By 2035, every new car and truck sold in the U.S. could be an EV, a new report says.
Accelerations in technology and especially battery affordability, paired with new policy, mean the dramatic transition would save American drivers $2.7 trillion by 2050, an average savings of $1,000 per household per year.
The ramp up in EV production would also create 2 million new jobs by 2035. Battery prices have fallen 74% since 2014, and their unexpectedly rapid fall is a key driver of the cost savings.
EVs are far simpler mechanically, and more efficient, than internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, which translates to reduced climate pollution and lower costs for consumers.
Strengthened vehicle efficiency standards and investment in fast charging infrastructure are needed to accelerate the transition, which would prevent 150,000 premature deaths and save $1.3 trillion in health environmental costs by 2050.
For a deeper dive:
Japan will release radioactive wastewater from the failed Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean, the government announced on Tuesday.
The water will be treated before release, and the International Atomic Energy Agency said the country's plans were in keeping with international practice, The New York Times reported. But the plan is opposed by the local fishing community, environmental groups and neighboring countries. Within hours of the announcement, protesters had gathered outside government offices in Tokyo and Fukushima, according to NPR.
"The Japanese government has once again failed the people of Fukushima," Greenpeace Japan Climate and Energy Campaigner Kazue Suzuki said in a statement. "The government has taken the wholly unjustified decision to deliberately contaminate the Pacific Ocean with radioactive wastes."
The dilemma of how to dispose of the water is one ten years in the making. In March 2011, an earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan killed more than 19,000 people and caused three of six reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to melt down, The New York Times explained. This resulted in the biggest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, and the cleanup efforts persist more than a decade later.
To keep the damaged reactors from melting down, cool water is flushed through them and then filtered to remove all radioactive material except for tritium. Up until now, the wastewater has been stored on site, but the government says the facility will run out of storage room next year. Water builds up at 170 tons per day, and there are now around 1.25 million tons stored in more than 1,000 tanks.
The government now plans to begin releasing the water into the ocean in two years time, according to a decision approved by cabinet ministers Tuesday. The process is expected to take decades.
"On the premise of strict compliance with regulatory standards that have been established, we select oceanic release," the government said in a statement reported by NPR.
Opposition to the move partly involves a lack of trust around what is actually in the water, as NPR reported. Both the government and Tokyo Electric Power Co., which operates the plant, say that the water only contains tritium, which cannot be separated from hydrogen and is only dangerous to humans in large amounts.
"But it turned out that the water contains more radioactive materials. But they didn't disclose that information before," Friends of the Earth Japan campaigner Ayumi Fukakusa told NPR. "That kind of attitude is not honest to people. They are making distrust by themselves."
In February, for example, a rockfish shipment was stopped when a sample caught near Fukushima tested positive for unsafe levels of cesium.
This incident also illustrates why local fishing communities oppose the release. Fish catches are already only 17.5 percent of what they were before the disaster, and the community worries the release of the water will make it impossible for them to sell what they do catch. They also feel the government went against its promises by deciding to release the water.
"They told us that they wouldn't release the water into the sea without the support of fishermen," fishery cooperative leader Kanji Tachiya told national broadcaster NHK, as CBS News reported. "We can't back this move to break that promise and release the water into the sea unilaterally."
Japan's neighbors also questioned the move. China called it "extremely irresponsible," and South Korea asked for a meeting with the Japanese ambassador in Seoul in response.
The U.S. State Department, however, said that it trusted Japan's judgement.
"In this unique and challenging situation, Japan has weighed the options and effects, has been transparent about its decision, and appears to have adopted an approach in accordance with globally accepted nuclear safety standards," the department said in a statement reported by The New York Times.
But environmentalists argue that the government could have found a way to continue storing waste.
"Rather than using the best available technology to minimize radiation hazards by storing and processing the water over the long term, they have opted for the cheapest option, dumping the water into the Pacific Ocean," Greenpeace's Suzuki said.
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The bright patterns and recognizable designs of Waterlust's activewear aren't just for show. In fact, they're meant to promote the conversation around sustainability and give back to the ocean science and conservation community.
Each design is paired with a research lab, nonprofit, or education organization that has high intellectual merit and the potential to move the needle in its respective field. For each product sold, Waterlust donates 10% of profits to these conservation partners.
