Evidence continues to pour in that policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions not only aren't detrimental to economic growth but in fact can fuel it. A new study by World Resources Institute, Seeing Is Believing: Creating a New Climate Economy in the United States, adds compelling evidence by providing examples of areas where government policies and technological progress are already offering the chance to reduce emissions and address climate change while also producing economic benefits. And it shows how new technologies can produce still more reductions with the right policies in place.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
The new study builds on another recent report from the New Climate Economy Better Climate, Better Growth: The New Climate Economy Report, which came to a similar conclusion about the global economy. And it comes the day after two reports were issued by the Climate Policy Institute showing that moving to clean-energy, low-carbon policies that help mitigate the effects of climate change could actually provide fuel for the economy.
“These new studies provide a one-two punch that smart policies can drive growth and reduce emissions,"said Andrew Steer, president and CEO of the World Resources Institute, which did Seeing Is Believing. "Business leaders are waking up to this reality and it’s time for more U.S. elected officials to do the same. From Texas to Iowa, more real-world success stories are emerging each day. We need to seize these opportunities to put America on a strong, low-carbon pathway.”
Seeing Is Believing identifies and amplifies on opportunity in five sectors that produced more than have the U.S.'s carbon emissions: electricity generation, electricity end-use efficiency, natural gas systems, passenger vehicles, and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFC). Taken together, it will be essential to reduce emissions in these five areas to cut emissions by 17 of 2005 levels by 2020.
The study found, for instance, that natural gas-fired plants cost 19-44 percent less than coal-fired plants and that, with the cost of renewable energy dropping it is already cheaper than both in some areas of the country, that energy-efficient appliances are already saving users billions of dollars and that state energy-efficiency programs save consumers anywhere from $1-$5 or every dollar invested.
It also identified savings in more energy-efficient vehicles coming online as well as decreases in the cost of electric vehicles which could make them more affordable in the future. And it asserted that new standards to reduce methane leaks from natural gas systems will save the industry millions as reductions pay for themselves in three years or less, while reducing pollution saves money in health care costs. And finally, it said that many companies including Coca-Cola, General Motors, Red Bill and Heineken have already cut their energy costs by switching from HFC refrigerants to safer ones.
“Honeywell’s nearly $900 million investment commitment to commercialize our low-global-warming Solstice hydrofluoro-olefin refrigerants, blowing agents, solvents and aerosols will support U.S. jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally," said Ken Gayer, the company's vice president and general manager of its fluorine products business. "The strong demand for these innovative and environmentally-friendlier products is proof that the HFC findings in World Resources Institute’s Seeing Is Believing study are accurate—the business community can play a crucial role in both growing our economy and bettering our environment."
“States, companies and federal agencies have been demonstrating for years that there is much that can be done to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while providing net economic benefits to average Americans,” said the study's lead author Nicholas Bianco. “Now the question is whether the nation will build on that success by scaling up its investment in low-carbon technologies that save money. The right policy environment will be vital to fully realize this opportunity.”
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
In a dramatic rescue captured on camera, a Florida man ran into a pond and pried open an alligator's mouth in order to rescue his beloved puppy, all without dropping his cigar.
- 'He had green eyes': Florida man will paint alligator that attacked him ›
- Florida alligator attack: A woman was attacked by a 10-foot alligator ... ›
- Weird presidential pets include alligator, tiger cub, dog named Satan ... ›
- Alligators make terrible pets: 'You're basically dealing with a dinosaur.' ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Jean-Marc Neveu and Olivier Civil never expected to find themselves battling against disposable mask pollution.
When they founded their recycling start-up Plaxtil in 2017, it was textile waste they set their sights on. The project developed a process that turned fabrics into a new recyclable material they describe as "ecological plastic."
