Sustainability Sc...
Follow
Find tag "policy"
6.0K views | +1 today
Sustainability Science
How might we keep the lights on, water flowing, and natural world vaguely intact? It starts with grabbing innovative ideas/examples to help kick down our limits and inspire a more sustainable world. We implement with rigorous science backed by hard data.
Curated by PIRatE Lab
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by PIRatE Lab
Scoop.it!

B Team Leaders Call for Net-Zero Greenhouse-Gas Emissions by 2050 - The B Team

B Team Leaders Call for Net-Zero Greenhouse-Gas Emissions by 2050 - The B Team | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Geneva, 5th February, 2015 – Today, Leaders of The B Team running some of the world’s largest companies, called upon world leaders to commit to a global goal of net-zero greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 – and urged business leaders to match this ambition by committing to bold long-term targets. The B Team’s ambition builds on recent talks …
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Using information in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report, the 2014 United Nations Environment Programme’s Emissions Gap Report, and other scientific literature, a new briefing note from Climate Analytics details timeframes for that goal. For a 66 percent likelihood of avoiding 2 degrees of warming by century’s end, GHG emissions would have to be 40–70 percent below 2010 levels by 2050 and would need to reach zero some time between 2080 and 2100, but energy and industry emissions of CO2 would have to reach zero no later than 2075 and perhaps as soon as 2060.

At the outset of the Geneva talks, The B Team, a group of leaders from the business and nonprofit sectors founded by Sir Richard Branson, referenced the 66 percent chance in endorsing a net zero emissions goal: “The B Team view a 1-in-3 chance of failure as an unreasonable risk scenario carrying significant cost implications, strengthening the business case for achieving net-zero GHG emissions by 2050.”

"Momentum is already growing in finance, business and political circles for a net zero goal," wrote Mary Robinson, the United Nations Secretary General's special envoy on climate change, in the foreword to The Business Case for Adopting the Long-Term Goal for Net Zero Emissions, a report published by Track0.org.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PIRatE Lab
Scoop.it!

▶ Keystone XL needs a one-two punch

President Obama says he'll veto the latest attempt by Congress to push through the Keystone XL pipeline but he hasn't yet committed to rejecting this dangero...
PIRatE Lab's insight:

I found this a very interesting piece of PR.  Engaging and effective use of visuals with essentially a budget of zero.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PIRatE Lab
Scoop.it!

Social impacts of carbon emissions on economic growth warrant stringent mitigation policy

Social impacts of carbon emissions on economic growth warrant stringent mitigation policy | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Integrated assessment models estimate the impact of climate change on current economic output, but not on its rate of growth. This study modifies a standard integrated assessment model to allow climate change to directly affect gross GDP growth rates. Results show that climate change significantly slows down GDP growth in poor regions but not in rich countries, with implications for the level of near-term mitigation.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

The social cost of carbon (SCC) or the economic damage caused by a ton of carbon dioxide emissions—which the United States uses to guide energy regulations and, potentially, future mitigation policies—is $37 per ton according to a recent U.S. government study or, according to a new study by Stanford researchers published this week in the journal Nature Climate Change, six times that value.


The Stanford scientists say the current pricing models fail to reflect all the economic damage each ton of CO2 causes and that a higher value on that damage could change policy.


“If the social cost of carbon is higher, many more mitigation measures will pass a cost-benefit analysis,” said study co-author Delavane Diaz. “Because carbon emissions are so harmful to society, even costly means of reducing emissions would be worthwhile.”


“For 20 years now, the models have assumed that climate change can't affect the basic growth rate of the economy,” said study coauthor Frances Moore. “But a number of new studies suggest this may not be true. If climate change affects not only a country’s economic output but also its growth, then that has a permanent effect that accumulates over time, leading to a much higher social cost of carbon.”


But William Pizer, a faculty fellow at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions who has worked on andrecommended regular updating of the SCC estimate, questioned the methodology of the Stanford analysis, pointing out that it relied on the impact on national economies of short-term temperature spikes rather than on long-term trends that might reveal permanent economic reductions.

 

“To me, it just seems like it has to be an overestimate,” Pizer said of the Stanford result of $220 (subscription required). “I think it's great they're doing this,” he added. “I just think this is another data point that someone needs to weigh as they're trying to figure out what the right social cost of carbon is. But this isn't like a definitive new answer.”

 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PIRatE Lab
Scoop.it!

