ceeotoo is an upcoming cryptocurrency where the value of each token corresponds to 1 ton reduction of carbon dioxide. Following the implementation of the ICO calculated on February 3, 2020, Ceeotoo will distribute the equivalent of $ 100 per ton of carbon dioxide saved. This means that a company institutions and private individuals should be able to apply for a distribution of Ceeotoo Tokens when showing saved CO2. In the long term this model can make a significant difference to our hard-pressed climate.

Ceeotoo also intends to acquire unexploited crude oil and keep it unexploited in the ground and also in this way prevent emissions. In addition, 5% of all income from the coming ICO will be used to plant trees and thus store CO2.

Power One has full confidence that interest in this model will be considerable.

Europe's new Green Deal hit the target

The European Union is about to implement the most ambitious push against climate change in the world, with a radical overhaul of its economy.

 

At a summit in Brussels next week, EU leaders will commit to cut greenhouse-gas emissions to zero by 2050, according to a draft of their joint statement for the Dec. 12-13 meeting. To enable this the European Union will encourage more green investment and adjust all of its policies accordingly.

“If our common goal is to be a climate-neutral continent in 2050, we have to act now,” Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, told a United Nations climate conference on Monday. “It’s a generational transition we have to go through.”

The commission, the EU’s regulatory arm, will have the job of drafting the rules that would transform the European economy once national leaders have signed off on the climate goals for 2050.

The main topics in the planned commitment:

  • Easing restrictions on state aid for companies
  • Changing public procurement rules
  • Considering more ambitious targets for 2030 emissions cuts
  • Penalizing imports from countries with looser emissions controls
  • European Investment Bank to mobilize 1 trillion euros ($1.1 trillion) in climate financing over the next decade

The plan is set to be approved at the United Nations summit in Madrid, and would put the EU ahead of other major emitters. Countries including China, India and Japan have yet to translate voluntary pledges under the 2015 Paris climate accord into binding national measures and current U.S. President Donald Trump has said he’ll pull the U.S. out of the Paris agreement.

Measuring Success by Human Well-Being Instead of Growth

When countries want to measure the success of their economies, they should assess human well-being instead of gross domestic product (GDP), New Zealand's finance minister, Grant Robertson, said at a World Bank’s Meeting in Washington, DC.

 

Robertson said that the only way to ensure a country's long-term economic growth is through investments in essential services and basic necessities like education, health care, skills training, and overall levels of happiness. And these investments are only becoming more vital as the world undergoes rapid technological change, he stressed.

“We don’t know what jobs will be there in 20 years time,” he said. “But the knowledge and learning happening now will drive success then.”

Robertson said that New Zealand's general public was the driving force behind this change in perspective.

Although the country has had strong levels of GDP growth for years, everyday people regularly point to its high levels of homelessness, childhood poverty, and polluted rivers as signs that New Zealand is failing to live up to its potential.

This public sentiment led to a shift in the government's perspective and government agencies are now expected to take human welfare into consideration when developing budgets.

“We have an economic and social case for investing in human capital,” he said, during a panel called "The Economic and Social Case for Human Capital Investments," which focused on the World Bank’s new Human Capital Project.

“If you want to build a sustainable economy, you have to take into account all of the dimensions of that," he added. “If we’re not investing in education, intergenerational skills, well-being — it will undermine your economy.”

As part of its new project, the World Bank created the Human Capital Index to measure whether or not children are reaching their full potential in countries around the world. The index takes into account a range of factors including how likely a child is to make it to age 5, how many years of schooling they complete, the efficacy of their learning environments, and rates of childhood stunting.

Global business dismiss the "shareholder first" mantra

Global collective problems need global collective solutions. This is what is now driving large firms to move beyond the "shareholder first" mantra.

By last month, 183 corporate CEOs signed on to a statement affirming their commitment to move beyond the “shareholder first” mantra to account for the interests of all stakeholders, including employees, customers, suppliers, and communities. The statement by the US Business Roundtable recognize the fierce headwinds businesses are facing – and their proven capacity for adaptation.

Since the advent of the modern firm, businesses have had to contend with a fundamental paradox: society needs large organizations to solve complex collective problems, but also fears centralized authority and decision-making.

Yet public opinion surveys rank large companies among the least trusted institutions (above only television news and the US Congress), with small businesses among the most trusted.

If the beginning of the twentieth century was shaped by the modern multiunit enterprise, the century’s latter half was all about the multinational. The shift began after World War I and picked up steam after the end of the Cold War, when the integration of markets and the vast expansion of corporate bureaucracies enabled companies to take advantage of global economies of scale.

The so-called Davos Manifesto was born in 1973 at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, when WEF founder Klaus Schwab asserted that “the purpose of professional management” is to serve all stakeholders, and to harmonize their different interests.

At the same meeting corporate focus was also urged to shift to a more responsible “corporate citizenship” – the idea that a corporation, like any citizen, had to align its self-interest with the shared interests of society. But, though participants at that year’s WEF meeting unanimously endorsed the manifesto, corporate citizenship has remained a radical idea – one that is only now, nearly a half-century later, becoming mainstream.

Today the catalyst of corporate change is Global Warming and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, characterized by business expansion into the domain of data and algorithms. In a sense, smaller firms may lead this new phase of business activity. As Jack Ma, the founder of the Chinese tech giant Alibaba, told Davos attendees this year, “In the last 20 years, globalization was controlled by 60,000 companies worldwide. Imagine if we could expand that to 60 million businesses.”

But this would not be a return to the past, with individual small and medium-size enterprises driving the economy. In fact, Ma was touting a platform he has built to allow SMEs to build globalized businesses.

Therein lies the fundamental difference between modern markets and those Adam Smith envisioned back in 1776: to compete today, SMEs need to be able to store, process, and analyze massive amounts of data – capabilities that are provided by giants like Alibaba, Amazon, Facebook, and Google.

Similarly, while the rise of the “gig economy” means that more people are operating as one-person firms, these workers rely on multinational platforms to get “gigs.” It is this tension between unprecedented bigness – Apple and Amazon recently became the first privately owned trillion-dollar companies – and pre-industrial smallness that lies at the heart of the trust paradox today.

As a result, large corporations are more than stakeholders; they often govern the platforms upon which all stakeholders intersect. To avoid another public backlash, they must make these platforms serve us not only as consumers, but also as entrepreneurs, workers, and citizens.

At a time of unprecedented global challenges – including climate change and high levels of inequality – this must include using the unprecedented power of platform leadership to catalyze global-scale solutions.

This is propelling the latest transition in corporate stakeholdership, focused not just on scaling more wisely, but also on becoming wiser about what to scale. Business leaders know what happens when the tide of public opinion turns against them, and therefore they now shift focus of their leadership from “shareholders first” to a more responsible “corporate citizenship”.

Post-Earth economy according to Bezoz

Amazon founder and the richest man on Earth, Jeff Bezos, now admits that the limitless growth that made him the world's richest man is incompatible with a habitable Earth, but instead of change he propose human exodus.

In an almost delusional speech some days ago ultra-billionaire Jeff Bezoz outlined a vision of an “incredible civilization” with trillions of people living in space. This way Bezos pitched a version of the future that’s departed from the reality of capitalism, climate change, and the intractable connections between those two things.

Bezos admits that limitless growth—the growth that made him the richest man in the world—is incompatible with a habitable earth. But instead of announcing investments in renewable energy or public infrastructure, Bezos pitches an escape from earth.

Bezos argued that "space colonies" are a solution to humanity’s long range problems, like energy availability and ceilings on notions of unfettered, limitless growth. Space colonies, Bezos said, are a way to expand the human population and offset the impacts of agriculture and industry on Earth. This strategy, according to Bezos, leaves Earth an idyllic paradise: a place to go on vacation, a place to go to college—in other words, a place for the elite.

And now space, according to Bezos, is going to be a place for industry. It will be a place controlled by private companies, entrepreneurs, and first movers.

“Earth ends up zoned, residential, and with light industry,” Bezos said.

Bezos still argues that the logic of endless growth is the way to save the Earth. He is also characterizing himself as the genius pioneer with the heart, spirit, and courage necessary to advance humanity toward a better future. But this vision of a better future is detached from reality.

The economic system of today is hardly the solution to the problems that Bezos describes. It’s the root of them. That we know today and if there is going to be a positive change on Earth the limitless growth has to change first. Even Bezos agree on that, but he has no solutions. He just deports the problem into space, making it a distraction from the real problem.

EU parliament declares climate emergency

The European parliament has declared a global “climate and environmental emergency” as it urged all EU countries to commit to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Intended to demonstrate Europe’s green credentials days before a crucial UN climate conference in Madrid, the vote also ratchets up pressure on the incoming president of the European commission, who declared this week that the EU would lead the fight against “the existential threat” of the climate crisis.

The vote came as scientists warned that the world may have already crossed a series of climate tipping points, resulting in “a state of planetary emergency”.

The decision passed with a comfortable majority, with 429 votes in favour, 225 votes against and 19 abstentions – MEPs across the political spectrum warned against making symbolic gestures.

Pascal Canfin, the French liberal MEP who drafted the climate emergency resolution, said: “The fact that Europes the first continent to declare climate and environmental emergency, just before COP25, when the new commission takes office, and three weeks after Donald Trump confirmed the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris agreement, is a strong message sent to citizens and the rest of the world.”

French insurance giant phase-out coal

Just like their banking colleagues at BNP Paribas, AXA is also to phase out coal from business activities by 2030 in OECD states and by 2040 around the world, the insurance giant announced yesterday.

 

AXA is a French multinational insurance firm  that engages in global insuranceinvestment management, and other financial services, and their new climate strategy is launched as a 'new global benchmark for best practice'

The AXA Group operates primarily in Western Europe, North America, the Asia Pacific region, and the Middle East, with a presence also in Africa. 

In a move hailed by climate campaigners as setting "a new global benchmark for best practice", AXA said it will encourage coal companies to produce a coal phase-out plan by 2021 and use its position as a shareholder to accelerate the shutdown of existing coal plants. 

It also promised to stop selling insurance contracts - bar those covering employee benefits - to clients developing new coal projects larger than 300MW.

The moves are all part of AXA's plan to align its business with a 1.5C warming trajectory, the stretch target in the Paris Agreement.

AXA said its current investments have 3.1C of 'warming potential', well above its target of 1.5C by 2050 which would put it in line with the aims of the Paris Agreement.

As such it yesterday promised to double its green investments to €24bn by 2023 in an effort to accelerate the decarbonisation of its portfolio.

"Today we are launching a new phase in our climate strategy to accelerate our contribution to the transition towards a low-carbon and resilient economy, notably by focusing our sustainable finance efforts towards the energy transition of major industries," said CEO Thomas Buberl. "We are convinced that it is an absolute priority if we want to reach the objectives of the Paris Agreement."

French bank will end all coal investments worldwide by 2040

French banking giant to end coal financing in Europe by 2030 and sets new renewable energy investment target of €18bn by 2021

 

BNP Paribas has pledged to cease all financing related to the European thermal coal sector by 2030, before then halting all coal investment globally by 2040.

BNP Paribas claims that the new commitments will help it meet its goal of reducing the CO2 intensity of its global electricity mix by 85% between 2014 and 2040, thereby complying with the Sustainable Development Scenario (SDS) of the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The French banking group has also announced a new financing target of €18bn by 2021 in order to increase its support for the development of renewable energies.

Amid concerns over the climate emergency, BNP Paribas said that it intends to encourage the transition of electricity producers to a production model with the lowest possible emissions of CO2

BNP Paribas director and CEO Jean Laurent Bonnafé said: “Like all players in the economy and society whose objective is to contribute to the necessary transition to a lower carbon economic model, BNP Paribas has a role to play. As a bank, we have the opportunity, and the will, to participate in the acceleration of the energy transition by supporting our customers in this necessary transformation".

Addressing the weakness of blockchain

BLOCKCHAIN is touted as the next step in the digital revolution, a technology that will change every industry from music to waste. There are many versions of public blockchains in existence, but the majority of them share a basic premise: they offer a secure, decentralised infrastructure to maintain a "single version of the truth", recording all changes made on the blockchain database since its formation.

 

A lot of banks and fintechs started experimenting with blockchain in 2015, trying to capitalise on the speed and transparency it offers. But four years later, the idea that blockchain will remove banks as intermediaries in our payments system still seems a long way off. That's because there are five basic challenges that the technology has to overcome if it is to be accepted as part of the financial system.

1. STANDARDS

Different blockchains organise information in a plethora of ways. This means feeding information from one to another is not always easy.

There is no agreed universal layout of the transaction data structure. In a financial payment, a block will hold the person or company's name, account information, payment, location address and any other relevant factors. But crypto currencies all do this differently, so it would be difficult to move from one currency to another. They need to create standards for the information they contain and how it is systematically laid out.

2. LIABILITY

There is no liability for the platforms when things go wrong at the moment. For instance, in 2017, Canadian digital currency exchange QuadrigaCX announced that a computer error had led to losses of ether worth US$14 million. Surely, liability will need to be cleared up before the public can trust blockchains with their money. For this, we need more regulation in the space of crypto and blockchain in general.

3. SCALABILITY

Blockchain is still at a very small scale compared to everyday electronic payments. Bitcoin's blockchain does 2,000 transactions every 10 minutes, whereas Visa handles more than 65,000 transaction messages every second; Swift, the global messaging system used by banks and financial institutions to transfer payments, deals with 24 million messages a day.

The "block size debate" over how many transactions each block of a blockchain should handle has raged since the early days of bitcoin in 2009. This must be resolved for blockchain platforms to grow big enough to become part of the world's financial plumbing.

4. GOVERNANCE

Blockchain's strength is it has no central authority, but this is also its weakness. Who makes the decisions about how the technology works or when it needs updating?

Public blockchains operate more like communities. There is no systematic way to decide on updates or improvements. Sometimes this can result in a split.

Blockchains haven't figured out how to effectively govern yet. Often, simple majority voting mechanisms are used to make decisions, which means issues are vulnerable to lobbyists or active contributors seizing control.

5. TRANSPARENCY AND IDENTITY

Blockchain payments mean all users can see all the transactions, making them easy to audit and trace. Users are pseudo-anonymous, in that they are not obliged to identify themselves in any way, but they can still be traced through their alphanumeric address and use of tokens on the network. This transparency is part of the blockchain's strength. It means other users can see the amount of bitcoins going from one address to another, but no name is linked to that address. This can be regarded as both a strength and a weakness, and has to be adressed.

 

Eventually, blockchain's lack of an identification framework will be problematic for many users and investors, as it is a fundamental premise on which the financial system is built.

But when these issues are addressed, it is almost inevitable that blockchains become the new foundation of our financial system.

 

Power One stores energy in both water and hydrogen

There is a great demand for energy storage today. Solar energy can only be collected during the daytime and therefore some of the energy generated during the daytime must be stored for night use. There are several efficient ways to store energy today, and different storage models have different advantages and disadvantages, but the most cost-effective way of storing energy today is through water.

 

Batteries are the most common principle of energy storage today. Lithium has a certain environmental impact, mainly in the manufacturing process. Therefore, there is not much that goes for that metal to provide the world with green energy storage.

Hydrogen is a very clean alternative that only needs items. solar energy and water to be manufactured. It is more expensive per stored kilowatt than Kinetic storage and battery storage. However, one of the benefits of hydrogen is that it is transportable to the place where it is needed. Ex. mining companies, factories, schools, etc. The infrastructure that is now being built is a so-called. Return system with tubes containing hydrogen.

Kinetic storage is a pure alternative compared to fossil fuels as an energy carrier. so pumped water is today the most cost-effective energy storage. What stops it is that it does not fit everywhere but the need exists for all green forms of energy storage.

Storage of pumped water is quite simple. The basic structure consists of an upper and a lower pond. From the upper pond, the water passes through a pipeline connected to a turbine generator, just as in all conventional hydroelectric power stations. The difference is that the turbine in a pumped storage facility can be transformed into a pump during the day to pump water back to the upper pond - for night use.

For pumped water storage of energy, there is a total storage potential of about 22 million GWh worldwide. These astonishing figures come from a report recently released by Professor Andrew Blakers and other researchers with the Australian National University's RE100 Group.

"Pumped water already accounts for 97% of electricity storage worldwide due to the low cost", says ANU, "and the proportion of wind and solar cells in the electricity grid is increasing significantly".

The huge storage potential is about a hundred times greater than what is needed to support a 100% global renewable electricity system, "says ANU. An approximate guide to the 100% renewable electricity storage requirements, based on analysis for Australia, is 1 GW of power per million people with 20 hours of storage, which equals 20 GWh per million people.

