climate change

Don’t Confuse the Causes and Solutions of Climate Change with Sea Level Rise

By John Englander
View the original article here.

With the growing awareness of the threat from rising seas, there is a fundamental point of confusion. It is widely believed that “green projects,” energy efficiency, and better public transportation can “solve sea-level rise.”

This popular notion is even showing up in candidates’ platforms for the upcoming election. It is simply wrong.

The warming of the planet, now about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit over the last century and headed for at least double that level, correlates with increased carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere from fossil fuel use — the so-called greenhouse effect. Even the controversial 2015 Paris Climate Agreement only aims to keep the temperature rise to 50 percent further warming, and recognizes we are not instituting the changes to reach even that modest goal.

Efforts to slow and reverse that warming should be our highest priority. Those efforts should focus on reducing energy consumption and switching to renewable sources, such as solar energy. Improved mass transit, electric vehicles, and more use of bicycles are all efforts that will contribute to slow the warming.

Also, developing technology to remove carbon from the atmosphere or lock carbon in plant matter — trees, the Everglades and even algae — can help reduce the warming atmosphere. But none of those efforts can soon stop sea-level rise.

Rising sea level is primarily caused by the melting of the ice sheets on Greenland and Antarctica, which is happening at an accelerating rate because of the extraordinary heat alreadystored in the oceans. The oceans also expand slightly as they continue to warmThose two causes of rising sea level cannot be stopped in the next few decades, even if the entire world could magically switch to 100 percent solar energy right now.

Our oceans, atmosphere, and planet have gotten warmer primarily because the heat-trapping CO2 (carbon dioxide) level is now 410 PPM (Parts per million), 40 percent higher than any time in the last 10 million years.

That greater atmospheric insulation adds heat to the sea equivalent to four nuclear bombs every second of every day. Like a giant outdoor swimming pool, the ocean retains heat even if the air temperature cools. That extra ocean heat will continue to affect our weather and melt glaciers for many decades, even if we can slow the warming.

The latest projections from International and national science organizations and the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compactsay that we need to plan for a few feet of higher sea level by mid-century and as much as 6 to 8 feet by the end of the century.

Thus, it is imperative that we now separate three quite distinct problems and solutions. A solution to one will not soon have any effect on the other two.

  1. Reduce emission of greenhouse gases and even remove them from the atmosphere. SOLUTIONS: Energy conservation, switch to renewable energy sources, improve public transportation, promote bicycle use, plant trees and develop affordable technologies to take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.
  2. Prepare for extreme weather events. More heat in the oceans and atmosphere produces stronger storms, more rainfall, droughts, and wildfires. SOLUTIONS: Buildings, infrastructure, and building codes should be designed to accommodate periodic flooding, improve drainage, use less energy, etc.
  3. Adapt for rising sea level:  Higher sea level will change coastlines and marshlands all over the world and means ever increasing high tides and worse temporary flooding from storms, rainfall and runoff. SOLUTIONS: Elevate buildings and infrastructure (better building codes), install temporary flood barriers for extreme events, and ultimately, accept that coastlines will change.

Our futures require that we design and implement personal, community, and governmental policies to respond to these three threats: elevated greenhouse gases, extreme weather events, and sea level rising ever-higher.

It is great to see that politicians, the public, and professionals are developing greater concern for climate change and rising sea level. Recognizing that these three challenges demand separate solutions is the only smart path forward — and upwards.

 

John Englander is an oceanographer and author of “High Tide On Main Street.”  He is also President of The International Sea Level Institute, a new nonprofit think tank and policy center. His weekly blog and news digest can be found at www.sealevelrisenow.com

 “The Invading Sea” is a collaboration of four South Florida media organizations — the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Miami Herald, Palm Beach Post and WLRN Public Media.

 

In-depth Q&A: The IPCC’s special report on climate change at 1.5C

The original article was written by the Carbon Brief Staff on 8/10/18. You can view it here.

Earlier today in South Korea, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its long-awaited special report on 1.5C.

The IPCC is a body of scientists and economists – first convened by the United Nations (UN) in 1988 – which periodically produces summaries of the “scientific basis of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for adaptation and mitigation”.

The reports are produced, in the first instance, to inform the world’s policymakers.

In this detailed Q&A, Carbon Brief explains why the IPCC was asked to produce a report focused on 1.5C of global warming, what the report says and what the reaction has been…

Why did the IPCC produce this special report?

For many years, limiting global warming to no more than 2C above pre-industrial levels was the de-facto target for global policymakers. This was formalised when countries signed the Cancun Agreements at the UN’s climate conference in Mexico in 2010.

However, at the climate talks in Bonn in May 2015, the UN published a new report that warned that the 2C limit was not adequate for avoiding some of the more severe impacts of climate change.

The report – a product of a two-year “structured expert dialogue” (SED) involving more than 70 scientists – found that 2C of warming was not a “guardrail up to which all would be safe”. Instead, it recommended that while “science on the 1.5C warming limit is less robust, efforts should be made to push the defence line as low as possible”.

The findings of the SED subsequently fed into the working draft that would form the Paris Agreement. In December 2015, 195 countries endorsed the agreement, which backed a long-term goal to limit global temperature rise to “well below 2C” and to “pursue efforts towards 1.5C”.

As part of the text of the agreement, the UN Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) “invited” the IPCC “to provide a special report in 2018 on the impacts of global warming of 1.5C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways”.

The IPCC accepted this invitation following a meeting in Nairobi in April 2016 and then drafted an outline of the report at their Geneva gathering in August of the same year. This outline was rubber-stamped two months later at a meeting in Bangkok.

A timeline of notable dates in preparing the 1.5C special report (shaded blue) embedded within processes and milestones of the UNFCCC (grey). Credit: IPCC (pdf)

A timeline of notable dates in preparing the 1.5C special report (shaded blue) embedded within processes and milestones of the UNFCCC (grey). Credit: IPCC (pdf)

The author team (pdf) for the report – including review editors – was made up of 91 scientists and policy experts drawn from 44 nationalities. The country most represented was the US with seven authors, followed by Germany with six and the UK with five.

The report, published today following a week-long meeting in Incheon in South Korea, draws on scientific literature from across all three of the IPCC’s “working groups”. However, the authoring was led by the technical support unit of the IPCC’s Working Group I (WG1), which focuses on assessing the physical scientific basis of the climate system and climate change.

The report writing process began with a first author meeting in Sao José dos Campos, Brazil, in March 2017. Three author meetings, three report drafts and 42,000 reviewer comments later, the final report was submitted.

The report has two main parts: a full technical report and a short summary for policymakers (SPM). The wording of the latter was agreed line-by-line by government delegates last week in Incheon. Following the approval of the SPM, there are some updates that need to be made to the full report to ensure it is consistent with the revised SPM. These have not been yet made and so the individual chapters are subject to changes listed in the “trickle-back” document (pdf).

How far away is 1.5C of warming?

Global average temperatures have already warmed by around 1C since pre-industrial times (taken as 1850-1900 by the IPCC). However, the rate of warming is not consistent across the Earth’s surface, as the SPM notes:

“Warming greater than the global annual average is being experienced in many land regions and seasons, including two to three times higher in the Arctic. Warming is generally higher over land than over the ocean.”

In fact, chapter one (pdf) of the report notes that 20-40% of the global population live in regions that have already experienced warming of more than 1.5C in at least one season.

This is illustrated in a group of maps found in the same chapter, which show regional warming (in 2006-15) as an annual average and for the winter and summer seasons. The red and purple shading highlights that much of the high latitudes in the northern hemisphere have already exceeded the 1.5C of warming.

Maps of regional human-caused warming for 2006-15, relative to 1850-1900, annual average (top), the average of December, January and February (bottom left) and for June, July and August (bottom right). Shading indicates warming (red and purple) and cooling (blue). Credit: IPCC (pdf)

Maps of regional human-caused warming for 2006-15, relative to 1850-1900, annual average (top), the average of December, January and February (bottom left) and for June, July and August (bottom right). Shading indicates warming (red and purple) and cooling (blue). Credit: IPCC (pdf)

Around 100% of this warming is the result of human activity, the SPM says:

“Estimated anthropogenic global warming matches the level of observed warming to within ±20%.”

At current rates, human-caused warming is adding around 0.2C to global average temperatures every decade. This is the result of both “past and ongoing emissions”, the report notes.

If this rate continues, the report projects that global average warming “is likely to reach 1.5C between 2030 and 2052”.

Note that this is not referring to the first time that global average temperatures in a single year hit 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. Natural influences in the global climate – such as variability in the oceans – could temporarily tip temperatures beyond the 1.5C limit. (Similarly, factors such as a large volcanic eruption could suppress global temperatures in the short term.) What the special report is referring to is the point where long-term, human-caused warming reaches 1.5C, with these natural influences taken out.

This is illustrated in the chart from the SPM below, which shows global temperatures, relative to pre-industrial levels. The black line shows the fluctuations of global monthly temperatures to date, which includes the influence of natural variability. The red line shows the estimate of human-caused warming, which shows a more gradual increase. The grey, blue and purple shading illustrate different pathways to keeping warming to no more than 1.5C in 2100.