Eye-Catching Designs Made from Recycled Plastic Bottles
waterlust.com / @abamabam
The company sells a range of eco-friendly items like leggings, rash guards, and board shorts that are made using recycled post-consumer plastic bottles. There are currently 16 causes represented by distinct marine-life patterns, from whale shark research and invasive lionfish removal to sockeye salmon monitoring and abalone restoration.
One such organization is Get Inspired, a nonprofit that specializes in ocean restoration and environmental education. Get Inspired founder, marine biologist Nancy Caruso, says supporting on-the-ground efforts is one thing that sets Waterlust apart, like their apparel line that supports Get Inspired abalone restoration programs.
"All of us [conservation partners] are doing something," Caruso said. "We're not putting up exhibits and talking about it — although that is important — we're in the field."
Waterlust not only helps its conservation partners financially so they can continue their important work. It also helps them get the word out about what they're doing, whether that's through social media spotlights, photo and video projects, or the informative note card that comes with each piece of apparel.
"They're doing their part for sure, pushing the information out across all of their channels, and I think that's what makes them so interesting," Caruso said.
And then there are the clothes, which speak for themselves.
Advocate Apparel to Start Conversations About Conservation
waterlust.com / @oceanraysphotography
Waterlust's concept of "advocate apparel" encourages people to see getting dressed every day as an opportunity to not only express their individuality and style, but also to advance the conversation around marine science. By infusing science into clothing, people can visually represent species and ecosystems in need of advocacy — something that, more often than not, leads to a teaching moment.
"When people wear Waterlust gear, it's just a matter of time before somebody asks them about the bright, funky designs," said Waterlust's CEO, Patrick Rynne. "That moment is incredibly special, because it creates an intimate opportunity for the wearer to share what they've learned with another."
The idea for the company came to Rynne when he was a Ph.D. student in marine science.
"I was surrounded by incredible people that were discovering fascinating things but noticed that often their work wasn't reaching the general public in creative and engaging ways," he said. "That seemed like a missed opportunity with big implications."
Waterlust initially focused on conventional media, like film and photography, to promote ocean science, but the team quickly realized engagement on social media didn't translate to action or even knowledge sharing offscreen.
Rynne also saw the "in one ear, out the other" issue in the classroom — if students didn't repeatedly engage with the topics they learned, they'd quickly forget them.
"We decided that if we truly wanted to achieve our goal of bringing science into people's lives and have it stick, it would need to be through a process that is frequently repeated, fun, and functional," Rynne said. "That's when we thought about clothing."
Support Marine Research and Sustainability in Style
To date, Waterlust has sold tens of thousands of pieces of apparel in over 100 countries, and the interactions its products have sparked have had clear implications for furthering science communication.
For Caruso alone, it's led to opportunities to share her abalone restoration methods with communities far and wide.
"It moves my small little world of what I'm doing here in Orange County, California, across the entire globe," she said. "That's one of the beautiful things about our partnership."
Check out all of the different eco-conscious apparel options available from Waterlust to help promote ocean conservation.
Melissa Smith is an avid writer, scuba diver, backpacker, and all-around outdoor enthusiast. She graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in journalism and sustainable studies. Before joining EcoWatch, Melissa worked as the managing editor of Scuba Diving magazine and the communications manager of The Ocean Agency, a non-profit that's featured in the Emmy award-winning documentary Chasing Coral.
An explosion at an Ohio paint factory injured eight people, two of them critically.
The fire ignited just after midnight on Thursday at Yenkin-Majestic Paints in Columbus, Ohio, NBC4 reported. Firefighters arriving on the scene were met with employees exiting the building, five of whom were injured and needed to be taken to a hospital.
"Two other employees were trapped inside the building and had to be rescued. They are in critical condition at OSU Main," Columbus Fire Battalion Chief Steve Martin told ABC News.
Everyone harmed in the fire are plant employees. One person remains missing; the Columbus Division of Fire wrote on Facebook that they had searched the entire building.
Martin told the paper that firefighters were doing everything they could to find the missing person. About 40 employees were in the plant when the fire started, The Columbia Dispatch reported.The explosion that started the fire damaged part of the building where it ignited, making the search and rescue effort more difficult. The spreading fire triggered other explosions, including one in another building within 100 feet from the first building that caught fire.
Firefighters managed to contain the blaze by 5:15 a.m., according to the Columbus Division of Fire.
"There will still be visible black smoke rising from the original fire building as we let some of the products burn off," the division wrote on Facebook.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) workers checked the surrounding air and water for chemicals, WBNS reported.