The concept has been developed by the Australian University and is based on small-scale PWS with a pair of reservoirs, separated by a height difference between 300 and 700 m, and connected by a pipe with a pump / turbine. Water circulates between the upper and lower containers in a closed loop to store and generate power. The stations can have a storage time of 4 to 20 hours and such a network of small-scale PWS provides sufficient storage capacity to stabilize the supply and ensure a stable supply from 100% renewable energy sources.

These smaller versions of PWS are mao. an inexpensive, reliable and sustainable alternative for energy storage. The only thing required is water and altitude difference. The method is thus dependent on the natural terrain, and works in naturally hilly regions.

Some energy companies have taken note of this and have developed these small PWS into a sustainable alternative for storage in areas with natural conditions. For example, the Swedish energy company Power One, which specialises in the electrification of Africa and its huge growth market in energy / stored energy. Now Power One is developing a combined integrated storage in both PWS and hydrogen for its projects in East Africa (Pilot area). In this way, cost-effectiveness will almost double, while Power-One can deliver energy both day and night to its customers.

Using the combination enables Power One to reach larger areas and markets for stored energy.

Welcome to join us on an exciting journey in green energy where there is enormous potential to do good for the planet, while at the same time accelerating development in developing countries. Within this segment, there is money to be made while contributing to a more viable environment.

Power One AB is an energy company that is at the forefront of global development. Right now, there is an issue in which the public has the opportunity to invest in the company.

During Q32020, management expects the company to be listed. www.poweroneburundi.com

 

Young Republicans think their party is on the wrong side of the climate debate

Establishment Republicans will probably never authorize sweeping action on climate change. The Fox News crowd is twice as likely as other Republicans to say climate change isn’t caused by humans.

 

But that’s not true for young Republicans (as well as most of the GOP under the age of 38). Pew Research Center recently polled to gauge their opinion on climate change, and the results show a generational divide in the GOP getting wider with every generation.

Majorities of Americans say the federal government is doing too little for key aspects of the environment, from protecting water or air quality to reducing the effects of climate change. And most believe the United States should focus on developing alternative sources of energy over expansion of fossil fuel sources, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

While only 31% of boomers (1946-64) say the federal government does too little to reduce the effects of climate change, 52% of millennials (born after 1980) say the same thing. Overall, two-thirds of US adults (67%) agree the US government does too little. And don’t expect change anytime soon. The average age of the Congress is among the highest in American history: 57.8 years old for House members, and 61.8 for senators.

While it’s unlikely enough GOP incumbents (or older conservative voters) will change their mind on climate to break a congressional stalemate, movement is unlikely to depend on convincing opponents of climate policy.

As German physicist Max Planck once said about progress in science, it advances one funeral (or retirement) at a time. “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it,” he wrote in his 1968 autobiography. When it comes the politics of climate change, the axiom may apply to Congress as well.

Africa is showing the world how to get clean

When going to Africa travelers have to to pack very carefully. Several countries in Africa have already banned plastic bags, and if bringing plastic bags to those countries they will be confiscated at the airport. Rwanda made plastic bags illegal many years ago and others have followed suit. Now Tanzania has announced the implementation of the second phase of its plastic bag ban, and visitors are advised to avoid packing or carrying any plastic bags as they’ travel to Tanzania.

The first phase of the country’s anti-plastic initiative began in 2017 to “protect the youth and environment,” with an initial ban on the manufacture of plastic bags and in-country distribution. Phase two extends to tourists. “The government does not intend for visitors to Tanzania to find their stay unpleasant as we enforce the ban,” said a statement from vice president Samia Suluhu’s office. “However, the government expects that, in appreciation of the imperative to protect the environment and keep our country clean and beautiful, our visitors will accept minor inconveniences resulting from the plastic bags ban.”

There are exceptions to the new rule for medical, industrial, construction, agricultural, and waste management packaging, as well as for the small “ziploc” bags used to carry toiletries (as long as these leave the country when the visitors do). Still, Tanzania aims to be plastic bag free, and it’s just one of 34 African nations fighting against single-use plastics with such bans.

Kenya’s efforts, initiated in 2017, have led to a “visibly cleaner” country, Parker writes: “Bags that once hung like windblown shrouds from tree branches are fewer in number, as are clumps of bags that clogged drainage systems and created breeding pools for malaria-bearing mosquitoes.”

In Kenya, the penalties for ignoring the ban are the world’s most punitive. Manufacturers, importers, distributors, and users found with plastic bags face up to $38,000 in fines or four years in prison. The ban has faced resistance, and enforcement is also a problem—it’s spotty, which means that plastic bags are still circulating despite the potential penalties. Still, in a country that once used about 100 million plastic bags a year, according to UN estimates, the reduction efforts are notable and seem to be effective.

Rwanda is aiming to be the world’s first plastic-free country, and its prohibitions appear to be working. The UN named the country’s capital, Kigali, the African continent’s cleanest city, thanks in part to a 2008 ban on non-biodegradable plastic.

In fact, the African continent is leading the world in plastic bag regulations. Notably, 31 of these bans have been passed in sub-Saharan Africa, the globe’s poorest region, as Laura Parker reported for National Geographic in April.

Several private companies are also catching up and supports these efforts. In Burundi there is no ban of plastic bags in place until next year, but even before that youth organisations and private companies have joined forces to clean the shores of Tanganyika Lake from plastic waste.

Gustave Niyongere, a young Burundian electrician, is engaged in the youth organisation cleaning the shores of Tanganyika from plastic waste. He is also an employee of Power One Burundi, a company building renewable energy. To solve the problem he engaged his company to help and today his youth organisation and the company he works at has joined forces in the cleaning efforts of Lake Tanganyika. This is an example among many. In Rwanda it has even become mandatory for companies to not only earn money, but to engage in the environmental struggle too.

This month, a UN environmental study concluded that plastic bag bans are working and are especially effective in African nations where waste is often burned. Indeed, about 40% of the world’s waste is burned, which causes toxic pollution. Burning plastics releases poisonous gases that threaten the health of vegetation, humans, and animals. “Burning of plastic waste increase the risk of heart disease, aggravates respiratory ailments such as asthma and emphysema and cause rashes, nausea or headaches and damages the nervous system,” the study notes.

Reducing plastic bag use then has two effects: It minimizes the creation of waste, much of which drifts and ends up in the world’s oceans, harming marine life, and it reduces the air pollution caused by burning single-use plastics.

Business moral is changing rapidly, but some companies sadly lag behind

The Queensland government has extinguished native title over 1,385 hectares of Wangan and Jagalingou country for the proposed Adani coalmine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin - without any public announcement of the decision.

The decision could see Wangan and Jagalingou protesters forcibly removed by police from their traditional lands, including lands used for ceremonies.

W&J Council leader Adrian Burragubba, and a group of Wangan and Jagalingou representatives, had been calling on the government to rule out transferring their land, arguing they had never given their consent for Adani to occupy their country.

In a meeting with government officials, seeking a halt on leases being issued for mine infrastructure, they learned the state government had instead granted Adani exclusive possession freehold title over large swathes of their lands, including the area currently occupied for ceremonial purposes.

At the same time a report finds that Adani mine would be 'unviable' without $4.4bn in subsidies, which upsets the indigenous population.

“We have been made trespassers on our own country,” Burragubba said. “Our ceremonial grounds, in place for a time of mourning for our lands as Adani begins its destructive processes, are now controlled by billionaire miner Adani.

“With insider knowledge that the deal was already done, Adani had engaged Queensland police and threatened us with trespass.”

To mine any land under a native title claim, a miner needs an Indigenous land use agreement, essentially a contract that allows the state to extinguish native title. Adani has a ILUA over the land: five of the 12 native claimants have opposed it, but have lost successive legal challenges in court to prevent it.

Burragubba and a group of supporters set up camp on the land ahead of its legal transfer to Adani. He said they will refuse to leave.

“We will never consent to these decisions and will maintain our defence of country,” he said. “We will be on our homelands to care for our lands and waters, hold ceremonies and uphold the ancient, abiding law of the land.”

Pumped Water Storage - the emerging cost efficient method of energy storage

There is a huge demand for energy storage today. Solar energy can only be collected in daytime and therefore part of the the energy generated in daytime has to be stored for night use. There are several effective ways to store energy today, and different storage models have different advantages and disadvantages.

 

Batteries are the most prevalent today, but lithium has serious disadvantages for the environment.

Hydrogen is very clean, and only needs water, but is till more expensive per stored kilowatt than kinetic storage.

Kinetic storage is also clean and can be used with both material weight, or with water. The use of material weight is still under development, so pumped water is today the most cost effective storage of energy.

 

Pumped Water Storage is quite simple. The basic construction consists of an upper and a lower dam. From the upper dam the water goes through a pipeline connected to a  turbine generator, just like any normal hydroelectric power plant. The difference is that the turbine in a pumped storage facility can be reversed into a pump in daytime for pumping water back up to the upper dam - for night use.

There are about 530,000 potentially feasible pumped hydro energy storage sites worldwide, with a total storage potential of about 22 million GWh.

These astonishing numbers come from a report recently released by Professor Andrew Blakers and other researchers with Australian National University’s RE100 Group.

Pumped hydro already constitutes 97% of electricity storage worldwide because of its low cost, ANU says, and the proportion of wind and solar photovoltaics in the electrical grid is extending considerably. This means “additional long-distance high voltage transmission, demand management and local storage is required for stability.”

The massive storage potential of about 22 million GWh “is about one hundred times greater than required to support a 100% global renewable electricity system,” ANU says. An approximate guide to storage requirements for 100% renewable electricity, based on analysis for Australia, is 1 GW of power per million people with 20 hours of storage, which amounts to 20 GWh per million people.

The identified sites are outside national parks and are mostly closed-loop (not river-based). Each identified site comprises an upper and lower reservoir pair plus a hypothetical tunnel route between the reservoirs, and includes data such as latitude, longitude, altitude, head, slope, water volume, water area, rock volume, dam wall length, water/rock ratio, energy storage potential and approximate relative cost. Brownfield sites (existing reservoirs, old mining sites) will be included in a future analysis.

Most of the indicated sites are for quite large storage facilities, but there are also smaller versions of Pumped Water Storage (PWS):

1) Small riverside PWS systems:

Small PWS are quite common alongside major rivers, but are limited in capacity, firstly by the head available and land available for the upper reservoir.

2) Off-river pumped water storage

A concept, developed by the Australian national university and based on small scale PWS is pairs of reservoirs, typically 10 ha each, are separated by an altitude difference of between 300 and 700 m, in hilly terrain or ex-mines and away from rivers, and joined by a pipe with a pump/turbine. Water circulates between the upper and lower reservoirs in a closed loop to store and generate power.

Very little water is apparently required relative to conventional fossil fuel power stations. Estimated stations could be in size from 50 to 500 W and with a storage time of 4 to 20 h.
Problems with initial filling and compensation for evaporation and leakage. Such a network of small scale PWS is claimed to be able to provide sufficient storage capacity to allow operation from 100% renewable energy sources.

These smaller versions of PWS are a quite cheap, reliable and alternative for storage in hilly regions. Some energy developers have picked up on these small PWS. There are several combinaqtions of storage possible today, and can be modelled relating to the specific environment. One example of a company working with this  is energy company Power One, which is specialised in electrification of previously non electrified areas in Africa. They have now developed a combined storage system of both PWS and hydrogen to be integrated in its projects in East Africa. Through this system Powerr One can double its storage cost efficiency, at the same time as the company can provide both night time electricity and hydrogen for transports to its customers. In other areas the combination can be different, depending on natural preconditions.

In the comprehensive global atlas presented by Australian National University’s RE100 Group, pumped hydro energy storage sites provided by users can browse to any part of the world and zoom in to obtain detailed synthetic images. Users can explore thousands of sites in specific locales, sorted by size and capital cost. Clicking on a reservoir or tunnel route produces pop-ups containing detailed information.

African Hydrogen - The time is now

Establishing hydrogen economies and societies in Africa will provide tremendous social, economic and environmental benefits - all at the same time as it will grow to become perhaps the most profitable investment available today.

 

That’s the message from the African Hydrogen Partnership (AHP), a to be multi-stakeholder association that has recently unveiled an ambitious vision to transform Africa from a vast and largely underdeveloped continent, to a region at the forefront of clean technologies with a thriving hydrogen value chain.

The plans would see renewable hydrogen produced and consumed locally in Africa, meaning the continent would be able to reduce the import of fossil-based fuels and chemicals drastically. This would reduce dependency on the US dollar and help improve trade balances.

AHP proposes that the savings from this, and from reducing pollution, as well as socio-economic benefits, could be used to fund new hydrogen programmes.

Next to those savings, new financial instruments such as Green African Hydrogen Bond could be developed for providing efficient access to capital markets to raise funding for green hydrogen projects.

The first hydrogen economies would begin with the construction of large-scale power to gas (P2G) renewable energy facilities or hubs along important trans-African highways. These would also be built in ports, where hydrogen stations would provide fuel for long haul heavy goods vehicles, buses and trains, all powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

The same P2G stations would also provide green hydrogen for industrial processes and green chemicals, such as ammonia (for fertiliser), green methanol (polymers), steel manufacturing (reducing agent), glass production (protective gas) and electronics (protective & carrier gas).

These trans-African hydrogen routes would connect major mining centres that use heavy-duty hydrogen vehicles (such as forklifts, tugs and bulldozers).

The routes would also connect harbours, trade centres, metropolitan areas overland and near-shore islands with hydrogen-powered ferries.

In metropolitan areas where there’s severe pollution, lightweight and convertible hydrogen fuel cell business vehicles could provide sufficient reliable energy to run a small business during the day and to supply electricity to the owner’s home at night. These vehicles would make clean transport and power available and affordable for everyone.

In AHP’s vision for a hydrogen economy, the consumer transports green energy from large scale, independent renewable energy production facilities and from local mini-grids to wherever they need to consume the energy.

This is a new, revolutionary concept for Africa put forward by AHP’s co-founders Vincent Oldenbroek and Siegfried Huegemann that would remove Africa’s current dependency on the electricity grid for energy.

“Hydrogen technology has accomplished tremendous achievements over the last four years. Costs have come down, products have been scaled up and at the same time all the developments like renewable electricity have become really cheap. These developments together made us decide the timing is right and 2019 was the year to start this,” explains Oldenbroek to gasworld.

“However, with climate change happening all over the world, for example the extreme warm winters in Europe, you could say maybe we are already too late. With all these environmental challenges we are facing, there’s no better time than today,” adds Huegemann.

Battery Vs. Hydrogen: There’s Room For Both Technologies

Last week Anheuser-Busch brewery made its first zero-emissions delivery of beer, and both hydrogen-powered and battery-powered trucks were involved to demonstrate how the two technologies can work together. The beverage company used a hydrogen-electric truck to pick up a load of beer from its distillery and deliver it to local wholesaler partner. The wholesaler partner in turn used a battery-electric powered truck to make the delivery to customers, marking the first zero-emissions delivery.

There is a something of a mild war between Tesla and the rest of the world when it comes to the debate on the future of vehicle propulsion technology. Although there are multiple power sources available on the market today–including natural gas, diesel, hydrogen, and petroleum gasoline–some automotive industry leaders feel that there should only be one: battery-electric.

Most large and intermediate-sized automotive manufacturers disagree with this narrow position, and are exploring multiple alternative-fuel systems, including fuel-cell technology.

Hydrogen is more efficient for powering large vehicles, such as full-size SUVs and trucks, for long distances while carrying heavy payloads. Batteries are large, heavy, and expensive, and quickly reach a point of diminishing returns as vehicle size and weight increases, which is why many transportation giants are placing heavy bets on hydrogen technology and start-ups.

Last year Anheuser-Busch placed an order for up to 800 hydrogen-electric powered semi-trucks from the Phoenix, Arizona-based Nikola Motor Company to make good on its plan to reduce its carbon emissions across their supply chain by 25% by 2025. These trucks can travel between 500 and 1,200 miles before a 20-minute refueling is required. But even when all of the 800 long-haul hydrogen-powered trucks are on the road, the new fleet will reduce the brewer’s logistics-related carbon footprint by only 18%.

Additional reductions will be found in part by working with battery-electric vehicle manufacturers. The beer producer will be deploying 21 electric battery-electric trucks powered by a 958.5 kW solar array in efforts to reduce emissions generated by its distribution centers in southern California.

EasyJet to become first zero carbon airline

UK low-cost airline EasyJet could be flying electric passenger planes on short haul routes within the next 10 years after it announced a new partnership with US electric jet pioneers Wright Electric. However, while waiting for the mass-scale commercial use of such technologies to be materialised EasyJet will fund forest conservation, renewable energy and community-based projects to offset fuel use.

