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Steve Howard: Let's go all-in on selling sustainability | Video on TED.com

"Sustainability has gone from a nice-to-do to a must-do.  It's about what we do right here, right now, and for the rest of our working lives."

 

"We [Ikea] have a sustainability strategy called People and Planet Positive, to help guide our business, to have a positive impact on the world.  Why would we not want to have a positive impact on the world?"

 

"We know, from asking people, from China to the U.S., the vast majority of people care about sustainability, after the day to day issues." "But they want it to be easy, affordable, and attractive. And they expect business to help, and they're a little bit disappointed today." 

 

"Obviously, there's fantastic opportunities with recycled materials, and we can, and we will, go zero waste."

 

"People sometimes think that 100% targets are going to be hard.  Actually, in fact, 100% is easier to do than 90% or 50%.  If you have a 90% target, everyone in the business finds a reason to be in the 10%.  When it's 100%, it's kind of clear."

 

"Together we can help create a sustainable world, and if we get it right, we can make sustainability affordable for the many people, not a luxury for the few."


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Organic Social Media's curator insight, October 23, 2013 10:44 AM

Lets make beautiful, functional, affordable, #sustainable  products 

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Renewable Energy Could Fully Power Grid by 2030

Renewable Energy Could Fully Power Grid by 2030 | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

Renewable energy could fully power a large electric grid 99.9 percent of the time by 2030 at costs comparable to today’s electricity expenses, according to new research by the University of Delaware and Delaware Technical Community College. A well-designed combination of wind power, solar power and storage in batteries and fuel cells would nearly always exceed electricity demands while keeping costs low, the scientists found.


“These results break the conventional wisdom that renewable energy is too unreliable and expensive,” said co-author Willett Kempton, professor in the School of Marine Science and Policy in UD’s College of Earth, Ocean and Environment. “The key is to get the right combination of electricity sources and storage—which we did by an exhaustive search—and to calculate costs correctly.”


Unlike other studies, the model focused on minimizing costs instead of the traditional approach of matching generation to electricity use. The researchers found that generating more electricity than needed during average hours—in order to meet needs on high-demand but low-wind power hours—would be cheaper than storing excess power for later high demand.

 

“Aiming for 90 percent or more renewable energy in 2030, in order to achieve climate change targets of 80 to 90 percent reduction of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from the power sector, leads to economic savings,” the authors observe.

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Emerging Economies Surge Forward with Renewables

Emerging Economies Surge Forward with Renewables | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it
Why is renewable energy adoption in the world's emerging economies growing nearly twice as fast than in industrialized nations?

 

A recent report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance and several partners shows that renewable energy adoption is growing in the world’s emerging economies nearly twice as fast than in industrialized nations. Not only are renewable energy technologies now cost competitive with fossil fuels in many developing nations, but they are often more reliable, safer, and at times cheaper than conventional grid power.


When renewables such as solar and wind compete with expensive energy coupled with inadequate infrastructure, renewables reach grid parity and are more reliable and secure for populations connected to the grid.

 

The case is even stronger for the 1.3 billion people in the world without access to electricity. Many of these people rely on kerosene lamps that are not only costly—poor households typically spend 10 percent of their income on kerosene—but also an extreme health hazard. Access to distributed solar systems or other renewable technologies could not only bring cleaner, healthier, and more reliable power to rural areas, but can do so much more economically than trying to extend the grid.

 

This is thus a critical time for emerging economies around the world. Will their current dirty, expensive, unreliable grids be built out with fossil-fueled power? And how will they electrify the 1.3 billion beyond the reach of that grid? Encouraging examples and early successes from these countries and others demonstrate that distributed solar PV and other renewables could provide an answer, but much work remains left to do in the transition from fossil fuels to clean, reliable, affordable renewable electricity.

 


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Investments in Renewables Herald 'Paradigm Shift' | Climate Central

Investments in Renewables Herald 'Paradigm Shift' | Climate Central | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it
Global renewables investments increased 17 percent in 2014 as solar and wind costs fell dramatically, new UN and Bloomberg New Energy Finance report shows.

 

Amid rising concern about the role of fossil fuels in climate change, there was an unprecedented boom in renewables across the globe in 2014, suggesting that countries are already shifting toward more low-carbon energy as the cost to build solar and wind farms falls quickly.

 

That’s one of the conclusions of a United Nations  and Bloomberg  New Energy Finance report published Tuesday showing that global renewable energy investments in 2014 totaled $270 billion, an increase of 17 percent over the previous year.