 

Chart shows observed monthly temperatures (black line), estimated human-caused warming (red), and idealised potential pathways to meeting 1.5C limit in 2100 (grey, blue and purple). All relative to 1850-1900. Credit: IPCC (pdf)

Chart shows observed monthly temperatures (black line), estimated human-caused warming (red), and idealised potential pathways to meeting 1.5C limit in 2100 (grey, blue and purple). All relative to 1850-1900. Credit: IPCC (pdf)

Past greenhouse gas emissions are unlikely to be enough by themselves to push global warming from 1C to 1.5C in the coming decades, the report notes, meaning that if emissions stopped today, the 1.5C limit would not be breached.

However, at the same time, the global emissions to date “will persist for centuries to millennia”, the report says, “and will continue to cause further long-term changes in the climate system, such as sea level rise, with associated impacts”.

(To see how every part of the world has already warmed – and could continue to warm under a range of different scenarios  – see Carbon Brief’s new searchable map.)

 How do the impacts of climate change compare between 1.5C and 2C?

Since the inclusion of the 1.5C limit in the Paris Agreement, there has been something of a flurry of research into the impacts of 1.5C of warming on the planet.

In fact, as Prof Piers Forster – professor of physical climate change at the University of Leeds and a lead author on chapter two of the special report – wrote in a Carbon Brief guest post at the end of the Paris talks, “climate scientists were caught napping” by the 1.5C limit:

“Before Paris, we all thought 2C was a near-impossible target and spent our energies researching future worlds where temperatures soared. In fact, there is still much to discover about the specific advantages of limiting warming to 1.5C.”

In a recent interactive article, Carbon Brief presented the findings of around 70 peer-reviewed studies showing how the potential impacts of climate change compare at 1.5C, 2C and beyond. The data covers a range of impacts – such as sea level rise, crop yields, biodiversity, drought, economy and health – for the world as a whole, as well as specific regions.

In the special report on 1.5C, chapter one (pdf) notes that climate impacts are already being observed on land and ocean ecosystems, and the services they provide:

“Temperature rise to date has already resulted in profound alterations to human and natural systems, bringing increases in some types of extreme weather, droughts, floods, sea level rise and biodiversity loss, and causing unprecedented risks to vulnerable persons and populations.”

The people that have been most affected live in low- and middle-income countries, the report says, some of whom have already seen a “decline in food security, linked in turn to rising migration and poverty”. Small islands, megacities, coastal regions and high mountain ranges are also among the most affected, the report adds.

In general – and, perhaps, unsurprisingly – the potential impacts of global warming “for natural and human systems are higher for global warming of 1.5C than at present, but lower than at 2C”, the SPM says. The risk are also greater if global temperatures overshoot 1.5C and come back down rather than if warming “gradually stabilises at 1.5C”.

There are a lot of impacts to consider, which is reflected in the fact that chapter three(pdf) on impacts is the longest of the whole report at 246 pages.

In many cases, the IPCC has “high confidence” that there is a “robust difference” between impacts at 1.5C and 2C – such as average temperature, frequency of hot extremes, heavy rainfall in some regions and the probability of drought in some areas.

As an illustration, the report includes a “reasons for concern” graphic that shows how the risks of severe impacts varies with warming levels. The example below shows a section of this graphic showing some of these impacts. The coloured shading indicates the risk level, from “undetectable” (white) up to “very high” (purple).

The graphic shows how warm water corals and the Arctic are particularly at risk from rising temperatures, moving into the “very high” category with 1.5C and 2C of warming, respectively.

How the level of global warming affects impacts and/or risks associated for selected natural, managed and human systems. Adapted from IPCC (pdf)

How the level of global warming affects impacts and/or risks associated for selected natural, managed and human systems. Adapted from IPCC (pdf)

Tropical coral reefs actually get their own specific section in Box 3.4 in chapter three, which emphasises that at 2C of warming, coral reefs “mostly disappear”. However, even achieving 1.5C “will result in the further loss of 90% of reef-building corals compared to today”, the report warns. And short periods (i.e. decades) where global temperatures overshoot 1.5C before falling again “will be very challenging to coral reefs”.

For the Arctic, the report expects that “there will be at least one sea-ice free Arctic summer out of 10 years for warming at 2C, with the frequency decreasing to one sea-ice-free Arctic summer every 100 years at 1.5C”. Interestingly, the report also notes that overshooting 1.5C and coming back down again would “have no long-term consequences for Arctic sea-ice coverage”.

Warming of 1.5C will also see weather extremes become more prevalent across the world, the report says. Increases in hot extremes are projected to be largest in central and eastern North America, central and southern Europe, the Mediterranean region, western and central Asia, and southern Africa. Holding warming to 1.5C rather than 2C will see around 420 million fewer people being frequently exposed to extreme heatwaves, the report notes.

High and low extremes in rainfall are also expected to become more frequent, the report says. The largest increases in heavy rainfall events are expected in high-latitude regions, such as Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Iceland, northern Europe and northern Asia. Whereas in the Mediterranean region and southern Africa, for example, “increases in drought frequency and magnitude are substantially larger at 2C than at 1.5C”.

For global sea levels, increases are projected to be around 0.1m less at 1.5C than at 2C come the end of the century, the report notes, which would mean that “up to 10.4 million fewer people are exposed to the impacts of sea level globally”. However, sea levels will continue to rise beyond 2100, the report says, and there is a risk that instabilities in the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets triggered by 1.5–2C of warming cause “multi-metre” increases in sea levels in the centuries and millennia to come.

Sea level rise is particularly pertinent for the risks facing small island states, which are covered in Box 3.5. The combination of rising seas, larger waves and increasing aridity“might leave several atoll islands uninhabitable” under 1.5C, the report warns.

Another topic given its own specific box is food security (“Cross-Chapter Box 6”), which is affected in various different ways by climate change, the report says:

“Overall, food security is expected to be reduced at 2C warming compared to 1.5C warming, due to projected impacts of climate change and extreme weather on crop nutrient content and yields, livestock, fisheries and aquaculture, and land use (cover type and management).”

Climate change can exacerbate malnutrition by reducing nutrient availability and quality of food products, the report notes. However, in general, “vulnerability to decreases in water and food availability is reduced at 1.5C versus 2C, whilst at 2C these are expected to be exacerbated, especially in regions such as the African Sahel, the Mediterranean, central Europe, the Amazon, and western and southern Africa”.

How quickly do emissions need to fall to meet the 1.5C limit?

Not all 1.5C limits are made equal. In model simulations that translate emissions into atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations – and, ultimately, to future warming – different emissions pathways take different routes to staying below 1.5C in 2100.

The special report broadly separates these pathways into two categories, as the Frequency Asked Questions section (pdf) of the report explains:

“The first involves global temperature stabilising at or below before 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. The second pathway sees warming exceed 1.5C around mid-century, remain above 1.5C for a maximum duration of a few decades, and return to below 1.5C before 2100. The latter is often referred to as an ‘overshoot’ pathway.”

The charts below illustrate the difference, with an “overshoot” pathway on the left and a stabilisation pathway on the right.

Two main pathways for limiting global temperature rise to 1.5C: stabilising warming at, or just below, 1.5C (right) and warming temporarily exceeding 1.5C before coming back down later in the century (left). Credit: IPCC (pdf)

Two main pathways for limiting global temperature rise to 1.5C: stabilising warming at, or just below, 1.5C (right) and warming temporarily exceeding 1.5C before coming back down later in the century (left). Credit: IPCC (pdf)

Below, as the table from chapter two (pdf) shows, the emissions scenarios used in the report fall into different categories, according to how much they overshoot 1.5C. Notably, only nine of the 90 1.5C scenarios stay below 1.5C for the entire 21st century. The other 81 all overshoot at some point.

This issue led the European Union to reportedly argue last week that overshoot scenarios should not count as aligned with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5C limit.

 

IPCC5

According to the SPM, in order to limit warming to 1.5C with “no or limited overshoot”, net global CO2 emissions need to fall by about 45% from 2010 levels by 2030 and reach “net zero” by around 2050.

In other words, by the middle of this century, the CO2 emitted by human activities needs to be matched by the CO2 deliberately taken out of the atmosphere through negative emissions techniques, such as afforestation and bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS).

For 2C, CO2 emissions will need to decline by about 20% by 2030 and reach net zero around 2075.

Both the 1.5C and 2C limits would also need similar “deep reductions” in non-CO2 emissions, such as methane and nitrous oxide, the SPM adds.

The graphic below illustrates how steeply CO2 emissions (left) and non-CO2 emissions (right) need to fall for 1.5C. The blue lines and shading show examples of pathways that meet the 1.5C limit with little (0-0.2C) or no overshoot, while the grey shows those where temperatures have a “high” temporary overshoot before coming back down again.

The requirement to reach net zero by 2050 is the same for future pathways with and without overshoot, chapter two notes.

Illustration of the timings of net zero for CO2 for meeting the 1.5C limit under “no or limited overshoot” (blue) and “high overshoot” (grey) scenarios. Also shown are emissions reductions required for methane, black carbon and nitrous oxide (right). Credit: IPCC (pdf)

Illustration of the timings of net zero for CO2 for meeting the 1.5C limit under “no or limited overshoot” (blue) and “high overshoot” (grey) scenarios. Also shown are emissions reductions required for methane, black carbon and nitrous oxide (right). Credit: IPCC (pdf)

So, how do current ambitions to cut emissions compare with these targets?

As part of the Paris Agreement, individual countries and the EU submitted pledges to reduce their emissions, known as “Nationally Determined Contributions”, or “NDCs”. These commitments run up to 2025 or 2030, with the intention that ambition is “ratcheted up” through the century.