 

Airlines have been coming increasingly under fire for not doing enough to tackle climate change. Aviation currently accounts for around two per cent of all global CO2 emissions, but the sector's share of global emissions is forecasted to grow sharply.

Facing mounting public concern over the environmental impact of air travel, Easyjet said the move to offset flights would make it the first 'zero carbon' airline in the world. As a buget airline, Easyjet's per passenger emissions are lower than most of its rivals, thanks to its ability to squeeze more people onto each flight. Now the airline say they will spend £25m a year on offsetting the carbon emissions from the fuel used for all of its flights.

 "Climate change is an issue for all of us," said CEO Johan Lundgren. "At EasyJet we are tackling this challenge head on by choosing to offset the carbon emissions from the fuel used for all of our flights starting today. In doing so we are committing to operating net-zero carbon flights across our network - a world first by any major airline."

It has calculated that it emits 3.157kg of CO2 for every kilogram of aviation fuel used, and said it will start paying into the offset fund from today. Its offsetting providers are EcoAct and FirstClimate.

However, the company acknowledged that offsetting is only an interim measure while the industry hunts for a viable technology to deliver low-carbon flight. 

Easyjet has signed an agreement with manufacturer Airbus to work on a joint research project for hybrid planes, and has backed electric plane firm Wright Electric in its bid to produce an all-electric plane for short haul flights. 

Jonathon Porritt, co-founder of Forum for the Future, said that EasyJet's move was "exciting", but added that carbon offsetting could only be a bridge to future technological developments.

"It will be important to seek out each and every way of reducing carbon emissions. Beyond that, the whole industry needs to come together more effectively to decarbonise this critical sector just as quickly as possible," he said.

Finance ready for Climate Smart Agriculture in Africa

Climate change is impacting agricultural productivity in Africa. Smallholder farmers, who supply up to 80% of produce, are among the most vulnerable to its effects. Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) can offer smallholders a way to better absorb climate shocks and sustainably increase productivity and income.

 

Public and private investments into agriculture has remained insufficient, due to high transaction costs and the risks associated with the sector. Coupled with unaffordable financial services and lack of information, the high upfront costs of implementing CSA practices limit the ability of smallholder farmers in West Africa to adopt CSA practices. WAICSA therefore builds climate resilience among smallholder farmers, by providing financial and technical support to incentivize the adoption of climate-smart agriculture, and increasing local financial institutions’ capacity for climate-smart lending. At scale, WAICSA can improve the food security of 90,000 smallholder farming households in West Africa, and mitigate emissions equivalent to over 4 billion miles of driving.

The West African Initiative for Climate-Smart Agriculture (WAICSA) is the only West African led finance fund with a specific focus on increasing the uptake of climate-smart agriculture practices by smallholder farmers. By mobilizing public and concessional capital, WAICSA is able to provide subsidized interest rate loans to smallholders’ organizations and agribusinesses of ticket size below US$ 1 million, thus making credit more accessible. WAICSA also builds the capacity of local financial institutions to design loan products with CSA adoption conditions, helping bring additional resources to this sector. In addition, technical guidance on CSA implementation is provided to bridge the knowledge gap and further support smallholders to adopt these practices and comply with loan conditions.

An initiative led by the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), WAICSA will target six of the 15 ECOWAS member states in its pilot phase, with the objective of being replicated in all 15 states after the concept is proven. At scale, WAICSA has the potential to improve the food security of 90,000 smallholder farming households in the region and convert over 185,000 hectares to climate-smart agriculture. The fund can also contribute to mitigating up to 2 million tonnes of CO2 emissions a year, which is equivalent to over 4 billion miles of driving.

WAICSA is composed of a Financing Facility, managed by the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID), and a Technical Assistance Facility, managed by the Regional Agency for Agriculture and Food (RAAF).

The Financing Facility offers subsidized-rate loans, guarantees, and equity investments to agricultural businesses and smallholder organizations, both directly and through local financial institutions. It uses guarantees and blended finance, including contributions from ECOWAS Member States and investments from the fund manager, to de-risk and crowd-in private investments. Embedded into WAICSA’s financial products are conditions meant to incentivize the adoption of CSA by smallholders, thus reducing their exposure to climate risk.

The Technical Assistance Facility supports financial intermediaries to design loan products that integrate CSA conditionality and guides smallholders in implementing locally adapted CSA practices. In this way, the Technical Assistance Facility further de-risks investments, ensuring favourable conditions for repayment of loans by providing support for CSA practices that offer improved productivity and income.

The Federal Reserve develops digital currency for the US

US central bankers have explored the possibility of developing a digital currency that would be directly available to businesses and households, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell confirmed to lawmakers this week.

"While we are not currently developing a central bank digital currency, we have assessed and we continue to carefully analyze the costs and benefits of pursuing such an initiative in the U.S.," Powell wrote in a letter to lawmakers dated Tuesday.

A digital currency backed by the central bank in the largest economy would be unprecedented and raise a host of legal and operational questions. Powell said it would be closely considered by policymakers but added that the US could be in some ways better positioned than other countries that have looked into such a proposal.

"We are carefully monitoring the activities of other central banks to identify potential benefits that may be relevant in the U.S. context," he wrote. "To date, our observation is that many of the challenges they hope to address do not apply to the U.S."

The letter was a response to questions raised in September that said the central bank should consider a US-backed cryptocurrency to remain competitive.

"We are concerned that the primacy of the U.S. Dollar could be in long-term jeopardy from wide adoption of digital fiat currencies," the lawmakers wrote in the initial letter to Powell, adding that "it may become increasingly imperative that the Federal Reserve take up the project of developing a U.S. dollar digital currency."

Africa is Ripe for Investments

At the 'G20 Compact with Africa' Investment Summit held in Berlin on Tuesday the Rwandan President Paul Kagame made the case for Africa's business environment, saying the continent is ripe for investments from the European Union.

G20 Compact with Africa is an initiative launched in 2017 to promote private investments in Africa and currently, 12 African countries - including Rwanda have joined it.

Kagame commended Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel's leadership in prioritizing investment from the German business community and highlighted an example of Rwanda's partnership with Germany companies like Volkswagen and Siemens, saying that it "demonstrates the competitiveness of our economies and the reforms that have been happening in the ease of doing business."

According to figures from Rwanda Development Board (RDB), German business interests in Rwanda have been expanding over the past few years.

"This really showcases how Africa is ripe for business and investment, and how far we can go," he told participants, where heads of state and business communities had gathered.

Besides Rwanda, other African countries that are part of the partnership are Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Morocco, Senegal, Togo and Tunisia.

Thomas Schaefer, the Chairman and the Managing Director of Volkswagen South Africa told business executives present especially those from Germany that the continent was particularly ready for investments in the automotive industry where his group is already invested.

He pointed out that the continent was faced by challenges of dumping of used cars and extraordinary importation of fuel, saying businesses could tap into that to address challenges.

VW presently assembles cars in Rwanda, which started back in 2016.

"In the next move, we are going into electric mobility because there is no way a country like Rwanda can continue to import fuel. We believe Rwanda can go carbon neutral," he noted.

Last month, VW unveiled an electric mobility project in Rwanda which serves as a pilot for the company's future decisions of electric mobility in the continent.

The company now uses electric-powered versions of its Golf hatchback cars for a ride-sharing service.

While Foreign Direct Investments has decreased globally, Africa continues has seen an increase nearly 11 per cent valued at USD46 billion, according to available statistics of 2018.

UN: Time to end fossil fuel subsidies

By artificially lowering prices, subsidies drive wasteful energy consumption which increases local air pollution and congestion, while crowding out investment in renewables and energy efficiency. The sheer size of the subsidies is a significant drain on national budgets, diverting resources from other areas like health and education.

 

Every year, governments spend between US$160 and US$400 billion as fossil fuel subsidies for the production and use of coal, oil and gas. Payments to consumers, companies, tax breaks or other fiscal incentives are some of the ways governments subsidize fossil fuels, moving ever farther away from meeting the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, writes UN Environment in its report. UN Environment is working with governments to collect internationally coherent data on fossil fuel subsidies that can help advance global efforts to address climate change.

“Understanding the size of existing fossil fuel subsidies is an important first step towards achieving reform,” says UN Environment fossil fuel subsidy expert Joy Kim. “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” In contrast, the total financial support to renewable energy amounts to US$121 billion.

Although advocated as a measure to fight poverty, fossil fuel subsidies often do not reach the poorest households and instead tend to benefit wealthier segments of society more.

The International Monetary Fund estimates that removing fossil fuel subsidies and then taxing fossil fuels correctly (based on the cost borne to society through air pollution, carbon emissions and accidents) could lead to a decline in fossil-fuel related carbon emissions by over 20 per cent globally. Removing the subsidies would also reduce premature air pollution-related deaths by over 50 per cent and raise government revenue by US$2.9 trillion (3.6 per cent of global gross domestic product), it says.

China's environmental transformation: From the worlds bad guy to its good guy

China's recent transformation from the world’s environmental ‘bad guy’ to its ‘good guy’ in a matter of years is the result of the top-down enforcement of a green vision held by President Xi himself. But, as his environmentalism is nationalistic, not global, there is still need to broaden up the scope.

Comparing his climate policies to his predecessors, Xi’s is much more advanced. He is the first Chinese leader to enforce an environmentalism that is built upon the idea of nature as a ‘national asset’. He even famously said that "green mountains are essentially gold mountains".

Xi’s environmentalism relies on centrally controlled, top-down mechanisms though. In the past few years, the most visible environmental campaigns have been run by the Party’s disciplinary arm, detaining thousands of government officials for negligence and other offences. Public-interest litigation, for holding environmental violators to account, is now used frequently by government prosecutors.

This brand of environmentalism can be effective, to an extent. but as Scholar Bruce Gilley noted in his paper on China’s ‘Authoritarian Environmentalism’: "Environmental laws and regulations from the top down delivers short-term, low-hanging fruit results, but the lack of extensive deliberation may undermine long-term implementation".

To get popular consent Xi therefore use an appraisal system with clear indicators, rewards and punishments. This is according to him "most crucial" factor while creating an "ecological civilisation".

Even though China’s elaborate state machinery may be the envy of many governments struggling to ‘get things done’, its non-participatory way of doing business can lead to poor decisionmaking.

While China both embraces, appreciates and enforces environmental measures at home, it tends to export those same problems out of its borders. China has quickly become the world’s largest financier and builder of coal-power plants overseas. This is in stark contrast to what’s happening domestically, where, in early 2017, the government cancelled or mothballed 120 gigawatts of coal-power construction.

But building up coal power abroad is no contradiction under Xi’s ecological nationalism. Exporting environmentally destructive industries abroad and cutting them at home, as a way to strengthen the nation, is the core of China’s environmentalism.

As nationalism can not provide a sustainable solution to a global problem, Xi therefore need to broaden his model of environmentalism in the future.

UK to de-list companies not acting on climate change

In a major election campaign speech on the economy, the British Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said Labour would amend legislation to force listed firms to take action on climate change or face expulsion from the London Stock Exchange.

The Labour Party first promised to de-list companies for climate reasons in June 2019. McDonnell presented the pledge a second time today as part of Labour's vision to improve long-term thinking in the financial industry. It now promises to be a key plank of the Party's economic policy.

"If we are to meet the climate change target to keep global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, we need to ensure that companies are also working alongside government. Many now are," McDonnell said. "But business bodies themselves are calling for companies to improve climate-related financial reporting, and for all companies to bring forward their decarbonisation plans. And we support those proposals. But for those companies not taking adequate steps under Labour, we believe those companies should be de-listed from the London Stock Exchange," he continued.

The environment has already proved to be a major issue in the election campaign, with Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the Conservatives and the Green Party all promising to tackle the climate emergency.

Wind speeds have increased

Research led by a team at Princeton University shows that wind speeds in northern mid-latitude regions have increased by roughly 7% since 2010.

 

The team examined the potential causes underlying global terrestrial stilling and its reversal. While changes in urbanization and vegetation have been proposed as contributors to global terrestrial stilling, these trends have not reversed since 2010, said Zhenzhong Zeng, who led the study as a postdoctoral researcher working with Eric Wood, Princeton’s Susan Dod Brown Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Emeritus.

The analysis showed that in each region of the globe, specific large-scale ocean-atmosphere oscillations, which are driven by many factors including the uneven heating of the Earth’s surface in different regions, were likely explanations for the observed trends in wind speeds.

Extending their findings to wind power generation, the researchers calculated that a typical wind turbine receiving the global average wind would have produced about 17% more energy in 2017 than in 2010. And using climate indices to project future wind speeds, they predicted a 37% increase by 2024.

“We predict that the increasing wind speed trend will continue for 10 years, but we also show that because this is caused by ocean-atmosphere oscillations, maybe a decade later it will reverse again,” he said. And since the lifespan of a wind turbine is usually 20 years at most, having reliable projections of wind speeds at particular locations could be crucial to making smart investments in wind power and increasing the global share of renewable energy.

The research, which looked only at regional averages, did not examine how the uptick in wind speeds might affect the severity of storms, which also has been increasing.

The European Investment Bank decided to stop funding fossil fuel projects

Last week the European Investment Bank (EIB) adopted its new energy lending policy, which would see it end funding to most new fossil fuel projects from the end of 2021

This means that from the end of 2021 the world's biggest multilateral bank will end new lending to fossil fuel infrastructure projects.

Colin Roche, fossil free campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe, said: "Today's decision is a significant victory for the climate movement. Finally, the world's largest public bank has bowed to public pressure and recognised that funding for all fossil fuels must end – and now all other banks, public and private must follow their lead.

The final policy has been the subject of intense debate since its publication in July and has been watered down under pressure from Germany and the European Commission. The Commission continues to promote dozens of gas projects while Germany backs new infrastructure such as the gigantic Nord Stream II.

Colin Roche continued, "The European Commission must now end their obsession with gas and focus on the emergency action needed to stop the climate crisis instead of building yet more gas projects to last for decades to come. But 2021 is still too late if we are to avoid the worst effects of climate breakdown, the EIB needs to reject any fossil fuel projects and close its loopholes for gas, and not wait till 2021."

Stronghold for Power One in East Africa

Earlier this year Power One was offered to electrify a university in Amhara in Ethiopia. Now five more Ethiopian universities also wish to be electrified by Power One.

 

Power One is specialised in electrifying formerly non electrified areas with renewable energy. The area of operation is established in East Africa but is growing. Apart from electrifying remote areas in Burundi and eastern Congo the company was earlier this year asked to supply one university in Ethiopia with 50 MW renewable energy. Now five other Ethiopian universities also wish to be electrified by Power One.

Power One´s mini-grid projects will bring much needed renewable energy resource to hundreds of thousands university students, professors and staff at major universities. These universities are located in cities with strong economic activities and expanding industrial parks.

Located in East Africa and just north of the Equator, Ethiopia is a country endowed with an ideal level of solar irradiation for the development of solar energy. Presently Ethiopia has approximately 4,300 MW of installed generation capacity which is short of the demand to serve a population of over 100 million people. However, the demand for electric power continues to outpace supply as Ethiopia’s hydropower plants, supplying more than 90 percent of the electricity, struggle to produce at full capacity. The country's solar radiation has therefore the potential to generate thousands of megawatts of renewable energy.

Power One now aims to develop a replicable platform under which five additional major public universities in Ethiopia can develop similar solar-based mini-grids that are scalable to meet rising demand.

A car that runs forever?

Put together the best solar panels money can buy, super-efficient batteries and decades of car-making know-how and, theoretically, a vehicle might run forever. That’s the audacious motivation behind a project by Toyota Motor Corp.Sharp Corp. and New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization of Japan, or NEDO, to test a Prius that could revolutionize transportation.

 Even if fully electric cars overtake petroleum-powered vehicles in sales, they still need to be plugged in, which means building a network of charging stations across the globe. The sun, on the other hand, shines everywhere for free, and when that energy is paired with enough battery capacity to propel automobiles at night, solar-powered cars could leapfrog all the new-energy technologies being developed, from plug-in hybrids to hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles,.

 But the current forecast is only partly sunny because there’s still some work left to reach that level of efficiency.

“This is not a technology we are going to see widely used in the next decades,” said Takeshi Miyao, an auto analyst at consultancy Carnorama. “It’s going to take a long time.”

Not for lack of trying. Toyota and Hyundai Motor Co. already introduced commercial models with solar panels on the roof, but they were too underpowered and could barely juice the sound system.

“The solar car’s advantage is that — while it can’t drive for a long range — it’s really independent of charging facilities,” said Koji Makino, a project manager at Toyota.

