Washington Becomes First State to Hold Climate Assembly
Washington state residents are taking climate matters into their own hands. Beginning this month, 90 members of the public join the country's first climate assembly to develop pollution solutions, Crosscut reported.
Randomly picked and representing every congressional district in the state, assembly members have until March to discuss climate pollution, reach a consensus and forward their recommendations to the state Legislature.
"It's going to hinge on getting people from different ideological perspectives to talk and be informed and come to some consensus," State Rep. Jake Fey, D-Tacoma, told Crosscut. "It's an experiment, but I'm supportive of this because I think that it could be more persuasive in furthering the different strategies that might be used to reduce carbon."
Crosscut reported that the group represents racial, income and gender diversity. Their views on the climate crisis also vary, from whether it exists to whether people are responsible for it.
"One fact that has become clear is that the polarized nature of this debate harms us all. This issue cannot be another 'us versus them' issue, because it affects us all," Fey and three other Washington representatives wrote in The Herald.
Although environmental concern is growing across the country, a recent Pew Research Center study found that the partisan gap on climate change has never been wider than in 2020, The New York Times reported.
While 78 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents list climate change as their top policy priority, just 21 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents do, according to the Pew Research Center's findings.
Republican State Senator Judy Warnick will sit on Washington's Climate Assemblies monitoring team. "It will be interesting for me — I haven't been involved in a lot of climate discussion," she told Crosscut. Warnick hopes to improve the air quality and forest health in her district.
Last year, Warnick's district, alongside others in the Central and Eastern Washington region, experienced devastating wildfires.
"This is an unprecedented and heartbreaking event," Washington's Gov. Jay Inslee said about the wildfires that roared through the state in the spring and summer, The Seattle Times reported. "We're living in a new world. This is not the old Washington."
Although Washington's Climate Assembly is the first in the U.S., a similar assembly took place in the UK.
At the beginning of last year, UK citizens were selected at random, asked to listen to experts and come up with a list of recommendations on how their country could reach net-zero emissions by 2050, CarbonBrief reported. Their consensus was published in a report where they listed changes to a range of sectors, from meat and dairy consumption to electricity generation.
"The first weekend changed me really. I thought, 'Oh my God, [climate change] is really going to happen,'" Sue Peachey, one of the 108 people who took part in the UK assembly, told The Guardian. "It made me want to learn and to live my life greener."
The report is a tool to push the UK toward net-zero emissions, CarbonBrief noted. But it could do more than recommend climate policy.
"The report shatters the illusion that ordinary people will not accept stronger climate policies and are incapable of making difficult decisions about our collective future," Graham Smith, a politics professor at the University of Westminster, wrote for The Conversation.
Citizen assemblies on climate change could bring the public together to form agreements on an issue that has largely divided it. "It's all about building relationships, listening to each other's ideas," Warnick told Crosscut. "That's what has me the most optimistic."
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Wisdom the mōlī, or Laysan albatross, is the oldest wild bird known to science at the age of at least 70. She is also, as of February 1, a new mother.
<div id="dadb2" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="aa2ad8cb566c9b4b6d2df2693669f6f9"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1357796504740761602" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">🚨Cute baby alert! Wisdom's chick has hatched!!! 🐣😍 Wisdom, a mōlī (Laysan albatross) and world’s oldest known, ban… https://t.co/Nco050ztBA</div> — USFWS Pacific Region (@USFWS Pacific Region)<a href="https://twitter.com/USFWSPacific/statuses/1357796504740761602">1612558888.0</a></blockquote></div>
By Hui Hu
Winter is supposed to be the best season for wind power – the winds are stronger, and since air density increases as the temperature drops, more force is pushing on the blades. But winter also comes with a problem: freezing weather.