However, as they stand, the cumulative emissions reductions are some way off the pathway to 1.5C, says chapter two:

“Under emissions in line with current pledges under the Paris Agreement, global warming is expected to surpass 1.5C, even if they are supplemented with very challenging increases in the scale and ambition of mitigation after 2030.”

Essentially, following such a relatively slow pace of emissions cuts for the next decade or so would would mean emissions need to drop to net zero even earlier – by 2045. And even if that were achieved, holding warming to 1.5C would still not be guaranteed.

As an FAQ from chapter two concludes:

“With the national pledges as they stand, warming would exceed 1.5C, at least for a period of time, and practices and technologies that remove CO2 from the atmosphere at a global scale would be required to return warming to 1.5C at a later date.”

What would it take to limit warming to 1.5C?

Cutting emissions to meet a 1.5C limit would require “rapid and far-reaching transitions” across the global economy, the SPM says.

These transitions would need to transform the way energy is used and the sources it comes from; the way land use and agricultural systems are organised; and the types and quantities of food and material that are consumed. The summary continues:

“These systems transitions are unprecedented in terms of scale, but not necessarily in terms of speed, and imply deep emissions reductions in all sectors, a wide portfolio of mitigation options and a significant upscaling of investments in those options.”

The details of these transformations are set out in more detail in the 113-page chapter two (pdf) of the report and a 99-page technical annex (pdf), based on research using integrated assessment models (IAMs). These IAMs combine different strands of knowledge to explore how human development and societal choices interact with and affect the natural world.

(See Carbon Brief’s in-depth explainer on IAMs for more on what they are and the ways they are limited.)

One “key finding”, says chapter two of the report, is that there are many different ways to meet the 1.5C limit under a wide spread of assumptions about future human and economic development. These pathways reflect different futures in terms of global politics and societal preferences, implying different trade-offs and co-benefits for sustainable development and other priorities.

However, all 1.5C pathways share certain features, including CO2 emissions falling to net-zero and unabated coal use being largely phased out by mid-century. They also include renewables meeting the majority of future electricity supplies, with energy use being electrified and made more efficient.

Investment in unabated coal is “halted” by 2030 in “most” 1.5C pathways, says chapter two. It adds:

“Some fossil investments made over the next few years – or those made in the last few – will likely need to be retired prior to fully recovering their capital investment or before the end of their operational lifetime.”

These changes are even more stark for the electricity sector, which is “virtually full[y] decarbonised…around mid-century”. This means that by 2050, coal use in the power sector falls to “close to 0%” and renewables supply 70-85% of the electricity mix.

Not including bioenergy, renewable deployment in 1.5C pathways increases between six and 14-fold by 2050, compared to 2010. Nuclear energy use increases in “most” 1.5C pathways, the report says – but not in all of them.

In addition, 1.5C pathways all include deep cuts in other greenhouse gases, such as a 35% reduction in methane emissions below 2010 levels by 2050.

“The energy transition is accelerated by several decades in 1.5C pathways compared to 2C pathways,” chapter two explains.

In addition to shifting to zero-carbon electricity, extra reductions in 1.5C versus 2C pathways come mainly from transport and industry, it says, with emissions from industry falling 75-90% below 2010 levels by 2050.

Furthermore, energy demand is tempered to a greater degree by efforts to improve end-use efficiency.

It is worth noting that IAMs have a well-known bias towards technological solutions, such as switching the source of energy supply or adding carbon capture and storage(CCS). Scientists have started to explore other ways to limit warming to 1.5C, for example by radically changing the way energy is used.

Finally, it is worth adding that IAM pathways are only really able to explore what is technically feasible. As explained in a lengthy section of chapter one of the report, this is distinct from what is socially, environmentally, politically or institutionally feasible.

Though some aspects of these broader questions are explored in chapter four (pdf), the report does not – and cannot – say whether it will, ultimately, be possible to avoid 1.5C of warming.

What does the report say about the remaining carbon budget for 1.5C?

One of the key tools that scientists have used in recent years to communicate the urgency of cutting emissions to meet the 1.5C limit is the idea of a “carbon budget”. This is essentially the amount of CO2 the human activity can emit into the atmosphere and still hold warming to the 1.5C limit.

Based on estimates made in the IPCC’s most recent assessment report (“AR5”), published in 2013-14, there were around 120 gigatonnes of CO2 (GtCO2) remaining in the budget from the beginning of 2018 for a 66% chance of avoiding 1.5C warming. That is equivalent to just three years of current global emissions.

However, since AR5 was published, a number of new research papers using different methods have suggested that the 1.5C is actually substantially larger. And as the remaining budget for 1.5C is – by any measure – relatively small, the choice of approach can make quite a difference.

The IPCC’s report takes these new approaches on board and expands the 1.5C budget, pushing it out to 420GtCO2 – equivalent to around 10 years of current emissions.

In a separate analysis piece published today, Carbon Brief has delved into the detail of this new, larger carbon budget and expanded on the reasons behind the shift.

Despite the change, it is worth noting that the key message remains the same: global CO2 emissions need to fall to net-zero by mid-century to avoid 1.5C of warming.

And even with the revised 1.5C carbon budget, it is unlikely to be the end of the debate. There are still a number of large uncertainties remaining, such as how to account for non-CO2 factors, what observational temperature datasets should be used, and whether Earth-system feedbacks, such as melting permafrost, are taken into account.

What role will ‘negative emissions’ play in limiting warming to 1.5C?

The report acknowledges that limiting warming to 1.5C will require the use of “negative emissions technologies” (NETs) – methods that remove CO2 from the atmosphere. In the report, these techniques are referred to as “carbon dioxide removal” (CDR).

To limit global temperature rise to 1.5C without overshoot, some use of NETs will be needed, the SPM notes:

“All pathways that limit global warming to 1.5C with limited or no overshoot project the use of CDR on the order of 100-1,000GtCO2 [billion tonnes] over the 21st century.”

And, if global temperatures do overshoot 1.5C, large-scale use of NETs will be required in order to bring warming back down, Prof Piers Forster told a press briefing:

“I think one of the most of the important things in the terms of this 1.5C report are these high overshooting scenarios where temperatures go above 1.7C and then return to below 1.5C by the end of the century. These scenarios will only be possible if we hugely invest in, scale up and build the technology for CO2 removal.”

It is worth noting that the SPM appears to underestimate the degree to which NETs could be needed in order to limit warming to 1.5C in comparison to the full report, says Dr Oliver Geden, head of the research at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, who was not a report author. He tells Carbon Brief:

“The SPM states that conventional mitigation is not enough and that there’s an additional need for CDR. Compared to the full report, the SPM paints too rosy a picture on this. The SPM talks about 100-1,000GtCO2 removal by 2100. But the report itself shows a mean CDR value much closer to the upper end of the 100-1,000GtCO2 range.”

The amount of CO2 that will need to be removed using NETs depends on how quickly and effectively cuts are made to global greenhouse gas emissions, the report says.

Even with rapid mitigation efforts, it is likely that NETs will be required to offset emissions from sectors that cannot easily reduce their emissions to zero, researchshows. These sectors include rice and meat production, which produce methane, and air travel.

The degree to which NETs will be needed matters because each of them come with “economic and institutional barriers” – as well as possible impacts on people and wildlife, Prof Heleen de Coninck, a researcher in climate change mitigation and policy from Radboud University in the Netherlands and coordinating lead author of chapter four of the report, told a press briefing.

For instance, several of the NETs would require the world to drastically change the way it uses the land. This includes bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and afforestation.

BECCS involves growing crops, burning them to produce energy, capturing the CO2 that is released during the process and storing it in an underground site. Afforestation, meanwhile, involves turning barren land into forest. Because plants absorb CO2 as they grow, both techniques would effectively remove CO2 from the atmosphere.

However, if these techniques were deployed at scale, they could compete for land with food production and natural habitats, the SPM says:

“Afforestation and bioenergy may compete with other land uses and may have significant impacts on agricultural and food systems, biodiversity and other ecosystem functions and services.”

The charts below show four possible pathways for reaching 1.5C. On the charts, grey shows fossil fuel emissions, while yellow and brown show the emissions reductions achieved by BECCS, and agriculture, forestry and other land use (AFOLU), respectively.

(Note that AFOLU also includes emissions reductions from other land-based NETS, such as natural forest regeneration and soil carbon sequestration.)

Four illustrative scenarios for limiting temperature rise to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. Grey shows fossil fuel emissions, while yellow and brown show the emissions reductions achieved by BECCS, and agriculture, forestry and other land use (AFOLU), respectively. Source: Summary for Policymakers, IPCC

Four illustrative scenarios for limiting temperature rise to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. Grey shows fossil fuel emissions, while yellow and brown show the emissions reductions achieved by BECCS, and agriculture, forestry and other land use (AFOLU), respectively. Source: Summary for Policymakers, IPCC

The P1 pathway assumes that the world rapidly reduces its fossil fuel emissions after 2020. This is largely achieved by reducing the global demand for energy, chiefly by switching to more energy-efficient technologies and behaviours. This pathway requires a relatively small amount of negative emissions, which is expected to be achieved via afforestation.

The P2 pathway also sees the world switch towards sustainable and healthy consumption patterns, low-carbon technology innovation, and well-managed land systems – this time with a limited amount of BECCS.

The P3 pathway is a “middle-of-the-road scenario” in which historical social and economic trends continue. Emissions reductions are mainly achieved by changing the way in which energy is produced and to a lesser degree by reductions in demand. This scenario requires a relatively large amount of BECCS.

