Sunday, January 19, 2020

Event - Sustainable Finance | Clean Energy Conference

The Sustainable Finance | Clean Energy Conference will take place on May 28, 2020 in Toronto, Canada. Canada aspires to transition to low GHG emission growth. To turn those aspirations into achievements, they will need to address the barriers slowing that transition. The event address existing barriers to the timely development and deployment of technologies that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the industrial, transportation, and building sectors and their financial foundations. It will include actions to overcome those barriers.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Event - World Biodiversity Forum 2020

The World Biodiversity Forum 2020 will take place February 23 - 29 at the Congress Centre in Davos, Switzerland. The Forum will provide a platform for exchange, covering a wide range of perspectives, and capturing a diversity of visions. With this, it aims to redefine and set the agenda for biodiversity as a focal point over the next 10 years in current themes and topics across sectors. The aim of the conference is to explore the future of biodiversity.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Amazon Wins with Climate Action and Fails by Silencing Employee's Climate Advocacy

In less than six months Amazon has gone from being a climate champion to a corporate villain. Despite an ambitious climate plan and renewable energy leadership employees are being threatened for demanding that the company do more. An employee letter that circulated in April gained the support of more than 7,500 Amazon employees. It called for a resolution demanding aggressive climate plan. However, shareholders voted the resolution down in May. Around the same time Amazon updated its communication policy for employees requiring them to seek prior approval before speaking about the company in any public forum.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Combating the Biodiversity Crisis and Learning to Live in Harmony with Nature

We are facing a biodiversity crises and the actions we take this year will determine the fate of life on Earth. Humans have altered three quarters of the land and two thirds of the seas and in the process we are destroying the natural world and driving mass extinction. The combination of habitat loss, pollution, exploitation of natural resources, population growth, environmental degradation, and climate change have pushed the creatures that inhabit this planet to the brink. For many species it is already too late.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Climate Excerpts from the January 14th Democratic Presidential Debate

Here is a comprehensive summary of references to climate change from the CNN/Des Moines Register Democratic debate at Drake University on January 14th 2020. There were six Democratic Presidential candidates that qualified to participate in this debate they are Tom Steyer, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former Vice President Joe Biden, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former South Bend Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Here are the candidates references to climate change in the order that they appeared during the debate.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Examples of Carbon Capture Technology

The need for negative emission technologies (NETs) is becoming increasingly apparent in the wake of our failure to draw-down atmospheric greenhouse gases. Plants can harvest the CO2 from the air and sequester it or sell it for agricultural or industrial applications. It can also be recycled and used to make synthetic fuel. This means that the same CO2 molecules could be used over and over again. Here are four examples of carbon capture technologies that may prove to be critical to our efforts to keep global temperatures from rising above the upper threshold limits. The first two suck carbon out of the air or water and the other two are used at source to capture carbon emissions.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Event - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2020

The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting will take place on January 21-24, 2020 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. The event has 7 themes and offers a diverse range of content delivered by 600 speakers and 150 webcast sessions. The Forum engages the world's top leaders in collaborative activities that shape global, regional and industry agendas. The Forum's mission is about improving the state of the world. This guides the design and development of the Annual Meeting objectives. Participants will address the most pressing issues on the global agenda including many of the world’s most difficult environmental challenges. They will do so in the “Spirit of Davos”, which features interdisciplinary, informal and direct interaction among peers.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Thus Saith Greta: Hope is Achieved Through Action

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg is an internationally renowned climate icon who is well known for saying she does not want our hope, she wants our action. "Until you start focusing on what needs to be done rather than what is politically possible there is no hope," Greta said. "The one thing we need more than hope is action. Once we start to act, hope is everywhere. So instead of looking for hope, look for action. Then, and only then, hope will come."

Friday, January 10, 2020

Trump's Environmental Assaults in the Last Six Months

U.S. President Donald Trump has unleashed a reign of terror against the environment, killing climate action and ramping up government support for fossil fuels. His administration has all but declared war on nature.  During his three years in office his administration has rolled back 88 environmental regulations. 