 

Less money bought more renewables in 2014 — sometimes without subsidies — as costs of building solar and wind farms fell even as fossil fuels became cheaper to use with the plunge in oil prices. Bloomberg estimates that the cost of solar power projects have fallen 59 percent since 2009, and the cost of onshore wind farms has fallen 11.5 percent.

 

“The numbers seem to be telling a story of an energy paradigm shift well underway,” Eric Usher, head of the United Nations Environment Programme finance initiative, said during a news conference Tuesday. “There is a climate story: Renewables definitely seem to be contributing to the stabilization of CO2 emissions.”

 

“There is now nobody who thinks the energy system of the future will look like the energy system of the past,” Michael Liebreich, chairman of the advisory board for Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said. “Renewable energy is now not seen as an indulgence or something that is to be tolerated at the fringes of a network.

 

Renewables are growing rapidly in both the developed and the developing world, with China leading the way. China saw more than $83 billion in investments in renewables, 39 percent over 2013. The U.S. came in second worldwide, with about $38 billion in investments, up 7 percent in 2014. Japan ranked third with nearly $36 billion.

 

The rationale for building renewables in many of those countries may be related to lower costs of wind turbines and solar panels as much as it is a need to slash CO2 emissions as a way to tackle climate change, Liebreich said.

 

“It’s partly around favorable policy environments, but also energy shortages and high costs of electricity for businesses and consumers,” he said. “At these now-lower costs of wind and solar, it just makes sense to build those resources. Renewables in those countries are not just a question of slavering on subsidies — in many cases, subsidies are not needed at all.”

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China Can Cut Cord on Coal (Mostly) by 2050 | Climate Central

China Can Cut Cord on Coal (Mostly) by 2050 | Climate Central | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

From a climate change perspective, China’s carbon footprint is huge: It consumes nearly as much coal as every other country in the world combined. And it’s the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter.


But it may be possible for China to shake most of its reliance on fossil fuels, in part by producing more than 85 percent of its electricity and more than 60 percent of its total energy needs from renewables by 2050, according to a study published Monday.

 

It’s both technologically and economically feasible for China to rely on renewables for more than 60 percent of its total energy needs, including transportation, by 2050, the study says. On the way there, China has the ability to reach the peak of both its fossil fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions by 2025. China in 2050 could get more than 85 percent of its total electricity from renewables, 64 percent of of which could be from wind and solar power. Under that scenario, only 7 percent of its power would come from coal after having developed more than 200 gigawatts of electric power storage.


The Chinese study builds upon the U.S. Department of Energy’s research showing that it’s technically feasible and cost-effective for the U.S. to obtain at least 80 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2050, and that wind can supply 20 percent of U.S. electricity by 2030.

 

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Groundbreaking Permaculture Film Offers Bold New Solution in Regenerative Agriculture » EcoWatch

Groundbreaking Permaculture Film Offers Bold New Solution in Regenerative Agriculture » EcoWatch | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

Everywhere you hear that we need to minimize our footprint and reduce our impact. But what if we turned that kind of thinking on its head? What if, as Bill McDonough says, instead of trying to be “less bad,” we try to be “more good.” What if our footprints became beneficial? What if we could meet human needs while increasing the health and well-being of our planet? This is the premise of a new movie Inhabit: A Permaculture Perspective,which will have its worldwide digital premiere on Earth Day, April 22.


Inhabit investigates today’s pressing environmental problems and offers solutions through a permaculture lens. For those who aren’t familiar, permaculture is defined many different ways, but it is generally defined as a method of ecological design that develops regenerative agricultural systems by mimicking natural ecosystems. “Permaculture is a design process that’s applicable in any landscape for any set of objectives,” said the film.


You can watch the trailer at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PL-4RoDvqUaChQL8YaWsTiGuf6gI8PZFDM&v=9U56O6LDyLQ

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Public Utilities Should Embrace Renewable Energy Revolution, Not Get Run Over By It » EcoWatch

Public Utilities Should Embrace Renewable Energy Revolution, Not Get Run Over By It » EcoWatch | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

The U.S. electricity sector will be unrecognizable in 20 years. How fast it changes will be a big factor in how large a price is paid for having disrupted climate equilibrium—but it is not the climate threat that will drive the changes.


Three major threats undermine the value of the classic U.S. utility model: big power plants linked to big transmission grids operated by monopoly companies with guaranteed profits.