The P4 pathway is a “resource and energy-intensive scenario”, which sees a growth in demand for high-energy products, such as air travel and meat. Emissions reductions are mainly achieved through BECCS.

(Pathways 1-3 see little-to-no overshoot of the 1.5C target, whereas P4 expects a high chance of overshoot.)

The chart below – which is taken from page 46 of chapter two (pdf) of the main report – shows the expected land-use change in 2050 and 2100 under each scenario. It is important to note that, on this chart, P1, P2, P3 and P4, correspond with “LED”, “S1”, “S2” and “S5”, respectively.

On the chart, expected land-use change for food crops (pink), energy crops (orange), forest (turquoise), “natural” land (blue) and pasture (green) are shown. Any number below zero indicates an overall decrease, while any number above shows expected increase.

 

Expected land-use change (million hectares) under four illustrative scenarios for limiting global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. Land-use change for food crops (pink), energy crops (orange), forest (turquoise), “natural” land (blue) and pasture (green) are shown. Source: IPCC

Expected land-use change (million hectares) under four illustrative scenarios for limiting global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. Land-use change for food crops (pink), energy crops (orange), forest (turquoise), “natural” land (blue) and pasture (green) are shown. Source: IPCC

The chart indicates how that, even in the scenario assuming the lowest possible reliance on negative emissions (P1/LED), land-use change is still expected to be substantial. Under P1/LED, it is assumed that 500m hectares of land – an area that is roughly twice the size of Argentina – is converted to forest by 2100. The pathway expects a similar-sized reduction in pastureland.

The P2/S1 pathway, which sees only limited use of BECCS, also expects large areas of land to be converted to forests, the report authors note on page 45:

“In pathways that allow for large-scale afforestation in addition to BECCS, land demand for afforestation can be larger than for BECCS. This follows from the assumption in the modelled pathways that, unlike bioenergy crops, forests are not harvested to allow unabated carbon storage on the same patch of land.”

However, in addition to the possible impacts of each of the NETs, the researchers also had to consider their overall level of “maturity” – or feasibility, Prof Jim Skea, co-chair of working group III (WG3) and chair of sustainable energy at Imperial College London, told a press briefing:

“Some of the nature-based techniques are definitely mature in the sense that we are doing them now and they are ready – it’s a question of the scale and the incentives that are needed for seeing them through.”

These “nature-based techniques”, which are also known as “natural climate solutions”, include afforestation, natural habitat regeneration and enhancing soil carbon stocks.

In comparison, BECCS should be considered less mature than nature-based methods, Skea says. This is because, although carbon capture and storage (CCS) has been demonstrated on a small scale at several sites across the world, it has not been shown to work alongside bioenergy at scale. “We’ve never really combined them together,” he says:

“Some of the other methods are lot more conceptual – for example, the enhanced weatheringof rock. Scientists believe it could be done. That’s what’s meant by the different levels of maturity. Some are ready to go now – they just need more incentives, others need a bit more development work.”

Could ‘solar geoengineering’ play a role in meeting 1.5C?

Solar geoengineering is only mentioned once in the SPM and 11 times in chapter four(pdf) of the report, where it is referred to as “solar radiation modification” (SRM).

SRM refers to a group of untested technologies that could, theoretically, reduce global warming by increasing the amount of sunlight that is reflected away from the Earth.

The report lists four of what it calls the “most-studied” options for SRM: stratospheric aerosol injection, marine cloud brightening, cirrus-cloud thinning and high-albedo crops and buildings. (More information on how these methods would work is detailed in Carbon Brief’s explainer on SRM.)

A lack of available scientific research led the authors to focus on just one of the proposed options, Prof Heleen de Coninck told the press briefing:

“The type of SRM we looked at was mainly stratospheric aerosol injection because that is what most of the literature is about. There’s been no experiments done so there’s no experimental evidence to assess – that’s why we’re saying it can only theoretically be effective in reducing the temperature.”

In accordance with the available scientific research, the report only considers “SRM as a supplement to deep mitigation, for example, in overshoot scenarios,” the authors say. The SPM reads:

“Although some SRM measures may be theoretically effective in reducing an overshoot, they face large uncertainties and knowledge gaps as well as substantial risks, institutional and social constraints to deployment related to governance, ethics, and impacts on sustainable development. They also do not mitigate ocean acidification.”

One ethical concern is a possible “moral hazard effect”, de Coninck says, which is the idea that research and development into solar geoengineering could deter policymakers from pursuing stringent mitigation.

Another risk mentioned in the report is “termination shock”. This is the fear that, if solar geoengineering was deployed and then suddenly stopped – as a result of political disagreement or a terrorist attack, for example – global temperatures could rapidly rebound.

This sharp temperature change could be “catastrophic” for wildlife, studies have suggested. However, other research argues that the likelihood of a termination shock has been “overplayed” and that measures could be put in place to ensure that the risk is minimised.

Many of the risks posed by SRM have not yet been adequately assessed by scientific research, de Coninck says:

“We’re not saying it’s not viable – that would be going beyond the IPCC’s mandate – but we’re noting that…it’s still a very developing field.”

What are the costs and benefits of meeting the 1.5C limit?

One obvious question about the 1.5C limit is whether it is worth meeting. In other words, do the benefits of avoided climate damages due to flooding, for example, outweigh the cumulative costs of cutting emissions?

Unfortunately, SR15 explicitly does not look at the total cost of 1.5C pathways. This is because the scientific literature on the subject is “limited”. Instead, the report looks at the global average “marginal abatement costs” this century. In other words, the costs per tonne of avoided emissions.

These marginal abatement costs are sometimes ambiguously referred to as the price of carbon used in IAM model pathways. This is not the same as a target or “required” carbon price in the real world, not least because IAMs often use a carbon price as a proxy for all other climate policy. Chapter two explains:

“A price on carbon can be imposed directly by carbon pricing or implicitly by regulatory policies. Other policy instruments, like technology policies or performance standards, can complement carbon pricing in specific areas.”

Nevertheless, the evidence suggests that carbon pricing should increase in order to meet more stringent climate goals, says chapter two.

In general, the SPM says that marginal abatement costs are roughly three to four times higher in 1.5C pathways, compared to 2C. It also sets out estimated investment needs for 1.5C pathways:

“Total annual average energy-related mitigation investment for the period 2015 to 2050 in pathways limiting warming to 1.5C is estimated to be around $900bn…Annual investment in low-carbon energy technologies and energy efficiency are upscaled by roughly a factor of five by 2050 compared to 2015.”

The SPM adds that “knowledge gaps” make it difficult to compare these mitigation costs against the benefits of avoided warming. For example, adaptation costs at 1.5C “might” be lower than for 2C, the SPM says, though it adds that costs are “difficult to quantify and compare”. Chapter two says:

“Pathways that are consistent with sustainable development show fewer mitigation and adaptation challenges and are associated with lower mitigation costs.”

Notably, however, while IAM pathways set out the costs of limiting warming to 1.5C, they do not generally consider the benefits of doing so, says the technical annex (pdf) to chapter two.

Meanwhile, these potential avoided climate damages from limiting warming to 1.5C are highly uncertain, as chapter three (pdf) of the report explains:

“Balancing of the costs and benefits of mitigation is challenging because estimating the value of climate change damages depends on multiple parameters whose appropriate values have been debated for decades (for example, the appropriate value of the discount rate) or that are very difficult to quantify (for example,the value of non-market impacts; the economic effects of losses in ecosystem services; and the potential for adaptation, which is dependent on the rate and timing of climate change and on the socioeconomic content).”

The best estimate of cumulative discounted damages due to 1.5C of warming by 2100 amounts to $54tn, the report says, rising to $69tn for 2C.

Will the world be able to adapt to 1.5C and beyond?

The report finds that, in general, the need for adaptation to climate change will be lower at 1.5C than 2C. However, it warns that, even if global warming is limited to 1.5C, it will not be possible to prepare for all of the impacts of climate change.

The report describes human adaptation to climate change as “the process of adjustment to actual or expected climate and its effects, in order to moderate harm or exploit beneficial opportunities”.

There are a number measures that could be taken to limit the impact of climate change on humans, the report says.

The table below – taken from pages 38-9 of chapter four (pdf) of the report – details eight “overarching” options for adaptation. The first column lists the conditions needed for the options to work and the second offers examples of where the options have already been implemented.

Eight “overarching” options for adapting for climate change. The first column lists the conditions needed for the options to work and second offers examples of where the options have already been implemented. Source: IPCC

Eight “overarching” options for adapting for climate change. The first column lists the conditions needed for the options to work and second offers examples of where the options have already been implemented. Source: IPCC

 

The first option, disaster risk management, is defined by the authors as “a process for designing, implementing and evaluating strategies, policies and measures to improve the understanding of disaster risk, and promoting improvement in disaster preparedness, response and recovery”.

As temperatures continue to rise, there is likely to be an “increased demand to integrate DRM and adaptation”, the authors write, “to reduce vulnerability, but institutional, technical and financial capacity challenges in frontline agencies constitute constraints”.

Another adaptation option discussed in the table is migration. The report notes that, at present, there is “low agreement as to whether migration is adaptive, in relation to cost effectiveness”. It says:

“Migrating can have mixed outcomes on reducing socio-economic vulnerability and its feasibility is constrained by low political and legal acceptability, and inadequate institutional capacity.”

In contrast to the report, migration is not listed as an adaptation option in the SPM.