Here are 8 additional environmental assaults perpetrated by Trump and his administration in the last 6 months.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Negative Emission Technologies are Our Last Hope

Negative emission technologies (NETs) are a necessary technological innovation. Such technologies reduce atmospheric emissions by removing CO2 from the point at which they are generated or from the ambient air. Rising emissions and dwindling carbon budgets make it abundantly clear that we need to find a way to drastically reduce atmospheric carbon.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Rising Emissions are Exhausting our Carbon Budgets

Greenhouse gas emissions are rising and our carbon budget* is dwindling. Between 2014 and 2016, global carbon emissions remained mostly flat, but emissions began to rise again in 2017. They rose in 2018, and there is good reason to believe they have risen again in 2019. According to the UN's 10th Emissions Gap Report, global emissions are expected to keep climbing putting us on track to push past dangerous upper threshold temperature limits.

A report from the Global Carbon Project, expects that emissions from industrial activities and the burning of fossil fuels will add an estimated 36.8 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in 2019. They predict that as of the end of 2019 the total carbon emissions from all human activities, including agriculture and land use, will likely cap off at about 43.1 billion tons.

Monday, January 6, 2020

The Climate Leadership of German Chancellor Angela Merkel

German German Chancellor Angela Merkel proves that major industrial powers can also be climate leaders. Merkel stands out in stark contrast to nations failing to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The climate failure of the political regimes in the U.S., Australia, and Brazil are highlighted by wildfires.

Merkel is the polar opposite of U.S. president Donald Trump, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and Brazilian President Jair Bolsanaro. She has a long history of environmental advocacy which has earned her the nickname of "climate chancellor". She holds a doctorate in quantum chemistry and is a former research scientist so it should come as no surprise that her approach is science-based. Her first portfolio was that of minister of the environment. In 2005 she became Germany's first female chancellor and in 2011 she launched an energy transition policy called energiewend which is moving the country away from fossil fuels and nuclear energy towards renewable sources of energy.

Event - WFES Future Sustainability Summit

WFES Future Sustainability Summit will take place on January 13 – 16, 2020 at the National Exhibition Centre, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The theme for the event is rethinking global consumption, production and investment. Attending the Summit gives you a unique opportunity to network directly with the key market players who are redefining the way we do business, create policies and develop communities.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Event - WFES Smart Cities Expo & Forum

WFES Smart Cities Expo & Forum will take place on January 13 – 16, 2020 at the National Exhibition Centre, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The Smart Cities Expo & Forum is where the city of the future comes to life, bringing forward-thinking governments and municipalities together with pioneers in smart infrastructure, future transportation and next-generation building technology to develop the potential of connected communities – from sustainable planning to smart mobility.

Event - WFES Solar Expo & Forum

The WFES Solar Expo & Forum will take place on January 13 – 16, 2020 at the National Exhibition Centre, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The Solar Expo & Forum keeps you in touch with the latest trends, deals, innovations and opportunities in Solar PV, Solar Thermal and Energy Storage. Bringing the world’s engineering companies, technology providers and pioneering financiers with the region’s utilities and governments together, it is Solar’s leading MENA marketplace.

Event - World Future Energy Summit 2020

The World Future Energy Summit (WFES) will take place on January 13 – 16, 2020 at the National Exhibition Centre, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. WFES is the leading global industry event and exhibition for future energy, cleantech and sustainability. WFES is a platform for governments, corporate decision-makers, investors, and entrepreneurs, to engage and share knowledge on accelerating strategic decision making in the pursuit of viable solutions to the world’s growing energy challenges. More than 800 specialist exhibitors and 33,500 visitors from 170 countries, will showcase pioneering technologies and ground-breaking thinking in energy, energy efficiency, water, solar, waste and smart cities.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Remembering Some of the Earth Defenders Who Were Killed in 2019

Here are some of the brave souls who gave their lives in 2019 in defense of the environment. There have been an increasing number of environmental activists murdered in recent years. Many of the murders in 2019 took place in Brazil which is currently being ruled by far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. In Brazil a total of 56 defenders were assassinated in 2017 alone. At least eight land defenders were killed in 2018 in the Brazilian state of Para alone.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Liars and Wildfires: A Tale of Two Idiots

Once upon a time there were two political leaders who exacerbated the suffering of their citizens and ignored their pleas for help.

