Last week, Nadine Unger, an assistant professor at Yale University, published an opinion piece in The New York Times stating that the way to save the planet was to not plant trees. This opinion was wrong at so many levels that it is hard to cover them all here. There are many reasons why we need to protect forests and to plant trees—protecting water supplies, reversing the loss of biodiversity, ensuring that we have pollinators for crops, and sequestering carbon to reduce human-induced climate c
I was at a presentation by the Department of Energy last week (hosted by the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships) where they reviewed the status of their Home Energy Score program. Like the fuel economy stickers on cars, these systems aim to create easy to understand energy ratings for buildings. The idea is grounded in basic humanRead More
The major oil companies in the U.S. have not had to pay a price for the contribution their products make to climate change. But internal accounting by the companies, along with a host of other signs, suggest that may soon change
If we want Big Data to create societal progress, more transparency and participatory opportunities are needed to avoid discrimination and ensure that they are used in a scientifically sound, trustable, and socially beneficial way.
Have you ever "enjoyed" an extra screening at the airport because you happened to sit next to someone from a foreign country? Have you been surprised by a phone call offering a special service or product, because you visited a certain webpage? Or do you feel your browser reads your mind? Then, welcome to the world of Big Data, which mines the tons of digital traces of our daily activities such as web searches, credit card transactions, GPS mobility data, phone calls, text messages, facebook profiles, cloud storage, and more. But are you sure you are getting the best possible product, service, insurance or credit contract? I am not.
BIG DATA SOCIETY: Age of Reputation or Age of Discrimination?
An analysis of data spanning 140 years from one of the world’s oldest forest study sites indicates that trees have been growing significantly faster and stands have become larger since the 1960s. The study, published in Nature Communications, was based on 600,000 individual tree surveys conducted since 1870 at a central European forest study site.Read More
Only 1.2 trillion metric tons of carbon dioxide can be emitted in the future if nations are to avoid causing the global mean surface temperature to rise more than 2 degrees C beyond the pre-industrial average, according to researchers with the Global Carbon Project. Combined historical and future carbon dioxide emissions must remain below 3.2 trillion metric tons to have a 66-percent chance of keeping that temperature increase below 2 degrees C — the internationally accepted benchmark for restraining global warming. But two-thirds of this allotment has already been emitted, and at the current pace of emissions, the global population will burn through the rest within the next 30 years, the researchers conclude. CO2 emissions rose 2.3 percent in 2013 and are on track to increase by another 2.5 percent in 2014, according to the report, which was released ahead of tomorrow's UN climate summit in New York. China and the U.S. were the leading emitters in 2013 and were responsible for 28 percent and 14 percent, respectively, of global CO2 emissions.
In a blog post originally published for Huffington Post, Andrew Steer and Stephen M. Ross discuss the importance low carbon cities.
The authors have recently partnered to create the WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, an initiative that will galvanize action on sustainable urban development and improve the lives of people around the world.
he concept of smart, connected transport is a hot topicamong city leaders looking to ride the wave of innovation to more sustainable, prosperous cities. Despite this, building a truly smart and interconnected urban transport system is more than most cities can hope to do all at once.
Three key elements of smart urban transport – communications, efficient operations, and integration – serve as important starting points and can yield significant social, environmental, and economic benefits.
A look at how the inevitable technology of automated cars will change the face of landscape architecture.
Our cities were built to be the backbone support of the industrial revolution. Our roads were built to accommodate the car and truck. Our soil is radically altered due to fertilizers and farm practices of the past. Time and time again we can look at the trend of technology being introduced and a few decades later it fundamentally changes the way we look at the landscape...
Sustainable development is the central drama of our time. In many ways, humanity has squandered the time it once had to adjust to environmental realities. Now our backs are up against the wall. We are living in history, and our generation’s history is the
A few weeks ago I wrote about the potential comeback of solar ownership relative to leasing, as the cost of rooftop solar PV continues to fall and new financing options make ownership easier than ever. It's been an ownership pile on since then, with others saying Why Lease Solar Panels When You
While heads of states get ready to meet at the United Nations Climate Summit tomorrow, global emissions are higher than any point in history and atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide are increasing faster than the previous 30 years.
A new interactive map below reveals how carbon dioxide emissions are distributed globally and how they’ve changed in the last 160 years.
For better or worse, we live in the age of the sound bite, when even the most intellectually complicated subjects must, to be understood, be simplified to a couple of easily communicated sentences. It’s all about hyper-short attention spans,...