The last adaptation option, “climate services”, refers to the possible dissemination of relevant climate information via daily forecasts and weather advisories, as well as seasonal forecasts and even multi-decadal projections. These kinds of services are already being used in sectors such as agriculture, health, disaster management, the report notes.

A number of steps could also be taken to reduce the risks facing natural ecosystems, the report says. These include restoring degraded natural spaces, strengthening actions to halt deforestation and pursuing sustainable agriculture and aquaculture.

The total costs associated with adapting to global warming of 1.5C are “difficult to quantify and compare with 2C,” says the SPM. This is largely to gaps in the scientific literature, the report authors say.

The SPM notes that adaptation has, typically, been funded by public sector sources, such as national governments, channels associated with the UN and through multilateral climate funds.

What are the links between 1.5C and poverty?

The final chapter of the report (chapter five, pdf) is dedicated to examining how climate change could impact sustainable development, poverty and inequality.

The SPM notes that, across the world, poorer communities are likely to be impacted disproportionately by global warming of 1.5C or higher.

“Populations at disproportionately higher risk of adverse consequences of global warming of 1.5C and beyond include disadvantaged and vulnerable populations, some indigenous peoples, and local communities dependent on agricultural or coastal livelihoods.”

A large proportion of the world’s poor rely on subsistence farming and so will be directly affected by the impact of climate change on temperature, rainfall and drought, says Prof Chuks Okereke, lead author of chapter five from the department of geography and environmental science at the University of Reading. He told a press briefing:

“A key finding of the report is these efforts to limit global warming to 1.5C can actually go hand in hand with many other intended to address issues of inequality and poverty eradication.”

In fact, limiting temperature rise to 1.5C rather than 2C could save “several hundred million” people from facing poverty by 2050, according to the report.

In addition, limiting global warming could also help the world to achieve many of the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs), the report says. The 17 SDGs are a set of targets, agreed in 2015, that aim to “end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity” by 2030, according to the UN Development Programme.

It is worth noting, however, that, in some cases, actions to limit warming to 1.5C could come with trade-offs with the SDGs, the SPM notes:

“Mitigation options consistent with 1.5C pathways are associated with multiple synergies and trade-offs across the SDGs. While the total number of possible synergies exceeds the number of trade-offs, their net effect will depend on the pace and magnitude of changes, the composition of the mitigation portfolio and the management of the transition.”

The chart below summarises the potential positive (synergies) and negative (trade-offs) effects of mitigation options for reaching 1.5C on each of the SDGs. On the chart, the total length of the bars represent the size of the positive or negative effect, while shading shows the level of confidence (light to dark: low to very high).

The mitigation techniques are split into three sectors: energy supply, energy demand and land. Options assessed in the energy supply sector include biomass and renewables, nuclear, BECCS, and CCS with fossil fuels. The energy demand sector comprises options for improving energy efficiency in the transport and building sectors. The land sector comprises afforestation and reduced deforestation, sustainable agriculture, low-meat diets and a reduction in food waste, and soil carbon management.

You can read the Q&A in its entirety here.

What’s next?

In the short term, the report will be used immediately by the people who first requested it nearly three years ago in Paris – the world’s governments.

Climate negotiators from almost 200 countries are due to meet in Poland in December at the next annual round of talks. The IPCC report is certain to be cited and quoted by negotiators from a variety of countries as they, among other things, try to agree on the “rulebook” for the Paris Agreement.

The IPCC itself will now turn its attention to two more special reports before it publishes its sixth assessment report (pdf) in 2021. In September 2019, at a meeting in Kenya, it is due to finalise a special report on the “ocean and cryosphere in a changing climate”. At the same time, it will also finalise a special report on “climate change and land”.

In the UK, the government said earlier this year that, once the IPCC report is out, it will ask its official advisory body, the Committee on Climate Change, to assess the “implications” of revising the Climate Change Act 2008 to better reflect the Paris Agreement’s goals.

The Climate Change Act legally commits the UK to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by “at least” 80% by 2050 against 1990 levels. Claire Perry, the minister for energy and clean growth, has said on a number of occasions since that announcement in April that governments need to “raise ambition to avert catastrophic climate change”.

As Carbon Brief explained at the time, the CCC has already said that a global 1.5C limit would mean a more ambitious 2050 goal for the UK, in the range of 86-96% below 1990 levels, as well as setting a net-zero target at some point.

We don’t need more doomsday climate predictions. We need solutions — like this one.

By David Von Drehle
View the original article here.

High waters flood Market and Water Streets as Hurricane Florence comes ashore in Wilmington, N.C., on Friday.

High waters flood Market and Water Streets as Hurricane Florence comes ashore in Wilmington, N.C., on Friday.

Like most people (according to polls), I believe greenhouse gases trap heat — a fact easily proved by experiments simple enough to perform at home. More greenhouse gases will trap more heat. And when temperatures rise on Earth, they impact the entire ecosystem.

The case for limiting emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases is all right there. Most people get it. Yet many of our most passionate citizens on this topic seem to believe that only panic will produce results. In trying to stimulate alarm, however, they often wind up fortifying the dwindling but stubborn cadre of skeptics.

Case in point: Hurricane Florence. As the cyclone worked its way up the Saffir-Simpson scale of storm strength, I braced for the inevitable pronouncements that climate change is making our storms worse, with Florence as Exhibit A. Then the incredible complexity of climate kicked in. The cyclone went to pieces (as most of them, thankfully, do) and staggered ashore as a very wet and dangerous Category 1 storm. Power was knocked out, homes were flooded, trees were snapped or torn up by the roots. An unpleasant, unwelcome visitor, but hardly unprecedented.

Climate activists should get out of the prediction business, because climate is too complex to be reduced to a single factor. The strongest storm to hit the United States continues to be the Labor Day hurricane of — wait for it — 1935, which wiped out entire towns in the Florida Keys. Runner-up: Camille in 1969. Billions and billions and billions of tons of carbon dioxide have been pumped into the atmosphere since those storms raged.

Looking backward rather than ahead, however, a tentative case, a hypothesis, could be ventured that we are in fact seeing greater frequency of strong storms. Since the introduction of weather satellites in the 1960s made comprehensive tracking possible, meteorologists have calculated the total energy of Atlantic cyclones each year. All seven seasons of greatest hurricane energy have come since 1995. Even so, the years from 2013 through 2015 were unusually calm.

But debating over doomsdays only empowers the climate skeptics, because it takes a topic of consensus and puts it in the realm of dispute. People don’t need more fear of climate change. They need more hope for solutions. And one single step could galvanize the awesome power of America’s economy toward answers: cap and trade.

Capping total carbon dioxide emissions nationwide and allowing producers to trade emission permits are not an intrusion on the free market, as some conservatives have complained of the trailblazing program underway in California. Instead, cap and trade empowers the market. As Adam Smith explained, the wealth-creating genius of a free market stems from its ability to efficiently gather vast stores of data about people’s needs and wants and convey that information to producers through the simple signal of what people are willing to pay. Good old supply and demand.

Carbon emissions impose social costs. But most of the U.S. economy is blind to that information. Without an overall cap on emissions, the market thinks that supply — in this case, the ability to emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere — is infinite and thus the cost of emitting is zero. Cap and trade switches on a price signal, which in turn focuses the creativity, innovation and efficiency of the entire economy on cutting emissions without sacrificing quality of life. The free market does what it does best (more Adam Smith): lowers production costs while maintaining and enhancing the appeal of its products.

Opponents of cap and trade say the idea has failed in Europe, but the hiccups in that market are attributable to weakness of the European Union — Brussels set its cap too high — and the slow European economy. A more revealing case comes from here at home. In 1995, the United States capped sulfur dioxide emissions (the primary cause of acid rain) and issued tradable permits. By 2010, according to one gimlet-eyed assessment, emissions were down nearly 70 percent and health-care costs were reduced by as much as $100 billion.

Admittedly, carbon emissions are a more complex market than sulfur emissions. Everyone has a carbon footprint, while sulfur dioxide is mainly a byproduct of coal-burning power plants. But there are many ubiquitous commodities in our lives: virtually everyone uses steel, paper, electricity, water, wheat and so on. Somehow, the market manages to put a price on all of them and efficiently collect those costs from willing consumers.

When carbon-dioxide emissions reflect what most of us agree to be their true costs, capitalists throughout the economy will turn their resources to cutting those costs. They will discover greater efficiencies. They will invest in alternative energy. They will sink money into inventions and technologies undreamed of today. They will move with speed and agility no government bureaucracy can match.

You might say I’m predicting a Category 5 storm of hope. But this is the U.S. economy I’m talking about; its potential power is never in doubt.