This is what we’re seeing now at the explosion site near the east side of Columbus. I know EPA workers were out he… https://t.co/V12NDLXRRk— Krista10TV (@Krista10TV)1617878637.0
Yenkin-Majestic Paint Corporation is a family-owned business that makes coatings. There are explosion risks in the paint-making process, according to the Encyclopedia of Occupational Health and Safety.
"Flammable solvents, combustible powders (especially nitrocellulose used in lacquer production) and oils are all fire or explosion risks if ignited by a spark or high temperatures. Sources of ignition can include faulty electrical equipment, smoking, friction, open flames, static electricity and so forth. Oil-soaked rags can be a source of spontaneous combustion," the entry states.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency Saturday after a leak at a wastewater pond posed a major flooding threat and prompted more than 300 homes to be evacuated.
Officials said that water pouring out too quickly posed the greatest risk. The latest projection shows that 340 million gallons of wastewater could rush out within minutes, potentially creating a wall of water 20 feet high.
"What we are looking at now is trying to prevent and respond to, if need be, a real catastrophic flood situation," DeSantis said at a press conference, The AP reported on Sunday.
Officials first detected the leak on Friday in a Piney Point reservoir pond located in the Tampa Bay area. The pond is 33 hectares and 25 feet deep and contains millions of gallons of water contaminated with phosphorus and nitrogen from an old phosphate plant, The AP reported on Saturday. This led the Manatee County Public Safety Department to send out two evacuation notices Friday evening warning of an "imminent uncontrolled release of wastewater," WFLA 8 reported.
A total of 316 homes were impacted by the evacuation orders, The AP reported. To prevent flooding, officials are now pumping water out of the reservoir at a rate of 22,000 gallons per minute and transferring it to Port Manatee. Manatee County Administrator Scott Hopes said that they were hoping to increase that rate with more workers, and that the risk of collapse should decrease by Tuesday.
The water contained in the wastewater pond is not radioactive and "meets water quality standards for marine waters with the exception of pH, total phosphorus, total nitrogen and total ammonia nitrogen," The Florida Department of Environmental Protection said, according to NPR. "It is slightly acidic, but not at a level that is expected to be a concern."
However, officials are worried that a collapse of the leaking pond could destabilize other nearby ponds that are more polluted.
"The pond is basically salt water. We saw ducks yesterday, there are snooks swimming in there. It's sustaining wildlife. That's not the case for the other two pools," Hopes told The AP on Saturday.
The ponds are located amidst a stack of phosphogypsum, the radioactive waste from processing phosphate ore into phosphoric acid for fertilizer, and the incident calls attention to the problems of storing this waste.
"This environmental disaster is made worse by the fact it was entirely foreseeable and preventable," Jaclyn Lopez, Florida director at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a press release. "With 24 more phosphogypsum stacks storing more than one billion tons of this dangerous, radioactive waste in Florida, the EPA needs to step in right now. Federal officials need to clean up this mess the fertilizer industry has dumped on Florida communities and immediately halt further phosphogypsum production."
Phosphogypsum contains radium-226, which has a half life of 1,600 years. The waste product can also contain toxins such as arsenic, lead and mercury. Its storage is an ongoing problem for Florida and other states. In 2004, a breach at a stack in Riverview, Florida, sent millions of gallons of polluted water into Tampa Bay. In 2016, a sinkhole opened beneath a different phosphogypsum site and contaminated an aquifer with 215 million gallons of waste. Meanwhile, in Louisiana, a stack began to shift in 2019, prompting emergency action. There are also phosphogypsum stacks in Arkansas, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.
"Phosphogypsum stacks are getting bigger and more dangerous by the minute, and Piney Point's fate could befall them all," Environmental Attorney Rachael Curran said in the press release. "We need real solutions that start with halting the addition of any phosphogypsum and process water to active stacks so that we can deal with the problem we already have. Underground injection control wells or building radioactive roads out of phosphogypsum are dangerous, unacceptable distractions."
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The research, published in Nature Geoscience Monday, looked at the use and spread of 92 active pesticide ingredients in 168 countries. They considered an area at risk if the concentration of a chemical exceeded the limit at which it would have no effect, and at high risk if that concentration exceeded the limit by a factor of 1,000.