 

1. SLUMPING DEMAND:  The historic link between total economic production and electricity demand has shattered. Not only is electricity consumption rising slower than the economy grows, in the U.S. it is actually shrinking.


2. DISECONOMIES OF SCALE AND AGE: Now the arrival of distributed generation—mostly in the form of rooftop solar—is enabling customers to become generators, and to replace precisely those electrons which create utility profits—peak afternoon and early evening load.


3. EMPOWERED CUSTOMERS: Demand response technologies, recruiting consumers whose power needs can be shifted by a few hours to shave peak demand are now a significant part of the total management strategy of many utilities.


They (utilities) have three huge business opportunities the environmental community would love to support. Most of the industry is desperately trying to throw them away.


1. Rooftop solar. Who in the marketplace possesses cheap capital, intimate customer relations with every electricity user, and detailed knowledge about roofs and substations?


2. EV saturation. EV’s are the perfect solution to provide demand growth, while simultaneously enabling balancing load—because the average car is parked 95 percent of the time, available to charge or discharge.


3. The Storage Breakthrough. Having a grid with lots of distributed rooftop solar and demand manageable EV load means that the volume of storage needed is much smaller than would be required to meet the needs of remote solar and wind.

Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

The electric utilities WILL necessarily change, and we can all shift more quickly to 100% renewable energy if we work together.

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Could better soil management reverse global warming?

Could better soil management reverse global warming? | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it
How we manage our soil may be as important as how we generate our energy.

 

The very things we need to do to adapt to a changing climate are exactly the same actions we need to take to slow down, or even reverse, global warming in the first place.

 

During his keynote, Peter Bane—author of The Permaculture Handbook—made this astounding statement: Better farming could not just slow, but reverse, the buildup of atmospheric CO2.  Noting that rock star farmer Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms has built up 6.5% of additional carbon in his soils, Bane argued that truly maximizing soil carbon sequestration across all the world's agricultural soils could literally soak up more carbon than we release each year.


In cultivating our ability to "farm carbon," we would simultaneously be reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and chemical fertilizers, increasing our farm lands' ability to retain nutrients and hold water, we'd be mitigating flooding and protecting against drought, and we'd be enhancing biodiversity too. There's even some research to suggest that small-scale agroecology could increase yields compared to conventional farming.


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Musk: Utilities & Solar Can Exist Together

Musk: Utilities & Solar Can Exist Together | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it
Elon Musk believes solar and utilities can exist together, despite uneasy feelings among many within the utility sector.

 

Speaking at the Detroit Auto Show, Musk said that expanding electric vehicle markets, along with businesses and homes as solar power generators, will change how we view electricity demand.


“As we transition to electric transport, we’re going to see a significant increase in the demand for electricity,” SolarCity’s chair and Tesla’s CEO said, hinting that utilities will have a good future.


Musk told the Detroit press conference that he sees future electricity demand doubling. Half of supply would come from solar while half would come from the current utility, while the demand from current utilities would remain more or less unchanged.

Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

Electric utilities will be reduced to maintaining the grid, unless they transition their own generation capacity to 100% renewable energy.

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Global wind industry grows 44% in 2014

Global wind industry grows 44% in 2014 | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it
New figures released by the Global Wind Energy Council show that the global wind industry grew by 44% in 2014, installing over 51 GW.

 

“Wind power is the most competitive way of adding new power generation capacity to the grid in a rapidly increasing number of markets around the world, even when competing against heavily subsidized incumbents,” said Steve Sawyer, GWEC Secretary General.


“Wind is a rapidly maturing technology, with proven reliability and competitiveness. Not only the low prices but also the cost-stability of wind power makes it a very attractive option for utilities, independent power producers and companies who are looking for a hedge against the wildly fluctuating prices of fossil fuels."

Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

With a long term average growth rate of about 26% (Wikipedia says 30%), total wind capacity is expected to double every 5 years. 

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Climate and population are linked -- but maybe not the way you thought

Climate and population are linked -- but maybe not the way you thought | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it
No, this isn't about blaming people with large families in developing countries -- or blaming anyone at all.

 

Should family planning have precedence over renewable energy and direct efforts to adapt to climate change, when the needs are so great and the financial resources to address them are already insufficient?


A group of experts in the reproductive health and climate fields dealt with these concerns elegantly in a statement released by the Population Reference Bureau and Worldwatch Institute in December.