Mounting Piles of Waste<p>It is not only the streets of Chatellerault where pandemic pollution is piling-up, but also the world's beaches and oceans. Once there, they can take up to 450 years to degrade and disappear.</p><p>Esther Röling, co-organizer of the annual Adventure Clean Up Challenge held on Hong Kong Island, has seen this waste firsthand. In October the sports challenge pitted teams against one another in a competition to remove trash from 13 hard-to-reach coastal areas around the city.</p><p>They find tons of both disposable and reusable masks, said Röling. "You wonder how it ended up there. Was it just thrown on the ground? Or was it in a garbage bag that broke open?"</p><p>Almost 10,000 kilometers away in Antibes on the sunny French Riviera, it's a similar picture. For the past few months, divers and clean-up volunteers working with an ocean clean-up non-profit called Operation Mer Propre have been collecting an increasing number of masks found on land and in the sea.</p><p>"Since the beginning of the lockdown when we started to count, we've reached 800, 900, [and now in total] 1000 masks," said co-founder Joko Peltier. </p><p>According to <a href="https://unctad.org/news/growing-plastic-pollution-wake-covid-19-how-trade-policy-can-help" target="_blank">UN estimates</a>, up to 75% of all coronavirus-related plastic could end up as waste in oceans and landfills.</p>
The Limits of Recycling<p>Yet not all are convinced the recycling of this waste is possible on a global scale. </p><p>"What those citizen groups are doing is really beneficial but once they collect it, it should just go to a landfill or an incinerator. They shouldn't necessarily expect it to get recycled," said Jonathan Krones, an industrial ecologist and visiting assistant professor of environmental studies at Boston College.</p><p>That's because mask recycling programs like Plaxtil are few and far between and most don't have the benefit of a readily adaptable production process. </p><p>Even in countries with solid recycling infrastructure, he says, the system is designed to separate out specific types of waste like bottles or cardboard.</p><p>"I imagine that it would be technically feasible to develop a separation process to filter out masks, but there simply aren't enough of them to make that economical," he said.</p><p>Collection is a big hurdle, he adds. Since each mask only weighs a fraction of a gram and they're scattered on roads or mixed with other trash, it is difficult and costly. </p><p>"You need a lot of raw material of the right quality to make investing in the recycling technology and the recycling system worthwhile," he said.<span></span><br></p>
Hemp, Sugar Cane and Sustainable Alternatives<p>Some projects are instead addressing the material used to make masks.</p><p>French company Geochanvre have created a mask made primarily from hemp, while in Australia, researchers at the Queensland University of Technology are experimenting with a disposable product made from agricultural waste. </p><p>Biodegradable options are exciting alternatives to reduce the fossil fuels needed for the creation of plastic-based masks, said Krones, but they don't absolve the wearer from the responsibility of what happens afterwards. </p><p>Bio-based masks often need their own composing solutions, he explains, because in landfill they can produce high amounts of the greenhouse gas methane when anaerobic bacteria feeds on the organic material. Methane is known to be significantly more potent than carbon dioxide.</p><p>"I think as long as we have in our mind that we want to have disposability, we're going to have to wrestle with a variety of different sorts of environmental tradeoffs," he said, adding that reusable, fabric masks are the best option available to most people.</p><p>Precimask is developing a clear face covering with an optional visor made from hard plastic, designed to be long-lasting.<br></p><p>Air enters either side of the cheeks through a technology normally found in pool filters and car exhaust systems, said company spokeswoman Juliette Chambet.</p><p>"We wanted to make ceramic-based filters that would be washable and cleanable, which would allow them to be reused as many times as desired without having to buy a new consumable or produce waste," she said. </p><p>Ultimately, encouraging mask wearers to think about the entire lifecycle of a mask is key, explains Neveu. </p><p>"We want people who put on the masks to realize that they are also responsible for the waste, he said. "It's not inevitable that this [pandemic] will become an environmental catastrophe.</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from </em><em><a href="https://www.dw.com/en/covid-19-recycling-pollution-trash-pandemic/a-55707817" target="_blank">Deutsche Welle</a>.</em><a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2649032193#/" target="_self"></a></p>
- Coronavirus Plastic Waste Polluting the Environment - EcoWatch ›
- Scuba Divers Make Face Masks out of Recycled Ocean Plastic ... ›
By Bret Wilkins
In a year in which the United States has already suffered 16 climate-driven extreme weather events causing more than $1 billion in economic damages, and as millions of American workers face loss of essential unemployment benefits due to congressional inaction, a report published Monday reveals the Trump administration has given fossil fuel companies as much as $15.2 billion in direct relief — and tens of billions more indirectly — through federal COVID-19 recovery programs since March.
- 'We Need People's Bailout, Not Polluters' Bailout': Climate Groups ... ›
- Corporate Polluters Have Received Tens of Millions in PPP Loans ... ›
- Trump Bails Out Oil Industry, Not U.S. Families, as Coronavirus ... ›
- Former Federal Reserve Governor Rebukes Fed for Fossil Fuel Bail ... ›
By Ashia Aubourg
As Thanksgiving approaches, some Indigenous organizations and activists caution against perpetuating further injustices towards Native communities. Indigenous activist Mariah Gladstone, for example, encourages eaters to celebrate the harvest time in ways that do not involve stereotypes and pilgrim stories.
- Why Face Masks Belong at Your Thanksgiving Gathering + 7 Things ... ›
- Reasons to Be Thankful — 8 Food and Farm 'Good News' Stories ... ›
- Why I'm Going to Standing Rock for Thanksgiving - EcoWatch ›
By Alex Middleton
Losing weight and reducing fat is a hard battle to fight. Thankfully, there are fat burner supplements that help you gain your target body and goal. However, how would you know which supplement is right for you?