The Paris climate agreement is heartening and historic—195 countries finally concurred that we must stop warming the planet by no more than 2C by 2020 and that we should be aiming for 1.5C. Unfortunately, the actual plans submitted by each government prior to the conference would raise the world's temperature by as much as 3C.
Stated clearly: The words of the agreement say one thing, but we must monitor the actions of leaders and nations so that they actually implement the aims of the agreement. And, we cannot count on governments for all the solutions needed.
In parts of Africa the temperature is already over this limit by as much as 7 degrees. Further, for every centigrade rise in sea level, scientists predict that more than one million people will die. In my travels for Global Greengrants Fund, I have found that the best solutions are coming from the ground up, not from the top down. Communities most affected, grassroots groups and movements are adapting and showing the way for transformative system change.
That's why I participated in many events outside the COP—at the Climate Action Zone—and in the movement-based protests, both the Red Lines gathering near the Arc de Triumph on Saturday organized by the Climat21 Coalition and the Basque/French Alternatiba manifestation at the Eiffel tower later in the day. It has taken mass mobilizations over the last few years to push our elected leaders into this agreement and now it's going to take even more mass mobilizations to push them to actually meet the terms of the agreement and then farther to address issues the agreement ignored.
- The preamble to the agreement suggests that governments "should consider their respective obligations on human rights, the right to health, the rights of indigenous peoples, local communities, migrants ... as well as gender equality, empowerment of women and intergenerational equity." But, there is nothing in the actual binding part of the agreement to ensure that any of these obligations are addressed.
- There's no mention of “food security" anywhere in the preamble or the binding part of the agreement.
- The agreement contains only limited acknowledgement of the responsibilities of the most highly polluting countries to those in the global south and furthest north which did not create the climate disaster.
- The agreement continues to support false solutions such as carbon markets that allow polluters to pay or trade "credits" with those who are actually stewarding their farms and forests.
- The agreement contains no mention of the need to stop using fossil fuels and turn to alternative energy sources. This omission is simply ridiculous greenwashing. We must immediately keep the oil in the soil and the coal in the hole or the planet will continue cooking.
A few days before the demonstrations, I attended a civil disobedience training offered by 350.org at the Climate Action Zone. Three principles agreed upon by all the groups in Climat21 were that the actions would be peaceful, there would be no property damage and police would not be provoked. Because of the state of emergency in Paris, it was illegal to gather in groups of more than two with political intent or messages. At the final hour, an accord was reached with police and the protests were allowed. Thus, my decision to get arrested, worries about not being able to return to France or even Europe, were happily moot. The march was amazing as a spirit of solidarity and continuing work to promote real solutions prevailed.
Paris was a good start, although perhaps 20 years too late. The next step will be even harder and will require even more of us stepping into the streets to push our leaders forward.
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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>
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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
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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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