Thursday, January 30, 2020

Fifty Shades of Greta

Greta Thunberg may be the the world's most famous activist but she is quick to shine the spotlight on the thousands of other activists around the world. Luisa-Marie Neubauer is an activist who is commonly called the German face of the Fridays for Future movement. However, Neubauer rejects comparisons with Greta. "We're building a mass-movement and reaching out quite far in our methods of mobilizing and gaining attention. What Greta does is incredibly inspiring but actually relatively far from that," she said.

Many activists have been fighting in the trenches long before Greta came on the scene. Greta is a recent incarnation in a lineage of young environmental advocates that dates back decades. More than a quarter century ago a 12-year-old by the name of Severn Cullis-Suzuki spoke at the plenary session of the Rio Earth Summit. She may have been among the the first to say "we are fighting for our lives" a phrase which has become the battle cry of this generation. Ten years ago, 11-year old Smoan Brianna Fruean founded the Samoan chapter of after a powerful cyclone devastated her community. At 16, she became the youngest person ever to win the prestigious Commonwealth Youth Award.

Here is a brief introduction to 50 young activists that are fighting for the health of our planet and our communities.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Greta Shines the Spotlight on Other Climate Activists

Greta Thunberg wants to use her celebrity status to support other young climate activists especially Indigenous people from the global south. Greta first came into public view in August 2018, when she started skipping school on Fridays to protest climate inaction. Soon other students joined her and before long the school strikes had spread around the world. She may have helped to galvanize a global movement, but she is the first to acknowledge that there are many other young climate leaders and she considers it her "moral duty" to promote them. Greta has encouraged the media to shine the spotlight on youth leaders especially those in the places hardest hit by climate change. On January 28th, Greta posted a Tweet that read, "There are countless school strikers and young climate activists around the world. Not just me. They all have names and stories waiting to be told."

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Shame and Sustainability: Changing the Paradigm

Shame may be able to move us in a more sustainable direction, it may even be able to help us change the paradigm. There is reason to believe that we can leverage the little voices in our heads to do better. We may even be able to curtail our culture of over-consumption, make more responsible consumer choices and better buying decisions.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Corruption in Washington: The Money Trail Leads to the Fossil Fuel Industry

If you want to know why elected officials flout public interest and subvert democracy follow the money. The main reason that lawmakers fail to advance policies that are in the national interest is because they are in the pocket of the fossil fuel industry. The fossil fuel industry controls academia, politicians and political outcomes. Although the tale of political corruption is as old as time, in the U.S. the situation took a tragic turn for the worse when the courts unleashed a floodgate of dark money with the Citizens United ruling.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Event - Public meeting of the North American PRTR Initiative

The public meeting of the North American PRTR Initiative will take place on February 25 and 26, 2020 at Delta Hotel, 475 Avenue du Président-Kennedy, Montreal, Québec, Canada. This meeting is for those interested in pollution prevention and sustainability within North American industry. All are invited public meeting of the North American Pollutant Release and Transfer Release (PRTR) Initiative.

This meeting is being organized in collaboration with Canada’s National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) Data Users’ workshop. It will bring together individuals from industry, governments, non-governmental organizations, academia, and the public interested in environmental sustainability within North American industry.

Event - McGill Sustainability Research Symposium: Sustainable Food Futures

McGill Sustainability Research Symposium (SRS) will take place on January 30, 2020 in the Thomson House Ballroom, 3650 Mc Tavish St, Montreal, Quebec. SRS is an annual one-day symposium funded by the McGill Sustainability Systems Initiative (MSSI). The upcoming 2020 symposium will be the 10th anniversary and it will be centered on Sustainable Food Futures. Attendees can expect inspiring speakers, lightning student talks, student posters and awards, panel discussions, and networking opportunities.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Event - Modern Solutions Power Systems Conference

The 2020 Modern Solutions Power Systems Conference will take place on April 7-9, 2020 at the Indianapolis Marriott, 350 West Maryland Street Indianapolis (Indiana). Attendees will hear different perspectives about the biggest topics in the electric power industry. The focus this year is value. They will delve into cybersecurity, distributed energy, wildfire mitigation, speed, and more, they will discuss how we can ensure that electric power continues to provide significant value to peoples’ lives. Whether you work in transmission, distribution, generation, planning, or regulation, you’ll get fresh insight you can apply to your own projects, generate and share ideas, and make strategic connections.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Greta is Steadfast Despite Being the Target of Generational Warfare

Heads of state that oppose climate action are targeting climate activist Greta Thunberg. The teenage climate warrior is undeterred by the fact that she is in the cross-hairs of a generational struggle. She has steadfastly spoken truth to power and unflinchingly confronted the inaction and lies of global leaders. She called out U.S. President Donald Trump saying, "Unlike you, my generation will not give up without a fight. Our house is still on fire. Your inaction is fueling the flames." She accused Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison of, "failing to make the connection" between rising temperatures and extreme weather events like the bush fires. "Not even catastrophes like these seem to bring any political action. How is this possible?" she tweeted to her 3.7 million followers.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

What We Should and Should Not Do with Captured Carbon

Carbon capture technologies are an essential part of efforts to reduce climate change causing greenhouse gas emissions. The captured carbon can be sequestered underground or it can be used to make products that would be made anyway.  The advantage of using recycled CO2 is that it uses captured carbon that would otherwise end up in the atmosphere and it sequesters them in products without generating additional greenhouse gas. Carbon dioxide can be used as a raw material in a wide range of products including everything from concrete to car seats. It is even being used by soft drink manufacturers and it can also be used to make dry ice, fish food and toothpaste. One potentially significant application is in water desalination.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Fossil Fuel Powered Politics Driving Trump's War with Nature

The Trump administration will live in infamy for exacerbating climate change and perpetrating genocide against nature. This administration has systematically undermined the well being of the natural world. Deregulation has decimated environmental protections including the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This government has enacted policies that have unleashed unprecedented assaults on wildlife that is properly described as a war on nature.

We live in an era of fossil fuel powered politics where a corrupt cabal of politicians and industry steal from the public till in plain sight. It is unconscionable that the dirty energy industry gets ten-times more tax dollars than the public education system. It is criminal that the fossil fuel industry buys politicians and political outcomes.  It is irrational that the government keeps investing in fossil fuel infrastructure.  However, it all starts making sense when you realize the power of the fossil fuel industry. They exert their influence on government through the National Petroleum Council (NPC) and they weave webs of disinformation through the American Petroleum Institute (API). Their influence extends throughout Trump's swamp.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

A Carbon Market for Aviation could Spur the Growth of NETs

There is an increasing need to curtail emissions from airlines. Traditional air travel generates some of the most damaging greenhouse gases but if carbon markets were used by the aviation industry it could provide a massive and much needed boost to negative emission technologies (NETs). Air travel currently accounts for about 2 percent of global carbon emissions but they are expected to quadruple by 2050.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss are Center Stage at WEF 2020

Last year climate change was a hot topic in Davos, but this year it is the overwhelmingly dominant concern. Along with biodiversity loss, climate change is considered to be the greatest threat the world faces. This is the finding of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Risks Report 2020.

The warning comes as we teeter on the cusp of an apocalypse. We are not doing what we must to reduce emissions and business as usual will push us past tipping points from which we will not be able to recover. Despite a plethora of warnings emissions keep rising and the longer we wait to harder it will be and the more it will cost.

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 an 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.