“Achieving universal access to family planning throughout the world would result in fewer unintended pregnancies, improve the health and well-being of women and their families, and slow population growth — all benefits to climate-compatible development,” the group concluded. “We recommend including improved access to family planning among the comprehensive and synergistic efforts to achieve development compatible with addressing climate change.”


So, no — this important linkage is not about blaming anyone, no matter how many children they have, for climate change. The group (whose members spoke for themselves rather than for their organizations) recognized the complexity of the causes of climate change — past, present, and future. They did not call for prioritizing family planning over other needed investments in addressing climate change — nor even necessarily applying climate funding directly to contraceptive services.

Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

The world is ALREADY very close to 2 children per couple on average. Where people still have more than 2, they are actually having fewer than they used to, but also, fewer children are dying than in the past, and more people are living longer.

 

Despite that, growth rates have actually been declining for 30 years! The population will continue to grow until it peaks at 9-10 billion just because the already existing young population will grow up and have their own children.

 

We CAN encourage the growth rates to decline even faster, but it won't make that much difference, not fast enough, and not nearly enough to offset the real problems.

 

The real problems are not simply over-consumption, but *unsustainable* consumption. And, actually, blaming our problems on consumption tends to excuse the *production* side, where most of the blame ought to be placed.

 

It IS possible to shift to 100% renewable energy and to recycle 100% of our waste, and thus our ecological footprint will be reduced to very close to 0. We are headed in that direction already. It is really only a question of how fast we will get there.

 

But we can go further, since we have available to us 1000s of times more renewable energy than all the energy that we current use. With the extra energy, we can clean up the centuries of mess we have created. We would effectively have a negative footprint, on average. And then, more people could actually help clean up the mess even faster.

 

So rather than believing that population is a necessary part of our problems, it could actually be a necessary part of our solutions!

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Why dedicating land to bioenergy won't curb climate change

Why dedicating land to bioenergy won't curb climate change | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

A new WRI paper finds bioenergy can play a modest role using wastes and other niche fuelstocks, but recommends against dedicating land to produce bioenergy. The lesson: do not grow food or grass crops for ethanol or diesel or cut down trees for electricity.


Even modest quantities of bioenergy would greatly increase the global competition for land. People already use roughly three-quarters of the world’s vegetated land for crops, livestock grazing and wood harvests. The remaining land protects clean water, supports biodiversity and stores carbon in trees, shrubs and soils—a benefit increasingly important for tackling climate change. The competition for land is growing, even without more bioenergy, to meet likely demands for at least 70 percent more food, forage and wood.


Some institutions have called for producing 20 percent of human energy needs from bioenergy of all sorts by 2050. That would require an amount of biomass equal to all the plants harvested annually across the entire world today: all the crops, crop residues, wood and grasses eaten by livestock. The world does not have the room.


Solar Cells Offer an Alternative

The good news is that standard solar cells available today can generate more than 100 times as much usable energy per acre (hectare) as bioenergy even using optimistic projections for bioenergy’s future. When used with electric engines in cars with more efficient batteries, solar benefits can rise to 200 or 300 times the efficiency biofuels. And unlike bioenergy, solar energy works great in deserts and on rooftops without competing for fertile land.


Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

The solar energy we can derive from plants is such a small fraction of what we can get more directly, without completing for fertile land, that there should be no question how to proceed.  There may be value in storing energy in biofuels, but we'd have to do that much more efficiently.

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5 Reasons the Future of Clean Energy Investing Looks Stronger than Ever

5 Reasons the Future of Clean Energy Investing Looks Stronger than Ever | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

1. Clean energy investment has been – and continues to be – on the rise

 

Recent buzz around clean energy investment has centered on a new Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) report detailing the global clean energy industry’s strong 2014 investment results, results that even “beat expectations”. 

 

2. Wind and solar energy costs continue to drop precipitously

 

According to Lazard, the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for solar and wind energy have decreased 78 percent and 58 percent, respectively, since 2009.

 

As costs of wind, solar, and other forms of clean energy decline, improved economic viability will likely lead to growth in clean energy investment.

 

3. Clean energy investment in the developing world is growing explosively – and just getting started

 

As costs drop, renewables promise to catch and become even more desirable in the developing world. 

 

Among the many reasons clean energy resources are ideal for developing nations are:

 

* Many of these countries lack infrastructure for large, traditional power plants; and, distributed generation (like rooftop solar) requires far less infrastructure;

* Many developing countries are at sunny, equatorial latitudes, which are ideal for solar power; and

* In regions characterized by energy poverty, upscaling usage of renewables is far less politically sensitive because there are not established fossil-fuel lobbies fighting to preserve the status quo.