"Our study has revealed 64 percent of the world's arable land is at risk of pesticide pollution," University of Sydney Research Associate and the study's lead author, Dr Fiona Tang said in a University of Sydney press release. "This is important because the wider scientific literature has found that pesticide pollution can have adverse impacts on human health and the environment."
Further, a total of 31 percent of land was at high risk, the study authors wrote.
Pesticides, herbicides and fungicides are widely used to boost productivity in farming, the press release noted. However, they have unintended consequences for human and environmental health. They can enter bodies of water through runoff or by entering the groundwater, contaminating drinking water. Pesticides like chlorpyrifos have been shown to harm the cognitive development of children, while others have been linked to cancer. They also pose a threat to wildlife such as bees and birds.
These threats are why the research is important, Tang told AFP.
"It is significant because the potential pollution is widespread and some regions at risk also bear high biodiversity and suffer from water scarcity," she said in an AFP article published by Phys.org.
Specifically, 34 percent of the high risk areas were in regions with high biodiversity while five percent were in water-scarce areas, the study found. Nineteen percent of the high risk areas were in low or middle income countries.
Regionally, Asia had the most high-risk land, with China, Japan, Malaysia and the Philippines especially impacted, the press release said. In Europe, almost 62 percent of agricultural land was at high risk, AFP reported. This was largely due to high concentrations in Russia, Ukraine and Spain.
The researchers looked at 59 herbicides, 21 insecticides and 19 fungicides and based their calculations on application rate data from the U.S. Geological Survey and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. They then used a model to estimate how much of the pesticides would remain in the soil, atmosphere, groundwater and surface water.
The researchers pointed out that pesticide use is only expected to increase in the future because of the climate crisis and population growth.
"In a warmer climate, as the global population grows, the use of pesticides is expected to increase to combat the possible rise in pest invasions and to feed more people," coauthor and University of Sydney associate professor Federico Maggi said in the press release.
However, the researchers advised a different path.
"We urgently recommend that a global strategy is established to transition towards sustainable agriculture and sustainable living with low pesticide inputs and reduced food loss and food waste to achieve responsible production and consumption in an acceptable, profitable system," they wrote.
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Major climate polluters are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on sports sponsorship to obfuscate their role in perpetrating the climate crisis, the Guardian reports.
According to a new report published by the New Weather Institute, polluters from oil and gas companies to airlines are attempting to "sports-wash" across multiple sports.
Those companies, NWI co-director and co-author of the report Andrew Simms told the Guardian, are seeking "to appear as friends of healthy activity, when in fact they're pumping lethal pollution into the very air that athletes have to breathe."
Auto and airline companies are the most prolific sponsors, followed by oil and gas companies, including Ineos, the sponsor of one of professional cycling's highest-profile teams.
"Sport is in the frontline of the climate emergency but floats on a sea of sponsorship deals with the major polluters," Simms said.
"It makes the crisis worse by normalizing high-carbon, polluting lifestyles and reducing the pressure for climate action."
For a deeper dive:
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The Montreal Protocol banning ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in 1987 has been hailed as an example of successful international collaboration to stop an environmental threat. But, like a creature from a horror movie, those banned chemicals could rise from the depths to stalk our atmosphere once again.
That's the finding of a new study, which concluded that the ocean would shift from absorbing to releasing at least one type of CFC, known as CFC-11, by the end of this century. By the mid-2100s, the ocean could emit enough to be detectable.
"By the time you get to the first half of the 22nd century, you'll have enough of a flux coming out of the ocean that it might look like someone is cheating on the Montreal Protocol, but instead, it could just be what's coming out of the ocean," Susan Solomon, study co-author and Lee and Geraldine Martin Professor of Environmental Studies in MIT's Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, said in an MIT press release. "It's an interesting prediction and hopefully will help future researchers avoid getting confused about what's going on."
The research, led by MIT, is newly published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. To draw their conclusions, researchers used models to simulate the ocean's current and future uptake and release of CFC-11. They found that by 2075, the ocean would emit more of the chemical than it absorbed. By 2145, it would release enough to be detectable by existing technologies.
The models found that this process could be sped up by the climate crisis. If the planet warms by five degrees Celsius by 2100, the ocean will become a net emitter of CFC-11 by 2065 and release detectable levels by 2140.
"Generally, a colder ocean will absorb more CFCs," Peidong Wang, a study lead co-author from MIT, explained in the press release. "When climate change warms the ocean, it becomes a weaker reservoir and will also outgas a little faster."
