Tag Archives: climate

Climate policy is more than just reducing carbon emissions | Instant News


While we are busy dealing with the stress of surviving a global pandemic, climate change continues to simmer in the background.

Winter ice storms and loss of power after deadly autumn forest fires and stormy summers are clear reminders that one crisis doesn’t end just because another begins. The world is starting to feel like a soap opera and there is too much drama this season. Can we fire the writers who are responsible for this climate change storyline?

Most Americans are stuck watching the same horror show together with no privileged option to get out and fly to Cancún. The past year has provided us with many surprising examples weather events that we can see more frequently under our changing climate.

This doesn’t look good. The people are suffering and there is no place for blame except to return to our own government.

For decades, our policymakers have placed climate issues right in the “not in my backyard” category, removing them only when it fits into their immediate agenda. We have been struggling with carbon emissions that are not sustainable and passed the point of no hope. Today, reduce our CO2 outputs are only some of the problems we need to solve. This is probably the easy part.

As a result, we are tasked with the social side of climate change: caring for climate refugees, building new infrastructure that can withstand more frequent natural disasters, providing the safety of our coastal communities and safeguarding water reserves and energy storage so that no more Texan is left to freeze to death. rake in thousands of dollars a day on their electricity bills.

Of course, carbon neutrality is an important step in protecting our human population. America is the world’s largest per capita carbon producer, and other countries have long suffered from our refusal to take climate action. The Marshall Islands are slipping under rising seas and may be completely uninhabitable by 2050. Glaciers are melting from Ecuador to Nepal, threatening future freshwater supplies. The Caribbean is devastated every year by more frequent and intense storms. We owe it to ourselves and our global community to reduce our carbon footprint and stop actively exacerbating an already extraordinary climate situation.

If we didn’t believe before, the American people have to understand now that climate change is we problem. The storm has swept away any sand for us to stick our heads in and we have nothing left to do but face the icy truth.

These natural disasters will only get worse and occur more frequently, so we need to be prepared to care for our most vulnerable populations. It doesn’t matter if we call it the Green New Deal or the Climate Plan – it will never be a problem if we can get the attention and consideration it deserves from the social side of our climate crisis.

We need to make plans to protect our communities from extreme weather events and to prevent a refugee crisis. We need representatives who understand science, who acknowledge facts regardless of their personal agenda. We, the people, need to take responsibility for this climate narrative and weave a little hope for our future into the storylines.

Beth Hoots can be reached at [email protected]

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Q&A with MycoWorks Co-founder Sophia Wang | Instant News


Fashion is the second most polluting industry after oil and is responsible for 10 percent of annual global carbon emissions. Carbon intensive production animal hideout and Plastic for leather and synthetic clothing further exacerbates the impact of this industry, while waste from every stage of the fashion pipeline contributes to rampant air, water and soil pollution. As experts have known for years, the rise of fast fashion has enlarged the world’s resources and demonstrated the fragility of our current methods of production and consumption. If we want a future in which high-quality textiles play a role, we must act to change our habits on a system-wide scale.

When her artistic collaborator, Phil Ross, shared with her about the mycelium sculptures she has been working on for decades, artist Sophia Wang was amazed at the many possibilities in its natural pigments and textures. The mycelium consists of the root structure of the fungus and, like the edible part of the fungus, has a textural quality unlike that found in the animal or plant kingdom. Sophia had never seen anything like it and described Phil’s mycelium as “both stiff and foamy; compact and endlessly expressive.”

Cultivating mushrooms for consumption is an ancient industry that has a strong production and distribution infrastructure around the world. Mycelium’s abundance and biodegradability and carbon sequestration make it a clear choice for future sustainable goods. Companies like Eco-Friendly Design and Rhizoform LLC has spent decades developing mycelium as a packaging alternative for fragile fish and consumer goods and has even won support from Ikea and packaging giant SealedAir, but in fashion nothing has been tried on this scale yet.