Indeed, there have been some breakthroughs, mainly due to advancements by Sharp. The prototype’s solar panel converts sunlight at an efficiency level of more than 34%, compared with about 20% for current panels on the market.

Because the solar cell being used by Toyota, Sharp and NEDO is only about 0.03 mm thick, it can be placed on more surfaces, including the curvy parts of the roof, hood and hatchback. The electrical system can charge the vehicle even when it’s on the move.

If the car is driven four days a week for a maximum of 50 kilometers a day, there’s no need to plug into an outlet, NEDO’s Yamazaki said.

Toronto garbage trucks soon powered by biogas from the waste they collect

All of the garbage trucks in Toronto will soon be powered by the biogas produced from the very trash they collect. Toronto is set to be one of the first cities in North America to launch such an initiative, thanks to the their newly-constructed Dufferin Solid Waste Management Facility.

Starting in March 2020, the city’s fleet of garbage trucks will collect all of the organic waste and flood scraps from the Toronto Green Bins and bring them to the facility for processing. The facility will then use anaerobic digesters to capture all of the biogas produced by the waste and transform it into renewable natural gas (RNG).

After the scraps are dropped off at the facility, the city’s 170 garbage trucks can then immediately fill up their fuel tanks with RNG before heading out to collect more trash.

According to city officials, “RNG is also less expensive and more environmentally friendly than fossil fuels such as diesel. Once injected into the natural gas pipeline, it can be used to fuel vehicles or provide electricity or heat to homes and businesses.

"RNG generated from food waste is actually considered carbon-negative, because the reduction in emissions by not extracting and burning petroleum-based fuel, and the emissions avoided by not sending organics to landfill, exceed the direct emissions associated with the production and use of RNG.”

10% of greenhouse gas emissions in Toronto are generated by garbage, primarily food waste. Now, estimates suggest that the Dufferin facility will produce approximately 3.2 million cubic meters of RNG per year, which will save roughly 9,000 tonnes of CO2 from ending up in the atmosphere.

This closed-loop system is just one of the city’s four pre-planned waste-to-RNG production schemes for the coming years.

The military coup in Bolivia likely to give a German company the right to extract lithium deposits for batteries. 

The military coup in Bolivia has put in place a government which appears likely to give a German company the right to extract lithium deposits for batteries. 

Bolivia's Salar de Uyuni salt flats hold the largest reserves of lithium in the world and demand for lithium is expected to more than double by 2025. The soft, light mineral is mined mainly in Australia, Chile, and Argentina. Bolivia has plenty—9 million tons that have never been mined commercially, the second-largest amount in the world—but until now there's been no practical way to mine and sell it.

Morales' cancellation of the ACISA deal opened the door to either a renegotiation of the agreement with terms delivering more of the profits to the area's population or the outright nationalization of the Bolivian lithium extraction industry.

"Bolivia's lithium belongs to the Bolivian people," tweeted Washington Monthly contributor David Atkins. "Not to multinational corporate cabals."

The coup, which resulted in Morales resigning and going into hiding, was the result of days of protests from right-wing elements angry at the leftist Morales government. Sen. Jeanine Añez, of the center-right party Democratic Unity, is currently the interim president in the unstable post-coup government in advance of elections.

Investment analyst publisher Argus urged investors to keep an eye on the developing situation in Bolivia.

India cancel coal power due to record low cost for solar power

Leaders in India have turned their backs and walked away from plans of building nearly 14 gigawatts of coal-fired power stations – which is about as much power used in the whole of the UK. The dramatic plummeting of the cost of solar energy has made this possible. This good news only highlights the rate of change regarding solar energy, reports India Times.

Analyst Tim Buckley (director of energy finance studies) wrote in his article on the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis’s website that this shift away from the dirtiest fossil fuel and towards solar in India will have “profound” ramifications for global energy markets. He tells about how 13.7GW of planned coal power projects have been canceled so far this month.

It all started in January of 2016 when Fortum, a Finnish company, got on board to generate electricity in Rajasthan at record low tariff (a guaranteed price) of 4.34 rupees per kilowatt-hour (about 5p). At the time, Mr. Buckley said that this price was so low it would never be repeated.

He was wrong about that! Just 16 months later, an auction for a 500-megawatt solar facility resulted in a tariff of just 2.44 rupees. That’s 31% less than the wholesale price charged by a major coal-power utility of 3.2 rupees! From that moment, everything turned in favour of renewable energy.

Mr. Buckley said: For the first time solar is cheaper than coal and the implications this has for transforming global energy markets is profound.

Time to invest in Africa

The African continent is about to seize every available opportunity to attract investments, according to the second edition of Africa Investment Forum in Johannesburg, hosted by the African Development Bank. The summit is one of Africa's premier investment conference and brings together pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, private investors, policymakers, private equity firms, and heads of government.

Highlighting how Rwanda was working to improve the investment ecosystem, President Kagame recounted multiple initiatives ranging from policy initiatives such as ensuring predictable governance, ensuring rule of law, guaranteeing security to investment support such as hubs, innovation fund among others.

"We have concentrated on creating a good environment for people to do business, a predictable governance system, security, in a region of East African Community that is probably the fastest growing region on our continent and Rwanda being part of and benefiting from that," he said.

The President was speaking alongside South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo, and Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosário of Mozambique on a panel discussion on Investing in Africa.

"Let's do what we know we have to do, let's involve our women, see more numbers of women becoming CEOs because they are many who are capable, we should not leave our women behind, that's what we have tried to address. We know we should have transparent, accountable systems of government, we have to create rule of law in our environment for people to expect certain things to happen and that's what happens. I cannot give advice that anyone doesn't know in this room, everyone knows what we are talking about. Let's just do it," he added responding to a participant who asked for advice on how to increase investment in Africa." Kagame said.

He challenged leaders and stakeholders from across the continent to seize every available opportunity to get towards where the continent ought to be.

"It is not just knowing what you ought to do or being capable of it, it is about actually doing it," Kagame said.

 

The U.S. central bank takes climate change risk into its assessments of financial stability

Severe weather carries economic and financial stability risks and major central banks have already made climate change an explicit part of their financial stability remits. Despite the fact that President Donald Trump’s administration still denies climate change exist, the U.S. central bank now also consider taking climate change risk into its assessments of financial stability, and may even take it into account when setting monetary policy.

It seems the reality of the climate crisis is too much for the Federal Reserve to ignore anymore. Scientists all over the world are in broad agreement that carbon dioxide from cars, power plants and other human sources are behind the climate change that’s already making powerful hurricanes, severe drought, and other weather extremes more frequent.

“To fulfill our core responsibilities, it will be important for the Federal Reserve to study the implications of climate change for the economy and the financial system and to adapt our work accordingly,” Fed Governor Lael Brainard said in remarks released at the start of the Fed’s first-ever conference on climate change and economics in San Francisco, Reuters reports.

The Fed, she said, will need to look at how to keep banks and the financial system resilient amid risks from extreme weather, higher temperatures, rising sea levels and other effects of the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

The attention for the San Francisco conference was so big that it was oversubscribed. Due to this a webcast was created to meet demand. Papers presented at the conference showed how climate change has crimped growth and presented ideas on how policy, including monetary policy, can be used to mitigate harm.

Ms. Brainard said the central bank now discuss how it might participate in a network of about 40 global central banks that was created in 2017 to promote climate-related financial and macroeconomic issues. The goal of becoming more active with the Central Banks and Supervisors Network for Greening the Financial System, she said, would be to “learn from our international colleagues’ approaches to measuring and managing climate risks in the financial system.”

As social norms have shifted, the Fed has talked about inequality more openly and regularly without a backlash. A similar evolution seems to be underway when it comes to the climate.

“Climate change is an issue we can’t afford to ignore,” San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly said at the start of the conference. “This is not a hypothetical risk of the future...the risks are here, we have to deal with them.”

Scientists Have Discovered How To Turn Seawater Into Fuel

With hydrogen fuel there are no carbon emissions. The only down side is that it uses water that we could be drinking instead. But now scientists have figured out a way to skip this costly water purification part of the process and convert seawater into usable hydrogen. This research is published in the journal PNAS.

The electrodes in water make it possible for the chemical reaction in which hydrogen is formed. When electricity is run through water it splits the hydrogen and oxygen, giving you a pure and zero-emission fuel source.

Seawater contains a positive electrode that attracts chloride, quickly decaying the metal. To tackle this problem, the scientists added a new metal coating so the electrode can last longer. The team was able to use 10 times more electricity with its device, generating hydrogen even faster than before. As a bonus, they made their design environmentally friendly, energy-efficient and powered it with solar cells.

The good thing about fuel cells is that it could store more energy than batteries while avoiding some of their environmental challenges.

"Hydrogen is the next generation of power because the energy density is higher than batteries, meaning that you can drive for a longer distance, or power heavier devices." explains Hongjie Dai, a chemistry professor at Stanford University.

  • Hydrogen-powered cars are already on the roads around the world
  • A hydrogen-powered train is now running in Germany
  • A hydrogen-powered ferry is coming to San Francisco this year
  • Hydrogen-powered cargo ships are currently being designed in Norway
  • The first regional hydrogen-electric airplane is being developed by a startup in Singapore

 

In the future, ships running on hydrogen fuel cells will be able to make their own fuel directly from the ocean with the help of renewable energy such as solar panels or wind turbines.

South Korea to build three cities powered by hydrogen before 2022

South Korea is trying to win the race to create the first hydrogen-powered society. It wants to build three hydrogen-powered cities by 2022 as it positions itself as a leader in the green technology. The plan will see the cities use hydrogen as the fuel for cooling, heating, electricity and transportation. Consultation on where the three cities will be located is under way.

The test cities will use a hydrogen-powered transportation system, including buses and personal cars. Hydrogen charging stations will be available in bus stations and parking spaces. The strategy is part of a wider vision to power 10% of the country's cities, counties and towns by hydrogen by 2030, growing to 30% by 2040.

This includes drastic increases in the numbers of hydrogen-powered vehicles and charging points in the next three years. The government has earmarked money to subsidize these vehicles and charging infrastructure.

Countries including Germany, Japan and China are also looking to a future hydrogen society, with a number of Asian car manufacturers including Hyundai, Toyota and Honda sinking resources into creating a range of hydrogen powered cars.

With fuel cell vehicles – or FCVs – generally offering greater range and faster refueling times than electric vehicles, there is great hope that they will accelerate the transition to cleaner vehicles.

But challenges remain with the technology. Although some FCVs are now on the market, for many the cost remains prohibitive and they have some way to go before they become mainstream.

The output from hydrogen-powered cars is only water as a by-product. Producing the hydrogen itself is an energy-intensive process though, but as long as the production is powered by renewable sources the system is completely clean.

West Africa taking back control of its currency from France

Since 1945, the CFA franc has been the currency used by French colonies, and the usage of the currency continued after independence. President Patrice Talon of Benin revealed that the West African Monetary Union has unanimously agreed to take back control of its currency, withdrawing foreign reserves of the West African CFA from France. The move has been welcomed across the continent.

Benin Republic’s President Patrice Talon announced that the West African Monetary Union wanted to take back control of its currency. A unanimous agreement was reached by the eight African countries – whose foreign reserves are kept in France – to pull the reserves of their CFA franc from France. The countries which include Togo, Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Niger and Guinea Bissau all use the French regulated francs.

The Franc which is used by 155 million people on the continent across 14 African countries is one of the colonial relics in many French colonised countries. This is the first time that a president has announced the withdrawal of the West African CFA Franc from France.

President Talon said, “we now unanimously agree that this model needs to end. The Central Bank of the West African Monetary Union will manage all of the currency reserves and will dispatch them to the different partner central banks across the world.”

The CFA franc was created in 1945 after the 1944 Brettons Wood Agreement which saw the world usher in a new global monetary system with the U.S dollar replacing the gold standard. The Brettons Wood agreement cemented America’s dominance as a world economic power. The CFA franc is tied to the Euro, and follows the fluctuation of the Euro. The creation of Eco, the newly proposed West African currency designed to replace the CFA franc by 2020 led to an official separation with the Euro.

Hyundai introduce a hydrogen-powered heavy duty truck

It is thought that hydrogen-powered vehicles could be an optional extra of an electric vehicle for heavy work such as towing but where they really come into force is as a heavy duty electric vehicle. Using an electric motor driven by a fuel cell powered by renewable hydrogen will be greenhouse emissions free. Refuelling is quick, the range is large but most importantly hydrogen provides a powerful fuel for heavy duty trucks, trains, planes and ships.

At the North American Commercial Vehicle Show, Hyundai unveiled the HDC-6 NEPTUNE, a hydrogen-powered Class 8 heavy duty truck, and also announced the launch of its new clean energy refrigerated concept trailer, the HT Nitro ThermoTech.

Labelled as “optimal” for transporting cold chain products, the HT Nitro ThermoTech is able to reduce temperatures faster than traditional refrigeration units and maintain precise temperature without being affected by outside temperatures. It reduces pollutants and emissions while providing reliable and effective cold chain food transportation without affecting the truck’s power supply.

Hyundais introduction of hydrogen powered heavy transports provide a glimpse into the future of transportation around the world.

“We are willing to work with other partners to pave the way to establish a hydrogen ecosystem for CV.” said  Edward Lee, Head of Hyundai Commercial Vehicle Business Division.

A cheap and pollution free electric car battery that takes you 1,500 miles without recharging

Trevor Jackson, the British engineer and former Royal Navy officer, has developed an inexpensive, lightweight battery, nine times more capacious than lithium-ion, made from affordable aluminum and with such a safe electrolyte that can be drunk.

Moreover, it is simpler and cheaper to make, as well as easier to recycle than conventional batteries currently used. The battery can reportedly sustain 1,500 miles of driving before needing to be charged.

It took almost 18 years of development and the investment of several million euros to start producing this large-scale battery. Austin Electric, an engineering firm based in Essex, will begin next year to integrate them into thousands of electric vehicles.

In 2001, Jackson began investigating the potential of a technology first developed in the 1960s. Researchers had discovered that dipping aluminum in an electrolyte stimulated a reaction between the metal and the oxygen that produced electricity. They were, in other words, batteries of the future. At the time, the method was not sustainable because it required 100% pure aluminum, and the electrolyte used was extremely toxic and caustic.

After years of trials and experiments, Jackson found a new formula of electrolyte capable of operating even with less valuable aluminum (including recycled drinks cans), and moreover, neither caustic nor polluting.

“I’ve drunk it when demonstrating it to investors, so I can attest to the fact that it’s harmless,” Jackson says. The formula, which is top secret, is the key to his invention.

Today, the automotive industry that aims at electric cars has invested heavily in lithium-ion battery technology. Yes, there are improvements in efficiency and recharge times, but recycling to recover lithium and cobalt is very expensive.

Technically, Jackson’s invention is more correctly called a fuel cell, not a battery. The device has turned out so light and powerful that it is able to revolutionize carbon-free transport. Once an aluminum-air battery has been used up, it can be recycled very cheaply, he says.

The tests already carried out say that with the same weight, Jackson’s fuel cells produce nine times the energy of lithium-ion batteries. If you put it on the Tesla Model S, then the range of the electric car will increase from 600 km (370 miles) to 4300 km (2,700 miles) with an equal weight of batteries, and with an equal size – up to 2400 km (1,500 miles). A quick swap of battery (only 90 seconds) will eliminate many hours of recharging.

Now, Austin will start producing aluminum-air batteries according to Jackson’s recipe – first for tuk-tuks, three-wheeled Asian taxis, then for electric bicycles and, finally, kits for converting ordinary gas or diesel cars into electric ones.

In Tesla, Jackson says, the battery costs about £30,000. An aluminum-air fuel cell that would power the same car for longer would cost just £5,000, Daily Mail reported.

CO2 emissions fall in 18 countries with strong policies

In a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change, researchers say that countries that are turning to renewable energy sources and moving away from fossil fuels are making progress in reducing CO2 emissions.

 

The study looked at emissions from between 2005 and 2015. Globally, CO2 was on the rise — about 2.2 per cent annually — but in 18 countries, their emissions saw a decline. These 18 account for 28 per cent of global emissions.

"We went in these 18 countries and looked at what policies they had in place … and we found that, in the countries where there's more policy in place, the decreases in emissions were larger," said Corinne Le Quéré, a Canadian professor of climate change science at the University of East Anglia in the U.K. "That suggests that the policies do work."

But another contributing factor, they found, was that these countries were also using less energy overall. They might have more efficient heating systems, or more electric cars on the roads, for example.

While it may seem like common sense — better policies beget positive outcomes — there are other factors, such as economic growth (or decline) that influences emissions and energy output. For example, the researchers did find that the financial crisis of 2008–2009 showed up in the data, with a decrease in emissions.