However, the ocean's eventual release of CFC-11 is not dependent on the climate crisis. Instead, it is based on another mechanism, as LiveScience explained:
[T]he ocean and atmosphere tend to stay in balance. When the atmosphere has a lot of a water-soluble molecule, like a CFC, the oceans suck some of it up. And when the oceans have a lot of that same molecule but the atmosphere doesn't, they tend to release it back into the air. As the world has stopped producing CFCs, atmospheric CFC levels have dropped, and the oceans are absorbing less and less from the air. Eventually, the balance will tip, and the oceans will become net-emitters of CFCs.
CFCs were commonly used in refrigerants, aerosols and household and industrial goods during the second half of the 20th century. They were thought to be non-toxic, non-flammable alternatives to substances such as ammonia and butane. However, they too broke down once released into the atmosphere, bonding with ozone and weakening the ozone layer that protects the planet from harmful ultraviolet radiation. This discovery led to CFCs being banned under the Montreal Protocol of 1987.
However, during their heyday, oceans absorbed about five to ten percent of all CFC-11 emissions, the study authors wrote. When CFCs eventually release back into the atmosphere, their lifetime will be extended by five years. The researchers found that the ocean would continue to release CFC-11 until the end of their study period.
"By the end of the run in 2300, the effect of the ocean on atmospheric CFC-11 remains significant," they wrote.
The scientists behind the study said that more work could be done to understand the interchange between the ocean, CFC-11 and the atmosphere.
"Some of the next steps would be to do this with higher-resolution models and focus on patterns of change," Jeffery Scott, another MIT study co-author, said in the press release. "For now, we've opened up some great new questions and given an idea of what one might see."
The research, published in Nature Communications on Friday, found that wildfire smoke could be up to 10 times more harmful than other sources of air pollution, such as from vehicles or industry.
"We know wildfires are going to become more extreme, due to climate change," Rosana Aguilera, study co-author and postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography, told The Guardian. "And it's important that we start to reckon with the health effects of that."
The researchers examined hospital admission records in California between 1999 and 2012. They found that admissions for respiratory problems increased from around 1.3 percent to 10 percent following an uptick in wildfire-specific air pollution. The same amount of air pollution from other sources led to a smaller admissions increase, topping out around 1.3 percent.
This isn't the first study to suggest that wildfire smoke might be more harmful than other forms of air pollution, the authors noted. Animal studies have suggested the same thing.
Mary Prunicki, a Stanford air pollution researcher who was not part of the study, told The Guardian that evidence also suggested that wildfire smoke could exacerbate heart conditions and respiratory ailments.
She explained that since wildfires engulf homes and businesses, they emit fumes that contain metals, plastic and cleaning supplies. Large fires also suck smoke high into the atmosphere, where it lasts longer and combines with oxygen to become more dangerous.
"We're pretty aware of the physical costs of wildfire, in terms of firefighting costs and damage to property," Tom Corringham, a study co-author also at Scripps, told NPR. "But there's been a lot of work that has shown that the health impacts due to wildfire smoke are on the same order of magnitude, or possibly even greater, than the direct physical cost."
The study comes as this problem is only getting worse. While particulate matter air pollution has been decreasing across most of the U.S. thanks to stricter environmental regulations, that has not been the case in wildfire-prone areas, the study found. Wildfires will likely increase as long as the climate crisis persists. In 2020, California experienced six of its largest fires on record, the Los Angeles Times reported. Those fires choked the Western U.S. with smoke, in some places for weeks. An NPR analysis found that one in seven West Coast residents experienced at least one day of unhealthy air quality last year.
Unfortunately, wildfire smoke is not as easy to regulate as tailpipe or power-plant emissions. Corringham called for providing low-income households with money for air purifiers. But he also suggested a longer-term solution.
"Anything we can do today to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and stabilize the global climate system will have significant benefits," he told NPR.
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By Thomas Gordon-Martin
According to a global food waste index released on Thursday, some 931 million tons of food waste were generated across the world in 2019. The report, published by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and UK charity WRAP, equates that to 17% of all food available to consumers.
At 61%, the majority was created in households. The retail and food service sectors performed better, generating 13% and 26% respectively.
The index does not factor in food loss, which differs from food waste in that it occurs during production, storage or processing and never reaches the consumer.
"If we want to get serious about tackling climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste, businesses, governments and citizens around the world have to do their part to reduce food waste." UNEP Executive Director Inger Anderson said in a press release.