Those two men are none other than U.S. President Donald Trump and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Both men have dismissed calls for climate action while their people suffer from savage wildfires induced by global warming. Both men ignore the constellation of hot data even though Australia and the U.S. suffered through some of their worst heatwaves last year. These heatwaves triggered an epidemic of wildfires in 2019 effectively illustrating the fact that these fires have become the new abnormal.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

The Rising Toll of Murdered Environmental Activists

Each year environmental activists are killed for trying to defend the natural world. It is fitting that we start the year by remembering the brave souls who are on the front lines of efforts to protect their land, water or local wildlife. For every environmental activist killed hundreds more were assaulted. This includes the indigenous activists in Brazil who had their hands cut off with machetes by ranchers. To add insult to injury the perpetrators of these villainous acts are almost never caught.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

2019 Adds More Data Points to the Constellation of Hot Data

The heat records keep adding to the mountain of data points that demonstrate that we are suffering from ever worsening global warming. This year (2019) is likely to be the second warmest year in the hottest decade on record. This year will also be remembered for the month of July which is the hottest month ever recorded. The months of June, September, October also broke records. November was the second hottest on record. Except for January of this year, each month in 2019 has been in the top three hottest on record.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The Epidemic of Climate Change Induced Wildfires in 2019

More intense and longer duration wildfires have ravaged countries all around the world. The thread that weaves all these wildfires together is global warming and the catalyst is heat, the harbinger of fire. Extreme heat exacerbates wildfires making this the new abnormal. Warmer temperatures dry out vegetation which fuels the fires, less precipitation and dry winds also play a role.  It is hard to refute the link between the climate crisis and wildfires. A June attribution study showed that climate change is responsible for last year's heat and wildfires in the northern hemisphere. An IPCC special report also made the connection between the climate crisis and wildfires. Most notably widespread are ravaging much of Australia as the year comes to an end. 

Monday, December 30, 2019

Australian Wildfires and the Federal Government's Complicity

Hot dry conditions sparked an early start to fire season in Australia and people are demanding more climate action from the federal government that has refused to acknowledge the seriousness of the crisis. As the situation continues to worsen, protests have broken out across the country, however, Prime Minister Scott Morrison is has made it clear that he will not get serious about climate action.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Event - 2020 UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 15)

The 2020 Biodiversity Conference (COP 15) will take place on October 5, 2020 in Kunming, Yunnan, China. The theme of this event is ecological civilization, which is rooted in the Chinese vision of an ecological civilization and draws inspiration from traditional and new eco-innovations. High level officials mentioned that the theme aims to inspire a global society in which economic, social, cultural and environmental concerns are addressed in a truly holistic way, by recognizing that nature is the fundamental infrastructure supporting life on earth.

Event - 2020 UN Ocean Conference

This event will take place on June 2-6, 2020 in Lisbon, Portugal. The Governments of Kenya and Portugal will co-host and assume all costs of the Conference. The General Assembly through resolution 73/292 decided to convene the 2020 United Nations Conference to Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. The overarching theme of the Conference is "Scaling up ocean action based on science and innovation for the implementation of Goal 14: stocktaking, partnerships and solutions".

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Event - Conference on Sustainability in Engineering

CSE 2020 will take place February 21 - 24, 2020 at the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario. The Conference on Sustainability in Engineering is the CFES' newest conference, ratified at Congress 2018. The conference aims to raise awareness about issues in sustainability and environmental engineering, and encourage students to discuss and design solutions to counter them.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Predictable and Rare Climate Impacts in 2019

This year there were a slew of predictable climate related events. There were also some rare global warming impacts including massive volumes of ice melt in Greenland and tropical cyclones that intensified at one of the fastest rates ever observed.

According to the IPCC ice is melting and sea levels are rising at an accelerated rate.  A quick review of temperature records tell us what we need to know. Since the 1980s, each successive decade has been warmer than any preceding decade and the most recent decade is the hottest on record. Driven by deadly heat waves and drought we are seeing increases in the intensity, duration and size of wildfires.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Four Reasons Why 2020 Will be a Make or Break Year for Environmental Action

We will face some critical choices in 2020 including momentous decisions that will have profound impacts on humanity, ecosystems and countless species. The first issue is our failure to reign in GHG emissions and the second is the absence of any significant progress at COP25.

The combinations of a warming world and ecosystem destruction put us on a collision course with catastrophe. We are destroying life on Earth at an alarming rate.  This includes species from the top to the bottom of the web of life, everything from keystone species to insects and plankton. Whether we realize it or not we are woven into this web.