The Religions of the World Agree: Being Sustainable Is a Moral imperative; So, How Can We Bring the Ecology of Faith Home

PJ PictureBy: Paul L. Jones, CPA
LEED Green Associate
Director, Financial Advisory Services for Emerald Skyline Corporation

“Climate change is the most serious issue facing humanity today. It is already seriously impacting economies, ecosystems, and people worldwide. Left unchecked, it will cause tremendous suffering for all living beings.” From the International Dharma Teachers’ Statement on Climate Change, 1/8/2014

Because creation was entrusted to human stewardship, the natural world is not just a resource to be exploited but also a reality to be respected and even reverenced as a gift and trust from God. It is the task of human beings to care for, preserve and cultivate the treasures of creation.” Saint Pope John Paul II, The Church in Oceania, 2001, n.31

“For the Church of the 21st Century, good ecology is not an optional extra, but a matter of justice. It is therefore central to what it means to be a Christian.” Dr. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church Care, Church of England

“We are convinced that there can be no sincere and enduring resolution to the challenge of the ecological crisis and climate change unless the response is concerted and collective, unless the responsibility is shared and accountable, unless we give priority to solidarity and service.” From the Joint message from Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on the World Day of Prayer for Creation, September 1, 2017

Screen Shot 2017-10-03 at 11.59.24 AM

‘Ecology’ (from the Greek oikos) refers to the Earth as our home; our place of wellbeing. For Christians, ecological stewardship is the conviction that every gift of nature and grace comes from God and that the human person is not the absolute owner of his or her gifts or possessions but rather the trustee or steward of them. These gifts are given in trust for the building of the Kingdom of God. Christians are called to appreciate the spiritual and theological significance of the Earth and to exercise ecological stewardship of the Earth and its resources. The gifts of creation are not simply there for human use, but have their own dignity, value and integrity.

In April 2016, Muslim leaders delivered the Islamic climate change declaration. From an article announcing its’ release, “Islam teaches us that ‘man is simply a steward holding whatever is on earth in trust’,” says Nana Firman, Co-Chair of the Global Muslim Climate Network. “The Declaration calls upon all nations and their leaders to drastically reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and support vulnerable communities, both in addressing the impacts of climate change and in harnessing renewable energy.”

“Mahatma Gandhi urged, ‘You must be the change you wish to see in the world.’ If alive today, he would call upon Hindus to set the example, to change our lifestyle, to simplify our needs and restrain our desires. As one sixth of the human family, Hindus can have a tremendous impact. We can and should take the lead in Earth-friendly living, personal frugality, lower power consumption, alternative energy, sustainable food production and vegetarianism, as well as in evolving technologies that positively address our shared plight.” From the Hindu Declaration on Climate Change

“In the Jewish liturgy there is a prayer called Aleinu in which we ask that the world be soon perfected under the sovereignty of God (le-takein ‘olam  be-malkhut Shaddai). Tikkun ‘olam, the perfecting or the repairing of the world, has become a major theme in modern Jewish social justice theology. It is usually expressed as an activity, which must be done by humans in partnership with God. It is an important concept in light of the task ahead in environmentalism. In our ignorance and our greed, we have damaged the world and silenced many of the voices of the choir of Creation. Now we must fix it. There is no one else to repair it but us.” by Rabbi Lawrence Troster

So, all of the world’s major religions and all of the spiritual leaders of the world agree: Being a faithful steward in the care of His Creation is a religious and spiritual mandate: It is our obligation. But then we see churches that run the air conditioning full blast – when only a few people are present or we witness waste in water consumption, food preparation and other church, school and ecological waste in related parish activities. I think this lack of prioritization among every pastor, priest, rabbi, imam, swami and teacher, not just the leadership of a few, as evidenced by the failure to make every building occupied by a religious or spiritual institution sustainable.

As Saint James tells us “Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of Wisdom.” (James 3:13)

Hartford Institute estimates there are roughly 350,000 religious congregations in the United States. This estimate relies on the RCMS 2010 religious congregations census. Of those, about 314,000 are Protestant and other Christian churches, and 24,000 are Catholic and Orthodox churches. Non-Christian religious congregations are estimated at about 12,000.

According to the Catholic Climate Covenant in their presentation on the Catholic Covenant Energies program, “there are an estimated 70,000 Catholic-owned buildings in the United States.” Considering that the Catholic Church represents less than 10% of all religious congregations in the U.S., the opportunity for reducing the carbon footprint through sustainable practices in our churches, synagogues, mosques, schools, day care centers and other facilities operated by religious congregations is enormous. The Covenant calculates that by implementing proven and affordable conservation measures, Catholic-owned buildings can reduce energy use in buildings owned by 25% saving the Catholic Church $630 million in energy costs, “reducing energy use by an equivalent of 8.7 million tons of coal.”

Now, imagine if all faith denominations practiced what they preached – and not just in the United States but throughout the world! The Church and all religious denominations would then make a real – and positive – impact on the lives of all people, reducing suffering and promoting the cause of social justice. Further, the savings from lower utility bills and other sustainable practices can be diverted to core Church ministries like education, youth outreach and the care of the least in their community. Finally, through the implementation of sustainable practices, parishioners would learn how to be sustainable in their personal lives – saving on their utility bills helps the poor afford other necessities – life food or medicine.

So, what is a congregation to do?

In his book, “Inspiring Progress: Religions’ Contributions to Sustainable Development,” Gary Gardner, provides five capacities in which religion can help meet the challenge posed by climate change and sea level rise:

  1. Engage members of faith-based groups
  2. Moral authority – offer ethical guidelines and religious leadership
  3. Provide meaning by shaping world views and new paradigms of well-being
  4. Share physical resources; and
  5. Build community to support sustainable practices

And then there is the key to the Kingdom, be sustainable. Here are some of the most cost-effective steps any parish can take to begin the process of becoming a sustainable religious community. These steps can help reduce energy bills, tackle climate change and build a more sustainable future.

  • Air seal doors, windows and any other drafty locations which reduces the waste of energy used to heat or cool the facility;
  • Employ energy efficiency technology that optimizes energy performance which includes LED lighting, occupancy sensors, and insulating hot water storage tanks.
  • Be prudent in energy use: adjusting the thermostats 1 degree lower in the church, parish hall or other facilities can cut heating costs 5 percent over the course of a heating season. Setting the air-conditioning a few degrees higher has an equal effect; and
  • Improve water use efficiency by using low-flush toilets and urinals in parish facilities, landscaping with plants that don’t require a lot of water, collecting and reusing water for irrigation, employing detection devices to fix leaking pipes and plumbing (Installing high-efficiency plumbing fixtures and appliances can help reduce indoor water use by one-third, saving on water and sewer bills, and cutting energy use by as much as 6 percent);
  • Choose local suppliers and contractors who employ sustainable practices like energy efficiencies and use of “green” products;
  • Identify and employ wider, imaginative ways – like a temporary farmer’s market, reversible accommodation for classes, meetings and other uses to use church properties when not engaged in worship; and
  • Reduce, reuse and recycle.

Then, pewsthere are larger projects – like replacing HVAC equipment and appliances that are near the end of their functional life; adding solar panels, installing a geo-thermal plant, replacing vehicles with fuel-efficient, electric, hybrid or alternative fuel vehicles and encourage use of mass transit, carpooling and telecommuting.

The Catholic Climate Covenant and its sister organization, Catholic Covenant Energies, a non-profit organization which is working with the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and similar for-profit organizations like Commons Energy which is working with the Archdiocese of Vermont are available to provide financing.

Now is the time for our religions to take the lead in bringing sustainable practices to their properties, to their parishes and to their community… From the first letter of Saint John (3:18), “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in Truth.”

Exxon boss: climate change is ‘real’ and ‘serious’

The company is accused of ignoring its own climate change science for years.

By: Alejandro Dávila Fragoso
View the original article at ThinkProgress.

tillerson

ExxonMobil Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson. CREDIT: AP/Evan Vucci

Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson said Wednesday the company backs a price on carbon and believes climate change brings “real” risks that require “serious” action.

Speaking at the Oil & Money conference in London, Tillerson also noted that the Paris climate accord set to kick in this November is unlikely to limit near-term consumption of oil and gas, Climate Central reported.

“We have long used a proxy cost of carbon… there’s a range depending on the country, depending on the tax that we think would be appropriate,” he said. “We’re trying to influence and inform people and business on the choices they make.”

Tillerson’s comments come amidst accusations that Exxon Mobil, the world’s largest listed oil and gas company, for years ignored company scientists who warned about climate change as early as 1977. The company has also been accused of funding climate science denial groups. Since the story broke in 2015, multiple state attorneys general, led by New York AG Eric Schneiderman, and organizations have subpoenaed the company to give investigators 40 years of documents on research findings and communications about climate change.

Exxon denies the accusations and has even sued some state AGs. On Monday, after almost a year of cooperating, the company sued in a Texas federal court to block the subpoenas from New York and Massachusetts, Inside Climate News reported.

In a news release, Exxon called the New York and Massachusetts investigations “biased attempts to further a political agenda for financial gain.” The company said Schneiderman and others are colluding with anti-oil and gas activists. For more than decade “it has widely and publicly confirmed” the risk of climate change and its potential impacts on society and ecosystems, the company said in the news release.

Organizations like the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) dispute that, however. UCS claims that as recently as 2015, Tillerson said the world should improve its understanding of climate science before acting, and that he’s asserted climate models are inaccurate. The advocacy organization also notes Exxon is still associated with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a free-market lobbying group that has worked to kill renewable energy programs, and teach climate denial in schools.

On Wednesday, Tillerson avoided the most recent controversy, but said that since 2006, Exxon has been committed to doing the “right thing the right way.”

“Integrity is in everything we do. It’s the foundation of trust and cooperation. A focus on integrity makes a corporations more effective,” he said.

Solar Technology Update: New Device Does the Work of Plants

KG ResizeBy Kendall Gillen, LEED Green Associate

ARTIFICIAL-LEAFThe latest in solar technology is unlike what you would expect. Traditionally, solar cells harness sunlight and convert it into electricity, which is then stored in batteries. This is one of the cleanest forms of renewable energy that can be used to power your home or business. This type of solar cell isn’t going away any time soon, but a different type engineered recently by researchers at the University of Illinois is capable of doing the work of plants. This new solar cell could be a game-changer as it “cheaply and efficiently converts atmospheric carbon dioxide directly into usable hydrocarbon fuel” according to Solar Daily. The process is powered entirely by sunlight and requires no battery storage.