What the researchers found most encouraging about their study is that, for the two countries that were the control group, if you removed their economic growth, policies encouraging energy efficiency were linked to cuts in emissions.

"Really, what this study shows it's not a mystery. We have the technology: you put the effort in place, you develop the policies, you fund them, and then you get emission decreases," Le Quéré said.

"One of the messages that comes out of our analysis is that policy matters, and the efforts of policies," she said. "You need to have a lot of big policies in place and policies at the national level; policies that are well-funded, that are regulated." 

And though China, the world's biggest CO2 emitter, didn't make the list of Climatologist Michael Mann, a professor at Penn State University in Pennsylvania and director of the university's Earth System Science Center has hope.

"There is still an available path to stabilizing greenhouse warming below 2 C, a common threshold for defining dangerous human interference with the global climate," he said.

He notes that these 18 countries are already ahead of the game when it comes to a renewable, energy-driven economy. 

"There is a clear path toward averting catastrophic climate change," he said. "We just have to follow it."

Read the report

Renewable energy in Africa can lead the way

The IEA, or International Energy Agency, predicts that solar energy will play a big role in supporting the continent’s growing population and industrialisation over the next 20 years. Africa should be leading the way into the future using renewable energy sources to power production, says an IEA report predicting a solar boom in countries across the continent, which could give hundreds of millions of homes electricity for the first time.

Africa’s population is expected to grow to more than 2 billion people by 2040, a rise of 800 million from today or the population equivalent of the US and Europe combined, says the report. People are expected to turn to cities and towns at a rate never seen before, where the demand for new houses and infrastructure will ignite an energy-hungry industrial revolution.

Fatih Birol, executive director of the IEA, said Africa had a “unique opportunity” to leapfrog the fossil fuel dependency of other industrialised regions.

“I am optimistic about Africa’s energy future – it will surprise pessimists,” Birol said. “I have great expectations for the energy industry in the years to come, both in terms of bringing energy access to Africa’s people but also driving economic growth.”

He urged Africa’s leaders to take advantage of the natural resources available through solar power generation, and the mining of raw minerals needed to make electric and hydrogen batteries, which are in high demand across the world.

Birol said: “Africa’s total contribution to cumulative global emissions from energy over the last 100 years is only 2%, which is half the emissions of Germany today. If everyone in Africa had access to energy this 2% will rise to just 3% – it’s still nothing. It’s peanuts compared to other countries in the world which are using fossil fuels such as coal for energy.

“But while Africa does not contribute to climate change the continent is on the frontline of its potential effects, including droughts. Africa is perhaps the most innocent continent in terms of its contributions to climate change, but they will be the victims.”

 

Read the report

GREEN STEEL: Liberty Steel will be carbon neutral by 2030

Under the name of Liberty Steel, mining, metals, and energy giant GFG Alliance is to re-organise its steel businesses to become "the world's first carbon neutral steel company" by 2030. Sanjeev Gupta, executive chairman at the family owned multinational, announced the move at the World Steel Dynamics' European Conference in Milan.

 

Sanjeev Gupta confirmed in an interview that the reorganisation was designed to ensure the new business is ready for a potential IPO in the future - an approach he intends to replicate for all the conglomerate's businesses.

 

"Whether it's the steel, aluminium or energy companies... all the companies will be made ready in terms of governance, reporting and transparency, so they'll be ready in every way to go for a listing as and when they want to," he said.

 

The new company organisation will be incorporated by the end of this year and is expected to employ 30,000 people in 10 countries.

 

Over the past few years the company has established renewable energy projects, invested in electric arc furnaces to produce recycled steel, and explored the use of hydrogen and carbon capture and storage technologies in the steel manufacturing process. The accompanying commitment to ensure the business is 'carbon neutral' within a decade is central to the new strategy.

 

Steel from recycled scrap using fossil fuel based energy already generates less than a third of the CO2 emissions compared with primary steel making and that savings can be further maximised through the use of renewable power. However, Gupta argue it is critical the steel industry now pursues full carbon neutrality.

 

"We are creating a new force in steel with the size, scale and agility to forge a path towards a sustainable future for our steel businesses and the communities in which we operate," he said confident that carbon neutral steel was possible. "Technically it's already been proven, you can make steel with hydrogen, the only question is the economic viability," he said.

 

He added that there is a moral obligation for the steel industry to tackles its emissions.

 

"As a responsible business, the legacy we pass on to future generations is every bit as important as our bottom line," he say. "Liberty Steel aims not just to produce top quality steel but to be an agent of change in the industry. In doing so, we can open the door to the re-industrialisation of the developed world by reviving and restoring often neglected industry."

 

The move was welcomed by Fautine Delasalle, director of the Energy Transitions Commission.

"I am delighted to see pioneering companies like Liberty Group turn vision into practice as there is high demand for zero carbon steel products today."" Delasalle said.

The making of renewable energy plants use less minerals

A global report from Australia’s Institute of Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology Sydney, have warned of skyrocketing demand for metals such as copper, lithium and cobalt used in the making of renewable energy plants, like solar and wind, but the report finds fossil fuel generation still using far more of these mineral resources globally.

 

The report finds that metals so far represent only a small share – less than 3 per cent – of the current mineral footprint of the global renewable electricity sector, but they are nonetheless essential for the production of renewable power equipment and infrastructures. Most of the material footprint of renewable technologies is made up of non-metallic minerals – such as aggregates, gravel, calcite, clays, shale and gypsum – and raw fossil fuels extracted for infrastructure construction.

 

“Although renewable electricity technologies generate much lower CO2 emissions than fossil fuel power plants, their large-scale deployment has raised concerns about higher mineral requirements and related environmental and social impacts,” the report notes.

 

Iron is by far the most-used metal for renewable power, accounting for almost 85 per cent (120 Mt) of the sector’s cumulative metal footprint over 2013-18, of which two-thirds was used for steel in hydro and wind power plants together. Aluminium (5%) and copper (4%) are the second and third most mobilised metals, mainly for PV panel manufacturing.

The remaining fraction of the metal footprint includes metals with relatively lower production levels – some mined as principal substances including nickel, zinc, lead, tin and titanium; others recovered as by- or co-products of the former, like germanium, gallium, indium, hafnium, tellurium, bismuth and others.

This footprint will “increase substantially” as the renewable electricity sector continues to grow over the outlook period, driven primarily by growth in solar PV and wind capacities, and will need to be monitored in terms of sustainability. While the geological availability of mineral resources is not expected to impede deployment of renewable technologies in the near future, the report says, tensions in supply chains and price volatility may occur over the longer term, depending on “substitution opportunities, the evolution of demand for competing applications (e.g. batteries, electronics and electric appliances), geopolitical events, and environmental, social and trade regulations among other factors.”

The Business Roundtable: The purpose of a corporation is to protect the environment

CEOs from 181 of the world’s largest companies, all belonging to the lobbying group The Business Roundtable (BRT), have now declared that the purpose of a corporation is not just to serve shareholders.  (their official position since 1997), but “to create value for all our stakeholders.” This is a giant broadening of the declaration and the purpose of a corporation now also includes to "protect the environment by embracing sustainable practices across our businesses."

 

Shareholder primacy has been the core operating principle of public companies for about 50 years. The neo-liberal economist Milton Friedman once famously declared that “the social responsibility of business is to increase its profits.” These ideas have been promoted for decades by a very well-funded and wildly successful effor to make the free-market, shareholder-primacy, neoliberal philosophy the dominant global economic model.

 

"Multiple think tanks funded by the Kochs and others have made this case daily. They also have worked to undermine climate science, which is very much related to maintaining the power status quo. The death of David Koch, the same week CEO’s pushed back on narrow, shareholder-only thinking, is symbolic", writes Andrew Winston, Harward Business Review.

 

According to Harvard Business Review modern business leaders are feeling pressure to rethink the role of business in society for a number of reasons:

1.Social norms are changing and expectations from employees, customers, and even investors are rising fast.

2.A growing realization that a focus on one key stakeholder or metric is as flawed as using your cholesterol level as the only measure of your health.

3.Investors now focus more on their purpose and how they contribute to society.

 

The core reason to this change of attitudes is, of course, Climate change, but growing inequality, water and resource scarcity, soil degradation and loss of biodiversity also play key roles.

 

"These issues require systemic efforts, cooperation, and pricing of those “externalities” (like pollution and carbon emissions). The current shareholder-obsessed system is not fit for this purpose. Individual profit-maximizing businesses will not be incentivized to tackle shared global challenges", Andrew Winston, Harward Business Review.

The first fund for investment in circular economy

BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, has launched its first circular economy fund as part of a new partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation designed to drive investment in the circular economy. The launch marks one of the first moves by a major investor to specifically target the expanding circular economy sector, which works to bolster resource efficiency and introduce new business models that enable circular resource flows.

 

BlackRock said its BGF Circular Economy Fund aims to drive investment in companies contributing to or benefiting from circular economy activities, excluding investments in the coal sector and oil and gas producers. It will include 'adopters', companies which are, for example, designing reusable or repairable products; 'enablers' such as resale platforms; and 'beneficiaries', such as firms which see more demand for their goods as a result of the shift away from single-use products.

Corporate interest in the circular economy is growing as the twin demands for climate action and reductions in plastic waste force firms to consider new businesses models based on reusable products. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation is one of the world's most influential organisations working within this space, bringing together a host of blue chip corporates and environmental campaigners. 

 

The new fund is the latest in a series of moves by BlackRock designed to increase its exposure to green sectors and pressure companies to demonstrate a "purpose" beyond maximising profits. 

 

Rachel Lord, head of EMEA at BlackRock, said companies are becoming more aware of their role in driving circular economy business models.

"To be well-positioned for the future, businesses are acknowledging that their long-term value is increasingly linked to their principles, practices and impact on society," she said. "Our partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation allows us to potentially benefit from their knowledge and expertise to help create a thriving economy."

First cryogenic energy storage to be built in the U.K.

Energy storage company Highview Power has announced its intention to build a cryogenic energy storage facility in the north of England, a first for the U.K. A decommissioned power plant will be converted for the cryostorage, according to Highview Power. After completion, the installation will have a 50 MW/250 MWh capacity without using water, toxic materials, and with no emissions. The energy to be stored, which is roughly as much as 25,000 households use in a day, will be  all from renewable sources.

 

So how does it work?

What the storage will do is to use electricity sourced from renewable sources to compress huge volumes of air and store them in tanks. It’s a ‘cryo’ battery because there is a point, if you compress air enough, where it turns into a (very very cold) liquid; that’s the form it will be stored in. When energy is needed in the grid, the compressed air will be allowed to warm up, decompress, and escape the tanks — all while powering a turbine.

Highview Power said that they pitched the concept to the U.K. government, which is looking for ways to meaningfully reduce the country’s carbon emissions. They further note that the compressed air approach is much cleaner than conventional batteries. The cryobattery doesn’t involve the use of any toxic chemicals, it doesn’t need rare or advanced materials to be built (which means less environmental damage since you don’t need to produce and extract them), and doesn’t produce any emissions. Additionally, it can hold energy for up to several weeks at a time, which is longer than in traditional batteries.

 

Energy storage installations around the world will multiply exponentially, reaching 1,095GW/2,850GWh by 2040. Over the next two decades, $662 billion of investment will be needed for stationary energy storage, according to BloombergNEF (BNEF)

 

“Long-duration, giga-scale energy storage is the necessary foundation to enable baseload renewable energy and will be key to a 100% carbon free future.”, says Highview Power CEO, Javier Cavada

Big investors are shifting towards low-carbon industries

A survey from clean energy investors Octopus finds that nearly half of investors have reconsidered their portfolios in the wake of increased climate change activism in the past year. Demand for these assets had risen by more than one third since October last year, when Octopus first surveyed investors.

The global survey of institutions representing $5.9tr in assets under management asked 100 pension funds, insurance companies, private banks, sovereign wealth funds, endowments, and foundations across the UK, EMEA, Asia, and the US about how quickly they were divesting from fossil fuels and investing in renewables.

The survey shows that investors plan to divest 16 per cent of their portfolios from fossil fuels over the next decade, representing assets worth $920bn. They will also increase investments in renewable energy infrastructure to five per cent over the next 12 months, which will more than double to 11 per cent by 2029, or $643bn, the survey found.

Respondents expressed optimism about their ability to slow global warming, with 71 per cent stating that they believe investment strategies could make a material difference.

They identified a number of barriers to greater investment in renewable energy infrastructure though. Almost half cited energy price uncertainties as a key blocker, followed by a lack of renewable energy investment skills within their own organisation and liquidity issues.

Investors see the need to shift their portfolios away from high carbon industries. They both spot the opportunity heralded by clean energy, and the threat of stranded assets could pose to their activities. But protestors are getting impatient, so finance will become a focus for climate activists in the months to come.

Wise investors should jump before they are pushed.

Global investors choose sustainable farming, clean energy and green cities in Africa

The Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance, a group of more than 60 major investors, banks, foundations, and governments, has announced the launch of six inter-related climate finance initiatives aimed at raising billions of dollars to support clean energy, sustainable agriculture, and low carbon cities in developing countries. The Lab has mobilised nearly $2bn for climate action and sustainable development since its creation in 2014

The six new financial instruments target four key focus areas relating to climate mitigation and adaptation, marine and coastal restoration for carbon sequestration, sustainable smallholder farming in Africa, renewable energy access in Rwanda, and low carbon cooling and air pollution projects in cities.

The new instruments endorsed by the Lab show great potential to open up new markets and opportunities for effective and ambitious action on climate change.

Supported projects include the Restoration Insurance Service Company, a social enterprise that invests in mangrove restoration and conservation in areas with high-value coastal assets, and the Blockchain Climate Risk Crop Insurance platform to boost climate resilience of crops and farmers in West and Central Africa.

Others such as Cooling as a Service, which aims to decrease energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from cooling use in cities through a pay-per-service model for more efficient air conditioning, and Solar Securitization for Rwanda, a tradable security designed to help solar developers increase access to expansion capital, have also been announced.

Power One AB consider hydrogen in Burundi

 

Power One´s concept combines wind, water and sun as sources of energy production. This reduces the need for expensive storage. Power One plans to use electrolyte storage, but will also set aside part of the solar park to operate a hydrogen gas production plant, which can be used, among other things, to operate boats. Since Tanganyika Lake is still clean and crystal clear, the electric propulsion of boats is an obvious complement for preserving it undisturbed. At present, there are a number of vessels operating on oil, which are used but have not so far done too much damage. Hydrogen has the advantage of being considerably cheaper as a fuel then fossil fuel, and is therefore an irresistible substitute from all points of view.

 

Hydrogen can be used for electrically driven transport on both land and water. During manufacture, water is divided into oxygen and hydrogen. The hydrogen gas is collected in tubes and then transformed into electricity via a so-called power cell. With a hydrogen tube, a power cell and an electric motor, many electric vehicles are operated today, ranging from mopeds, cars and trucks to boats. It is a durable and well-proven technology whose only residual product is oxygen and water. Oxygen is used in everything from healthcare to welding and is an import commodity in Burundi. Both oxygen and hydrogen can therefore be sold with good profits for Power One.

 

 

Hydrogen is a well-known and reliable energy storage system that has been used in industry for almost a century. The technique is simple: DC voltage produced during the day from solar panels is used in an electrolyser to separate water (H2O) into hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O). The non-polluting oxygen is released and the hydrogen is stored under pressure into simple and durable containers. At night, when the sun is on the other side, hydrogen is led into a power cell that melts hydrogen with oxygen from the air back into water. Through this process, energy from daylight is restored back to electricity and used for night consumption.

 

If the solar park produces more energy under daylight than is consumed during the day and at night, the excess can be used to produce hydrogen for other applications, e.g. transport on the lake. In this case, hydrogen is transferred to gas tubes in the boats and then converted back to electricity via a fuel cell. This then provides electricity to the electric motor in the boat.

 

This is a very simple, well tested and durable system. With a simple pressure tank, a fuel cell and an electric motor, hydrogen can be used to operate all transport, including air, and today most of the major car manufacturers have developed hydrogen cars. The conversion of the region's boats to hydrogen operation is quite simple and plans are underway to start a rebuilding yard in Kabonga fishing port for this.

 

- By introducing an environmentally smart and emission-free boat traffic on Lake Tanganyika, Burundi will also market itself in quality tourism and offer an ecological alternative to other countries, says Janvier Nsengiumva, Commercial chief Port of Bujumbura.