 

4. Promising policy advances for clean energy integration

 

U.S. and global policy momentum is trending toward the creation of a global economy that is increasingly favorable toward renewable energy integration.

 

5. Countries around the world are already seeing the benefits of clean energy adoption

 

Positive experiences from countries pursuing clean energy integration prove the viability of upscaling renewables, as well as provide motivation and blueprints for others to follow. 

 

While 2014 was an especially strong year for clean energy investment, it was not an outlier so much as an indication of what is to come. Investors, take note: clean energy has clearly been trending upward at an impressive rate. Money has and will continue to be made through the industry in 2015 and onward.

 

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Citi: Battery storage to hasten demise of fossil fuels

Citi: Battery storage to hasten demise of fossil fuels | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

Investment bank says wide deployment of battery storage will hasten the demise of fossil fuels and utilities that remain focused on centralised generation. It tips rapid fall in costs and a $400bn storage market by 2030.


The issue is therefor rapidly moving beyond those with a narrow focus on utilities and energy markets, it is now part of mainstream financial thinking, and because of that will have a profound influence on capital flows across the globe.

 

And on the technology front, the increased penetration of electric vehicles should continue to push down the cost of batteries for cars with parallel effects for energy systems battery costs.

 

It cited projects such as Tesla’s Giga-factory in Nevada 

with plans for 2020 battery production (in GWh) from that plant alone to exceed today’s global production. Over and above this, a number of independent companies all have ambitious commercial plans.


“The more they grow in customer numbers and partnerships, the more likely it is that battery storage costs will be declining,” the analysts write.


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Australia Could Reach 100% Renewables By 2040

Australia Could Reach 100% Renewables By 2040 | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

Originally published on RenewEconomy
by Sophie Vorrath

Australia could reach 100 per cent renewables as early as 2040 by adding 1.9 GW of solar PV and 1.9 GW of wind power capacity a year, according to one of Australia’s top renewable energy experts.

“PV and wind could, essentially, do the whole lot fairly easily,” Blakers told the conference on Thursday. “There are no more economic constraints,” he said, with PV and wind now costing the same as new-build fossil fuels. The issue was ensuring that fossil fuel generators actually exited the market.

 

“The PV learning curve continues,” said Blakers, noting that the historical pattern has been that every time you double cumulative production of solar panels, the cost comes down about 25 per cent.

 

“Renewables are well on track to push fossils fuels and nuclear out of the picture within the next 10-15 years,” he said.

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How the zero-waste economy benefits everyone

How the zero-waste economy benefits everyone | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it
In a truly circular economy where waste becomes nutrients, economic growth would be decoupled from environmental restraints. See who is leading the way.

 

Welcome to the emerging world of the circular economy. Faced with rising prices for energy and raw materials, along with pressures from environmentalists and regulators who have passed “extended producer responsibility laws” in Europe and some U.S. states, forward-thinking companies are finding ways to take back, reuse, refurbish or recycle all kinds of things that otherwise would be thrown away. In contrast to the traditional “take-make-dispose” linear economy, which depletes resources, a circular economy is an industrial system that is restorative or regenerative by intention and design. Inspired by nature, a circular economy aspires not merely to limit waste but to eliminate the very idea of waste: Everything, at the end of its life, should be made into something else, just as in the natural world, one species’ waste is another’s food.

 

No wonder companies see the circular model as a business opportunity. The transition to a circular economy could generate savings of more than $1 trillion in materials alone by 2025, according to an analysis by the U.K.-based Ellen MacArthur Foundation,  McKinsey & Company  and the World Economic Forum,  which are collaborating to promote circular thinking.

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Clean Energy Seeing Global ‘Renaissance’

Clean Energy Seeing Global ‘Renaissance’ | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

Cheap oil and increasingly cheap renewables are ushering in an era of abundant energy.

 

That is one of the central messages of the Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) Future of Energy Summit taking place this week in New York City. Bloomberg analysts, government regulators and industry officials in attendance are debating how far renewable electricity has come as prices have fallen, and where it’s going as countries prepare for the Paris climate negotiations in December.


Renewables, mainly including hydropower, solar and wind, reached 28 percent of the total electric power supply in Germany in 2014, 19 percent in the United Kingdom, 22 percent in China, 76 percent in Brazil and 13 percent in the U.S., as investments in renewables increased more than 15 percent globally last year, BNEF Chairman Michael Liebreich said Tuesday.