Los Alamos lab contractor loses $57 million over nuclear waste accident

Los Alamos lab contractor loses $57 million over nuclear waste accident | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
The contractor managing the nuclear weapons laboratory at Los Alamos, N.M., was slapped with a $57-million reduction in its fees for 2014, largely due to a costly nuclear waste accident last year.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Absolutely amazing!  I never thought I would see the day when the department of energy would actually discipline nuclear contractors in any real way for performance failures.  Unbelievable.  Clearly a step in the right direction and a step to properly internalizing the externalities associated with fission-based weapons and power plants.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PIRatE Lab
Scoop.it!

Green tape

Green tape | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
WHAT are the economic effects of environmental policies? It sounds painfully obvious, but the answer depends on how strict those policies are. So how do you quantify...
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Interesting that the "cost" so many anti-regulation types love to tout are almost assuredly incorrectly calculated.  There is great benefit in well-palnned, effective regulations for the sake of protection (not rise management or policy for the sake of policy).

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PIRatE Lab
Scoop.it!

Santander: The Smartest Smart City

Santander: The Smartest Smart City | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Where some see smart cities, others fear a new form of governance based on algorithms rather than human experience.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Where some see smart cities, others fear a new form of governance based on algorithms rather than human experience.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PIRatE Lab
Scoop.it!

U.S. sees voluntary emissions cuts as key to a climate change accord

The United States is championing a new international approach to cutting greenhouse gases that offers the best chance of prompting countries to take action to avert the worst effects of global warming, the nation's chief climate negotiator said Monday.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PIRatE Lab
Scoop.it!

School For Husbands Gets Men To Talk About Family Size

School For Husbands Gets Men To Talk About Family Size | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
The average woman in Niger bears seven children — the world's highest birth rate. And the country can barely feed its current population. How do you convince people that smaller families are better?
PIRatE Lab's insight:

We need to pull down birth rates faster than before.  Local approaches such as this are a key part of the solution.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PIRatE Lab
Scoop.it!

Three Airlines In Australia Just Inadvertently Demonstrated That Carbon Taxes Work

Three Airlines In Australia Just Inadvertently Demonstrated That Carbon Taxes Work | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
When the tax passed, all three airlines said they'd have to hike their ticket prices. Now that Australia has repealed the policy, all three say they never had to pass additional costs on to their consumers.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

This gets filed under the "I want what I want, damn the facts."  Or perhaps "have cake, and eat it too."

more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by PIRatE Lab from Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development
Scoop.it!

Dirty air, dodgy politics: why it's easier to attack science than listen to Morwell fire death stats

Dirty air, dodgy politics: why it's easier to attack science than listen to Morwell fire death stats | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

I’m quite nervous about writing this. I’m going to stray from my familiar academic world into a political one, and it’s on an issue that may very well have killed several people. My reputation has already been debased in the Victorian Parliament, by Health Minister David Davis. I’m expecting more political dirt to come my way.

First, the back story. The issue is the Hazelwood coalmine fire, which burned from February 9 to March 10 this year in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley. It covered the surrounding area in thick smoke and ash, and caused eye-wateringly high levels of particulate pollution in the nearby town of Morwell.


Via Kim Flintoff
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Our friends down under are increasingly dealing with a harsh anti-sciecne environment when it comes to policy and politics.

 

If you have not been following this issues, this is a good entry point.

more...
Kim Flintoff's curator insight, October 3, 2014 9:41 PM

Being an academic in Australia at moment is a real test of integrity, resilience and commitment - to speak out with informed opinion is to become a target for ad hominem responses, 

All power to Adrian for having all the qualities of a real thinker, researcher and scientist.

Scooped by PIRatE Lab
Scoop.it!

Google Chairman: Climate Change Deniers Are 'Literally Lying'

Google Chairman: Climate Change Deniers Are 'Literally Lying' | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt said on Monday that his company's support for the American Legislative Exchange Council was a "mistake," adding that it should avoid aligning with groups that deny climate change.

PIRatE Lab's insight:

Hmmm...did they really not understand whose bed they were crawling into when they joined ALEC?  In any event, this is another very small, but welcomed piece of news.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PIRatE Lab
Scoop.it!

Jerry Brown calls for ‘more ambitious’ climate change action at U.N.

Jerry Brown calls for ‘more ambitious’ climate change action at U.N. | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Gov. Jerry Brown, appealing to world leaders for joint action on climate change, issued a forceful defense Tuesday of plans to expand California’s cap-and-trade program to vehicle fuels next year.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Governor Brown took something of a victory lap at the New York climate summit yesterday.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PIRatE Lab
Scoop.it!

The geography of the global electronic waste (‘e-waste’) burden

The geography of the global electronic waste (‘e-waste’) burden | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

As local and national governments struggle to deal with ever-growing piles of electronic waste (or “e-waste”), scientists are now refining the picture of just how much there is and where it really ends up.