Power One invests in smart hydro

Hydropower is a renewable source of electricity, but in traditional form it not only destroys entire valleys for its reservoirs, it also destroys natural biodiversity. But that is how it used to be. Today it is also an ecologically sustainable source. With today's so-called smart hydroelectric plants, no valleys are submerged. Biodiversity is not destroyed by these either. Power One has therefore decided to utilize the hydropower in the small river that flows through Kabonga. It is a small river, but with a constant flow even during the dry season, and is well suited for smart hydropower.

What is the difference between traditional and smart hydropower?

Last century was the century of large scale. At that time, almost all hydropower was built with dams and turbines. The dams were used to even out production during the year. However, these dams have placed large areas of forest land under water, while at the same time they have become obstacles to fish migrations. Not only the forests in the valley above the dam but also the biodiversity of the river were affected. Fish cannot get up or down alive through a turbine, and as many species of fish multiply in special places, to where they must move, entire species have also disappeared from river systems.

The smart hydropower does not use dams. By removing these, the disadvantages of hydropower are avoided, but at the same time, of course, its purpose disappears, to level out the seasonal changes of hydroelectric power. When using smart hydropower instead this has to be compensated by combining power sources that have different seasonal cycles, like wind and solar. In this way, both the costly and environmentally damaging dam plant is avoided. Instead, freedom is gained from using small and inexpensive systems that are also scalable. Instead of a single large plant, the fall height can be utilized in several places. Today thereare plenty of different varieties of smart hydro adapted to different conditions. Power One in Kabonga will therefore use different smart hydro in different parts of the river.An example of a smart hydro that does not affect biodiversity is the Dutch Turbulent. A Turbulent smart hydro costs between $ 80,000 to $ 300,000, but it generates approximately the same revenue in three year under favorable conditions. The water flow in the small river in Kabonga is at least 1 m2 per second, year-round. This is suitable for the smaller turbulent power plants, which are located at about 55 kW. To calculate the power economically, you multiply the installed power by 7500 and by the price per kilowatt. For a 55kW power plant in Kabonga, the calculation is 55 kW x 7,500 x 0.24 USD, which gives an annual revenue of $ 100,000 for an investment of $ 300,000. The fall height of the small river in Kabonga is just over two hundred meters, and since each power plant does not require more than a maximum height of 4 meters, the river can accommodate a large number of these, without negative impact on the river's fish and fauna. However, there are more models of smart hydro that are suitable for different conditions.

 

A design of smart hydropower requires many factors, including flow, altitude, geology and biology. Power One's Peter Rinaldo gives in the following filmed reportage a picture of how the initial design work in Power One goes.

Please turn on subtitles in the browser for English.

Power One will invest in smart wind

Wind power is a renewable source of electricity. Traditionally, it has required steady and steady wind to be effective. The old "propeller spins" with horizontal shaft cannot withstand turbulent winds, although it can contain as much energy. The so-called vertical wind turbines have not previously reached the same efficiency as the propeller-driven, but have now been updated with more shafts and thus a whole new ability to take advantage of turbulent winds. They are also effective on a smaller scale and Power One has now decided to use these instead of the traditional ones.

Traditional propeller-type windmills use the “horizontal axis x propeller type” method, but the horizontal axis is difficult to respond to changes in wind direction, and the propeller type has a risk of runaway velocity due to strong winds. A horizontal axis propeller type windmill can generate power with high efficiency when the wind direction and wind speed are bothstable, but it is difficult to cope with sudden changes in wind speed and direction. The wind direction of the tropics is not stable, and under such circumstances, the vertical axis Magnus wind turbine can achieve stable operation and achieve a higher capacity utilization rate.

The "vertical axis Magnus type" system is compatible with wind in all directions because of the vertical axis, and by using the Magnus type, the rotational speed of the wind turbine can be kept constant according to the wind speed by controlling the rotation of the cylindrical blades. can. By controlling the rotation speed of the windmill, stable power generation is possible without runaway even in sudden strong winds. The wind environment in the tropics is very harsh for windmills that are subject to drastic changes in wind direction and speed and among them, the vertical axis Magnus wind turbine can generate power stably, and it can be expected to dramatically improve the operating rate of the wind turbine. In addition, by using a cylindrical blade instead of a propeller, the manufacturing cost can be greatly reduced, so it is possible to supply inexpensive power using renewable energy. 

Tanganyika is a fantastic lake. It is huge not only to the surface but also to the depth. It is also pure and undisturbed with one of the world's largest biodiversity. Because of its surface, the winds get a smoother flow and do not become as turbulent. Therefore, the shores of the lake are suitable for the traditional propeller-driven wind turbines. However, these are both costly and difficult to maintain. They also have a great aesthetic influence. Since the modern vertical wind turbines do not require proximity to the lake's steady flow, they can be placed a little anywhere, preferably up in the mountains.

Power One will therefore invest in a larger number of these vertical small power plants up in the mountains instead of a large propeller-driven power plant at the lake.

African Kiira goes electric

Kiira Moptors in Uganda has launched Africas first electric hybrids. As some parts of the continent still lacks electricity Kiira has choose to start its introduction of electric vehicles with two hybrids. The combination of two power sources fits the market and will ensure that the introduction will be sucessful in all areas of the continent.

Paul Isaac Musasizi, CEO of Kiira Motors, said that the initial requirements for production will be in place by December 2019. By turning electric the company will generate 2,000 direct jobs and about 12,000 indirect jobs for Ugandans.

The introduced models are Kiira EV POC - the first electric vehicle in Africa; the Kiira EV Smack - the first hybrid electric vehicle in Africa; and Kayoola Solar Bus - the first solar powered electric bus in Africa.

Kiira EV POC - the first electric vehicle in Africa

 

 

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Power One has secured sustainable land for the solar park in Burundi

The municipality of Nyanza Lac initially offered government owned land for Power One to the solar park in Kabonga. However, the land was located directly at the shore of lake Tanganyika. Power One therefore decided to decline the offer to avoid disturbing the beautiful and delicate shoreline. Instead, another area was chosen for the solar park, located in a dry and suitable area.

The selected land is a dry area in between agricultural land and has 17 private owners. Power One's team has therefore met with the owners. There was a desire to sell and Power One's COO Séraphine Barigenera has now negotiated and agreed on a price with the owners. Now they all get paid well for their land, but the price is still within the budget on which the calculations are based.

 

Both the municipal council chairman in Nyanza Lac, Jean Claude Nduwimana, his technical manager Oscar Siyawesi and Kabonga's area manager Emmanuel Nsanzerugeze, have all participated in the negotiations in a constructive way and announce that the permit part for construction will not take longer for the land that has now been concluded. on.

- Through this transaction, Power One takes a constant environmental responsibility while leaving the time schedule and budget unaffected. A win-win situation says Séraphine Barigenera, COO Power One.

Going greener is moore than a smart move for businesses

More and more consumers are becoming aware of the need for informed decisions in their choices if we are to save what’s left of the planet’s depleted natural environments and mitigate the effects of climate change through reduced carbon emissions.

In response, more and more business are seeking to reduce their environmental impacts. Single-use plastic products are increasingly being phased out in favor of better alternatives. Going green is not only a responsible course of action for many businesses but a financially acute move as well.

 

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Burundi: part of the solution, not the problem

While every country in the world suffers from the impacts of climate change, some have no part in the creation of the problem. 

A report has shown that Burundi is the smallest contributor of carbon dioxide in the world. In fact, Burundi’s per capita emissions of 0.027 tonnes is so low it’s often rounded to zero.

The report shows that the top ten most food vulnerable countries combined produce just 0.08% of global CO2. Russia’s per capita emissions are 454 times larger than Burundi, America’s is 581 times while the average Saudi generates the equivalent CO2 as 719 Burundians.

"What is quite clear is that climate change is not only a global health crisis, it is a moral crisis," said Samuel Myers, Principal Research Scientist at Harvard University’s Department of Environmental Health.

As well as slashing emissions the other side of the climate coin is helping the likes of Burundi to build resilience and adapt to climate change while at the same time developing in a sustainable way that allows them to survive and thrive. Many of these poor countries have vast untapped potentials. Not only in natural resources, but mainly in their human resources. Africa have a thriving ingenuity in finding sustainable energy free solutions to be shared and adapted for sustainable production. With the right financial and technological support this can also strengthen their resilience to climate change. The international finance market need to redress and modernise to ensure early and adequate response to climate change.

Burundi is recovering from a civil war that lasted over a decade and claimed the lives of around 300,000 people - and displaced even more. It has largely remained peaceful since the end of the war, and has now transformed into a nation thriving of ingenuity. But agricultural livelihoods have been affected in recent years by an increasingly variable climate. It is some times difficult for farmers who have achieved food security to move beyond this. Farmers need assistance to adapt to a changing climate and extract the greatest possible value from their harvest.

- Burundi is a living testament to the injustice of the climate crisis. Despite producing almost no carbon emissions, Burundi is on the front line of climate change, suffering from higher temperatures, lower crop yields and increasingly unreliable rains, said Dr Doreen Stabinsky, Professor of Global Environmental Politics at the College of the Atlantic in Maine. “

Only last month, a study in Lancet Planetary Health showed that over the next 30 years, climate change combined with increasing carbon dioxide could significantly reduce the availability of critical nutrients like protein, iron, and zinc. One of the authors of that study, Dr Samuel Myers, Principal Research Scientist at Harvard University’s Department of Environmental Healthsaid: “Our research shows that rising concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere are reducing the nutritional quality of the food we eat and that the most vulnerable people to these impacts are those least responsible for rising global CO2 concentrations.”

The findings highlight the inequality at the heart of the global climate crisis, with the most vulnerable around the world set to pay the price for the actions of those in richer nations.

As well as climate impacts such as prolonged droughts or severe flooding directly is now causing food insecurity in many vulnerable nations. Climate change is also exacerbating other threats to food security. It is a similar story around the world, where in nations such as the Democratic Republic of Congo droughts and crop failures inflame existing conflicts and social tension.

To address the problem in the fairest way the richest countries must lead the way on dramatic emissions cuts, the report argues, while poorer nations must be given more support to 'leapfrog' fossil fuel development and roll out renewable power at scale.

Government funding is essential, but there is a compelling business case for businesses to support climate security initiatives as a means of aiding economic development in emergeing markets, improving supply chain resilience, and averting the reputational and financial risks. But there is hope coming also from the private sector.

Modern blockchain technology is now paving the road for fractionalised investing, but that is only one example. There are many more.

In cooperation with Blockhomes Burundi, the Swedish company Power One AB is now introducing a modern method of financing renewable energy in the Kabonga region in southern Burundi. Through this system the area will be electrified with renewable energy distributed through a smart grid containing high speed internet.

- Combined with a planned education facility for modern sustainable economics, marketing and blockchain technology. we will build a show case for a future decentralised economy built on renewable energy, global communication and less intermediaries, says Séraphine Barigenera, COO Blockhomes Burundi

 

Cigarette butts are the single greatest source of ocean trash

Cigarette butts have long been the single most collected item on the world’s beaches, with a total of more than 60 million collected over 32 years.
Environmentalists have taken aim at the targets systematically, seeking to eliminate or rein in big sources of ocean pollution — first plastic bags, then eating utensils and, most recently, drinking straws.
Yet the number one contaminant in the world’s oceans is the small but ubiquitous cigarette butt — and it has mostly avoided regulation. That soon could change, if a group of committed activists has its way.
 

The impact of climate change cause trauma in Iceland

The first ever national survey examining the human impact of the climate emergency, revealed  that more than 90% of islanders interviewed fully accept that the climate crisis is happening, with a further 76% claiming to have personally experienced global heating in their daily lives, from coping with dangerous sea ice journeys to having sled dogs euthanised for economic reasons tied to shorter winters. Islanders are therefore struggling to reconcile impact of global heating with traditional way of life, survey finds

According to its lead author, Kelton Minor, the survey finally gives Greenland’s most remote and inaccessible communities a voice on the climate crisis.

He said: “The Arctic is a bellwether for the unequal impact of global warming on social and economic systems. As countries struggle to limit future risks and overall warming to 1.5C [an increase of 2.7F], many Arctic and Greenlandic residents are already living in regional climates that have changed by more than this, in less than a lifetime.

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A new efficient Hydrogen Powered Car That Emits Water Instead Of Carbon Dioxide

It’s been a long road for fuel cell cars to get to where they are now, a possible option. It all started back in the 1980s when fuel-cells themselves had to be physically shrunk to fit into a normal car, not the back of a van. Then they had to make them affordable and the fuel able to be widely available. All of these obstacles have been overcome yet fuel cell cars still have not been mass adopted.

That is because they were not found to be very efficient. To produce the gas, compress it, and transport it is costly. However, there is a special little fuel cell car called Rasa that is drastically more economical and its creator has come up with a more efficient hydrogen distribution system too. The car and the system around are both part of a grand plan by the company Riversimple, founded by Hugo Spowers, former motor racer and mechanical engineer of race cars.

 

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Rwanda opens up for African migrants refused by Europe

The situation for African refugees in Libya, and the unwillingness of EU to facilitate them, has sparked the president of the tiny country of Rwanda to help out.

President Kagame welcomed the “opportunity for Rwanda to also support refugees stranded in Libya, at these difficult times”.

The Rwandan offer is consistent with Mr Kagame’s record of engagement in the migration problem.

- The desperate situation in Libya is disturbing and we are prepared to provide support and sanctuary for our African brothers who are stuck in the immigration debacle in Libya, and who are willing to move to Rwanda,” President Kagame said.

President Kagame are among many African leaders invited to the G7 meeting scheduled for August 24-26 in French coastal town of Biarritz. The issue of resettling the African immigrants is expected to feature in the meeting.

- We are indeed exploring the Rwandan evacuation option alongside the African Union as we try to find a solution to this,” Vincent Cochetel, UN High Commissioner for Refugees special envoy for the Central Mediterranean said.

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The latest company powered by 100 per cent clean energy

"This is a project that exemplifies using business to have a positive impact on the planet and people living on the planet," said Darcy Shiber-Knowles, senior quality, sustainability and innovation manager at Dr. Bronner's. "The scale of it and the potential for it to be replicated as a model are all really exciting. I want this type of model to be copied and I hope it spreads."
- We are sure it will! 

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A Brief History of Economic Rebellion - For Reflection

Government dominance of human beings via slavery and violent economic oppression is as old as government itself. For thousands and thousands of years kings and rulers, usually held to be “appointed by God,” have used free, non-violent individuals as their tax farm livestock to exploit for economic gain and political power. 

 

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Heat wave hits Greenland, melting 11 billion tons of ice

GLOBAL WARMING - A FACT.
Greenland's ice sheet — which covers 80 percent of the island — typically melts in summer, beginning around the end of May. This year, however, it began earlier in the month and has been melting since then, primarily because the country has seen abnormally high temperatures.
Greenland's capital city of Nuuk recorded temperatures in the high 50s this week; normal temperatures are about 10 degrees cooler.

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CBD Shows Promise As Antibiotic Against Resistant Superbugs

Antibiotic resistance is “one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today” says The World Health Organization (WHO). It can affect anyone, of any age, in any country. It is a huge health problem today as a growing number of infections such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, and gonorrhea are becoming increasingly difficult to treat.

Given cannabidiol’s documented anti-inflammatory effects, existing safety data in humans, and potential for varied delivery routes, it is a promising new antibiotic worth further investigation. The combination of inherent antimicrobial activity and potential to reduce damage caused by the inflammatory response to infections is particularly attractive.

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World's First Train Line Powered Directly by Solar Energy Will Launch Soon

The world’s first railway lines directly powered by sunlight are set to launch next month in the United Kingdom.

 The new, super-modern train setup will bring zero-emission energy to Aldershot station in southern England by connecting the train lines directly to nearby solar panels, which in turn will provide traction current. South Western Railways is working with solar rail enterprise Riding Sunbeams to bring the project to light.
 
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Sustainable investments in Burundi

Blockhomes Burundi has now contracted Raire Invest for the financing of Power One, a 12 MW power plant in Kabonga, Burundi.

Blockhomes Burundi has been assigned by Burundi's Energy Ministry to handle the electrification of Kabonga-a previously non-electrified region in southern Burundi. The area is incredibly beautiful and lies along Tanganyika's beach towards the border with Tanzania.

Thirty-one thousand families are living in Kabonga, who mainly feed on agriculture and fishing. Kabonga community is located by the lake, but most residents live on their farms.

Currently, about 3,000 customers have registered, but the influx continues and is expected to grow to at least 5,000 before the plant is put into operation.

Through the area flows a small river with a steady flow all year round. The fall height is over one hundred meters. From this, hydropower will be extracted with several modern small-scale power plants, which do not harm the river's biological diversity. At the beach of Tanganyika, the wind is suitable for wind power. However, the primary source and central for electricity production is a 10MW solar park located on a high plateau a bit up from the lake.