The cost of solar photovoltaic installations has fallen an estimated 59 percent since 2009, and the cost of onshore wind farms has fallen 11.5 percent, Bloomberg estimated in March.

 

Energy efficiency as a way to both cut energy costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions is also gaining ground across the globe. Government-sponsored energy efficiency measures amounted to nearly $50 billion in 2013, mostly in the U.S., Germany and China, up from just over $40 billion in 2012, Liebreich said.

 

The trend of wind, solar, energy efficiency and other low-carbon energy sources taking substantial hold in both developed and developing nations worldwide — in addition to the U.S. and China agreeing to a climate pact — bodes well for the Paris climate negotiations, Liebreich said.



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Australia could source 100% of power from renewables by 2050, report finds

Australia could source 100% of power from renewables by 2050, report finds | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

Australia is well placed to reduce emissions at low cost because the costs of carbon-free technologies such as wind and solar have fallen significantly in recent years.

 

A WWF report produced in collaboration with the Australian National University argues Australia could source 100% of its power from renewables by 2050 – without incurring massive adjustment costs or depressing economic growth – if there were clear and stable national policy settings to support investment in renewables.

 

The report’s author, Australian National University associate professor Frank Jotzo, said the evidence suggested deep cuts to Australia’s emissions could be achieved at low cost.

 

“With our abundant renewable resources we are one of the best placed countries in the world for moving to a fully renewable electricity supply,” he said. “Australia can achieve zero net emissions by harnessing energy efficiency, moving to a zero-carbon electricity system, switching from direct use of fossil fuels to decarbonised electricity, and improving industrial processes.”

 


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Hawaii is On Course to Go 100% Renewable by 2040 - SolarEnergy.net

Hawaii is On Course to Go 100% Renewable by 2040 - SolarEnergy.net | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it
The sun-drenched state is about to strengthen its energy legislation to require 100 percent renewable energy by 2040

 

“Even our utility is saying we can hit 65 percent by 2030, so 100 percent is definitely doable,” Sen. Mike Gabbard (D), sponsor of the Senate bill.


As recently six years ago, more than 90 percent of Hawaii’s yearly electricity generation came from coal and oil. With renewable technologies rapidly advancing, Hawaii’s abundant solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal sources are moving in quickly as replacements for costly fossil fuels.


“We shouldn’t forget that Hawaii has some of the world’s steadiest wind resources, sun that shines almost every day, waves that pound our shores, and a volcano in our back yard,” he said. “So if anywhere can solve these challenges, Hawaii can.”

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» Carbon-Sequestering Agriculture

» Carbon-Sequestering Agriculture | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

To save the planet we may need to turn it into an edible paradise…

 

Climate change is already making our planet less inhabitable, with droughts, floods, and severe weather events on the rise. Stabilizing the climate is perhaps the central challenge for humanity in the early decades of this century. Globally, a massive switch to regenerative practices, perennial crops, and regional self-reliance are essential to sequester carbon and reduce emissions. 

Stabilizing the Climate with “Permanent Agriculture”

Trees are one of our most powerful tools to pull carbon from the atmosphere and sequester it in the soil for long-term storage. This is why reforestation and protecting intact forests are such important parts of plans to address climate change. 

 

Trees are fundamentally more efficient than annual crops, with greater net primary productivity. 


Intuitively it makes sense that forest-like agriculture will sequester carbon somewhat like a “real” forest. 


The amounts sequestered vary hugely, depending on several variables.  Allowing for these factors, Nair and Montagnini report estimates of the world carbon storage potential of agroforestry ranging from 9 to 228 tons of carbon/hectare under different circumstances – tremendous variation. They report an estimate of current sequestration by agroforestry at 1 million tons/year. Their document estimates the amount of land that could be converted to agroforestry practices as roughly 585 million to 1.2 billion hectares (the U.S. including Alaska is 770 million hectares).


Even at a fairly conservative 25 ton/hectare average, that would sequester 14-20 billion tons – over its lifetime as much as 10% of the total 200 billion tons many experts estimate needs to be removed from the atmosphere even if we stop emissions tomorrow.