We are not on track to limit warming to the safe upper threshold (1.5 Celsius above preindustrial norms). We are now more than two thirds of the way there (1.1 Celsius above preindustrial norms).  Ongoing emissions ensure that the world will continue to warm.  Although we are moving in the wrong direction, three critical summits in 2020 could significantly improve our prospects.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Hope for the Holidays: 101 Good Environmental News Stories in 2019

There is reason to hope as we teeter on the cusp of an apocalypse, even as emissions keep rising and ecosystems are collapsing all around us. The ignorance and inaction of national leaderships and the old energy industry can make us feel as though we are doomed.

However, there are also many good news stories that show progress is possible. Here are a hundred and one good news stories from 2019. These stories run the gamut from plastic, energy and the green economy to food, agriculture, trees, wildlife and habitat conservation. The rising tide of protest and changing attitudes even in some conservative politics give us a glimmer of hope in the darkness.

Monday, December 23, 2019

A Greta Thunberg Christmas Carol - Hope that Augurs Action

Greta Thunberg has chided adults for saying, "we owe it to young people to give them hope". The climate icon does not want us to hope she wants us to act.  "I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic." Greta said, adding, "I want you to feel the fear I feel every day, and then I want you to act. I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if our house is on fire. Because it is."

There is no denying that we need action. However, hope is necessary to augur action even as we teeter on the cusp of an apocalypse. The sad psychological reality is that we deny truths too painful for us to countenance and we shut down in the face of futility.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Event - Sustainability and the Climate Crisis Conference Call for Abstracts

This event will take place on March 16-18, 2020 at Concordia Conference Centre (Sir George Williams Campus), 9th Floor, John Molson Building, 1450 Guy (March 16-17), and 110-130, Jesuit Hall & Conference Centre, 7141 Sherbrooke St O. (March 18), Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The speakers will be Angela Carter, Ursula Eicker, Damon Matthews, and many others. This event is presented by Loyola Sustainability Research Centre and Loyola College for Diversity and Sustainability.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

The Search for Greta - A Short Film about Hope as we Teeter on the Cusp of an Apocalypse

Set against the backdrop of the September 27th climate march in Montreal, the protagonists in this short experimental documentary set out to find Greta Thunberg. Although they do not find the climate icon, what they find instead are legions of everyday heroes. This film is a celebration of the power of people working together. As we hurdle towards an uncertain future, we discover that action is the antidote to apathy and despair. We find hope even as we teeter on the brink of an apocalypse. This film takes us on a journey where what we find is not what we were looking for. We are living through dark times, but we discover a movement emerging from the ashes of this dying world. This is our story; this is our quest.

We are overwhelmed with the hopelessness of our current situation as the power brokers sell our futures for profit. Our ecosystems are being destroyed by our insatiable appetites and our unfettered hubris. From within the womb of this dystopian nightmare a lofty dream is emerging. An inclusive narrative is being born that consolidates our understanding and our purpose. We are forging heroic tales that call us to be heroes ourselves.

We set out to find Greta, and although we never find her, what we find is something even more important. We realize that no single human can solve this crisis and we discover the age-old power of unity. We also realize that it is our separateness that defeats us and leads us to despair. The arc of our story takes us from isolation and loneliness to hope and a sense of possibility. We are transformed by the realization that when we come together, we are unstoppable.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Nova Scotia Stands Up to the Mill Responsible for the Toxic Mess in Boat Harbour

The provincial government of Nova Scotia is acting to reign-in the Northern Pulp mill near Pictou, Nova Scotia. For 42 years the mill has been dumping harmful waste into lagoons. They have created what a former environment minister called a "toxic mess" and one of the worst cases of environmental racism in Canada.

The mill has failed to respect the timelines given to them five years ago, and they have also reneged on their promise to clean up the estuary that they polluted. The mill’s parent company, Paper Excellence Canada has been criticized by the province for their failure to invest in waste reduction facilities.

Stephen McNeil, the Premier of Nova Scotia said he had hoped that the mill operators would work with the Department of the Environment to improve their water treatment capabilities. McNeil also said the mill failed to provide adequate science-based impact information.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Airships Offer Both Climate Mitigation and Adaptation

Varialift solar powered airship concept
The emissions associated with traditional air travel make airships an ideal low-cost alternative for shipping. Compared to traditional transportation mediums, airships are quiet, cheaper to operate, and most importantly, far more carbon efficient. They also have a much larger range and cargo carrying capacity. While slower then jet powered aviation, they are faster than current land or sea transportation systems (airships travel at speeds of up to 120 kilometers an hour or around 70 miles per hour).