Since the area of Kabonga has not been electrified previously, Blockhomes Burundi will also install a new electricity network, stable internet connection, and a digital pre-payment system. The customers who have registered today have smartphones and will thus prepay their electricity consumption via an app.

Blockhomes Burundi now offers investors the opportunity to start building Power One at an early stage.

The energy plant in Kabonga is exclusively renewable, also the storage. No CO2 compensation is, therefore, necessary for energy production. On the other hand, the electrification will lead to jobs and economic growth in the area, and thus increased consumption and emissions associated with it.

Therefore, for every $ 100 invested in the energy plant, Blockhomes Burundi will arrange the planting of a tree through the Tree4Life campaign.

 

Bitcoin will cost $100,000 by the end of 2021

As the most popular cryptocurrency asset gains ground, recovering from the epic slump to $3,126 in December 2018, experts and cryptocurrency enthusiasts become bolder in their bullish forecasts.

Thus, Anthony Pompliano aka "Pomp," co-founder of crypto asset management firm Morgan Creek Digital Assets, expects that one bitcoin will go for $100,000 by the end of 2021. 

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A taxi business only for women and children

Her name is 37-year-old Sade Agboola and she started her own taxi company whose cars will only be driven by women. To launch this concept, it was inspired by the public announcement of the decision of King Salman of Saudi Arabia to allow the women of the country to drive.

British and mother of a child, Sade Agboola has started the activities of Annisa Cars since October 2017. It is now a taxi company whose customers are only women and children. And, Annisa Cars vehicles are driven only by women. The goal is for women and children to return home safely.

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Plastic waste reduction is top of the global agenda

Inaction is not an option as government and the packaging industry strive to cut waste and introduce a circular economy

When it comes to packaging, everyone agrees on the need for change. Consumers, green campaigners, government bodies, supermarkets and retailers all want a shift in the way we make and recycle packaging materials, especially plastic.

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A President and a National Energy Policy gone awry

Trump sees environmental issues as an obstacle to making a profitT. He is rolling back efforts to curb CO2 and methane releases while making it easier for coal companies to dump their waste into streams and car makers to avoid building engines that get better gas mileage.

Trump’s agenda, though, won’t be easy to carry out. For starters, the Republican Party, if it has any hope of expanding its base, it will have to recruit younger voters who care about clean air and water.

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The clean energy market is developing rapidly in Minnesota

Minnesota’s early start and continued support of clean energy policies creates a competitive advantage.

The clean energy market is developing rapidly, reducing the state’s dependence on imported energy. Biofuels production capacity, energy efficiency savings, and solar and wind installations all had triple-digit percentage growth between 2000 and 2012.

Employment in clean energy sectors reached 15,300 in 2014. Clean energy employment in Minnesota surged 78 percent between January 2000 and the first quarter of 2014, growing steadily through the recession. The state’s total employment grew 11 percent over the last 15 years.

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Trump Tells Congresswomen to ‘Go Back’ to the Countries They Came From

President Trump said on Sunday that a group of four minority congresswomen feuding with Speaker Nancy Pelosi should “go back” to the countries they came from rather than “loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States” how to run the government.

Wrapped inside that insult, which was widely established as a racist trope, was a factually inaccurate claim: Only one of the lawmakers was born outside the country.

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Fundstrat head analyst Thomas Lee responds to Trumps twitter on Bitcoin

Earlier this week the US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell made media waves and rocked crypto Twitter when he suggested that Bitcoin is a speculative store of value that functions similarly to an investment in gold. President Trump, who is often at loggerheads with the Federal Reserve, quickly responded by tweeting that Bitcoin is not money and simply a speculative instrument which is often used to facilitate crime. 

Now, Fundstrat head analyst and partner Thomas Lee has weighed in on the issue and according to him Trump’s tweet will have the unintended effect of bringing more attention to Bitcoin. Lee explained that Trump’s disdain for Bitcoin, Facebook’s Libra and cryptocurrencies in general “makes the other 99% more aware” of Bitcoin and funny enough Trump’s signature phrase “Bad publicity is sometimes better than no publicity at all.” 

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Heavy rain and floods in India's Assam kill at least 10 and displace more than 1 million

Heavy monsoon rains in India's northeast Assam state displaced more than a million people from their homes and flash floods killed at least 10 in the past 72 hours, state authorities said on Saturday, warning the situation could worsen in coming days.

The Brahmaputra river, which flows from the Himalayas into India and then through Bangladesh, has burst its banks, swamping more than 1,800 villages in the state.

"10 people have died in separate incidents of drowning in the past three days and more than one million people (have been) affected, with the flood situation turning grave," a state government flood bulletin said.

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Modern home that generates all of its own energy

When a couple decided to “break free” and realize their long-awaited eco-friendly dream home, they turned to Chapel Hill-based architect Arielle Condoret Schechter to bring their vision to life. With their grown son now out of the house, the couple wanted to downsize to a simple modernist home where they could peacefully age in place. Nestled in a secluded place in the woods of Chatham County, North Carolina, the resulting sustainable home is custom-designed to meet all their needs, from achieving net-zero energy to its modernist design with architectural elements inspired by the Netherlands-based De Stijl movement of the early 1900s.

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Modern precision agriculture could help farmers reduce fertiliser use

Synthetic fertilizers aren’t great for natural ecosystems, but they do help farmers produce the crop yields needed to feed the world’s skyrocketing population. Since major chemical companies began pushing fertilizers, farmers have been spraying their fields and hoping for the best. Over the past two decades, however, controlled-release fertilizers have become available with high-precision release formulas that are not only better for the plants but are arguably better for the planet.

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Finnish company makes protein powder from carbon dioxide

According to Solar Foods, Solein is “100 times more climate friendly” than all other animal- and plant-based proteins. In fact, the company also claims it is 10 times more efficient than soy production in terms of carbon footprint.

How does it work? The company says it mixes water molecules with nutrients like potassium and sodium and then feeds the solution plus carbon to microbes. The microbes consume the nutrients and produce an edible substance that looks like flour and is 50 percent protein.

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Antarctica is melting faster than anyone thought

Ice melting rates in Antarctica tripled between 2012 and 2017, according to a study published in the journal Nature.The biggest increase has been ice melt in West Antarctica, where glaciers and ice sheets are vulnerable to warmer ocean temperatures.Experts think that if we don't get climate change under control quickly, ice sheets in West Antarctica could collapse, leading to rapid sea level rise around the globe.

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Climate Deniers Exposed: Top Scientist Got Funding from ExxonMobil, Koch Brothers, Big Coal

A new investigation exposes how one of the top scientists involved in denying climate change has failed to disclose his extensive funding from the fossil fuel industry. Dr. Wei-Hock Soon of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics has downplayed global warming and rejected human activity as its cause, arguing the sun is more responsible than greenhouse gases from pollution. Climate denialists — including Republican Senator James Inhofe, chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee — frequently cite Soon’s work to reject concrete action. But documents obtained by the Climate Investigations Center show Soon received more than $1.2 million from fossil fuel corporations and conservative groups over the last decade and failed to disclose those ties in most of his scientific papers. Funders include ExxonMobil, the American Petroleum Institute, coal utility Southern Company and the Charles G. Koch Foundation.

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Indigenous tribe celebrates court decision to protect Amazon rainforest

The Waorani indigenous tribe are celebrating the decision of a court in Ecuador that will prevent the sale of land in the Amazon rainforest to oil companies.
 

A court in Ecuador has upheld a ruling that prevents the government from selling land in the Amazon rainforest to oil companies, a move activists called a historic win for the Waorani indigenous tribe living there.

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Electric ferry to set sail in Denmark

The world's most powerful electric ferry harbouring the largest battery pack ever installed in a seafaring vessel is primed to begin transporting passengers, operator Ærø Kommune announced today. 
The Ellen E-ferry will be the first electric ferry to have no back-up generator on board.
 
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New stock exchange for responsible investors

If regulators give their approval, Scotland's first new stock exchange in nearly 50 years will launch this year to list securities with measurable environmental or social outcomes

From renewable energy companies to social housing funds, investors around the world are increasingly drawn to organisations that offer social or environmental as well as financial returns.

Now, a new breed of market is springing up from Scotland to India to help them identify investment opportunities - and make it easier for organisations that seek to do good to raise funds.

If regulators give their approval, Scotland's first new stock exchange in nearly 50 years will launch this year to list securities - tradeable assets, such as bonds, funds and stocks and shares - with measurable environmental or social outcomes.

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Barcelona Is Threatening To Shut Out Tourists

Barcelona has no room to grow and people just keep coming. No number of pavement expansions and bus rerouting can solve the fundamental issue that tourism is the number one problem for the city. 

In June 2019, Barcelona was named the number one most polluted port in Europe, with the highest amounts of sulphur oxide and carcinogenic nitrogen oxide coming from visiting cruise ships. Cruise ships are a particular problem because they run on fuel oil, which contains far more sulphur oxide than ordinary diesel.

 

 

 

Jessica Folcker Named New Sustainability Ambassador at The Sprinkle Group

Jessica Folcker, formerly known as The Sprinkle Group’s assistant influencer/blogger, has been promoted to Sustainability Ambassador. This is a new role within The Sprinkle Group that aims to ensure that the company is constantly maintaining eco-friendly business standards in the workplace and promoting awareness for our current environmental crisis.

As Sustainability Ambassador, Jessica has her hand in each of Sprinkle’s subsidiary companies. Her responsibilities include, but are not limited to: striving to create sustainable business solutions by generating new ideas, establishing partnerships, and promoting information about sustainable research and practices with the Sprinkle network.

 "This is a very engaging task and exactly what I want to do. There is nothing more important today than to reverse the global warming and make sure we never go back to the careless greed of last century industrialism. Therefore I am sure I will be a very dedicated sustainability ambassador at Sprinkle!", says Jessica. 

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Dutch airline KLM calls for people to fly less

The Netherlands’ national airline urges people to ‘fly responsibly’ and to invest in its carbon-offsetting scheme

Dutch airline KLM has launched a campaign asking people to fly less. The video and open letter from CEO Pieter Elbers asks: “Do you always have to meet face-to-face?” and “Could you take the train instead?”

The campaign aims to encourage travellers and the aviation industry to consider the environmental impact of flying. It describes the “shared responsibility” of travellers and airlines to “fly more responsibly”, and says those in the industry need to “create a sustainable future for aviation”.

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Eight ways to halt global food crisis

Those living in the urban global north are very comfortable with having any foods desired available at any point across the calendar year. This comes at a high cost. Foods transported by air cause nearly four times the CO₂ released compared to truck and 38 times that of a comparable amount transported by rail. Biodiversity and ecosystem loss threatens food production – and meanwhile, agriculture is a key driver of this loss.

If we are to avoid some of these crises, we need to re-imagine where our food comes from and move, at least in part, towards more seasonal diets with a lower use of land and a serious reduction in global trade – especially for fruits, vegetables, and protein.

We can do all of this by addressing eight factors that have exacerbated and reinforced environmental disasters in our food systems. a $3.4 trillion export economy.

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New Trade Deal Could Boost Africa's Economy by $3.4 Trillion

Africa is poised to transform its economy — if the latest trade deal becomes successful.

African leaders have announced that the long-talked about continental free-trade zone is now a reality. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will see the 55 member states of the African Union working as a single economic unit that’s expected to turn the continent into a $3.4 trillion export economy.

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What AI-Driven Decision Making Looks Like

Many companies have adapted to a “data-driven” approach for operational decision-making. Data can improve decisions, but it requires the right processor to get the most from it. Many people assume that processor is human. The term “data-driven” even implies that data is curated by — and summarized for — people to process.

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The Future of Work is Distributed

Businesses of every shape and size are adopting more flexible work environments—from working from home policies to flex time to compressed work schedules. Millennials are all but demanding greater flexibility. 70% of employees say going into the office isn’t necessary. This strong preference has created a ripe breeding ground for distributed work. Employees aren’t just wanting to work more flexible hours or work from home. Entire companies have taken flexible work to the max and become fully distributed. 23% of remote workers now say their organization is fully distributed. 

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Tesla’s new Solar Roof V3 will be same price as shingle roof

Elon Musk is suggesting that the new version of Tesla’s solar roof tiles will be even less expensive and it will roughly be the equivalent of the cost of a comp shingle roof and the electric utility bill, which the solar roof will slash through solar energy generation.

When launching the product, Tesla said that the “typical homeowner can expect to pay $21.85 per square foot for a Solar Roof.” But that style was a tile roof style, which is much more expensive than a comp shingle roof – indicating that Tesla would have made cost improvements.


A shingle roof can cost as little as $4 per square foot while a tile roof can cost up to $20 per square foot.

It’s still a fairly expensive product, but it comes with a lifetime of the house warranty and 30-year power generation guaranteed.

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Edible film made from essential oils can protect foods better than plastic

Forget the plastic and chemicals: The best food preservatives may actually be all-natural essential oils. New research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that an edible film coated in the essential oils of clove and oregano kept bread fresher for longer than conventional plastic combined with a food preservative known as calcium propionate.

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Donald Trump stopping US government scientists from speaking out publicly.

The Trump administration’s decision to stop Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials and other government staff from speaking out publicly has prompted the country’s leading scientific organisation to warn against “censorship and intimidation”.

In addition to the media blackout at the EPA, some other federal agencies were also banned from external communications. Donald Trump even appointed Scott Pruitt, who is known as a climate science denier, to run the EPA.

The ban includes the issuing of press releases, blogs, messages on Twitter and Facebook posts. All media requests must be “screened” by the administration.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science warns against "censorship and intimidation", and Sam Adams, the US director of the World Resources Institute, called for the bans to be lifted.

“These actions will stem the free flow of information and have a chilling effect on staff in these agencies,” he said.

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Swiss watchmaker using blockchain tech

The 263-year-old Geneva-headquartered watchmaker Vacheron Constantin has spent over two-and-a-half centuries protecting the traditional crafts around handmade watches.

But it is also a brand that’s willing to embrace bleeding-edge 21st-century tech.

At the VivaTechnology conference in Paris last month, it announced that it was rolling out the blockchain technology for its Les Collectineurs series of vintage watches.
Blockchain is a largely impenetrable system that is immune to efforts to externally tamper with the system. Therefore, the watch brand is using it to issue digital certificates that establish the authenticity of the watches.

These digital certificates issued via the blockchain platform will accompany the traditional physical paper certificates issued for each watch.

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UAE entities sign deal to build largest desalination plant in the northern emirates

The Federal Electricity and Water Authority (FEWA) and a consortium consisting of ACWA Power and MDC Power Holding Company, an entity fully owned by Mubadala Investment, has entered into a water purchase agreement for a desalination plant in Umm Al Quwain.

The 150 million gallon per day desalination plant will utilise seawater reverse osmosis technology, a statement said.

It is strategically located between Ajman, Umm Al Quwain and Ras Al Khaimah.

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A rising star of the hacker sphere

It was during the last Pwn2Own (pronounced pone any yardstick), the most important competition in the field of the search of computer faults, in March 2019, that Amat Cama and his friend Richard Zhu managed to hack, in less than fifteen minutes, the built-in browser of the Tesla 3, the latest model of the brand. "A first step that will then search for other bugs in the car," says Amat. They hope to succeed soon a complete piracy to control the vehicle. "We are working on it," he says, mischievous.

"We are White Hats, ethical hackers with computer expertise. Our goal is to reveal technological loopholes to allow businesses to fill them before they are exploited by malicious people, "says Amat.

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Nuvens Watch - The first African smart watch

At a time when digital is more and more present in our daily lives, digital innovation has begun to develop on the African continent in recent years to propose solutions that, in the long term, will improve the daily life in Africa. . Ken Kelvin M'Baz, co-founder of the Nuvens Technology start-up company, is behind the first-ever African smart medical watch called Nuvens Watch.

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Cotton waste biofuel powers farmers to fight drought in Kenya

Farmers use the cleaner, cheaper fuel - which requires no extra land to grow its feedstock - to run irrigation pumps, making them less vulnerable to poor rains
The farmers earnings had doubled in the two years they have been pumping water using biodiesel, which is both more efficient and 20 shillings ($0.20) per litre cheaper than regular diesel.

The biodiesel they are using is also good news for the planet.

Unlike most biofuels, which are derived from crops such as maize, sugarcane, soybean, rapeseed and jatropha, it is made from a byproduct of the cotton-making process.

That means that as well as being cleaner and cheaper than regular fuel, it is more sustainable than other biofuels because no extra land is needed to produce it.

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France Will Charge Ecotax On Most Flights

French officials have announced a new “ecotax” for nearly all flights departing from the country beginning in 2020.