Comparing rime ice and glaze ice shows how each changes the texture of the blade. Gao, Liu and Hu, 2021, CC BY-ND
Ice buildup changes air flow around the turbine blade, which can slow it down. The top photos show ice forming after 10 minutes at different temperatures in the Wind Research Tunnel. The lower measurements show airflow separation as ice accumulates. Icing Research Tunnel of Iowa State University, CC BY-ND
While traditional investment in the ocean technology sector has been tentative, growth in Israeli maritime innovations has been exponential in the last few years, and environmental concern has come to the forefront.
theDOCK aims to innovate the Israeli maritime sector. Pexels<p>The UN hopes that new investments in ocean science and technology will help turn the tide for the oceans. As such, this year kicked off the <a href="https://www.oceandecade.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)</a> to galvanize massive support for the blue economy.</p><p>According to the World Bank, the blue economy is the "sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem," <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412019338255#b0245" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Science Direct</a> reported. It represents this new sector for investments and innovations that work in tandem with the oceans rather than in exploitation of them.</p><p>As recently as Aug. 2020, <a href="https://www.reutersevents.com/sustainability/esg-investors-slow-make-waves-25tn-ocean-economy" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Reuters</a> noted that ESG Investors, those looking to invest in opportunities that have a positive impact in environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, have been interested in "blue finance" but slow to invest.</p><p>"It is a hugely under-invested economic opportunity that is crucial to the way we have to address living on one planet," Simon Dent, director of blue investments at Mirova Natural Capital, told Reuters.</p><p>Even with slow investment, the blue economy is still expected to expand at twice the rate of the mainstream economy by 2030, Reuters reported. It already contributes $2.5tn a year in economic output, the report noted.</p><p>Current, upward <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/-innovation-blue-economy-2646147405.html" target="_self">shifts in blue economy investments are being driven by innovation</a>, a trend the UN hopes will continue globally for the benefit of all oceans and people.</p><p>In Israel, this push has successfully translated into investment in and innovation of global ports, shipping, logistics and offshore sectors. The "Startup Nation," as Israel is often called, has seen its maritime tech ecosystem grow "significantly" in recent years and expects that growth to "accelerate dramatically," <a href="https://itrade.gov.il/belgium-english/how-israel-is-becoming-a-port-of-call-for-maritime-innovation/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">iTrade</a> reported.</p><p>Driving this wave of momentum has been rising Israeli venture capital hub <a href="https://www.thedockinnovation.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">theDOCK</a>. Founded by Israeli Navy veterans in 2017, theDOCK works with early-stage companies in the maritime space to bring their solutions to market. The hub's pioneering efforts ignited Israel's maritime technology sector, and now, with their new fund, theDOCK is motivating these high-tech solutions to also address ESG criteria.</p><p>"While ESG has always been on theDOCK's agenda, this theme has become even more of a priority," Nir Gartzman, theDOCK's managing partner, told EcoWatch. "80 percent of the startups in our portfolio (for theDOCK's Navigator II fund) will have a primary or secondary contribution to environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria."</p><p>In a company presentation, theDOCK called contribution to the ESG agenda a "hot discussion topic" for traditional players in the space and their boards, many of whom are looking to adopt new technologies with a positive impact on the planet. The focus is on reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment, the presentation outlines. As such, theDOCK also explicitly screens candidate investments by ESG criteria as well.</p><p>Within the maritime space, environmental innovations could include measures like increased fuel and energy efficiency, better monitoring of potential pollution sources, improved waste and air emissions management and processing of marine debris/trash into reusable materials, theDOCK's presentation noted.</p>
theDOCK team includes (left to right) Michal Hendel-Sufa, Head of Alliances, Noa Schuman, CMO, Nir Gartzman, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, and Hannan Carmeli, Co-Founder & Managing Partner. Dudu Koren<p>theDOCK's own portfolio includes companies like Orca AI, which uses an intelligent collision avoidance system to reduce the probability of oil or fuel spills, AiDock, which eliminates the use of paper by automating the customs clearance process, and DockTech, which uses depth "crowdsourcing" data to map riverbeds in real-time and optimize cargo loading, thereby reducing trips and fuel usage while also avoiding groundings.</p><p>"Oceans are a big opportunity primarily because they are just that – big!" theDOCK's Chief Marketing Officer Noa Schuman summarized. "As such, the magnitude of their criticality to the global ecosystem, the magnitude of pollution risk and the steps needed to overcome those challenges – are all huge."</p><p>There is hope that this wave of interest and investment in environmentally-positive maritime technologies will accelerate the blue economy and ESG investing even further, in Israel and beyond.</p>
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