Six years after the UN agreed to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), an ambitious set of targets addressing global inequality and climate change, the report focuses attention on halving per capita global food waste by 2030. With that deadline looming, the document's 2019 data underscores the scale of the challenge in a world that saw at least 690 million people affected by hunger in 2019. And that figure is predicted to rise in the wake of the global pandemic.
Household Food Waste Is Not Just a Problem in High-Income Countries
One key finding points to broadly similar quantities of household food waste — which includes inedible parts such as bones and peel — in high-, upper-middle- and lower-middle-income countries. The global average for lower-middle-income countries such as Pakistan and Vietnam was 91 kilograms (200 pounds) per person, as opposed to 76 kilograms in middle-income countries and 79 kilograms in high-income countries such as Ireland and the United States.
This breaks with the narrative that food waste is an issue in high-income countries while food loss is more prevalent in lower income states.
Although the report is missing valuable data about habits in lower-middle-income countries, one possible explanation for higher levels of waste is that more food is cooked at home and therefore more inedible parts are discarded.
Musa Aamir, co-founder of the food waste charity Rizq in the Pakistani city of Lahore, told DW that the group doesn't operate a food collection service in lower-income neighborhoods because "the quantity of foods recovered from there is practically negligible."
"When I see the household food waste problem exist, it is inextricably tied to the income structure of the household," Aamir said.
The report also exposes holes in global data. For example, there is little information from low-income countries or on retail and service waste outside high-income countries.
"It's a mixed picture," Tom Quested, lead analyst at WRAP, told DW. "Highlighting these data gaps provide(s) the framework for them to be filled," which "is a crucial step towards halving global food wastage by 2030."
Data gaps correlate closely with the level of national income, and areas with higher coverage include parts of Europe and North America. Data is thinner to nonexistent in lower-income regions such as Northern Africa and Central Asia.
"Measuring food waste is a relatively new endeavor," Clementine O'Connor from UNEP, co-author of the report told DW in an email, adding that since the problem was previously presented as a developed country issue, many countries lacked the incentive to invest in tracking.
"This report shows that food waste is a significant issue in nearly every country where it has been measured, and makes a strong financial, food security and environmental case for middle-income countries to begin taking action," O'Connor said.
U.S. Data Shows Culture of Food Waste
The report found that the United States generated some 59 kilograms of household food waste per capita in 2019. That is significantly lower than the global average of 74 kilograms.
The country's service sector wastage, however, was estimated at 64 kilograms per capita, which is much higher than the global average of 32 kilograms. The authors say this reflects U.S. habits of consuming more meals away from home.
These findings are supported by a U.S. Department of Agriculture report that said eating out had been gaining popularity since the 1980s. In 2010, the research found, spending on food away from home surpassed spending on food at home for the first time.
What Can Be Done About Global Food Waste?
To halve global food waste by 2030, the index includes a three-tier guide to help countries measure waste on a national level.
"Approaches for tackling food waste will differ by country," Quested said. "Therefore, to ensure solutions are appropriate for a particular country, they need to be based on evidence relevant to that country."
The UNEP plans to collect national information every two years. This data will be published at regular intervals up to 2030 and made publicly available. The next results will be reported by February 2023.
Reposted with permission from Deutsche Welle.
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By Brett Wilkins
While some mainstream environmental organizations welcomed Tuesday's introduction of the CLEAN Future Act in the House of Representatives, progressive green groups warned that the bill falls far short of what's needed to meaningfully tackle the climate crisis—an existential threat they say calls for bolder action like the Green New Deal.
The latest version of the CLEAN Future Act—which aims to achieve U.S. carbon neutrality by the year 2050 —was introduced by Democratic Reps. Frank Pallone (N.J.), Bobby Rush (Ill.), and Paul Tonko (N.Y.). The bill sets an interim target of reducing pollution by 50% from 2005 levels no later than 2030.
In a statement, Pallone, who is chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said that "the climate crisis is one of the greatest challenges of our lifetime, but it also presents one of the greatest opportunities to empower American workers with new, good paying jobs and return our economy to a position of strength after a long, dark year of historic job losses and pain."
"Today's introduction of the CLEAN Future Act promises that we will not stand idly by as the rest of the world transitions to clean economies and our workers get left behind," added Pallone, "and that we will not watch from the sidelines as the climate crisis wreaks havoc on Americans' health and homes."