What does this new solar cell mean as far as real world problem solving? The benefits are two-fold. If entire solar farms were made up of these so-called artificial leaves, it could greatly reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere while simultaneously generating energy-rich fuel. Essentially, we can reverse some of the climate change damage done from burning fossil fuels and decrease the concentration of atmospheric CO2.

The product of this process is synthesis gas or syngas, which can be burned itself or converted into other hydrocarbon fuels. The artificial leaves convert carbon dioxide into fuel at a cost comparable to one gallon of gasoline. Read below for an explanation of the chemical process that made this possible as explained by Solar Daily:

“The new solar cell is not photovoltaic – it’s photosynthetic,” says Amin Salehi-Khojin, assistant professor of mechanical and industrial engineering at UIC and senior author on the study.

Chemical reactions that convert CO2 into burnable forms of carbon are called reduction reactions, the opposite of oxidation or combustion. Engineers have been exploring different catalysts to drive CO2 reduction, but so far such reactions have been inefficient and rely on expensive precious metals such as silver, Salehi-Khojin said.

“What we needed was a new family of chemicals with extraordinary properties,” he said.

Salehi-Khojin and his coworkers focused on a family of nano-structured compounds called transition metal dichalcogenides – or TMDCs – as catalysts, pairing them with an unconventional ionic liquid as the electrolyte inside a two-compartment, three-electrode electrochemical cell. The best of several catalysts they studied turned out to be nanoflake tungsten diselenide.

“The new catalyst is more active; more able to break carbon dioxide’s chemical bonds,” said UIC postdoctoral researcher Mohammad Asadi. In fact, he said, the new catalyst is 1,000 times faster than noble­metal catalysts — and about 20 times cheaper.

solar farm panelsThis is truly a breakthrough in the field of solar technology that can have large and small-scale applications. This is the first solar cell that could render fossil fuels obsolete based on its affordability and efficiency. Fuel could be produced locally as opposed to relying on unstable regions. Scientists have been working since the first ‘artificial leaf’ was produced last year to find a cost-effective process that uses only sunlight and carbon dioxide to mimic the natural process of photosynthesis in plants to produce fuel, and it appears they finally have something that will stick.

Emerald Skyline is always looking for ways to provide superior products and services to meet our client’s needs. My bachelor’s degree in biology allows me to bring a unique perspective on sustainability and mimicking the biological processes found in nature within the built environment. This allows us to provide our clients the latest technologies and largest and most open network available today.

Information on Emerald Skyline is available on our website: www.emeraldskyline.com.

Shoreline Adaptation Land Trusts “SALT” – new concept for adaptation

John EnglanderBy John Englander
www.johnenglander.net

 

 

Shoreline Adaptation Land Trusts – “SALT” «««« DOWNLOAD HERE

At a conference today in St. Petersburg Florida I have put forth a new concept: Shoreline Adaptation Land Trusts. “SALT” The 3-page paper was published by the Institute of Science for Global Policy and can be downloaded above or from their web site www.scienceforglobalpolicy.org

I developed the concept in response to their challenge to come up with something specific that could be based on science and help the adaptation of policy to deal with rising sea level. This two day forum is: “Sea Level Rise: What’s Our Next Move?”

Similar to the concept of conservation land trusts which have been well established, a SALT could create a vehicle to facilitate the migration of vulnerable private lands. If you are interested, please download the short paper with the description.

How Greed and Capitalism Can Solve the Climate Crisis

By Greg Hamra, LEED AP BD+C, O+M
Climate Solutionist, Education & Advocacy
Guest Author

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You’re about to learn of a fiscally conservative, market based solution to the climate crisis that reduces government regulations, boosts economic growth, creates millions of jobs, save thousands of lives per year and reduces greenhouse gases and has the endorsement of leading economists and world-famous scientists.

But first, a disclaimer: I think Naomi Klein makes some very good points in her book, “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate.” Naomi Klein first landed on my radar with this hard-hitting quote:

“Climate change detonates the ideological scaffolding on which contemporary conservatism rests. A belief system that vilifies collective action and declares war on all corporate regulation and all things public simply cannot be reconciled with a problem that demands collective action on an unprecedented scale and a dramatic reining in of the market forces that are largely responsible for creating and deepening the crisis.”

I find it very difficult to argue with her statement. However, many experts believe solution exists somewhere in between Naomi Klein and Milton Friedman, in fixing capitalism, not overthrowing it. Don’t be so quick to dismiss capitalism as a tremendously powerful force to drive human behavior and major financial moves. Right now capitalism is very broken. It’s being misused, mismanaged, and even hijacked. And when it comes to our energy economy, it is completely bastardized. Milton Friedman is turning over in his grave.

“It is easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism.” – Fredric Jameson

And if you think all this is just a scam – part of a liberal conspiracy, I say to you: “You can ignore reality, but you can’t ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.” - Ayn Rand

Please take a moment to consider the benefits being put forth, an economic boost, job creation, and restoration of free-market capitalism! The issues at hand are of such great urgency and importance that none of us can enjoy the luxury of expecting everyone to do what needs to be done for the same reasons you or I have.

So what’s the problem?

Our need power our world by continually burning of fossil fuels results in serious consequences for our planet, our economy, and the way we live. Our very way of life is threatened. Burning of fossil fuels results in the release of heat-trapping gases to our atmosphere. This is not disputed.

The costs associated with this are immense. They include: downwind emissions that shorten people’s lives, sea-level rise (SLR), extreme weather, increased wildfires, ecosystem and biodiversity loss (including crop loss), dying coral, famine, floods, mudslides, damaged fisheries, and a national security risk in the form of climate refugees. (See documentary: “Climate Refugees” with Newt Gingrich – trailer).

The big issue for us in South Florida is clearly sea-level rise. In fact, Miami is ground-zero for the economic impacts of sea-level rise with the greatest value of assets at risk in the world. SLR is the result of a warming planet. Over 93% of the Earth’s trapped surface heat goes straight to the oceans. Thermal expansion of ocean water and melting of land-based ice results in sea-level rise. Here in S. FL, the seas have risen nearly 9 inches in the past 100 years, as measured by the Naval Air Station in Key West. During super high-tides, sea water is delivered into our streets through the storm sewers. (Sea-level rise in action) The City of Miami Beach is undertaking major infrastructure improvements, raising sea-walls, roads and sidewalks, and installing pumps to return seawater back to Biscayne Bay. The first phase of this project included four pumps at a cost of $15 Million. The entire project will involve 60-70 pumps with a whopping price-tag.

Estimated cost: $500 MILLION

Prices reflected in our cost of good or fuels: $0

With assets in the trillions to be protected, we need to do this, but we also need to fix a big accounting error.

Our broken energy economy bears little resemblance to a free-market economic model.

Three predominant market distortions that must be remedied:

  • The price on fossil fuels does not reflect the social costs.
  • Energy subsidies (picking winners and losers) serve to create deeper market distortions.
  • Top-down government regulations can be inefficient and costly, and receive consistent pushback from ‘free-market’ purists and industry groups.

The President’s new Clean Power Plan is an aggressive and effort to tackle GHG emissions. So what’s the problem? Half of the states are already protesting it.
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Our energy economy is broken. Very broken. Nobody argues with this.

Another problem we have are elected leaders who are driven by fear, short-term interests, and often re-elected by low-information, similarly fearful voters. I submit that most of these punters, these ‘slow-lane’ Americans who waffle somewhere between “let’s keep it in neutral” and “more CO2 release is good for us” are actually quite scared. But they’re not afraid of the science. They’re afraid of the solutions. They fear that anything we do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will tank our economy. Many people truly believe this, conservatives and many liberals too. And they’re wrong.

What we have at hand is potentially the biggest job-creating economic stimulus ever seen… if we get it right. But what if we don’t? It’s not like it’s the end of the world, right? Wrong That’s exactly what it means. Our survival on this planet depends on getting this right, and fast. We can’t afford to punt. We need a big play.

We need to fix the accounting error. The moment we begin to account for the social and environmental costs of carbon based fuels, the markets will shift.

To my conservative friends:

Our energy economy is nothing at all like the “free-market” Milton Friedman envisioned. Would you help to restore true, free-market principles, remove the socialism from the system, help restore capitalism and fix our energy economy? Consider dealing with this issue the Reagan way.

To my more liberal, and potentially anti-capitalist friends:

Capitalism is a big word, with many flavors. Leading economists realize we’re getting it wrong and that a correction is in order. Experts think more plausible, and certainly more politically viable to plug the holes in capitalism rather than swap it for an entirely different economic system. That would require nothing short of a revolution. Are you ready for that? Me neither.

There’s one plan that could put us on the right track. The Washington Post called it the most politically viable solution to reducing greenhouse gasses, and it is consistent conservative economic principles.

The carbon fee + dividend (CF&D) plan was written by a Republican icon, George Shultz, President Reagan’s Treasury Secretary and Secretary of State, and Nobel laureate Gary Becker.

It calls for a steadily-rising revenue-neutral carbon tax collected at the most upstream point — the mine, well, frack pad — (about 1600 points of collection in the U.S.) and rebating those fees back to American households. All of it. This is not a big government plan. In fact, it trades in current big government regulations and subsidies for a simple, more honest, market-based plan that fixes the accounting error.