Project with Sophia and Phil, MycoWorks, based on their proprietary process for mycelium cultivation called “Fine Mycelium ™”. This process uses the capacity of the fungus to bind itself and carbon-based materials to produce a durable three-dimensional structure. The first product they developed with Fine Mycelium was Reishi ™, the sustainable choice for skin that looks, feels and functions like an animal-derived version. Following their successful brand launch for Reishi in February 2020 at New York Fashion Week, MycoWorks plans to announce collaborations with some of the biggest names in the fashion world.

We sat down with Sophia Wang to discuss what makes MycoWorks a game changer for sustainable mode and what lies ahead.

China Environment Forum: What is unique about fashion as a means of presenting the delicate mycelium material?

Sophia Wang: Fashion is uniquely positioned to take the lead in new material adoption due to its global presence, impact and presence. There is a power made possible by creating high-value objects that are beautiful, aesthetically appealing, and long-lasting. A high-quality handbag or a beautiful piece of clothing becomes something intimate, that you live with, and that matters to you. When we started the company, it was an option to make things like structural panels, foam blocks, or protective packaging. But as far as introducing this new material and its extraordinary performative and expressive aesthetic qualities to the world, packaging applications do not represent all that. In our opinion, fashion is a very strong partner for introducing material in a way that adds value while communicating its own value.

CEF: What makes Reishi unique?

SW: Reishi is a highly engineered and customizable material, so we can develop specifications, be it size or features, and eliminate a lot of waste in the production process. Typically, working with animal hides is limited to what the farm can produce and the parameters of the animals you harvest. [With Reishi], we can develop the product straight to the design to eliminate waste from cutting and trimming. We may also work with customers to meet certain performance specifications, customize their appearance and develop those specifications.

CEF: How is Reishi advancing closed loop modeling in the fashion industry?

SW: We have new models for advanced material production. Mycelium grows on vegetable biomass and wood-based substrates so there is potential to centralize the production process by placing fine mycelium production alongside wood or biomass production. This highly portable technology is our strongest intervention in current supply chain models.

You can even collaborate with the fabrication of the final product. The by-product of Reishi production is actually the production of more mycelium-based products. The Reishi material is planted on a composite substrate, which self-implants in other mycelium components, which you can then use in structural panels, beams and foam packaging. There is a lot of potential closed loop in our manufacturing process, which is of great interest to us.

CEF: How does MycoWorks foster collaborative relationships with the leather industry?

SW: Instead of claiming that we are trying to replace skins, or provide an alternative to skins, we create options. Reishi, being a natural and non-plastic material, can be considered another delicate and rare skin along with other exotic skins such as crocodile, alligator, and ostrich. The leather industry, through our partners, is excited to work with us as we bring advanced material technology and a data-driven approach to the industry based on hundreds of years of craft expertise and know-how. . We have learned a lot from our partners in the leather industry and they have learned a lot from the processing methods and approaches we carry. They never had the opportunity to work with natural ingredients they could develop to specifications, which have a similar three-dimensional structure to collagen.

You might think of what we do as a crossroads between agricultural technology and the leather industry. The initial stages of our process are very similar to agricultural mushroom production in that we start with a similar substrate and inoculum. We then took some of the wisdom and models that come from tanning and finishing leather, and developed new chemicals and processes specifically for entirely new materials that are natural but not collagen or animal plastics.

CEF: What is the future for MycoWorks?

SW: In the next few years, our focus will be entirely on scaling our production processes to bring Reishi to our short list of selected brand launch partners who are exclusively engaged in fashion and luxury footwear. We opened a pilot facility and finally a full scale facility to support this launch and deliver the high volume that our brand partners have committed to. We think launching with these brand partners is the first step towards making Reishi and this technology ubiquitous as our partners are known for setting the highest standards for performance, quality and design.

In the long term, we hope to enable manufacturing co-locations to make supply chains more efficient and have an impact not only on the carbon footprint, but also on the overall production cost structure of these items.

Reishi is very measurable. I want this technology to be available in every corner of the world where there is agricultural production. There is potential worldwide for small producers to make secondary products with existing mushroom production and distribution infrastructure. Mycelium grows everywhere all over the planet and the input is very low – we just control the environment.

CEF: Is there someone who has inspired your work as a Closed Loop Innovator?

SW: As I began to understand and understand the stories I had to tell, I have to say that I was very inspired by Céline Semaan, the founder of Slow Factory Foundation and a defender of social and environmental justice. She educates about the fashion industry through an integrated approach that links it to economic justice and understands the impact of global colonialism, as well as issues around the workforce, environment and consumer production infrastructure. The messaging and communication interventions he takes to the world and the work he does with Slow Factory are integrated stories to tell.

I think the only way we can really change the system for all is with a very integrated approach. We are positioned [at MycoWorks] to make a tremendous impact in terms of the materials and fashion industry and I’m very excited to develop a platform through MycoWorks that can influence policy and direct decisions that affect the lives of individuals.

This blog part from the Closed Loop Innovators Series, featuring stories of women around the world innovating in business, civil society and science to reduce plastic waste pollution. A condensed version will appear in the forthcoming publication of the China Environmental Forum, InsightOut: Closing the Loop on Plastic Waste in China and the US

Clare Auld-Brokish is a research assistant at the Wilson Center’s China Environmental Forum where she works on urban water issues in China and global plastic waste. He recently returned from a Fulbright fellowship in Yunnan, China where he conducted environmental science research in freshwater lakes and developed wetlands.

Tongxin Zhu is a research assistant at the Wilson Center China Environment Forum. The focus is currently on marine plastic waste in China with an emphasis on consumer-facing industries. He recently graduated from Georgetown University, McCourt School of Public Policy with an MPP.

Source: Center for International Environmental Law, Edible Fungi and Medicines: Technology and Applications, Procedia Energi, United Nations News

Lead image credit: Sophia Wang, photo by Carla Tramullas, courtesy of MycoWorks.

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Response to climate change | Instant News


The dangers are clear and real. Pakistan is ranked 153 in the list of countries emitting greenhouse gases. According to several studies, Indonesia is also the fifth most vulnerable country in the world to climate change.

The country continues to face flooding, degraded air quality, pollution of water sources, soil erosion, heat waves, etc. One can easily identify the effects of climate change in a city like Karachi. The huge amount of greenhouse gas emissions is causing the temperature to rise and we see how the city has dealt with heat waves in previous years. The response of civil society, political actors and academics to these threats will determine Karachi’s future.

The following sentences, drawn from a discussion conducted by NED University of Engineering and Technology, Karachi and Bristol University UK, are an attempt to highlight some of the key points around this issue.

First is the response from civil society. Although civil society is generally defined as a third entity and lies outside of government, philosophically it is a buffer between the oppressor and the oppressed. In terms of environment, its functions are in four domains. The first type of environmental CSOs to work at the policy level may be semi-implementing (funding for partners) and their main framework is conservation for sustainability. The second type of environmental CSO is rights-based and works for environmental justice. Community is the core of the work of the CSO.

The third type of environmental CSO works indirectly on environmental issues. For example, in EQ 2005, rehabilitation was the main program by various local and global organizations, and sustainability was the main theme of the respective interventions. The fourth type manifests itself in the form of concerned individuals who mostly use the justice system and often choose litigation in the public interest.

In Pakistan, the response of civil society has generally been anthropocentric conservation and has very little to do with deep ecology. The way forward for Pakistani CSOs is to create a hybrid model for environmental sustainability and environmental justice.

For political actors, there are many things that need to be addressed. Several plans were passed in the post-independence era and a considerable analysis was carried out on various attributes including environmental aspects. Unfortunately, the plan lacked legal protection and the recommendations and advice provided did not fulfill the role expected of them. The overview of the situation of the city is that the unplanned compaction of the inner-city area, the illegal distribution of land continues without control and there is a commercialization of bands in the main corridors, paving the way for speculative real estate development.

Natural tributaries and storm drains serve as city sewers. Municipal waste is managed informally because scavengers and the recycling industry informally support most of the municipal waste. The informal sector simply regulates public transport.

So, do we have a city plan and a climate change mitigation plan and other attributes? Second, are we taking action to protect vulnerable communities, their assets and livelihoods? Do we have such institutional arrangements in places that deal with recurrent disasters efficiently? A very specific direction that needs to be taken is to pay attention to how development projects, especially those with broader territorial and contextual impacts, are formulated.

While much research is being done in Pakistan what is missing is a critical mass of a philosophically strong base of related knowledge. In addition, the formulation of a vision on the issue of climate change requires critical thinking where students and teachers can work in a paradigm shift. Unfortunately, academic institutions cannot perform this mandatory function. Climate change and adaptation require a new type of contextual vocabulary and academic inquiry between disciplines.

These three sectors – civil society, political apparatus and academics – need to work together to tackle the high climate change agenda. The sooner the better, because the fate of the people depends on the actions of these three sectors. The first is to get policy makers and power structures to understand climate change and its impacts. Since academics have data relevant (whatever) to it, civil society can easily cooperate with politicians to maintain pressure for negotiations. One important area where civil society, academics and politicians can work together is pro-people and environmentally friendly urban planning.

The author is a lecturer in the Department of Architecture and Planning at NED, Karachi.

Email: [email protected]

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Germany concerned about Poland’s nuclear energy plans | Environment | All topics from climate change to conservation | DW | Instant News


Poland is working to reduce its dependence on coal and is moving ahead with plans to start producing nuclear energy. His Polish Energy Policy Strategy (PEP), which the government approved earlier this month and will begin in 2026, includes construction of six reactors at two sites. It is planned that the first reactor will start operating in 2033 and the six reactors will be operational in 2043.

EU members must find new sources of energy to meet the bloc’s climate, energy and environmental targets. Poland currently depends on coal for 70% of its energy and is therefore one of the EU’s most polluting countries.

But Poland’s energy transition is not driven by external pressure alone. Brown coal mining in central Poland, which currently supplies 20% of the country’s energy, will stop by 2035.

Brown coal mining will stop in 2035

There will also be a shortage of natural gas once the agreement with Russia ends at the end of next year. Russian gas currently accounts for 5% of Poland’s energy needs. But due to rising costs and political tensions with Moscow, Warsaw is not looking to extend the agreement.

The seemingly perfect solution

Nuclear reactors are considered by many to be the perfect solution. Plans to develop nuclear energy began in the 1970s and construction had begun on two Soviet-designed reactors at Zarnowiec, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) northwest of Gdansk, but was halted thereafter. the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. All subsequent attempts to relaunch the project failed. Now, new reactors will likely be built in Zarnowiec and near Lubiatowo-Kopalino.

An engineer inspects engine room damage at the Chernoybl nuclear power plant

The Chernobyl accident in 1986 is considered the worst nuclear disaster in history

However, Poland was unable to fund the reactor, which will have a capacity of six to nine gigawatts and is estimated to cost € 30 billion ($ 36 billion). Last year, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that the ideal partner for the project, both in terms of technology transfer and funds, is “a proven partner of NATO and the western world.”

US or France?

The ideal partner for Poland is the US. Former President Donald Trump raised high hopes when he visited his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda in June 2020 and pledged support from US companies. The prime minister said the meeting had “moved Poland in the right direction.”

The two countries signed an initial agreement to cooperate on the development of Poland’s nuclear energy program less than a month before Trump’s election defeat.

Donald Trump and Andrzej Duda address the press outside the White House

Last year Poland and the US reached an agreement on developing the Warsaw nuclear energy program

But with Trump outside the office, Poland lost its closest ally. Now France is in play. On February 2, the day the government approves the energy strategy, French Foreign Trade Minister Franck Riester visited Poland to offer support.

The CEO of state-owned Electricite de France (EDF) spoke to Polish media and proposed a deal to fund two-thirds of the project while promoting the European Pressurized Reactor (EPR), already operating in Taishan, China. With a capacity of more than 1000 MW (1 GW), this giant reactor is in line with the government’s wishes.

Potential risk

However, energy expert Marcin Roszkowski of the Polish think-tank Jagiellonian Club disagrees. “Now there are reactors that are much smaller, with capacities of 50 and 100 MW,” he told DW. “This is a modular reactor that can be combined. They can spread over a wider area and supply energy to cities and individual factories. “

Photo by Marcin Roszkowski

Polish economist Marcin Roszkowski is a member of the non-partisan Jagiellonian Club

“This will prevent a major nuclear catastrophe,” he said. He explained that the smaller reactor, currently used in nuclear-powered icebreakers, may be commercially available within a few years. In 2019, Polish billionaire Michal Solowow offered to build such a reactor, signing an agreement to cooperate with Japanese-US giant GE Hitachi. Other experts say that Poland’s plans go against the current trend in the EU to move towards gas and renewable energy.

“With current technology, it wouldn’t be difficult to increase the share of renewable energy in the energy mix to 80%. The 20% that was lost was due to the Polish winter, when there was little wind and little sun,” Marcin Popkiewicz, a nuclear physicist at the University. Warsaw, told DW, pointed out that building nuclear power plants is also very expensive. “For customers, the cost of nuclear energy can be five times the cost of renewable energy.”

Lagging behind

The government’s energy strategy includes renewable energy, however slow progress. Their share of the energy mix has stagnated at 14% over the years. This is lower than the EU average of 20% (2020). This could change in 2025 when Poland’s first wind farm on the Baltic coast begins operating. It is slated to reach 8 GW of capacity by 2040.

Wind turbines next to a village in Poland

Poland’s renewable energy sector is stagnating

The main problem facing the government is how to stop the use of black coal, which currently accounts for 50% of the energy mix. It will continue to be mined until at least 2050. More than 100,000 jobs depend on the sector, which is why the government is hesitant to close the mine pits.

Paradoxically, nuclear energy, which is “clean” in terms of CO2 emissions, can slow the process even further. If Poland’s CO2 emissions drop due to nuclear power plants, the pressure from the EU will decrease to reduce coal production.

The Laziska fossil-fueled power station is covered in snow

For now, fossil fuels are the largest contributor to Poland’s energy supply

Germany wants to stay informed

Poland’s plans are already causing resentment in neighboring Germany. According to an expert report commissioned by the Green Party parliamentary faction in Germany’s Bundestag in January, Poland’s nuclear power plant, only a few hundred kilometers from the German border, would pose a high risk to the population.

“Experts evaluate everything based on weather data for the last three years. There is a 20% chance that Germany will be affected by an accident at a planned nuclear power plant,” the chairman of the Bundestag Environment Committee, Ursula Kotting-Uhl, said DW. “In the worst case scenario, 1.8 million Germans will be exposed to radiation from more than 20 milisieverts. At that rate, we have to start evacuating. Berlin and Hamburg could be affected, which are densely populated.”

Poland’s Ministry of Climate and Environment insists that an environmental impact assessment has been carried out.

Germany wants to stay involved in Poland’s nuclear energy plans. “For the government, it is imperative that if Poland starts producing nuclear energy it ensures the highest possible level of security, radiation protection and security for neighboring countries that are potentially directly affected,” read a statement provided to DW by Germany. Ministry of Environment. He added that in the event of a potentially significant impact on their affairs or environment, states have an internationally binding right to be informed and heard.

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Germany is spending six billion euros on improving housing energy efficiency | Instant News


FILE PHOTO: German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier holds a press conference to present the government’s economic fall projections, amidst the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Berlin, Germany 30 October 2020. REUTERS / Michele Tantussi / Pool

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany supports measures to improve energy efficiency in buildings, with subsidies and incentives worth 6 billion euros ($ 7.2 billion) this year, the economy minister said on Monday.

The measures supported by the federal government include programs to modernize existing buildings with better insulation and a more efficient heating system, said Peter Altmaier.

“The building sector is an important factor if we are to be successful in the energy transition,” he said in an online conference organized by the economy ministry.

The push will help the housing sector in Europe’s most populous nation move towards its goal of becoming climate neutral by 2050, and thereby enable Germany to achieve broader climate protection targets over the next three decades.

However, the impetus for modernization could increase the cost of living of Germans because, according to law, landlords could cover the investment costs by raising the rent.

Parties in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government are currently arguing over whether to protect tenants from massive rents by forcing landlords to shoulder a certain portion of modernization investment.

($ 1 = 0.8318 euros)

Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Edited by Pravin Char

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