25 Opportunities to Save the Planet After COVID-19
By Douglas Broom
COVID-19 has presented us with a unique opportunity for a green and inclusive recovery that will make the world a better place for everyone, says the head of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
"The pandemic has shown us the importance of being prepared when crises hit. It has also shown us that postponing bold decisions can have huge costs," says José Ángel Gurría, OECD Secretary General.
"We were not prepared for the COVID-19 crisis, and we are even less prepared for the looming consequences of ongoing and worsening challenges such as climate change, biodiversity collapse, life-shortening air pollution, and ocean acidification."
Global emissions broken down by economic sector. OECD
Here are the 25 things the OECD says we must do to accelerate a fair, low-carbon recovery, focusing on five key emitting sectors of the world economy – agriculture, buildings, electricity, industry and transport – and using five policy levers: investment, regulation, tax & subsidies, leadership by example, and information & education.
4.0 Gigatonnes of Methane emissions come from land-use change. OECD
1. Improve agricultural productivity in sustainable ways that lower emissions and allow us to feed a growing global population.
2. Reform food and farming regulations that lead to overproduction, waste food and distort prices and increase agricultural emissions.
3. Use the tax system and support payments to reduce emissions, taking care to avoid inflating food prices or driving farmers out of business.
4. Include agriculture in national climate change strategies to ensure its effects are not overlooked.
5. Help consumers and producers make informed food choices and reduce food waste.
We need to ensure wider, societal benefits to create a greener future. OECD
6. Ensure that public money is not spent on projects that harm the climate and invest instead in sustainable buildings.
7. Put in place stringent climate-friendly building regulations and construction standards.
8. Use tax and financial incentives to renovate and reuse existing buildings rather than always building new ones.
9. Encourage sustainable building within urban and rural planning.
10. Teach planners and builders how to construct and maintain green buildings.
Over 60% of investment is given to fossil fuels. OECD
11. Focus investments on green energy generation and sustainable power distribution networks.
12. Phase out the use of coal and switch to the green energy sources that are available locally.
13. Use carbon pricing to drive the transition to clean power and remove barriers that stop people switching to renewable energy.
14. Channel central and local government money into green energy projects.
15. Provide investors and consumers with information to ensure they choose sustainable energy.
Evidence shows that rapid increases in emissions are linked to short term infrastructure growth. OECD
16. Increase research and development into new low-carbon industrial processes.
17. Introduce energy efficiency regulations to reduce emissions from industry.
18. Use carbon pricing to encourage innovation without harming competitiveness.
19. Take the lead in your sector in switching to a circular economy in which resources are conserved and reused.
20. Educate business leaders and workers in energy and resource-efficient sustainable practices.
The non-urban passenger is expected to increasingly contribute to CO2 emissions. OECD
21. Increase research into the development, production and use of zero-emission fuels.
22. Make the best use of existing transport capacity through measures like car sharing and smart logistics to improve freight efficiency.
23. Use measures like increased taxes on polluting vehicles to encourage the use of sustainable passenger and freight transport.
24. Ensure low-carbon solutions are the default choice when setting transport policies.
25. Share knowledge about proven methods of reducing transport emissions, such as teaching truckers eco-driving techniques.
Reposted with permission from World Economic Forum.
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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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