This plan is consistent with conservative economic principles by embedding the true cost into the price we pay for our direct and embodied energy. When happens, market actors change behavior almost immediately. When the markets move in this direction we’ll be on our way. Suddenly all those green jobs we’ve wanted start taking off. American ingenuity and competition is unleashed.

This plan has the endorsement of leading economists, top scientists, and top economic policy analysts. George Shultz says: “You shouldn’t call it a tax if the government doesn’t keep it!”

Read about the Shultz-Becker Carbon Tax proposal in this WSJ article (or see PDF).

In summary the Carbon Fee and Dividend plan:

  • reduces government intervention
  • leverages the incredible power of the market
  • is revenue-neutral; rebates all funds to taxpayers
  • unleashes American ingenuity and innovation, and spurs competition
  • will create millions of jobs, benefiting our economy (REMI report)
  • would eliminate costly fossil-fuel subsidies
  • would result in thousands of lives saved
  • would reduce GHGs by over 50% by 2035

From a performance standpoint, the Carbon Fee & Dividend would outperform the Clean Power Plan. Look:

  • CPP aims for a 32% emissions reduction by 2030 (and some call it a job killer)
  • CFD would reduce CO2 emissions by 52% by 2035 (and it creates 2.8 million jobs)

So the solution is simple:

  1. Put an HONEST price on carbon
  2. Rebate all fees to American households
  3. Get out of the way and let the free market work

This is a call to my fellow Americans. Let’s fix capitalism! Let’s restore some honesty into the system.

Economist Robert Reich explains in 3-minutes:

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What we need is political will for a livable world. We need a price on carbon, a carbon fee & dividend.

To be part of the solution, contact Citizens’ Climate Lobby, the most effective organization driving sane climate policy in this country. www.citizensclimatelobby.org

The world’s most famous climate scientist says…
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Learn more:

 

Now, let me tell you about this…

10/22/14

PJ Picture
By Paul L. Jones
, Founder,
Director, Financial Advisory Services for Emerald Skyline Corporation

 

I freeze…become paralyzed in the face of danger or uncertainty. It is something that I am getting better at as I age but I still tend to become a deer in the headlights from time to time. In heated discussions, I never come up with the one line “Buzzinga” response until later – sometimes days later – when it is too late to be effective.

Does this happen to you?   Or, are you one of the blessed people who know just the right response to any situation without giving it a second thought? Do you see a situation and instantly know and take the correct action to save the person from going into the undertow or stop the bleeding from a kitchen knife cut or have just the right response to win the debate?

We all respond to new circumstances differently. Some freeze, some panic and run, others deny what is happening like a child who pretends people cannot see him when he pulls his “magical” covers over his head. And, then, there are some charge forward full speed ahead.

Again, if you are like me, once you get over the shock of “is this really happening?” you assess the situation, spring into action and work feverishly to correct, or save, the situation….

Based on the muted reaction, or the “I am not a scientist so it does not exist” position of a significant number of our civic, community and business leaders, either they are in shock that the world’s climate can change so rapidly or they are in complete denial which is worse. The fact that many large American cities ranging from Galveston and New Orleans to Tampa, Miami and even as far north as New York City will be faced with significant issues from the rising sea level is still being debated among politicians reflects a similar approach to reality as the child with the magic blanket.

The news of global warming, now more appropriately referred to as Climate Change, is not new. Scientists have been ringing the warning bell for at least two decades. And yet we still do not want to believe.

Well, we are now starting to see the effects. Storms like Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, increased flooding in cities like Miami Beach, increased tornado activity, the hottest year on record, and shrinking shorelines caused by sea level rise are now featured in the news on a regular basis.

Many government officials responsible for protecting the public from such events are joining in the chorus to raise awareness in order to make their job of obtaining public approval for a budget to install and maintain systems and equipment to reduce the damage from the effects of climate change feasible.

Yet, it is the real estate community that seems to most want to stick their head in the sand….For instance, last July, the Miami-Dade Sea Level Rise Task Force issued its report and recommendations. Shortly afterwards, the Miami Chapter of the American Institute of Architects held a meeting with Harvey Ruvin, Miami-Dade Clerk of Courts and Chairman of the Task Force, presenting the report. The meeting, which was broadly announced, had fewer than 100 attendees and almost no one from the real estate community was in attendance.

As reported in the June 2014 report “Risky Business: A Climate Risk Assessment for the United States”, it is apparent that climate change and sea level rise are going to have significant effects on the American global business community – and real estate, which has a particular distinction of being immovable, is going to be more impacted than most industries.

And yet. And yet the real estate community is acting as if it is business as usual. The level of interest in doing a sustainable retrofit has yet to make a significant impact on the market – especially for properties that are not seeking credit-quality tenants whose corporate sustainability policies encourage occupancy in LEED-certified buildings. (According to an article entitled “What’s Sustainability Wroth to Tenants?” by Paul Bubny of Cushman & Wakefield in the 10/28/2014 GlobeSt.com national eMagazine, ” Among the 37 real estate and sustainability directors at 23 US-based corporations surveyed by C&W, 74% see value in going to a sustainable building compared to a non-sustainable one.”1

With the obvious costs to upgrade and improve the infrastructure – especially electrical and water and sewer utilities, as well as expected increase in insurance costs, a prudent reaction to the reality of climate change and sea level rise would be to put improvements in place now that reduce the consumption of water and power as well as to make a building less susceptible to damage from major hurricanes, storms and other weather events (like flooding).

We can only hope that real estate owners, investors, managers and tenants will soon realize that the future is now, overcome their “shock” of the impending calamity and start to take action. It is time to take action. The economic, environmental and operational benefits will be immediate and, if done right, sustainable.

And, as in any crisis situation, if you wait too long to take action, the results can be devastating. Let me know if I can be of service.

1 See (http://www.globest.com/news/12_975/national/office/Whats-Sustainability-Worth-to-Tenants-351877.html?ET=globest:e44644:11970a:&st=email&s=&cmp=gst:National_AM_20141027:editorial).

Stimulating Innovation to Create More Sustainable Cities

Andre Veneman is corporate director for sustainability and HSE with AkzoNobel .Environmental Leader, 11/12/2014
View the original article here

It won’t be long before the world’s population reaches nine billion and by 2050, 70 percent of the world’s population will live in cities. All around the globe, population explosions are putting city infrastructure under severe strain. And at the same time climate change is posing serious challenges.

How will we cope? Can our cities accommodate so many people?

Yes it can, but we have to do things differently. We have to use our ambition and imagination to more efficiently manage the world’s limited resources.

Ultimately, the future health of our cities – and the people who live there – will hinge on our ability to do radically more with less. We need more innovation, less traditional solutions, more collaboration and less introverted thinking.

The widespread idea that innovation is driven by a lonely genius, a specific department, or a special group of champion innovators is not the case. Instead, success hinges on organizing and driving innovation through a team effort and a strong sense of a shared mission.

For many businesses, this should start with building strong relationships between different departments.

The problem is that in large corporations there is often a strong inward orientation. The structures, rules and regulations in place can hamper the ability to establish open relationships — both within an organization and externally. Perhaps the biggest challenge that companies face is creating a more open and forward-looking mindset; that is, thinking beyond current business issues and immediate future horizons.

To engage in sustainable innovation successfully, companies need to be prepared to work in a much more collaborative way. This means working effectively across procurement, operations, marketing and sales functions, and by partnering with suppliers and customers. A strong alignment between sourcing, research & development and marketing, for example, is vitally important to delivering sustainable solutions that work commercially and provide a practical benefit to urban environments.

A collaborative approach will make it possible to not only uncover exciting new ideas but help those ideas reach market faster than what would be possible through traditional models.

At AkzoNobel, we believe in establishing a collaborative, welcoming environment where ideas can be explored. When people have an idea, they are encouraged to reach out to anyone in the network to pursue the opportunity.

For example, on a flight home from a meeting, Peter Greenwood, a business development manager, came up with the idea to add colloidal silica to paint to enhance its self-cleaning properties. When he returned to the office, he reached out to another department to explore the idea. Before we knew it, a cross-departmental collaboration had developed between AkzoNobel’s Specialty Chemicals and Decorative Paints Business Areas resulting in a coating that can last up to 16 years, 25% longer than a standard product.

 

These types of collaborations are encouraged among senior level management. Of course, linking up departments is not enough on its own. They need to be aligned and focused on identifying sustainable solutions that customers need. Our company has a strong track record of creating innovations that benefit not only our customers but urban environments across the globe.

Sometimes, the insight to enhance urban environments comes from unexpected places. Our research and development team, for example, observed animals in nature to determine how they withstand cold and prevent ice from forming in their bodies. That insight led to Ecosel AsphaltProtection, a fully biodegradable additive for deicing brine. It works by slowing the freezing process, resulting in soft, slushy ice, rather than hard, abrasive ice.

There are many opportunities for businesses to develop commercially viable and sustainable product offerings that could make our cities more enjoyable, liveable and resilient. The key to success lies in the business model and in making the right connections: engaging effectively across the whole value chain and working in an open way open way with external stakeholders such as city councils, urban planners, NGOs, businesses and universities.

Companies can play an important role in safeguarding the future health of our cities. The world is changing and businesses must change with it to provide innovative products that make the world a better place.

Read more: http://www.environmentalleader.com/2014/11/12/stimulating-innovation-to-create-more-sustainable-cities/#ixzz3IsDERqfV