But while numerous people hailed the bill—with Earthjustice offering "applause" and NRDC calling it "urgently needed"—more critical voices from groups like Friends of the Earth and Food & Water Watch said the legislation is fundamentally and dangerously lacking.
BREAKING: Rep @FrankPallone just released his CLEAN Future Act — which he claims to be an ambitious bill to combat… https://t.co/M7nR0es196— Friends of the Earth (Action) (@Friends of the Earth (Action))1614711974.0
Lukas Ross, program manager at Friends of the Earth, called the bill's introduction "a monumental failure of climate leadership."
"Chairman Pallone had over a year to remove fossil fuels from the CLEAN Future Act and didn't bother to reconsider," Ross said in a statement, referring to the bill's previous iteration. "A clean energy standard that qualifies fracked gas is a joke. We need real solutions like solar and storage, not a dirty lifeline for gas, nukes, and biomass."
Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity, told The Hill that while the new bill "improves on last year's abysmal proposal," the nation must "slash emissions 70% in 10 years, and we need firm cuts in greenhouse gases right now, not just gimmicky incentives, or future generations will suffer from our inaction today."
The CLEAN Future Act "fails to grasp the fundamental truth of fighting climate change: We must stop extracting and… https://t.co/yREn6Qx9tn— Food & Water Watch (@Food & Water Watch)1614720605.0
Mitch Jones, policy director at Food & Water Watch, said in a statement that "Democrats should be making a big, bold push on climate—and the CLEAN Future Act is simply not strong enough." Jones continued:
The bill's clean energy standard includes provisions that essentially greenwash dirty energy sources—including rebranding fracked gas as 'clean' by pairing it with unproven, non-existent carbon capture methods. It also relies on a dubious emissions trading scheme to achieve its goals, which serves fossil fuel industry interests while pretending to curb climate pollution. The bill also promotes factory farm biogas as a clean energy source.
"While this bill has been marginally improved, it fails to grasp the fundamental truth of fighting climate change: We must stop extracting and burning fossil fuels as soon as possible," stressed Jones. "We should not waste time creating credit schemes and offsets markets, or prop up fossil fuels with carbon capture fantasies."
"A bold climate plan must call for a ban on fracking and all new fossil fuel infrastructure," he added, "and a swift and just transition to 100% clean, renewable energy across all sectors of the economy. The CLEAN Future Act may have been revised since last year, but it's still a Green New Dud."
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
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Citigroup will strive to reach net-zero greenhouse gas pollution across its lending portfolio by 2050 and in its own operations by 2030, the investment group announced Monday.
The plan, published by CEO Jane Fraser, on her first day in the role, included few details but promised more within the coming year.
Citi's pledge follows similar announcements by Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase amid efforts by the group BankFWD to push U.S. banks to slash greenhouse gas pollution from their investments.
Those three firms, plus Citigroup, have provided more than $705 billion to fossil energy companies since the Paris Agreement went into effect.
Also Monday, Exxon Mobil Corp. named activist investor Jeffrey Ubben and former Comcast executive Michael Angelakis to its board, in a move to parry calls for the oil giant to focus more on clean energy.
Last week, the Securities and Exchange Commission determined both Citigroup and Exxon could not prevent shareholders from voting on resolutions tied to racial equity and climate change.
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- Exxon Plans to Increase Its Climate Pollution - EcoWatch ›
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The Biden administration announced it will use Obama-era calculations of the "social cost" of three greenhouse gas pollutants while an interagency working group calculates a more complete estimate, the White House announced Friday.
Often described as "the most important number you've never heard of," the "social cost" of greenhouse gases estimates the harms to society caused by each ton of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide emitted into the atmosphere.
Those estimates are used across government in calculating the costs and benefits of proposed actions.
Though the administration did not specify the exact costs, multiple outlets report the interim estimate of the social cost of carbon will be approximately $51 per ton.
The interagency working group also set the social cost of methane, a far more potent heat trapping gas, at $1,500 per ton and at $18,000 for nitrous oxide, Politico reported.
The Trump administration had slashed those estimates to as low as $1 per ton for carbon dioxide and $55 per ton for methane.
The final estimate for the social cost of carbon produced by the interagency working group could reach as high as $125 after accounting for scientific advances and climatic damage over the past four years but the Obama-era estimates were subject to extensive scientific and agency review and public comment, making them more likely to withstand legal challenges.
For a deeper dive: