Google Camp on Climate Crisis Attended by Rich and Famous in Private Jets, Mega Yachts
Google's seventh annual meeting of the minds, dubbed Google Camp, is happening at a seaside resort in Sicily and this year, it is dedicated to the climate crisis. Luminaries from tech, business, entertainment and politics descended upon the Italian island to discuss ideas and solutions for tackling the climate crisis at the three-day event that costs Google upwards of $20 million, according to Business Insider.
The highly secretive event at the Verdura Resort near a UNESCO World Heritage ruins prevents attendees from posting on social media while in attendance. On the first night, Chris Martin of Coldplay performed a private concert for attendees with the Valley of the Temples ruins in nearby Agrigento as a backdrop.
The Verdura Resort is a short distance from the airport in Palermo, though many guests arrive via private helicopter or on private yachts, according to Forbes.
In fact, the Palermo airport had made preparations for the expected arrival of 114 private jets, according to Giornale Di Sicilia. The influx of private jets, private yachts, helicopters, sports cars and limousines seems in stark contrast to the theme of the conference. By contrast, Greta Thunberg, the teenage activist, eschews meat, dairy and air travel, to mitigate her carbon footprint. She will sail to New York from Europe to attend the UN Climate Summit next month.
The transportation of the various guests, including Barack Obama, Leonardo DiCaprio, Harry Styles, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Mark Zuckerberg, and Diane Von Furstenberg amongst many others have drawn condemnation on social media and in the press. After all, a flight from New York to Palermo, Sicily, generates around 4.24 metric tons of CO2, or the equivalent of 540,652 smart phones being charged at one time, according to EuroNews. That's a lot of carbon for just a few people. And, that doesn't include the greenhouse gasses emitted by the 2,300 horsepower diesel-engine private yachts.
One Twitter user commented, "Several #celebrities, wealthy and famous people have arrived in Sicily for #Google summit to discuss climate change. Are these folks going to push for a bill to be passed to ban use of private jets and mega yachts?" as Fox News reported.
Several #celebrities, wealthy and famous people have arrived in Sicily for #Google summit to discuss climate change. Are these folks going to push for a bill to be passed to ban use of private jets and mega yachts?— breezabeach (@breezabeach) August 1, 2019
And another wrote, "The hypocrisy of all these celebrities and billionaires that are traveling to a climate change summit in their private jets! The fact that Google spent $20bn on this initiative just shows that they'd rather look the part than be the part! Put that money INTO ACTION! not a parade!"
The hypocrisy of all these celebrities and billionaires that are travelling to a climate change summit in their private jets!The fact that Google spent $20bn on this initiative just shows that they'd rather look the part than be the part! Put that money INTO ACTION!not a parade!— R (@rahilkn) August 1, 2019
And, after Prince Harry gave an impassioned speech about saving nature in his bare-feet at the conference, one New York Post columnist wrote, "It doesn't get much sillier than being lectured on carbon footprints by a prince whose family rattles around in multiple palaces."
"While the facts remain, following the influx of private vehicles to Google's Italian retreat, there is an argument to be made that both the coverage generated and the environmental awareness resulting from it, makes it all worth it. To center such an important event around climate change in this day and age is a positive step in the right direction, given the amount of influential figures in attendance, all with staggering platforms to effect change all around the world.
'To have them all in one place, working together to achieve a common goal that could really make a difference along the road to becoming carbon neutral before 2050 - perhaps the positives outweigh the negatives? And even if you disagree, at least the very fact they all arrived in such sheer extravagance has brought all the more attention to the event and the eco themes surrounding it!"
A "trash tsunami" has washed ashore on the beaches of Honduras, endangering both wildlife and the local economy.
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By Harry Kretchmer
By 2030, almost a third of all the energy consumed in the European Union must come from renewable sources, according to binding targets agreed in 2018. Sweden is helping lead the way.
Sweden is a world leader in renewable energy consumption. Swedish Institute/World Bank
Naturally Warm<p>54% of Sweden's power comes from renewables, and is helped by its geography. With plenty of moving water and 63% forest cover, it's no surprise the <a href="https://sweden.se/nature/energy-use-in-sweden/#" target="_blank">two largest renewable power sources</a> are hydropower and biomass. And that biomass is helping support a local energy boom.</p><p>Heating is a key use of energy in a cold country like Sweden. In recent decades, as fuel oil taxes have increased, the country's power companies have turned to renewables, like biomass, to fuel local 'district heating' plants.</p><p>In Sweden these trace their <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank">origins back to 1948</a>, when a power station's excess heat was first used to heat nearby buildings: steam is <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/district-heating-system" target="_blank">forced along a network of pipes</a> to wherever it's needed. Today, there are around 500 district heating systems across the country, from major cities to small villages, providing heat to homes and businesses.</p><p>District heating used to be fueled mainly from the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140" target="_blank">by-products of power plants</a>, waste-to-energy plants and industrial processes. These days, however, Sweden is bringing more renewable sources into the mix. And as a result of competition, this localized form of power is now the country's<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> home-heating market leader.</a></p>
Sweden is using smart grids to turn buildings into energy producers. Huang et al/Elsevier
Energy ‘Prosumers’<p>But Sweden doesn't stop at village-level heating solutions. Its new breed of energy-generation takes hyper-local to the next level.</p><p>One example is in the city of Ludivika where 1970s flats <a href="https://www.buildup.eu/sites/default/files/content/transforming-a-residential-building-cluster-into-electricity-prosumers-in-sweden.pdf" target="_blank">have recently been retrofitted with the latest smart energy technology</a>.</p><p>48 family apartments spread across 3 buildings have been given photovoltaic solar panels, thermal energy storage and heat pump systems. A micro energy grid connects it all, and helps charge electric cars overnight.</p><p>The result is a cluster of 'prosumer' buildings, producing rather than consuming enough power for 77% of residents' needs. With <a href="http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1232060/FULLTEXT01.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">high levels of smart meter usage</a>, it's a model that looks set to spread across Sweden.</p>
<div id="d7bf9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8757b138d5570bec9d6aad18074a429a"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1273556364263071744" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Read more about Western Harbour and book a visit: https://t.co/ujSmVs9rNK 🏡🌳🌊 https://t.co/C5PuPziqIM</div> — Smart City Sweden (@Smart City Sweden)<a href="https://twitter.com/SmartCitySweden/statuses/1273556364263071744">1592474473.0</a></blockquote></div>
Scaling Up<p>A recent development by E.ON in Hyllie, a district on the outskirts of Malmö, southern Sweden, <a href="https://www.eonenergy.com/blog/2019/February/sweden-smart-city" target="_blank">has scaled up the smart grid principle</a>. Energy generation comes from local wind, solar, biomass and waste sources.</p><p>Smart grids then balance the power, react to the weather, deploying extra power when it's colder or putting excess into battery storage when it's warm. The system is not only more efficient, but bills have fallen.</p><p>Smart energy developments like those in Hyllie, Ludivika, and renewable-driven district heating, offer a radical alternative to the centralized energy systems many countries rely on today.</p><p>The EU's leaders have a challenge: how to generate 32% of energy from renewables by 2030. Sweden offers a vision of how technology and local solutions can turn a goal into a reality.</p>
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By Jessica Corbett
In another win for climate campaigners, leaders of 12 major cities around the world — collectively home to about 36 million people — committed Tuesday to divesting from fossil fuel companies and investing in a green, just recovery from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
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