 


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Divestment is Working. Now It’s Time To Escalate the Fight

Divestment is Working. Now It’s Time To Escalate the Fight | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

It seems that every day now there’s another editorial, study, rant—even animations!—criticizing the fossil fuel divestment campaign. The pieces, usually written by lobbyists associated with fossil fuel companies, stodgy academics, or conservative politicians, usually cite the same arguments: divestment won’t make a financial difference, it’s a distraction from the “real work” of climate solutions, the world needs fossil fuels and we should be thanking Exxon for their generosity in providing them, etc.

 

When you hear someone shouting “those people don’t matter!” it’s usually a good sign that “those people” are beginning to make a serious impact. Which is exactly what the divestment campaign is doing.  Everywhere you look, the campaign is spreading like wildfire.


This is especially exciting at the international level. This February 13th and 14th, 350.org is hosting Global Divestment Day, a series of events around the world to highlight just how global the divestment fight has become. 


Thanks to the amazing activism of all these people around the world, the divestment campaign is having exactly the impact that we hoped it would. Together, we’ve begun to chip away at the industry’s social license, successfully turning Big Oil into a pariah industry like Big Tobacco.


Now, it’s time for us to turn up the heat. On Global Divestment Day, people around the world are going to be taking action on their campuses, in their communities, or at their places of worship, to push public institutions to divest from fossil fuels.


Solving the climate crisis is a race against the clock. In the fight against climate chaos, there is such a thing as ‘too late.’ Over the last year, the divestment movement has hit its stride. Now, it’s time to pick up the pace.

Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

What are you doing to divest yourself from fossil fuels?

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Solar and wind will be cheapest form of electricity in Asia

Solar and wind will be cheapest form of electricity in Asia | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

A new study has found that renewable energy systems will prove to be the most economically viable in the future, specifying that solar and wind will prove the cheapest forms of energy production for Asia’s largest energy markets by the end of the next ten years.


The study, conducted by the Lappeenranta University of Technology, shows that North-East Asia and China will particularly benefit from switching entirely to renewable energy systems over the next 5 to 10 years.


The report presents a “spatially and hourly resolved energy system model” that shows how 100% renewable energy could work in the region, interconnected by a high voltage transmission grid.


“Economic viability” has long been an issue in the minds of those looking to transition Asian regions to renewable energy. It has only been over the past 18 months that solar and wind have started measuring comparably with traditional energy generation methods — but the good news is that many believe the economic viability of solar and wind will continue to increase, past where traditional generation techniques sit. 

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14 High-Profile CEOs Want To Rid The Global Economy Of Carbon Emissions By 2050

14 High-Profile CEOs Want To Rid The Global Economy Of Carbon Emissions By 2050 | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

Fourteen high-profile business leaders and CEOs are calling on international leaders to agree to a goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions worldwide by 2050, arguing the ambitious goal would lead to “new jobs, cleaner air, better health, lower poverty and greater energy security.”


The group also urged business leaders to commit to emitting the equivalent of no carbon emissions in their long-term plans. A net-zero goal would mean dramatically reducing emissions while offsetting any remaining emissions with actions that reduce or absorb greenhouse gas pollution, like planting trees, using technologies that capture carbon, or funding clean energy ventures.

 

They acknowledged that the goal would be difficult to meet, but said reducing carbon emissions drastically would be key to unleashing innovation, driving investment in clean energy, and creating jobs. Not to mention, they added, the benefits of avoiding the potentially disastrous side effects of unmitigated climate change.

 

“A target of net-zero emissions by 2050 is not only desirable but necessary,” Polman said in an accompanying statement. “This is not going to be easy, but the earlier we act, the greater the economic opportunities will be.”



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It’s Not Too Late To Stop Climate Change, And It’ll Be Super-Cheap - JOE ROMM

It’s Not Too Late To Stop Climate Change, And It’ll Be Super-Cheap - JOE ROMM | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it
The top climate issue is the cost and consequences of inaction. The science now makes clear failure to very aggressively try to "solve" climate change is not either a rational or moral option for a nation or humanity as a whole. Fortunately, solving climate change is super-cheap!

 

I rarely disagree with Dave Roberts. But he has a column on Grist, “We can solve climate change, but it won’t be cheap or easy,” that is wrong, pure and simple.


The most important climate issue is the cost and consequences of inaction. The climate science has now reached the point that one can definitively say failure to very aggressively try to “solve” climate change is not either a rational or moral option for a nation or humanity as a whole. As Dave Roberts himself has explained, “The results of inaction are morally unacceptable. They are also economically unacceptable….”