PIRatE Lab's insight:

In 2005, more than 38 million tons of used electronics were discarded worldwide. Nearly a quarter of the waste from developed nations went to China, India and five West African countries: Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Benin and Liberia.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PIRatE Lab
Scoop.it!

2015 California Policy and Regulatory Preview | JD Supra

The California Air Resources Board (ARB or Board) workload skyrocketed in the fall of 2006 with the passage of AB 32. By any definition, that was a BIG year in the world of climate...
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PIRatE Lab
Scoop.it!

Should tackling climate change trump protecting nature?

Should tackling climate change trump protecting nature? | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Miles King: Planners have given the green light for a solar farm at Rampisham Down, a SSSI in West Dorset. But stopping biodiversity loss is as important as stopping global warming
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PIRatE Lab
Scoop.it!

Nebraska high court tosses suit over Keystone pipeline route

Nebraska high court tosses suit over Keystone pipeline route | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska's highest court threw out a challenge Friday to a proposed route for the Keystone XL oil pipeline, even though a majority of judges agreed the landowners who sued should have won their case.…
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Environmentalists and other opponents of the pipeline have highlighted the potential for extraction and transport of crude from Canada’s tar sands to contaminate water, pollute air, and harm wildlife. But the congressional republicans, the oil industry, and other pipeline backers argue that Keystone will lead to jobs and increase oil independence as well as strengthen bonds with Canada.  Er...or maybe we should say would lead to perhaps 2,000-3,000 temporary jobs for perhaps 2 years.

 

“Boosting American-made energy results in more American jobs and improved international relations," said Rep. Leonard Lance. "This is a winning combination for our Nation’s economy, our national security and a centerpiece in our relationship with our ally, Canada.”

 

Rep. Adam Smith had a different take: “Rather than focusing on Keystone XL, we should be working on bigger picture investments in clean energy and energy efficient technologies that will reduce our dependence on fossil fuels that hurt our environment.”

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PIRatE Lab
Scoop.it!

The American Oil Trade Deficit Has Never Been Lower

The American Oil Trade Deficit Has Never Been Lower | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Total petroleum imports fell to $23 billion, the lowest level since August 2009
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Great!  Now we can buy more SUVs!

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PIRatE Lab
Scoop.it!

Aging nuclear arsenal grows ever more costly

Aging nuclear arsenal grows ever more costly | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Pipes, tanks and other equipment rust in the humid Southern air. Leaky roofs leave puddles on factory floors. Abandoned buildings are scattered across an 800-acre site contaminated with hundreds of tons of mercury.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

A maintaining a large nuclear arsenal does not appear to be a sustainable practice, however you slice it. 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PIRatE Lab
Scoop.it!

California Republicans seek cap-and-trade exemption for fuels

California Republicans seek cap-and-trade exemption for fuels | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Republicans in the California Legislature wasted no time revisiting one of the more contentious issues from 2014, introducing legislation that would essentially prevent California’s cap-and-trade program from expanding to cover oil and gas.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

This is a pathetic run around AB32.  I trust this will fail.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PIRatE Lab
Scoop.it!

Should the U.S. Take Unilateral Action on Climate Policy?

Should the U.S. Take Unilateral Action on Climate Policy? | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Critics of unilateral action say the U.S. would pay too high an economic price without significantly moving the needle on climate change. Supporters say the goal is too important to wait.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Wow.  I mean wow.  Read this opinions.  We solve everything so we therefore should do nothing?  

 

The argument that individual action won't move the needle is clothed in both an incorrect understanding of the facts AND a disregard of the actual map accompanying this article: there is an emerging patchwork of responses to carbon emissions simply because THERE IS NO UNITED APPROACH.  But the whole conversation is moving because of the northern Europes and Californias of the world.  They are showing the way.

 

I am sorry but the factually incorrect trope that job growth only comes from staying on dirty energy sources is pathetic and wrong.  Spoken like a person who 1) knows nothing about the energy industry 2) doesn't live along a low-lying coast, and 3) is ignorant of externalities.  

 

I have heard the same exact line from oil lobbyists about it being just "too costly right now" to ditch fossil fuels.  Representatives said the exact same words to my students a few weeks ago.  And those were the same EXACT words that I heard espoused in 1976.  Apparently 40 years has changed nothing and we can only stick to 1800s technology to power the world of the 21st century.  How fallacious and how pessimistic about our creativity and ingenuity.

 

 At the risk of an ad hominem attack, I don't think the author of such volumes as The False Promise of Green Energy and Creating Cayman as an Offshore Financial Center: Structure and Strategy since 1960 is the best expert the Wall Street Journal could have found to comment on the technical issues related to decarbonizing our energy infrastructure.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PIRatE Lab
Scoop.it!