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Trump's Impeachement is Not a Hoax Nor is Climate Change

Nancy Polosi and the Democrats believe that it is in the national interest to impeach President Donald Trump and support climate action. Trump is being impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors. The two articles of impeachment are  'Abuse of Power' and 'Obstruction of Congress'. It is hard to contest the fact that Trump withheld aid to Ukraine as leverage in a failed attempt to dig up dirt on his political opponent. Then he stonewalled Congress and refused to cooperate with their constitutionally endowed oversight duties.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

How the Political Right Uses Fossil Fuels to Galvanize Opposition to Climate Action

It is widely understood that in the main, conservative far-right political movements support fossil fuels and oppose the veracity of climate change and climate action. In the U.S. Republicans have worked with the old energy industry to subvert the facts for many years. Thanks to insidious disinformation campaigns 73 percent of Republican voters have been hoodwinked into believing that climate change is not a serious threat and 70 percent do not believe that humans are the cause. The resistance to climate action does not stop at disinformation. Republicans have actively thwarted the democratic process through redistricting (gerrymandering) and voter suppression. In Oregon Republican lawmakers refused to appear in the state legislature to avoid passing a sweeping climate change bill by the Democratic majority.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Ranking National Climate Action - 2020 Performance Index

The United States and Canada are some of the worst climate performers in the world. None of the countries reviewed in the 2020 Performance Index have demonstrated that they are on a path that is compatible with the goals laid out in the Paris Climate agreement. Sweden leads the group of high-performing countries, as it did in the 2018 and 2019 Indices. The other four top performing countries in the top five are Denmark, Morocco, the UK and Lithuania. The US is in last place. The 2020 Climate Change Performance Index tracks the performance of 57 countries and the EU on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, renewable energy, energy use and climate policy. The 2020 Index finds that “no country performs well enough in all index categories to achieve an overall very high rating,” meaning that no country is yet “on a path compatible with the Paris climate targets.” Countries are assessed based on their compatibility with ambitions to keep temperatures from warming beyond 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial norms.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Event - ASES Solar 20/20 (Annual National Solar Conference) Call for Submissions

The 49th Annual National Solar Conference, ASES Solar 20/20, Renewable Energy Vision, Advances to achieve 100% renewable energy, has put out a call for participation.

This event will take place on June 23-26, 2020 in Washington DC. It will include: Women in Solar Energy (WISE) luncheon, solar installer training, electric vehicle & solar cooking demos, international solar applications, tours of local green breweries, solar citizen action day, stronger together forum, oral/poster presentations, student engagements and keynote speeches. Share your research, programs, operations, personal actions, and visions.  Interested parties are welcome to submit presentation abstracts in these tracks:

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Greta Says World Leaders are Doing Nothing Except "Clever Accounting and Creative PR"

Greta Thunberg delivered a powerful speech at this year's UN climate change conference (COP25) in Madrid. The Swedish activist said "we no longer have time to leave out the science," and she accused world leader of “clever accounting and creative PR” to avoid action on the climate crisis. Thunberg said the world's rapidly declining carbon budgets would be gone within eight years based on current emission levels. "How do you respond to the fact that basically nothing is being done about this without feeling the slightest bit of anger? And how do you communicate this without sounding alarmist? I would really like to know,” she said.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Norwegian Aviation Company Orders 60 Electric Planes

Norway's OSM Aviation Academy is committed to fully electrifying its fleet of planes. OSM is a company that specializes in recruitment and training for the aviation industry. They have ordered 60 all electric planes from Colorado-based electric aircraft manufacturer Bye Aerospace. This is the largest single order for commercial electric planes to date. Recently Canadian company Harbour Air made history with its first test flight as part of its bid to be the world's first all electric airline.

Bjørn Granviken, Managing Director of the OSM Aviation Academy supports sustainability focused innovation.  "It’s important that the airline industry steps up to the challenge of developing more environment-friendly transport. At OSM Aviation, we’re committed to pursuing a socially responsible and sustainable business," Granviken said. However, this groundbreaking move is also good for the bottom line. Lower maintenance and fuel costs are expected to cut operating expenses by 80 percent. While it costs $110/hr. to operate a conventional training plane, the all-electric planes will cost only $20 per hour.