Elizabeth Borne, France’s transportation minister, said the measure comes amid a time of “ecological urgency,” per a translation of her announcement by NPR.

“With the eco-contribution, air transport will play its part in financing the daily transport of all our citizens,” Borne said.

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Window film captures and releases solar energy

Developed at Sweden's Chalmers University, the MOST film incorporates a norbornadiene–quadricyclane molecule. This causes the transparent polymer film to take on an orangey-yellow color when not being directly exposed to sunlight.

Once the sun rises in the morning and its rays strike the material, however, much of the sunlight's solar energy is absorbed by the molecule. More specifically, the molecule captures some of the incoming photons, causing it to isomerize – this means that it temporarily becomes another type of molecule, with exactly the same atoms but in a different arrangement.

As a result, the film not only turns completely colorless, but it also keeps much of the solar heat from getting into the room. The interior of the building thus stays cooler than it would otherwise, reducing the need to run the air conditioning.

In the evening, though – once the sun's rays are no longer hitting the film – the molecule reverts to its previous form, releasing the stored energy into the room as heat for up to eight hours. This reduces the need for the building's heating system to kick in.

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5 ways to boost sustainable trade in the world’s poorest countries

The World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Aid for Trade initiative is designed to connect developing countries to the global trade system in a sustainable manner.
Aid for trade can be a means to implement sustainable development strategies guided by sound environmental principles. This includes sustainability standards in industry, the promotion of climate-resilient infrastructure, the maintenance of ecosystem services through reforestation, the encouragement of sustainable agricultural practices and the transition to clean and affordable energy.

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A race for talent in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

As the Fourth Industrial Revolution unfolds, led by advances in technologies such as data science and artificial intelligence, the labour market is again changing in a fundamental fashion. In 2018 the Future of Jobs Survey and Report revealed that business leaders believe that by 2022, human workers and automated processes are set to share the workload of current tasks equally, while a range of new roles is expected to emerge simultaneously as digital innovation is absorbed across industries and regions.

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Singapore to Exempt Bitcoin from Tax

Global development and growth in the use of cryptocurrencies have caused tax jurisdictions to review their GST position on cryptocurrencies transactions.

Several countries, such as Japan and Switzerland, are already taking action to boost the growth of their crypto industry.

Most recently, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), acknowledging the importance and growth of crypto assets, proposed legislation to exempt cryptocurrencies from the Goods and Services Tax.
The new tax treatment would take effect on January 1, 2020.

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How some Republicans in Florida turned into eco-warriors

Many in Florida blame the then Governor Scott for pushing policies that put business first and the environment second, all with a blind eye to how clearly those two are intertwined in Florida. Today many Floridians blame much of the water pollution – and therefore the algae problem – on the sugar industry, or “big sugar”.
“Unlike other areas of the country, there’s a strong conservative tradition here in Florida for actually being pro-environment,” he explained. “If we have clean water, it’s a good idea for beaches and tourism.”, say Jason Evans, an assistant professor of environmental science and an environmental policy expert who makes an effort to talk to Republican voters and politicians about green issues.
“I have talked with Republicans privately who acknowledge the science of climate change but have also said pretty explicitly that they can’t talk about it, because their base voters have been conditioned to say that climate change is something that Republicans don’t believe in.”

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Harvesting rain water for irrigation in Nepal

Government-backed storage ponds are helping farmers face up to unpredictable rainfall linked to climate change.

In south-central Nepal's Palpa district, which spans from the country's hillsides to its southern lowlands, farmers can grow a huge range of crops, from coffee to paddy rice, lychees to wheat.

But none of the crops grow without water - and that is increasingly in short supply in Palpa, as climate change brings more weather extremes.

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A solution for overstocked warehouses and its negative impact on the environment?

There's a $1 trillion global industry which you've probably never heard of. It affects all kinds of brands and retailers and is growing at a rapid rate. It drives up costs, impacts cash flow, increases manufacturing and is harmful to the planet.

There are warehouses right around the globe currently piled high with goods which have been manufactured but remain unsold. They can often lie there for years or in the worst cases be destroyed. In the U.K. alone the problem of overstock accounts for around £5 billion.

One company aiming to address the problem is startup buyfair global, a B2B online marketplace auction site, specifically for overstock.

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How Bhutan Went Carbon-Negative

In this intimate portrait of environmentalist Sonam Phuntsho, filmmaker Matthew Firpo shows how Bhutan is the worldwide leader in environmental stewardship, with over 60 percent of its territory still forested. The Kingdom follows Phuntsho as he plants a new tree in the forest, one of more than 100,000 trees he's fostered throughout his life.

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Britain's National Trust to sell fossil fuel assets

Britain's National Trust will sell all of its investments in the fossil fuel industry by 2022.

The charity invests 45 million pounds ($56.61 million) in fossil fuel companies - 4% of its one billion pound stock market portfolio - despite having itself warned of the dangers of climate change.

But it will aim to offload the majority of investments in oil and gas companies, which include Shell, BP and Total, within 12 months, chief financial officer Peter Vermeulen told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.

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Aged 24, she makes and sells eco-friendly bamboo bikes for sustainable development

Her name is Winnifred Selby, a 24-year-old girl from Ghana. At the age of 19 she co-founded her Ghana Bamboo Bikes company. A company that makes bamboo bicycles for rural people who walk for miles to work, school, market etc.


Since small she has found that her country Ghana is full of bamboo and we all know that it is a wood famous for its resistance. That's where the idea came to mind. Use this resistant wood to make a quick and inexpensive means of locomotion to help many people to move easily.

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Opec blame young activists for decreased investments in oil

The trillion-dollar Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) highlights the growing reputational concerns of oil companies as insurance companies are increasingly pulling investment from fossil fuel assets. 

Mohammed Barkindo, the secretary general of Opec, said the growing mass mobilisation of world opinion against oil is “beginning to … dictate policies and corporate decisions, including investment in the industry”.

He blamed the striking students and said the pressure was even being felt within the families of Opec officials because their own children “are asking us about their future because … they see their peers on the streets campaigning against this industry”.

Greta Thunberg and other climate activists have said it is a badge of honour that the head of the world’s most powerful oil cartel believes their campaign may be the greatest threat to the fossil fuel industry.

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Massive deforestation increase in Brazil under Bolsonaro

In the first 11 months, Brazilian deforestation has already reached 4,565 sq km (1,762 sq miles), a 15% increase over the same period in the previous year.

Deforestation rose 34% in May compared with the same month a year ago.

Bolsonaro’s office declined to comment, saying questions would be addressed by the environment ministry.

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Solar Panel Farm Grows Tons Of Food Without Soil, Pesticides, Fossil Fuels Or Groundwater

Sundrop Farms, a relatively new company in the business of creating sustainable agriculture, revealed their high-tech greenhouses that offer viable solutions for growing crops in otherwise unsuitable locations and all while reducing the need for finite natural resources.

The company has developed technology that integrates “solar power, electricity generation, fresh water production and hydroponics.” And according to the company, this technology produces just as much food as traditional farming, and significantly better. 

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Belgium Apologizes for Kidnapping Children From African Colonies

Belgium apologized on Thursday for the kidnapping, segregation, deportation and forced adoption of thousands of children born to mixed-race couples during its colonial rule of Burundi, Congo and Rwanda.

The apology is the first time that Belgium has recognized any responsibility for what historians say was the immense harm the country inflicted on the Central African nations, which it colonized for eight decades.

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Vietnamese supermarkets leaving plastic bags and go back to leaves

Several Vietnamese supermarkets have started using banana leaves to wrap vegetables in an effort to reduce plastic waste.

Shoppers at Lotte Mart in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 7 were recently surprised to see scallions, okra and other vegetables produce wrapped in banana leaves.

A representative of the supermarket chain said that the company is experimenting with using leaves to wrap veggies in one outlet, and plans to expand this later to the entire chain in the country.

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The world’s first minister for future generations

As Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, Sophie Howe’s job is – put simply – to make tomorrow a better place. Wales is currently the only country in the world to employ someone in such a position, which was created after the Welsh Assembly passed the Well-being of Future Generations Act in 2015. The trailblazing legislation requires all Welsh public bodies to ensure that the decisions they make today don’t compromise the Welsh citizens of tomorrow.

From councils and national parks to the health service, all are legally obliged to consider the long-term social, cultural, environmental and economic wellbeing impact of their decisions, in a non-party political way.

“All those things might sound obvious and straightforward, but what we have is a system that has, for decades, been constructed to do exactly the opposite,” explains Howe, a mother of five. “My job is to try and unpick that.”

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Why trade Wars and slow economy bring markets high

It’s not the Republican tax cuts. Those are yesterday’s news. It’s not the trade war cease fire. That’s been done before. It’s the world’s biggest central banks going to zero, or are being challenged by Wall Street to give 0% interest rates a whirl!

The market is rising because there is no other place to put investment capital. Conservative investments are money losers. You have to buy Chinese bonds or something like that. The world’s central banks are not only helping to prop up equity markets, but they are forcing everyone into it.

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India proposes tax benefits for electric vehicles to promote sales

India proposed tax waivers on Friday on the purchase of electric vehicles and removed import taxes on some auto components to help boost sales and reduce its dependence on fossil fuels.

India, the world's third-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, is home to 14 of the world's most polluted cities, including the capital New Delhi, with its toxic air claiming more than one million lives in 2017.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, presenting the federal budget to parliament, said buyers of electric vehicles will receive an income tax deduction of 150,000 rupees ($2,189.30) on interest paid on loans taken out to them.

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Technology-enabled sustainable economy

From ESG-themed data mining to blockchain voting, technologies around sustainability practice and reporting are expanding rapidly. Companies are starting to discover how they can incorporate new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain or the Internet of Things (IoT) to advance their environmental, social and governance (ESG) efforts and the way they report on them.
Over the past decade the world’s biggest companies have started to come under pressure from stakeholders to improve the management of natural resources and human capital.
 

How technology is driving the evolution of intelligent banking

Globally, retail banking has changed considerably over the past decade. Retail banks have adapted to changing consumer demands and expectations, new technologies (eg, artificial intelligence, AI, blockchain and the Internet of Things), new competitors (eg, neo-banks, payment players and tech giants) and new regulations (eg, open banking and PSD2) while reducing costs and creating value. These combined factors have resulted in retail banks adjusting their business models, rethinking their innovation strategies and investment focus, and altering their product offerings and how they are delivered.

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Tree planting 'has mind-blowing potential' to tackle climate crisis

Research shows a trillion trees could be planted to capture huge amount of carbon dioxide

Planting billions of trees across the world is by far the biggest and cheapest way to tackle the climate crisis, according to scientists, who have made the first calculation of how many more trees could be planted without encroaching on crop land or urban areas.

As trees grow, they absorb and store the carbon dioxide emissions that are driving global heating. New research estimates that a worldwide planting programme could remove two-thirds of all the emissions that have been pumped into the atmosphere by human activities, a figure the scientists describe as “mind-blowing”.

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Sustainability as Business Strategy

In recent years, a growing number of companies around the world have voluntarily adopted and implemented a broad range of sustainability practices. The accelerating rate of adoption of these practices has also provoked a debate about the nature of sustainability and its long-term implications for organizations.

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These Solar Panels Harvest Energy From Rain

Solar cells have a dramatically reduced performance on rainy days.
New solar panels created by Chinese researchers take energy from the friction of falling raindrops, as well as the sun, so it’s an effective source of renewable energy all year round. They could even make raincoats that charge your phone.
These panels use an energy harvesting structure that integrates a solar cell and a triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG) device is built to realize power generation from both sunlight and raindrops.

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Dutch firm to invest $70m in solar factory in Rwanda

At least 900,000 households, or 4.2 million people, will be connected to electricity in the next five years if the proposed solar factory begins operations.

Dutch solar firm, NOTS, has announced it will invest $70 million (about Rwf61 billion) in the production of solar lighting products in Rwanda, raising the country’s prospects of achieving universal coverage by 2024.

The development comes after the Government, early this month, said it had signed an agreement with the firm to manufacture and distribute solar home systems.

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Fossil fuel industry undermining global climate talks

Fossil fuel industry giants such as Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell are maintaining an outsize presence at global climate discussions, working to undermine scientific consensus and slow policy progress, according to findings released last week. The report from the Climate Investigations Center says fossil fuel trade associations have sent more than 6,400 delegates to obstruct climate talks.

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Scottish forest companies planted 22 million trees to fight climate change

New figures published today reveal that Scotland’s national tree planting targets have been surpassed, making a critical contribution to the global climate emergency.

11,200 hectares of new planting has been undertaken in Scotland last year, comfortably beating the current 10,000 ha annual target. Last year, 7,100 ha of new trees were planted.

The Scottish forest industry is also outstripping the rest of the UK as 84% of all new planting took place in Scotland.

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India plants 66 million trees in 12 hours

Volunteers in India planted more than 66 million trees in just 12 hours in a record-breaking environmental drive.
About 1.5 million people were involved in the huge plantation campaign, in which saplings were placed along the Narmada river in the state of Madhya Pradesh throughout Sunday.
India committed under the Paris Agreement to increasing its forests by five million hectares before 2030 to combat climate change.

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Dutch solar-electric car prototype revealed

Dutch electric-vehicle startup Lightyear has unveiled a prototype of its first model – a solar electric car called the 'Lightyear One' with a claimed range of 450 miles.

While it is primarily charged by plugging in like any other electric model, it also incorporates roof-mounted solar panels in order to boost range and cut down on the amount of stationary plug-in charging required.

Lightyear estimates the One would only need to be plugged in 25 times a year if covering 12,000 miles per year in the UK, compared to 54 times a year for a Tesla Model S P100D.

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Companies protects forests in Cameroon

Companies that use wood grown in Cameroon - from makers of guitars to electricity poles - are teaming up with the government and communities to replant depleted forests and to help revitalise endangered tree species to better sustain their businesses and bolster the fight against climate change.

The firms have teamed up with the government and villagers in public-private partnerships to restore forests because it makes sense for both their profits and the planet, they said.

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China support big data in Africa

Across Africa, where the cost of development is high and efficiency is low to begin with, leveraging the power of big data should be a priority. This knowledge and technology transfer can be immediately implemented between China and more developed African countries, such as Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya. While big data may have high upfront costs, some of which China’s expertise can help lower, its applications have reverberating effects.

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'Nude' shopping next big trend

Sales of vegetables have soared by up to 300 per cent following moves by a number of New Zealand supermarkets to ditch plastic packaging.

A group of New World supermarkets have abandoned the use of plastic wrapping for virtually all of their fruit and vegetables in a project labelled 'food in the nude'. Pioneered by the New World store at Bishopdale in Christchurch, it has led to stunning sales figures.

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World's Largest Solar Power Plant Switched On

As of today, the Noor Abu Dhabi project with a total capacity of 1,177MW is the largest operational single site solar project in the world.

The project, which is not state-financed, is the work of a consortium that includes Abu Dhabi Power Corporation, Japan’s Marubeni Corp and Chinese solar manufacturer Jinko Solar.

The $870 million project was the result of a competitive tender process that will see electricity from the site sold to the Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC) for around 2.4 cents per kWh, a record at the time of the auction and a record for any completed solar project. It was built by the Indian firm Sterling & Wilson with nearly 3000 people working on site during the peak of activity.

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Retail Blockchain Supply Chain

Outside of payments, which is still mostly using cryptocurrencies rather than the underlying blockchain technology, the most active area for retail blockchain applications is in supply chain.

supply chains depend heavily on cross-border situations where smart contracts could address current processes that are dependent on a lot of paperwork

 

And that is a job for blockchain! In fact, there has been an enormous amount of activity around retail supply chain and blockchain. There are three main areas of focus: visibility, anti-counterfeit, and IoT/RFID.

 

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E-commerse now possible in Africa

Everything starts from a fairly recurring observation: buying online and delivering to Africa is a real headache.

To include Africa in the world of international e-commerce three young Gabonese entrepreneurs have created the keeCash app.

The solution the KeeCash team has come up with is a fully automated application allowing:

1) Online payment via mobile money 
2) Delivery to the customer without a customs procedure with attractive rates 
3) Order tracking in the application 

The users of the KeeCash application are more and more numerous with an increase of over 35% per month over the last 6 months. This is the need for Africans of such an application that takes care of everything in just a few clicks.

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Businesses are coming together to lead on climate change

Climate change will shape the way in which we do business for decades. Business has a vital role to play in curbing its effects by limiting carbon emissions. Business, sectors, states and regions need to consolidate efforts to create change on a level large enough to halt the crisis. There are already many examples that others can follow, and that will make transformation happen faster than ever before.

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