The always overly-conservative Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reviewed the entire literature on the subject and concluded the annual growth loss to preserve a livable climate is 0.06% — and that’s “relative to annualized consumption growth in the baseline that is between 1.6% and 3% per year.” So we’re talking annual growth of, say 2.24 percent rather than 2.30 percent to save billions and billions of people from needless suffering for decades if not centuries.


Fundamentally these conclusions are not controversial since they are based on a review of the literature, which has been consistent on this subject for a long, long time. Every major independent study has found a remarkably low net cost for climate action — and a high cost for delay. Back in 2011, the International Energy Agency warned “Delaying action is a false economy: for every $1 of investment in cleaner technology that is avoided in the power sector before 2020, an additional $4.30 would need to be spent after 2020 to compensate for the increased emissions.”


So yes, solving climate change is “cheap.” It is NOT “easy,” however and I have striven to avoid using that word. When I talk about this I usually say it is “not easy, but straightforward.” And by that I mean “we know precisely what needs to be done and the net cost is quite low,” which is not the case for many other problems facing humanity.


The nation and the world are exceedingly wealthy in pure economic terms. Our (US) GDP is some $17 trillion. The global GDP is around $75 trillion. So something that required the world to spend, say, $1 trillion a year would have to be considered cheap, assuming you got reasonable value in return (like, say, not destroying a livable climate for the next thousand years).


While economic modeling is pretty good at overestimating the cost of environmental action (because it is lousy at anticipating innovation), it is equally good at underestimating the cost of inaction, since is hard to put a price on, say, Dust-Bowlifying one third of the currently habited and arable landmass of the planet, which is what 4C would do.


Via John Casey
Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

There really should be no debate that we MUST act, and fast.  The fact that it won't even cost us that much is all the more reason we should not delay.  Who benefits by further delays?

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Top Renewable Energy Author “Bullish” on the Future

Top Renewable Energy Author “Bullish” on the Future | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it
"There are many possible events that could accelerate the demise of fossil fuels—but none is required to phase them out in favor of renewables, a process that will be driven primarily by pure market economics—and far faster than most people understand." - Craig Shields, 2015

 

Though Craig Shields was pleased that his first two books became #1 best-sellers in their respective categories on Amazon.com, looking back, he has some reservations about their content.


With his current release, however, all that has changed.  “Bullish on Renewable Energy - Fourteen Reasons Why Clean Energy Investors Can’t Lose” takes a radically different tack.   [...] the book points to a remarkable truth: according to Shields, “The battle has been won. The forces of market economics are in the process of changing so rapidly that planet Earth is headed for a clean energy future far faster than anyone could have predicted.”


80% of the world’s energy is derived from burning hydrocarbons—processes that are clearly unsustainable—but I contend that we’re living in a time where fossil fuels will be replaced with clean energy in a very short period of time. But the final nail in the coffin of fossil fuels will prove to be simple economics, rather than changing public sensibilities.  ... Under the right conditions (that are becoming more prevalent every day), we can generate clean energy far less expensively than we can generate electricity with coal-fired power plants. 

Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

The inevitable demise of the fossil fuel industry can't happen soon enough.  How long will it take?  Since declining renewable energy prices are becoming increasingly more competitive than fossil fuels, the transition to 100% renewable energy is likely to happen as fast as the renewable energy sector can ramp up.   If we merely continue the growth rates we've seen over the last several years, we could be there in as little as 15 years.

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Expert energy council to advise policy-makers on 100% renewables

Expert energy council to advise policy-makers on 100% renewables | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it
Group of 12 experts launch International Energy Advisory Council to advise governments on how best to ditch fossil fuels and switch to 100% renewables.

 

“The world no longer needs or wants centralised energy, fossil fuel or nuclear power plants, and we believe that 100% renewable energy systems are achievable based on a combination of energy efficiency measures and local decentralized renewable-energy systems providing the remaining energy requirements,” said Chairman of the IEAC team, the UK’s Allan Jones, in a statement on Monday.



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Scotland Aiming for 100% Clean Energy by 2025 - EcoLocalizer

Scotland Aiming for 100% Clean Energy by 2025 - EcoLocalizer | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

While the U.S. may aim for a 15% Renewable Energy Standard by 2021, and Northern Ireland has just confirmed a much stronger target of 40% renewable energy by 2020, Scotland is aiming a bit higher. It announced today that it plans to get “at least” 100% of its energy from renewable sources by 2025. Wow.

 

Scotland is planning to export a lot of its clean energy to its neighbor to the south, England, which has lagged behind the rest of Europe on clean energy.

 
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