Are electric cars greener than traditional gas-powered cars? Depends on where you live.

Are electric cars greener than traditional gas-powered cars? Depends on where you live. | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

Nowhere do automakers sell more hybrid vehicles than California, with its unique combination of environmental consciousness, high gas prices and traffic-choked highways.

But new hybrid models will be in short supply at this week's Los Angeles Auto Show — one sign that the technology is still struggling to break out of its green-car niche, experts say.

PIRatE Lab's insight:

There is nothing new about this analyses, but it is an updating of older efforts with the most recent numbers out there.  It is true that using coal-fired power to juice your your car is problematic, but for most of the county (e.g. coastal areas) most of us would be better off switching to electric transportation systems.  Also, the best possible solution is to power our vehicles with locally-generated power, such as roof top or garage-top solar panels.  

 

The trick is getting this into everyone's hands in an easy, turn-key manner.  I think the tone of this piece misses that key point.  This is an evolving conversation and new technology.  It also needs to be one part of a broad spectrum of approaches to de-carbonizing our energy markets.  Falling back onto the old mantra of "it doesn't work everywhere all the time" is a bit ho-hum and overly simplistic.  Kind of the way some folks feel it is necessary to write an op-ed about their research to get increased attention for it.

 

For those interested in the actual study, you can find it here:

 

http://www.dartmouth.edu/~mansur/papers/GraffZivin_Kotchen_Mansur_MargEmit.pdf

 

There is also an interesting story, in a similar vein, from the LA Times about faltering gas-electric hybrid vehicles at this week's LA Auto show:

 

http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/la-fi-hy-la-auto-show-no-hybrids-20141121-story.html

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PIRatE Lab
Scoop.it!

Cap-and-trade opponents hit California incumbents

Cap-and-trade opponents hit California incumbents | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
It never came up for a vote this year, but the dispute over California’s carbon-pricing scheme continues to frame November elections, with a group launched by oil company money underwriting ads in select legislative races.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Forces are aligning to make continual attacks on AB32 and kill that legislation by 1000 cuts/delays.  Be wary of these arguments.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by PIRatE Lab
Scoop.it!

Drought-conscious residents turn the water tables on public agencies

Drought-conscious residents turn the water tables on public agencies | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
The scene captured on video by a onetime aspiring filmmaker had neither actors nor dialogue, but it spoke volumes:
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Do as I say and not as I do.

more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by PIRatE Lab from Geography Education
Scoop.it!

The Awful Reign of the Red Delicious

The Awful Reign of the Red Delicious | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

"For at least 70 years, the Red Delicious has dominated apple production in the United States. But since the turn of the 21st century, as the market has filled with competitors—the Gala, the Fuji, the Honeycrisp—its lead has been narrowing. Annual output has plunged."


Via Seth Dixon
more...
Seth Dixon's curator insight, September 23, 2014 2:05 PM

The story of the Red Delicious is almost a perfect analogy for the food industry.  It was genetically selected for its marketable skin, an aesthetically sumptuous red.  The skin of the Red Delicious better covers bruises than other varieties and tastes more bitter.  Consumers were buying what the industry promoted and “eating with their eyes and not their mouths.”  But recently there has been a backlash in the United States and more American consumer are seeking out other varieties; meanwhile the apple producers are working on exporting this variety to around the world, but especially into Chinese markets.  


Tags: agriculture, food production, food distribution, agribusiness, USA

Linda Alexander's curator insight, September 25, 2014 10:33 AM

I believe this is the rotten tasting apple that comes with your meals at Panera. 

Scooped by PIRatE Lab
Scoop.it!

All Eyes On Obama, World Leaders At Climate Change Summit

All Eyes On Obama, World Leaders At Climate Change Summit | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
More than 120 leaders are expected to attend the one-day summit sponsored by the United Nations. They have been instructed to arrive Tuesday with "bold ideas" to slow the rise in global temperatures.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Lots of attention in New York this week in the lead up to the current UN Summit on Climate Change.

 

It would be great if our national leaders could do what our business, state and local leaders are being forced to do on their own.  For example:

 

http://www.sfgate.com/green/article/Brown-signs-several-clean-air-vehicle-bills-5771184.php?cmpid=hp-hc-bayarea

 

http://blog.sfgate.com/energy/2014/09/09/california-electric-car-sales-pass-major-milestone/#26566101=0

 

http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/politicsnow/la-pn-google-conservative-20140922-story.html

 

 

But just in case you were forgetting about the folks on the other side of the fact/reality fence, there is always the good ol' propaganda machine humming along nicely.  For example:

 

http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-a-chevron-pr-website-20140922-column.html#page=1

 

 

 

 

 

 

more...
No comment yet.